Cells at Work!

Cells at Work!

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!

Wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I had some off-the-wall preconceptions including the idea that this would be not unlike a Japanese version of How My Body Works, but I’d heard a lot about this particular seasonal anime, and so was keen to give it a whirl.

We’re first introduced to the red blood cells, who are dressed as delivery people in red uniforms, transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide all around the body. One particular red blood cell, a plucky young female who’s still literally trying to find her way around. She’s done another successful delivery when all of a sudden… germs attack. The Pneumonia Coccus is cocky in its plans to attack and take over the body, and its appears reminds me very much of a Dragon Ball Z character. It wants to get to the lungs and raise hell when, suddenly, the white blood cells arrive to cut their plans short.

The white blood cells are relentless in their mission to neutralise the threat – not above beating the living crap out of germs in order to ensure the safety of all the other cells. It’s here our red blood cell is rescued by a white one, one that has a deadpan expression and a ruthless way of dealing with germs. Whilst the white blood cell hunts down a rogue Pneumonia Coccus germ, our red blood cell finally finds her way to the lungs – only to lead the germs straight to their desired destination.

With these animated storytellings we are shown what the cells in the human body do and, as viruses and other threats become more extreme, how they work together to ensure that the outer body is always repaired after damage and how the insides are protected. It was interesting to see type A and type B influenza portrayed as a kind of zombie virus that can duplicate at an extraordinary rate and how the killer T-cells destroy infections and how the platelets (portrayed here as cute, well-meaning children) protect the body after it’s suffered wounds and abrasions. I particularly enjoyed how B-cells were show to be the ones rocking up at the end to save the day with bazookas full of antibodies.

The one thing that concerns me about Cells at Work! is where this is aiming to go long term. Though it’s entertaining week on week, it’s a little lacking in depth in the long run. Will things begin to get more dramatic for the cells? It’s pretty dramatic at the moment, to be fair, but how are they going to raise the bar for the later episodes? How could the cells possibly fight harder against bacteria and viruses that are hell-bent at taking over the body?

Anthropomorphising blood cells as diligent workers, living inside little towns in your veins is a stroke of genius. It’s a lot of fun, more entertaining than it ought to be, and if my GCSE Science lessons were more like this, perhaps more information would have remained in my brain after school. Cells at Work! certainly paints a fascinating picture of the inside of a functional human body.