A Cell On Death Row – ‘Cells At Work!’ Episode 7 Review

A Cell On Death Row – An Anime QandA Review of ‘Cells At Work!’ Episode 7

What’s the show? Cells At Work!, Episode 7.

So here we are, the big serious episode about cancer cells—how does the show approach such a subject? Omg look at the little Platelets aren’t they just the cutest things ever—I just want to poke their cheeks they are just adorable!


Oi! Focus! We’re supposed to be talking about the plot of the episode not the blatant Platelet-service! Grr, fine then. So cancer is here and it’s big trouble, because cancer cells in the body means everyone is at risk—no cell will be spared from their wrath! Previously I’ve compared other episodes to specific movies or genres of movies, and while influenza back in episode 3 was akin to a more traditional zombie movie, this one is full-blown mutation horror the likes of The Thing or even some of the Resident Evil films—initially I was reminded of Tokyo Ghoul:re but those comparisons subsided when I saw actually competent action scenes.


Savage! The action is exciting, visceral and gory—everything you’ve come to expect from this show just with the stakes raised that little bit higher because the life-threatening risks that cancer cells pose. What I didn’t expect was to get a very allegorical but nonetheless evident take on the criminal justice system in Japan—and what was seemingly a pro death-penalty message thrown in (sort of, maybe)…

I think you’re going to need to explain yourself a bit because that seems… unlikely… I don’t know maybe I’m reading too much into it but the way White Blood Cell was talking to Cancer Cell about the cost of living in a society with a certain set of rules and any aberrant subversion of those rules that puts that law-abiding society at risk is something that must be eliminated. It’s a very Japanese way of thinking, part of the reason they have the lowest crime rate in the world—but it’s also a very uncompromising way to look at people, that anything that threatens peace should be eradicated—even if the person in question had no choice to be the way they were.

True of all of us, but especially cancer cells.

Do you think that was the author’s intent? I don’t know, I think it’s more the fact that being an inherent Japanese production means that the human body as it’s represented in this show is akin to Japan or probably more accurately Tokyo a busy, efficient place that manages to work almost flawlessly all the time almost in spite of itself and the cells are representative of its people—hard-working, committed, almost single-minded from a distance but full of life and energy on a personal level. And when there’s a crisis they come together to combat it—and when the crisis is a cell that’s acting contrary to the ‘flow’ of these hard-working cells it’s understandable that the instinctual—dare I say—organic reaction is to get rid of it at any cost.

Everyone helped!

Okay, you’ve sorta sold me—maybe it wasn’t the direct intent of the author but it’s hard to deny the similarities and that the author was probably inspired by Japanese society—still I think it’s a bit heavy handed to say this series is pro-Death penalty. True, and they did make ‘Cancer Cell’ a sympathetic type of character, which is one of those sentences I never thought I’d say!

Only Cells At Work would have me thinking “must protect cancer”… this show, I swear…

Anything else you wanted to add? I love that Red Blood Cell AE3803 wasn’t just a passive bystander (at least not initially) and realised something was amiss with the large nutrient deliveries and was head-strong and confident enough to raise the alarm to Macrophage. Speaking of which I also loved the shot of all the cell’s on the edge of the battlefield coming to the rescue of White Blood Cell, NK Cell and Killer T Cell, felt like beating cancer was a group effort with every cell in the body contributing in some part to fight it off—not sure how realistic that is to real life but it was still a heart-warming sight! Also I doubt this will be the last we see of Cancer Cell—he teased a return and I could totally see him coming back for a season finale kind of confrontation. Even if things were resolved kind of easily I still think this was a great episode and I swear that has nothing to do with the Platelet-service!



Previous Cells At Work Reviews:

Who Knew Blood Cells Could Be So Attractive? – Episode 1 Review
Made In Abrasion – Episode 2 Review
World War Sneeze – Episode 3 Review
Codzilla – Episode 4 Review
Rise of the Medication – Episode 5 Review
There’s No Place Like Bone – Episode 6 Review

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Author: Cactus Matt

I love anime and more recently manga too. What else do I need to write here?

11 thoughts on “A Cell On Death Row – ‘Cells At Work!’ Episode 7 Review”

  1. I really enjoyed this one too. Agree with the fact that it was all resolved fairly easily, but other than that…very enjoyable episode. Like your take on it as well by the way..didn’t even think that far, but it’s definitely a theory that seems to hold up, and isn’t far fetched at all 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think blood clots are caused when red blood cells stop moving because they cannot resist poking the cute Platelets. Thank goodness that I am not the only person who felt bad for the antagonist in this episode. It seemed wrong to feel sympathy for cancer, but they managed to pull it off.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s definitely some allegorical work going on here about the similarities between the cells in the body and a functioning society. I mentioned this to someone I know who is watching the show a few weeks back when we got the heavy handed messaging about every job being important and everyone fulfilling their role and duty. Not to mention the overall hard work ethic that continually gets shoved into every scene. It isn’t something that will upset the enjoyment of watching the show, but there’s a lot of social messaging going on here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah nothing wrong with a bit of allegory as long as it doesn’t become the sole reason for something existing—which it obviously won’t here as this show is more focused on having a good time and being mildly educational.

      Liked by 1 person

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