Aggretsuko Series

Anime Hajime Review: Aggretsuko 4th Season

More from the Aggretsuko series:

Original Release Date: December 16, 2021
Number of Epiosdes: 10
Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Aggretsuko 4th Season. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Still quite shaken from the horrifying events of her stalker, Retsuko (voiced by Kaolip) tries to put her idol-career behind her and return to life as a quiet accountant. But this may be rather hard to do.

Retsuko and her co-workers are about to experience a challenge most have never had to go through – a change in management. Following the retirement of the company’s president, a new head rises to the top. While the former president was an old-fashioned, stubborn geezer who worked his employees to the bone, at least there was job security. That stability now sits in question.

Along with that, Retsuko and her dear friend, Haida (voiced by Shingo Katou), are on the verge of taking the plunge into forming a romantic relationship. But after being colleagues for so long, is it possible for them to see each other any other way?

Series Positives

Let’s be frank. If you’re wondering whether or not to watch Aggretsuko 4th Season (Aggretsuko 4), you’ve probably watched the first three. And if you’ve made it this far, I don’t think it is too much to assume you’ve enjoyed the series; why else would the fourth installment hold any interest for you?

Additionally, you’ve most likely already committed yourself to sitting down with this season; why stop now, am I right? Therefore, the question becomes:

Is Aggretsuko 4 worth watching now or later? 

If you’re like me, you would be hoping for “now” since “later” would become an act of resignation rather than desire. Fortunately, Aggretsuko 4 is a solid new chapter to a series that has now developed a reputation for being much more than meets the eye.

As anyone who has watched this series will say, Aggretsuko has long since evolved from the simplicity of its original idea – a look at the day-to-day of an adorable little red panda who sings death metal to destress from the oppressive grind of corporate culture. While elements of that notion still exist, even in season four, this franchise has proven it is not afraid to go far beyond slapstick and cutesy humor.

On more than one occasion, Aggretsuko has been surprisingly dark. And when I say “dark,” I mean this series has danced around the oh-my-god-are-they-about-to-do-what-I-think-they-are-about-do button. Who can’t remember last season when a crazed stalker tracked down Retsuko’s apartment, followed her to and from work, and then assaulted her with a knife?

Now, did I really think a show based on a character from Sanrio – the company that makes Hello Kitty – would harm its protagonist? At first, no, but as things escalated, I was no longer sure.

There was a similar scene this season; Aggretsuko 4 came uncomfortably close to crossing a line I didn’t think was possible for this series. What this show has been willing to do has been surprising, but that willingness is also one of the primary reasons it has been so good, and this installment was no exception.

In fact, Aggretsuko 4 was the least “light-hearted” chapter of the franchise thus far.

When comparing all the installments, Retsuko didn’t have an overwhelming monopoly on the spotlight during this run. Season four focused on a wide variety of characters, and you come to realize something – you care about a lot of them.

While that makes sense on the surface – after all, we’ve spent so much time getting to know the accounting department members – remember how this series began. Retsuko hated going to work because she dealt with abusive supervisors and annoying co-works. Those same unbearable characters in season one were like family here in season four.

The best example of this was Director Ton (voiced by Souta Arai). 

Now, Ton’s power harassment towards Retsuko and her co-workers is inexcusable; he is a horrible boss. Ton plays favorites, can be utterly unfair, and is extremely vindictive when someone calls out his awful behavior. Be that as it may, when the chips were down, he looked after his team; he has never thrown them under the bus.

So despise his pure awfulness, when Ton needed help, it was no real stretch to believe Retsuko – who arguably had it the worst – would go out of her way to aid him. Though Ton had made her career life a living hell, but when Retsuko struggled with her personal life, her Director was an unexpected source of support.

And this development took place was before this season actually hit the fan.

When I first watched Aggretsuko 1, I never thought it would turn into a series with a ton of depth, personality, drama, tension, and emotion. On top of that, each subsequent season, four included, has felt like its own thing. Never once has this franchise gone over the same material. 

And I think the most impressive thing about Aggretsuko has been its unfailing ability to take me by surprise. I never know what this series is going to do.

Lastly, at the end of each season, I keep thinking, “Where else can this show go?” Well, at the end of Aggretsuko 4, we got the phrase “Retsuko will return.” So if there is anything I have learned, it’s that betting whether the next installment is any good has some pretty strong odds in its favor.

Series Negatives

Although this season was excellent nine times out of ten, the remaining one out of ten concerned the ending. 

Don’t misunderstand. The conclusion Aggretsuko 4 went with wasn’t awful; heck, it was sufficiently satisfying. However, it wasn’t the smoothest. In particular, the resolution to Haida’s story arc (for this season) wasn’t the strongest.

With that said, before we continue, I must apologize. What happened to Haida is something I want to talk about, but since it concerns the ending of what is safe to assume a well-anticipated continuation, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. 

Hence, I am about to turn unhelpfully vague.

For the record, Haida in season four was fascinating; I don’t have any issues with either his journey or ultimate fate. What I do have a small problem with is how he took on his climactic moment.

Hopefully, without revealing anything, Haida needed to make a choice. The complication was with the timing of that choice. It didn’t feel as though this season had sufficiently set it up; the story wasn’t quite there yet.

As a result, Haida’s choice came more off as narrative diktat rather than a from-the-heart realization from the character.

Still, I am excited to see what becomes of Haida in season five.

Final Thoughts

It is difficult for any series to pull off a successful sequel. And yet, this one not only once but three times. If you haven’t given this franchise a shot, you really are missing out.

In so many ways, this show is a never ending surprise, and has grown into something far larger than its original installment.

Only time will tell if this impressive run will continue. But for the present, Aggrestuko 4th Season has earned itself a recommendation.

But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Aggretsuko 4th Season? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

More From the Aggretsuko Series

Anime Hajime Impressions: Aggretsuko
Anime Hajime Impressions: Aggretsuko Season 2
Anime Hajime Impressions: Aggretsuko Season 3

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