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Anime / Aggretsuko

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"This girl has a secret up her sleeve, and a mic in her purse!"

Aggretsuko, fully known in Japanese as Aggressive Retsuko, 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 with annoying coworkers and tyrannical 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.

While the arguable heart of the series is the challenges Retsuko faces while working for a living in 21st-century Japan as an accountant, the series grows from there to expound upon the enormous challenges faced by people in modern Japanese society. These range from finding love to pursuing your creative dreams to reckoning with a social system that seems determined to disenfranchise you. By the end of the show, it folds in an exploration of Japanese politics, its gerontocracy, and the challenges both pose to young people in Japan.

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.

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, which began with a ten-episode season that was released on April 20th, 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.

A Christmas Special titled "We Wish You a Metal Christmas" was released on December 20, 2018, and takes place right after season 1. A second season of the Netflix series was announced in July 2018 and was released on June 14, 2019. A third season was confirmed in August 2019 and released on August 27th, 2020. On December 23rd, 2020, a fourth season was announced and premiered on December 16th, 2021. A short message at the very end of the fourth season teased a fifth season, which was later confirmed to be the final season in September 2022 and aired on February 16th, 2023, thus concluding the Netflix series.

Following the release of Season 3, a spinoff series of shorts starring the OTMGirls premiered on their official Youtube channel.

A series of comic books based on the series is being published by Oni Press. The first issue was released on February 5th, 2020.

Renegade Game Studios produced the Aggretsuko Work/Rage Balance Card Game where players assume the roles of mild-mannered office workers that have to balance their work with their hidden inner rage.

See also Africa Salaryman for a similar workplace comedy featuring animal characters.

Aggretsuko provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Both series 
  • Angrish: Retsuko's enraged Death Metal voice barely sounds like Japanese at all.
  • Animal Stereotypes:
  • Art-Style Dissonance: The show is full of Ridiculously Cute Critters drawn in a cute, simple art style, and yet the show mainly explores surprisingly mature and dark themes, thus the art style goes completely at odds with the content. This includes topics such as work life issues, female workplace sexism, bullying co-workers (or being on the receiving end of it), and general life expectations. Retsuko often screams her inner frustrations out either in her head or at the Karaoke booth, and isn't above getting wasted on alcohol too. There is also copious amounts of swearing in the Netflix series, which really doesn't fit the age rating.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Most of the characters have this, with Fenneko being the most notable of the main cast.
  • Casting Gag: Josh Petersdorf's role as Ton isn't the first time he's played a mean pig-like character, seeing as his other most famous role is probably Roadhog from Overwatch.
  • Cathartic Scream: Retsuko blows off steam by singing metal. When the stresses of her job get too much to handle, she'll escape to the women's restroom 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.
  • Crazy Workplace: Retsuko's defining trait is Suppressed Rage, in which she sings her frustrations with Death Metal in private. With the likes of Kabae, Tsunoda, Komiya, Tsubone and Ton in her office, and her boss who asks for tea nonstop, it's clear to see why she would be stressed out all the time.
  • 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.
  • Idol Singer:
    • In one of the TBS shorts, Retsuko ends up dressing up and dancing like one during a company party. In Rage Mode, to boot.
    • Season 3 of the Netflix series introduces OTMGirls, an underground idol group who's still trying to make it big. Retsuko becomes the group's accountant after she accidentally bumps into their producer's van, and she later joins the group herself. She's later stalked and almost killed by a Loony Fan who doesn't like the direction the group is going in after she joined, and she ultimately quits because of it.
  • 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: While not as dark as other examples, the series is one of Sanrio's only properties specifically aimed at adults, even though it takes place in a World of Funny Animals with adorable designs. The series mostly avoids the well-known sugary sweetness seen in the company's other anime series, as it tackles issues such as Mean Bosses, sexism in the workplace, disagreeable coworkers, and other challenges of adulthood.
  • Mean 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.
  • 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.
  • No Full Name Given: Almost every named character is only known by one name, whether it's their given name or their family name. Strangely, the only character whose full name is known is Natsuko Yokosawa, a minor character in the shorts and only a background character in the series.
  • Officially Shortened Title: The franchise name is shortened to Aggretsuko for its English release.
  • One-Word Vocabulary: 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 through most of the show.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Whenever she's enraged, Retsuko's face changes to look similar to Gene Simmons' KISS face paint, featuring similar black marking around her eyes and an Overly-Long Tongue.
    • Episode 9 of Season 1 has Retsuko going out on a date with Resasuke at an amusement park, which actually resembles Sanrio's own outdoor theme park "Harmonyland" located in Hiji, Japan.
    • In season 3, Retsuko describes the F guitar chord as an unbreachable double wall, with the neck towering over a giant wall much like Attack on Titan.
    • In episodes 9 and 10 of season 4, when Retsuko and Kabae infiltrate Haida's office to uncover evidence of him being involved in window-dressing fraud, they dress very similarly to the Kisugi sisters from Cat's Eye.
  • Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: After Retsuko finally opens up to Washimi and Gori about her frustrations with Director Ton, Washimi uses her position as the assistant to the boss to get Ton reprimanded.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Unlike other Sanrio character franchises such as Hello Kitty and My Melody, which 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 have its own cute moments as a reminder that this is still a Sanrio creation.
    • While Season 4 has a bit of cynicism, it's notably more idealistic and hopeful compared to Season 2 and 3.
  • Soul-Crushing Desk Job: The series is all about the hell that is the Japanese worklife and how the characters have to survive the worst of it.
  • 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.
  • Surprise Inspection Ruse: When Retsuko rightfully suspects the new head of the accounting department Haida of cooking the books to make the company they work for appear more profitable than it really is on behalf of the new boss, Himuro, she draws up a plan to get proof. This involves having the OTM girls pretend to be auditors making a surprise inspection in order to get Haida to reveal the combination to the wall safe he keeps the thumb drive holding the original financial records, so that Retsuko can break in and copy the files while he goes down to deal with them. The plan is almost ruined when Tsubose reminds Haida that audits are never done without the auditors sending notice of their upcoming visit days in advance.
  • 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.
  • The Unintelligible: Retsuko's Metal Scream is often hard to understand in the Netflix series (which gets lampshaded a few times, such as in "The End of the Moratorium" when her stalker accuses her of shouting unintelligible words and calling it metal). Much more so in the TBS shorts.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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 poorly Kabae 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!"
  • Ship Tease: Komiya and Tsunoda share a flirtatious moment in the "White Day" episode, in which Komiya gives her a present and the endearing nickname Tsuna-Chan.
  • Signing Off 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.
  • 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.
  • Sweet Sheep: One short introduces a female sheep worker named Yoko, who frequently asks Retsuko questions and help. While not mean or rude, Yoko is very timid, meek, and always talks very quietly to everybody around her.
  • 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.
  • Water Is Womanly: Yokosawa the axolotl and Lucille/Gomakawa are the series' only major characters who are aquatic animals, and both are women.

    Netflix series: A-E 
  • 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.
    • Anai in the shorts is a Nervous Wreck with an annoying habit of asking way too many questions. In the Netflix series he at first seems much calmer but goes berserk with threatening emails at any perceived slight.
    • More generally, in the TBS shorts, a lot of Retsuko's rage comes from dealing with rude, insensitive, or simply clueless coworkers. In the Neflix series, most of her coworkers are less annoying, so that more focus can be given to her frustration with Ton.
  • 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. The show also changes the relationship between Washimi and Gori. In the Netflix series, Washimi and Gori have already been friends for a long time before meeting Retsuko at yoga, while in original shorts, Washimi, Gori, and Retsuko all become friends at the same time after meeting each other at yoga
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In season 4, Retusko and Kabae use the air vents to spy on Haida in classic heist movie fashion.
  • 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.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: In-Universe. The company president's CEO has an outlandish idea for a theme park that is derided by the other characters. Come season 5, though, it turns out to be a smash hit.
  • 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 façade like "be a model employee" or "go back to being a happy girlfriend". Could also be a Mad Libs Catch Phrase.
      • The final scene in Season 3 has her do this in retrospect of her life thus far. It has a noticeably different tone than her usual.
  • 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. Season 3 and 4 are the most notable since the animation for the characters is even better than the first two seasons.
  • 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 (alongside showing up near the end of the shorts run).
    • 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 opening for Season 1.
  • Batman Gambit: Haida pulls off a sweet one in the Season 3 finale to snap Retsuko out of her funk and return to work before she's fired for how many days that she's missed. He goes to her parent's house where she's holed up in her childhood room and takes her to the karaoke bar. A traumatized Retsuko tells him that he can't just tell her things will get better like that she's still scared and it reminds her of the stalker insulting her for five minutes while she couldn't get away. Haida says that he knows Retsuko isn't scared normally...and proceeds to insult her via a rock song, asking her if this is what she wants, to be scared for the rest of her life. Retsuko is fired up to return the insults, complete with a death metal rant about all the ways that Haida sucks. When she's done, she realizes that she does feel better, and like her old self again. Haida gives her a Smile of Approval, showing it was his intention all along to get her angry. Cue her returning to work, and smiling when she sees Haida. Anger really is her strength
  • 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.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Practically everyone, to the point where characters with pupils (Tadano, Puko, Manaka etc) stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: By Sanrio standards, the second and third seasons 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. As for Season 3, Retsuko almost gets killed by a stalker, we see blood splattered on her scarf and Haida's hand and face.
  • 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 death metal hobby.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Anai appears like an eager young college grad, but he initially Can't Take Criticism and flies into a frothing rage at the thought of someone possibly pushing him to failure. Fortunately, Kabae's motherly approach to mentoring helps him calm down, and he becomes a productive and friendly worker soon after.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In the final episode, Retsuko rants about how when you watch a movie on a streaming service, they don't let you watch the credits afterwards and immediately start showing ads for other movies instead.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Each of the seasons end with one, though varying up on the bitter and sweet.
    • Season 1 ends with Retsuko breaking up with Resasuke and, while heartbreaking at first, she manages to move on and continue her life, even with the lumps she ends up taking.
    • Season 2 ends with Retsuko and Tadano breaking up. They are both in tears over it, however they still part amicably and both have friends comforting them.
    • Season 3 ends with Retsuko almost being killed by a stalker, thus almost losing both her livelihoods out of fear. While she's talked out of it by Haida, she does end up quitting the idol group she was a part of, though, at the same time, her relationship with Haida has grown significantly.
    • Season 4 ends with Haida out of the job after a huge window dressing scheme, leaving him unemployed. However, Kabae and Ton regain their jobs, and in a parallel to Season 3 ending, his relationship with Retsuko grows even further.
    • Season 5 wraps up with Haida in an ambiguous situation with his family - both he and his brother Jiro have repudiated their domineering father, and they're on speaking terms with each other again. Retsuko's political ambitions have ended in defeat, but Retusko and Haida are now married, with the distinct impression that Retsuko's career as a political figure has only just begun.
  • Book Ends: The first 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.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • In Season 2, Washimi and Gori get into a big fight over their views of marriage that lasts until the Season Finale. Washimi was married for three months, decides that marriage is not for her, and she immediately assumes that Gori isn't made for marriage either. On the other hand, Gori dismisses Washimi as being biased by her own bad experience, and she has no right to rule out marriage for everyone. While they agreed that they wouldn't apologize to each other for their views, both decide to put the fight on pause to support Retsuko when her relationship with Tadano gets leaked to the press.
    • In season 4, Anai and Haida have a serious argument about if they should do something about Kabae being forced to resign. Anai mentions that even if Himuro used company contract loopholes to force her out, he could make a report to the Labor board and chronicle what happened since it wasn't fair. Haida responds angrily that Anai needs to worry about himself, rather than stir a hornets' nest with Himuro. Any of them could be next, and even though it's bad, Kabae at least has a husband and got a generous severance package.
  • Brutal Honesty: Ton's a firm believer of this, saying whatever is on his mind no matter how brutal or harsh.
  • 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".
    • In Season 3, Retsuko admits to spending money to try and win a physical CD in her VR boyfriend game; Fenneko chides her by asking if she even owns a CD player any more. In episode 6, she brings up the same point when the band manager wants to print physical copies of their single, and he promptly suggests exactly the same marketing strategy Retsuko was suckered in by.
  • 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. Haida especially, as Anai cries out they only had one beer apiece and yet Haida's too drunk to walk straight and has to be carried home.
  • 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 possibly dating. 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:
    • Season 1 and the series overall: 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.
    • Season 2: Understanding what you want for your future and the future of your relationship. The series explores the pros and cons of both a married life and a life where the individuals remain in a committed relationship. Neither are put down, but it's also made clear that both individuals need to be on the same page about where the relationship is going in order to flourish. You can't force yourself or your partner into complying with these ideals if you're not on the same page.
    • Season 3: Balancing your hobbies and side venues with your real world obligations. Overspending on your hobbies will only make things harder for you. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong if it makes you a little more money on the side, you need to seriously consider the reality of leaving your steady, well-paying if soul-crushing job for your side gig.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Crack is Cheaper:
    • Season 3 starts with Retsuko having gotten addicted to a VR Boyfriend dating sim and spending almost her entire savings on the game's microtransactions. Fenneko mocks her for this, then promptly gets just as addicted when she tries it herself.
    • In season 5, Haida spends 300k yen just to get one rare item in an MMORPG.
  • 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 Pretty Boy 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.
    • Haida in Season 3 is asked why he likes Retsuko so much. He can't say, only that he does.
      • Subverted during the scene with Fenneko. Haida is one of the few people who saw Retsuko underneath her "nice girl" façade, which was revealed to be his motivation in wanting to know her more.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fenneko is commonly shown making snarky remarks during any situation in her work place.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several minor characters at Retsuko's job who had speaking roles in the original shorts are demoted to background characters. One example is Yagyuu (Buffalo Boss in the subs), one of Retsuko's superiors. Though he does get a larger role in Season 4 when he's promoted to Ton's position after Ton is Reassigned to Antarctica.
  • Differing Priorities Breakup: Retsuko and Tadano break up because Tadano doesn't believe in marriage and doesn't want to establish a family, whereas Retsuko wants those things.
  • Discretion Shot: Haida's confession to Retsuko at the end of season 1 isn't shown on screen. The aftermath is shown in the Christmas Special, and Retsuko turns him down.
  • 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.
    • Fenneko whacks Haida in the face in Season 3 when, immediately after declaring he's giving up on Retsuko and moving on to Inui, he drunkenly accepts a request from Retsuko to teach her guitar.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As much as Ton dislikes Retsuko, he has shown to have some moral standards, and does often give Retsuko 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, as even he wouldn't sink as low as to ruin her love life by publicly outing her and Tadano's dating life. Not that it matters, as the relationship is revealed in the next episode.
    • By Season 4, Ton has practically undergone a Heel–Face Turn, refusing to fire Retsuko when Himuro orders him to fire people and later helping Retsuko to expose the accounting fraud.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Season 5 reveals that, despite all that's happened over the series, including a Christmas special, less than a year has passed since the beginning, as Retsuko is still 25.

    Netflix series: F-L 
  • 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.
  • False Soulmate:
    • Any of Retsuko's love interests, who start out all seeming perfect but contain something that makes her not get together with them. Best notes are season 2's Shirota (who fits perfectly but Retsuko just can't call him back in time and he's taken before her second date) and Tadano (who fits all her specifications but doesn't want to marry or have kids).
    • Inui for Haida. Inui is near perfect for Haida and has almost no flaws, and she and Haida are together for the majority of season 3. Haida, however, cannot get Retsuko out of his mind and admits to Inui he can't be with her in the finale.
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In season 2, when Tadano 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, Tadano is shown happily driving his jet while Retsuko happily drives a car, and both driving in opposite directions.
    • In season 3, Retsuko becoming involved with OTM Girls is foreshadowed by Gori and Anai becoming involved with their own personal projects: a match-making app and writing a book respectively. Both are told not to neglect their day job.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ton tells Retsuko that his own bosses abused their power and ground him down when he was starting out, which has contributed a lot to how poorly he treats his own employees.
  • Fur Is Skin: One shot in the Season 3 episode "An Impenetrable Wall" shows Retsuko's light-brown fur-covered hand red and blistered from trying to play a guitar.
  • Furry Reminder:
    • Washimi, a secretarybird, demonstrates her dominance by stomping on things with her powerful feet, just as real secretarybirds do. Also like a bird her facial structure means she can't smile, so Retsuko and Gori have to look for other points of body language to tell if she's happy or not.
    • Fenneko also can extend her claws out of her fingertips.
  • The Generic Guy: Even after Resasuke becomes a major character in the last three episodes of the first season, this is still his personality, which does factor into the plot. Surprisingly, this even extends into the bishonen face Retsuko sees him with in her Crush Filter, which is about as stereotypical as you can get.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • Retsuko about to unleash some death metal screams.
    • Director Ton when he's raging. Ton's eyes glow a lot.
  • 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!
  • Grammar Correction Gag: In one of the OTM Girls YouTube shorts, the girls get into a disagreement because Manaka says the word "cake" in a flat tone, making it sound like she is saying the word for "economy," and Hidarin and Miggy correct her. They win the argument by pronouncing Manaka's name in a flat tone to show her how it doesn't sound right.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: After seeing Retsuko returning to make death metal videos on her Youtube channel in Episode 8 of Season 4. Haida suddenly images himself attending an OTM Girls with Retsuko performing a solo act. As he's watching her perform, a heartbeat is heard playing in the background.
  • 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.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Season one delivers the Aesop that someone being nice is not groundwork for a stable romance. Retsuko and Resasuke hit it off when they text each other during a mixer, and Retsuko falls hard after he helps her through excessive drinking. Gori and Washimi try to break it to Retsuko gently that one nice gesture doesn't mean instant love. She has to find out for herself when Resasuke doesn't notice her feet have blisters from walking around a theme park, won't give an opinion on outfits, and doesn't like singing karaoke.
  • 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. Shortly after, he's shown to be a surprisingly talented rapper, hinting that back in the day he too used musical diss tracks to vent his anger against his bosses. 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 of both Season 1 and 2 he gives Retusko some surprisingly useful relationship advice.
    • In Season 4 Ton defends people of his department and refuses to downsize them. A bit earlier, when Ton goes through their personal files, it's Komiya, who stops being a yes-man and defends his coworkers.
    • 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.
    • Washimi is seen as the strongest and most stoic woman in the entire company, and backs it up by intimidating her own boss from doing stupid things. However she can be just as prone to shenanigans like the rest of them, especially when around Gori. Gori even notes that she wiggles her tail uncontrollably whenever she's really happy, but only her closest friends know this. It turns out that she was married before, and divorced a scant 4 months later. This is actually why she has a more pessimistic view of love and marriage than Gori.
    • 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 Season 1, on account of being arrested for espionage, of all things (the show never specifies much else about it). In Season 2, her motherly side, paired with her ability to deal with her three unruly children, allow her to calm Anai down, after even big bad boss Ton had cowered when confronted by him. In addition, her gossipy nature turned out to be extremely useful in digging up info about Retsuko's weird date with Tadano, on par with Fenneko's sleuthing ability.
    • 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 fly a plane on his own, but also has seemingly infinite amounts of money at hand. He is also reliant on the AI he programmed himself, which, among other things, 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 except Kabae.
  • Internet Stalking: Retsuko's friend Fenneko is constantly checking out Tsunoda's social media page to keep tabs on her.
  • Intoxication Ensues: In "The Out of Pocket Prince", 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 herself does. It's 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 also trust Fenneko with it.
  • It's All About Me: In keeping with the concepts of Beneath the Mask and Hidden Depths being core themes of the show, self-centeredness (including selfishness in general) is a recurring flaw many characters share. In both season finales, Retsuko is forced to end romantic relationships she's in because her partners are unable to see past their own worldviews and take her feelings into account.
  • 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.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Seiya, the Virtual Reality unicorn that Retsuko and Fenneko briefly falls in love with.
  • 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.
  • Loony Fan: One stalks Retsuko after she becomes a member of OTMGirls in the belief that Retsuko is ruining the group's image. He later tires to kill her with a box cutter before being stopped by Haida.
  • 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.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: OTM Girl's song "Viral Star/Buzz-ritai" sounds incredibly peppy and upbeat, but the lyrics are a lot more cynical, talking about how their dreams of being famous could end up as nothing more than a fantasy, even if they do try their hardest.

    Netflix series: M-Z 
  • Maniac Tongue: Tsubone seems to have an out-of-control one whenever she's shitting on someone.
  • Meeting-the-Parents Sequel: Season 2 gives us the debut of Retsuko's overbearing mother. In Season 5, Retsuko's laid back father finally appears, along with Haida's dictatorial father and doting mother.
  • Myth Arc: The finales of the first two seasons have Retsuko say: "Time for the truth about Retsuko!". They hammer down her Character Development throughout the given season. Not only does she realize what she really wants in life, but also to stop lying to herself. In the first season she insisted on being Resasuke's girlfriend to her own detriment, and in the second season she parroted Tadano's belief that marriage is unimportant.
  • Nightmare Sequence: After Retsuko is unconscious after an attempted murder, we get a short sequence which takes place inside Retsuko's head. We see Manaka, Maggy, and Hidarin shaking hands for fans of OTM Girls then suddenly shows them sitting on chairs while wearing straitjackets. Eventually the audience suddenly turn into the stalker that attempted to kill Retsuko.
  • 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.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Season 5 has almost every character who hasn't cursed before do so for the first time, even in situations where swearing wasn't normally used before in the series, such as casual talks and moments of mild frustration.
  • Once a Season: Ton, typically during the season finale, will pull Retsuko aside for a serious heart to heart about her current predicament.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When the sadistic Tsubone actually looks concerned and the literal chauvinistic pig Ton gives a heartfelt advice to Retsuko, you know that things have hit rock bottom.
    • When Retsuko is about to unleash her Metal Scream only to immediately back down saying "I'm scared" from Anai's bullying, you know the guy's trouble.
    • Haida, usually an upbeat Nice Guy, getting truly angry and sullen is usually a sign the comedy is about to level off a bit and the drama is about to be ramped up. Played with in the case of Tadano, where the drama is already getting ramped up and Haida's anger turns to fanboying.
  • Office Golf: Ton spends most of his work days doing this, and always has his clubs near his desk. Series 2 has Ton actually go to a proper golf course for a business opportunity with the CEO and Tadano, running into Retsuko and discovering she's dating the latter there.
  • 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.
  • Passing the Torch: Near the beginning of the series, Gori and Washimi bring Retsuko to a karaoke booth so she can vent her feelings. In the fifth season, Retsuko brings Shikabane to a booth so she can do the same.
  • Person as Verb: In the English dub of "When You Count to Ten," a struggling Haida tells Fenneko that not everybody can just "Fenneko [their] way through life" and make such coolheaded decisions like she can.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: The elephant CEO wastes the company's money on ridiculous projects, and gets pushed around by the much more competent Washimi.
  • Portmantitle: Aggretsuko is a portmanteau of "Aggressive" and "Retsuko".
  • Power Trio: 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.
  • 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.
  • Rage Breaking Point: During an office outing, Ton rapped on how much Retsuko sucked for being mediocre, in front of the entire Accounting department. Retsuko almost conceded defeat until her friends encouraged her, and decided to call out Ton in front of everyone in return. For Retsuko, who's been keeping her hobby under wraps, to perform in front of her workmates (though alcohol helped) would mean that the rage threshold had been crossed.
  • Random Species Offspring: A strange Implied example. Every onscreen couple that has children is same-species, with children to match. However, when Retsuko and Tadano discuss the prospect of having children, it's never brought up that he's a donkey and she's a red panda.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • At a company drinking party in Season 1, 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!"
    • In the Season 3 finale, Haida and Retsuko trade these via karaoke. Haida's punk rock song notes that Retsuko is better than going into hiding after her trauma and how she's powered through stuff before, while Retsuko's death metal says Haida can't spit out his actual feelings and doesn't know entirely what she's going through mentally. Haida's, however, is meant to empower, but it takes a minute before he's able to say it correctly.
  • Recursive Canon: A coworker at a company mixer compares Retsuko's cuteness to a Sanrio character.
  • Ruder and Cruder: For the first four seasons, swears were usually reserved for Ton, Retsuko's metal voice, and occasional infrequent comments by other characters. Season 5 kicks the swearing up a notch, and has almost everyone curse at some point, including out of mild frustration and even just in regular conversations.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • At the end of Season 1, Retsuko is in front of a steaming kettle as she has a smile on her face, symbolizing that despite her smile on the outside, she's actually steaming mad.
    • The end of Season 2 shows Tadano flying one direction whereas Retsuko is driving the other, symbolizing they are going different ways.
  • Setting Update: While the original shorts seldom referred to where exactly the work takes 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. S01 E05 (when she's working out Retsuko going to yoga) and 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.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • In Season 2, neither Fenneko nor Tsunoda are present during the intense sequence of Anai angrily confronting Retsuko in the supply room.
    • In Season 3, Fenneko is not present when Retsuko is nearly murdered by a crazed fan and Haida leaps in to stop him.
  • 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 confess his feelings to her at the end, even though she turns him 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.
    • Tadano is implied to be one as well for Haida and Retsuko. He apparently tampered with the dating app Gori was making which was based on his ENI-O system, so he must have the means to alter the code for it.
  • Signature Laugh: Fenneko's Troll laugh which is literally a spoken "Ha Ha Ha Ha".
  • Sinister Swine: Ton is a literal chauvinist pig and a Mean Boss towards Retsuko. This is later downplayed when he is shown to have a nicer side.
  • 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.
  • Speed Dating: Retsuko gets pushed into a speed dating event by her mother. She ends up going into Rage Mode over her meager prospects.
  • 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.
  • Spit Take: In Season 5, when they find out Retsuko is running for political office, all of her co-workers have an epic spit take, except for Ton (who is pleased at the news) and Kabae (who is pleased to spread the news). The CEO's spit take is so epic it forms a rainbow.
  • Status Quo Is God: A notable thing of the show is despite Retsuko's growth as a character, her life nevertheless still is the same: working in accounting, dealing with crappy workers, and releasing her frustration in death metal. Any changes in Retsuko and company lives' that seem too good to be true? You'll be more surprised if they actually stick in the long term. Seasons 1 and 2 showed this, however there are exceptions:
    • Despite leaving OTMGirls to go back to her normal life, Retsuko is shown to finally begin her relationship with Haida, unlike the events of the Christmas special where she turns him down.
    • Season 4 played this straight but gave it a Wham Line: The former CEO returns, allowing Ton and Kaebe to return to their jobs, but Haida quits his job in the company due to his involvement in Himuro's fraud scheme.
  • 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.
  • Sweet Sheep:
    • Episode 6 of Season 4 features an unnamed daycare owner who's a very sweet-natured and soft-speaking sheep. She is seen notifying Kabasuke (Kabae's youngest child) that she arrived to pick him up after getting sick.
    • Season 4 also introduces an unnamed female sheep who works at guest services at Chararyman Trading. She's seen greeting Manaka, Miggy, and Hidron (disguised as agents) and notifying Haida. She's notably peppy and is very upbeat compared to the other workers.
  • 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.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Fenneko's famed "Selfie, dessert, latte art," etc. line is a perfect limerick except for "a thigh pic."
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: 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. Season three is even worse, since a stalker of the girl group OTMGirls attempted to murder Retsuko.
  • 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!"
  • Take That!:
    • The Christmas Special is basically designed to be this towards Instagram, how doing stuff for likes and online affection can warp a persons' personality.
    • Season 3's first episode has Retsuko overspending on virtual clothes via Microtransactions in a dating VR game, to which Fenneko likens it to addiction after she does her usual sleuthing. Considering her prior addiction to Instagram, as well as her depression after falling out of love with Tadano, it makes her the prime candidate to show just how ruthless Microtransactions can be in games, and can ruin a persons' life if they are suffering from depression, or just have a problem spending addiction.
    • Fenneko gets a VR set in the third episode, and until the last few seconds of the Cold Open, she constantly grumbles common complaints people in real life have with VR; how VR is hard to set up, how it makes the wearer look stupid, and generally trying to act unimpressed toward it. Haida later points out an episode later that Fenneko has a tendency to smack-talk technology without trying it out first (as she did with smartphones and Instagram), and eventually reveals she herself has gotten addicted to the VR games' Microtransactions (though she clearly hasn't overspent to the extreme Retsuko did).
  • 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.
  • That Syncing Feeling: Heavily implied that the OTM Girls were not actually playing their instruments during their rock concert.
  • 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.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A very dark In-Universe version in Season 3, when a longtime fan of the OTMGirls band hates Retsuko's inclusion and the band's shift towards death metal, to the degree that he stalks, harasses, and tries to murder Retsuko for "ruining" the band.
  • Title Drop: In Season 3, when Retsuko finally steps up to the stage to perform with the other OTMGirls, Hyodo remarks that this will be the night Aggretsuko was born.
  • Troll: Haida calls Fenneko a troll at one point in the English dub, since she lives for her friends' drama.
  • 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.
    • In Season 3, when learning to play the electric guitar, Retsuko considers the F chord the "Devil Chord", the chord that separates the beginners from the pros. Any real-life guitarist will tell you that she is speaking the truth.
  • Unicorn: Seiya, the virtual boyfriend Retsuko and Fenneko becomes obsessed with in Season 3, is a unicorn. Since the majority of the cast are real-life animals, this emphasizes how he's nothing but an imaginary plaything that Retsuko keeps sinking her money into.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The Season 3 finale delves into more serious issues than previous episodes, as it focuses on Retsuko being stalked and nearly killed by an abusive fan and coping with the subsequent trauma from the incident. The previous episode set it up with the fan verbally abusing Retsuko, but the attempted murder is unlike anything seen in the show before.
  • 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.
  • Visible Sigh: When Retsuko is feeling stressed about her arranged meeting Fenneko notes that her sighs are colored purple.
  • 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. When Haida gives Retsuko her laptop back after he fixes it, the logo below the screen is 'Well', though it doesn't have the canted E like the Dell logo does.
  • Wacky Startup Workplace: The CEO attempts to invoke this with his idea to install a slide that dispenses hot noodles in the office, "like a crazy tech company" ("Startup company with a gibberish name" in the dub). Fortunately, Washimi is there to remind him they're not a crazy tech company.
  • 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.
    • A more downplayed version with Yagyu, Ton's replacement in Season 4 when he resigns after being Reassigned to Antarctica. While Ton was a huge jerk, even Restuko has to admit he never gave Kabae trouble over needing to take her kid to the doctor the way Yagyu does, and that might not be a good trade-off.
  • 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.
    • When Tadano takes Retsuko out for ramen, he flies her to Hokkaido and back in the same night. Retsuko, shocked by it all, thinks it was all a dream until she sees the receipt (which stated it was in Hokkaido). Unlike last time she wasn't drunk, but implied to have just blanked out after Tadano started spouting his world philosophy.
  • 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!
    • Gori, Washimi, and Fenneko all cannot understand why Haida likes Retsuko so much. They even challenge him to name something, but Haida can't pinpoint an exact reason. Granted, Haida is also heavy in thought after having witness a stalker about to attack Retsuko and attacked him, as well as broken up with Inui. That being said, in the English dub he also cannot explain to Inui why he jumped to Retsuko's defense so quickly.
  • White-Collar Crime: A main part in Season 4 where Haida gets manipulated by Himuro into illegally changing the numbers of the company to raise company profits and make them look good in front of the shareholders.
  • Work Off the Debt: The main plot of Season 3 kicks off when Retsuko accidentally hits a van while parking, and the van's owner decides she can work for him instead of paying directly for repairs.
  • You Didn't Ask: The reason none of the OTM Girls or the Producer realized the Fan Page wasn't made by any of them. Because they all just assumed someone in the group was managing it and didn't ask who.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Aggressive Retsuko


The Walk Is Murder

Gori and Washimi confidently strut throughout the halls of the firm, impressing their co-workers. But the moment they turn the corner, Gori confesses walking like that all the time in their heels can be quite painful.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / FashionHurts

Media sources: