Hataraku Saibou!! (Cells at Work!!) Review – Another Fun Tour of the Human Body

At a short eight episodes, Hataraku Saibou!! (Cells at Work!!) has come to an end; however, the second season was every bit as entertaining as the first, with lots of new characters, hilarity, and even some epic scenes! Given the success of the first season, the second season announcement was met with excitement and our favourite biology class delivered! While perfect is an unattainable metric in any circumstance, Cells at Work!! has done a great job at maintaining, or even improving upon the good qualities of the first season and this time, there’s even a main antagonist! Let’s go over what went well and what could have been better with Cells at Work!!. Get your notebooks ready, we’re about to review your favourite biology textbook in anime form!

What’s the Gag?

Gag-type anime are an interesting form of the comedy genre because they are focused on the delivery of short but immensely hilarious scenarios. Multiple of these short “gags” are put together to create a single episode, and with the running gag in Cells at Work!! being the personification of internal processes of the human body, Cells at Work!! was a point of growth for the series overall because it came into its own as a gag anime. This meant more action and more comedy in each episode because the once-episodic Cells at Work!! found a way to be even more episodic!

The Life of a Cell is So Short

One of the main issues that the second season of Cells at Work!! faces is its brevity. At a mere eight episodes, the second season is over in a flash and leaves you wishing there was at least as much of it as in the first season. However, considering that Cells at Work!!: Code Black was airing at the same time, perhaps it was prudent keeping the length of the second season short. We’re still disappointed about that; however, to make up for it, it seems that the first few episodes followed the format of various gag anime, where multiple episodes were put together into a single 23-minute release each week. Effectively, sometimes two or even three scenarios would be in a single episode of Cells at Work!!.

You Say Germs? We Say Mascot

One of the best things to come out of the second season of Cells at Work!! is the introduction of what could possibly constitute the mascot characters of the series – the lactic acid bacteria introduced in the fourth episode. Cute as a button and given an important role soon after their introduction, the adorable microbes were a different kind of cuteness to the platelets, but every bit their rival! Plus the hilarity of having a regular somatic cell save the lives of bacteria, bacteria which is soon revealed to be beneficial to the internal processes of the human body. "Can we keep it? can we keep it?" Cells at Work!! seems to be in favour! The inclusion of an “animal-like” mascot works in the series' favour, with the introduction of the lactic-acid bacteria being one of the highlights of the season.

The Antagonist

In the body’s previous run-in with cancer, the immune cells managed to fend off the formidable foe; however, he vowed to return and exact his revenge! Bubbling under the surface of the episodic nature of the series is the search for the next place where Cancer Cell will emerge to wreak havoc on the body once more. NK Cell is the most tuned in to the antagonist’s imminent return, and when he eventually does, he is much stronger than he was the first time. The inclusion of an antagonist in this season’s events makes the second season particularly exciting, and the fact that he is a returning bad guy gives Cells at Work!! a battle-shounen-type feel despite being anything but.

The two-part finale of the eight-episode second season is the battle against the revived Cancer Cell, who injures White Blood Cell 1146 in battle and beats both T Killer (now T Memory) and NK in a vicious bout. However, in epic shounen fashion, T Memory Cell musters up a powerful signature move from his memories – the Perforin Cannon Punch! This move unleashes a devastating wave of energy at the opponent much like a Kamehameha and after pulling it off, even T Memory is surprised that it worked!

The intense battle against Cancer Cell stood out amongst the best fights in the entire show and even though the entire show is meant to be an entertaining comedy, there was still a good level of seriousness packed into the immune cells’ dealings with cancer. One of our only criticisms of this fight; however, is how little screen time Cancer Cell gets in the second season overall, and being a meager eight episodes long, a much more drawn-out series of events leading up to the fated clash would make it feel more complete.

Final Thoughts

Cells at Work!! had big shoes to fill following the success of the first season. The second season delivered on action, comedy, art, and animation and even characterised some of our favourite cells even further, giving the series much more depth. The development of a loose storyline coupled together with the introduction of a recurring antagonist in the form of Cancer Cell made a fun ride from start to finish.

Despite it being so short, the second season of Cells at Work!! is a must-see for fans and anybody who may have not been convinced by the first. If you like biology, learning new things or just some great anime to watch in your downtime, Cells at Work!! should be on your radar!

055 Hataraku Saibou!! (Cells at Work!!) Review – Another Fun Tour of the Human Body


Author: Hoshi-kun

I’m South African, harbouring an obsession for anything remotely related to Japan, mostly anime, of course. I draw sometimes. Some people call me Naledi, it’s my real name, or something like that. People think I’m stoic because I don’t smile often (I do sometimes). I like languages. Hoshi-kun and Naledi are the same side of the same coin.

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