Why Sanrio’s Aggretsuko

is a Millennial Employee’s

Newest Spirit Animal

By Therese Aseoche

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Sanrio’s Aggretsuko quickly captured the hearts of working millennials the moment Retsuko the death metal-loving red panda was introduced a year ago — so much so that she has earned herself a 10-episode show on Netflix! Everyone across the globe found her so relatable that she has become the face of every overworked and underpaid millennial employee who can’t seem to escape their sh***y jobs. Here’s why:

She’s enslaved by a job she hates and has a literal chauvinistic pig of a boss

In the series, Retsuko is shown every morning dragging herself off of her bed and summoning enough willpower to be a “model citizen” and report to work where she is not only overworked by her superior, but is also maltreated and bullied because of her age and gender by the Accounting Division Boss, Director Ton. Those who find themselves in a similar situation — whether it’s a crappy job or a crappy boss they have — will greatly empathize with Retsuko and her inability to do anything about it.


She’s surrounded by annoying coworkers

Retsuko has her fair share of annoying coworkers, including a kiss-ass gazelle and a gossip-mongering hippo, with whom she has to act pleasantly around, much to her dismay. No need to drop names, but who among your own coworkers did you think of first?


She dreams of leaving for a cushy career but can’t risk financial instability

Doesn’t everybody? At one point in the series, Retsuko runs into her college friend Puko who has since been living her life traveling around the world and earning from part-time jobs — the complete opposite of Retsuko. When Puko proposes that Retsuko should join her for a business selling imported goods, Retsuko could barely contain her excitement over a potential career she actually likes and is much easier than her present job.

But her excitement quickly shatters when she’s told it would be an online business with no guarantee of making profit straight away — a high risk for little return. And so, she let go of the opportunity knowing she can’t risk being financially instable.

A lot of employed millennials are probably screaming “SAME!”


As a woman, she has to tolerate workplace sexism

Even in this modern age, there are still companies out there discriminating against gender. Retsuko is one of the extreme examples of how these women employees are being victimized and stepped on without anyone offering to help or stand up for her. It’s something a lot of us in long-standing corporate companies are much acquainted with but, like Retsuko, can’t get away from because: 1) we need the money, and 2) we are driven by a selfish desire to prove our competence. But is it all really worth being driven down to the dust like this?

Because her job sucks, she can’t bear to be unhappy with other aspects of her life

Despite her miserable situation at work, Retsuko finds a glimmer of hope in a romance that sparks between her and a coworker from another department. For a brief moment, she experiences genuine happiness that lets her withstand her daily beatings from her superiors. But when she realizes that her potential love life isn’t what she had wanted it to be, she tries to deny the emptiness she feels as a result because she can’t bear to think that she can be this miserable with her private life too.


She’s a push-over because she’s just too responsible

She is incapable of standing up for herself because she’s too responsible — the type who buys three pairs of socks from a store out of guilt for walking out empty-handed. It’s not an admirable characteristic and she knows it. She grows frustrated when she’s scrutinized for it. She’s not a feminist nor is she badass — not even for rocking out to death metal. She’s merely a cog in the capitalist machine, one who goes by her day saying yes to work because she understands that it’s a job she needs to do.


She expresses her pent-up rage in a way you wish you could

Imagine having that much pent-up anger that it manifests into a death metal song at a karaoke or a women’s comfort room cubicle? Same, girl, same.


You fervently wish that things would turn out alright for her in the end

Because we see ourselves in her, we actually hope beyond hope that she gets her happy ending — a better job, a renewed relationship with her boss, a better man, anything! — because we secretly hope that for ourselves too. It may not happen as quickly as we would want it to, but things will always turn up. After all, as Retsuko says in the end, “Tomorrow is a new day!”


All photos courtesy of Sanrio and Netflix


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