Hello all and welcome back to Otaku Thursday! Today I’m going to skip the cute chitchat and get right down to the heart of things. Today, I’m going to be reviewing an anime that I was incredibly excited for upon hearing that it was an actual thing, and that anime is Cells at Work! –code: black. So after watching this show did it meet my expectations? HELL YEAH–um, I mean–let’s just get into it. Oh, and as always, spoiler alert.
So. Cells at Work! Code: Black (from here on out I’m going to just call it Code Black for shorthand) is no–not season two of Cells at Work, though that did air alongside it. Code Black is another cell system taking place in a different body, and let me tell you–just after watching the first episode? THIS. This is everything I had wanted the original Cells at Work to be. Now, for those of you who think that’s extreme–I get it. After all, I do love the O.G. Cells at Work for teaching people (I would say kids but judging by people’s reaction to the current pandemic and the extent of their knowledge I gotta include all ages) how the body and its systems work to keep us alive, safe, and free of disease. It’s a great way to learn a bit of biology and it really reminds me of Osmosis Jones. But Code Black? Code Black does the same thing, but instead of looking at things like how skin heals or how we fight off infection, we learn about the knitty gritty parts of our body and what all our bad habits can do to it. That’s right–we’re dealing with alcohol, with STDs, major stress, and smoking. This show literally gives us a prime example of the horrors that can be wrought upon our bodies, and let me tell you–it can be pretty horrifying. So many deaths to cells happen in this anime, its impossible to think it’d ever be lighthearted like regular Cells at Work. The body that these cells are in such awful health that I wouldn’t be surprised if the host body died by the end of the anime. They are literally fighting a losing battle. It’s crazy and dark and I absolutely friggin love it.
But Luna. Why? Why would you like a show that is so bad? Well, cause it gives us a good reminder of why we should be taking care of our bodies. What other way to tell people to quit smoking than to show them how our cute anime boy (or girl) red blood cells could literally SUFFOCATE and die because they are trying to do their jobs and make us survive. Or to show the hot girls down in the liver who are trying so hard to clean our body out after a heavy night of drinking and suffering in the process? Honestly, it’s just entertaining to me because it feels more than just an educational program–it feels like the stakes for the cells are really raised. And like, half the time I’m like–yeah they can totally turn this body around! But then…there’s just this sobering thought that no. They can’t turn that body around all on their own. All they can do is their job and hope that the dude they are giving up their lives to keep alive will make healthier lifestyle choices eventually. So naturally things get worse before they get better, and I’ll say that the last two episodes of the show were like–I’m sitting on the edge of my seat. After all, by that point the brain cells told everyone they didn’t have to work because the body was going to DIE. I mean, given the state of the guy I wasn’t surprised but also I was kind of surprised. Like it was really fucking sad and a bit terrifying to watch those last two episodes–to watch as the heart stopped and the red blood cells couldn’t do their job. But naturally, as life so happens to be, we were surprised with the body being brought back to life and the cells being able to save it. Cue happy ending of the body cleaning up their act, quite literally, and the systems inside being able to actually function properly instead of being under constant stress.
…if only that was the true happy end for our beloved red and white blood cells but NAH. The anime had to go there and have them pulled from the body from a syringe and inserted into a body who was WORSE THAN BEFORE. Aka, I’m both terrified and excited we’ll have round two of a show where we get to see all the horrors we can put our body through. Because again, anthropomorphic cells are a good reminder to not do these things to your body and you too can
become a hero live a long healthy life. Also lowkey I like AA2153 and U-1196 more than I like AE3803 and U-1146. I just–I really like their characters more. Maybe because of how much trauma they’ve been through. They just feel more interesting to me (or I’m crazy–I always could be crazy). Plus like even the side character cells I kinda liked more? Again, maybe because a lot of them ended up dying or were also going through these awful circumstances…but I just felt more of a connection with them.
Code Black was also more heartfelt in my opinion–again likely due to cell loss and death. It had a lot of heartbreaking and horror inducing moments. Like when the Killer T cells went rampant and killed other innocent cells because they thought they’d detected a threat. A heart wrenching reminder that sometimes our body hurts itself because its trying so hard to work. Even when the older red blood cell died peacefully, it felt extremely melancholy–despite having known him for so little. But of course…the worst thing that came out of this show–the one death that made me physically cry, was that of AC1677. Now, don’t get me wrong. I knew he wasn’t the main character. I knew he was likely to die. But when it happened it felt so sudden that I was shocked and did tear up quite a bit. Then when AA2153 is torn up about it I just–I couldn’t. I was as a mess as he was. All over a single cell. Well played Code Black. Well played.
As for other aspects of the show such as animation, OST, opening and ending themes–I found them to be on par with OG Cells at Work. No big leaps in production quality, the OST was alright. I thought the opening and ending themes were really good if not deceivingly normal for how much shit the cells would go through in the show. So overall, it was a fine anime production. And if I had to choose between Code Black or season 2? Code black all the way. You can fight me on that one but I won’t change my mind. And if you haven’t seen it? I highly recommend.