Cells at Work! – Anime Review
Synopsis: This is a story about you. A tale about the inside of your body… According to a new study, the human body consists of approximately 37 trillion cells. These cells are hard at work every day within a world that is your body. From the oxygen carrying Red Blood Cells to the bacteria fighting White Blood Cells, Get to know the unsung heroes and the drama that unfolds inside of you! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Cells at Work! is near married to a Monster of the Week format, where our main character White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell end up pitted against a new threat to your body’s health and a new ally appears to thwart said threat, all done in the name of education. Cells at Work!’s educational usefulness aside, the series’ format grows tired and repetitive quite quickly. Many episodes play out ‘by the book’ meaning once you’ve seen one episode you’d kinda seen them all. That’s not entirely true, to be fair, as the series does shake things up a handful of times. Like with a couple two parters (one forming the finale) and another two episodes delving into the coming of age of some of our heroes. But it’s not nearly enough, and even those two parters still suffer from a number of entirely played out elements.
Linny: What further hinders the possible enjoyment of Cells at Work! is its tendency to constantly display big blurbs of basic information about the various cells/functions of the human body/organs. It’s disruptive enough getting a huge block of text on the screen but then that very same information is read out by the narrator, resulting in even more repetition and time wastage. Not only that, the same information is repeated in every episode, whenever relevant, leading to more disruptive moments that quickly become monotonous.
Tom: Perhaps the repetitious information would be forgivable, if Cells at Work! was a real looker. But Cells at Work! isn’t much special. While certain sequences can be detailed well enough, the show often resorts to action stills with dynamic blood splatter. This makes a lot of action scenes feel a bit lukewarm. The rest of the show is never ugly, but hardly attention grabbing and that compounds the already annoying level of exposition that creates the stop and go problem near every episode suffers from. Action, we stop, exposition, we go, action, we stop, exposition.
Linny: The cast of Cells at Work! consists of anthropomorphic cells, so it’s not surprising that they’re limited in their personality and character. They never really evolve from the one shtick the show slaps them with at the start; Red Blood Cell is a ditz who constantly messes up and gets lost; White Blood Cell is extremely bloodthirsty when facing off germs but psychologically chill otherwise; Platelets are the adorable mascot like characters of the show, etc. Even when the show gives them a character growth or exploration episode, the cast members quickly reset to their default shtick by the next. In fact, the background exploration stories often seem to serve little more purpose than to elicit a quick aw or a chuckle from the audience rather than truly expand and grow its characters. I’d like to emphasize once again that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing by any means, but it does mean that if you do not take to what you see at first glance, there’s little chance of the show or its cast growing on you later on.
Tom: Cells at Work! isn’t a bad series, but it is a mediocre one. It never really evolves over its 13 episodes, remaining with the same, strict format it started with. That’s fine if you’re here for the knowledge, seeking to use Cells at Work! as a passable way to gain greater understanding of the inner workings of the human body. But if you’re here more so to be entertained for twenty-three minutes at a go Cells at Work! isn’t even close to a top tier choice. I might even suggest that viewers less interested in the factual knowledge watch till they get bored, skip to the first two-parter (Episodes 7 and 8) and then skip to the two part finale (Episodes 12 and 13). That’s perhaps the best way to experience the series for anyone who grows tired of the strict format or never truly takes to the one-note characters.
Linny: Cells at Work! could possibly work well as show for watching with young anime fans with the intention of refreshing or even introducing them to the inner workings of the human body while keeping things light and fun. But as a comedy in and of itself, the information dumps and the repetitive gags holds limited appeal and demands a deep fondness for the singular quirky characters it offers.
Cells at Work! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll