What the Heck Is 'Aggretsuko'?

This adorable red panda will rage her way into your heart. 

Aggressive Retsuko Sub Still C

This adorable red panda will rage her way into your heart on her new Netflix series.

From the makers of Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, and Keroppi comes… a screaming rage panda. That’s right, Aggretsuko isn’t there for you to cuddle, she means business.

This is a change from what Sanrio was traditionally known for. For decades, Sanrio has been known for their kawaii characters, a Japanese term used to describe cute, small, and vulnerable characters.

Hello Kitty, an adorable kitten which Sanrio claims is a British schoolgirl is their most famous character. Her face has been plastered all over goods like lunchboxes and clothing for years. Her persona resonates around the world but especially in her home country. In Japan, girls are taught etiquette much earlier than boys and a certain expectation is placed on them. Characters like Hello Kitty were examples for young women to follow. With her perfect clothing and happy smiles, she showcases a world where nothing ever goes wrong.

The other characters that Sanrio made throughout the 80s and 90s followed the same trend that Hello Kitty introduced. Pompompurin is a pleasant Golden Retriever character who was introduced in 1996. He is recognizable due to the brown beret that is always on his head and he is well-known for his easygoing attitude. Keroppi was created in 1988 and is known for his bubbly personality. He’s a frog character with large eyes and an adorable V-shaped mouth. The girls who were brought up on Hello Kitty, Pompompurin and Keroppi needed a character that represents them today.

Enter Aggretsuko.

Created by the Sanrio company in 2016, Aggretsuko was made to mirror the life of the working woman. She represents the 25-year-old woman entrenched in work and single. She’s smart, dependable, and having a stable job means everything to her. She always dreamed of being an accountant for a firm, but the reality is far different from the imagined. There’s only so much this dependable red panda can take.

Work can be tough for anyone, but as the new Netflix series depicts, Aggretsuko must put up with a lot. Her boss is a literal pig and work is a struggle. She means well, but people take advantage of her. As her anger builds, she needs to find an outlet to release her anger. When it becomes too much to bear, she grabs her microphone and performs death metal karaoke. Flames rise around her and with make-up like the rock band Kiss, she belts out her anguish. “BOSS ON A POWER TRIP!” and “CRAP BOSS!” are just a few of her sayings as she transforms into a beast with a guttural scream.

Her co-workers run the gauntlet of workplace personalities. Her best friend at work Fenneko helps Aggretsuko vent about her boss. Then there is the character Tsunoda, who is aggressively cute and uses that cuteness to manipulate people on Instagram and in real life. There are others that are gossip mongers or brown noses. There is likely a personality that each of your own co-workers inhabits.

Aggretsuko has struck a chord with many young women who have faced sexist and controlling demands that have been placed on them while they pursue their careers. She has put on the persona of being the cute, diligent office worker who never talks back, but inside is full of rage. She was in a series of online episodes — they were all just a minute long — that showed the trials she puts up with every day. The new series on Netflix gives the character a little more room to breathe with ten fifteen-minute episodes. These new episodes run the gauntlet of showing Aggretsuko getting overburdened at work, to dreaming about new opportunities. Even though she is a Japanese character, her struggles are understandable to anyone who has ever worked in an office environment. Netflix has been on a tear with their eclectic animated shows and this is another feather in their cap. Sanrio and Netflix have hit it out of the park with this one and Aggretsuko is well on her way to becoming an all-time favorite Sanrio character.

Aggretsuko debuts on Netflix on April 20th in English or Japanese dub with subtitles.

News Writer/Columnist for Film School Rejects. It’s the Pictures Co-host. Bylines Playboy, ZAM, Paste Magazine and more.