Friday, 27 April 2018


You go to work, get pissed off, then you go to a karaoke bar and belt out some death metal. It's a simple premise, by Netflix latest Aggretsuko, based on the Sanrio mascot, delivers an engaging and rapidly addictive show that you can binge watch in the same time it takes you to watch Infinity War. While presented as bright and kawaii, it doesn't take long for the show to get serious, and it delivers its best insights when cutting as close to the bone as it can get.

Retsuko is a little red panda who just wants to be happy. Unfortunately, she's been working five years in a soul-crushing accounting job, and has to deal with annoying colleagues and a sexist (literal) pig boss called Mr Ton, who doesn't hide his contempt for her at all. You've got a pretty realistic portrayal of a draining work environment: the pissant kiss-ass; the gossip; the flattering kiss-ass; the senior whose always trying to prove how bad at your job you are. Watching this, you have to start mopping the sweat away from your brow, has the director been spying at my workplace? Fortunately, Retsuko has a good way to let off steam privately, and that is a good old rant, but sung in roaring death metal form.

It is an understatement to say that Retsuko hates her job, and she comes up with plans to quit which are quickly proven to be pipe dreams. However, she is not the type to cruise through life, and she genuinely tries to make an effort at work, even if it thrown back in her face often. Luckily, she has friends that can tell her when she's being to wistful or too harsh on herself. Problems arise, and Retsuko is often having to deal with the very mistakes that she lead herself into.

Truly the most impressive thing about the show is its insightful storytelling. Each character may seem cliched at the start, but they turn out to be each struggling with their own problems, and Retsuko has to decide if she will hold these people in contempt or embrace solidarity with them. For such a cutesy show, things are not all happy ever after either. Indeed, her situation has not changed much, but it is her mindset that does, begging us as an audience to question if we too can live with the mundanity of life and all its disappointments in the same spirited way.


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