“The Apothecary Diaries”: What Volume and Episode Does the Branding Scene Appear? The Meaning Behind Jinshi’s Branding and What Follows


In “The Apothecary Diaries,” set in a world reminiscent of ancient China, one of the characters is Jinshi, a eunuch with significant power. The story includes a pivotal scene where Jinshi brands himself. This article will explore the reasons behind Jinshi’s decision to use a branding iron on himself, which volume and episode this scene appears in, and what happens after this significant event.

What is “The Apothecary Diaries”?

“The Apothecary Diaries” gained significant attention when it was adapted into an anime in October 2023. This article will delve into the key reasons behind the character Jinshi using a branding iron, including the specific episode where this scene is depicted.

Overview of “The Apothecary Diaries”

“The Apothecary Diaries” is a series initially serialized on the novel posting site “Shōsetsuka ni Narō”, written by Natsu Hyūga. It has been running since 2011, and a light novel version has been published since 2014. Many works from “Shōsetsuka ni Narō” have been adapted into light novels and subsequently into manga, and this work is no exception, having gained considerable popularity.

There are two manga adaptations of “The Apothecary Diaries”: one serialized in Square Enix’s “Monthly Big Gangan” magazine since June 2017, and another in Shogakukan’s “Sunday GX Comics” since September 2017. As of November 2023, the series has surpassed a cumulative total of 27 million copies in circulation, marking it as a highly popular title.

Synopsis of “The Apothecary Diaries”

Maomao, originally working as an apothecary while assisting her physician foster father, finds herself kidnapped and sold into the imperial harem as a servant. Initially intending to keep a low profile, Maomao inadvertently catches the attention of the eunuch Jinshi when she solves the mystery of an ailment afflicting the prince. She then becomes a servant to the concubine Lady Gyokuyou and gets involved in solving various intrigues within the palace.

The Significance of the Branding Scene in “The Apothecary Diaries”: Which Volume and Episode?

In Which Volume and Episode Does Jinshi’s Branding Scene Occur?

In “The Apothecary Diaries,” the scene where Jinshi brands himself is depicted in the eighth volume of the novel series. As of January 2024, this particular scene has not yet been adapted in either the anime or the two manga adaptations.

The Meaning Behind Jinshi Branding Himself

What could be the significance behind Jinshi branding himself in “The Apothecary Diaries”? Branding in the world of this story is a significant act, far from being a mere fashion statement. In this world, being branded signifies becoming a slave. The story includes other episodes related to branding, such as an incident in the Western Capital where a bride-to-be attempts to escape being branded by her fiancé, even faking her own death to avoid it. This episode illustrates the grave significance attached to branding.

Jinshi’s decision to brand himself holds a profound personal meaning. Although he appears as a eunuch overseeing the imperial harem, Jinshi’s true identity is Hua Ruiyue, the emperor’s brother. Being a eunuch typically implies having undergone castration, but Jinshi works in the harem without undergoing this procedure, suppressing his desires with medicine. As the emperor’s brother with a claim to the throne, Jinshi cannot act freely despite his high status.

Restricted by his role, Jinshi cannot choose his life partner freely. To renounce his claim to the throne and pursue his personal desires, Jinshi chooses to brand himself as a slave. Deeply in love with Maomao, the main character, Jinshi does not hesitate to choose her over his royal privileges.

Jinshi brands himself in the presence of the Emperor, Empress Gyokuyou, and Maomao, using a brand symbolizing Gyokuyou. This act serves as a declaration of loyalty to the royal couple and as a profound gesture to Maomao.

Maomao, although a servant, is revealed to be a lady of the Luo clan, thus matching Jinshi’s status. Hence, their marriage is feasible, but Jinshi believes Maomao would not accept him if he retained his royal status and its accompanying dangers. Jinshi, having no interest in other women and desiring a life with Maomao, sees his claim to the throne as an obstacle.

Through branding himself, Jinshi takes a significant step forward in his relationship with Maomao, demonstrating the substantial impact of his decision.

The Aftermath of the Branding Scene in “The Apothecary Diaries”

Maomao’s Kiss to Jinshi

Let’s delve into the events following Jinshi’s self-branding in “The Apothecary Diaries.” Initially, Maomao was more inclined to avoid Jinshi rather than feel attracted to him. However, as the story progresses, Maomao gradually starts to see Jinshi in a different light, particularly after witnessing his self-branding and other significant actions. Maomao begins to associate Jinshi with someone she deeply respects – her adoptive father, Raomon.

Raomon, known for his self-sacrificial nature, always prioritized others over himself, a trait that Maomao sees reflected in Jinshi. Eventually, a scene unfolds where Jinshi asks Maomao to reprimand him. In response, Maomao slaps Jinshi’s cheek, gently saying, “May your pain fly away,” and kisses him on the cheek.

What’s Next in the Love Story of Maomao and Jinshi?

Regarding the romantic developments between Maomao and Jinshi, as of 2024, their relationship has not reached a definitive conclusion. However, in the novel series, there is a scene where Maomao, prepared for a night visit, heads towards Jinshi. This indicates that their relationship has advanced to a point where Maomao would not refuse a romantic invitation from Jinshi.

Summary of the Branding Scene in “The Apothecary Diaries”

This section summarizes the significant branding scene involving Jinshi in “The Apothecary Diaries.” In the world of “The Apothecary Diaries,” the act of branding oneself carries the heavy implication of reducing one’s status to that of a slave. Jinshi undergoes this serious action to marry Maomao and, as a result, gradually closes the distance between them. However, the outcome of Jinshi and Maomao’s relationship has not yet been resolved.

Jinshi, who has shown such a strong commitment by branding himself, and Maomao, who begins to accept him, create an intriguing dynamic. How their relationship will evolve in the future is something to look forward to in “The Apothecary Diaries.”

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