What’s the important information? Cells At Work! is a Summer 2018 anime that aired 13 episodes between July and September. It is based on a Shonen manga by Akane Shimizu.
What’s it about? The series takes place within a human body and focuses on the daily lives of anthropomorphised cells—specifically AE3803 a plucky but directionally challenged Red Blood Cell and U-1146 a no-nonsense White Blood Cell who always seems to cross path with the aforementioned cell—often defending her from nefarious germs who threaten the body they live in.
Why did you watch it? It’s a pretty unique premise for a show, and more than anything I was just interested to see what kind of show this would be!
Did you enjoy the show? Consistently, well that’s not to say it was the most consistent of anime it did have the occasional weak episode but it was significantly more focused and delivered an entertaining experience with ease and expertise expected of a series that’s been around for decades. The fact that this is the mangaka’s first work is all the more surprising! Though clearly those working on the anime adaptation have the experience to deliver a spectacle week after week.
What was your favourite episode? It’s hard to pick a favourite considering how consistent the series is, but Episode 8 “Blood Circulation” had a certain endearing charm to the whole endeavour that made it especially great. It promised a lot, and while in the end the series didn’t deliver on the ~specific~ promise, it still was a worthwhile experience.
What were your most favourite things about the show? Platelets! Ahem, sorry… it’s just that Platelets were a consistent bright spot of the Summer anime season and now that they’re relegated to memory it makes me all the more fond of them. The show is fun and quirky and mirrors certain aspects of Japanese society while never getting bogged down in being allegory.
What were your least favourite things about the show? The show fancies itself as educational—which may be true—but it almost doesn’t need to be. Sure it’s great that a series can entertain and inform in equal measure but the repetitive voice-over that explains in detail the specifics of any given encounter or introduction to a character is overused and halts the action too often. The series is at its best when it just allows its character to interact but feels bogged down in minutiae when it pauses every few minutes to explain something that kind-of could be left unexplained—or at the very least explained by a character in the show and not an omnipotent narrator.
Who was your favourite character? While the Platelet’s will always have a piece of my heart, a ‘group’ of characters can’t ~technically~ be a favourite character as there’s multiple of them. So that’s why Red Blood Cell waifu AE3803 gets the pick from me. She’s just such a hard working cutie pie that I can’t help but love her!
Thoughts on the OP (opening) and ED (ending) and the soundtrack in general? Both are fantastic in their own ways. The OP, “Mission! Ken –Ko- Dai –Ichi” by the cast is an infectious (no pun intended) tune that never fails to set the mood in an energetic fashion. While the ED “CheerS” by ClariS is just straight up a delightfully sweet song that bookends each episode with a smile on my face.
What’s something unique about this show? While the series is about ‘cells’ in the human body they quickly become so much more than that, never before has the concept of making something anthropomorphised engendered me to something so deeply. I felt like these anime cells were actually within me, and I wanted to protect them by eating more healthy and taking better general care of myself. Well, up until the anime ended, and then the bad habits returned. But that just goes to show the power of this anime and the characters, that I could be protective of something that is nothing but artistic license.
What other anime are most like it for the sake of comparison? While it shares some tropes with Shonen action anime there really isn’t any other anime like ‘Cells At Work!’ it is a singular and unique experience.
Who would you recommend it to? Everyone. Yes, while the show might be a little violent for some youngsters, I’d say anyone between the age of 9 and 90 is bound to find something endearing and entertaining about this series.
Sum up the season in one sentence: ‘Cute Cells Doing Critical Things’.
Final score? 82 out of 100.
Previous Cells At Work Reviews:
Who Knew Blood Cells Could Be So Attractive? – Episode 1 Review
Made In Abrasion – Episode 2 Review
World War Sneeze – Episode 3 Review
Codzilla – Episode 4 Review
Rise of the Medication – Episode 5 Review
There’s No Place Like Bone – Episode 6 Review
A Cell On Death Row – Episode 7 Review
Taken To Heart – Episode 8 Review
A Tough T-Cell – Episode 9 Review
Over Staphed – Episode 10 Review
A Heat Stroke Of Good Luck – Episode 11 Review
All Cell Breaks Loose – Episode 12 Review
In Cold Blood – Episode 13 Review
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