The cells return in the second volume of Cells at Work! Code Black, and they are as hard-pressed as ever to ensure the body keeps functioning. That becomes quite a struggle when the body itself is subject to all sorts of harmful behaviour.
This volume contains chapters six through to ten.
The cells that keep this body running are doing their best, but there’s only so much they can do against the abuse of an unhealthy lifestyle. A simple case of athlete’s foot is one thing, but a flood of caustic acid caused by a stomach ulcer is enough to make any cell think about a career change. It turns out that there’s only so much these hard-working cells can handle before the consequences turn as serious as a heart attack…
As with the first volume of Cells at Work! Code Black, the working conditions for the cells are incredibly poor. The body they are working in leads a massively unhealthy lifestyle, which in turn makes traversing the body difficult.
The complications come non-stop for the cells. There’s actually not that much of a focus on the White Blood Cell and her fights in this second volume – it is the male Red Blood Cell who gets most attention this time around.
He is pushed beyond his breaking point. Can’t really blame him, as it seems like he never gets a moment’s respite. Matters only turn worse when a certain event results in the loss of one his friends.
It is pretty easy to feel sympathy for all the cells that have to cope with such an unhealthy body. In the main Cells at Work! manga, there always seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Here, problems just pile on one after another.
This volume dials back the more adult content this time around – the penis is only mentioned in passing, and there are no topless female cells to be seen anywhere. It feels like some of the events covered her could easily take place in the main Cells at Work! manga, though I suspect they would have a much more optimistic outcome.
I still stand by my point that Cells at Work! Code Black is just the edgy version of Cells at Work!. Whether that is positive or negative is up for interpretation. Regardless, this volume was certainly effective at showing us what happens when the cells suffer far more than they can handle.