Time To Grow Up
The New Hire Named Anai
He Lives Above The Clouds
Aggretsuko returns to Netflix for its second season, one that dives deeper into Retsuko’s life whilst balancing the thought provoking themes and humour that made the first season so enjoyable. The new characters this year do well to slot into the world too whilst deeper characterisation for all the old favourites is certainly a welcome sight. The interesting ideas around romance, relationships and marriage are ultimately what tie the whole season together and this is where the season really shines.
Across the 10 episodes Aggretsuko does a great job depicting the challenges of finding, and ultimately keeping, love. The story picks up on this idea straight away, as Retsuko’s Mum shows up at her apartment and begins preparing a dating profile for her daughter in preparation for her eventual marriage. After setting Retsuko up with several dates, our Red Panda begins to stress over her life, using the familiarity of heavy metal to soothe her woes. During the first half of the season though, a lot of this takes a backseat to the office drama as new guy Anai reacts badly to Retsuko’s constructive criticism and begins blackmailing her, and the other colleagues around her.
This comes to a head midway through, as the conclusion to this arc really paves way for Retsuko to contemplate marriage and her place in the world. Determined to go on a road trip and get away from it all, she decides to get her driver’s licence and it’s here where the romantic subplot really starts to take shape. I won’t say anymore but suffice to say, this all builds toward a satisfying and relatively conclusive finish, one that leaves the door open for future installments of Aggretsuko to follow.
Once again, the familiar art style returns, with big, bold lines around the characters and plenty of exaggerated facial expressions to keep things visually consistent. Adding to the animation this year are several neat compositional tricks too, including characters moving around the frame whilst talking and some pretty wild fantastical scenes.
Aggretsuko injects some clever use of music this year too and while the first season was chock full of heavy metal, this season mixes things up as some of the other characters exert their feelings through the medium of song too. There’s some hip hop here and even a ballad late on as well, and this evolution of music ultimately ties in to the themes of the series, as Retsuko and the others begin to grow and look at the world in a different way.
I really enjoyed the first season and the second certainly doesn’t disappoint. The three different narratives at play this year tie in nicely together toward the end and the tone is consistent through the season. With strong themes, good character progression and a returning cast of characters we’ve all grown to love, Aggretsuko builds on the great work done last year to deliver another very strong and consistent season worth checking out.
Verdict - 8.5/10