After one last year’s break out anime Aggretsuko came out of nowhere, it only seemed like a matter of time before the second season appeared on Netflix. We needed to see our millennial red panda come around and suffer for us once again so we could laugh and cry with realistic hurts. That second came out earlier this year. Yeah, I’m still very behind on my Netflix watch list at the moment because they put out too many shows of interest at one time. My own slow watching pattern isn’t a lot of help either, honestly but that’s just the way I try to prevent giving myself a burn out. Whatever the case is, I’m glad this show made it to my watch queue again. It’s been too long.
Last we’ve seen Retsuko, besides the christmas special where she got an instragram account, our red panda friend has learned to at least be able to cope with her job and the show opens with that. We are given some lines about how she doesn’t visit the karaoke bar to metal scream because she’s found her way to endure work stress until the real sequel stuff shows up. You know how sequels usually work, right? Expanding the world of the original by adding in more locations and more characters so it feels a little bit bigger? Yes, Retsuko’s life is shaken once again by multiple things. Some beyond her control and some that aren’t. All of it somewhat crushing in a realistic manner somehow because they are played close to the chest.
What are those aspects? A new coworker by the name of Anai is placed under Retsuko’s wing and he’s the most annoying sort of coworker who never knows how to ask for help and evaluates everything people say and then questions then on it with stressed out emails late in the night. Retsuko’s mom also forces her way into appearing at her apartment, tries to get Retsuko’s life back in order in her own forced way and wants her to start dating people. Marriage is very important to Retsuko’s mom and as someone who hasn’t found anyone yet either, I feel this one personally. At least there are some other things that are positive. Retsuko finally gets her license at age 25, which much be a Japanese thing, and also finds herself dating one of the driving school attendees who is around her age at the end. Except, that doesn’t work perfectly either. At least she has a licenses though. Something even her friends don’t have.
The best part of this season was the sensitivity brought to the table with characters we know and newer ones. Yes, even for the pig boss, Ton. For instance, Anai may be a horrible person to his coworkers but he was scared of living this new adult life. It’s his first time facing aggression or a situation he didn’t’ know how to deal with because it’s almost like he was tossed into this more adult environment. Until the right person came along to show him the way, a mother figure, he never felt quite at home at the accounting office. I could say the same for Retsuko’s mother. She sees Retsuko’s lifestyle and flaws from an outside point of view and feels like nothing would change if she didn’t step in. Of course, the forced dating and such was pretty bad, but I’m sure that it all came out as loved. That doesn’t mean she is good, but that makes her understandable at least. Everyone is flawed, but they have their strengths too and Aggretsuko wants to show the world that.
Of course, the preson who did most of the growing this season was Aggretsuko again. I do feel like her arc of finding someone she was interested in dating was pretty close to last season’s conclusion. Even the ending and solution of this was similar. Still, I feel like there was more thought and value put into her story this time. Retsuko really did find someone she was interested in dating and the person wasn’t a space case this time. Far from it really. You would think that Aggretsuko found her person after all this time, right? Well, there is always the question of wants. Retsuko wants to be married in a traditional sense and her partner in question isn’t a traditional sort of person at all. The guy only wants to live together without having that formality between them. What happens? Retsuko and the guy part ways. Not because either of them was bad or anyone was a victim, but because of that difference. It’s very important to know what you want in a relationship and Aggretsuko season two spent a lot of time exploring that.
The visuals haven’t changed much from the last season from any art style or animation aspects. Minimal animation and animal character designs are still the norm of the show. Aggretsuko just has more of these aspects now. There are more animals to look at because of newer characters or us finally seeing the family members of characters we’ve only seen in the work environment. I’m not going to complain though, the art and animation gives all the characters an ability to have phenomenal character animation and be played around stylistically for comedic reasons. So this second season’s expansion works in that sort of way. Especially since Retsuko now has the ability to drive. The restraints of just being city bound are gone, so it all works in terms of exploring the thematic element of expanding Retsuko’s world and outlook that the season pushed on Aggretsuko season two as well. It’s always pretty fun when plot elements work out like that from an art and animation perspective.
Aggretsuko was a smash hit last year by putting a believable comedy package in a short ten episode long series with ten minute episodes. I think that the wow factor has been left behind since last year, but Aggretsuko season two does a lot of great work with the same amount of time and episodes. It’s a more then worthy successor to the first season in a lot ways. Aggretsuko is still running strong here and while I am a little nervous about what season three can offer, I still want to see it when it will inevitably appear in a year or so. I suppose there are other scenarios to go over then marriage as a finale thing, right? See, that’s where my nerves come in. Though, as long as the writing maintains it’s empathy and sense of reality, then I can’t see how Aggretsuko’s third season could ever be bad. Knocking on wood now. For the moment though, Aggretsuko is definitely a recommendation for when you need something to quickly watch on Netflix.
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