Aggretsuko: Season One
May 10, 2018 6:13 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Meet Retsuko, an accountant at a Japanese trading firm. She has an abusive shitty boss and spends her time being treated like shit and being overloaded with work. After work, she sings death metal karaoke.

Netflix show, 10 episodes of 15 minutes each. Brought to you by the people at Sanrio.

You Should Be Watching: Aggretsuko

The angry red panda that is Japan's new working woman ”Sanrio says the designer, who goes by the name of Yeti, wants to remain anonymous. But through the company's corporate communications department, the designer said: "I observed office workers who are at the centre of Japan's corporate culture and I could hear their heartfelt screams."

Netflix’s Aggretsuko is the cutest show about women’s workplace misogyny on TV. ”Retsuko spends her working days forcing down not only her anger but her entire personality, to the point where she is deemed a complete pushover by everyone around her. Co-workers force extra work onto her, knowing she won’t say no, while her boss reduces her to the role of glorified maid simply because he can. Even her friends can’t help but point out how “nice” and “responsible” she is, as if that’s compensation for feeling like dirt every day. Too many women I know are familiar with that feeling, and the forced obligations that come with it.
Part of bottling up all that female rage is donning the facade of acceptable femininity for the public to consume. You can’t be angry, so you make yourself small and quiet and adhere to every demand made of you. You don’t make a fuss, you don’t make men mad, and you certainly don’t assert yourself as any sort of authority. Retsuko wants more from her life, but she’s so worn down from bending over backwards to suit everyone else’s needs that she’s not sure how she can evolve.”

Watching Cartoon Animals Grapple with Capitalist Misogyny Will Fuck You Up ”"After I count to 10, I’ll be a mild-mannered employee," Retsuko tells herself, and we see her force her emotions down once again, swallowing her rage to get through another day.
Over ten 15-minute episodes, we watch Retsuko navigate the rat race: She works for a brutish pig whose personal mission is to make her life a living hell. She wants to quit but can’t or won’t. She skates by on her meager salary to fund her rent, drinking habit, and death metal karaoke sessions that function as therapy. She aches for a change in her life but lacks the guts and imagination to do anything about it.”

Aggretsuko is What Happens When Hello Kitty Gets a Soul-Crushing Job
Aggretsuko on Netflix: Adorable Anime, or Subversive Millennial Messaging?
Netflix’s Aggretsuko has a surprising lesson about love
‘Aggretsuko’ Netflix Anime Is The ‘Zootopia’ Of Office Politics And Feminist Rage At Corporate Sexism
How to mock work culture.

Aggretsuko Character Personality Quiz. I got Retsuko: “You might come across as sweet and mild-mannered, but deep, deep, deep down is a death metal princess just ready to unleash an unyielding flood of rage. You try your hardest, you really do, but for some people it’s just never quite good enough. Never forget that you’re bright and talented and very hardworking. And when people forget that, just grab a microphone and scream into their faces.”

Cultured Vultures Aggretsuko Review.
IGN Season 1 Review.
posted by jenfullmoon (33 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm only 5 or 6 episodes in and I love it so much already!

(the quiz gave me Washimi, wtf no)
posted by dipping_sauce at 6:54 PM on May 10, 2018

Oh man the arc with Resasuke and Retsuko is so real and so, so painful. It's such a perfect example of somekne letting what they hope is true get in the way of what is actually true.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:51 PM on May 10, 2018

I loved the show, actually, but I found myself so intensely frustrated with the fact that there were going to be no real consequences for Ton. But that's like... life, even in the US, and I suspect moreso in Japan. I found myself really, really wishing I had work friends to vent with, to go for drinks or SOMETHING after work with--I never really have had that and I'm suddenly realizing how much that contributes to my inability to tolerate this kind of stuff on a daily basis.

I have never seen a show so clearly convey that a relationship is wrong for somebody--even if I think he's probably actually a nice somebody who deserves to meet somebody nice--than the thing with the shoes. I actually sort of liked Resasuke--but he is definitely not the right boy for that particular girl.

(I am Haida, apparently. I dunno about in the workplace, but I did maybe watch the whole show with the crush object who I cannot bear to actually use mouth words towards, soooo, you got me this time, Buzzfeed quiz.)
posted by Sequence at 9:13 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

All your links are busted.
posted by absalom at 6:07 AM on May 11, 2018

Mod note: Links fixed.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 6:18 AM on May 11, 2018

I love the character and the ideas and the previous shorts, but I watched the first episode and found it tedious. Does the pacing pick up? Is it serialized or episodic?
posted by nequalsone at 8:59 AM on May 11, 2018

I don't have to take the quiz to know that I am Fenneko. hahahahahahahaha
posted by infinitewindow at 10:40 AM on May 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

I'm not quite through the whole set of episodes yet, but I'm really enjoying it. I particularly enjoy Retsuko's friendship with Ms Gori and Washimi, and the way it was encouraged by their secretly wise "protein" gym owner. All the co-workers are fun too.

I got Puko on the quiz somehow. I don't feel like a particularly free spirit, tbh, but I am bad at maintaining a responsible career.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2018

Resasuke is a jerk! He's oblivious to Retskuo's feelings and doesn't seem to particularly care when her feet are killing her.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:51 PM on May 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I forget, did he ever even find out about her feet? I know Retsuko was making an effort to not complain about it. I'm not sure if he is in fact a "nice somebody who deserves someone nice" but at the very least I can't imagine a relationship with him working unless it was with someone outspoken about their needs and willing to do all the emotional labor that he won't even realize needs doing.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:01 PM on May 11, 2018

She never pointed it out, she just asked to sit down and he said "no, I'm fine, let's keep going." He didn't know, she didn't tell him, and he definitely didn't take the hint. Who knows what he would have done had she pointed it out. But I thought of this today when I was walking around with a friend and she wanted to sit down. R2 (as I call him) is so oblivious that I don't think he was capable of noticing anything short of vomit on his own without it being pointed out to him.

nequalsone: keep with it, there is more plot to it than that, it picks up. That episode sets the scene.

I will say more later, I think.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:01 PM on May 11, 2018

I at least was left with the impression--especially because he clearly cares for his plants and was sweet about the puking thing--that if she'd said, "These shoes are killing me," he'd have been totally agreeable about that. But she was kind of bottling it up, because of course she was. She definitely needs someone who checks in more to see if she's okay... and knows, for that matter, that if she says she's fine the first time she isn't necessarily fine.
posted by Sequence at 8:04 PM on May 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

PROTEIN. That was the episode that made me a real fan. I still giggle thinking about it.
posted by emjaybee at 10:11 PM on May 11, 2018 [5 favorites]

Okay, I'm gonna do some thoughts:
* Fenneko's obsessive stalking of Tsunoda's social media (every 13 days she posts a thigh pic) is one giant "damn, girl."
* Hideo has a good point in that she who reports gets in far more trouble than he who says the sexist shit.
* "The baddest bitch in the world walk is hurting my back." "We can't show weakness at work." Interesting way to show these two aren't impervious and perfect.
* Tsunoda is both a social media and suckup expert.
* "This is fine."
* When Puko offers Retsuko the job, I thought, "this sounds like a flaky friend, I bet this doesn't happen." Also because this is the sort of show where Retsuko can't just find another job and leave.
* “Lighting, grant me your vengeance! Hit the boss’s golf club, find your mark!”
* I can't believe a (supposed) giant poop has become the office gossip and turned into a hidden pregnancy.
* When Retsuko turns into a robot SO reminded me of my life. That just really won me over in this show. That says everything to me. Only a robot can be what everyone wants me to be, I need to stop caring, I need to be perfect and inhuman.
* I'm not sure how interspecies dating is supposed to go here, given the cat and mouse marrying.
* Yikes, you give how much money to the married in Japan?!
* Lord, that woman and her freaking jars. I'm so delighted that (a) Retsuko could open it and (b) that lady broke her own arm trying. Bwahahahahah karma.
* Gori is the most human of The Fabulous Ones (as I call them), I think she girlcrushes on Retsuko somehow. Washimi is incredibly self possessed and impressive.
* Is "protein" the new "I am Groot?"
* Damn, that whole psychic song number plot.
* I looooooooooove Washimi at work so hard.
* Tsunoda has her own form of genius about saying what he thinks in his head all day. Go girl. "Doesn’t he win?" “If it keeps him from acting like a caveman, maybe all of us are winners that day!” That also reminds me of my job/life. With the folks like Ton, let them win hard and fast and then they will hopefully GO AWAY.
* Aw, you almost like Ton before the duel.
* Retsuko really can't take Ton down beyond yelling "shitty boss!" at him. Oy. Not good.
"You look like one of those Sanrio characters." "I get that a lot." BWAHAHAHAHAHAAH.
* Fenneko brings up statistics to argue and Tsunoda just ignores it all.
* Retsuko is sold on a dull oblivious guy because he noticed and was nice to her for a second...but only a second.
* That said, she does enjoy the distraction from her job to focus on a dude.
* How is R2 in sales? He must utterly fail at that job if he can't talk or handle money or focus.
* “You can’t be that oblivious, can you? Ask her out already!” “Who?” “Retsuko in accounting.” “Why?” “I’m really worried about you, seriously. “”How come?” “You need to get a girlfriend.” “Why?” Good lord, talking to R2 is frustrating!
* Retsuko’s first non death metal song: "Back before you, i was crying / and it felt like parts of my heart were dying.” This is the most “settle for me” song since “Settle For Me” on Crazy Ex Girlfriend. You’re the space cadet from sales, you are the girl who barfed who does accounting.... OY.
* Not only does R2 not get the hint about the feet, he doesn't get the hint about the jacket either. It was a dream come true! Later, she blames herself for wearing new shoes.
* Wow, Kabae was busted for espionage?!?! And then...let off the hook?
* Ton can occasionally have his moments.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:02 PM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

When Puko offers Retsuko the job, I thought, "this sounds like a flaky friend, I bet this doesn't happen."

Even aside from her being flaky, it was so intensely relatable, and one thing that I might get kind of death metal over myself: the friend who is simultaneously never going to make their business actually happen, and is going to be unspeakably wounded if you don't make noises like you are totally going to drop everything to work for them. Not to work WITH them, but FOR them. Like--Retsuko's worked this hard to get her career going, even with all the bullshit she has to go through every day, and her friend who's doing nothing sits around fantasizing about being Retsuko's new boss. A+ friending, there.
posted by Sequence at 12:38 AM on May 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Can confirm from experience, the norm is to bring ¥30,000 for weddings
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:07 AM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

The problem of Gori in Netflix’s Aggretsuko
The problem isn’t that Gori could, ostensibly, be black (although one might assume that all humanoid animals in this show are Japanese). The problem is conflating a gorilla with a black affectation. The ape/gorilla/monkey stereotype may not be familiar to the largely homogenous population in Japan, but it should be to Netflix’s development team in the U.S. — meaning a level of willful oversight is at play.
posted by FJT at 8:34 PM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Wait, did they seriously go with a black actress for the dub for her? That seems wildly obviously like a bad idea.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:54 PM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


30k yen is about $275 right now.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:18 PM on May 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

(Incidentally, they touched on the even-number thing with wedding superstitions, if memory serves; in actuality, my wife and I were both invited to the wedding, so we brought ¥50,000 instead of ¥60,000, because ¥60,000 would be an even number, which would be bad luck in Japan. Weddings aren't cheap to attend, though Japanese wedding favors are admittedly usually a bit on the more lavish side.)
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:09 AM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

To clarify, GK Bowes does both the English Dub voices of Gori and Tsunoda.
posted by FJT at 3:56 PM on May 14, 2018

My older daughter informed me of this show, insisting we watch an episode (the one when Retsuko meets Resasuke ), and I was immediately hooked. I watched the Japanese language version.

I don't know if the quiz would say I'm Fenneko, but she's my favorite character.
posted by Gelatin at 9:10 AM on May 15, 2018

On my second binge session Netflix somehow automatically put on the dubbed version for me and it was just... not impressive. I had to switch back to subbed immediately.

I don't have a whole lot to relate to the characters, but that was a really great show. The rage she feels is applicable to a whole range of situations. I don't particularly like death metal, but its use in this show was amazing.

I'm not even going to take the buzzfeed quiz to know I'm Haida.
posted by numaner at 11:23 AM on May 23, 2018

ok apparently I'm director Ton but also none of what I picked really described him....?
posted by numaner at 11:27 AM on May 23, 2018

The yoga instructor is amazing.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2018

posted by Pope Guilty at 9:52 AM on December 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

Watched the Christmas special. I’d forgotten how much I just love all the characters in this show.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:39 PM on December 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

The Christmas special was delightful! It felt weird, especially for Japan, seeing what was obviously product placement for Instagram that was also honest about the nature of the thing.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:57 PM on December 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I didn't like it, mostly because it was focusing on Haida. I am so tired of Dogged Nice Guys and feeling obligated to date them even though you are not attracted to them, and it felt like this episode was trying to direct Retsuko to be with him, at least somewhat, even if she's not feeling it. The show shows her being desperate for attention and a date or an invite or SOMETHING, so why not this Nice Guy?

I admit I'm triggered because lord knows I tried to reciprocate out of sheer guilt/obligation with Nice Guys that I just did not want to get physical with and it never worked for me, and this just reminded me of that. Does the show want her to date him or not? Unclear. Does she want to? I don't think she feels that strongly, but the dude pining is awkward.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:57 PM on December 24, 2018

I don't think the show is necessarily pushing Retsuko and Haida together. All he got was a nice walk to the subway, but that was enough for him to feel lucky, and as someone who's been in his shoes I know how that feel. I didn't get the sense that she would date him, but it was a nice friendly moment for her; he might have misinterpreted it but how they go from there remains to be seen.

The pining is pretty typical, when you're not there in front of the girl. And other shows have done the same so it might be tired, but it's realistic. It's how they move forward from there. Most shows have the girl give in because he's The Nice Guy and he's there, but perhaps not this one.

The focus on Instagram is more of what made the episode hilarious for me, because I know so many people like that, and even I'm a little bit like that with Instagram. The shot of her staging that fake dinner for two was hilarious, because it's a great exaggeration of what I've seen done.
posted by numaner at 5:09 PM on December 29, 2018

Super late to this but I only heard about this recently when a friend recommended it to me. I took the quiz! Fenneko!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 1:59 PM on December 18, 2021

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