WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Cells at Work! Season 2, Episode 1, "Bump," now streaming on Funimation.
Cells at Work! is back and the Season 2 premiere episode places the spotlight on the smallest denizens of the human body: the platelets. The platelets are anthropomorphized as small, adorable children who wear side tote bags and look like kindergarteners headed off to school. Although they travel in a group, the focus is normally on Leader, the head of the division.
In the first episode of Season 2, however, the attention is on a trainee platelet, who finds herself struggling to keep up with the rest of her intrepid team -- and it's more adorable than ever.
Cells At Works!!'s Platelet-in-Training
White Blood Cell U-1146 doesn't get to interact with Red Blood Cell AE3803 that much in this episode, but he's strongly reminded of her when he encounters a lost platelet named Backward Cap while running after a germ. In a hilariously awkward moment of walking into what looks like a crime scene when it's just White Blood Cell doing his job, Backward Cap immediately apologizes for getting in his way. Similar to AE3803 in the first episode, Backward-Cap accidentally gets lost in the very confusing labyrinth of the human body. Even the way she falls backward and gets embarrassed is highly reminiscent of Red Blood Cell.
Because she couldn't do the primary clumping, Backward Cap decided that she had to improve so she wouldn't burden her team and left the platelets group. In order to get stronger, she's carrying double the amount of coagulation factors. Moved by her earnestness, U-1146 tells her that her resolve to get better will inspire everyone else to do the same.
A Bump in the Road
A huge earthquake-like disruption ruptures every capillary vein in its vicinity, flinging everyone up into the air. Strangely enough, none of the Red Blood Cells are leaving the wound, meaning the body must have gotten a bump on its head! White Blood Cell manages to get Backward Cap back onto the ground while White Blood Cell and his friend 4989 can't do much except getting stuck on the fibrin that gets laid out by the platelets.
The platelets make quick work of the wound but the area is extremely large. The group quickly gathers to form a primary blood clot, but Backward Cap isn't able to do it. It looks like the platelets won't be able to regroup in time until Megakaryocyte, the largest cell in the bone marrow that is responsible for producing platelets, yells at them for being incompetent. Instead of intimidating them into action, all of the platelets, especially Backward Cap, freeze.
The Gold Motivation
Since the fear tactic isn't working, Megakaryocyte switches gears and whips out her next best weapon: bribery in the form of a gold medal. Suddenly, all of the platelets are energized and form a primary blood clot, but it's shaky -- none of them had managed to successfully do one before. To make things worse, the hand-off of the final coagulation factor between Backward Cap and Leader don't go smoothly and it falls into the abyss. Backward Cap leaps in and catches it but nobody is there to save her... until the platelets, inspired by her act of courage, work together, form a clump, and save Backward Cap. They manage to pull each other up back to safety and stop the hemorrhage. Moved by everyone's collective efforts, despite the mishaps, Megakaryocyte rewards every one of them a gold medal.
Cells At Work!! once again proves its prowess in combining science education with humor and drama. Compared to the Season 1 premiere, this episode isn't as action-packed, but it shines a light on the supporting characters. In a slightly different approach to the concept of overcoming obstacles to become stronger, Backward Cap still wasn't able to form a primary blood clot, but her positive attitude and bravery spurred on her teammates. This reinforces a theme that the show has always focused on: the human body is a system where various cells must work together to keep it functioning. It's a team effort.