The wait for Zootopia 2 may be taking forever, but a new Netflix anime called Aggretsuko might help fill in the gap just a little. The show features a 20-something office lady named Retsuko, who takes the form of a cute red panda working at an accounting department of a Japanese trading firm. But this cute character has a secret: she blows off pent-up steam by screaming death metal karaoke.
Like the Zootopia movie, there’s a variety of anthropomorphic animal characters, but Zootopia‘s story was more about racism. The story of the Netflix Aggretsuko anime is generated by the titular character’s aggressive rage at office politics. Hence, the title Aggretsuko is a portmanteau of the words “aggressive” and Retsuko.
One male character named Ton is a literal chauvinist pig. Another female coworker named Tsunoda is a doe-eyed deer that is resented by everyone else at the office for sucking up to the boss, never mind her cheerful backstabbing ways. Successful career women like Washimi and Gori are a gorilla and a bird, but although they stride with confidence through the office halls, they secretly talk about their purposeful walk being hard on their backs.
In the opening episode alone, Retsuko’s sexist pig boss, Ton, orders her to bring him tea because it’s a “woman’s job.” When the pig desires to reward himself for “working hard” by going golfing with a fellow male buttkisser. Poor Retsuko is literally covered in heaps of unfinished work and when she can no longer stand her pig boss’ lamenting, she launches into a death metal tirade about lightning bringing justice by striking their golf rods.
The themes may resonate throughout the world, but they’re largely based on Japanese office life. Anime News Network looked into how realistic the depiction was and they noted that “equal gender opportunity laws were passed and strengthened, and the shrinking Japanese labor force has provided ambitious women a lot of opportunities that didn’t exist in the past.” However, “there is still a glass ceiling” for Japanese women and dead-end office lady positions come with “the expectation that you’ll eventually marry a guy and quit your job to make babies.”
Besides office sexism, Japan also suffers from overworking and “every year there’s a spate of suicides by office workers.”
The surprising part is that this character was created by Sanrio, the makers of Hello Kitty. The latter character is about as bland as can be, while poor Retsuko will probably be the rallying cry for office ladies everywhere.
Considering how popular the anime is turning out to be on Netflix, it would not be surprising if Aggretsuko Season 2 is announced pretty soon. Let’s just hope the Zootopia 2 movie follows soon after.