Sanrio’s “Aggretsuko” Returns with Season 3

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By Gabrielle Feliciano, Staff Writer

Sanrio’s “Aggretsuko” has returned, with season three now available for streaming on Netflix. From the makers of Hello Kitty, Cinnamoroll, and other childhood icons, “Aggretsuko” follows the story of Retsuko: a red panda who works an office job in Tokyo, Japan. But Retsuko’s not just any Sanrio character. While an office worker by day, by night, Retsuko sings out her frustrations with life via her favorite genre of music: death metal.

Unlike the characters that Sanrio is most well-known for, Retsuko’s story focuses on the experience of youth in modern-day society. While Sanrio’s storytelling is typically targeted towards children, the plot and characters of “Aggretsuko” are made for adults, specifically, young adults. As such, “Aggretsuko” explores themes of love and relationships in adulthood, and how self-expression in the form of a hobby or interest (like Retsuko’s love for death metal) can help one navigate the post-teenage world.

The most stand-out part of “Aggretsuko” is its emotional maturity. Instead of idealizing this transition from childhood to adulthood, you see the reality of Retsuko’s independence in the very first episode. What was once Retsuko’s dream job is now just like any other job; her salary is low, her boss is (literally) a pig, and there’s no end to the overwork or the overtime insight. She lives alone, but her responsibilities have made connecting with others even more difficult for her. “Aggretsuko” takes place during a time when the reality is failing to meet one’s expectations, approaching storytelling with the same level of maturity as its own themes.

In “Aggretsuko,” the characters are dynamic, learning from their experiences season after season. As the show progresses, Retsuko opens up about herself and her secret more and more. We watch Retsuko fall in and out of love, see her fail, and see her succeed. However, the show balances well between such moments of vulnerability and its own humor; it’s fun, accessible, and yet relatable enough to make you cry by the end of each season. This show doesn’t take itself way too seriously; after all, it’s still about a red panda who sings death metal in her free time.

Overall, I would rate “Aggretsuko” a nine out of ten. Even as a teenager not yet in her 20s, this show still means a lot to me. After all, “Aggretsuko” is a love letter to youth, to wanting more out of life; it’s a show made for absolutely anyone.