5 things that make Cells At Work: Code Black different as a spin-off

·4-min read
Cells At Work Code Black is set in a “black” environment with poor living conditions. (Screenshot: Netflix)
Cells At Work: Code Black is set in a “black” environment with poor living conditions.

Most of us would know Cells At Work as an entertaining biology anime that throws light on how our human body cells function. What is less known is the fact that its popularity has given rise to a number of manga spin-offs. One such spin-off that has been made into an anime is Cells At Work: Code Black, which was released on Netflix last Friday together with season two of the original Cells At Work anime.

But how is it different from the original Cells At Work? Here are five things that make Cells At Work: Code Black stand out as a spin-off.

1. It is set in a “black” environment.

While Cells At Work is set in a healthy and lively human body, Cells At Work: Code Black, like its name suggests, is set in a “black” environment with poor living conditions. In Cells At Work, the working place of the cells are pictured as vibrant and positive. But in Code Black, the surroundings are filthy, and the body barely has enough nutrients and oxygen to go around.

The cells are also portrayed as if they're working in a terrible company – a body under stress and with reduced immunity. During the orientation for the Red Blood Cell newbies, it is all rainbows and unicorns. But the reality is the company is short-staffed, and there is never-ending work to do.

2. It adopts a darker and more serious tone.

Affected by the setting, the tone of Cells At Work: Code Black is generally darker and more serious. It has lost most, if not all of the comedic elements seen in Cells At Work, and has taken a more mature approach as well.

While Cells At Work explores more of the basic functions of the cells, Code Black covers more of the fire-fighting nature of the cells, doing their best to keep the body alive. The topics in Code Black are also more targeted at adults, touching on smoking, drinking and even sexual issues.

The cute, preschooler Platelets have been replaced by rude elementary school kids. (Screenshot: Netflix)
The cute, preschooler Platelets have been replaced by rude elementary school kids.

3. Its protagonists have swapped genders and the characters are more mature.

The most obvious difference in the characters is that the protagonists Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell have swapped genders. In Cells At Work: Code Black, the Red Blood Cell is illustrated as a struggling young man, while the White Blood Cell is a busty lady.

The narrators of both series are also different: Code Black is narrated by voice actor Kenjirou Tsuda, known for voicing Kento Nanami in Jujutsu Kaisen and Monspeet in The Seven Deadly Sins, while Cells At Work is narrated by voice actress Mamiko Noto, known for voicing Mavis Vermillion in Fairy Tail.

The other characters have also been given a more mature and tough appearance. Gone are the cute, preschooler Platelets, and in their places are rude elementary school kids. Even the Killer T Cell has aged and buffed up considerably.

4. It reminds you to take good care of your body.

If Cells At Work makes you understand your body better, Cells At Work: Code Black will make you treasure your body more. The story, which presents more deaths of the good cells, is the epitome of “you are what you eat.” Whatever detrimental things you put into your body, such as nicotine and alcohol, your body will have to work extra hard to get rid of these toxins. Before your body collapses from accumulated stress and illnesses, perhaps it is time to start to rethink our actions.

5. Its tone and art style are different.

Cells At Work is created by female manga artist Akane Shimizu, who shows more femininity in her story and characters. On the other hand, Code Black is written by Shigemitsu Harada and illustrated by Issei Hatsuyoshi. Both being male creators, their story and characters have a more masculine touch, and are more sexualised, in a sense. Although Cells At Work can be enjoyed by children, Cells At Work Code Black is more suitable for adult audiences.

Nevertheless, both Cells At Work and Cells At Work: Code Black have their own merits. They both help us gain more knowledge on our bodies in an entertaining fashion!

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