MY WEEK IN ANIME: Hataraku Saibou Episode 1

Leave it to the Japanese to turn red blood cells and platelets into something absolutely adorable.

The new slice of life-inside-the-human-body anime Hataraku Saibou (Cells at Work) just aired its first episode, and my calm exterior belies my complete weebing out as I type this.

The main character is a Red Blood Cell, except it's a cute girl in shorts because of course it is. Her job, as is the job of any actual red blood cell, is to bring oxygen to parts of the body that need it. In the anime, it's represented as a UPS delivery of sorts, and some of the episode's best moments are in the adorable ways the newbie Red Blood Cell (I don't think cells have actual first names) gets lost trying to find the address of the consignee of the package in her care.

The anime does a great job of breaking down the cells into their common characteristics. We're introduced to characters like the White Blood Cell, a cold-blooded Terminator who stops at nothing to kill any invading bacteria, and Killer T-Cells, buff and burly SWAT-types deployed for more dangerous work. We're also introduced to some areas of the body and its personified inhabitants (the spleen, in particular, is one I'm excited for ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ), and I'm excited to know what adventures they'll have over there. It's part anime, part biology lesson, and as someone who loved biology class in high school, this anime is pushing all the right buttons for me.

I love how descriptions of the human body's functions aren't dumbed down at all. I didn't know anything about Pneumococcus bacteria, but Hataraku Saibou does its best to not only tell us what dangerous stuff they do, but also weave it into the whole personification thing of the anime in an interesting way.

I mean, this is an anime that made me squee for goddamn platelets. Platelets.

The episode is pretty much a monster-of-the-week, with Red and White Blood Cell in a race against time to stop a runaway Pneumococcus bacteria from wreaking havoc in the human body world. There are some exciting moments, and the animation is pretty much at par with what you'd expect from studio David Production. I can't really talk more about the episode without being spoilery, but I have a feeling they're keeping better stuff back for later episodes, so if you're expecting something mind-blowing for the first episode, I don't think that's how you anime.

Hataraku Saibou grabbed my interest when it was previewed a few months ago, and I'm glad to know it was worth the wait. I don't give a shit if the next 20+ episodes are just human body shenanigans. When the best girl and your possible future waifu is basically a red blood cell you know Japan has ya hooked. Consider this a keeper.

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