Aggretsuko: If Hello Kitty was a Death Metal screamo

At my age one would imagine that I’d have outgrown my weeb phase and moved onto more adult forms of entertainment. However, I am happy to say that simply isn’t the case.

For those of you who know me, I’ll do my best to catch up on the years I was away, and for those of you who don’t, you can find out all about me on my social media, or come and join me on Twitch during the week. Besides my bad anime habit, I am an artist and streamer who just wants to draw chibi gaming characters and play Gwent.

But enough about me. It’s time to discuss my latest Netflix obsession:

A little series called Aggretsuko

When I heard that Netflix was going to start its own anime section, I’ll admit I was a little suspicious. Many TV networks have tried this before and it usually ends in limited content that’s played on a continuous loop, leaving their audience uninterested and dissatisfied. This was the case in South Africa with the now defunct Animax. But given Netflix’s history of excellent content creation and selection – I really wanted to see what they had to offer and if their on-demand format would make my viewing experience any different. I finally gave in and committed to getting my very own Netflix account.

As luck would have it, I didn’t even have to use a search bar to find this series as it appeared when I had finished selecting my preferences on my brand new account. I hadn’t been with Netflix more than 5 minutes and they already knew me inside and out. So there it was, just begging to be watched.

Now you should know that I don’t like spoilers. I had never read about this show or discussed it with any one and I was entering this experience completely blind, but it was totally worth it.

What’s so great about Aggretsuko?

Aggretsuko is a gem created for Sanrio, the studio that reimagined Hello Kitty and its merchandising empire. It was written and directed by Rarecho and was originally aired by TBS Television back in 2016 under the name Aggressive Retsuko. It was later picked up by Netflix who ran the series in March of 2018 and shortened the title to Aggretsuko.

It’s the story of an overly timid office worker with a rather quirky coping mechanism. Retsuko is your average office accountant by day and karaoke death metal scream queen by night. In fact, she’s so average I almost mistook her for a wanna be magical girl from Mew Mew Power, but give her 10 minutes and she’ll be spitting Slipknot lyrics in a bathroom stall on her lunch break. Despite her occasional outbursts, Retsuko tries incredibly hard to keep everyone happy in the hopes that it will stop them from dumping work on her. But this has the opposite effect and she gets closer and closer to a melt down each day.

The mounting pressure forces her to search for a way out and she decides that she needs to get married in order to escape her job and live a simpler life as a housewife. This is where her whole life changes and she begins to find out things she never knew about herself and her co-workers.

At first glance the characters themselves aren’t very deep, and the series seems like a light hearted parable with a death metal punchline.

But it soon turns into a refreshingly realistic look at society and the pressures of office life. Aggretsuko makes a point of showcasing why each character behaves the way that they do rather than using the usual hero/villain dynamic. It’s a story about growing up and growing into one’s own skin while dealing with the challenges presented by an office environment. It doesn’t really matter what age you are when you watch it, Aggretsuko will always have something new to teach you. Whether you are in your early 20s just entering the workforce or nearing your early thirties and relate to Retsuko’s experiences.

A word of caution though: If you do decide to share this series with your spawn, there is a fair amount of swearing, drinking, and obviously death metal.

What’s not so great?

At times the animation is a little jarring. Frames are held in suspension for too long creating the sensation that your Netflix player has frozen. But beyond that this series is amazing.

Hopefully I’ve managed to write a spoiler free review and I’ve given you all the motivation you need to watch this sickeningly sweet series. And if you are worried about not having a Netflix account well then you’re in luck because Netflix is free for the first 30 days that you use it! After which it’s only $13 and that’s a pretty fair deal if you ask me.

So grab your popcorn, open an account and let the magic begin. As for me, I’ll be getting stuck into some Castlevania for my next review and I’ll see you all later. Ok. Bye now.

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