Aggretsuko was originally an animated short made in 2016 and recently got made into an original series in 2018 by Netflix with 10 episode, with them being 15-18 minutes long. The anime is made by Sanrio, the people behind Hello Kitty. I was browsing Netflix and saw this as a new released and I said why not give it a chance after seeing the trailer for it. Two days later I finish the show and was pleasantly surprised as this show manage to be both relatable and charming.
The anime is a comedic slice of life, with anthropomorphic animals. The main story revolves around the main character Retsuko, a female red panda, being frustrated with her office job in accounting with a literal pig as a boss being sexist and angry all the time. She is timid, nice and hardworking and is taken advantage of with piles of work, with her outlet for her frustration being Death metal.
The anime manage to be relatable. The story despite having talking animals, looking cute and being made by the people behind Hello Kitty, is quite grounded with the characters being relatable and the world feeling real even if it is exaggerated at times for comedic purposes. As it does revolve around Retsuko going through a quarter-life crisis, as she finds herself stuck in a dead-end job, and wanting to quit. The story seems to be aimed at young adults as they do have lots of things that people at that age can relate to. Not knowing where their life is going, and the fearful thought of having to be stuck in a job they hate and trying to find ways around that, either through a lucky opportunity or getting married or the thought of moving back to your parents. As a twenty-something person behind in school with only an associate, I can relate to what Retsuko is going through and want to root for her. And that is because the world is grounded and does feel like real life. For example, the scene where Retsuko is going through the mall and having the salesperson of a clothing store asking her to sign up for a stupid program (fun fact, my first job was being a salesperson for a clothing store). Which is not something you expect with the art style being that of Hello Kitty, giving you a false sense of security that you going to watch a cute show, but instead is a world that equally sucks as much as the real world. Which is not me saying the show is depressing, is no Bojack Horseman, and there is lots of fun to be had, but it does tackle lots of real-world problems. The show tackles lots of the problem woman face in the workplace, without it feeling like is making all man evil sexist pig, aside for the literal pig, which even then there is some humanity to him. While it is made in Japan and meant to be more about the workplace in Japan, it still is relatable here because bullshit like this is unfortunately universal. It is an anime that is about women empowerment without trying to shove an agenda and is not afraid to let the main female character have flaws. Because in some respect it is because of Retsuko inability to stand up for herself, that is the reason she is taken advantage of. While the two CEO friend she makes later have to be aggressive in their jobs to be successful, and that hard work and being kind is unfortunately not enough in today environment. Their many ways you can interpret the message of the show, and it never feels like there's a clear moral lesson. Is what you take and I do really enjoy that about the show. Also, it does tackle love in a way I have not seen in a while that did felt a bit refreshing, but honestly as a whole, I did not care for it to be honest compared to her struggle with work. The story manages to be relatable and has lots of great subjects that the show does handle very well.
Throughout the show I did find myself laughing or at least smiling quite a bit. As the show can actually be quite funny and has its charm. I do like that the comedy does mainly come from the frustration of Retsuko everyday life, whether it be waking up early for work, being asked to do someone else work etc. Because again you can relate to that pain and comedy does come from pain and misery. Also, they will have brief segments where Retsuko will go full death metal which is fun to see, but I did wish it did play a bit more into the story. Because it is a fun gimmick and is meant to be a contrast of Retsuko nice and timid demeanor into someone who is full of rage as she sings at the top of her lungs in a fiery pit of rage. Is an exaggeration of her rage that many people can understand and can be fun to watch Retsuko let out her frustration. That being said for someone who said she into death metal and it's her life, her room does not reflect that, which I find odd and I did wish they would get more into why she fell in love with death metal. I mean I get it she used it as an outlet for her frustration, but I cannot help but think of the movie Deathgasm ( a fun movie, by the way, it has a scene of a zombie being killed with a dildo) and how it managed to use thematic theme of death metal into the movie. I wish it would have done something like that to make it less of a gimmick since it is a big part of Retsuko. That being said those are still really fun scenes and some of them were vital to the story, and the death metal in the English dub is great. Actually, the English dub was great with great comedic timing and all the voices matching the characters. While the Japanese voices are not bad at all, the death metal singing in the Japanese version just sounds awful in my opinion. I love Japanese music, but Japanese death metal honestly just sound like garbage to my ears. I mean sure the English dub does have some small changes for those purists out there who hate those things, but to be honest that just have to happen sometimes to fit the script and make it funnier. In my opinion this just something that just does feel more natural in English dub, probably because the animation does lend itself more to it. So yes I am saying the dub is better than the sub, you can crucify me, but I will stand by it.
As for the side characters, they were both 2D and 3D. In that some were just stereotypical characters, like the awful boss pig acting like a pig, the lizard secretary being a scaly woman, and the deer acting all innocent and cute, etc. Basically, you do have some characters basically have some characteristic of the animals they are which is actually quite funny, but can come off as 2-dimensionally. That being said for example the awful boss pig does have some moment where you can see his humanity, and even though that does not change the fact that he is awful, it does let audience see that there is a person behind his aggressive demeanor and we do sort of see why he acts the way he does. Plus the friends of Retsuko were genuinely fun and supportive, and you did buy their friendship and they gave her some great advice. Especially the CEO friend who does play more of a major role in her character. That being said, my favorite side character was Fenneko who is basically a sly fox hipster that is goth without being goth with lots of great deadpan delivery. Basically being the opposite of the deer who is a total goody two shoes who sucks up to the boss and act all sweet and innocent. Fenneko just got a bunch of great lines with the English voice actor making the delivery hit home. Overall the side characters were great, while some might just be simply there for easy gags (which again some of them is genuinely funny), some are there to feel like actual characters that do help with the character development of Retsuko. That being said I did hate the fact that the space cadet character did not get more development. He was one character I wanted to have something more to him instead of just being plain white bread. But Protein Pig was one character that I absolutely found hilarious and glad that he was just a joke character, so I guess that makes up for it.
The animation is cute and colorful, as it is made by Sanrio and have the same similar style to Hello Kitty chibi art. To be honest this type of animation never appeal to me, but I do think the contrast of both death metal and the world basically being the same miserable place as reality does make it work. That being said I do hate that the opening is really short, as I wanted some cool looking death metal opening, maybe something similar to the Asudeko music video from the anime seven mortal sin which was totally badass. That was a mild disappointment, my other disappointment is that they did not get that creative with Retsuko Death metal scenes, as they all felt similar from an animation standpoint, and I did wish they got more creative and went all out. I mean there were several chains saw moments in the original shorts apparently from the random clips I saw online, which would have been cool to see. Also, the show is done with flash animation I believe, which I have no problem with since it does work for the art style and has lots of great fun facial expression. Plus the character designs are decent, with lots of great variety with the animals. Plus the anime did get a good amount of laughter and smiles from me and that is because the animation knows how to not only have funny lines, but have the animation reflect that, not just by facial expression, but either having the characters just stop at their track or have been absurd in an otherwise grounded show. The animation manages to have its charm, and make the show a fun time.
I know many people love Devilman Crybaby and B: the Beginning, but for me personally when it comes to Netflix Orginal anime (that are actually original and not them grabbing the right to stream them months later when people stop caring), this is my personal favorite. It manage to be relatable while also being fun and charming. It made me want to root Retsuko character all the way with a great cast and a great English dub. I give this anime a B+
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT