So far Cells at Work has given us an array of simple conditions for the body to fight off with the darkest glimpse of things going wrong was a cancer cell hiding in the system. This week, after a lot of adorable Red getting lost while showing her kohai around we get some life-threatening damage. Here’s a way to lead into the final episode.
There’s a definite rhythm to this show and as episode 12 is part one of a two parter we get much the same pattern as what we got when cancer was introduced. For the larger part of this episode we get to see the body functioning normally as Red guides her kohai around. While there are some jokes at the expense of Red not being particularly good at teaching her kohai (given her own directionally challenged nature) we are reintroduced to the key cells we have met along the way and their jobs. Everything in this section is super fluffy and cute with plenty of platelet appearances.
We then get an explosion far more dramatic than the one during the abrasion episode and it plunges the cells into a dark and kind of post-apocolyptic kind of setting with the majority of buildings crumbling and destroyed and very dim lightning. After confusion and an anxious wait the control centre declares a state of emergency due to life-threatening injuries to the head. The white blood cells and platelets are sent to the scene while the red blood cells are told to continue circulating oxygen.
The episode works well with the light moments being nicely interrupted by the damage and things escalate nicely into the cliff-hanger ending that will lead us into the final episode. That said, there wasn’t anything particular unexpected so while this episode was enjoyable and was nice set up there isn’t a lot more to say about it. Still, you’ll encounter all your favourite characters from the season and it looks like the final challenge for them to overcome is going to be pretty dramatic. So Cells at Work looks like it is going to end much how it started. Solid entertainment with some educational value but hardly mind-blowing (unless you are super into the platelets).
Things are getting hot this week in Cells at Work as the body face dehydration and heat stroke. However, in amongst all the sweaty red blood cells and adorable platelets, how was the actual episode?
I really loved this episode. It is definitely returning to the straight formula of setting up a specific issue for the episode and explaining the different steps the system takes to deal with it, but this time, much like with the pollen allergy, the body failed to overcome the issue without external help. I think it really helps the plausibility of the setting to know that sometimes the body just can’t cope with the issue on its own despite all the cells doing their jobs and working hard.
The characters this week were quite fun even if the platelets and red blood cells spent most of the time sweating and mentioning how hot it is. I also liked the cracked and barren landscape of the epidermis to represent the dehydration that was occurring because of the temperature.
Once again, I feel this episode really found a great balance between entertainment and education. It most definitely is walking you through the steps your body takes to regulate temperature but the cast really bring it to life and make it seem kind of fun. Plus the side story with the white blood cell fighting a germ despite the extreme conditions kept things lively and moving along. Really enjoyable watch this week.
For an episode that was largely a copy of an earlier crisis, Cells at Work still managed to bring its A Game, give us a enough new information that it didn’t feel like a waste, and it was just great fun.
Well I admitted last week that I like Cells at Work the most when it is being cute and focusing on Red Blood Cell and this week certainly did that. While the monster of the week is almost a rehash, we do get a minor variation and a slightly different conclusion so there’s enough fun with the plot, but mostly it was just great fun watching Red go about her daily business and continue to be a magnet for every germ and invader in the body. The many platelet sequences this week also added to the cute factor and it was all just fun.
That said, I think we’re finally at the point in the season where the novelty of anthropomorphised blood cells has slightly worn thin and the repetition in the story-line is pretty established. While I’m still enjoying this show I’m actually fairly glad to know that there’s only three more episodes because I’m not sure how much longer they can stretch this concept. Still, it lasted a lot longer than I expected after the first episode and I do not regret a single moment of watching Red and White going about their business and running into platelets.
While normally I would say characters and story are my main priority in watching, episode 9 of Cells at Work may have clearly made my motive for watching the show apparent. Despite a fairly decent story presented about two characters who have been involved since the beginning, I had absolutely zero interest with my only moment where I felt myself getting that little boost of joy came from a platelet appearance right before the closing credits.
I think my usual viewing preferences are getting messed up by Cells at Work. I only like this show when if focuses on Red Blood Cell, White Blood Cell or Platelets. I genuinely don’t care what those characters are doing. Watching Red and White sip tea together, repeating the same gag of Red getting lost and White helping her out, or literally anything else is fine. And the platelets can just stand on screen for all I care as long as they are visible in the episode. The previous episode that focused on the T Cells was a low point for me despite being interested in the whole zombie horde thing and a return to those characters was more of less unappreciated by me.
Now, that isn’t the same thing as saying this episode was bad. It follows more or less the same formula they used when they did the flash back for the Red Blood Cell. We start with the Killer T Cell training some Naive T Cells and the Helper T Cell sipping tea and mostly criticising the idiocy of the meat head ranting and raving outside. After some comedic shenanigans we go to the photo album and get to see the two cells as children back in their training days. It is a perfectly sensible plot and there’s nothing wrong at all with how it is presented (except the whole subtitles off the screen thing that happened mid-episode, thanks for that Crunchyroll).
However, I didn’t find anything to care about in the episode. I wasn’t interested in those characters, watching the military training sequence I found it emotionally flat, even when the future Helper T Cell gave our future Killer T Cell some advice in what I guess was meant to be a touching moment, I just kind of shrugged.
Now I don’t really get why this show has thrown my usual preferences over so much. What I do know, is that what I am watching this show or is the cute factor and without it, I find it hard to stay invested.
Cells at Work hasn’t exactly been subtle in its messaging of hard work, serving the community, and fulfilling your assigned role in life, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been fun. Watching Red Blood Cell struggle to overcome her directionally challenged nature was quite the adorable journey this week and one that I greatly enjoyed.
When Red Blood Cell looks around, she realises that she kind of sucks at her job, and there’s no real counter to that point. If we think about her existence in this anime she has wandered around getting lost, being rescued, and generally clueless. While she is cute and hard working and earnest, she isn’t very good at being a red blood cell. So it is nice that this anime decides to address this in an episode that very much focuses in on her attempt to circulate without assistance.
Of course, assistance is there in the form of White Blood Cell. Now, in any other anime I’d say these two kids were going to end up getting together because White Blood Cell clearly is into Red Blood Cell, but given they are anthropomorphised blood cells that just doesn’t seem likely or plausible, but still adorable. Anyway, White Blood Cell respects that Red wants to do it alone but follows her discreetly clearing the more overt obstacles from her path when necessary but otherwise leaving her to find her own way.
Compared to previous episodes, this one isn’t really action focused (though White does take out a couple of germs along the way). This episode very much focuses on the comedy of Red getting lost and that’s really all there is to it. However, after the last few episodes where it has felt like your body is under continuous attack, it was nice just to have a fairly laid back episode dealing with the body functioning normally (except the part where the blood cell keeps getting lost). I had a great time this week and really enjoyed just spending time watching these characters at work.
Despite enjoying this episode, part of me couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps this was a missed opportunity to go further. Then again, watching the impact of cancer that had already taken off in the body would probably be a little traumatising so maybe it is just as well we stuck with the body dealing with a cancer cell that was just getting started.
The question viewers were asking themselves all week was how this show would tackle a complex issue like cancer without ending up depressing its audience and the answer is simple – don’t plunge the body into dealing with the results of cancer but rather the initial cancer cell that might cause the problem. It is a much smaller scale problem and one the body deals with all the time rather than the actual condition people end up in when cancer has taken hold and requires plenty of external assistance if the body is going to recover. That said, it makes you wonder if they didn’t go there because they were worried about how dark it would get, or did they not go there because for the cells to end up being the heroes here they really needed them to ultimately deal with the situation.
But while there might have been a lost opportunity to deal with a fairly heavy subject like prolonged cancer suffering, Cells at Work didn’t shy away from dealing with the notion of cancer cells themselves. Born in the body like any other cell but gotten rid of because they are flawed. The idea of personifying a cancer cell like a B Grade villain who is getting his revenge for nearly being annihilated at birth is pretty well done as is the genuine sympathy the White Blood Cell ultimately feels for him. What really works, is despite that sympathy, the White Blood Cell does his job. Feelings aren’t relevant here and the cancer cell may or may not have intended harm but it can’t stay.
However, in case you are thinking it is all doom and gloom and fighting, we get a small dose of the Red Blood Cell being her usual ditsy self and just for fun a short encounter with the platelets which is too adorable for words (as the platelets always are).
Overall, this anime remains pretty solid and highly entertaining.
The first half of this episode is an adorable walk down memory lane for Red Blood Cell. Then the episode takes a turn for the darker leaving us on a To Be Continued note that suggests next week is going to be pretty intense. Cells at Work remains consistently aware of its role as both entertainment and education.
With the weak premise that Red Blood Cell is lost again, this week we get a look at the bone marrow where the red and white blood cells ‘grow up’. Through a flash back and reminiscence, we see that Red Blood Cell has always been pretty directionally challenged, and also always been a magnet for whatever weird thing is about to happen. Still, this sequence is adorable, introduces us to young White Blood Cell who is equally cute, and generally does a reasonable job of explaining the process by which cells are differentiated and how blood cells age (I notice they are still avoiding any mention of short life expectancy for our characters which would probably kill the cute buzz).
This slice of life aspect early in the episode is adorable and well handled. Transitions between past and present are reasonably well handled and even though it is extraordinarily coincidental that the white and red blood cell keep bumping into each other, given the concept of the story it is nice that we have these consistent characters to look forward to.
Then we turn into the second part of the episode when Red has left the White Blood Cell and he encounters a weird cell attacking another one. Soon Killer T Cell and a new cell, NK (Natural Killer), show up. We’re heading into a cancer storyline and the tone radically shifts until the final scene this week which is probably as dark as this show has gotten before it leaves us waiting for next week. It makes sense given cancer isn’t exactly something you can approach with the level of levity of allergies without risking putting your audience off, but I’m curious as to how they handle the sequence next week and whether they play it seriously or whether they find a way to bring the usual energy and enthusiasm into the mix.
By the way, the only platelet action was when they lent Killer T cell a bucket and they weren’t foregrounded so not much of a screen shot. Still, young red and white blood cells really filled the gap this week.
I quite enjoyed this episode even though by itself it doesn’t appear like much happened. I enjoyed the character moments of the first half, the cuteness of the characters, and the tonal shift at the end was well executed. Really looking forward to next week.
After establishing last week that every cell had an individual role to play and their own strengths and weaknesses, this week we see what happens when those cells get a little over-zealous about their work as they battle an invasion by pollen.
It begins like a disaster movie with a vaguely sepia tone over the usually bright colours of cells at work, the flaming meteor streaking over the town before plummeting into the water. It is the first of many. This is a pollen invasion.
The impact on the cells is both educational as to how our immune system deals with allergens, and pretty hilarious as the macrophage’s complain it is chaos as their tea was spilt (they seem so sweet until you remember them during the flu episode).
For whatever reason, we do still have some white and red blood cell action with red once again being at the centre of the invasion and white jumping out and saving her early on. She then gets told to run away and the white blood cell remains an observer to the chaos caused by cells doing exactly what they are programmed to do.
Perhaps my favourite part though was when red returns rolling what is clearly a medicine. It unleashes essentially a killer robot that takes out everything in its path. The mechanical creature looks so out of place amongst the humanoid cells and its path of destruction even as it does settle the problem is pretty clear. Still, I’d have to ask why the memory cell can’t just rewrite the mast cell’s manual so she didn’t overload the system with histamine, or why the B cell can’t be instructed to act in moderation.
If I have any complaint this week, it would be a lack of platelet appearances with two of them showing up very briefly in a crowd shot but taking no active role this week.
This anime is definitely aiming to educate about the body but we’re also getting a heavy dose of moralising in there as well with the poor picked on cell getting her moment to shine later in the episode. Still, it is hard to argue that this wasn’t entertaining.
I find Cells at Work a bit of an oddity, a fun oddity mind you, but the structure of the episodes, the copious explanations, and even the not so subtle don’t talk behind other people’s back message that comes through in episode 4, all speak of this show being directed at children. And then we have the White Blood Cell cutting himself free of a germ in a spray of blood in a scene that is right up there with when Eren got swallowed by a titan in Attack on Titan lost his arm. Okay, it’s a bit more cartoon like but it is still pretty intense for something that for the most part seems aimed at a younger audience.
Although, while I’m thinking about my childhood, the initial view of the parasite this week kind of reminded me of a scene straight out of the Never Ending Story and that did scare me as a child so maybe this is just the right kind of balance to provide a fairly fun yet emotional journey.
That said, I don’t think food-poisoning has ever been so much fun and I really had a great time watching the cells dash about and try to overcome the enemy. I’m not so sure about the umbrella guy who seemed to only exist to spout bad poetry, but overall the episode was great fun. Looking forward to the next offering from this one.
Episode 3 of Cells at Work definitely leaned more heavily onto the educational side of edutainment this week with a lot of explanations. However, was it still fun?
I can’t help but think it has been the red blood cell and platelets that have sold the first two episodes of this show to me. And I came to this conclusion given this episode the red blood cell shows up very sparingly on the peripheral of anything and the platelets don’t appear until the very end and I found myself kind of bored at times. It isn’t that the white blood cell, the macrophage and the naive T cell aren’t trying their hardest to be interesting, but without the cute factor a lot of the magic I found in the first two episodes just kind of dissipated.
That isn’t to say that the zombie hordes were boring and if you like the more action oriented part of this story the killer T cells have got you covered this week with an all out brawl set to dominate a large part of the episode. However, the naive T cell wasn’t anywhere near as charming as little red has been, and his plight as a wimpy junior didn’t really inspire making his ultimate transformation fairly hollow and then of course his personality became just like all the other killer cells and not exactly charming.
This is not a bad episode by any means as it does exactly what the previous two have done. It introduces a cell in the body, a problem to be solved, and then it goes about explaining how the different cells work together to solve it. However, personally I felt this was the weakest of the first three episodes and the one that I found to be the least engaging. Here’s hoping food poisoning next week will strike gold (and how many times do people get to look forward to food poisoning).
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