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Manga nutcracker #12 – Cells at Work

Vivi Vivi 09/05/2018 7 min read
Have you ever heard of “Data Manga”? Even if you haven’t, you will have no doubt seen it! With a plethora of manga and anime devoted to personifying everything, from swords and war machines to actual countries, “Data Manga” has revolutionized learning with action-packed, entertaining stories with endless possibilities.   So, for those wondering what actually happens when you catch a cold, feel run down or even what you’re handing over after each blood test, then I have the perfect manga for you!     Hataraku Saibou (English title: Cells at Work!)     Shimizu Akane Original run: 2015 ~ present Published by: Kodansha   ” Body cells working together to protect the human body from catastrophic invasions”         The average human body contains over 60 million cells and every one of them has a very specific job! Whether it’s fighting an injury, combating an illness or keeping nasty bacteria or allergies at bay, you can be sure the white blood cells, platelets, macrophages, memory cells, killer T cells, natural killer cells, B cells, mast cells and others, will be working hard to protect your body!   The protagonist of Hataraku Saibou is Red Blood Cell AE-3803. A slightly naive, yet responsible character tasked with carrying oxygen to other parts of the body.   While carrying out an errand in the vascular system, Red Blood Cell AE-3803 is suddenly accosted by a particularly nasty virus, intent on reaching the lungs to unleash untold damage.   Almost within the clutches of the virus, she is heroically saved by the tireless, yet eternally tired White Blood cell U-1146. Tasked with the endless role of eliminating threats to the body, the White Blood cells make for an exhausted bunch, further stressing just how hard our bodies work.  
  I was pleasantly surprised by Hataraku Saibou. As a rule, Data Manga tends to cover historical subjects such as international wars involving countries or inanimate objects, with a stress on learning. But with such a complicated subject as the human body, this Data Manga had a chance to offer us something new, fresh and hilariously funny!   Though the manga is loaded with technical terminology, the real life workings of the body are presented in such an entertaining way, you soon get the hang of the jargon. This is most felt during extreme scenarios when a crisis is about to hit.   The strong point for me in this manga is characterization. Create a a living character with a soul from an abstract or inanimate object, giving it a fitting personality. Manga being know for “relatable” characters and having a “soul”, Cells at Work is a great example on how to do it.   However, I was initially a little disappointed with Red Blood Cell AE-3803, the manga’s lead character. Being used to a protagonist that leads the action, as is often found in the typical “hero story” format, I immediately became frustrated with Red Blood Cell AE-3803 role as observer.   But the more I delved into the narrative, the more I realized that her naivety, energy and complete lack of fighting skills perfectly personifies her sole role in carrying oxygen, serves as our eyes as we journey with her throughout the human body. In a mirrored role, the White Blood Cells singular, constant task is to fight any and all threats to the human environment, giving these unsung heroes an exhausted, zombie-like appearance.   Every character has a very specific task, just like real cells within our bodies. Yes, the tasks appointed to the characters of Hataraku Saibou a very much within the confines of biology, but the possibilities of character personality and development are endless, proving Data Manga is nothing to “sneeze at”!!   Did you like this Manga ? What characters is your favorite ? Would love to hear your thoughts so follow me on Twitter – @SmacViVi Facebook – Vivi Fabbri Smac Don’t forget to use the #manganutcracker