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.