MANGA REVIEW | "Parallel World Pharmacy" - Volume One
Working in a pharmacy can be a hassle. You’re on your feet all day filling prescriptions non-stop, on top of dealing with ungrateful customers who take out all their frustrations on you. Well…it could be worse. Imagine living in the dark ages, where modern medicine wasn’t even a thing! This is what Parallel World Pharmacy brings to the table, as present-day medical procedures comes to a place where even the chicken pox can still kill you!
Adapted from Liz Takeyama’s light novels by Sei Takano, Parallel World Pharmacy brings Professor Kanji Yakutani to a medicine-less world. Yakutani dies from over-exhaustion, and wakes up in the body of Farma de Médicis, a noble pharmacist’s son. The professor takes over Farma’s body after the young lad was struck by lightning, which causes some strange markings on his upper arms and shoulders. But according to the family maid Charlotte, those scars are the Holy Mark of Panactheos, the medicine god.
After getting a good & thorough rundown from Charlotte, Farma (we’ll stick with the new name from here-on out) discovers the kinds of skills that he can perform. From creating water to other objects, his abilities take his private tutor Eléonore by surprise. Because of his range of skills, Eléonore begins to question what kind of person Farma has now become. After all, if you’re able to contain unlimited power and lack a shadow, you’d probably be considered a threat rather than a gifted individual.
It’s in this moment where Parallel World Pharmacy begins to show its true colors. Although it begins in the average isekai way, the moment Farma and Eléonore start to bond over his new discovery is when the narrative starts to get better. Once Farma discovers his ability to find people’s ailments and possible cures, the story goes all-in with the science behind these medical miracles. How Farma comes up with these solutions reminds me a lot of Senku in Dr. STONE, albeit with more magic.
The series also knows when to throw in some good laughs. How Farma and Eléonore bond after the former aids the latter with an ailment results in some fun shenanigans between the two. Although there’s not much dialogue, they have a wacky good time testing out magic and spells, with plenty of silly results. There’s also a moment with Farma and his “mom”, with her reacting erotically to his lower back pain cure. (Note to Farma: it’s still Oedipus Complex if you’re isekai’d into a woman's son!)
However, Parallel World Pharmacy also delivers a surprisingly good amount of heart too. On top of caring for the family staff, his means of helping his younger sister’s chicken pox outbreak is presented with a good amount of sweetness. Since Yakutani became a pharmacist due to his little sister’s incurable ailment, it’s clear that he’ll more than likely help Farma’s sister to make up for his past self’s shortcomings. But it’s when some drama is thrown in involving the Royal Empress where things start heating up, especially between Farma and his “father” Bruno.
While Parallel World Pharmacy has a flawed beginning, it builds itself up to having a solid narrative and great characters. With how the first volume ends, I’m curious to see just where Takano takes Takeyama’s original light novels next. (I can’t remember the last time I groaned over being subjected to a cliffhanger!) Parallel World Phamacy is a breath of fresh air in a time when isekai stories are feeling oversaturated. Although I am just a licensed pharmacy tech in the state of Massachusetts, I can happily write out a prescription for this series for anyone who desires it!
Promotional consideration provided by Eric Margolis of One Peace Books. In stores May 30th!