June 19, 2021

Review: Cells at Work! Baby Volume 1

Cells at Work! Baby
Written and illustrated by Yasuhiro FUKUDA
Based on Cells at Work! by Akane SHIMIZU
Translated by Dean Leininger
Available now from Kodansha Comics
Review copy

Cells at Work! Baby is one of many spinoffs from the original Cells at Work! In this manga by Yasuhiro FUKUDA, the main character is a red blood cell going about her work, when the body she resides in is born. From there, the cells have to learn how to do their jobs and keep the baby healthy now that it is no longer a fetus supported by the mother's body.

Fukuda's art is adorable. It is very in line with the established style for types of cells from Cells at Work!, but using a chibi style to suit the fact that these are all baby cells. The red blood cell and her best friend, a hemoglobin-F red blood cell, also have very sweet adventures as they look out for each other and their body. The stories are all based around biological fact, with extra informational asides to provide more in-depth facts. Pediatrician Naoyo HASHIMOTO did serve as a medical editor to ensure that the facts in Cells at Work! Baby are accurate to current medical knowledge.

If I have one complaint, it is that generally the female characters are less competent than the male characters. (With the large exception of the mother's grown-up cells, seen shortly before the baby is born.) It's such a small thing that would have been easy to fix.

But overall, Cells at Work! Baby is a charming read about the intricate biology behind a baby taking its first breath and  developing an immune response to antigens. There's plenty of action in a baby's first days!

I think this is an adorable spinoff that is sure to appeal to fans of the original.

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