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aka: Aggretsuko

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"This girl has a secret up her sleeve, and a mic in her purse!"
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Aggressive Retsuko, or Aggretsuko as it's better known as, is an anime by Sanrio based upon the characters created by Yeti. It stars the beleaguered office worker, Retsuko, a 25-year-old single red panda, who seems cute and submissive on the outside, but is secretly seething 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 begin to open up in ways that can change her life for the better ...or for the worse.

This is where it gets a bit interesting. There are two series with the Aggressive Retsuko name; one is made by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, and the second is a collaborative effort between TBS and Netflix, but both have similar premises.

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The TBS series was a series of 100 self-contained one-minute episodes (except the first episode, which was 30 seconds longer) that was broadcast as a segment of the variety show Ō-sama no Brunch, starting in 2016 and ending in March 2018. The shorts focused more on the frustrations of random situations that Retsuko ended up in, such as being asked to pick up the bill at a friend meet up.

The collaborative TBS x Netflix series, a ten-episode season that released in 2018, is different from the shorts as it focuses more on Retsuko pushing through bigger societal problems, such as dealing with horrible bosses, and the problems of falling straight into love. The episodes are also longer (around 15 minutes) and follow a new continuity compared to the original series. Adaptation tropes do apply to this series.

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A Christmas Special titled "We Wish You a Metal Christmas" was released on December 20, 2018, and takes place right after season 1. The official Aggretsuko twitter page confirmed a second season for the TBS x Netflix series, which was released on June 14, 2019.


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     Both Series 
  • Angrish: Retsuko's enraged Death Metal voice barely sounds like Japanese at all.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Kabae is a hyperactive and very annoying female hippo. She is also a huge gossip, and hippos have big mouths. Ton is a fat sexist pig who is literally a pig. Tsubone is a mean, creepy komodo dragon. Fenneko the fennec fox is intelligent and a bit of a trickster. 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. The CEO is an elephant who isn't very smart. The main character, Retsuko, is meant to be a subversion of her stereotype. She is a very cute animal, but she is hiding a lot of anger and a very noncute hobby.
  • 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 Fenneko portrayed with pupils.
  • 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.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The show is very brightly and playfully animated, yet it doesn't shy away from the fact that Retsuko's job is awful and her life is very stressful.
  • Crush Filter: When Retsuko fantasizes about her crush, his face turns from its blank stare to that of a shoujo anime character.
  • Death Metal: Retsuko sings Death Metal inside her head whenever she becomes enraged.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Retsuko's eyes glow when she is about to start one of her rage songs.
  • The Lancer: Fenneko, Retsuko's best friend and frequent confidant, who occasionally backs her up on drums during her enraged singing.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": A lot of the characters have names that are related to their species, although only if you understand Japanese. The unofficial subtitles of the TBS shorts also gives the characters names like Eaglette, Hippatricia, and Giselle in an attempt to translate the names.
  • Mature Animal Story: This is Sanrio's first venture into a more mature animal character setting where all animals act in a more realistic and cynical manner. The series mostly avoids the well-known sugary sweetness seen in the company's other animes starring a Sanrio character. It does pop up in episode 9 of the Netflix series during Retsuko's date with Resasuke, complete with a love song.
  • Metal Scream: Retsuko has a mean set of pipes on her!
  • Mrs. Robinson: Tsubone(late middle age at best) all but flirts with Ookami in one of the shorts, and eagerly saves a seat for Haida at a party in the series. They don't reciprocate.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: Mainly uses the All In Their Heads hypothesis. In the majority of episodes of the TBS series, Retsuko's songs are only happening in her head; other characters do not react to her singing, since the songs express the things that she wants to say but can't. In the Netflix series, it uses the Diegetic or Maestro Cast hypothesis more often, as it more frequently shows Retsuko actually going to Karaoke or somewhere else private to sing her rage songs. Although the lyrics of Retsuko's songs are improvised, she usually is using the same music to sing with, so it is more believable.
  • Officially Shortened Title: The franchise name is shortened to Aggretsuko for its English release.
  • Pokémon Speak: The only word that Retsuko's yoga instructor ever says is "protein".
  • Personality Blood Types: Retsuko introduces herself to the audience in both series as a Blood Type-A.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: One of Retsuko's superiors (Tsubone) is a ugly old reptilian woman who is very condescending towards her and has No Sense of Personal Space. And in the Netflix series she is an outright sadist and one of the few characters who never gets any sympathetic moments.
  • Sadist Show: The original shorts were like this. Good things almost never happen to Retsuko and most of the other characters are either jerks or just annoying to Retsuko and never face any consequences for their behavior. The Netflix series is less sadistic, as although good things still rarely happen to her, the series shows her learning and maturing from her experiences. Although the first season ends with her continuing to take abuse from her coworkers and bosses, she is a lot more positive about it than in the beginning of the series.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The show has quite a lot of animals that are obscure or uncommonly seen in animation. These animals include red panda, fennec fox, spotted hyena, maned wolf, Komodo dragon, secretary bird, caracal, Pallas's cat, capybara, axolotl, and mandrill.
  • 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: While Sanrio would occasionally dabble in aiming for older audiences before, Aggretsuko is the first creation to be geared towards both teens and adults. It's even rated TV-14 on Netflix.
  • Sudden Anatomy: Characters are often rendered with fingerless or nearly fingerless hands, but when Retsuko is in rage mode she often has detailed hands with noticeable claws. Fenneko also sometimes sprouts Wolverine Claws when she is being threatening.
  • Suppressed Rage: Retsuko often gets enraged by how the people at work treat her but never shows it.
  • 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.
  • Taken for Granite: In a few episodes of both series, characters shown as being turned to stone when they are not moving or speaking because they are upset about something. This has happened to Retsuko and Gori.
  • Western Zodiac: Retsuko introduces herself to the audience in both series as a Scorpio.
  • World of Funny Animals: All the characters are Funny Animals, but they mostly act human aside from a few Furry Reminders.

     Original TBS shorts 
  • Alliterative Name: The unofficial English subtitles give characters names like Ape Admin, Hog Honcho, and Buffalo Boss.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: One episode ends with Retsuko warning the viewer to beware of flu season after she gets infected by Kabae who comes to work despite being clearly too sick to work.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Amir likes to talk himself up as a cool ladies' man, but is clearly desperate, pushy and unpopular.
  • Catchphrase: Most episodes end with Retsuko saying "Ashita mo ganbare saan" which can be translated as "I will do my best tomorrow". The fansubs usually translate it as "Gotta get reddy for the next day!" or something similar.
  • 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: The first Christmas episode shows Retsuko spending Christmas Eve drinking booze alone. One year later, another Christmas episode shows her frustrated that her Christmas is exactly like the last one.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Some fan translations of Retsuko's songs are like this.
  • Color Failure: Retsuko loses all color when she is shocked by how Kabae poorly treated a book that Retsuko loaned to her.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One short has Retsuko tring to show a new co-worker how to do something important for their job while they're eating something crunchy. She politely asks the co-worker to stop. She goes back to explaining when the co-worker starts eating a financier (a small square cake), because it doesn't crunch. Retsuko rages and tells her to stop eating while she's talking, period, and the co-worker agrees...then brings out a banana.
  • Compliment Backfire: In one short, Anai/Doug and Retsuko are being chastised by Ton/"Hog Honcho", who calls out Retsuko, saying that she wasn't committed to the company and probably looking to get married and skip out at the first opportunity. Anai breaks in, defending her by pointing her strong sense of responsibility and that she's a model employee — and that she has no social life, will never get married and will probably stay right where she is for the next ten years. Even Ton thinks that's a bit much.
  • 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 unofficial 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.) Ookami's name means means wolf in Japanese.
  • Double Standard: In one episode, Retsuko gets enraged when she sees that one of her female bosses is much nicer when correcting mistakes made by a handsome male coworker than when correcting Retsuko's mistakes.
  • Downer Ending: Most of the episodes don't end happily for Retsuko.
  • Dreadful Musician: As thanks for friending him and getting him obligatory Valentine's chocolate, Yagyuu/"Buffalo Boss", decides to write a song for Retsuko. We actually don't know if it's any good because Retsuko is too squicked out to listen, but she certainly dreaded it.
  • Dub Name Change: Many characters in the show have their names changed in the unoffical 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.
  • 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 Ō-sama no Brunch. 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.
  • Furry Reminder: 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: Kabae is a very hyper hippopotamus.
  • Gilligan Cut: In one episode, Retsuko is enraged because she doesn't want to get out of bed, but then her rage song is suddenly cut off to her on the train, headed to work.
  • Gratuitous English: Some of Retsuko's rage songs have English in them. The only word the yoga instructor ever says is "protein."
  • Hot-Blooded: Anai/"Doug" has has a very loud, very eager attitude—without the competence to back it up.
  • Hypocrite: One short has Gori, Washimi and Retsuko joining a mixer. Retsuko's worried because all the men they're meeting are handsome and have amazing jobs, but Gori and Washimi tell her to be calm and act natural. At the mixer, Retsuko's dazzled by the men, but notices to her surprise that Gori and Washimi seem perfectly calm...then she sees Gori sucking her gut in as hard as she can and Washimi pushing her chest out with equal force.
  • Idol Singer: Retsuko ends up dressing up and dancing like one during a company party. In Rage Mode, to boot.
  • Imagine Spot: In the shorts, most of the times Retsuko enters Death Metal Mode and starts raging seem to occur within her head. Her reactions in the real world seem to be considerably less severe with people rarely noticing anything weird. During the Idol Singer incident mentioned above, for example, she apparently put on an actual, normal idol performance.
  • 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 Ton 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.
  • Leitmotif: Plays whenever Retsuko becomes enraged.
  • 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, Ookami does something similar. When Retsuko gets her hopes up, he asks if he can borrow some money since he impulsively spent the last of his. Retsuko is understandably upset by this.
  • May–December Romance: Yagyuu/"Buffalo Boss" (fifty-something) crushes on Fenneko/"Zelda" (twenties) and tries to arrange an office party as an excuse to talk to her. Later after 25-year-old Retsuko (reluctantly) accepts his friend request and (even more reluctantly) gives him obligatory Valentine's chocolate, his affections seem to change.
  • Mistaken Identity: One episode has Retsuko being confused with a different co-worker by someone and being constantly thanked for pitching in and helping out no matter how she tries to protest. Said co-worker is a somewhat similar looking raccoon with her(?) own catchphrase ("Tomorrow is a clean slate!") as seen at the end.
  • 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.
    • Ton 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.
    • And only Retsuko could turn trying to peel off a label from a flower vase into an epic battle. She loses.
  • 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.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Yagyuu/"Buffalo Boss" is extremely awkward at interacting with those below him and is clueless about how annoying he is. In one episode he frustrates Retsuko by giving her extremely vague instructions to go find something only to realize he had what he was looking for the whole time. And according Sanrio's website, he also has horrible time management skills. Bonus points for having pointy horns.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: Yagyuu/"Buffalo Boss" occasionally wanders around the office looking for people to give these to.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The abuse Retsuko takes from her boss and coworkers inspires her angry Death Metal songs.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • Swivel-Chair Antics: In one short Retsuko is spinning around the office in a swivel chair while thinking about how her life isn't fun because she has no time to do anything but go home and sleep after working all day. Ton catches her and asks if she is having fun, to her embarrassment.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Ape Admin does this to Retsuko in one episode.
  • 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 fights her way through a crowd to buy Valentines Day chocolate for Resasuke and ends up spending way too much. In the following episode, she attempts to give it to Resasuke but she is interrupted by Ton and Haida, and Resasuke leaves before she can give it to him. She ends up eating the chocolate herself, alone.

     TBS x 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.
    • Fenneko is a more calculating Deadpan Snarker.
    • Ton came across as sexist mostly by being older and out of touch with modern societal standards, but here he deliberately taunts Retsuko to her face with even more flagrant sexism.
    • 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 with a crush on her.
      • Haida being interested in Retsuko actually was subtly hinted in his description on Sanrio's website, and in one episode of the shorts, he is seen going out to dinner with Retsuko and Fenneko. His personality may seem different because he had very little screen time in the original shorts and so there was no time for him to show any of his Hidden Depths, or what his relationship with the other characters was.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Haida is attracted to Retsuko in this adaptation, becoming more obvious about it in later episodes. In the final episode of the first season, he confesses his feelings to her.
  • Adult Fear: For all the Funny Animals and humor that makes it look like a kids show, the terror of someone like Retsuko losing their job is played depressingly straight.
  • An Aesop: Compromising yourself constantly just to satisfy other people, whether at work or your love life, just ends up leaving you worn out and unsatisfied.
  • 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.
  • 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. There also are some small differences in character design. One of the most noticeable differences is that Ton appears much larger and imposing in the Netflix series.
  • 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 has 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.
    • The manly yoga instructor only appeared in one episode of the TBS shorts, but in this series, he plays an important role in the plot of the series by helping Retsuko become friends with Washimi and Gori. He appears once more in Series 2 in the background when Retsuko, Gori and Washimi go to the gym.
  • Astral Projection: Yes, really! The yoga instructor is capable of doing this, and he uses it to implant the number of the karaoke song into Gori's head, which causes Retsuko to open up to Gori. He got the ability 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. Eventually it becomes a full-blown Crush Filter.
  • Beneath the Mask: This is a major and recurring 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.
  • Big "WHAT?!": In Season 2, Episode 7, Retsuko and Gori do exactly this when Washimi reveals that she divorced four months into her marriage.
    • An even bigger case happens when everyone finds out that Retsuko and Tadano are dating.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Episode 4, Retsuko drinks out of an "Agua" bottle. "Agua" means "Water" in Spanish. Another episode has the same brand say "Mizu" instead, with the same meaning in Japanese.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: By Sanrio standards, the second season of the Netflix series could be considered one of the company's bloodiest works. While the company rarely shows any depictions of blood in any of their works,note . blood is shown twice in the second season. The first is when Retsuko gets a bloody nose when she falls on her face while searching for Anai. The second is at a driving school, where Retsuko is taking a class so she can get her driver's license. One class lecture has her being taught about driver safety, and one of the slides in the slideshow features a possibly deceased bird complete with a bloody smashed windshield. Retsuko leaves the class in shock and feels nauseated.
  • 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.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Anai. Until Kabae calms him down.
  • 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 and sprains her ankle. In the last episode her expectations are more grounded in reality and reasonably optimistic. When she makes the same jump, she lands it.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ton's a firm believer of this.
  • Bread Milk Eggs Squick: When the accounting board has to do a full crunch time in "The Dream Ends", three people are out to make it worse; Haida with pneumonia, Tsubone with a broken wrist, and Kabae for being charged with espionage.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the Christmas special, in response to Fenneko saying that Instagram is eating Retsuko's soul, Haida says that "[Instagram] are not gonna like this episode".
  • Brick Joke: When Resasuke's first introduced, one of his friends describes him as a potted plant. In the final episode, he can be seen returning home after his breakup with Retsuko and greeting an entire apartment full of them with an "I'm home".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cat Smile: Fenneko's default expression, even when she's upset or annoyed.
  • Censor Box: Used to cover Retsuko's eyes in Series 2 when an article is released about her and Tadano. Like last time she was censored to "conceal" her identity in Series 1, almost everyone that knows her immediately recognises her due to the even lazier job the photographer did at concealing Retsuko's identity.
  • 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.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Hoo boy; this series likes to play something for comedy the first time, only to have it come back and bite a character in the ass for drama later.
    • "Short Timer": Retsuko accidentally lands her head on the copier when Puko hints at a job offer, making tons of copies of her ecstatic face. By the end of the episode, Ton is using one as ammunition for a threat to fire her if she doesn't keep pace.
    • "Walking Down the Aisle": Retsuko gives 30,000 yen, a traditional donation, to a married couple at a wedding she attends. Her rage face at resistance to letting it go is what transitions into the title... then it's revealed 30,000 yen is a majority of her food money and she's hiding in the archive room to prevent Haida and Fenneko from seeing a sub-standard lunch.
    • "The Duel": Retsuko's metal rage moments are usually her complaining about her position and life. This includes the hilarious "MATRIMONIAL FREEDOM!" in "Walking Down the Aisle". "The Duel" presents this in a more serious context: calling out Ton for his behavior and exploding at him, and the only reason she gets away with it is because it happened at an office party and everyone except Retsuko is drunk enough to hardly remember anything.
    • In "A Good, Hard-Working Girl", Retsuko visits the store "ALP", which she doesn't usually visit, and gets mildly harassed by an employee trying to get her to buy something ("no pressure!"), Played for Comedy regarding overly-cheery salespeople. In "The Dream Ends", Retsuko visits there with Resasuke and tries to buy one of the dresses she was looking at before to impress him... but Resasuke is so bland he can't make a decision, which irritates Retsuko enough to go hide in the bathroom and try to convince herself things are fine.
    • In the first episode, Tsunoda's rather reliable and popular presence on social media is played as a joke. When Retsuko starts mirroring Tsunoda's social media in "Metal Christmas", it's treated as a joke. When Tsunoda posts a social media pic showing her going out with someone on Christmas while Retsuko is stuck late in the office and without anyone to spend Christmas with, it drives Retsuko into a rage.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Resasuke's love of canned coffee just starts out as a case of Trademark Favorite Food. It's a signal to Haida that Retsuko might be interested in him when he sees her get it one time in the breakroom vending machines. When Retsuko is with Resasuke - though he doesn't know how bad the relationship is going - just seeing an empty coffee can is enough to make Haida angry, causing him to kick the can in spite and fall over. This leads to him getting pneumonia laying in the rain, which both takes him out of work the next day and gives Retsuko long enough to break up with Resasuke she's available.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Haida arrives late to the office drinking party and finds Ookami sitting next to Retsuko. His first thought is along the lines of "who does he think he is sitting next to Retsuko!?" He's not only late to finding out about Retsuko's relationship with Resasuke, he slowly drives himself mad with the idea that Resasuke got to Retsuko first. However, he mellows out not too long afterwards.
  • 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.
    • The trope is discussed when Haida realizes he's Loving a Shadow and tells Retsuko the idea he has of her is the one in his head. Instead of this tearing down his perception of Retsuko entirely, he wants to get to know who she really is.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fenneko is commonly shown making snarky remarks during any situation in her work place.
  • Demoted to Extra: Yagyuu (Buffalo Boss in the unofficial subs). He was a much more important character in the TBS shorts, but in the Netflix series he is mostly a background character.
  • Discretion Shot: Haida's confession to Retsuko isn't shown on screen.
  • 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, since the English names were actually made by fansubbers.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Retsuko's mother made her first appearance in a 2017 post from the Japanese Aggretsuko Twitter account, two years before her debut in the second season. She is seen in a photo with a very young Retsuko.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As much as Ton dislikes Retsuko, he has some moral standards, and does often give her genuinely meaningful life advice. Ton also keeps Retsuko and Tadano's relationship a secret after he learns of it at a corporate golf retreat/ meeting.
  • 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.
  • Fair for Its Day: In-universe. Ton's a misogynistic pig of an old-fashioned boss, who can't understand computers. He laments what was once acceptable, once fair, is now considered discrimination and gross misconduct - he's a product of his day, molded to his bastard of a manager's will, and cannot keep up with the constantly changing times.
  • Flat Joy: Fenneko's laughter is normally just a deadpan, rapid-fire string of "ha"s. This aspect of her personality is kept between dubs, no matter the language.
  • Foot Focus: Used often as a scene transition when any given character is walking down the hall. Becomes something of a plot point when Retsuko starts dating Resasuke.
  • Foreshadowing: In season 2, when Tedano and Retsuko go on a date. He shows that, despite being unable to go past a beginner's level driver class, he's able to drive his private jet perfectly, while Retsuko was shown to be a very good driver. This foreshadows that the two have very different personalities and it's an early hint they won't be able to bridge that gap by the end of the season. In fact, when they do break up, Tedano is shown happily driving his jet while Retsuko happily drives a car.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Retsuko gets off the train after noticing Resasuke takes the same one, Haida can be seen in shadow in the background as the doors open.
  • 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. Surprisingly, this even extends into his bishonen face, which is about as stereotypical as you can get.
  • 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: A major theme of the show is this; People are rarely who they appear to be at first glance. To that end, nearly every character has hidden depths to them in some way:
    • There's Retsuko herself, who presents herself as a demure office worker but in reality represses lots of anger from people assuming that they can shift their responsibilities onto her without consequence. And in a less personal example, she's talented at singing death metal.
    • Fenneko starts the series appearing aloof and indifferent to the drama around her, and even messes with a few of her coworkers for fun. As the show goes on, however, she's revealed to care deeply about her friends, both acting protectively toward Retsuko and assisting Haida in his mission to win Retsuko over. In addition, she has a keen eye for social media and gleams surprising amounts of information about people from what they post online.
    • Tsunoda’s interactions with Retsuko and others are laden with passive-aggressiveness disguised as politeness, and she has a habit of blatantly sucking up to Director Ton to avoid the mistreatment he directs to other employees. As a consequence, much of the staff badmouths her behind her back. She’s completely aware of what everyone thinks of her and doesn’t care one bit, reasoning that her sycophantic actions are worth it if they make Ton and the work environment in general less abusive. In addition, she’s fully aware of Fenneko’s social media sleuthing, and exploits it by loading her accounts with things she know will anger Fenneko.
    • Director Ton shifts his own work onto employees who already have their hands full and pushes menial tasks onto the women in his workforce, all the while berating them for not getting their doubled or tripled workload finished on time. To top it all off, he’s a literal sexist pig. Much of his bitterness toward his employees comes from mistreatment he endured from his own boss, which was acceptable when he was an underling but isn’t seen as lightly now that he’s a boss himself. And despite his constant slacking off, the final episode shows that he’s more than qualified for his position by crunching down on a week’s worth of work in day using only an abacus. And in the final episode he gives Retusko some surprisingly useful relationship advice.
    • Gori is seen in many departments as a glamorous, high-ranking woman who has complete control of her life. Despite this, she nonetheless possesses deep insecurities about how other people see her.
    • The yoga instructor, despite seeming like Dumb Muscle, is actually quite perceptive of people. To wit, she notices Retsuko's difficulty in opening up to Gori and Washimi and helps the latter two by giving Gori the number to the song Retsuko sings at the karaoke parlour, which is needed to break the ice between them.
    • Even minor comic-relief characters are subject to this. Kabae, for example, is absent for much of the final episode of series 1, on account of being arrested for espionage, of all things (the show never specifies much else about it). In series 2, her motherly side to her personality, and dealing with three unruly children becomes how she's able to calm Anai down, after even big bad boss Ton had cowed to Anai.
    • Resasuke could be interpreted as a deconstruction of this trope. Out of the main cast, he’s the character who (unwittingly) presents his inner self the most outwardly …and is regarded as an eccentric Black Sheep by the office for it. But despite being good-natured, he’s self-centered to a fault, which is part of what ultimately ends his relationship with Retsuko. On the other side of the coin, he also appreciates and enjoys Retsuko’s death metal singing when she finally reveals her penchant for it to him, rather than regarding it as unusual.
    • The penultimate scene of the first season discusses this trope: Haida admits that he’s probably not attracted to Retsuko herself, so much as who he perceives Retsuko to be, and in dating her wants to learn who she really is.
    • Tadano appears on the surface as a lazy drop out college kid when we see him take his driving test (and fail multiple times), but he's actually an entrepreneur who, not only can he fly a plane on his own, has seemingly infinite amounts of money at hand, he's also reliant on his own AI, which also drives for him.
    • Anai in season 2. He is the complete opposite of everyone else in this department, being a chipper and eager employee straight out of college, much like Retsuko was implied to be, but becomes a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who aggressively bullies Retsuko and the rest of the department into doing his work for him. When this manages to extend to Tsunoda and Director Ton, he even becomes The Dreaded because no one can stand him.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In episode eight Retsuko loses track of how many beers she drank and gets very drunk, causing her to start seeing Resasuke as much more handsome than he actually is and also throw up.
  • Irony: Retsuko does not usually talk to Fenneko about her love life. Fenneko, through social media sleuthing, probably knows more at times about her love life than Retsuko does. Even funnier when Sanrio's own website says Retsuko thinks of Fenneko as a "frenemy" but Fenneko has good intentions for Retsuko; while Washimi and Gori are probably wiser, Retsuko probably could trust Fenneko with it.
  • 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.
  • The Last Straw: In the very last scene of season one, Retsuko is back to taking abuse from her bosses and coworkers with a smile once again, only to snap when Ton berates her for not putting a staple at a 45° angle.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Near the end of the Christmas special, Washimi has to drag Gori away to get her to give Haida and Retsuko some time to work out their feelings for one another.
  • Love Confession: Haida, in the hospital, to Retsuko, though it isn't directly shown on screen.
  • Loving a Shadow: Retsuko sees Resasuke through rose-tinted glasses while she's dating him. She interprets his habit of staring off into the distance as something cool and dreamy when it actually just shows how distracted and oblivious he is, and she thinks of him as a considerate boyfriend because she focuses on the few nice things he did for her (often thanks to his friend Playing Cyrano) while handwaving all the times he failed to notice her discomfort. Realizing this is what causes her to break things off. Haida also acknowledges at the end of season one that he probably likes an idealized version of Retsuko that he made up in his head, but from now on he wants to get to know her better.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: The english dub has the characters say Retsuko's name really fast and with an almost-silent "T" to make "Russ-sa-ko", instead of the more logical "Ret-sue-ko" that many people expect to say it as.
  • 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. She also expresses fright when Haida gets angry at her and when Director Ton doesn't act like himself, flips her lid when she finds out Retsuko was hanging with Tsunoda and when Tsunoda invites her to a mixer, shows visible irritation around Tsunoda at times, and reacts aggressively to a guy who tries to talk to Retsuko at the mixer. She lampshades it herself early on, discussing how she would have flown off the handle if she got treated the way their bosses treat Retsuko in near monotone.
  • Office Golf: Ton spends most of his work days doing this. He is often seen with a golf club. Series 2 has Ton actually go to a proper golf course for a business opportunity.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Retsuko appeared on a TV news segment 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.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: The elephant CEO wastes the company’s money on ridiculous projects and get pushed around by the much more competent Washimi.
  • Portmantitle: Aggretsuko is a portmanteau of "Aggressive" and "Retsuko".
  • Product Placement: Instagram heavily features into the Christmas special. However, it's not as though it's completely positive as Retsuko is clearly addicted to it and Fenneko hates it. As Haida says, they (Instagram) are going to hate this episode.
  • 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. Fortunately, nearly everyone is too hung over to remember what happened.
    • 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 Retsuko down is what ultimately destroys the relationship.
    • As much as you may hate your job and want to quit for a new one, make sure have an actual job lined up instead of the vague promise of one (and in a business that's just starting out at that) before you do things like complain about your crappy boss on live television, talk back to your superiors, or use your company's computer to complain about it online, otherwise the same people you complained about can make your life even harder.
    • As Retsuko's mother tells her, while trying to make some matchmaking, the men she shows her aren't just pieces of sushi in a conveyor belt that she gets to pick or turn down, they also get a say in it. Retsuko realizes this when she is turned down by one of those men, and when she says she might want to get in touch with Shirota again, she learns he's already seeing someone else.
  • Surprise Creepy: Some episodes of the second season have some surprisingly creepy and ominous moments compared to Season 1 and the TBS shorts, such as Retsuko beginning to panic when she hears about a robber breaking into her house and Anai aggressively texting Retsuko and Haida and upsetting Tsunoda and Ton. However, one moment that sticks out the most is the slideshow where Retsuko is shown a picture of a cracked windshield with blood and a deceased driver.
  • "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.
  • Setting Update: While the original shorts seldom referred to where exactly the work took place, this series very firmly establishes it in a few particular areas of Tokyo.
  • Sherlock Scan: Fenneko has an unerring ability to do this with social media posts, as she demonstrates several times, and usually explains how she knows this. The "We Wish You A Metal Christmas" special has her briefly sport a deerstalker cap too. Series 2 has Fenneko do this when trying to find out why Retsuko is away from the office, and for the first time in the series, she barely explains how she comes to the conclusion of how Retsuko flew from Tokyo to Hokkaido in a single day. Amusingly, despite her Sherlock Scan tendencies, Fenneko is just as unaware as everyone else is to Retsuko's Death metal karaoke sessions.
  • Shown Their Work: Washimi is a secretary secretarybird, which makes for a good pun, but the series also has her smash several things with her legs when angry. Secretarybirds in the wild primarily hunt through kicking prey with their powerful legs.
  • Ship Tease: Haida is hinted to have a thing for Retsuko. He panicked when he thought she might be pregnant, blushed when Retsuko enthusiastically thanked him for optimizing her laptop, and cried into his beer (multiple times) to Fenneko when she wouldn't hang out with them, asking Fenneko if she thought Retsuko might have a boyfriend. This is proven correct. So much that the poor guy spends most of the last episode utterly depressed Retsuko does infact have a boyfriend. But he does finally confesses his feelings to her at the end (but is turned down). The Christmas Special then zig-zags it all over the place, going from Just Friends to Maybe Ever After.
  • 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.
  • Social Media Is Bad: During the Christmas Special, keeping up with the "perfect" expectations of social media (not helped by peer pressure from a colleague popular on Instagram) clearly makes Retsuko unhappy.
  • 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:
    • The English release dub has language that many would not find suitable for its PG age rating.
    • The Mexican Spanish dub is an odd case: The only profanity used in the dub is "fucked" (jodida), and just in episode 4 when Fenneko cursed herself regarding a wedding. The rest of the dub is quite clean, but on the other hand, this is still played straight with the subbed version, but only for the songs.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Gori is a gorilla and she is in Marketing. In other words, it's "Gorilla Marketing"
    • Resasuke having an apartment full of plants may be because he is an herbivore man.
  • 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's taking a toll on her but she tries to pretend to herself that everything's fine.
  • The Stoic:
    • Fenneko usually talks without showing much emotion. Apart from a few moments of terror, 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.
    • Resasuke never changes his blank, neutral expression, and it's hard to tell whether he feels any strong emotions at all.
  • 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.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Retsuko, Fenneko, and Haida are a straight example (albeit in the context of 20-somethings in office jobs rather than the usual school setting; but this fits in with the theme of them not quite considering themselves adults yet), with Retsuko being the everyman hero, Fenneko as the best friend sidekick, and Haida as the opposite gender best friend and Love Interest.
  • Troll: Haida calls Fenneko a troll at one point in the English dub.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: Jingle Bells for the "Metal Christmas" special. Instead of the standard metal of the normal show, however, it's a punk cover, fitting considering Haida - who wears punk-rock clothing and is even shown playing guitar in the opening - essentially moves to the secondary main POV spot for the episode's premise.
  • Truth in Television: Believe it or not, the overwhelming and abusive state of Retsuko's work environment is not an isolated incident. It's surprisingly common for people in Japan to work in such conditions. There is an excellent video by Gaijin Goomba on the subject.
  • 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.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Heavily implied Ton was this way when he started working in the 1980s, under an S-Rank bastard of a boss. To survive, he adopted many of their mannerisms and eventually lost any idealistic innocence he once had. He scoffs at Retsuko denouncing him as a bastard, believing she'll turn out just like him in another 10 years or so.
  • Visual Pun: A few of the props have a few Bland-Name Product logo's slapped onto them. For example, the laptop Retsuko and Fenneko work on has an arched window as the logo on the back, while smartphones have a cracked egg as their logo, which is similar in shape of the Apple logo.
  • 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. Even Jerk with a Heart of Jerk Tsubone and his own lackey Komiya are freaked out by him.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?:
    • Because everybody was drunk, at the start of episode eight Retsuko is the only one who clearly remembers her telling off Ton via death metal the morning after the office party at the end of episode seven. When Fenneko and Haida start to remember what Retsuko did she knocks them out.
    • After the singles mixer where she drank too much, Retsuko wakes up in bed with no memory of how she got home or why there there is an unfamiliar handkerchief in her room.
  • 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

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