Despite playing such a small portion of them, I love the Atelier series. In fact, I’ve only played Rorona to completion, but that game left a huge impact on me. It’s just a ton of fun. There’s something about gathering items and going through the day-to-day life as a shop owner that’s almost therapeutic in a way.
Sure, you may fight a few monsters here and there, but that’s really as exciting as life gets. For the most part, you just chill and live a quiet life. It’s pleasant. But that leaves a question nobody would ever ask, but I’ll pretend like someone did for the sake of this post: what would that look like in anime form? Let’s ignore the fact we had one anime for it. That was a little bit ago now, and the inspiration for this was under the assumption we never got one. Forgive me, please.
Well, probably not that fun, right? Not exactly. While there’s certainly been other series with a similar feel, this season’s Drugstore in Another World definitely takes a shot at it.
Reiji is a young pharmacist who, along with werewolf Noella, and ghost Mina, runs the drugstore in this other world. But because a series just called “Drugstore” might be a tad boring, this is an isekai, and Reiji was from Earth even if we never saw him there.
That means the whole isekai thing seems a little pointless, but it’s actually pretty integral to the plot as a whole, so in a way, it’s even more important than in other isekais. This is because Reiji uses his knowledge of certain medicines from his past life to make them in this life and help out the townfolks.
Now, Reiji here doesn’t quite understand what medicine means or at least has a very loose definition of the term. Because he makes glue, love portions, cups of tea, crop spray, polish. There’s a reason one of the running jokes is that he’s known as an alchemist despite him repeatedly correcting everyone. He’s a pharmacist, just one you can go to for your gorilla glue.
Drugstore has all the makings of a good slice of life, really. It has fun characters that play off of each other, and more or less an infinite amount of potential for comedy, plotlines, and characters since this is a fantasy world that we only know on a small scale of this one town, and everyone in this world quite literally walks problems into Reiji’s front door.
This is a really solid premise and is practically Atelier in anime form. And you know what? It’s also really fun. Drugstore is a very formulaic series. You’ll see the same jokes repeated a lot and similar situations and setups, but the formula works very well, so it’s not a bad thing.
That’s not to say this series is amazing, though. I have the opinion I imagine many will have. Drugstore in Another World is alright. I highly doubt it will be anyone’s favorite of the season, and it probably won’t stick with many people for very long. All and all, it doesn’t really do anything unique. It just does a fairly good job at what it wants.
It’s not trying to be something crazy. It’s just a warm, nice slice of life about a pharmacist in a fantasy world. That’s all it really needs to be. It may not win any awards, but it will give you a few laughs each week, and I appreciate that a lot.
But if there’s one thing that does stand out in Drugstore, it would have to be Reiji. He’s a pretty fun main character, I have to admit, and one that has pretty good character design, which is a rarity in Isekais, I’m sure you know.
The best way I could describe Reiji is less offensive, more family-friendly Kazuma from Konosuba. They have very similar personality traits, very similar jokes, just Reiji focusing less on dropkicking women. If you did enjoy Kazuma, and I know a lot of you did, Reiji gives off a very similar vibe in a very different style of series. And that’s only partly because they’re both voiced by Jun Fukushima. The guy makes these types of characters perfect.
Reiji really makes the series in a lot of ways. More fun than the problems his customers bring is how he reacts to them. He’s a very sarcastic guy being forced to make face cream for a snotty woman’s party and libido boosters for this couple so they can start making some babies, not before checking that they’re serious about getting married first, of course. How do you think this guy’s going to react?
Sadly, I can’t quite say all of the characters are of the same quality as Reiji. Many of the main ones are walking character tropes. Noella’s the typical cute little wolf-girl who fights for Reiji’s affection. The fact that that’s typical really shows how weird anime can be.
Mina is there. She’s a ghost but doesn’t actually do much besides getting drunk off of said libido booster. That’s one of the only times I can think that she broke away from her mature older sister role. There’s some romance, maybe with her and Reiji, but I can’t see how that could go well since she’s, again, dead. I feel like Reiji could get arrested for this.
Some of the side characters are ok, but we only see them every now and then, as the term “side character” may imply. Once again, none of the characters are particularly great, but they do what they need to.
But even if all the characters can’t make it on their own, they do support each other fairly well, and we even get some recurring customers visiting Kirio Drugstore every now and then. Like I said before, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that says, “wow, Drugstore in Another World was my favorite anime. It’s so great!” but that’s not a bad thing.
Not every series needs to be the best thing ever. Not every series need to have the deepest plot or characters. One of the main reasons people watch anime or other forms of entertainment is for escapism. We just want something away from this world. And hey, what better place to heal our scars from this world than a drugstore from another?
It’s cute, fun, pretty comical when it wants to be, and has less offensive Kazuma. Really what more can you ask for? That’s it. It’s now in my canon. We don’t know anything about past Reiji, so I will now assume that in the future, Kazuma decides to leave the gang and become a pharmacist. You can’t convince me I’m wrong. Look, everyone, Konosuba season 3 is here!
Thank you very much for reading
What do you think is glue medicine? Some would say it does heal or fix things, so perhaps Kazuma’s not too far off.