022: Aggressive Retsuko

Aired: April 2018, December 2018
Genres: Comedy, Slice of Life, Workplace
Date watched: Dec 19 2018 – Dec 21 2018
Series watched: Aggressive Retsuko (10 ep x 16 mins + 1 ep x 24 mins)
Links: MAL

Why I started watching: This was our second group watch anime – Satinel’s first pick. A nice, quick one to get us back into the flow of watching anime together, after we had trailed off a little near the end of The Repetition of Haruhi Suzumiya. There are two versions of Aggretsuko – 100 episodes, each a minute long, and 10+1 episodes, each about 15 minutes long. We watched the latter.

I started off not enjoying this anime at all. It’s saving grace was that it was short, but I was at the point where I was nodding off halfway through episodes anyway. While I get that the show was satire, I didn’t find any of the characters endearing, nor the plot particularly interesting, as they all seemed to be starting and ending the same way – with Retsuko getting in trouble and yelled at by her blustery superiors, then going to a karaoke bar after work and letting off steam with a death metal song or two. I strongly dislike the death metal genre in music, or any music that involves lots of feral screaming, so it wasn’t doing it for me at all. Even Retsuko herself was such a doormat that I wondered what the deal was with this show being critically acclaimed.

But then about halfway through the show, this started to change a little. While Aggressive Retsuko never fully captured me, due to the length of its episodes and season, the episodes started to morph to tell a real story, instead of a series of vignettes that invariably ended up with Retsuko yelling into a mic alone. the viewer starts to get backstories behind some of the characters, and they turn from cardboard cutouts that were just there for comedy value, into actual fleshed-out characters that one could emphatize with. Well, perhaps fleshed-out is too strong a term still, but they were at least at the level of claymation. The episodes also change accordingly, abandoning the formula that the first few episodes had used in order to progress the story and show some character development.

By the end of the anime, even though I still didn’t particularly care for it, I no longer actively disliked it as well, and I was curiously watching every episode to see what would happen to our poor heroine. Due to the nature of the shorter episodes, there was never enough time to flesh out characters or events and still manage to tell a full story, which I think hurt the show in the end, at least in my eyes. But it at least no longer felt like watching this was a waste of time. It gave me a very similar feel to the other short that I disliked, Uchuu Patrol Luluco, in that because each quick episode was meant to be a self-contained story, it just felt incomplete to me as I couldn’t get invested enough. Contrast this with Yama no Susume, which had multiple seasons of short episodes, but used them to tell an ongoing, evolving story instead of a series of stand-alone events that were loosely tied together.

Curiously, Aggressive Retsuko also had no OP or ED song to speak of, so there was nothing for me to mentally anchor myself to. In the end, the show was okaaaay, and that’s about as positive a thing I can say about it. There is a season 2 coming in 2019, but I don’t plan to watch it with any sort of priority.

  • Base: 9
  • Mood: -2
  • Plot: -1
  • Music: +0
  • Misc: +0

Final Score: 6/10