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Kusuriya no Hitorigoto – 10

OK, that got complicated real fast.

Another interesting episode of The Apothecary Diaries.  In the present, yes, but even more so in the past.  The intrigue surrounding the main cast leveled up by an order of magnitude, especially Jinshi.  Unfortunately he kind of made he hate him again, just when my antipathy towards the character was starting to dial back a bit.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have a main cast member that you dislike, but I get the sense that I’m not supposed to dislike Jinshi as much as I do.

First, we have some more exploration of little Lishu, who gets invited to the Jade Pavillion for a tea party with Gyokuyou.  The politics betwixt the four concubines are intense and complex, but if any of them would seem less likely to be overtly hostile to another it would be Gyokuyou towards Lishu.  The girl has come to trust Maomao a bit, but she’s not sharp enough to realize that her ladies in waiting are bullying her.  Her terrified reaction towards honey stems back to an incident in infancy (hopefully everyone nowadays knows you never give honey to very young children), but I didn’t get the sense that Gyokuyou did that on purpose.  Maomao concocted a way to bail her out just the same.

Next, Jinshi assigns Maomao to the Garnet Pavillion, home of the Pure Consort Ah-Duo (Kaido Yuko).  He doesn’t give her a reason, but this is where the obvious suspicion for the poisoning incident would fall.  The driving force at the Garnet Pavillion is Fengming (Hidaka Noriko no less).  She’s amiable, smart, and hard-working.  She’s also sporting a bandage on her arm, and has a motive to potentially take out Lishu – namely, that a new concubine is coming and of the four the one in the most precarious position is her mistress Ah-Duo.  Her family is also in the honey business, interestingly enough (and Jinshi loves his honey).

That whole business with Jinshi trying to make Maomao lick honey off his fingers was pretty creepy if you ask me.  That was a sort of power harassment any way you look at it, and if Gyokuyou hadn’t come along – and gotten royally pissed – when she did, Maomao was in real trouble there.  I get that he’s supposed to be largely a comic character, but this was not funny and not charming – it was just gross.  But Jinshi is here to stay, and his role in the big picture looks a lot different after the final moments of this week’s episode.

Maomao – prompted by Jinshi’s bullying – gets a flash of inspiration and asks Gaujjun for some help in researching events of the past at the Rear Palace.  Specifically 17 years earlier, when the current emperor had a son with Ah-Duo.  He was still a prince at the time, however, which is a crucial distinction.  The baby died, and the apothecary who delivered the child was expelled from the palace.  His name was Luomen, which is very familiar to Maomao – it’s her oyaji back home.  I think that explains his remark about it being ironic that she be assigned to the Rear Palace, at the very least.

This is where things get complicated and a bit confusing.  We know there were two boys born around that time, the current emperor’s son the former emperor’s younger brother.  The former died – officially.  But it’s strongly implied that Jinshi is Ah-Duo’s son – they certainly look remarkably similar – and the next logical leap is that in fact, no baby died and in further fact Jinshi is the son of the current Emperor (though whether his birth before his father’s ascension impacts his status as heir I don’t know).  If that’s the case, why pretend he died?  And presumably the eunuch thing is (as I predicted) a cover story, an excuse for him to remain at the Rear Palace without revealing his identity.

There’s a lot still to slot into place here.  There could have been a switch of babies and the emperor’s younger brother could, in fact, be his son – which would make Jinshi his younger brother.  That doesn’t sound as “right” to me but I’m not ruling it out.  In any event Jinshi is clearly connected directly to the throne, Oyaji was almost certainly expelled (and lucky that’s all it was)  for knowing too much, and Maomao is wading into extremely shark-infested waters by looking into all this.

The post Kusuriya no Hitorigoto – 10 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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