We interrupt this March broadcast with a quick commercial courtesy of Aggressive Retsuko-san, an anime short that’s become fairly notable in large pockets of the internet jungle.
Back when I used GoGoAnime exclusively for my anime-viewing pleasures, I would see updates from the site on incoming anime episodes, many of which were episodes of the topic title. Repetition led to curiosity, but upon seeing the “short” moniker, I decided against it for a long while.
Some years later, I became more open to watching anime shorts after enjoying titles such as Danna ga Nani blahblah and Oshiete! Galko-chan. This led to a quick Google search of “Best anime shorts,” where I found various lists from random online publications. I went through two or three that looked more upscale than not, and a title that kept popping up—and was the top spot on one list—was Aggressive Retsuko-san. So not only the large episode count (at the time), but peer opinion became a deciding factor of my eventual watching of “Aggretsuko.”
I’m not disappointed.
More than anything, Aggretsuko is fairly relatable. The idea behind a character, somewhere in her twenties and having to deal with the garbage of her work life, is already unique enough. Add in her penchant for internal rage, despite doing little outwardly, marks the cherry on top of the darkened milkshake. Of course, many episodes/situations are exaggerated, but anyone on the older side, who has dealt with the pressures of the job and the ineptitude of co-workers, can’t help but smile at Retsuko’s inner outbursts.
By the way, everyone is a chibi animal, similar to that of Hello Kitty… not that you noticed from the pictures so far or anything. Very occasionally does the fact that they’re all animals come into the humor of the series, though generally it’s all just people being annoying/inconsiderate to Retsuko. Design-wise, however, it’s fairly clean and dances on the eyes like Olympic skaters, which I really adore. Part of the appeal and binge-ability of the series is the fact that it looks so… *POP*!
A great series, it is not. Even for all its positives, it still suffers from many of the same flaws anime shorts have with its incredibly short runtime. Each episode of Aggretsuko is one minute—the joke in every episode has to play out in that time. Due to this, many fall within a formula of: “Retsuko is shown in a certain situation” → “New character comes in and has a problem/asks something of Retsuko” → “Retsuko (usually begrudgingly) accepts out of pity/can’t help but feel pressured to indulge new character” → “New character feigns appreciation and leaves all the work to Retsuko” → “Retsuko gets mad and starts screaming.”
It’s like candy; Aggretsuko looks good, tastes nice, but can leave one feeling remorseful after too much. Substance? Sure. Is the substance good? Not really. A large majority of the short’s content is a single shtick played out in close to a hundred one-minute episodes (as of now). This is, by far, the biggest issue I have with it as a whole.
I would still recommend it, however. It’s among the higher-end anime shorts I’ve seen, mostly in terms of smooth art quality and relatability of plot. And sometimes, sometimes, it will show something insightful or heartwarming. Subtle as it may be, one can feel that there are those around Retsuko who care about her, and she for them. That may be enough for me to consider it a series with depth… which I do. It’s also among my personal favorite anime shorts I’ve seen. Due to bias? Likely. Even so, it’s a hot-headed dream.