After Dagashi Kashi, and in the process of watching Blend S, I was scrolling through my Facebook and found a Crunchyroll ad for a new anime called Cells at Work. The idea intrigued me, and sure enough, just last night I watched the first episode, and already this anime is setting itself up for a great run. But what’s so great? Lets find out. (WARNING: SPOILERS IMBOUND!)
The Story so Far (Spoilers)
Characterizing parts of the human body is something we’ve seen before in animated form. Examples include Inside Out and the lesser known Osmosis Jones, and the latter is what this is more akin to. Osmosis Jones followed the working of the human body and a White Blood Cell cop names Osmosis Jones (played by Chris Rock) as he fights off a fatal disease named Thrax (played by Lawrence Fishburne). This anime is very similar in its setting and context, the White Blood Cells acting like a special forces team to combat any incoming germs. The first episode lacked any real setup, but this nitpick is quickly erased from your mind when you’re thrust into a creative world with an intriguing society. From what I’ve gathered, the story is very loose, no massive overarching narrative but still being connected by a narrative. The first episode has served mainly as a way to introduce us to the main world and characters so isn’t too rich when it comes to narrative, but so far it has succeeded in pulling me into this world.
The Characters so Far
These characters are instantly likable, based on their professions alone. The female lead is a new Red Blood Cell who works as a delivery woman for the ‘city’. Her inexperienced nature is adorable to watch and the way she finds herself tied up in the story is really funny. I also like her tinge of concern for others, it’s a nice touch that perhaps goes against the conventions of Red Blood Cells, who serve only to transfer things around the body. Her design is also cute, you immediately know what cell she represents and even if you don’t she has bundles of charm. The male lead, a White Blood Cell is a really funny character. His profession is deadly important, but he seems like he’s still growing which leaves him open to so much development as the series progresses. I also love his design above all others, it has so much dimension and personality despite being only one colour. His interactions with Red Blood Cell are really funny and his social awkwardness does shine through at certain intervals and is great to watch. I also like how these two work off one another, both learning as they go along, it’s a fabulous relationship. In terms of additional characters, I really do like them, particularly the platelets and how they’re portrayed as little chibi children, that is a fabulous idea. I also like the Killer T Cells portrayal as well, depicted as meathead Navy Seal like forces hell-bent on eliminating any threats. These guys will be established as the bullies in my opinion, which might be a little distracting but if the other characters remain good that’ll only be a slight nitpick among a great cast. Here’s to hoping the other characters they introduce are just as good.
The animation here is fabulous here. The lines are crisp and the colours are all vibrant. The actions scenes adopt a stretched style that adds real weight to the movement. But where this show really excels is its world building. Everything is wonderfully stylized to look like a real city despite being a human body. Osmosis Jones had the same idea, but it kept the city itself looking fleshy and gooey. This world is completely solid and looks like a real city with mere references to the human body. Labeling every part of the body like a district, or house or other building is a great idea, with the people who inhabit those areas all having unique designs and personalities reflecting their jobs. My favorite is the maid who lives in the Spleen, since the Spleen acts as a cleaner for the body, it’s just a fabulous idea. Another one of my favourite jokes is how the capillary corridors say for only one cell to come through at a time, it’s so clever. Finally, there’s one joke at the end of the episode connected to a part of the human body that frankly absolutely hilarious, I recommend you watch the episode yourself to actually witness it. I’m so curious how they’ll portray the rest of the body and hope to maybe learn something from it.
Much like how Dagashi Kashi had a large focus on teaching you about Dagashi (candy), this show aims to use facts about the human body as its main source of humor and flow. Now as someone whose knowledge in biology only goes so far as “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell” and “chlorophyll makes leaves green,” I wasn’t expecting these jokes to strike a chord with me, but honestly they did. They deconstruct the facts they’re presenting and use them in passing sentence as a way of providing the information in an easy to digest manner. I like how the germs are portrayed as super villains and the way they explain the germs motives, that are what the germ actually does to its victim in real life, is a great way to inform you of it without feeling like a science lesson. Much like Dagashi Kashi again, I will be watching this show not only for the characters, but also to hopefully learn more about my body.
So overall, this show is off to a good start, it’s heavy on action, humor and character driven moments. The world building is captivating, the characters are funny and intriguing and the animation is great. I will definitely be watching this anime, and if you’re in the mood for a witty comedy with splashes of action, you need to watch this show as well.
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