**This article contains spoilers for Seasons 2 and 3.**
When Netflix and Sanrio confirmed there was indeed a third season of the adorable office-life critters show Aggretsuko, fans everywhere were excited. After the roller coaster we’d been taken through in season 2 with Retsuko figuring out what she really wants in life and making the steps toward those goals, I wondered what road the show could possibly take next.
A lot of the appeal for Aggretsuko among my peers is that it’s, well, relatable. Many people have gone through a period in their life where they just wonder what the hell am I doing? and go on a rage vent. Reporting to your job (or jobs, for some people), in a workplace that most people around you might not be considered “career-worthy”, being disrespected by people you have no choice but to listen to, doing mundane tasks day after day can really get to you. (Yes, this is something very close to my heart, if you didn’t catch on when I played “Say NO More”.)
Retsuko so far has gone through several of the motions – she’s compared herself to her friends, she’s calculated methods of coping (her hard metal karaoke is a core theme to the entire show), she’s tried dating around, and has to deal with other life problems like cutting down on her food budget for the month so she can afford to give her friends a nice wedding gift or her mom constantly judging her about her life choices.
All of the seasons touch on this, but Season 2 seemed to focus particularly on Retsuko wanting to get married and live life together with that “special someone”. When she did seem to meet someone perfect, it ended up not working out.. but she realized then that it was for the better. It helped her clear her mind and recognize what she really saw and wanted for her future. I loved this ending for her (even though it meant likely saying goodbye to one of my favorite characters, Tadano) because it felt authentic. Sure, they had a happy and loving relationship, but ultimately she wanted marriage and he didn’t agree. She did what was best for both of them and moved on.
When we see her then in season 3, we are seeing a healing Retsuko. She copes with her virtual reality “boyfriend”, spoiling him and indulging herself in the fake romance the game offers her. This leads to that, and she ends up an accounting for an underground idol group trying to make their way to the top. We meet the eccentric group of three idols and their penny-pinching heart of gold manager, and Retsuko eventually leads the group down the road to heavy metal idol stardom with her rock star pipes.
Of course, this is all just a side gig and Retsuko still has to pay the bills, so she struggles to balance all of her idol work with her day job at the office. She gets lectured as her work quality drops, and Haida comes to “save the day” and help her get back on top of things.
Overall, I really loved this main story (especially how it ended with everyone else also continuing their day jobs while working toward their dreams in their spare time). The concept of having to turn your passions into a “side hustle” in order to keep paying the bills isn’t something I’m in love with, but there’s a little ray of hope in romanticizing these kinds of storylines. That we’re not alone, and that we can find a way, any way.
When I first binged the season on release, I was simultaneously in love and frustrated. Why did Haida have to have Inui come in just to break her heart?! Could he not have coordinated the back-to-back dates and also his feelings better? Will we ever see her again? Was it necessary for Tadano to very conveniently nudge Retsuko and Haida together through Gori’s dating app? And while Haida and Retsuko’s duet at the end is super badass, what did I just watch?!? Retsuko says he can’t just swoop in and fix all her problems, and Haida basically just says “yes, I can” and then it’s over.
It definitely feels like some points were played up simply for the drama of it, which sucks because I want Retsuko to end up happy. Even though I like Haida as a character, I’ve never really rooted for him as Retsuko’s love interest because it just doesn’t feel like they have much to offer each other. Maybe that’s clouded my view of the season’s ending, but somehow I feel like even if I hadn’t walked in with that perspective, this season would have changed my opinion simply because of how he treated Inui. Sure, she seemed okay with it all in the end, but the way it was executed leaves a bad taste in the mouth if you pay enough attention.
While I enjoyed the general/ending theme of the season, I’m just not sure they resolved things as best as they could. Maybe they had run out of time to include what they wanted, and the end became rushed, or maybe this is truly how it was meant to be. Whatever the answer, I’m looking forward to a season 4 to help smooth out the wrinkles.
Did you watch the season as well, and what are your thoughts? I know many fans who either loved or hated or are in the middle with me, so I’d love to see some more input. You can stream Aggretsuko’s 3 seasons on Netflix now!