Cells at Work! Code Black
Episodes 3-4

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Cells at Work! Code Black ?

How would you rate episode 4 of
Cells at Work! Code Black ?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions in these reviews are observations made by the reviewer(s) and should in no way be construed as medical advice! If you have a question, please contact your general practitioner for information!

Welcome to Cells at Work! Code Black's double-feature, or as I like to refer to it, The Meaning of Life Animated Redux.

Now, I'm of the opinion that Code Black manga writer Shigemitsu Harada absolutely knew what he was doing in this episode which I can only describe as pitch-perfect satire. The fact that the performances and scriptwriting are so sincere only heightens the comedy. Episode three is, by and far, a laugh riot. I promise, I'm an adult here and sex ed doesn't leave me in uncontrollable bouts of giggles anymore. However, seeing this entire cast espouse the sacred duty of fornication for 20 minutes is, figuratively and literally, fucking hilarious.

The comedy hinges in part on the unspoken understanding that the viewer is familiar with a few Japan-centric social issues. Over the last decade there has been continual media attention on Japan's declining birthrate leading to a general acceptance that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants citizens to keep making babies. You can search this very site to find variations of those jokes in reviews and columns. As satire, this episode artfully taps into that idea by presenting itself as deadpan baby-making propaganda. When it's revealed that the body in question is dealing with erectile dysfunction, the cells enter a crisis mode and begin lamenting their horrible fate.

To say nothing of the sperm. Oh my god the sperm. They look like those swan boats couples take out on the lake – except with adolescent faces. They swim up to their Seratoli Cell caretakers, filled with concern that they won't get to meet the ovum of their destiny. And by god, our Red Blood Cell isn't going to allow that, not after every other character made sure to tell him that procreation is the meaning of life. He's gonna make sure that penis swells, alright?!

I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is Code Black after all. I had my bets placed on those sperm landing baby-face first in some crusty, crumpled tissues. But no, Red Blood Cell learns that sometimes humans have sex just for fun.

What we can, uh, glean from the episode is that there was a human partner and our cell-host didn't wrap his junk first. Cue incoming gonorrhea. The STI portion of this two-partner didn't play with tone nearly as effectively as the previous half. You could compare it to a B-level horror movie in some regards. The episode switches between the devastation (and dumb tentacle fanservice) led by the invading gonorrhea while the lead Brain Cell watches in horror from his desk.

There was honestly a moment that focuses on the Platelets and their concern about the infection that got me really worried that it was foreshadowing, but fortunately, no platelets were injured or molested in this episode. The White Blood Cells aren't so lucky. They're both the victims of the leering camera and kicked around by their fellow cells for not being able to defeat the invaders. It's not until our crappy cell-host gets the necessary medication that things start to clear up.

The comedy highlight might be RBC's insistence that pus isn't gross, but in fact the noble fluid left behind by our great warriors. Anyway, if you see pus in your urine, please see a doctor.

Observations from Matt (RN): Sildenafil (Viagra) was actually originally intended to treat angina (chest pain caused by tissue death in the heart), but it didn't really work for that. Fortunately for Pfizer many patients reported sustained erections, and the rest is history. Sildenafil is also used these days to treat a type of high blood pressure in the lungs.


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

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