When I started watching 1st episode of this show, it instantly reminded me of "Koukyuu no Karasu". That one was also in China, also in a palace, more specifically in "inner" part of it, and was also about a "regular" (if not to say "boring") girl having/getting a sort of promotion, that is meant to draw attention to her. But this one is waaay better.
Maomao has skills. She has passion. She is quirky, and is not afraid of that. She is funny as hell, strong-willed, smart. She is a lot like Sei from "Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu", but with all limiters removed (wonder if it's coincidence, that both are alchemists). I would dare say she is the best girl of the season, and we do have Sei, we have Frieren from Sousou no Frieren, Chise from "Mahoutsukai no Yome" and even Liu from Zanting.
I also really like that the show does not even try to hide the fact, that this is a single character show: opening has only Maomao for 99% of it, and ending has only her. I mean she is the best character so far, even though that violet-haired guy can be funny at times, too. Either way, her reactions, her wit somehow lift my spirits more than any other show this season.