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Parallel World Pharmacy
Episode 4

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 4 of
Parallel World Pharmacy ?
Community score: 4.2

Is Parallel World Pharmacy shaping up to be one of the best shows of the season? If you'd told me I would even be considering such a thing just a couple of months ago, I might have thought you were crazy, but here we are, just a quarter of the way through the series, and I've been loving every minute of it. Even an episode like “The Empress and an Imperial Charter", which is largely lacking the interesting conflicts that made the show so compelling in previous weeks, manages to be consistently heartwarming and entertaining.

For instance, there's not a lot of dramatic weight to Farma's interactions with Queen Èlizabeth II, since it's mostly about confirming her ongoing recovery from tuberculosis, but it's lovely to simply see Her Majesty be able to speak with Farma under less dire circumstances. Am I going to lie to your faces and tell you that a lot of my enjoyment of this part of the episode didn't come from the fact that the Queen is gorgeous as hell? No, I will not. I will say, though, that I also really appreciated the moment where Farma was able to impart some wisdom to the Queen regarding her fears over having already experienced “death". One of my biggest pet peeves about reincarnation anime is when the protagonists never seem to be at all concerned about their own deaths, so I love how Farma is actually using his experiences and reflections to improve his life and the lives of those around him. Great stuff.

Speaking of improving the lives of those around him, this episode is also where Farma is finally able to bring his lifelong dream of operating an affordable and personable community pharmacy, thanks to the promotion in rank to Royal Pharmaceutist from the Queen (not to mention a literal pile of gold from his dad). In typical Farma style, our boy stumbles into starting up an underdog medical center with all of his usual humility and goofy charm, to the point where his tendency to monologue to himself ends up with him accidentally naming his new operation “Parallel World Pharmacy". And everyone is one hundred percent on board with it, no questions asked. It's a joke that is so earnest and stupid that I can't help but respect.

The best part of this section, however, is when the snooty old head of the Pharmaceutists' Guild comes to intimidate the new kid on the block, only to get chewed right the hell out by Ellen. (so if there was any worry that the Queen was set to usurp her status as Parallel World Pharmacy's reigning Best Girl, you can rest easy. Ellen's territory is obviously quite secure.) It's also great when Bruno conveniently asks his servant Cèdric to “retire" so Farma can hire a proper accountant. It's cute and all that little Lotte want to be so useful, but there needs to be at least one more adult helping run the joint, if only so more people won't ask too many questions.

I have to say, I'm really loving this anime so far, and I sincerely hope it can manage to keep up the momentum for the rest of the season. It's got excellent character writing, solid world building, and most importantly, a hell of a lot of heart. If only all the other isekais of this ilk were even half as well-considered.

Rating:

Parallel World Pharmacy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.


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