Aggretsuko has been one of my surprise favourite animes of the last few years. Its bright and colourful and sweet in so many ways, which isn’t generally the kind of show I go for. Despite being so different from the fan-servicey shows I usually obsess over, Aggretsuko resonates with me. It may be about colourful and cheerful talking animals, but it is also the best representation of modern life and struggles that anime has to offer.
If you’ve not seen Aggretsuko, it follows the adorable red panda Retsuko as she navigates the perils of office life in Japan and uses her love of heavy metal to relieve her stress. The first season tackled office politics as Retsuko dealt with her overbearing boss. The second season brought in the prospect of love into her life. This season tackles the most millennial of all modern obstacles: the moment a side hustle starts to bleed into the rest of her life.
Aggretsuko Season 3 Review
Season three of Aggretsuko opens up with Retsuko getting herself into a tight spot financially. To dig her way out of debt, she agrees to use her accounting skills to help an underground idol group with their accounts. The producer, however, finds out about Retsuko’s ability to use the Metal Voice and puts her on stage with the group as their new gimmick. It feels a bit like the origin story of Baby Metal, to be honest.
As the band gets more and more successful, Retsuko has to deal with the fact that the side of her that she had kept carefully hidden for years, her love of singing metal music, is suddenly public knowledge. Co-workers find out. Her boss finds out. Her friends find out. It makes her question her how she views herself and how she wants others to view her.
This is an issue that many creative people come across, especially in the days when they are still working a day job to pay the bills. The balance that Retsuko tries to maintain, between her professional image and the public platform that she is growing as part of her idol group, is relatable and that’s one of the reasons this show works so well. Behind the adorable talking animals are people with the same issues we all have. No one is perfectly good or perfectly bad, not even the overbearing boss in season one.
Aggretsuko is a show about people and season three doesn’t disappoint on this front. It has plenty of humour and silly moments, with the over the top style working just as well as in previous seasons. The cast, headlined by the prolific Erica Mendez as Retsuko (with Jamison Boaz providing her Metal Voice) in the English dub, continues to deliver in their roles.
My main complaint, as someone who loves the contrast between the Hello Kitty-inspired visuals and Retsuko’s penchant for death metal, is that I wanted a few more musical numbers. Earlier seasons would have one song per episode while there were only a handful in season three. However, there was more character development for a lot of the cast so I can’t complain too much. Also, the ending leaves a lot up in the air. Not sure if they are planning on a fourth season, but we’ll have to wait and see. Overall, these are minor issues and ones that don’t detract from the joy that I felt watching this season.
Aggretsuko gets a lot of love but its worthy of all the hype because it manages to straddle such a fine line between being deeply insightful while also having moments of absolute farce. Its relatable characters continue to shine in season three, so if you haven’t managed to get stuck into this anime, there is no better time than now. Despite having just binged the entire third season overnight, I’m already chomping at the bit for a fourth season.
Aggretsuko is available to stream now on Netflix.