Cells at Work!: Vol. 1

Kodansha. Nov. 2016. 192p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781632363565.
Gr 9 Up–Red Blood Cell, an anthropomorphized cell, would love nothing more than to simply do her job in the human body. However, with so much bacteria floating around, things just never seem to go as planned. With maladies such as pneumococcal disease or influenza plaguing this particular human, everyday seems to bring about some sort of DEFCON 1 situation. The book also features Red Blood Cell’s other buddies inside the human body, such as the strong White Blood Cell, platelets, and Killer T’s. Learning about anatomy has never been more fun! This title is edutainment at its finest, an absolute dream franchise from an educator’s standpoint. The scientific descriptions provided by the mangaka are clear and expressive, keeping readers engaged and informed. A great deal of artistic detail is dedicated to the panel backgrounds and to the various character designs that dwell within the unseen human host. The pacing is quick and intense, making even a mundane ailment such as a scrape of the knee feel like the sky is falling; readers will be on the edge of their seat to learn how the human body will get out of the latest pinch it finds itself in. The characters all have distinctive personalities and have their opportunities to stand out.
VERDICT If there ever was a title to boost the movement that graphic novels should be in the classroom, it’s this one right here. The anime concluded in early 2021.

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