The Apothecary Diaries: Everything we know so far
2023 has been a spectacular year for anime. Alongside the return of fan favorites like Jujutsu Kaisen, an exciting newcomer has taken the anime world by storm – The Apothecary Diaries.
Adapted from the 2011 light novel Kusuriya no Hitorigoto by Natusu Hyuga and Touko Sino, which later spawned a best-selling manga, the series has already cultivated a devoted fanbase. With such high expectations in place, it’s no wonder the anime is surrounded by hype.
With its popular manga source material, all-star creative team, and catchy opening theme, it’s no wonder that The Apothecary Diaries has taken the number one spot in Netflix Japan since it’s debut. So, here’s why it should take the prime spot on your Fall 2023 watchlist – especially now the first three episodes of this new series are available in English dub.
Ahead of the sixth episode’s release on November 11, The Apothecary Diaries official YouTube channel released a 15-second sneak peak to keep you going while you wait. So, let’s begin with everything you need to know about The Apothecary Diaries.
The Apothecary Diaries: an overnight sensation
The Apothecary Diaries was destined to be popular. However, no one could have predicted its meteoric rise. Hours after its debut on October 22 2023, the anime became the #1 trending topic on X (formerly known as Twitter) in Japan.
The storyline follows the journey of Maomao, a 17-year-old girl whose life took a sharp turn when she was kidnapped and sold as a servant to the Imperial Palace. Here, everything as she knows it changes. Following the sudden death of the crown prince from a mysterious illness, she draws on her past life as a pharmacist to save the Imperial heirs and solve the mysterious deaths in the court.
A remarkable creative team stands behind the anime adaptation. Norihiro Naganuma, known for The Ancient Magus’: Those Awaiting a Star, takes the helm as director. Satoru Kōsaki (Lucky Star), Kevin Penkin (Made in Abyss), and Alisa Okehazama (Jujutsu Kaisen) handle the exceptional musical score. Meanwhile, Ryokuoushoku Shakai (the band behind My Hero Academia‘s Shout Baby) performs the opening theme Hana ni Natte. It’s safe to say that the stage had been set for The Apothecary Diaries to shine long before its debut.
What’s happened in the story so far?
As of November 7, the first five episodes of the anime are available to watch, with 19 more on the way.
Enter a fictional version of Ancient China where we meet Maomao in this transition period as she goes from working as an apothecarist to doing laundry in the Inner Palace. But as illness grips the court, our reluctant heroine turns to her extensive knowledge of herbs to help solve the mystery.
It’s easy to dismiss The Apothecary Diaries as yet another historical anime. But this one it sets itself apart by grounding its narrative in real-world logic, offering a relatable element to the story. The series doesn’t hand out answers to the strange happenings at court. However, in a period when arsenic-based makeup dominated fashion and mental illness remained largely uncharted territory, the mysteries offer a logical conclusion that viewers can appreciate – offering a refreshing twist on the usual whodunits.
Join us as we watch pragmatic, practical and fiercely intelligent heroine as her unexpected journey unfolds, and experience a nuanced glimpse into the lives of women in ancient China with this highly-anticipated new series.
A sneak peak at Episode 6
On November 6, The Apothecary Diaries official YouTube channel released a 15-second preview of what’s in store for fans in episode 6.
The episode is titled The Garden Party and will officially air on November 11.
Based on events from the manga, the garden party is an important palace event involving the emperor and other members of the royal court. Our heroine Maomao is shown in the preview as an official taste tester, sampling each dish for poison before its consumed by the royal family.
Stay tuned to find out what happens next.
English dub cast & where to watch
The English dubbed version of The Apothecary Diaries was released on Crunchyroll on November 4.
There’s no English dub trailer available at present. However, here’s the full cast and crew for this historical anime, including some well-known voice from your favorite shows.
- Emi Lo (Lucy in Cyberpunk: Edgerunners) as Maomao
- Kaiji Tang (Gojo in Jujutsu Kaisen) as Jinshi
- Molly Zhang as Gyokuyou
- Trina Nishimura as Lihua
- Bree Han as Xiaolan
- Monica Rial as Ah-Duo/Narrator
- Alex Hom as Gaoshun
- Jim Foronda as Guen
- Stephen Miller as Luomen
- Giovannie Cruz as Hongniang
- Kelsey Maher as Yinghua
- Ciaran Strange as Pairin
- Monica Flatley as Joka
- Rebecca Danae as Meimei
- Alex Mai as Emperor
- Sarah Roach as Fuyou
- Kelly Greenshield as Guiyuan
- Naya Moreno as Ailan
Behind the scenes, the English dub will be directed by Shawn Gann, known for Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018), produced by Colleen Clinkenbeard, with scriptwriting shared between Kieran Flitton (MF Ghost) and Clayton Browning (ID:Invaded).
Filled with mystery, gorgeous visuals, and a captivating music score, it’s no wonder The Apothecary Diaries is one of the standout anime of 2023.
Watch the first five episodes in Japanese or the first three in English on Crunchyroll today.
How to watch Crunchyroll from outside your location in 2023
Crunchyroll is the world’s best hub for streaming anime, whether it’s One Piece, Attack on Titan, or Jujutsu Kaisen – and thanks to ExpressVPN, you can access the platform’s full library even if you’re outside the US.
If you’re abroad, here’s what you need to do to access Crunchyroll’s full selection – and it really is this simple:
- Sign up for ExpressVPN, which has ultra-fast servers and offers a secure, private connection wherever you are in the world
- Connect to a location anywhere in the US; Express VPN allows you to choose from 24 different spots, from New Jersey to Santa Monica
- Visit Crunchyroll online and start streaming all of your favorite animes – and perhaps some you’ve never watched
Accessing Crunchyroll’s US roster makes a difference; for example, Hong Kong users only have access to less than 100 titles, while the US has nearly 1,000 movies and TV shows.
You can also stream anime on Crunchyroll for free with an ad-supported plan, or you can pay for a subscription – there’s even a 14-day free trial if you can’t quite make up your mind.
You can check out our other anime coverage here.
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