This past Friday (4/20), Netflix, in collaboration with Sanrio, released their new original series, Aggretsuko. Aggretsuko follows the life of a 25-year-old office worker named Retsuko. She is a soft-spoken and diligent worker with a cool head during the day, but after work she goes to a karaoke box to scream about her frustrations to the tune of death metal.
Simple in concept, it would be easy to dismiss Aggretsuko as a kiddie Sanrio show or a one-gag short anime, but after the first episode it proves itself to be much more. Tackling common issues with working as a woman in Japan, Aggretsuko builds a lovable (and hate-able) cast around moments of change in Retsuko’s day-to-day life.
The comedy in Aggretsuko is largely situation, deriving from office misunderstandings and interactions. There are some great gags around Retsuko’s Rage, but it’s far from the only joke the show makes. Still, some of the rage moments are fantastically used.
An aspect that is important to the show is that Retsuko is a working woman. Her issues, potential solutions, role models, and hurdles are inextricably female. This provides fertile ground for tackling issues and frustrations that women face in office environments as well as the way people deal with those frustrations.
Aggretsuko truly succeeds because of the strength of its characters. Nearly every character introduced, from the suck-up Tsubone, to the (literal) chauvinistic pig, Director Ton, to the powerful working woman Gori, can be summed up easily at first. However, much like our diligent protagonist, they all have more to them than we initially assume. As the series progresses, we begin to understand why people behave the way they do, and what got them to where they are now. The characters begin as stereotypes but build into something more real.
Aggretsuko builds its themes around the multifaceted natures of our lives. Retsuko may seem agreeable, and often is, but she isn’t just agreeable. She is afraid to show aspects of herself to her friends, and has to learn to open up. At the beginning of the show, nobody knows about her love of death metal, and it takes a lot for her to show that side to anyone.
All in all, Aggretsuko is a funny and poignant surprise of a show. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a workplace comedy, interested in Sanrio characters, or with 15 minutes to kill. It is available on Netflix in 10 15-minute episodes.
- The OP is fantastic. The combination of cute with metal works perfectly
- Fenneko is perfect and her laugh had me rolling
- I was really hoping they would make Tsunoda more complicated than she initially seemed and I was not let down.
- I’m a little sad the weasel is such a… weasel.