Get Back to “Work”

July 28th, 2022 in Anime, General Reviews, Uncategorized by

There is always a problem when you try to put together a show about the human body. For the most part, the body is seen as some kind of community or village or great megalopolis (think like “Osmosis Jones”) and how everyone gets along together, but the analogies don’t always work well, especially when to have to show how things function. But we make a real attempt with “Cells at Work.” (“Hataraku Saibō”).

It is a human body (although no mention is made regarding gender, just by how it acts, I assume it is a guy), and all of the cells work to make this a harmonious metroburg. Our two main characters are her, AE3803 and him, U-1146. She is a red blood cell (OK, actually an erythrocyte), along with, like, a billion of her other coworkers. They are seen as a caliber of courier service, schlepping their boxes of air to the lungs. She is newly minted, so she has a lot to learn, like READING A MAP! She gets lost all the time and there do not appear to be any of those “You Are Here” kiosks.

He is a white blood cell, (a neutrophil), an initial patrol monitor and the first line of defense when foreign (and nasty) cells try to infiltrate or even flat-out invade the body. Those invader guys are, for the most part, ugly uglies, but they mean to do serious harm to the regular cells (that guy in the t-shirt is a regular cell) and anyone else who gets in their way. The series looks at a variety of events and how this body reacts when all kind of health issues arise, whether it is something as minor as the flu to something more life-threatening like major body trauma.

This is also one of the more violent shows I have seen. When the white blood cell has to dispatch the invaders, he whips out his Rambo-style survival knife and stabs the guacamole out of them in a display of carnage that would even have Hannibal Lechter questioning motives. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is a SWAT-team like crew (The Killer T-cells) that is at the ready for more pernicious monsters, like when a cancer cell comes a-calling. They are muscle-bound to the point where Ah-Nuld would be envious.

However, you are not going to learn anything of real value when it comes to the human body. It is set up much like living in Tokyo, so you don’t really see the true parts. Even the aforementioned “Osmosis Jones” did a better job of this idea. Now, they don’t tell you that our little red friends last between 100 and 120 days, so we don’t see how the older ones are ‘retired’. At least, not as of yet.

And our white blood cell lasts, at best, between five and 13 hours, so turnover is pretty fierce. But we can’t let that stand in the way of a good story…..of sorts.

There were two aspects that we never really covered (and three, if the body belonged to a female), but I guess that got in the way of things, so they were not discussed. Now, the reason I felt it was a guy body is that they did stupid things that guys would do, like eat questionable sushi or engage in dangerous activities that could (and does) result in severe, life-threatening injuries.

The two-and-a-half shows I would have liked to have seen would have been:

1) The body gets high on some pot
2) The body has sex
2½) If female, that ‘time’ of the month.

There are some really hilarious moments, especially with those T-Cell jerks. I mean, you want to talk about toxic masculinity? These guys are oozing testosterone and they try to out-do one another. They all wear hats that say KILL and when they dispatch the enemy, it is done with extreme prejudice. But this isn’t going to teach you anything helpful about the human body, just like “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” isn’t that helpful of a book about being a groundskeeper.

It’s just a goofy bagatelle about life in the big city body.

As for binging, it is moderate. You see what a big goof AE3803 is and since she doesn’t really grow in the series, that is a let-down. The near constant fights do kind of make up for it, as everyone has to be ever-vigilant, as anything can happen and usually does. You will see that the body is a bit of a mess, not having their life in the right direction, so it is a mixed-bag approach.


On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           8 (The ugly germs and cells are really cartoony)
Plot                  7 (Well, it resembles one….)
Pacing              7 (Too hot and cold)
Effectiveness   7 (Not sure what the overall point is)
Conclusion      5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service      2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability    7 (It mostly works, but not fully)

Overall            7 (Execution falls far short of the mark)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Where am I?

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