Cells at Work!

Cells at Work!

Cells at Work! anime cover art
Cells at Work! Cover Art

Overview

Cells at Work! is one of the many Summer 2018 anime which have either just ended, or are ending within this next week. The series is about the various cells within the human body and their daily functions which keep the body healthy and happy.

While this is definitely an informational anime, and many things about how the body functions can be learned from it, it’s set up as a monster-of-the-week, shounen, comedy series. And, despite how it may seem on the surface, this works surprisingly well.

There were definitely better anime airing this season, but I think it’s fair to say that Cells at Work! was the one which took over the anime community this Summer. This was primarily due to the cast of various cells, but we’ll get to them shortly.

In this series, the human body is re-imagined as a large city, and all the cells are the people living within it. Every cell has a specific job (except the normal cells), and they must continuously complete their job for the good of the body as a whole.

But while the human body is a communal, utilitarian society, there are many times in which various cells overreact or don’t function as they should, which leads to issues for the rest of the cells. One of the best examples of this was when Memory Cell’s notes were so vague that they were completely useless in combating the “monster” of that week.

Some of the “monsters” of the week included pollen allergens, cancer, parasites, and various other viruses and bacteria. However, occasionally the “monsters” weren’t specific antigens, but rather trauma that was affecting the body such as scrapes or hemorrhaging.

Personally, I thought the bodily trauma episodes were more entertaining than the antigen episodes because they tended to involve a larger cast of the characters instead of focusing on just a few of them. These episodes also tended to feel a lot less episodic, which is a plus.

The final two episodes in particular showcased just how well this series could work as a plot-driven anime. After severe hemorrhaging left the body without a large percentage of its blood cells, the “world” of the cells is dying and there are none who remain unaffected.

While this plot is set up in episode 12, episode 13 is where it really shines as we get a surprisingly dark look at what happens to the human body when it suffers from severe blood loss. But while I definitely enjoyed the final two episodes, the comedy and general lightheartedness of the series is just as good in its own right.


Cells

Red Blood Cell is the protagonist of the series, although she isn’t the protagonist of every episode. Not only is Red Blood Cell one of the most well-known cells in the body, but her job involves traveling all throughout the body, which makes her the perfect protagonist to show off all the different bodily systems.

However, despite being a Red Blood Cell whose job it is to circulate throughout the body delivering Oxygen and Nutrients, our Red Blood Cell protagonist is surprisingly bad at finding her way around. In her defense, the human body is made up of a vast network of blood vessels, but none of the other Red Blood Cells seem to have an issue.

White Blood Cell is the male lead of the series and is both Red Blood Cell’s friend and guardian. As a White Blood Cell, his job is to find and neutralize any antigens which make their way into the body, and he does so with a knife, often resulting in him getting covered in blood.

But, while While Blood Cell has a vicious side which scares away many of the other cells, he shows a softer side when interacting with Red Blood Cell. One of my favorite episodes involving the pair was when Red Blood Cell wants to circulate by herself to prove she can, and so White Blood Cell quietly helps guide her from the shadows.

White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell from the anime Cells at Work!
White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell

The Platelets were the stars of the anime as far as the internet was concerned, though, not Red or White Blood Cell. The Platelets are the cells of the body which heal wounds, and were depicted as kindergarteners who were in charge of construction.

Seriously, the Platelets didn’t get nearly enough screen time, and I wouldn’t even be mad about a spin-off series which exclusively follows them as the protagonists. At the very least, we would get even more memes out of it than we did from this first Cells at Work! season.

Some of the other recurring cells included Macrophage, Killer T Cell, Helper T Cell, and Red Blood Cell’s trainee. Red Blood Cell’s trainee was only present in the final two episodes, but despite being the newbie, she’s much more competent than our protagonist Red Blood Cell.

Macrophage, Killer T Cell, and Helper T Cell, are all part of the immune system along with White Blood Cell. Macrophages and Killer T Cells are basically just super White Blood Cells whose jobs seem to overlap, but Helper T Cell is the commander of the immune cells in the body.

Conclusion

Cells at Work was actually much better than I expected going into it, but I can still only give it a 6/10. It was a pretty good anime, but it wasn’t something I could binge, and wasn’t always something I wanted to watch when a new episode came out. That said, it was still enjoyable.

If you have nothing else to watch, which you probably do, I’d suggest Cells at Work! if only so you can join in on the various, usually Platelet centered, memes that have come out of this series throughout the Summer. While you may not love it, I doubt you’ll end up hating this series.

The OP for Cells at Work! is available here.

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