Office life, karaoke, friendships, budding love, rap battles, death metal, aggression, Sanrio. What do all of these things have in common? Aggressive Retsuko (Aggretsuko).
Article by William Gray
Netflix released a new anime Aggretsuko last Friday April 20 as a joint project with Sanrio. Aggretsuko is 10 episodes long, each about 16-18 minutes. It is available to stream in the original Japanese with English subtitles and in English dubbed.
Warning: The rest of this review will contain spoilers! If you haven’t watched the anime, go spend two hours to binge on it. Otherwise, read on at your own risk…
Retsuko (a red panda) is a regular office worker who just tries to go to work and do her job to the best of her abilities. Her boss, however, just wants to spend his time verbally abusing his employees and playing golf. So, when Retsuko needs to let off steam, she goes to the karaoke bar and sings her heart out to death metal music. When two of her co-workers find out who she really is, they take her under their wings and try to teach her to be more honest with herself.
The rest of the cast includes the other accountants in her department: Tsunoda, Fenneko, Haida, and an old friend, Puko.
- Tsunoda (a doe) is the company kiss-ass who spends all day sucking up to the boss in order to stay in their good graces. As the show goes on, they manage to humanize her some (pun intended) so by the end, you don’t hate her as much.
- Fenneko (a fox) is Retsuko’s best friend at work and tries, in her own way, to encourage Retsuko to deal with her problems instead of just sucking it up.
- Haida (a hyena) is another of Retsuko’s closest work friends who is able to give the male perspective on a lot of the problems that arise.
- Puko (a cat) is an old friend of Retsuko’s from school and represents her complete opposite.
While Retsuko tries to be responsible and keep a steady job and a roof over her head, Puko is always travelling and never set down any roots.
This show is goofy and entertaining but at the same time it manages to touch on a lot of more serious subject matters. The boss of the accounting department where Retsuko works, Ton (who is conveniently enough an anthropomorphic pig), is constantly going on about how inferior women are and, at one point, he blatantly tells Retsuko that she needs to make him tea because that is a woman’s job. As she becomes friends with two co-workers, Gori and Washimi, they begin to make changes around the workplace.
By the end of the show, Retsuko has learned to embrace who she is and stop worrying so much about what other people think of her, which in turn helps her find the love the she was looking for the whole time.
The show keeps you entertained with its over the top characters and zany antics, while still having a message to get out to people: Be yourself and don’t take crap for who you are. All of the characters are multidimensional and relatable, reminding you of someone at every job you have ever worked; the suck-up, the brainy one, the one who gets along with everyone, the gossiper, and the hard worker.
Featured image credit: Netflix and Sanrio