Cells at Work! Anime: Welcome to the Depths of the Human Body

Cells at Work! Anime

Anime doesn't necessarily have to be educational, but if it has the potential, why not embrace it? "Hataraku Saibō" is a prime example of an anime that not only entertains but also educates. In this series, biology, specifically human anatomy, takes center stage, and it presents these scientific concepts in a comical and dramatic manner. Produced by David Production, the first season comprises thirteen episodes and an OVA, with a confirmed renewal for a second season set to air in 2021.

Learning can take various forms, and one particularly engaging approach is to blend education with entertainment. "Hataraku Saibō" follows precisely this principle, offering valuable insights into our bodies and, more specifically, the cells that play crucial roles within them. Watching this series may evoke a sense of nostalgia for some, reminiscent of the classic "Once Upon a Time... Life." However, it's crucial to note that this sentiment is purely nostalgic; "Hataraku Saibō" stands out with its unique brilliance and approach to the subject matter.


What is "Hataraku Saibō" about?

"Inside the human body, approximately 37 trillion cells work tirelessly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is the human body."

We kick off with this succinct introduction, heralding the commencement of a captivating day-to-day exploration within the human body. Our narrative guide is a young red blood cell, invariably in close proximity to the white blood cell responsible for safeguarding the body from unknown and harmful pathogens. The series' storyline is non-linear; each episode stands alone, aiming to portray various bodily discomforts and how they are managed. Nevertheless, amidst these depictions, we also delve into learning about fundamental body functions that may not necessarily be tied to illnesses.

The Upside: A Refreshing Dynamic

"Hataraku Saibō" boasts numerous positive elements, but if there's one that deserves the spotlight, it's the dynamic nature of its storytelling. As mentioned earlier, there are hundreds of anime that delve into educational topics or aim to teach something. However, what sets this series apart is its seamless ability to captivate audiences with its content. In the realm of exploring the human body, "Hataraku Saibō" opted for the most direct and challenging approach: humanizing the body's cells. I suppose that was precisely its formula for success – injecting humanity into something our eyes don't perceive but we undeniably know exists.

Moving on, the next noteworthy achievement is the script. This marks the second significant triumph for the series, focusing on self-contained episodes while ensuring the overarching narrative remains intact. Establishing a guiding thread is essential, and this was aptly addressed by providing characters to follow – specifically, a white blood cell and a red blood cell. This duo takes charge of maintaining our attention on the conflicts the body faces, all the while aiding our understanding of the problem's magnitude and potential solutions.

Expanding on these foundations, the third positive aspect I want to highlight is the characters. Given the human body's staggering 37 trillion cells, following each one would be a daunting task. To simplify this for the audience, the story allows us to connect with two specific cells – the red blood cell and the white blood cell. However, this doesn't diminish the importance of other characters because, in a story set within the human body, every cell plays a crucial role. This goes beyond the roles of the good cells, as there is room for contemplation about the cells that harm the body, akin to bacteria and viruses.

Cells at Work! trailer

The Downside: Time Constraints

Honestly, I don't have many criticisms against this anime. The music and animation are excellent, and as explained earlier, the plot and its characters are commendable. If I were to point out a drawback, it would be related to time – not just because I believe thirteen episodes are insufficient for this fantastic anime, but also considering the 24-minute duration of each episode. While I acknowledged earlier that self-contained episodes are a positive aspect, it doesn't rule out the potential benefits of more extensive development with additional time. This is particularly relevant for episode seven; the cancer cells could have benefited from more screen time. Of course, this is a subjective opinion.

Now that the second season has been confirmed, the time issue might find a resolution. Not necessarily by creating longer or split episodes, but through the prospect of having more episodes, offering the opportunity to delve into a broader array of cells in the ensemble.

Final Thoughts:

"Hataraku Saibō" is the kind of anime that can be enjoyed on a lazy afternoon, and it's precisely the sort of series one enthusiastically recommends to others. A blend of comedy and education, it seamlessly fits into the Slice of Life category. The lovable characters encourage a heightened awareness of our own bodies; after all, who wouldn't want to protect their adorable platelet lolis? Each episode cleverly imparts lessons without feeling didactic, making the learning process entertaining. Despite the multitude of characters (understandable due to the sheer number of cells in the body), rest assured that each one is distinct and endearing enough to leave a lasting impression.

I've already highlighted numerous positive aspects of this series, so it's no secret that my final rating stands at 95/100. I reiterate, it's a remarkable story with exceptional characters, and its opening is truly outstanding. In a way, it makes me yearn for a dubbed version of the series to be incorporated into school curricula. While subtitles would be ideal, it might be a tall order for a younger audience. On a side note, the 'Black' version is something I'd also anticipate seeing animated someday, although it would undoubtedly not be suitable for a younger audience.

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