Hataraku Saibou: BLACK (Cells at Work! Code Black) Mid-Season Impressions - Bravery and Black Comedy

Summer 2018’s Cells at Work is a mostly lighthearted educational anime that uses anthropomorphic personifications of cells to illustrate how the human body functions and how it fights diseases.

Now, Winter 2021 has brought us two new additions to the franchise: the second season of the original, and our subject for today – a much darker spin-off called Cells at Work: Code Black. In this body, unhealthy lifestyle choices like smoking and unsafe sex have made the cells’ jobs unbearably stressful and dangerous, akin to the Japanese concept of a “black company” that works its employees to the bone. Let’s take a closer look at this more mature take on the Cells at Work world!

Death, Despair, and DD-Cups

When Red Blood Cell AA2153 is brought in for his first day of work, the cheery initiation video gives him the impression that this body is much like the one from the original series: friendly, efficient, and capable of handling any issues that may arise. But while it may have been like that many years ago, high levels of stress and unhealthy coping mechanisms have overstrained the cells to the point that their lives are a never-ending nightmare.

After helplessly watching several of his senpais graphically suffocate to death from a carbon monoxide leak (caused by smoking), Red Blood Cell is saved from a bacterial attack by the boobalicious White Blood Cell U-1196. And let’s just lay it out on the table right now – this hard-working, katana-wielding, constantly blood-splattered badass is already the best waifu of 2021. Will these two fire-forged friends be able to survive in this body together, or will they succumb to tragic, senseless deaths like so many of their coworkers?

Tenacity and Taking Care of Yourself

There’s more to this anime than just suffering and fanservice, though. It imparts genuinely useful medical information that encourages viewers to take care of their bodies, features some top-tier black comedy (like when Red Blood Cell despairs at learning that not every ejaculation is for the purpose of creating a baby, meaning that the eager sperm cells will die without achieving their life’s purpose), and shows that hard work and tenacity can make even a seemingly hopeless task worthwhile. There are happy moments to be had in this body, like detoxing from alcohol exposure in the liver and successfully fighting off bacteria, and even the grumpiest cells still care for others and want them to succeed. We’ve really grown to care for these characters, so we hope that the body they live in starts making better lifestyle choices for their sake!

Final Thoughts

Even though Cells at Work: Code Black is significantly bleaker than its predecessor, it’s still tons of fun to watch and LIDENFILMS’ animation is fantastic. If you’re looking for an anime where erectile disfunction, hair loss, and gonorrhea are treated with the same gravitas as the Vietnam War was in Apocalypse Now – plus a quality new waifu for good measure – this is the show for you.

What did you think of our impressions? Have you been watching Cells at Work: Code Black this season? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!

Hataraku-Saibou-BLACK-Wallpaper-503x500 Hataraku Saibou: BLACK (Cells at Work! Code Black) Mid-Season Impressions - Bravery and Black Comedy


Author: Mary Lee Sauder

After the hard-hitting East Coast lifestyle hit me a bit too hard, I started pursuing my passion as a writer in my cozy home state of Ohio. Aside from that, I spend my time cooking, cosplaying, collecting anime merch, and being an improv comedy actor. I also love sneaking alliterations and stupid puns into my writing, so be on the lookout for them! 😉

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Mary Lee Sauder