Pimples, Erectile Dysfunction, and Hidden Bunkers This Week In Anime

Arriving at episode 3 of The Promised Neverland, Cells at Work and Cells at Work: Code Black.

With a few months break from episodic watching I’m now experiencing both the joy and frustration of it all over again and realising (as I binge whole seasons of missed 2020 anime) how much of pacing and character is sometimes lost when there’s a week between episodes. Of course, the other side of the coin is that while binge watching I don’t have those forced pauses and moments of tension while I wait for a situation to resolve and I also don’t have time to contemplate events and characters before we’re rushed on to the next thing. Neither method is actually better – just that both have their advantages and disadvantages and I’m kind of enjoying mixing a bit of both into my viewing at the moment.

That said, the seasonal anime that I watched this week have all taken different approaches to their third episode. For viewers who still use the 3 episode rule, this would be the episode that would decide for them whether they would stick it out or walk away. While two of the anime on my roster seemed well aware of that, the other really didn’t deliver its A game or give any indication that it cared what number episode it was. I don’t know whether that’s remarkable self-assurance or a sign that it really is just going through the motions for its second season.

If you want to know what I’m currently binge watching for future reviews or just my other random anime thoughts that make a brief appearance in my brain before being blurted into a tweet, be sure to follow on Twitter.

Right, on with episodic thoughts.

The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 3

This was kind of a brilliant episode given how the story has progressed so far. There wasn’t any of the frantic flight we saw in episode 1, nor was it quite the educational experience of episode 2. Instead, we see the kids part from their demon mentors and The Promised Neverland delivers on its usual trend of making something that seemed quite benign suddenly seem very ominous as we get the demon’s final words after the kids have made their exit. After a very minor set-back that is exaggerated for all it is worth, the kids find what looks to be a safe-haven for the foreseeable future and the tone lightens enormously as both the kids and viewers take a breath and relax for the moment.

The Promised Neverland kids chilling in their new home - The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episode 3
Moving in.

Despite the overall leisurely feel of the episode, a number of chords are struck throughout the episode that remind us that this anime goes from innocent play time to death fairly quickly when it wants to escalate. The visual reminder of the clocks from season one as they await the time to try to use their radio to intercept messages from the farm certainly helped to give a sense of menace. As did things like the tunnel that might be an escape tunnel but could just as easily let things in as out that the kids didn’t seem to explore particularly well just yet. Of course, not content with giving us a lighter episode with a few reminders that all is not well in the world, Neverland pulls out a double reveal ending with one group of kids entering a room to find something definitely ominous and Emma entering another room and receiving a message from someone.

It does its job of bringing the kid’s aimless flight to an end as they now have a base (unless of course the demons track them down within episodes and chase them out) and it establishes plenty of tension for future episodes. Cliff-hanger endings are nothing new for Neverland and it continues to handle them well even if the emotional impact of them has somewhat lessened now that we are into the second season.

Cells at Work!! Season 2 Episode 3

Episode 3 of Cells at Work Season 2 continues to be a bit lacklustre. Red blood cell does get to feature a bit in the first part of the episode where we see the impact of a mosquito introducing dengue fever into the system, however there’s too little charm and it really just seems to go through the motions of setting up a problem and knocking it down. While the anime is strictly formulaic, there’s following your rhythm and then there is simply coasting along. I honestly couldn’t really find myself getting invested in this particular story and the person I was watching with actually fell asleep.

Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell getting zapped after histamine release - Cells at Work!! Season 2 Episode 3
Watch out for that histamine.

The second story this week featured white blood cell inside a pore and dealing with pimple causing bacteria. This had a bit more heart to it than the first story and it certainly had a pretty dramatic fight and conclusion, however White Blood Cell on his own isn’t really enough to carry the story and pairing him with the young cell in the pore didn’t quite make up the deficit of some of the more well-known characters.

Realistically, if I hadn’t watched season one, after the first three episodes of this season I’d probably be done with the anime. Season 2 so far has delivered serviceable enough stories with a few factoids about the body and its functions but hasn’t matched the spirit or energy of season one. Even the OP feels more lacklustre which is a bit sad given how much the first season’s OP could make me smile. That said, it isn’t unwatchable, it has potential to improve, and it make a decent enough counterpoint to Code Black, which on its own would be a little too depressing.


Cells at Work! Code Black! Episode 3

Code Black continues to be the superior Cells at Work offering this season as I finished viewing episode 3. Now, they seemed to have released two episodes together and then another has come out, so I’m actually about 3 episodes behind now. That said, I’m going to keep watching these episodes at the same time as the other Cells at Work so I have no plans on doing a binge of this.

Unlike the other Cells at Work!! though, Code Black was well aware it had hit its third episode and made sure it wasn’t going to lose its audience. Firstly we delve into the nature of red blood cells causing erections, and then the body suffers from ED. The subject matter alone was clearly chosen to keep viewers and it was really interesting how they visualised the internal workings this time around.

Cells at Work: Code Black - Red blood cells racing to cause an erection - Episode 3
All those blood cells suddenly had somewhere they needed to be.

Despite a few triumphant moments this episode, there’s still the downsides of the body not really working properly due to mistreatment and stress. And in case we thought there was going to be a happy ending, after depicting the sperm as literal babies being raised, Red Blood Cell is delivered some fairly devastating news about what may have befallen all those kids.

Then, just to be sure they really had us hooked, they introduce one more problem for a ‘to be continued’ finish. It probably wasn’t necessary as Code Black has so far been a fairly entertaining viewing experience and I’m really enjoying getting to know these new characters, flawed though they may be. Also, the broken down state of this body definitely allows for explorations of problems that the original just isn’t equipped to deliver. Code Black has so far been the winner.

Wrapping It Up

While Cells at Work!! Season 2 has so far left me underwhelmed, the return of The Promised Neverland and being introduced to Code Black has kept me pretty entertained so far each week. Looking forward to seeing where both of these stories go next.

Be sure to leave me a comment with your thoughts on the episodes.

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

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4 thoughts on “Pimples, Erectile Dysfunction, and Hidden Bunkers This Week In Anime

  1. The Cells At Work Black episode was nicely handled I felt, not just humorously but also educationally without resorting to tawdry base comedy because of the subject.

    1. They actually did balance it nicely remaining educational and keeping the humour to the cells’ situation’s rather than going for the obvious jokes and cheap laughs the subject matter could have led to.

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