Here I go dipping my toes into seasonal anime for Winter 2021 with Cells at Work season 2, Cells at Work: Code Black, and The Promised Neverland Season 2.
Now, I’m making a real effort not to over-commit myself to the Winter anime season, but there were a couple of sequels I just had to watch (The Promised Neverland because I won’t be able to avoid spoilers otherwise and Cells at Work because of the Platelets) so I figured I’d do a round up at the end of each week with some short thoughts on how the shows were travelling and what else I was watching.
On that note, earlier this week I reviewed The Irregular at Magic High School Season 2 having done a binge watch on it as part of my catch up from last year. Next week I’ll have a review of DanMachi season 3 ready to go because I powered through that during the week. I’ve also binged Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina and there will definitely be a review of that one coming soon. And I’m either nearly finished or have finished Noblesse by the time this post actually published. Gleipnir is definitely next on my list though. If you are curious about what anime I’m catching up on or other random thoughts I have while watching shows I tend to blurt them onto Twitter.
However, onto this season’s offerings.
The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 1
Season 1 left us definitely wanting more as the kids made good their escape but what had they escaped into? Well, season 2 wasted no time at all in showing us the world the kids now find themselves in as they are soon chased by monsters in the dark while the demons track them via scent.
I was pleased to note that actions taken during their escape (such as Emma cutting off her ear) did have an impact on where we started in this episode. Also happy to see that Ray has finally gotten off his high horse and seems to be all about working with the team now.
Though as the episode continued I began to wonder about this forest and particularly the air. The creatures that the kids encounter (other than the monster) seem to almost be swimming in the air. When a kid falls from a high log they seemed to have little injury. Possibly this is just an aesthetic choice but it feels kind of like something I should be paying attention to. Of course that does raise the question of why the air on the farm seemed perfectly normal. Curious. (Incidentally, if you’ve read the source, don’t tell me. I’ve deliberately put off reading ahead of the anime at this point.)
Honestly, I loved this return to The Promised Neverland. The kids are still highly engaging characters who lead us through their discoveries. The absence of Norman from the crew didn’t really cause much of a setback as Don and Gilda seemed to be working hard to fill any gaps in the teamwork and Emma is certainly charming enough to carry the show on her own. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this season plays out.
Affiliate Link – Play Asia
Cells at Work!! Episode 1
The whole double exclamation point to indicate this is season two really doesn’t work for me. That is not how punctuation is used. Then again, I’m trying to learn not to care when it comes to anime titles after Knight’s & Magic had me spending a season scratching my head about just what that apostrophe was meant to be doing.
Honestly, as an episode, the debut of season 2 of Cells at Work is middling for the show. The injury/illness of the week is a ‘bump’ and compared to open wounds, cancer cells, and a range of other more dynamic challenges the crew have faced, this was one of the least interesting. Though episodic anime have the advantage of introducing a whole different issue next week and one less than thrilling episode doesn’t have much impact overall on the enjoyment of the series. Still, if they were trying to hook any new viewers, unless they instantly fell in love with the platelets, this episode wasn’t going to do it.
The episode largely focused on Backward Cap, a platelet who is a little less strong and coordinated and is feeling a little like dead weight. The bump gives her the chance to go to work and show what she can do and it is charming as always even if not as dramatic as some of the episodes season one presented.
Honestly, I think this episode suffered because the charming double team of white and red blood cell weren’t together for the majority of the episode. While this did give other characters a chance to gain a bit more presence, when coming back to a second season I really wanted to see the main pair in action again. Still, there was nothing here which made me worry about where this would go over the season and I’m fully signed on to watching another few months of cute
platelets cells at work.
Cells at Work! Code Black! Episode 1
Now for the somewhat less charming alternative version, Cells at Work! Code Black! takes us inside a stressed out body subject to a range of issues, many self-induced. Our Red Blood Cell protagonist here is male and newly graduated and about to start circulating oxygen. A task made harder by cholesterol, waspish co-workers (including some very unlovely platelets), and gas attacks that wipe-out his fellow cells.
There’s definitely something morbid about this series as we travel with Red Blood Cell and he realises that the body he is in is pretty much stuffed and on a clear path to self-destruction when despite the damage already sustained the owner of the body has taken up smoking again. Yet the original Cells at Work dove into dark subject matter (cancer) and actually kind of nailed the tone. Here it is difficult to tell if we’re supposed to be laughing or horrified by the state the body is in. Instead I found myself, head tilted, just kind of watching in kind of a trance.
One distinct point about this spin-off is that where the characters in Cells at Work are all ridiculously chipper regardless of circumstances, here we have a range of bitter, overworked and frightened characters to explore. The contrast is enough at the moment to make me want to see more and, much like the parent series, the innocent Red Blood Cell in the centre of the story seems interesting enough to follow along with. While this guy isn’t directionally challenged, he’s had some hard truths hit him in very quick succession and it will be interesting to see how this affects his character going forward.
While not the instant draw of the original, I’m in with this for now.
Is that all?
I will admit, I’m tempted to check out some other shows but really, I’m not committed to weekly reviewing at the moment. Anything I do watch I’ll put an episode summary in the weekly update but I’m kind of more focused on binge watching shows from 2020 right at the moment and keeping my schedule a little more flexible.
That said, I’d love to know your thoughts on the anime above or anything else you’ve checked out this season that you think might be a winner.
Images used for review from:
- The Promised Neverland Season 2. Dir. M Kanbe. Cloverworks. 2021.
- Cells at Work!! Creator A Shimizu. David Productions. 2021
- Cells at Work! Code Black. Dir. H Yamamoto. LIDENFILMS. 2021