Manga of the Month: Cells at Work!

Cells at Work! by Akane Shimizu

narutaki_icon_4040_round If someone told me that my new favorite manga would be about the internal workings of the cells in the human body, I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we are!

In Cells at Work!, Akane Shimizu takes the many cells that keep our bodies running and imagines them as humanoid characters working in complex company systems. For example, the red blood cells are depicted as a shipping company ala Fedex with hundreds of workers running here and there with carts of packages to be delivered.

Our leads are Red Blood Cell  (RBC from here on) and White Blood Cell (WBC from here on), you have to know them by sight since there are hundreds of other red and white cells running around the series. WBC is a no-nonsense, precise, doer who goes to any length to protect and eradicate any threat to the body. RBC a hard-working, bright newbie to the delivery company and often runs into WBC on her errands around the body. RBC is often the point-of-view character to what all is happening.

The stories are episodic with a chapter, sometimes two, taking on various illnesses or other happenings in the human body. I’ve thus far learned about allergies, the creation of cancer cells, what happens when the body gets a scrape, and more! Each chapter has some asides which are no intrusive to explain terminology or give more information about a given subject.

Learning is great! But the thing that makes Cells at Work!, well . . . work, is the comedy. Each character has an over-the-top personality and everyone takes their jobs very seriously. Bickering, side comments, rivalries, mishaps, and everything in between pepper this series with a big dose of humor.

Cells at Work! is a delightful, laugh-out-loud way to learn about the mysterious inner workings of the human body.

~ kate

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: That Which Created the Transported to Another World Genre

Discotek is trying a little streaming experiment. They’ve subtitled the first episode of a 1986 anime version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and put it up for free on YouTube. If enough interest is shown, they will subtitle and release more episodes streaming. The previously dubbed international version will be released on BD/DVD in August.

My knowledge, and many of you may be the same, of The Wizard of Oz story begins and ends with the classic 1939 film. Which got me pondering how many kids haven’t seen The Wizard of Oz MGM movie and how much or little familiarity anyone going into this series would be.

hisui_icon_4040_round World Masterpiece Theater is an interesting case where you can clearly see the difference between American and Japanese anime fandom. In Japan these are classic anime remembered fondly as entertainment for the whole family along the lines of the most beloved Disney and Pixar films. They were worked on by titans of the anime industry, have influenced many animators in Japan, and continue to have a lasting impact on the industry. In America, there are several fans who have taken an interest in individuals shows or sometimes even the whole series but they are hardly the norm. I would wager that more people know of Rocky Chuck the Mountain Rat as that show “Andes Hedgehog Mountain Chucky from Shirobako is based on” than as a show of the classic World Masterpiece Theater series. I admit both groups are fairly small but the first is larger than the second.

Now The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not a part of the World Masterpiece Theater series but it is very clearly a show that was made to capture that same feeling. In fact, the producers of the anime had Junichi Seki, who was a veteran of the World Masterpiece Theater, do the character designs on this show. That means if you were unaware there was a Wizard of Oz anime you would hardly be alone. Since Discotek does have a penchant for selecting titles that have some sort of fan following the series did get an English release back in the day from HBO. I never knew this existed but I’m sure it made some amount of a fanbase that would like to see the original thanks to a bit of nostalgia.

So we have a series that has flown under the radar for quite a while but has a fairly impressive pedigree. Wizard of Oz is a beloved children’s series of books and it was adapted during a golden age of children’s anime. I was very curious to see how this dream team worked together. Continue reading

Kotomine’s Salty Mapo Tofu: A Fate/Grand Order Review

hisui_icon_4040_round The stars have aligned and so it is finally time for me to write a review for Fate/Grand Order. First of all, Kate is on vacation so I decided to try to fill the holes for the Monday slot. I usually treat myself to one utterly decadent post whenever I have full control of the blog. The second reason is the fact that this summer the English version of the game should be out and I’m sure a good number of people will be looking for reviews. I’m only too happy to accommodate that desire. The last reason is that the second anniversary is also coming up soon. The game initially came out in a rather prototype version so it has changed a lot since it first came out. I will get more into it in the meat of the review but these games are built with a long tail model development model in mind. This means the current game is a little closer to definitive review as one can get with something like a MMORPG that is constantly evolving. This is not the game’s final form but it has enough of its main concepts fleshed out that until a major expansion either sinks or elevates the game to new heights at this point the general rhythms of the game have been established.

As a free to play game you can sink a good deal of time (and amusingly enough money) into the game so it better be good. How has the game shaped up after two years of developments?

Continue reading