Cells at Work! Code Black
Episode 7

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Cells at Work! Code Black ?

I've got to hand it to CODE BLACK. I did not expect the anime with an entire episode dedicated to an erection to have anywhere near this level of character writing. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the individual cells have deep inner lives or there's a lot of nuance to their emotional reactions, but compared to its sister show, I'm far more invested in the journey in CODE BLACK.

This episode focuses on RBC's best buddy AC1677 who has continually fallen to the wayside as RBC takes on more and more responsibility. It wasn't long ago that RBC was sitting in the liver and venting about the futility of his life but thanks to the influence of WBC and witnessing the immune cells' sacrifices, RBC has gained more respect for the importance of his work despite his hazardous working environment. However, every time he's stepped up to the plate, AC1677 has been there to try to convince him to turn back. AC1677 has an "every man for himself" attitude and is not about to risk getting sucked out of a bleeding wound or burned up by overactive Killter T cells.

RBC's stalwartness as put a wedge between the two friends and it widens after a ceremony acknowledges RBC has the most productive rookie. Essentially, AC1677 is jealous. Not because he thinks he deserves the recognition instead but because RBC is able to accomplish what he feels he cannot and standing next to him puts a spotlight on his own inadequacies. I can relate to that, and it's an especially ugly feeling. There was a time very early in my career, before I ever worked at ANN, that I experienced something very, very similar so I can understand AC1677's feelings of resentment. It's a reflection of his inner feelings more so that anything RBC is doing wrong.

This leads AC1677 to fall in with the "bad crowd", the two RBCs we've seen previously hassling other cells. After initially declining, he agrees to go with them on a cocaine bender energy drink-fueled high that he quickly becomes addicted to. When the energy-boosting ingredients cause a nosebleed, the two blood bros have a heart to heart and AC1677 realizes that RBC relies on him, too.

In the middle of it all are some more signs that this body is going to hell in a hand basket, but each delapidating body function was used as side dressing to up the growing tension between RBC and AC1677. One of the factors is ROS (reactive oxygen species) which is appearing at unnaturally high levels leading to the faster deterioration of cells within the body. The episode's representation of ROS is pretty negative but a cursory look at research shows that it plays an important part in the human body and cell function, it's when it appears in excess that it can cause problems.


Cells at Work! Code Black is currently streaming on Funimation.

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