Poor Retsuko. She’s just your average red panda trying to make it in Tokyo. Currently, she works as an accountant at a big trading firm, but she doesn’t like it much. Her pig of a boss, Ton, shoves all his work onto her while he practices his golf swings. All she can do to work out her stress is sing death metal at her local karaoke bar. It helps calm Retsuko down, but it also makes her paranoids about how others view her. She’ll need to find a proper balance between her work and private life if Retsuko wants any chance of keeping her sanity.
Thoughts on Story
For a series by mega-corporation Sanrio, there’s a surprising honesty about the nature of the corporate world. Retsuko has no escape from this circumstances. We end Aggretsuko right where we started. She’s still getting verbally abused by Ton, there’s no sign of any career advancement, and Retsuko doesn’t even have any prospects outside the company. The only shift in Retsuko’s life is her outlook. She grows more comfortable with who she is, and that makes all the difference.
It’s this practicality in the overall story that allows the comedy to land its punches. It works because, thankfully, Aggretsuko does not overly abuse its central gimmick. While every episode ends with a requisite “Retsuko rage” moment, there’s a lot of fun that the show has with its other characters. There are a ton of incredibly funny, simple gags like Gori’s developing back pain from her necessary sexy walk, the yoga instructor’s insistence of repeating “Protein” and assuming everyone understands what he’s talking about, or even something as basic as Fenneko’s deadpan laugh.
Art and Animation
Aggretsuko uses its very child-like art style to make its messaging go down a little easier. For some reason, hearing that you need to drop a nice but boring boyfriend because he doesn’t consider your needs comes better from a cartoon eagle who wouldn’t look out of place in Hello Kitty. Maybe it’s because the extremely cutesy artwork keeps its tone from coming off as pretentious. A more realistic or traditional anime art style would make such advice tired, as it’s been done to death in other stories. In Aggretsuko though, the art keeps such a statement simple and genuine. You feel like you can trust it.
The only major issue with Aggretsuko is, ironically, the central gag that the show is built off of. Retsuko’s love of death metal works fine as a source of conflict for the character. However, it wears thin as a gag after the first time you hear it. It never really evolves as a joke, outside of one admittedly hilarious moment where you hear Ton’s own version of singing to relieve his stress.
Aggretsuko as a show thankfully doesn’t lean on it too much to carry the comedy.
The main gag that Aggretsuko is named for might wear a bit thin, there’s a lot to love. It manages to strike a balance between silly humor that a child could appreciate and pragmatic advice for adults to follow when they struggle with their careers. If you’re in the mood for a workplace comedy, give the series a shot. At only 10 episodes of 15-minute lengths, it’s an easy watch. Particularly a good watch for days when you just got chewed out by your boss.