Parallel World Pharmacy Volume 1 Review

Readers may recognise Parallel World Pharmacy due to the anime adaptation that aired in the summer of 2022. Although the source material has remained unlicensed since then, we’re still being treated to a new way to experience the story, thanks to One Peace Books releasing the manga adaptation, starting May 30th. Does it prove an entertaining read? Let’s find out! 

The story follows 31-year-old Kanji Yakutani, who is working in a pharmaceutical development lab to create drugs to treat health problems like the one his little sister passed away from. Thinking of nothing but his research, Kanji neither eats nor sleeps healthily and soon dies of a heart attack. 

The next thing Kanji knows is when he awakens to find himself in an unfamiliar bed being called Master Farma by a maid and told that he was struck by lightning. As you may have realized by now, Kanji has been reborn in a new world as Farma De Médicis, the son of a family renowned for running the San Fleuve Empire’s Imperial School of Pharmacy and where Farma’s father Bruno is known as one of the best pharmacists in the region. 

The world Farma finds himself in is one filled with magic, but when it comes to medicine and how illnesses are treated, it’s very medieval. The knowledge Farma holds from his previous life could advance the standards a great deal, curing illnesses that are currently considered incurable and giving people a much better way of life. Now in his second life, Farma vows to take better care of himself but still wishes to pursue medicine knowing that his abilities could make such a big difference in this world. 

Volume 1 of Parallel World Pharmacy contains four chapters, which is just enough for us to get to know Farma and establish his place in the world. After he wakes up from the lightning strike, we learn from those around him (particularly his little sister) that his personality is quite different compared to beforehand. He also now has scars on his shoulders, which Farma assumes are burns from the accident but those around him proclaim are the sign of blessing by the medicine god, Panactheos.

There is some evidence of this being true as previously Farma could only use the water Divine Art like his father, but our protagonist now has an Elementless ability which is rare and allows him to recreate medicine, provided he remembers the structural formula behind the substance. He also can see when someone is injured or suffering from an illness and can diagnose it based on his knowledge from his past life. He’s truly well-suited to becoming a pharmacist, but this time one who works directly with patients, rather than being shut up in a laboratory. 

But we never get much further than setting this up in the first volume. Due to being based on a light novel, there’s quite a long opening that doesn’t transition quite as well to manga as it did to anime (where we got through all this much faster). 

The artwork by Sei Takano also suffers in this first outing as there’s a lot of dense dialogue which takes up a lot of space on the pages. And even when that’s not the case, the panels are quite small and lacking in background details. The characters, too, aren’t very detailed but Takano does at least depict their emotions quite well. It’s just all a bit flat and doesn’t do a good job of conveying the vibrant world readers may be used to thanks to the anime or the more attractive style of Keepout’s original illustrations for the light novel. 

Still, if you like the premise and want to read beyond the anime, I don’t think the manga is a bad option with the source material unlicensed. It doesn’t feel rushed nor that too much is being cut out or skipped. We’re getting to see everything that’s important and the narrative is easy to follow. But I do wish there was more to it visually since I’d wager it won’t be catching the eye of new readers or those less willing to put up with the amount of dialogue as things stand. Maybe it will improve as things go on, though; these light novels turned manga sometimes do. 

As previously mentioned, Parallel World Pharmacy Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to One Peace Books and has been translated by Kristi Iwashiro. The translation reads well and obviously has had a lot of technical research put into it, given the amount of scienctific terminology we see Farma employing throughout the book. In fact, at the end of the book, there are multiple healthcare experts and pharmacists credited as part of the ‘editorial’ from the original Japanese release, so there’s clearly been a lot of research put into this from both the original creator and the English translator. 

However, as is often the case with this publisher, there are some problems with this release. The lettering/typesetting is not very good, with very little variation in terms of font and sizing, which doesn’t convey the dialogue very well. There’s also one instance of a large translation note (as seen above) being placed inside a panel, which I really wish had been placed at the back of the book in a notes section instead. It’s not crucial to the scene nor is it something that wasn’t already explained in the context of the story. It’s simply intrusive in what is otherwise a dramatic scene and will pull the reader out of it. 

This lack of editorial oversight and quality assurance is one of the biggest problems I have with the work this publisher puts out, all it would take is little tweaks to make a much better product (particularly given these releases sell for around £12 in the UK, which is quite expensive). It’s disappointing that as time goes on, nothing is changing in this department and it’s frustrating too, as someone who likes the titles being licensed by and large, but can’t wholeheartedly recommend the end product. 

The manga is ongoing in Japan with nine volumes so far; in English, Volume 2 is scheduled for a release in November with #3 following in December (although I imagine there will be a delay since that seems a little too close together!). Either way, there’s quite a gap until you’ll be able to read more of this one. 

Overall, Parallel World Pharmacy Volume 1 proves a worthwhile read if you’re already a fan of the series, thanks to the anime. However, for anyone with a passing interest or who doesn’t wish to read through dense pages of dialogue, it’s probably worth skipping. Hopefully, someone will license the light novel at some point which is more likely to deliver a product that will satisfy both new and existing fans. 

5 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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