Cells at Work!! The Strongest Enemy Returns. An Uproar In The Body’s Intestines! Movie Review

Cells at Work!, the anime about anthropomorphized cells working in the human body, gave me many fond memories simply for being such an adorable anime. As a big fan of the series, I was excited for the movie’s release as it seemed like a good complement to maintain the hype before the franchise’s second season and Cells at Work! CODE BLACK spin-off premiered next season. 

Cells At Work!! The Strongest Enemy Returns. An Uproar In The Body’s Intestines! details the adventure of Normal Cell and White Blood Cell, who are helping the four Lactic Acid Bacteria reunite with their friends. The secondary plotline depicts Killer T Cell, NK Cell, and White Blood Cell facing off against the original series’ antagonist Cancer Cell, who has been revived. 

The movie is a mostly lighthearted affair with many doses of cuteness and informative tidbits about different cells. This is consistent with how the series has presented itself within the franchise. For example, the movie introduces us to the function of various lactic acid bacteria via different situations, such as in the small intestine. One of the lactic bacteria, who breaks down excess waste products, chomps the pudding-like waste product like a child with shining eyes devours candy. The cuteness goes even further when the tiny Lactic Acid Bacteria constantly gather around Normal Cell for comfort and bounce around him. With such adorableness appearing throughout the movie, I badly wanted to squeeze the lactic bacteria tight in a hug at many points.

However, the plot sometimes gets a little messy because the movie tries to interweave both plots together with mixed success. The plot with Lactic Acid Bacteria is comedic, while the plot with Cancer Cell has a more serious tone in contrast. Because of the different tones between the two plotlines, I didn’t immediately realize that the plots are connected. This made for a disjointed experience. Additionally, the movie felt a bit dragged out and thinly-spread at two hours.

Fortunately, the focus on comedy makes the plot’s confusing points and drag less glaring, and the wacky comedy hit the right notes. My favorite moment was Dendritic Cell’s attempt to “motivate” the cells during a battle by digging out boxes of their photographed embarrassing moments and throwing them into the streets for them to see. The red-faced reactions of the cells screaming “Noooo!” while watching their compromising photos exposed to the world left me struggling to hold in my laughter. The true clincher was seeing the photo of an embarrassed NK Cell in a maid outfit, which is the complete opposite of the tough-as-nails and sharp-tongued image she usually has.

Cells at Work! would be incomplete without its colorful cast. Fans can look forward to the movie’s characters, who are all familiar faces except for Lactic Acid Bacteria. Most people might imagine these bacteria to be quite unflattering considering their shape in real life, but the staff did a great job of transforming these helpful microbes into absolutely the cutest-looking jelly bean-shaped things. They can honestly compete with the Platelets (remember their “Ano ne, ano ne”?) in terms of cuteness. Aside from the interactions between the characters, this cuteness is what keeps the movie from feeling stale.

The movie’s comedy and lightheartedness was a breath of fresh air and provides an escape from reality, which I think many would appreciate in our current circumstances. If you do plan to watch it, don’t think too deeply about the plot, and you’ll laugh your heart out.

An avid gacha game (think Fate/Grand Order, Genshin Impact, 食物语) player, you can find Crystal thinking about food if they're not playing games.
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