As a career-minded person in my late twenties, there’s a lot of shit I worry about. Will I ever be making enough money to be comfortable? Will I ever have enough time to meet someone and start a family? Do I even want that? How do I make my life something beyond just work? If that paragraph just stirred some pangs of anxiety, then Aggretsuko Season 2 was made for you.
We join our favorite metal-loving red panda, still working as an accountant for a major company. But, of course, she has new struggles and challenges to face. The season can be split into two different challenges to be surmounted: Anai, the new coworker and Tadano, her new love interest. The central theme of the season is about the boundary between being a new adult and finally growing up, which is already pretty daunting.
I have to say that the Anai plot line was very well done. We all have that one co-worker who hides their incompetence by attacking everyone for normal everyday goings on or forcing him to do his job, using threats where the boss can’t see. If you’ve ever worked an office job, you know the type and you will definitely feel your anxiety spike watching him write those shady emails. Like Retsuko has her heavy-metal side, Anai has what I will call a “ghost” side, where his eyes rolls into the back of his head and he gets a purple tint around the eye — very much reminiscent of Ju-On. The joke here is that Anai is “haunting” Retsuko, and later others, with his passive-aggressive awfulness. I kind of like that ultimately it’s not resolved by Retsuko at all, but Kabae, the chatty, dopey hippo. I won’t say that the resolution is satisfying, but it rarely is in real life so I’ll give it a pass.
The Tadano plot line seems a little out of left field but it explores an important lesson. Retsuko decides that rather than dealing with he mother’s traditional matchmaking scheme, she is going to learn how to drive. At the driving school she meet Tadano, a laid-back donkey who can’t even pass the written portion of the course. Turns out, he doesn’t have to as he is an incredibly rich tech entrepreneur who has designed a super smart AI. The two end up falling in love, and Retsuko feels like she’s finally found someone she wants to marry, which has been something she’s been thinking about all this time. However, Tadano doesn’t believe in marriage and while he wants to be with Retsuko, he will not marry her. Like with Season 1, the relationship does not end well but again, it is because Retsuko stands up for herself and what she wants.
In terms of the other characters, there’s still some romantic tension between Haida and Retsuko, which will likely remain that way if they continue with the show. I wish there had been more for Fenneko to do, since she’s one of the funniest characters by far. Kabae gets more of a part to play, which is nice given that the only thing she got to do last time was be annoying and gossip a bunch. I like that her role as a mother ultimately comes in handy when dealing with Anai, and is recognized as such. The big blowup between Washimi and Gori, Retsuko’s two older friends and kick-ass business ladies, over marriage provided an interesting perspective on the topic and also gave them new dimensions to explore. Retsuko’s mom is the most accurate mom I’ve seen on screen and I am low-key terrified that this is the final form my mother is going to take some day.
As always, the action is quick and fun, with great sight gags. All the new character designs are fun, even if Anai’s ghost-face is the stuff of nightmares. I actually had to listen to both the original Japanese and English language tracks because Netflix for some reason decided to stop using subtitles mid-way through some of the episodes. I know, the horror. Still, I was not too jarred by the transition as most of the voices matched pretty well, though I definitely think the English casting of Retsuko could have been a little higher in pitch. Still, there’s just something about listening to the original cast that ties it all together for me, so I stuck with that as much as possible. Additionally, I am disappointed that the dubbers did not get a woman to do the Death Metal voice for Retsuko – not that he doesn’t do a good job but metal ladies need more exposure, dammit.
Aggretsuko Season 2
Overall, Aggretsuko Season 2 provides a great continuation to the story, hitting on new trials and tribulations, and maintaining the great characters who make it all work.