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Parallel World Pharmacy
Episode 6

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Parallel World Pharmacy ?
Community score: 4.3

You know, it's funny, as I was watching the opening credits to this week's Parallel World Pharmacy, I found myself noticing the brief shot of Farma's late younger sister from his original life and thinking, “Okay, but are we ever going to actually deal with any more of Farma's lingering trauma and regret, or is the show going to take the easy way out like so many before it?” Wouldn't you know it, but this very episode is exactly the one to answer my question and, once again, give me exactly what I'm looking for. Sure, I probably would have realized that this was going to happen if I'd paid attention to the episode title being "Siblings and the Sea," but you can't blame a guy for being jaded and skeptical these days, even for an anime that has been as consistently good and surprising as this one.

The egg is on my face, though, because not only does Siblings and the Sea give us a very effective dramatic sequence with which to frame Farma's increasingly powerful Divine Arts, it manages to do it all in a beach episode, and with nary a single frame of cheap fanservice (I'm not counting Elen debuting her bathing gown, either, because that's not fanservice at all—it's Fine Art™). I especially appreciated that the flashback's to Farma's sister and their last ever trip to the beach didn't play as too maudlin; we don't linger with a bunch of oppressive and heart-wrenching scenes with the terminally ill young girl. PWP is tasteful enough to know that just that one image of the kid hooked up to the hospital monitors is enough to make it absolutely clear why Farma's need to save Blanche from drowning would cause his powers to go into overdrive and literally obliterate an entire chunk of the ocean from existence.

In keeping with the running theme of ensuring that Farma's reality shattering powers actually have realistic consequences, we're also introduced to a new antagonistic force. I'd give you all three guesses to figure out what it is, but literally anyone who's ever watched a single episode of any fantasy anime made in the last forty years wouldn't even have to think twice. Mel Brooks apparently never learned that, around these parts, you always expect The Not-Literally-Spanish-But-Still-Obviously-Modeled-After-A-Generally-European-and-Vaguely-Catholic Inquisition. Sure, we don't learn much of anything about these sketchy clergyman other than the fact that they're none too pleased about the Shadowless Zombie God Boy that's been sighted in the kingdom, which explains why they go to such great lengths to ambush him at the end of the episode (and, uh, crash a cart full of manure into his pharmacy, for some reason).

Is this a perfect episode? Not quite. Since it's more about setting up a cliffhanger and introducing the Inquisition, the result is essentially one short story stitched together with the first half of a completely different story that won't be resolved until next week. Also, Farma's naivety is difficult to ignore; if the ridiculously suspicious monks and the blatant attack on his pharmacy don't make it just a little obvious that something is up, then surely the random citizen leading him to the most isolated secondary location imaginable to help her “sick father” would have. I can't blame the kid too much, since helping people without questioning their background or motives is Farma's entire shtick, but he's going to need to get wise to the game if Evil Fantasy Churches are going to be after his head.

Still, Parallel World Pharmacy continues to be a delight, and this was one of those weeks where I was genuinely shocked to see the end credits start to roll, because the whole episode only felt like it was five minutes long. The show continues to make great character development and interesting world-building look easy, and I will continue to devour every minute of it each week so long as it keeps up.


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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