WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 9 of Cells at Work! CODE BLACK, "Calamity, Athlete's Foot, and the Meaning of Work," now streaming on Funimation
In Cells at Work! CODE BLACK Episode 9, diligent and hard-working AA2153 pushes himself past his limits and finds himself crumbling under the sheer amount of pressure he has self-imposed. AA2153 and U-1196 hard work often gets taken for granted. In all of the chaos that's happening inside this body, these two are the rays of hope -- but if too much of a burden is placed on them, everyone suffers.
Where are the White and Red Blood Cells?
As a result of all of the fights against viruses and bacteria, the number of White Blood Cells has been severely depleted and their absence couldn't have come at a worse time. Immunity is down, making the body even more vulnerable -- horrifying ringworms have started appearing in the testes and the feet. Even the Red Blood Cells have seen a decrease in numbers due to an iron deficiency. Compounded with the effects of stress, alcohol and smoking, any hopes of reproduction are also dashed.
U-1196 now has to run around the whole body by herself to kill hordes of bacteria that appear. She finds herself at the ends of her rope fighting an army of ringworms, and even with reinforcements, she's still horribly outnumbered. In top condition, the ringworms wouldn't even be that much of a concern, but given these strenuous circumstances, this is more than the White Blood Cells can handle. U-1196 has never looked this exhausted before.
The Pressure is On
As AA2153 makes his rounds, this is only the beginning of his problems. At first, he's being a really good senpai, showing the rookies the ropes and passing on knowledge that was passed down to him by his first mentor. However, as the day goes on, he starts feeling the stress of trying to get the younger Red Blood Cells to work just as fast as him without being mean to them.
He takes it upon himself to work harder and faster than he already is because he feels like he's the only one who's capable. While it looks like he's doing them a favor by covering up their mistakes and helping them out, it's hurting both the rookies and himself. It's not his intention, but when he shoulders all of their responsibilities, he's adding more to his plate and shows a lack of faith in his team's abilities.
Lessening the Burden
U-1196 and AA2153's relationship consists of the two motivating each other--whenever either of them sees the other giving it their all, they want to do the same. Seeing U-1196 and her friends continue to fight, even though all of the odds are stacked against them, fuels his desperation and despair. He understands the importance of delivering oxygen, but with the white blood cells working with limited hands, he believes it's up to him to keep the body alive for the sake of everyone else. He knows time's running out and his stress is at an all-time high.
Working himself to death does no favors for him or the body. CODE BLACK has already shown the repercussions of overworking yourself with the Killer T Cells. AA2153 isn't fighting a battle -- he's fighting a war and going all-out in the first stages of fighting will only backfire on him in the long run. AC1677 isn't slacking off -- he's letting his body recuperate and giving himself time to recover which is much more sustainable.
Earlier on, AC1677 tries to remind him that the body's health isn't a one-cell responsibility, which is something difficult for someone like AA2153 to grasp. Now he sees the big picture and realizes that he wasn't working alone, understanding that taking a small break wasn't the end of the world. Unfortunately, at the rate this body is deteriorating, how much more can it take?