OP: 「ミッション！健・康・第・イチ」 (Mission! Ken・Kou・Dai・Ichi) by Red Blood Cell (Hanazawa Kana), White Blood Cell (Maeno Tomoaki), Killer T Cell (Ono Daisuke), Macrophage (Inoue Kikoku)
David Production has been a studio I’ve followed for quite a while, since they’ve animated some of my favourite shows in recent years – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, Planetarian, Sakurada Reset, etc. As such, I’ve come to have great faith in the way they go about business. However, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hataraku Saibou, mainly because I have quite a dislike towards biology as an academic subject. I personally its topics boring, and wondered how the comedic aspect could potentially hit its mark, outside of a silly sex joke. The task for Hataraku Saibou was to successfully engage with me, and convince me that matters of the human body could be quite interesting, and perhaps even funny. Let’s move onto my thoughts about this debut episode, and whether it managed to leave a positive impression on me.
Since I’m pretty young, I don’t know squat about Osmosis Jones, and I’ve only heard nostalgic talk about it from the other staff at RandomC. However, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that Hataraku Saibou is more like Osmosis JoJo – the source material has a conceptually similar focus, while importing stylistic preferences that are reminiscent of JJBA.
Kana Hanazawa did a fantastic job of portraying a dorky Red Blood Cell with a poor sense of direction, making it clear to see why she’s hailed as one of the premiere voice actresses within the industry. Maeno Tomoaki combined aloofness and edginess to depict a White Blood Cell, dedicated to maintaining peace in the human body by brutally exterminating invaders. We got a bit of blood inception going on, where the White Blood Cell was spattered by blood, only he is part of the blood himself. But I think it’s mainly just a representation of the cellular fluids, which are the blood equivalent for cells. Those platelets were exceedingly cute and need to be protected from external threats. I’d be devastated if any of them were hurt! Also, I thought it made sense to show the bacterium as being aliens (anyone reminded of Meruem?), that are forcefully deported via rocket sneezes. Still, makes me wonder what a cancer cell might be – a megalomaniac cell turned insane? I can’t wait to see that!
Where was this show when I was taking my GCSE Biology exams? This definitely could have stoked my motivation and aided in memorising important bits of information. Pay no mind to my digressions, as I’m sure it will help many younger anime fans who are about to reach that critical juncture in their lives. Still, I really do wish that there were more educational TV shows out there that served educational information in a more engaging format. There’s a real market for this niche out there, but I understand that it’s difficult to create a premise in the first place that can convey dry details in such an interesting way.
So Hataraku Saibou got off to an engaging start, and I was surprised at how much I was able to enjoy it, despite harbouring dislike towards biology as an educational subject. The comedy felt just about right, mainly thanks to Red Blood Cell’s struggles to find the lung, while the hamminess was generally reserved for moments concerning germ extermination. Despite the sheer amount of White Blood Cells/Red Blood Cells in the human body, I think it’s likely that these particular two will meet again, and go on to become our main characters. While this would be near impossible in the context of an actual human body, Hataraku Saibou has shown a willingness to flex its artistic license and rely upon suspending the disbelief of viewers. Not a bad thing at all, because I find the kooky absurdity to be brilliant! All in all, I really liked how the trillions of cells in our bodies were shown to operate as a society in their own right, having to deal with various problems on a day to day basis. It’s an intriguing premise that has piqued my curiosity, and I look forwards to watching this show throughout the summer!
ED: 「Cheers」by ClariS