If you’re a big fan of the Platelets from Cells at Work! and can’t wait to see their escapades in the upcoming Cells at Work! film, then this manga spinoff might just be what you need to get you through. Like the other spinoffs Cells at Work and Friends! and Cells at Work! Baby, this manga moves away from using White Blood Cell and Red Blood Cell as the main duo, and instead concentrates on other characters.
While Cells at Work! Platelets of course teaches science like other titles in the franchise, it feels as if this manga is more about the cute factor than the education factor. The little girls who make up the platelets try to figure out tea etiquette, play games in the sand, and get stickers if they work well. There’s even the comment “The platelets’ adorableness is a source of nourishment for the other cells.”
There are a number of plays on words that don’t translate to English well, so they’re explained. (If you are wanting to learn Japanese, though, this will give you some ideas on vernacular speaking.) There are pop culture references, like a spoof of the Power Rangers, but also a reference to Japanese poetry.
We don’t see too many of the Bad Guys in this manga, though there is a part when Platelet Splash Curl tries to make friends with Bacterium, but ultimately she just keeps him around until White Blood Cell can arrive. Compared to other fight scenes in this franchise (say, all the times White Blood Cell gets covered in blood while fighting) this is mostly just about being cute. Coming in at just 120 pages, Cells at Work! Platelets feels sweet, innocent and light. It was supervised by original creator Akane Shimizu and is a digital release.
Original Story: Yuko Kakihara
Original Concept: Akane Shimizu
Publisher: Kodansha USA
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.