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Kusuriya no Hitorigoto (The Apothecary Diaries) – 22

Looks like we’re going to have to wait yet one more week before the  Lakan storyline gets some real clarity.  But as always with Kusuriya no Hitorigoto, there are no coincidences.  Lakan is certainly involved in this week’s events, though as usual it’s as an orchestrator more than a participant.  And what the episode seems to be about – indeed, spends most of its time on – is clearly only a tangent from the main branch of the story.

Blue roses.  That’s the MacGuffin Lakan introduces.  He remembers them from the old days, he tells Jinshi, and longs to see them again.  Perhaps at the upcoming garden party several weeks off.  We can speculate on Lakan’s motivation for this (and I will), but what’s somewhat puzzling for me is that Jinshi agrees to take on this challenge.   Why not just say no – what’s the power that Lakan has over him?  But say yes Jinshi does.  And this is beyond the scope of Gaoshun to achieve, as nobody seems to remember seeing any blue roses.  It’s pretty easy to see where this is going.

Maomao has been working at Gyokurou’s palace, and indeed the latter is expecting.  But Jinshi pulls her aside to take on this quest, which she accepts even after (or perhaps because of) figuring out that Lakan was behind it.  It’s not going to be easy to accomplish, given that roses are out of season and won’t bloom anywhere near in time for the garden party.  But through the introduction of two more possibly anachronistic inventions (the hothouse and flower dyeing) she takes the bull by the horns.

With her leg injury (perhaps worryingly) slow to heal, Jinshi summons Xiaolan to assist (and babysit) Xiamao.  This hothouse process is interesting to watch play out, with some other developments like Maomao introducing nail painting (that at least fits the timeline) as a means of distracting staring court ladies.  Maomao works herself to exhaustion as usual, and in the end it’s really about getting the roses to bloom early – the blue color will come from dyeing them (internally, through the water they absorb).  And she makes it (just) in time for the garden party, telling the emperor in advance to make him feel special and avoid her trick becoming a political football.

So really, we’re faced with a three-pronged fork of a question here.  What was Lakan’s reason for requesting this, Jinshi’s for accepting it, and Maomao’s for taking it on after realizing Lakan was behind it?  Loulan seems to be the key to the first question, as this garden party is her coming out party.  We know she’s a suspect in the attempt on Jinshi’s life, and her father Shishou (Chou) was a favorite of the previous Empress Dowager.  Loulan is a threat, it seems – and perhaps Lakan (who sees Shishou as a rival for influence, maybe) staged the blue roses gambit as a means of drawing attention away from Loulan.

Maybe Jinshi just can’t say no.  As for Xiaomao, Occam’s Razor suggests she’s simply ready to take things with Lakan out on the open (relatively speaking).  It’s almost certain that he’s her father, and she’s tired of being manipulated by him.  Lakan is shown to see others as go stones or chess pieces – it’s only Maomao (and her mother) whose faces are faces.  Whether this is intended literally in Odd Taxi fashion or not I’m not sure (he does seem to have vision issues), but he too seems ready for more direct interaction with Maomao.  I know I am – the tease is starting to drag on more than a little bit.

The post Kusuriya no Hitorigoto (The Apothecary Diaries) – 22 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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