Aggretsuko

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Aggretsuko TV Poster Image
Curious animated series a treat for post-Hello Kitty teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Taps into a modern vein of female resentment in the U.S. and Japan; shows a woman who deals with difficult aspects of her life through creativity and art that give her strength to make changes -- a terrific message. Also contains some negative messages: characters, particularly female ones, who gossip about each other, and a large-bodied male character who is depicted as shaking floors and walls when he walks. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Retsuko is a complex character whose righteous anger can make her be very unkind to those around her and cause her to make mistakes. She's at her best when the anger drives her to make changes in her life so that she's no longer mistreated. Her co-workers may be characterized stereotypically: Tsunoda is a shallow flirt, Director Ton is insulting and demanding, Haida means well but is a dolt. 

Violence

Fury is expressed musically, as Retsuko sings heavy metal songs in a karaoke booth.  

Sex

There's an occasional mention of romance, like when a co-worker asks Retsuko if she's looking for a boyfriend to marry, but the main focus is Retsuko's self-worth and work life. 

Language

Pretty mild: "crap" and "d--k" the harshest words uttered. Retsuko does have a lot of insulting words to say about rivals and foes, particularly an obnoxious boss she calls a "male chauvinist" and a "waste of flesh." She fends off questions from an overly interested co-worker by saying she's just happy because she pooped today after five days of constipation. 

Consumerism

Like Aggretsuko? You can buy products like bags, plush dolls, notebooks, and many, many other products from creator Sanrio. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of Retsuko's coping mechanisms is to drink beer when she's angry. She never acts drunk, but we see beer cans littering her room in one scene and understand that her drinking isn't a positive trait. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Aggretsuko is an animated series about a cartoon character who's fed up with her lot in life and channels her anger into singing aggressive metal songs. The series is in Japanese with English subtitles, and the themes are mature: Retsuko is mad at her boss, at her co-workers, at a society that tells her being cute and passive is more important than being happy or self-actualized, nuanced themes that may be difficult for young viewers to grasp. Retsuko is a strong and complex character, but her co-workers are depicted somewhat stereotypically: a rude male chauvinist pig (literally a pig), a wide-eyed deer who is flirtatious and conniving. A large-bodied character shakes floors and walls when he stomps around an office. Retsuko often drinks beer when she's angry; she never acts drunk but parents may wish to point out that this isn't a healthy coping mechanism. Language is mild: "Crap" is about as iffy as it gets (though she calls other characters things like a "waste of flesh"). It's worth noting that like other Sanrio characters, Retsuko is featured on a wide variety of products for sale at stores and online. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byDrew D. April 21, 2018

Language rating is simply wrong

From Common Sense Media: "Language is mild with 'crap' being about the harshest word uttered." This is not true. Expect "d*ck",... Continue reading
Adult Written byKerstinAndrews April 30, 2018

Great if your child is mature!

I am eighteen, so personally I thought this show was really good. It really highlighted the sexism so prominent in workplaces today. The only thing to caution y... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bywizardortitan April 20, 2018

Solid anime for older kids and adults

Despite never having worked in an office myself, I thought "Aggretsuko" was instantly charming and a lot of fun to watch, and I think a lot of younger... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWhimZ April 24, 2018

Language and Serious Topic About Sexism

The language rating on here is seriously wrong. It says crap and d--k are the worst words in it, but in reality, there are plenty more including b---h, s--t, an... Continue reading

What's the story?

By all appearances, Retsuko (Kaolip) is a typical demure young woman. She works at an office, she wears traditional clothes, she does what she's told no matter how much she wants to rebel inwardly. But in her private life, she transforms into AGGRETSUKO, who sings heavy metal songs, chugs beers, and does exactly what she wants to do -- not what other people expect her to do. Retsuko knows she's not happy. She's less sure how to transform her current reality. But she's determined to live a life that doesn't fill her with fury, and slowly, surely, she's finding a way to make her dreams come true. 

Is it any good?

Everything you need to understand about this anime curiosity is in the show's titles, which start out kawaii pink and sweet, then morph into heavy metal riffs and flames. The subtext is clear, and hilarious: The adorable, dulcet-toned characters Sanrio made famous have a furious, rebellious side they've kept secret so far. But the secret's out: They want equality and respect, and they want it now. This tamped-down female fury is personified in Retsuko, whose sweet face and fuzz hide a sharp mind and an even sharper sense of being overlooked and mistreated, not just by the (literal) pig who's the head of her office, but also by a society that expects her to look cute, wear heels, serve men tea, and expect nothing for herself. 

And so, Retsuko's habit of singing angry heavy metal songs alone in a rent-by-the-hour karaoke booth is at first just a blowing-off-steam hobby, but soon it becomes a battle cry. She's not the passive, pretty, obedient girl that she's been told to be. She's something more -- and now that she knows it, she's going to find a way to make her everyday life more closely resemble her dreams of agency and authority. Like most of us, Retsuko's not exactly sure how she's going to transform her current situation into one that makes her happy. But now that she's in touch both with her emotions and the unfairness of what's routinely asked of her, she's well on her way to making changes. Aggretsuko only looks like it's aimed at the young girls who squeal over wee Hello Kitty notepads, or My Melody squishy key chains -- its real audience is the growing cadre of girls and women who have had enough, and need a takes-no-prisoners hero to relate to. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about who Aggretsuko is designed to appeal to. Do you think the fact that it's animated gives it more "kid appeal" than a live-action version? Do you think people often assume that anything animated is OK for younger viewers?

  • Families can talk about how advertising works. Does watching this series make you want to own Retsuko merchandise? Is it necessarily bad to be influenced by what you see on TV? What role do things play in overall happiness?

  • Kids: Does watching this show and others like it make you want the toys that are featured? Do you think that's what this show's purpose is? Why do we like to have products with characters' faces on them?  

TV details

For kids who love quirky animation

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