‘Aggretsuko’ swansong urges youth to rage


Editor’s note: The following article includes spoilers for season five of “Aggretsuko”

General wisdom goes that you shouldn’t rely on anime to provide a picture of what life in Japan is really like. Yet that’s not always true, at least in the case of seeing a red panda death-scream her frustration about economic stagnation.

Netflix series “Aggretsuko,” based on the death-metal-loving Sanrio character known in Japan as “Aggressive Retsuko,” has set its sights on Japanese work culture since debuting in 2018. Save for a third-season broadside on the world of J-pop idol music, the show has used the exploits of its fuzzy protagonist Retsuko and her coworkers as a way to poke fun at the more toxic elements of the country’s corporate side, from unreasonable overtime to power harassment. Most of these complaints came out of office worker Retsuko via rage-fueled karaoke sessions.

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