Final Thoughts: Aggretsuko
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
The first season of Aggretsuko was a show that I enjoyed thoroughly. Now that season two is out on Netflix, I got a chance to watch it while it was laying in my bed with literally nothing else to do. I was definitely hoping season two would live up to the first, and on that front I can say with confidence that it did. However, aside from Aggretsuko as a show being generally good, here are some more of my final thoughts.
As much as I think relatability, like the word “dark” has become an overused buzzword in reviews and commentary, for which I myself am also guilty, I do still think it a lot of contexts that it is important, especially in a Slice-of-life context. Retsuko, despite being a much different person, and living in a much different scenario, is someone that I relate to a lot, especially in the realm of self-confidence and goals. She has friends, but doesn’t have a whole lot of interests or goals, and that is definitely something I have experienced. However, its not only Retsuko. Haida, Retsuko’s office friend, is also relatable in a lot of ways. For example, when he asks Retsuko to go out with him, only to get rejected. Haida, for a lot of season two is left in the support role, still having feelings for her, but also still wanting to be a good friend. Even Anai, the newest character in the series, is somewhat relatable. His fear about not being able to make it in an oppressive corporate environment makes him paranoid, and I can definitely say cheers to that, brother!
Retsuko as a Metalhead
If you know anything about the show, its probably that a lot of Aggretsuko’s, more so in its first season, revolving around Retsuko’s secret love of Metal music and karaoke. Whenever she is sad, angry, or otherwise feeling negative, she generally defaults to hitting up a karaoke bar after work and screaming her lungs out. Eventually, Retsuko finds friends in the form of Washimi and Gori who help her work out her problems. Despite not being that big a fan of metal, I actually quite enjoyed a lot of the musically bits, especially when used as a comedic punchline. One of my favorite parts was probably near the end of season one where Retsuko goes to an office party which just so happens to have Karaoke. Retsuko makes a very drunk decision, screams her brains out, and insults her boss Ton while doing so. She later realizes that no one remembers because they were also drunk, and so she lets out a huge sigh of relief. It is one of the funnier scenes in the entire series.
Conflict, Resolution, and Marriage
One of the more interesting internal discussions that Aggretsuko has in its second season is about the concept of marriage. Near the end of the second season, Retsuko’s super rich visionary CEO boyfriend Tadano tells her that she does not want to get married, but that he still wants to spend the rest of his life with her. At first, Retsuko is conflicted, not sure if she is willing to accept just being together. Later, Retsuko confronts Ton and tries to hand him her letter of resignation after being gone from work for almost a week. However, Ton can tell something is wrong, and advises Retsuko that she should stand up for what she believes in and not let others make decisions for her. Retsuko, with the assitance of Haida, Washimi, and Gori, confronts Tadano, letting him no that its marriage or nothing.
It is definitely a timely discussion. The reality is that many in both the millennial generation as well as Gen Z are much less inclined, for a wide variety of reasons, to get married. It is a symbol of permanence, a commitment to another that is supposed to last a lifetime, but as much as some might like to, many in these generations are not in a position to get married. Economic conditions, both in Japan and the U.S. are getting worse by the day, and it is becoming harder for regular people to afford basic things, and as such most people are not focused on marriage. However, another reason marriage is less appealing is that many more people, especially women and certain minorities, also feel empowered to be free and independent due to many more people having access to higher education, and as such marriage is less appealing from that perspective as well, because it ties you to someone.
Retsuko, on the other hand, views marriage as an institution of stability. Being that she does not know what she wants to do with her life, Retsuko sees marriage as a way to not only to be stable, but also as way to become invested in another person, and even more people if she were to have kids. Its a strange, yet understandably pure feeling. It is also very #relatable.
Retsuko is one of the best new Slice-of-life comedies to come out in a while. Its first season was captivatingly funny, while hinting at a lot more to come, and the second season felt like the perfect delivery on that more to come. Overall, it is absolutely 100 percent worth your time.
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