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Why You Should Watch Aggretsuko
Aggretsuko is an anime that combines Sanrio’s kawaii powers with death metal and the struggles of having an office job. The result is epic. Light spoilers ahead.
Aggretsuko was created by Sanrio, the company that’s famous for creating Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll, My Melody, and a diverse array of other cute characters. Unlike Sanrio’s other creations, this show was made specifically for people who have jobs. Notably, people in the workforce with oppressive jobs, especially office jobs like the one Retsuko (the main character) has. Although many adults (like myself) enjoy Sanrio, adults often aren’t Sanrio’s target audience.
The title Aggretsuko combines the words “aggressive” and “Retsuko.” Once you learn more about her, you’ll understand what’s so aggressive about her. If you’re looking for a show that understands your everyday working struggle, this show just might be better than a glass of Hello Kitty wine.
Retsuko is a 25 year-old red panda who works in an office. She constantly deals with issues surrounding her oppressive job like her sexist boss, her higher-ups pushing work onto her, gossiping coworkers, navigating personal relationships, and more.
The story not only follows her experiences in the workplace, but how she deals with her struggles after the fact. Her coping mechanism is shocking: She sings death metal at a karaoke joint after work. Sometimes, she even takes a breath to do death metal screams in the bathroom. Her aggressive death metal singing contrasts her everyday personality, one that is responsible, timid, and used to taking crap from her bosses.
Death metal is the cherry on top of this anime’s sundae. However, the death metal doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the story by playing the entire time. If you don’t enjoy death metal, you won’t be inundated with a constant death metal soundtrack just by watching this anime.
Aggretsuko is relevant to how we relate to our jobs. Almost everyone I know who has seen this show comments on how easy it is to relate to Retsuko. She hates her job, something that many people relate to. In the United States, almost 70% of workers aren’t happy their jobs. This anime takes place in Japan, a country where workplace pressure in Japan is especially high. Nearly one fifth of employees in Japan are at risk of dying from being overworked. The extra work piled on employees like Retsuko is an actual health risk.
Retsuko is animated proof that working often involves high levels of physical and mental stress. In real life, stress can kill you or, at the very least, give you physical symptoms.
Retsuko is also easy to relate to because she goes through what so many other young people and workers go through. She deals with sexism and the gender expectations of others making life more difficult. She struggles with interpersonal relationships at work, but still manages to find friends. She fantasizes about marrying a rich man and quitting her job for good. Retsuko wants to leave her job, but simply needs the money to pay rent.
This anime takes some turns that you wouldn’t expect. Despite this anime’s simple premise, the plot engages you with its familiar situations and believable characters. Although Retsuko’s target audience is older, people of any age can enjoy this anime. It’s just easier to relate to if you’ve ever had a job like Retsuko.
Retsuko’s job is filled with all kinds of different animals. This reminds me of how it can feel when you’re working at a job: like you’re interacting with a completely different species. Retsuko sometimes sabotages her own happiness, but coming to terms with life and its faults is a part of her journey.
There will be a second season coming out. I can’t wait for it to come out! This has become one of my favorite anime shows and I highly recommend it to everyone.