Aggretsuko (Season 3): Choke on My (Relatable) Rage – Netflix Review

The overworked, underpaid, death metal singing Red Panda returns.

SUMMARY

If you’re not familiar with the show, I’ve reviewed seasons 1 and 2 here and here. Watch it. Love it.

Retsuko (Kaolip/Rarecho/Erica Mendez/Jamison Boaz) is trying to get over ending her relationship with Tadano (Chiharu Sasa/Griffin Burns) and gets addicted to VR games, with the microtransactions eating away at her savings. She then gets into a car accident which results in her owing a man named Hyodo (Sota Arai/SungWon Cho) ¥200,000 (~$1900). She takes a job working for him as the financial manager of his Idol Group O.T.M. However, she soon finds herself recruited into the band and followed by an angry stalker.

Choke on her adorable rage.

Meanwhile, Haida (Shingo Kato/Ben Diskin) finds the new girl, Inui (Rina Inoue/Abby Trott), is interested in him. Fenneko (Inoue/Katelyn Gault), Gori (Maki Tsuruta/G.K. Bowes), Washimi (Komegumi Koiwasaki/Tara Platt), and even Tadano encourage him to ask out Inui and abandon his unreciprocated crush on Retsuko.

Their height difference is not the problem… or is it?

END SUMMARY

So, I knew this season was going to be pretty good when one of the first lines in it is Retsuko looking at a VR boyfriend who asks her for money and she screams “Take it all, you sexy unicorn!” There is no work of art anywhere that includes those lines and is not good. If they had included that phrase somewhere in Gigli, it would have won three Oscars.

Take it all, you sexy, sexy unicorn.

The key to this show has always been how well it meshes the cute Sanryo characters with the crushing reality of their lives. In this season, Retsuko gets caught up indulging herself in a new hobby, in this case a VR Boyfriend game, which puts her in financial jeopardy. She manages to cut back enough to keep afloat, but one accident later, she’s completely screwed. If you’ve ever had a sudden medical expense or a car problem that wasn’t covered by insurance, you understand this problem. When the full extent of her circumstances become apparent, she even busts out a song entitled “Screw you capitalism,” which I’m sure will be reblogged repeatedly by certain groups on the internet. I would draw attention, though, to the fact that, although Retsuko is a relatively low-wage worker by Japan’s standards, she is never really in danger of losing her apartment and she actually had several thousand dollars in savings before she spent it all on her game. I just find it interesting.

A clip from “Screw You Capitalism” which is as unsubtle as it sounds.

This is the first season where Retsuko’s singing has really become a plot point. She is forced to perform in front of an audience in order to help pay back her debt, but actually starts to become moderately successful. While it is fun to see her achieve a dream, the show quickly reminds people of the price of celebrity. She is pursued by a stalker in one of the creepiest depictions since the film Perfect Blue (which I’m reviewing next month, if you haven’t seen it). Despite the fact that she had nothing to do with what the stalker dislikes about the band, the experience is deeply traumatic.

This guy is horrifying. And yeah, the mask is unrelated to Corona.

I also like the way they handled Haida this season, because he is still portrayed as flawed and the show points out repeatedly that, despite his long standing crush, he actually doesn’t know that much about her. He just admires her from afar rather than talking to her. Inui actually makes an effort to talk to Haida, which finally gets him to recognize his failings. 

They did a good job drawing “nervously concentrating.”

Overall, solid season, but a bit intense at times compared to the previous ones. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Review – Aggretsuko (Season 2): Life Is Bleak and Horrible, But Also Unique and Adorable

Aggretsuko returns for a second season, addressing dating, co-workers, and the generation gap in the new millennium.

SUMMARY (SPOILERS)

Retsuko (Kaolip (Japanese); Erica Mendez (English)) is still working in accounting after breaking up with her boyfriend Resasuke (Shingo Kato; Max Mittelman) at the end of last season. However, her Mother has decided that Retsuko is not moving forward with her dating life enough and starts signing her up for matchmaking services, much to Retsuko’s annoyance. Soon after, a new hire, Anai, starts in Retsuko’s department and is revealed to be a slacker who responds to any implication that he’s doing something wrong by recording conversations and making them formal complaints, terrifying everyone. When Retsuko takes driving lessons so that she and her friends Gori (Maki Tsuruta; G.K. Bowes) and Washimi (Komegumi Koiwasaki; Tara Platt) can take a trip, she meets slacker white donkey Tadano (Griffin Burns), who she likes but thinks is a failure. Tadano drops out of driving school, disappointing her further. She does eventually run into him again and he asks her out, which she accepts due to her underlying feelings for him. However, it’s revealed that Tadano is actually a Tech CEO Billionaire, which delights Retsuko, but she realizes that they might not quite see eye-to-eye on some things.

Aggretsuko2 - 1Mom.jpg
Her mom is so freaking adorable but also I don’t want to be on her bad side.

END SUMMARY

Holy hell, this show doesn’t shy away from hitting at the problems of people in their late 20s and early 30s. I mean, if you have never worked with a crazy a-hole co-worker who tries to get you in trouble for doing things that you would never have imagined would be a problem, then you should consider yourself extremely fortunate. If you’ve never had a great relationship with someone that just didn’t work out because you were after different things in the long run, then consider yourself fortunate. If your parents have never called to ask how you are going to find Mister/Miss Right and you don’t really want to explain to them that dating has changed since they were single 40 years ago and not everyone is looking to have a family and buy a house and fill it with 2.5 kids, consider yourself fortunate unless it’s because your parents have passed in which case I am sorry for your loss. In this season, we see Retsuko deal with all of this at the same time, and it’s sometimes almost hard to watch due to the accuracy, even though it’s cartoon animals.

Aggretsuko2 - 2Anai.png
Anai is so very, very awkward even when he isn’t being a douche.

Most horrifying of all is that none of these people are actually “Bad” people. Retsuko’s mom just wants her to be happy but doesn’t understand that happiness doesn’t mean the same thing to Retsuko as it does for her. Anai seems annoying and mean, but it’s really just that he’s scared and hasn’t had experience dealing with people. That doesn’t mean he’s not an asshole, but it does at least give you an idea that maybe assholes don’t have to stay assholes. Tadano loves Retsuko, but he believes that marriage and children are bastions of the past that no longer need to be the default, something that Retsuko just disagrees with. Their breakup is sad, but he’s completely understanding about it, just like she is. They just don’t have the same future in mind.

Aggretsuko2 - 3Tadano.png
That feeling when the guy you like turns out to also be rich. I can’t relate.

No matter what happens, Retsuko keeps going, because she does know that it’s good to at least find out what you want. A lot of the current people in Retsuko’s generation, like her, feel like they’re drifting, because unless you are lucky you are likely looking for a job to help pay off the debt you had to accrue to get the degree you had to have to get the job. Even then, the job probably doesn’t pay enough for you to dig yourself out of your hole in any reasonable amount of time, but you also see all of the people out there on the internet doing so well and, even though you know it’s a curated image that they aren’t really living, it still makes you feel inferior and like you’re not making use of life, but you also don’t want to be irresponsible and the world’s possibly actually going to end in our lifetime and ohgodimsadnow. Somehow this show has more accurately pointed out much of the modern existential crises that this generation faces than almost anything else, and it’s a f*cking Red Panda that sings Death Metal.

Aggretsuko2 - 4Singing.png
Tadano mostly deals with the Death Metal revelation well. 

What’s particularly interesting is the gap between Retsuko, Puko, and Tadano. Tadano represents the people who are hopeful for the future, who want to bring about the grand social change that allows humanity to achieve self-actualization. He has a self-driving car, but hires a driver just so the driver can have a job. He is a developer of automation, but is doing so with the hope that it will bring about the end of late stage capitalism. He’s even developing the neural-net software that is intended to replace Retsuko, but wants to pay her to quit her job and do what she wants with her life. The problem is, his vision fails unless most of the other rich people also think it’s noble to pay people do do what they want. Even Retsuko ultimately turns him down because she prefers the independence that she gets from her miserable job from a life of freedom that’s dependent upon Tadano if he’s never going to be her husband. She’s not afraid of living within her current structure. Meanwhile, we’re shown that Retsuko’s flaky pink panther pal Puko (Allegra Clark) has opened the store she wanted to set-up during the last season and that it is slow and difficult due to her not being able to pay people for help and her employees ducking out on her. Despite this, she’s still happy because she’s doing what she wants, even if it’s hard.

Aggretsuko2 - 5Puko.png
She learns what it’s like to deal with her.

Despite all of this bleakness towards life and corporate wage slavery, the show does manage to present some hopeful moments, mostly coming from Retsuko’s small improvements that remind us that some kinds of change are within our grasp if we want them. Yes, the world sucks and you’re likely to spend most of your time on the Earth doing something that’s unfulfilling and horrible, but hey, at least you can sing with your friends or maybe write a movie review blog. Also, Red Pandas still exist, so we should fight for a better future.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.