Aggressive Retsuko (or Aggretsuko) is the newest anime from Sanrio. Despite its use of typical ‘kawaii’ animal characters, the show is a workplace comedy covering themes and humour that is better suited to adults than young children. The show follows Retsuko the red panda, she’s an overworked accountant who sings death metal karaoke as a way to vent her stress.
Despite being animals, the cast of Aggretsuko largely feel incredibly human. The 10-epsidoe series presents a lot of relatable scenarios, from worrying about morning routines to workplace relations. Retsuko struggles with the pressures of a high-stress job and has deep concerns about being trapped in a job she hates. A lot of her co-workers seem to be obsessed with social media and gossip, and they all regular drinking with other members of the office. Despite still being a fairly simplistic cartoon it still manages to create a feeling of regular office life (especially in Japan.)
For the most part the characters in the show feel grounded in reality, which is why I was a little disappointed in how Retsuko’s boss Ton (a literal pig) is basically just a predictable caricature of the most over-the-top awful boss. I was also confused as to whether or not Retsuko is supposed to be a character we feel sorry for or not, it’s heavily implied that she might not be putting in the best job performance but she never addresses this in favour of just venting.
Hopefully there’ll be a season two which focuses on further character development for Retsuko, along with the rest of her office mates. Overall Aggretsuko is a fun show, it’s short and easy to marathon and definitely not something you’d expect from Sanrio! Season 1 is now available on Netflix.