Cells at Work! Code Black
Episodes 9-11

by Lynzee Loveridge,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Cells at Work! Code Black ?

How would you rate episode 10 of
Cells at Work! Code Black ?

How would you rate episode 11 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!

In the last episode, we saw that the host's immune response has essentially been wiped out after barely surviving deep vein thrombosis. We know things in the liver and kidneys are rapidly deteriorating, and now it looks like any invading bacteria or virus could spell the end. In other words, we're gearing up for a real horror show, and Cells at Work! Code Black delivers immediately by having terrifying ringworms just...drop in through the testes.

Lynzee gagging count: 1. Also this episode ranks pretty high in the "avoid if you have trypophobia" scale.

Apparently our host body, which I assumed up until this point to be a workaholic with a poor diet who smokes and drinks, also has questionable hygiene habits. The guy has ringworm infections everywhere and there aren't enough immune cells to go around. Meanwhile, RBC is beginning to shoulder too much responsibility while trying to live up to everyone's expectations and it takes AC1677 pulling him aside to get him to reevaluate his work-life balance. Yes, everything is falling apart, but there's more to life than work. Sometimes a cell just has to take a breather in an unsuspecting capillary for awhile.

That is, until an untreated ulcer starts tearing its way through the stomach. The Code Black cells have their own face-off against h.Pylori but it looks decidedly different than the helicopter-inspired monster in Cells at Work!'s 'Yogurt Arc'. Code Black gives it the kaiju treatment and the design is honestly pretty dang cool. Less cool are the acid-pouring holes it's creating faster than can be fixed. RBC and AC1677 do their best to get oxygen across the precarious walkways but then Code Black decides to finally follow through with all the terror that has lurked underfoot in each episode.

AC1677 is friggin' dead y'all, and I kind of can't handle it. He's been the perfect foil to RBC, teaching him to chill out and showing that there's more to the day-to-day than working your ass off. He could be cowardly at times; even in this episode he takes a breather when confronted with the ulcer situation. Honestly, that made him more relatable – I'm sure plenty of people can relate to taking five minutes when faced with a daunting task in order to talk yourself up into doing it. He was altogether avoidant when the series started, but prior to his death he'd learned how to take the time to collect himself before facing problems head-on. For a series aiming to educate people about what bad habits do to your body, they really went hard on the tragedy. Junya Enoki screams his heart out as he tries desperately to deny what he witnessed...then the little platelets come and patch up the hole.

This is TOO MUCH holy crap. I didn't know I was so invested in this bromance until shit hit the fan. It's really no surprise that RBC decides to tap out of his job. It seems like he's finally hit the same wall as many of the older cells at the beginning of the series: he realizes the high cost of working in a system that does not value his efforts and he has little control in fixing it. When Gout finally shows up (in a sequence that reminded me a lot of Evangelion), RBC thinks the ensuing inflammation caused by the immune response is the right way to go. Let the human suffer so that he realizes just how badly his choices are affecting all the cells in his body. It's an anthro-take on the feeling of physical pain. The Brain Cell, however, posits a question of who the real villain is (spoiler: it's work culture).

All the catastrophic encounters in these three episodes (and earlier ones) are resolved by medication. This guy has to be going to the doctor constantly for ulcer medications, inflammation, erectile dysfunction, antibiotics – you name it. Judging by next week's episode, it looks like he'll need to add aspirin to the regimen because the blockages we've seen build up over the course of the season are about to culminate in a full-blown heart attack.

Small side notes: We get a brief look at fat cells in episode 10 and I was pretty disappointed to see the series go with a stereotypical 'winded, obese guy' for the representation.

I also took a look at the corresponding manga chapters for the series and it looks like they've been rearranged for the anime. I wouldn't have guessed since all the preceding episodes have laid groundwork for what I expect is the finale next week.


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

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