It took me four seasons, but I finally discovered the crux of my problem with the show. If you got this far in the Aggretsuko series, you probably already have reasons for why you like it. Not really sure who this review is for honestly, because when season 5 comes out you can be sure I'll watch it with you. At the end of seasons 1 of Aggretsuko, things essentially return to the status quo. This worked great for the show, since season 1 centers mostly around accepting where you're at in life, despite your glamorous and unrealistic fantasies for yourself. But then season 2 ends in a similar fashion. As well as season 3. With each season, it doesn't seem like Retsuko actually progresses, even though throughout each season she goes through changes and developments. It means nothing if the development doesn't lead toward some actual change at the end, instead of everything settling back to the way it always does at the end of the show. On one hand, the show is a silly work life comedy that isn't meant to have plot, but on the other hand, it does touch on more serious conflicts like finding a partner, coping with sudden fame, and dealing with a stalker. And the show balances the tone of comedic and serious well. But still, I kinda expect the show to actually say something on these topics. In the end, it always seems to wimp out into the usual reset of how things were. Other issues with season 4: not enough metal singing and too much Haida.
Maybe it's the cutesy art style compared with the adult topics and death metal, maybe it's the fact that I love red pandas, but this series was (and still is) a secret favorite of mine. Sure it's not top ten material, but I thoroughly enjoy this series. Despite the decently "large" cast every character feels so unique and has their own sense of morals or purpose. Some characters, like Ton, are given a lot more depth this season and have honestly changed my overall opinions on the way a character thinks and acts. The animation is simplistic, but it just works for this series. The music is spectacular as always, it could have used more death metal this season, but I'm not complaining that much. The story was interesting as it dealt more with Haida and Retsuko's relationship, as well as a dramatic shift in the workplace. I saw some complaints about "too much Haida," but honestly I enjoy seeing his relationship dynamic with Retsuko progress (even regress towards the middle of this season). I was rooting for Haida since episode one, and season three made the progression of their relationship seem really promising. However, season four threw me for a loop. It was horrible to see their relationship spiral so bad this season. I am grateful that they did come to terms and are still friends/partners (the end seemed pretty ambiguous about how if they were just friends, or something more). I hope in season five we get to see how their relationship progresses now that he isn't involved in the stressful work environment of the office.
Fanworks’ fourth season of their popular anthropomorphic work-life show dropped in 2021 with a season each having been delivered in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Fans of the show will know what to expect with all our favourite characters showing up. At the end of Season 3 our favourite Red Panda Retsuko had been performing her death metal growl in a pop idol act before a run-in with a stalker left her shaken. She had returned to work under the protective wing of co-worker, and possible love interest, Haida. Season 4 kicks off by exploring the possibility of their relationship blossoming yet despite Retsuko’s interest in Haida he backs off due to a lack of self-confidence. Despite the best intended interventions of other co-workers, the relationship appears doomed. It just takes one of them to make the first move, who will it be? The rest of the Season is engrossed in office politics after the Company President takes leave after ill-health making room for a new Company CEO. The new boss soon shakes things up with everyone fearing for their jobs due to the company’s poor performance. Everyone except Haida whose cutting edge office-automation ideas sees him getting an unexpected promotion at the cost of former Head of Accounting Director Ton. Fans of the series’ death metal vibe might feel a little left behind in Season 4 as Retsuko has quit the OTM Girls idol act. The renewed focus on her relationship with Haida and the problems at work don’t exactly sparkle as the music industry storyline gets left behind. Fans who wanted to see her develop a successful music career will be disappointed. It does re-emerge towards the end of Season 4 as Retsuko uses her success online as an olive branch to reach out to the newly down-at-heel Director Ton. Yet it is not as satisfying as in previous seasons. It comes over as an after-thought. Those who wanted more from this Season will now have to wait for the Season 5 option that is dangled in the fans faces in the end credits to episode 10. Let’s hope it rediscovers some of its direction then. There is always a tension between the show’s desire to deliver corporate satire versus office romance versus alt-music tale. Retsuko used to use the music as a tension relief from the pressure of her job and we all loved her for it. It was her hidden secret, her talent and her way out of the corporate hell. Where is that aspect now? She mostly mopes around in Season 4 seemingly taking a back seat to Haida’s story. Season 4 lost some of the show’s momentum which is a shame. Can the show recover?
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