The hardworking, metal singing and ass-kicking Red Panda has returned to Netflix for another outing with Aggretsuko Season 4. Where does Haida’s unrequited love for Retsuko lead him this time around? Let’s find out in this review!
Aggretsuko Season 4 Overview
Aggretsuko, short for Aggressive Retsuko, is a Netflix original ONA series (short for Original Net Animation). It is based on the merchandising giant Sanrio’s character Retsuko the Red Panda. Sanrio is known for its cute and family-friendly characters, such as Hello Kitty and Jewelpet. Aggretsuko is written and directed by Rareko, who also provides the Metal singing voice of Retsuko in the original Japanese version of the show. This season of Aggretsuko is also known by the name “Aggressive Retsuko Season 4“.
–Aggretsuko Season 4 Review does not contain spoilers –
Aggretsuko Season 4 Review- Plot and Characters
Aggretsuko is a show that has been defined by the contrast it brings to the table. It has the art style of a cutesy kids show but is based upon the lives of those same creatures going through the gruelling realities of the work-life balance in Japan, a country known for some of the harshest cultural norms around the workplace. It managed to capture the hearts of many just by doing certain things different from the rest of the pack, including it featuring heavy metal music as a huge part of it.
Another aspect of the contrast that Aggretsuko features so heavily is its protagonist, Retsuko. She is a generally mild-mannered Red Panda who gets along well with almost everybody and is as sweet and kind as anyone can be until she goes to karaoke and starts spitting some barely grasped screams that are sure to raise the hair on your body by their sheer power. Her journey navigating through life and learning from her mistakes is the best part of Aggretsuko, bar none.
All of this is why Aggretsuko Season 4 has been the worst season of the show so far. To put it in simpler terms, by the end of the fourth season, Retsuko is right where she started. She learned nothing throughout the course of this season and looked to have actively regressed in her confidence and judgement. What’s worse is that this season was just as much about Haida as it was about her, and Haida was portrayed even worse than she was.
Haida ended season 3 of Aggretsuko as a more confident and mature person who was brave enough to pull Retsuko out of her scared trance and confess his feelings towards her. Imagine the scenes when Aggretsuko Season 4 begins with Haida even worse off than before, making even poorer decisions than when he chose Retsuko over Inui. It is not even like he gets any better through this season. He actively makes worse and worse decisions as the season moves along, to the point where one feels like screaming at him through the screen.
The plot of Aggretsuko Season 4 is a simplistic one, which made the season feel like even more of a filler arc. There is a new ruthless and pragmatic CEO in Retsuko’s company, who pits the entire company against him and makes some decisions that nobody likes. He doesn’t have much of a character other than being conniving. While his portrayal was extremely realistic and exactly how the world works sometimes, he wasn’t very fun to watch.
The side characters were all also toned down this time for some reason, perhaps to put the show’s focus more on the Retsuko-Haida dynamic, which wasn’t very entertaining to begin with. They still had some good moments, and Ton has surprisingly grown into a character respected and adored by many. Fenneko, Washimi, Tadano, and Anai were all great in their roles, even though it felt like their participation was limited this time around.
Overall, Aggretsuko Season 4 was a huge regression from the show’s best season so far, Season 3. There was nothing tangible to note about the progress of characters, and bar one change, all the show’s characters are exactly where they were when Season 3 ended. The season wasn’t very funny either, although that is a very subjective opinion. The plot was bog-standard and unintuitive, and the characters even worse than that.
Aggressive Retsuko Season 4 Review- Art and Music
The art style of Aggretsuko is very simple and clean, and it retained that look for its latest outing. The animation looked great, and the show looked even more like a work of passion than it usually does. The colour palette was a lot darker this time around, which made sense for story reasons but otherwise wasn’t necessary. The latest intro package was the show’s best so far, showcasing Retsuko’s internal rage better than the series ever had.
The music, however, was a different story. It almost feels like Aggretsuko has been using the same five tracks throughout the entire show, starting from Season 1 to the current Season 4. There hasn’t been a change in the soundtrack since the show’s start, other than the insert songs the show sometimes throws in the middle to break the monotony. The music of Aggretsuko has grown boring and stale, and the show better switch things around for the already announced Aggretsuko Season 5.
The voice acting, however, was still fantastic. A disclaimer- this review will be talking about the English voices. Erica Mendez once again nailed her performance as the sweet and reserved Retsuko, and she was able to portray the tumultuous psyche of Retsuko perfectly. The voices of Haida, Washimi, and especially Fenneko were as great as they always have been, although hearing some more of SungWon Cho’s Hyodo would have been great.
Aggretsuko Season 4 was a notable regression in the show’s quality, as it failed to progress its characters and storylines as much as it did in previous seasons. The season’s plotline was tepid and uninspiring, and the show seems to have gone a little stale at this point.Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.