Cells at Work! Code Black - Episode 1 [EP Review]

The human body is a wonder - a specimen of constant changes and mysteries yet to be unraveled.


The cells are back! But something doesn’t seem right! A roundabout in an alternate universe!

Red Blood Cell AA2153 and White Blood Cell U-1196 off with their tasks
The cells in chaos as "enemies" breached the blood vessels

Cells at Work! Code Black (Hataraku Saibou Black) pilot episode hints of the twists this spin-off has: male red blood cells, female white blood cells, tough platelets (in contrary to the cute ones in the original anime series) and a body succumbing to deterioration by a wave of illnesses. A desperate red blood cell rookie was met by a pompous white blood cell in the midst of chaos.

“I work and work and work, but it doesn’t make a difference. Just what is it that we’re all working for?”
Red Blood Cell AA2153 lost in thought as a horrid scene presents in front of him
Red Blood Cell AA2153 lost in thought as a horrid scene presents in front of him

Red Blood Cell AA2153 (voiced by Junya Enoki) is terrified on his first day when confronted by a senior who seemed too upfront in keeping the deliverables on check. Due to short-listed workers, AA2153 has to quickly learn how to deliver oxygen. Tough luck! Confusion reeled in as he was caught dumbfounded and lost, typical of a “first-day-on-the-job”. Seems like a challenge has already been set! Exhaustion kicked in and desperation loomed as he begins to question their duty and the risks he soon has to bear – all dawning unto him as he meets a senior who helped him over his anguish, but later has made a sacrifice, making him to crumble to his knees and lament over his tragedies. Will he be free from his woes?

“You have to keep on working anyway. As long as you have a job to do.”
White Blood Cell U-1196 as she fights off a bacterium
White Blood Cell U-1196 as she fights off a bacterium

White Blood Cell U-1196 (voiced by Yoko Hikasa) exudes confidence and determination as she ravaged a pneumococcus. With a sober sense of clearing the mission, U-1196 annihilates the intruders, giving off a strong conviction of responsibility - an obligation to protect the cells by all means. A formidable enemy yet a trusted colleague! A strong amount of will to carry out the task given whilst the dangers yet to transpire along the way.

The setting took the audience on a journey inside the human body - this time, one that is afflicted by disease states. Conflicts arise because of the adverse conditions harming the body - to mention a few: carbon monoxide poisoning brought about by smoking and pathogens invading due to subsequent complications. Blood vessels were blocked and are narrowing as low-density lipoproteins, a.k.a. the “bad cholesterol”, deposit plaques of fats on the crevices. Red Blood Cell AA2153 and White Blood Cell U-1196 need to work together to keep the body intact and in shape, amidst the perils and haphazard job yet to unfold. Will their sacrifices be worthwhile? The audience can only anticipate and hope for the best!


LIDEN Films works for the series’ animation. Hideyo Yamamoto is the director with Hayashi Mori working on the screenplay and scripts. Eiji Abiko is in-charge of character designs. With respect to illustrations and graphic designs, the same pretexts of the characters can be seen, setting off a vibe not too distant from the first season of the original anime series. Darker etched lines defined grittier character concepts, a play intending to create an ominous shadow over more vile operations for the characters - suggesting a nightmarish experience for the audience as well. Expect for more blood and abominable enemies!

The opening theme is titled “Hashire!” performed by Japanese new wave and rock band POLYSICS, with Seiya Yamasaki. Played rather in the end, the song gave an upbeat, punk style music that uplifts the senses, a feeling one can get from excitement of anticipation. It establishes an atmosphere at the starting line. Seeing how Red Blood Cell AA2153 stands at a distance from the other cells, a more gruesome adventure with the dirtiest jobs unveils and awaits the cells as they plummet into the unknown, ill-infested body.

“Are our jobs really worth risking our lives for?”

Cells at Work! Code Black has a new take on adventure and character development. How can a naïve cell become mature and muster the courage to take a step into the dreadful world? Can sacrifices be momentous? Can this weakening body be saved? Only by watching can these voids be filled.


Cells at Work! Code Black new episode releases every Saturdays at 12:00am JST.


How was the first episode? Let us know your thoughts!

Official Anime Website: Cells at Work! Code Black

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