In Episode 11 of Cells At Work! CODE BLACK, AA2153 deals with the emotional aftermath of losing his best friend, and makes a desperate plea.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 11 of Cells at Work! CODE BLACK, “Desperation, Gout, and Rebellion,” now streaming on Funimation, as well as discussion of suicide and depression.

Episode 10 of Cells at Work! CODE BLACK left AA2153 broken by the death of his best friend. Often, what accompanies grief following a traumatic loss is survivor’s guilt, which is exactly what Episode 11 deals with. Naturally, it’s extremely tough watching AA2153 try to come to terms with his grief, even coming very close to hurting himself. In fact, both AA2153 and U-1196 come to horrifying conclusions on their roles in the body. Every cell is doing everything they can to stay alive and keep the body alive, too, but ultimately, and tragically, it’s up to the host body to take care of himself, something the cells have little control over. In the end, the reality of this pushes AA2153 to make a desperate plea.

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AA2153 Mourns AC1677’s Death

cells at work code black ac1677 memory

AA2153 is a shadow of his former self in CODE BLACK at the moment, convinced that he’s the reason his best friend died. AC1677 was, after all, the one who urged him to run away, and the one who insisted on delivering the oxygen. In AA2153’s mind, if he had listened to AC1677, his friend would still be alive. When he finally leaves his apartment after untold time alone, he encounters one of the Ordinary Cells who used to invite AC1677 for tea. She happily tells him how proud AC1677 was. For AC1677, AA2153 was someone who would never betray him.

Hearing that, though, AA2153 runs for the spleen where red blood cells are filtered. Any RBC that’s not in tip-top condition is sent down a chute to be discarded. AA2153 walks through the detector but he’s deemed to be “healthy.” He begs Red Pulp, the one screening the red blood cells, to put an end to him because he isn’t someone who deserves to live — he betrayed his friend. Infuriated, Red Pulp reminds him that the spleen isn’t where useless cells are discarded and tells him to return to work.

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There’s a Grumbling in CODE BLACK’s Body

cells at work code black urate

The problems in CODE BLACK‘s body continue to be never-ending, from excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and greasy food consumption to sleep deprivation. Naturally, this outer trouble soon coalesces with AA2153’s inner turmoil. Disaster strikes in the form of bacteria in the big toe, creating a huge crystallized stone. Because this is the first time the immunity cells have ever encountered this pathogen, they have no choice to go into Battle Formation One, which involves bazookas and machine guns. But the stone is impregnable. Soon, the cells discover that the pathogen isn’t from the outside. Due to the abnormally high levels of uric acid, it turns into urate and triggers gout. If the White Blood Cells attack it, inflammation will occur.

U-1196 is horrified to realize that they’ve been harming instead of protecting the body, which is when AA2153 appears, carrying an iron pole. He’s come to a bitter and furious realization: No matter how many cells die, this body doesn’t listen nor care. So he puts it upon himself to make the change — swinging his pole around and screaming at the host to take care of his body, spurring others to do the same.

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AA2153’s Last Cry for Help

cells at work u1196 aa2153 hug

When the iron pole breaks, AA2153 switches to his fists, and his hands soon get bloodied. Unable to stand watching him hurt himself, U-1196 comforts him, understanding how he feels. The only thing they can do, she tells him, is to keep this body going for the sake of those who died. Most importantly, she states something that he didn’t know he needed to hear — it wasn’t his fault that his friend died, and, similar to what AC1677 said, he shouldn’t shoulder everything by himself.

The focus of both Cells at Work! and the CODE BLACK spinoff is physical health. But we often forget that mental and psychological health is just as important. Red Pulp didn’t understand why AA2153 was unfit to return to work because physically he was fine. That’s a prime example of not acknowledging that mental wellbeing is fundamental to health. If it hadn’t been for U-1196, AA2153 could have continued spiraling into darkness and guilt, emphasizing how important it is to look out for your friends and loved ones.

For more information on the warning signs and prevention of suicide, click here. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you live outside the U.S., click here for a list of international hotlines.

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