By Yali Perez
It’s no surprise that we often turn to anime for escapism, as the medium often depicts worlds that are beyond our own reality.
There are worlds filled with reincarnated slimes, magical girls and demons working part-time jobs. But it’s not all fantasy and mysticism—sometimes anime takes the elements of our reality and turns them up a notch, like in science fiction.
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Each of the series below utilize the real-life basis of science and logic in unique ways, combining things like biology and technology with some fresh fiction storytelling.
Together, science anime series like Cells at Work!!, Dr. STONE and Otherside Picnic create entertaining experiences that allow us to learn something new every time we watch. Welcome to the many worlds of science in anime.
Cells at Work!!
Cells at Work!! takes place inside the human body, and its characters are the many entities that work hard to keep us going, visualized in a “humanlike” form. If we want to get technical, this series features a trillion different characters!
The story follows Red Blood Cell AE3803 and White Blood Cell U-1146 as they work to protect their body. It also has a concrete foundation in science. Red Blood Cells have the important job of delivering oxygen to different parts of the body. Without that oxygen, well, it would be a noticeably short anime.
And though there are fewer White Blood Cells in the body, they have different variations. U-1146, for example, is a Neutrophil whose job is to protect the body from pathogens that want to infect it. Think of him as your first line of defense.
You’ll also spot Killer T Cells, Macrophages, Eosinophils and B Cells, all variations of White Blood Cells, in the world of the body. They’re often depicted as heroic, but that’s because they are, taking on things like Cancer Cells, Pneumonia, the Flu, Food Poisoning and more!
Cells at Work!! depicts illnesses as monsters because to our bodies, well, they are! They interrupt the peaceful world of our systems and bring about some real chaos and damage. But above all else, Cells at Work!! is a show about YOU!
Watch Cells at Work!! on Funimation!
Ah, the Kingdom of Science. Dr. STONE is the story of Senku Ishigami who, after being petrified in stone for 3,700 years (along with the rest of humanity), tries to rebuild a scientific society quite literally from the Stone Age.
Quickly, Senku discovers that nitric acid could release people from their stoney slumbers, awakening his best friend Taiju and the brutish Tsukasa as some of his first. But a schism quickly forms between Senku’s ideal of rebuilding society to its former scientific glory and Tsukasa’s plans to burn it all down and govern by strength and power.
If you’ve been keeping up with the series, you’ll know that the two opposing sides have caused each other a bit of drama. Senku fights for a world of chemistry, machines, botany and biology, while Tsukasa focuses on strength, anatomy and physiology.
Much like Cells at Work!!, there’s a focus in Dr. STONE on human life and how amazing it actually is and how our life came to be. No, our ancestors weren’t petrified in stone, but they had humble beginnings, with no medicine, electricity or grocery stores to depend on.
And it’s that basis in human achievement that makes the world of Dr. STONE sing, as Senku uses the scientific method to create heat, medicine and clean water. Strength is important, sure, but it’s not the single solution to saving humanity.
Watch Dr. STONE on Funimation!
While the two series above feature worlds a bit closer to practical science, Otherside Picnic delves much deeper into science fiction anime. The latest from Steins;Gate director Takuya Satou, Otherside Picnic follows Sorawo and Toriko as they open “doors” to other dimensions.
Inside, parallel worlds are filled with monsters straight out of internet creepypasta. But together, they hop through the multiverse not only trying to survive these urban legend threats, but also manage the physical and psychological effects of moving through time and space. Oh, and falling in love. I’d rather take my chances with the creepypasta.
But in the real world of science, the concept of infinite worlds isn’t totally fiction. Many have studied the very real possibility that other universes exist, and theoretical physics is an actual branch that uses math and science to predict natural phenomena.
In Otherside Picnic, Sorawo and Toriko are sent to worlds at random. Many scientists believe these “doors” exist, through means of black holes, wormholes or magnetic forces. There’s also the theory that our own world is inside of a computer. Welcome to The Matrix.
Watch Otherside Picnic on Funimation!