First, before we actually get to the review, a bit of a synopsis. Aggretsuko stars a young red-panda named “Retsuko”. Don’t be tricked by her cute appearance though. She screams abuse and death metal throughout her daily life, only secretly. Even though her friends try and support her as best as they could, Retsuko hates her job and can’t wait until she’s married, so that she can slap her boss in the face with a resignation letter. I think it’s quirky, but in a loving way. Retsuko is certainly cute during her day-to-day tasks - printing out her happy/horrified face by accident, the spazzed out face she makes when paperwork is filed literally on top of her - and these times of cuteness are quickly replaced when she goes full-out fury in the bathroom stalls, or in her favorite karaoke place.
When I recommended this anime to friends, they were like “Okay, it’s an interesting setup. But why death metal? And how is this even funny?” And this is coming from friends that like anime! I’m not a terrible anime fan, only watching when there’s something worth watching, and yet something about Aggretsuko is very interesting to watch. Viewers and critics say Aggretsuko strikes home in the working women in the office. The sexist views taken by Asian countries are imposed pretty clearly in the show, and it’s no accident. The designer, apparently, wanted to show these “views” of Asian countries according to one interview with The Verge. They were also quick to point out that Aggretsuko wasn’t all about office shoutmatches and death metal. Resasuke, the guy Retsuko falls in love with, is an idiot bumblehead, and would certainly jump onto train tracks because he was daydreaming. After they break apart, Retsuko finds hope again with Haida, the office dog-worker that is secretly in love with her.
Before you go and watch it, there is one thing you need to be aware of. Audio is possibly everything in Retsuko - it’s an anime about death metal after all. Netflix currently shows a Japanese original version, and an English dubbed version. And here’s where it gets really interesting. If you listen to the Japanese version, you would notice that the conversations are much more better than the English counterpart. The English versions are poorly dubbed, have different meanings, and do not convey the original intent properly. I mean, the Japanese audio is the way the creators wanted the show to be heard by you. And for Japanese anime, it only seems logical to listen to the original audio, right? So why am I writing this paragraph?
Because the English death metal is SO MUCH BETTER. When I heard the death metal in the Japanese version, it was hard to make out any words or characters at all. The singing was just a slew of mishmashed syllables, if they were syllables at all. But the English ones? Clear, neatly paced, and quite well-versed. I did NOT expect this amount of quality from a dubbing.
So which one do I recommend? I really don’t know. I still like the Japanese audio for everything except death metal. Fenneko’s monotone laugh is only present on the original Japanese audio, and in the end I’d choose that over the dub because her laughs completely make the show. That being said, I recommend rewatching with the dub after you are done.
Thanks for reading my review, and go watch it on Netflix if you’re interested.