Cells at Work! Code Black

Alt title: Hataraku Saibou BLACK

TV (13 eps)
3.851 out of 5 from 2,980 votes
Rank #1,776
Cells at Work! Code Black

A rookie Red Blood Cell has been bustling about, frantically making oxygen deliveries all around the body! But his workplace is on the brink of going Code Black!! Drinking, smoking, stress, sleep deprivation... Struggling to survive a life not unlike the brutal corporate world, what must these overworked cells be thinking at the end of the day? This is a tale about the inside of your body...

Source: Funimation

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Come for the demented twist on that family-friendly edutainment cartoon, stay for the accidental glorification of the work ‘till you drop office lifestyle. Or maybe not. The Code Black label references a work environment so toxic and so far up shit’s creek, that dying on the job becomes as normal as clocking in for your seventh overtime in a row. Of course, as your heroes in this sordid story are human red blood cells, the poor shmucks don’t really have much of a choice except to keep working until they die. If they don’t, then their human body will collapse and they’ll all be out of a job. And then, they will die. And then, whoever owns this shitty body they’re in will also die. You’d think the human body setting sets up a solid excuse for the show to impart whatever morals it wants to set because simply walking off the job would mean the person straight-up dies, which gives your chosen morals no other alternative except to be proven right. Still, the longer this goes on, the more it becomes obvious that a lot of what’s going on only serves to guilt-trip the viewer for even thinking of quitting their job. To give up on the job entirely is to die. Sort of blah for us. Not so hot for any of the cells here who barely have any lives outside of their jobs. Which might be what the show wants to express anyway, although it’s clear it’s not all intentional. This is still a dark twist to the Cells at Work series so most of the story beats are par for the course, but because of its setting and the mortal importance of these cells’ jobs, the Code Black version does come with a bunch of unfortunate implications. It wants to promote workplace honor and loyalty, but it ends up accidentally forcing you to chain yourself to your job instead. Not helping the show’s cause is its ultra-generic main character, a red blood cell mostly known for being the company suck-up. In a workplace with such a fatalistic mindset, it’s no wonder everyone else here is just as extreme as their office. If you’re not expressing a desire to get married to your job, then you must be a slacker and totally undeserving of your station. Nuance flies out the window when lives are at stake and it turns out human body cells are no different. But hey, there’s this entire bit they do about that Particularly Pressing Problem of erectile dysfunction, so that should at least make things somewhat better. It’s just too bad the show – heh – blows its load too early by throwing that bit at us in the third episode. This means everything after that’s a nosedive into hollow speeches of workplace integrity and unsettling messages of giving up your entire personality if it will mean seeing the company prosper. But at least you’ll learn to take care of your body better now, huh?

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