Anime / Aggressive Retsuko

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Aggressive Retsuko or Aggretsuko is an anime by Sanrio with characters created by Yeti. It stars the beleaguered office worker, Retsuko, a 25 years old and single red panda, who seems cute on the outside, but is filled with Suppressed Rage at her stressful work in an accounting department and annoying coworkers and bosses. How does she deal with it, you ask? By singing Death Metal about her irritation, of course! After 5 years of working the daily grind, her relationships with her various co-workers are starting to shift, and slowly begins to open up in ways that can change her life for better... or for worse.

There are two series with this name; one is a series of 100 self-contained one-minute episodes that was featured on the Tokyo Broadcasting System that began in 2016. The other is a ten-episode season on Netflix with 15-minute episodes, a new continuity, and a loosely overarching plot released in 2018. As such, adaptation tropes do apply to the latter.

Tropes:

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     Original Aggressive Retsuko one-minute shorts 
  • Alliterative Name: The English subtitles give characters names like Ape Admin, Hog Honcho, and Buffalo Boss.
  • Angrish: Retsuko's enraged Death Metal voice barely sounds like Japanese at all.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Hippatrica is a hyperactive and very annoying female hippo. One of Retsuko's Bosses is a fat sexist pig. Another is an ugly creepy snake woman. Although some characters do not fit the stereotype such as Haida, who is a spotted hyena, but doesn't have any of the traits associated with hyenas.
  • Bad Boss: Retsuko's bosses give her way too much work and are often very rude to her. Some of them are even openly sexist and determined to find fault in her solely because she's female.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most of the characters have this, with Fenneko being the most notable. Strangely enough, one character design has her portrayed with pupils.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Amir likes to talk himself up as a cool ladies' man, but is clearly desperate, pushy and unpopular.
  • Catch-Phrase: Most episodes end with Retsuko saying "Ashita mo ganbare saan" which can be translated as "I will do my best tomorrow".
  • Cathartic Scream: Retsuko blows off steam by singing screamo metal. When the stresses of her job get too much to handle, she'll escape to the women's room to scream and unwind.
  • Chainsaw Good: In one episode, an enraged Retsuko imagines herself cutting her desk in half with a chainsaw.
  • Chick Magnet: Haida takes advantage of his good looks to receive special treatment from his female supervisors. Retsuko herself finds him attractive, but is pissed off by his attitude, and gets especially annoyed when he tries to fob off work onto her.
  • Christmas Episode: Retsuko spends Christmas Eve drinking booze alone.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Some fan translations of Retsuko's songs are like this.
  • Color Failure: Retsuko loses all color and her face becomes Uncanny when she is shocked by how Hippatrica poorly treated a book that Retsuko loaned to her.
  • Crush Filter: When Retsuko fantasizes about her crush, his face turns from its blank stare to that of a shoujo anime character.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Retsuko is an adorable red panda who sings Death Metal.
  • Death Metal: Retsuko sings Death Metal inside her head whenever she becomes enraged.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Once Retsuko, Eaglette, and Gori were staying at a spa and Gori couldn't stop snoring. Eaglette tried looking up a solution for it and Googled "how to make gorillas stop breathing" kinda freaking Retsuko out.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The subtitles give several of the characters names like this, such as Ape Admin, Hog Honcho, and Buffalo Boss. (At least some of them are translations of Japanese names that were puns on the species of the characters.) Wolfgang's Japanese name is Ookami, which means wolf.
    • Some of the character names are also inspired by their species, such as Fenneko being a fennec fox, or Gori being a gorilla.
  • Double Standard: In one episode, Retsuko gets enraged when she sees that one of her bosses is much nicer when correcting mistakes made by a male coworker than when correcting Retsuko's mistakes.
  • Downer Ending: Most of the episodes don't end happily for Retsuko
  • Dub Name Change: Many characters in the show have their names changed in the subtitles. For example, Tsunoda's name is changed to Giselle as a pun on her species (her being a gazelle). At least a few of these are Woolseyisms that preserve the punniness of the original Japanese pun names. Subverted with the Netflix episodes, as they use the original Japanese names.
  • The Eeyore: In one episode, Retsuko gets frustrated with an armadillo who won't stop saying bad things about herself no matter how much Retsuko tries to encourage her.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Episode 100 has Retsuko getting a phone call and learning that the series was losing its spot on King's Brunch (a Japanese variety show). She responds by saying she wants an extension and ends by saying "Keep Up The Support" to the viewers.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Eaglette/Washimi rarely opens her eyes. Because she doesn't have facial muscles, opening her eyes is the only expression she ever makes besides her neutral face.
  • Frozen Face: In one episode Retsuko gets enraged that Eaglette doesn't change her facial expression when they are taking pictures of themselves making funny faces, thinking that Eaglette is acting like she is better than them, until she explains that she doesn't have facial muscles.
  • Furry Reminder: Eaglette/Washimi can't make facial expressions because she is a bird. Another character is a gorilla who pounds on her chest when she is excited.
  • Genki Girl: Hippatrica is a very hyper hippopotamus.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Retsuko's eyes glow when she is about to start one of her rage songs.
  • Gratuitous English: Some of Retsuko's rage songs have English in them. The only word the yoga instructor ever says is "protein."
  • Hidden Depths: A main theme of the show. Over the course of the series, Retsuko come to realise pretty much all of her co-workers have a lot more going on beneath their surfaces.
    • One short has Retsuko and Ton constantly changing the temperature from hot to cold. They eventually get so frustrated by the temperature getting changed that Ton has a Rage Mode similar to Retsuko. This is only seen once and never brought up again, except in one episode where he nearly goes into it again when he overhears Retsuko insulting him.
    • While Fenneko doesn't have a Rage mode, she would occasionally join in with Retsuko and sing with her during Retsuko's Rage mode, besides playing, an instrument or bobbing her head to the music.
  • Idol Singer: Retsuko ends up dressing up and dancing like one during a company party. In Rage Mode, to boot.
  • It Runs in the Family: Retsuko's grandmother is prone to the same kind of outbursts.
  • Kick the Dog: In one episode, Retsuko tries to score points with Hog Honcho by refilling his drink for him, and he tells her she is pouring the drink wrong because the label on the bottle is facing down, then he makes a very sexist comment.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Retsuko's female yoga instructor looks and sound like a testosterone poisoned male, and even has an Adam's apple. Retsuko didn't realize that her yoga teacher was a woman until somebody in her class mentions that they are all women.
  • The Lancer: Zelda/Fenneko, Retsuko's best friend and frequent confidant, who occasionally backs her up on drums during her enraged singing.
  • Leitmotif: Plays whenever Retsuko becomes enraged.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": The subtitles give several characters names like this, such as Eaglette, Hippatricia, and Giselle.
  • Love Confession: Subverted in one episode where it appears to Retsuko (and the audience) that Haida is about to give her one. In actuality, he was simply trying to ask her to complete some of his work for him. She's understandably pissed after she learns the truth.
    • In another episode, Wolfgang/Ookami does something similar. When Retsuke gets her hopes up, he asks if he can borrow some money since he impulsively spent the last of his. Retsuke is understandably upset by this.
  • Metal Scream: Retsuko has a mean set of pipes on her!
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Only Retsuko can turn making curry at the company barbecue into a metal-fueled warzone.
    • In another episode she does the same thing when buying Valentine's Day chocolate for her crush and having to fight her way through a crowd.
    • Hog Honcho wants the conditioner on during a Heat Wave. Retsuko wants it off, since she sits directly under the vents. How do they resolve this? By one-upping each other at the thermostat singing a Rage Mode duet, of course.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Natsuko Yokosawa the axolotl seems to hear very little of what Retsuko says. In one episode she keeps thinking Retsuko is on a diet despite Retsuko repeatedly telling her it isn't a diet.
  • Now Buy the Merchandise:
    • Episode 41, where Retsuko tries to rent a movie, ends with a plug for the show's DVD release.
    • Episode 92, in which Retsuko buys mooks with dubious promotional items, promotes the franchise's mook.
  • Office Lady: This anime is all about how frustrating it can be in this position.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Retsuko often is shown with an exaggerated tongue when she is enraged.
  • Pokémon Speak: The only word that Retsuko's yoga instructor ever says is "protein".
  • Portmantitle: Aggretsuko is a portmanteau of "Aggressive" and "Retsuko". The English title averts this by spelling out the title completely.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The abuse Retsuko takes from her boss and coworkers inspires her angry Death Metal songs.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: One of Retsuko's superiors (Scatherine) is a ugly old reptilian woman who is very condescending towards her and has No Sense of Personal Space.
  • Right Behind Me: In one episode Retsuko insults Hog Honcho for being a sweaty old guy, not realizing he is right behind her. When she realizes this, she says she was just joking and then flatters him, which he believes.
  • Screw Destiny: On New Years Day Retsuko gets a fortune predicting great misfortune. Her response is "Bring it on!"
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The protagonist is a red panda. The characters also include a fennec fox and an axolotl and even a character who appears to be a maned wolf.
  • Shout-Out: Retsuko's face changes to look similar to Gene Simmons when she is enraged, with similar black marking around her eyes, and an Overly Long Tongue.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Unlike other Sanrio characters such as Hello Kitty and My Melody, who both focus on the positive side of life and love cheering people up, Aggretsuko focuses more on the cynical side of life, since most of the characters are rude or irritating to the titular protagonist. However the series is not too cynical since it does has its own cute moments as a reminder that this is still a Sanrio creation.
  • Something Completely Different: The Aggretsuko series is the first creation by Sanrio that is geared towards the teen and adult demographic. It's even rated TV-14 on Netflix.
  • Skewed Priorities: In one episode, Retsuko gets frustrated when she asks her coworker, Haida to fix a problem with her computer, but he gets distracted with trying to fix her chair and her desk phone, both of which had only minor problems that she didn't care about and weren't interfering with her work.
  • Special Edition Title: In episodes where Retsuko doesn't rage, the opening logo uses a rounder, bubblier font.
  • Subverted Kids Show: A charmingly animated slice of life series about a cute red panda and her animal friends...who swear, get drunk, and deal with the hardships of everyday office life.
  • Suppressed Rage: Retsuko regularly becomes enraged but does not show it. The audience sees her singing Death Metal about whatever enraged her when this happens.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Ape Admin does this to Retsuko in one episode.
  • The Pollyanna: Tsunoda is always seen smiling and is the most optimistic of the characters.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: This shows up in the subtitles for one of Retsuko's songs.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Every once in a while there will be a episode where Retsuko doesn't get enraged and shows something nice happening to her.
    • Episode 58 involves Retsuko's paranoia that the mug she gave to Washimi/Eaglette was used for a toilet brush. Luckily, Washimi is much kinder with Retsuko's gifts than her other coworkers.
  • Toothy Bird: Eaglette/Washimi grinds her teeth in her sleep.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: In one episode Retsuko tries and fails to give candy to a male coworker she has a crush on for Valentine's Day.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Retsuko's voices changes to a very harsh male voice when she sings Death Metal.
  • The Voiceless: Resasuke/Felix never speaks, or changes his facial expression.
  • World of Funny Animals: All the characters are Funny Animals, but they mostly act human aside from a few Furry Reminders.

     Netflix series 
  • Adaptation Expansion: Since each episode of the TBS series is only a minute long and therefore basically presented as a scene without context, it's not surprising that this version shows more of the reasoning behind the situations Retsuko gets into (for instance, why she decides to join yoga).
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Several characters are adapted to more extreme personalities.
    • Zelda/Fenneko is a more calculating Deadpan Snarker.
    • Hog Honcho came across as sexist mostly by being older and out of touch with modern societal standards, but here he (as Director Ton) deliberately taunts Retsuko to her face with even more flagrant sexism.
    • Amir/Komiya is the most notable change, going from a neutral Casanova Wannabe to an antagonistic Yes-Man.
    • Haida goes from being a flippant playboy who coasts on his looks to being Retsuko's close friend and potential love interest.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Haida is attracted to Retsuko in this adaptation, becoming more obvious about it in later episodes. In the final episode Retsuko indicates that she likes him and is open to the idea of dating him.
  • Alternate Continuity: The Netflix series has a different continuity compared to the TBS shorts that aired in Japan, mostly seen in the characters' personalities and how they interact as seen above.
  • Arc Number: "9091-89". Which, as it turns out, is the code for the song that Retsuko uses in the karaoke.
  • Arc Words: "At the count of 10, I will _______." Said by Retsuko to herself while she's privately decompressing her stress and anger. The blank is usually her assuming a desirable facade like "be a model employee" or "go back to being a happy girlfriend". Could also be a Mad Libs Catch Phrase.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Inverted. When the accounting board has to do a full crunch time, three people are out to make it worse; Haida for pneumonia, Tsubone for a broken wrist, and Kabae for being charged with espionage.
  • Art Evolution: The animation for the characters in the Netflix series is more expressive and more fluid compared to the original 1-2 minute shorts that aired on TBS.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Haida (the hyena) was originally a minor character who had barely any interaction with Retsuko. Here he's a friend of hers and might have a thing for her. Though some of the characters that Retsuko did interact with a lot in the original shorts have been demoted to background characters with almost no lines. Beyond that, he had a few moments of trying to use his supposed good looks to attract females and get them to do his work, which annoyed her. Conversely, in the Netflix series, he's much kinder, possibly being the least sexist male in the show, and openly has a crush on Retsuko.
    • Fenneko also has more screentime and is more talkative with Retsuko and the other co-workers compared to the original TBS shorts where she was a minor character.
    • Resasuke also has a bigger role in the later episodes, despite only showing up three times in the TBS shorts.
  • Astral Projection: Yes, really! The yoga instructor is capable of doing this to implant the number of the karaoke song that will cause Retsuko to open up in Gori's head, as a result of "special training in India".
  • Badass Arm-Fold: Retsuko does this pose in the Netflix opening.
  • Beer Goggles: Here, they're the cause of Retsuko's more handsome vision of (the actually plain) Resasuke. At least she's already taken with his offbeat personality.
  • Beneath the Mask: A major theme of the series. Retsuko puts on a mask at work, and yet is oblivious to the fact that literally everyone else at work is doing the exact same thing. Washimi and Gori's major role in the series is to help Retsuko feel more comfortable about revealing her true self to others, particularly her coworkers - while simultaneously also putting on a mask at work that makes her less of a target of abuse. Gori is a particularly good example of this, never showing weakness at work while being very vivacious and convivial outside of it. Washimi, conversely, is much more subtle in her variations, and is the one who seems to be most in control of her own life and most able to be her own (apparently very controlled) self in general.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Episode 4, Retsuko drinks out of an "Agua" botle. "Agua" means "Water" in Spanish. Another episode has the same brand say "Mizu" instead, with the same meaning in Japanese.
  • Birds of a Feather: Both Retsuko and Haida are mild-mannered workers who have trouble in expressing their pent up frustration to other people. Haida also seems to have an interest in punk rock music, which mirrors Retsuko's hobby.
  • Book Ends: The season starts with Retsuko starting her new job with high expectations and optimism. She jumps down a short flight of stairs but misses the landing. In the last episode her expectations are more grounded in reality and reasonably optimistic. When she makes the same jump, she lands it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The yoga instructor, who at first seems like a Dumb Muscle protein junkie, is actually a very enlightened and effective teacher. Gori points out that his students (including herself) get very good results from his class.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: A problem shared by many characters.
  • Cat Smile: Fenneko's default expression, even when she's upset or annoyed.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Puko, Retsuko's bohemian friend from school. A less egregious example, as she spends at least half the year overseas.
    • The lemur assistant to the yoga instructor, who provides the actual yoga lesson while the latter simply works out as in the original.
  • Central Theme: Everybody has Hidden Depths and everybody wears a mask around others. You probably don't know people as well as you think if you only know them from the workplace.
  • Crapsack World: The show is very brightly and playfully animated, yet the overall effect is still this trope, because Retsuko's life still sucks.
  • Crush Filter: Resasuke has a rather blank and unemotional face and a mole just under his nose, but after Retsuko falls for him she sees him with a more attractive, stereotypically Bishōnen face with a mole under his left eye.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fenneko is commonly shown making snarky remarks during any situation in her work place.
  • Demoted to Extra: Buffalo Boss is now apparently one of Retsuko's coworkers.
  • Dope Slap: The morning after a drunken party, Fenneko and some of her coworkers try to remember what happened and ask Retsuko if she sang, but Retsuko quickly cuts off the rest of their sentences by punching them so hard they get knocked out.
  • Dub Name Change: Netflix's subs don't use the English pun-based names, simply using their Japanese equivalents instead.note 
  • Expy: The changes in Haida's character have made him a clear parallel to Jim Halpert.
  • The Fake Cutie: Tsunoda puts on a cute front to suck up to others; she makes no effort to hide it when called out and she knows and doesn't care that everyone else hates her for it.
  • Flat Joy: Fenneko's laughter is normally just a deadpan, rapid-fire string of "ha"s.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ton tells Retsuko that his own bosses abused their power and ground him down when he was starting out, and he also implies that he has never been in a romantic relationship, though it's not clear if that contributed to his asshole behavior or was a result of it.
  • Furry Reminder: Washimi, a secretarybird, demonstrates her dominance by stomping on things with her powerful feet, just as real secretarybirds do.
  • The Generic Guy: Even after Resasuke becomes a major character, this is still his personality, which does factor into the plot.
  • Gossip Evolution: To get Kabae off her back as to why she was acting so chipper, Retsuko tells her that she couldn't poop for five days and was so relieved that she finally could.note  Somehow, this got twisted when it got to Haida to the point where the rumor was that she had a baby the night before!
  • Hanlon's Razor: Downplayed. In the original shorts it's usually Retsuko's colleagues' general ignorance and gross stupidity that ultimately gets the better of her, triggering her fury. In this series, there's definitely malice behind some of their actions. Especially her pig boss, Director Ton.
  • Hidden Depths: The yoga instructor, despite seeming like Dumb Muscle, is actually quite perceptive of people. To wit, noticing Retsuko's difficulty in opening up to Gori and Washimi and helps the latter two by giving them the number to the song needed to break the ice between them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Director Ton mostly cares about Retsuko's usefulness to the company, but he does give sage advice when reminding Retsuko that love, like accounting, only works when there's an even balance between how much you give versus how much you get.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: After a disastrous (but necessary) night at the karaoke with Resasuke, Retsuko seems to have gone back to being single. While visiting Haida at the hospital, Fenneko leaves them both alone, during which Haida all but says outright he likes Retsuko and wants to go out with her. During his speech, Retsuko stares at him coyly, then flustered. After he finishes, Retsuko subtly pushes him to say how he feels and what he really wants without shame.
  • Not So Stoic: Fenneko shows more emotions and is less stoic when drunk. It's more notable at a singles party attended by Tsunoda and Retsuko where she has a drunk conversation with the guys and talks to Haida after the party by herself.
  • Office Golf: Ton spends most of his work days doing this.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Retsuko appeared on a TV show venting about her boss. Her face was blurred and her voice was modulated to protect her identity, but everyone who saw the segment she appeared in knew it was her all along, including Director Ton.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Each episode makes its point - however bleak - in fifteen minutes.
  • Reality Ensues: Ton's sexism and abuse of power. Fenneko notes that this kind of behavior isn't legal anymore, but Haida notes that all Ton has to do is humbly apologize for being "too forceful" and then make things worse for whoever brought the complaint. This is exactly what happens later when Washimi forces the CEO to bring Ton in. Ton is genuinely fearful for his job, apologizes, and then puts on a (terrifying) happy face around the office. But when he realizes that the complaint originated with Retsuko, he retaliates by humiliating her in front of the whole office at a drinking party.
    • Relationships require maintenance and communication on both sides in order for the relationship to succeed. A relationship that's all give and no take isn't one that can last in the long run. Resasuke's inability to understand how he's wearing Retstuko down is what ultimately destroys the relationship.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: At a company drinking party, Ton, who thinks Retsuko complained to the boss about his treatment of her (it was actually Washimi), tears into her during karaoke with a brutal diss rap. Retsuko counters with a Metal Scream of "YOU'RE A SHITTY BOSS!"
  • Recursive Canon: A coworker at a company mixer compares Retsuko's cuteness to a Sanrio character.
  • Sherlock Scan: Fenneko has an unerring ability to do this, as she demonstrates several times, briefly sporting a deerstalker cap.
  • Ship Tease: It's hinted a couple of times that Haida (the hyena) might have a thing for Retsuko, given that he panicked when he thought she might be pregnant, blushed when Retsuko enthusiastically thanked him for optimizing her laptop, and that he cried into his beer (multiple times) to Fenneko when she wouldn't hang out with them, asking Fenneko if he thought Retsuko might have a boyfriend.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fenneko helps Haida with getting alone time with Retsuko and keeping guys away from her at a singles mixer. At one point, she encourages him to talk to Retsuko by planting into his head the idea that Retsuko might commit suicide.
  • Species Surname: Played straight via puns for many characters, such as the male co-worker who is a maned wolf (a species of canid that looks much like a large fox) named "Ookami". In Japanese, "Okami" means wolf.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: Some dubs, like the Mexican Spanish one, add many profanities that weren't even implied in the original Japanese dialogue, and this is not just exclusive to Retsuko's songs. Even the English release dub has language that many would not find suitable for its PG age rating.
  • Stealth Pun: Gori is a gorilla and she is in Marketing. In other words, it's "Gorilla Marketing"
  • Stepford Smiler: Retsuko is usually seen smiling, even while clearly irritated by how she gets treated by her boss and other co-workers at her job. Her joy with being in a relationship with Resasuke gradually becomes this as well when it takes a toll on her.
  • The Stoic: Fenneko always talks without showing much emotion. The closest she comes to speaking with some emotion is when she's drunk after drinking a lot of alcohol she has in episode 7 and 8.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Resasuke is able to speak full sentences (or at least says a few words) while he was silent in the TBS shorts.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Kabae, upon returning to work, says:
    "I wanna tell you all about my vacation which was a vacation and definitely not a cover for espionage!"
  • Tap on the Head: When Fenneko and Haida start to remember Retsuko death metal screaming at Ton she karate chops them both to the back of the head.
  • Troll: Haida calls Fenneko a troll at one point in the English dub.
  • Unfolding Plan Montage: Subverted. First we see Washimi marching down the corridor to the duo's usual theme, where she proceeds to enact her part of the plan. Then we cut to Gori doing the same...only to realize she doesn't actually have a part, turn around, and walk away.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: When Ton tries to be nicer and happier around the office, it comes off as creepy and the staff abhor him more than ever.
  • What Does She See in Him?: When Retsuko starts gushing about how cool Resasuke is, Gori and Washimi do not see anything cool about him.
    Washimi: Is... It me or does his head look like a slightly toasted marshmallow?
    Gori: Yes thank you! I was thinking the exact same thing!

Alternative Title(s): Aggretsuko

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/AggressiveRetsuko