Parallel World Pharmacy – The Summer 2022 Preview Guide

What is that this?

The story centers around a young pharmacologist who was so focused on his research that he died from overwork. He was transported to an alternate world and reincarnated as Pharma, the scion in a noble lineage of court healers. On this world where erroneous remedies and cures are rampant, he takes on all types of ailments to avoid wasting lives, because of his inside knowledge of recent pharmacology from his past life.

Parallel World Pharmacy relies on Liz Takayama‘s novel series and streams on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

How was the primary episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

To make your technique to a fantasy world, it seems, it’s good to be hit by a truck, be a hardcore MMO player who refuses to sign off when the sport shuts down service, or die from overworking. Parallel World Pharmacy takes the last option. While this has obviously happened in enough other works to be cliché by itself right, what’s interesting on this case is that our protagonist’s overwork is solely his own doing. Professor Yakutani’s not working at an organization exploiting their staff, but somewhat as a researcher on the Japanese equivalent of an Ivy League university. His death is ultimately attributable to his own desire to do all he can on this planet of drugs, catalyzed by the lack of his little sister to an incurable disease. It’s an interesting character beat that explains the drive he shows in determining his magic once he awakens within the fantasy world as Farma.

Furthermore, I like the concept Farma’s magic is rooted within the scientific understanding he gained in his previous life. He can create not only elements but in addition compounds based on his knowledge of molecular dynamics. It makes his magic each familiar to the audience and something different from the conventional magic of the fantasy world.

All that said, most of this episode is just going through the motions. We get a basic rundown of the setting, meet his latest family, and learn a bit about how magic works. But what really sets this primary episode other than most isekai stories, nevertheless, is that the primary one that figures out how overpowered Farma is utterly freaks out. While Farma’s nothing but kind and caring, she only gets more afraid of him the more she learns. A being that she has believed to be a myth is standing before her, be it a god or a monster (and either way she fears for her life). Funnily enough, this is likely to be essentially the most realistic response to an overpowered character I’ve ever seen in an anime; such moments are almost all the time played for laughs, and essentially the most common response appears to be either being stunned into silence or making a feeble quip. Pure, unadulterated terror does appear to be the more logical response—especially given the “not having a shadow” thing in Farma’s case.

All in all, while this was an okay first episode, a number of it was just basic groundwork. Furthermore, I’m undecided what the tone of the show goes to be—is it going to be a lighthearted adventure or a more serious tackle being reincarnated in a fantasy world? Either way, there have been greater than a number of intriguing twists to the formula on this one and I’m interested to see the way it all seems.

James Beckett

I haven’t got the time or mental energy reserves to totally unpack the implications of the incontrovertible fact that we live in a world where “Reborn In One other World Isekai Where Protagonist-Kun Is Specifically A Pharmacist, For Some Reason” is a fully-fledged subgenre of anime. What I can let you know, though, is that if we must live in such a reality, then we could do worse than anime like Parallel World Pharmacy. On condition that it’s perpetuating an industry stagnancy that I’m growing increasingly sick of with every passing season, this show is kind of a best-case scenario.

For one, it begins by doing the one thing I’m begging all of those isekai to do more of going forward: It allows us to offer a rattling concerning the life that our fundamental character had before he got isekai’d. Sure, the tragic backstory and death by overworking is not anything latest, but it surely’s the barest possible minimum of creating a halfway decent narrative, so I appreciate the incontrovertible fact that Parallel World Pharmacy is putting within the work. What’s more, that sense of melancholy gets carried over to Farma’s latest life on this other world, equivalent to when he reflects for a bit on the family that he never got to have, and the way he’s essentially stolen the lifetime of this boy that everybody around him already had real relationships with.

It’s solid stuff, and it goes a good distance towards getting me through the entire clunky exposition and the scenes of Farma having to work out the principles of the world’s magic and whatnot. Those perfunctory setup tropes are more-or-less unbearable when a show cannot even be bothered to try telling a functional story, but in Parallel World Pharmacy, they find yourself being perfectly high quality. I especially appreciate how Farma’s “Panactheos” powers are seen as just as much of a liability as a blessing by people like Elen. Who would have thought that actual conflict could make a show more interesting, eh?

I’m still not the target market for this type of show, so I do not expect to be revisiting Parallel World Pharmacy any time soon. Still, given how predisposed I’m to roll my eyes out of my skull any time the words “parallel world” come up, I used to be pleasantly surprised by how tolerable the premiere of Parallel World Pharmacy ended up being. Fans of the genre will likely be head over heels for this one.

Rebecca Silverman

“Pharmacy isekai” is maybe a more baffling subgenre than “slime isekai,” but Parallel World Pharmacy
looks prefer it might need an edge on a few of its competitors. It definitely doesn’t pull its punches within the
first couple of minutes – we watch Professor Yakutani literally work himself to death (his assistant finds his
dead body in his office), driven by the death of his younger sister from incurable cancer after they were
children. Not quite making the connection that she perhaps would not want him to die trying to avoid wasting
others, he’s actually not hugely surprised when he wakes up in a brand new, younger body, due to a bit of
him clearly knew that he was in peril of dying from his punishing schedule. He is not blasé, precisely,
just willing to just accept what’s happened. If anything, he’s most confused by why people keep calling his
Lichtenberg figures (the fern-like scarring left behind by a lightning strike) marks of a god.

That they might, the truth is, be each hasn’t quite occurred to him yet, possibly because people just won’t stop
talking at him. Between his maid Lotte and his tutor Elen, poor Farma (as he’s now called) is inundated
with beautiful info-dumpers. On the one hand, how nice that folks are available to clarify the stuff
that he’s purported to know and willing to purchase that a lightning strike zapped his memories. On the opposite,
holy crap is it clumsy, annoying exposition, made that much worse by Lotte’s chirpy attitude and Elen’s
tendency towards histrionics. Add in a mother who says possibly two words and slightly sister who sounds
years younger than she looks and I haven’t got high hopes for the feminine characters on this series.

There may, nevertheless, be some hope for the story. Yes, Farma is overpowered, but all of his powers seem
to be in service of the wish he was working towards in his past life, the cure for cancer and anything
that takes people too young. That those powers could also stop him from working himself to death for a
second time appears to be a blessing based on his admirable goals that he executed poorly, and that is the
sort of karma I prefer to see: a probability to redeem mistakes made in pursuit of something good. Yakutani’s
goals were admirable, he just got consumed by them. Farma has the ability to bring them to fruition
without that danger.

So while this drags and is not great on the entire, I do think, on this slim season, that it could have
potential. Possibly it’s just hopefulness born of the incontrovertible fact that each of my parents are coping with issues
that I wish there was a magic fix for, but I’ll take what I can get.

Nicholas Dupree

Besides its sheer ubiquity, my major issue with the continued isekai deluge is these stories’ typical lack of friction. It takes a narrative device previously all about being a fish out of water and twists each world and characters into pretzels to make it as easy as possible for our plain-faced Melvin result in slot into place with none problems. Any knowledge they need about this latest world is either shoved into their brain or conveniently provided, and so they typically get superpowers that make it that much easier to only brute force their way into prominence. So imagine my surprise when this latest addition to the (up to now extremely anodyne) sub-subgenre of Pharmacy Isekai actually uses its own premise for interesting drama.

Loads of that comes from the character of this particular isekai-ing. Very like Primary in Ascendance of a Bookworm, our protagonist finds himself suddenly taking up the body of anyone who was already living in Fantasyville – someone who had family and friends and a longtime life that the brand new Farma finds himself ill-equipped to retain. They still elide over a few of those growing pains by having the genius doctor join a family of renowned medical specialists, complete with a spunky maid to clarify every thing to him, but there is a real sense that Neo-Farma is balancing on an ever-winnowing tight rope, and there is narrative tension to seeing when and the way he falls.

It also helps that we get an idea of who he was before being reincarnated. Granted, his story was mostly a number of medical drama clichés, but an excellent doctor who dedicated himself to medicine after losing his sister to cancer continues to be a much more engaging start than your typical tracksuit-wearing otaku or overburdened office employee. Moderately than an easygoing vacation from the stresses of life, this latest world offers some mystery and challenges which are only enhanced by Farma’s unfinished business from his previous life. That unfortunately means our hero spends most of this episode having things explained to him as a substitute of creating a personality, but there’s at the least room to develop him as a personality here.

Plus, while Farma does get suped-up magic powers upon his arrival, they are not the Get Out Of Plot Free card they typically are in other shows. As an alternative, his magic tutor is rightfully freaked out by his sudden, otherworldly powers breaking the scales of their entire world. Even when Farma himself is not a threat, his OP magic represents a complete break from the norms of this world, and that understandably scares people. And very similar to Bookworm there’s the discomfiting bit about him essentially being a changeling – a completely alien personality now controlling the body of the boy these people once knew. Again, I do not expect that to last too long, but it surely’s still intriguing drama that at the least leaves me curious to observe one other episode.

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