Aggressive Retsuko is a Fanworks ONA, you may remember them from their work on Ankoku Cat, created as a Netflix original. Sort of like that really shit Godzilla film I reviewed. It’s a slice of life comedy based off of Sanrio characters. I could review the hundred episode version, where each episode is around a minute long, but the ONA was specifically requested. So, let’s take a look.
The titular Retsuko is a red panda who works in the accounting department of a large company. This results in her suffering in relative silence and her only reprieve is to privately belt out some death metal.
The biggest issue with this series is a fairly simple one. It’s not particularly funny. Yes, it’s a comedy that’s not all that funny. It’s not like some of the comedies I’ve reviewed where it’s just terrible to watch due to how horrendous the jokes are, but it’s also not liable to make you laugh very much. And it’s not just that the same jokes crop up throughout IE: Retsuko goes into metal mode in contrast with the art style and the usual impression she gives. It’s that those jokes aren’t really all that humorous to begin with. They’re just very bland japes that might elicit a chuckle once or twice but, mostly, aren’t going to accomplish much.
To exacerbate things, this is a comedy about working in an office. Which has been done a billion times. Sometimes really well, like BBC’s The Office & sometimes really badly, like the American The Office. And in this over-saturated market the only things that stand out about it are the visual aesthetic and the short bursts of metal. And those aren’t exactly elements that are going to carry a series particularly well or contribute to comedy.
That being said, the jokes aren’t bad nor is the series painful in any way. It’s completely watchable. It’s just sort of like the comedic equivalent of grinding levels in an RPG. Very monotonous and not compelling. Except with an RPG you’ll eventually get some pay off for the time you put in and you can do it while watching cartoons or Krinxtv playlists. Whereas this doesn’t have any real pay off and you have to actually pay attention to it to watch it properly.
The cast is pretty typical of Sanrio’s characters. Highly sterile, basic archetypes. About the most complex you’re going to get is Retsuko putting on a happy façade while secretly hating her job and lazy bosses who seemingly do nothing. Or her boss, Ton, proving himself somewhat capable, actually. Which isn’t much. It’s just a small amount of contrast betwixt what you see of the character at a glance and what they’re actually like.
Now, if the comedy in this were spot on that would be more than enough from the characters. If those characters had strong comedic interactions, that would be more than enough. But what you get there is, like the comedy in general, not really funny.
The art style is what you’d expect from a Sanrio property. Very basic but quite charming. With chibified animal characters, plain backgrounds and animation that’s a bit slow most of the time but works given what they need it to do.
The acting is, like so much of the series, mundane. The actors aren’t bad. They accomplish exactly what they need to with their performances. But they also aren’t performances you’re going to remember as having been really good. In terms of music, the best aspect is the crazy death metal songs. And those become a bit trite pretty quickly.
There’s maybe one scene where Retsuko’s admiration for Ms Gori & Ms Washimi comes across like a bit of a schoolgirl’s crush. But it’s very slight and it’s not a reoccurring thing. Especially with the series making sure that we all know at least two of those characters are straight.
Aggressive Retsuko isn’t a bad series by any measure. Unfortunately, it’s also not a good one. It’s overly monotonous, a bit dull and just lacking in comedic content. If watching Sanrio characters work in an office sounds like it would appeal to you, maybe watch a couple episodes. Otherwise, in the absolute plethora of office comedies, this one’s just mediocre. And I rate it at a 5/10.