Cells at Work! charmed everyone last year. With a very simple concept: the misadventures of a directionally-challenged red cell trying to work her way around a human body in order to distribute oxygen while being attacked by viruses and bacteria at the same time that a white cell and the whole immune system in the body try to protect her. The series was fun and educational and thus became a hit almost immediately. And even now that the series is over (and we're waiting for a second season), the manga has continued along with the adventures of the cells that keep us alive and has also spawned a few spinoffs.
Which is the subject of today’s article, since those spinoffs are also fun and give us a very different view of the inner universe created by Akane Shimizu. So let’s talk about which one would be a great addition to a future anime season.
One of the greatest things about the Cells at Work! universe is that everyone has a job to do and they are very happy doing it. Which is why Hatarakanai Saibou! (that literally translates to ‘Cells that don’t work!’) is so interesting. Instead of focusing on any group of working cells, the main characters are a group of erythroblasts (immature red blood cells) that despite being adults refuse to enucleate and become full working red blood cells and remain living in their nursery.
Written and drawn by Moe Sugimoto, this manga expands a bit on the creation of cells, and also makes them a bit more human. They have no dangerous encounters with bacteria so it would be perfect for a series of small short chapters in the summer season.
Hataraku Saibou Friend
Another nice slice of life spin-off where the focus is a single cell rather than a whole system, Friend follows a Killer T cell (unfortunately not the leader Killer T cell we got to know in the main series) who wants nothing more than to be friends with the cell of the other system. But as he also needs to keep his very intimidating reputation, his attempts usually end with him terrorizing every cell he tries to befriend.
Published in the shoujo magazine Bessatsu Friend, Hataraku Saibou friend is written by Kanna Kurono, and illustrated by Mio Izumi. As the story tackles the complex theme of not judging books by their cover and social anxiety, it would be an interesting addition to any anime season.
Let’s be honest here: Everyone loves the Platelets. They’re incredibly cute, very hardworking, and steal the show every time they appear. This goes double for their leader, known by the fans as Platelet-chan, and who gets the spotlight on the ending of the original anime. Hataraku Keshoban-chan! Translates to Platelets at work! and focuses precisely on the Platelet team we all know and love. And while that would be too sweet for a 20-minute episode series, it would work in short 5-minute web-episodes to cheer us up during a long workday.
Hataraku Saibou Black (Cells at Work [Black])
The body in Hataraku Saibou has some pretty nasty scares during the series, including one bad case of cancer cells developing in the body. But even so, it’s healthy enough that their immune system can fight every threat in time, and when things look dire, there’s always medical assistance. BLACK shows us how important that is, as the body in this series is in a terrible shape thanks to high cholesterol, alcoholism, and malnutrition. Because of this, the immune system is constantly overrun by different viruses, and the red cells have a hard time fulfilling their duties trying their best to keep their body alive.
A horror take on the original story, Hataraku Saibou Black would be an amazing anime to watch in the Fall season and a good reminder that we need to take good care of our bodies every day.
One of the best things about the premise of Hataraku Saibou is that we have literally millions of possibilities for new stories. What about the macrophages? Or the lives of the normal cells? Or how about a body that lives with a chronic illness? How does the body react to an organ transplant? Every idea can be a spinoff, and with the ones that already exist, we have a lot of possibilities for new anime in the years to come.
So let us know in the comments below, which one is your favorite Hataraku Saibou spinoff? and, which one do you want to see animated?