Anime, Netflix, New Season, Show

“Aggretsuko” Season 4 is all over the place


Aggretsuko
is a weird show in some ways – it’s gone from a slice-of-life workplace comedy to romance to drama and now- well, I don’t really know what to call this season. In many ways, it’s certainly more intimate, with a heavy focus on Retsuko and Haida’s relationship, which hasn’t really been explored yet.

It’s definitely more dramatic in some ways than previous seasons – but honestly, this show does best when it’s mostly comedy. The drama is best when it’s low-stakes or when it’s sprinkled in lightly.

Out of them all – this season suffers the odd mix of continuity, comic book time, and an aversion from straying too much from the status quo. However, there was one plot twist that has me wondering where they’re going to go next season that I am very interested in.

Hopefully, they don’t change things back to the way they were.

THE PLOT

Following her near-death experience from Season 3 – Retsuko moves into a new apartment. Haida, still struggling with his feelings for her, walks her home every night. But for some reason, he is distancing himself from her. Meanwhile, Retsuko is coming to terms with her budding feelings for Haida.

In the office, an accident leaves the CEO in the hospital and unable to work which leads to Himorou, an outside investor taking over the position. And things in the workplace begin to change drastically.

Major spoilers here, but Ton ends up getting fired and Himorou elects Haida to take over the position, which leads to some major drama (and fraud!) It’s a bit all over the place, trying to weave in characters and ideas from previous seasons while building a relationship three seasons in the making.

It’s a lot.

The Good

Like with all the past seasons of Aggrestuko, the humor is on point. The dubbed version remains one of my favorites, with special attention on localizing puns and jokes. This is one of the few anime where I believe the dubbed is as good as the dubbed versions. The voice acting is brilliant.

I love the continuity. Even though the show uses comic-book time, I like how last season clearly influences the characters’ actions in this one. Every season has its own arc, but they all affect each other.

I also love how this season took a lot of risks, from the CEO ending up hospitalized to the change in status quo at the end. There’s also a much larger focus on other characters this season, especially Haida.

We get to see him playing more music, we meet some of his high school friends and learn a bit about his family. We still don’t know why he likes Retsuko – but we see him spend a lot of time with Fenneko. Unfortunately their relationship doesn’t really get explored — nor does Fenneko get explored as a character.

Anai, Kabae and Tsunode have their time to shine, but its Ton who gets even more characterization. We get to see more of his home life, and see him grow as a character. While I don’t love him – it’s interesting to see how they try to humanize him and rationalize his actions.

It was interesting to have a season where the main character, honestly wasn’t really the main focus. It was something different and I can appreciate that.

The Bad

I really hated Haida in this season. I hated how he avoided Retsuko and seemed to no longer care about her or her feelings. I hated how he found himself so easily going along with Himorou’s scam – and how he cut himself off from everyone in his office.

His “backstory” of having rich parents, so he doesn’t need to pay rent or worry about money doesn’t make a ton of sense and comes out of nowhere. I honestly don’t like the lack of clarity surrounding his and Retsuko’s relationship.

It doesn’t seem like they ever officially got together – and if they did, I hope Retsuko would have broken up with him after everything. I mean, are we really supposed to believe that Haida was dumb enough to think he was actually doing the right thing?

He was a genuine, all-around jerk this season. I used to think his crush on Retsuko was cute but now it just makes him come across as whiney and pathetic.

This second bit is probably due to a difference in culture, but the characters’ devotion to the company, especially in this day and age comes across as just naivety. They want what’s best for the company – and aren’t willing to leave when things start getting awkward.

I know that company loyalty is a big thing in Japan and it’s hard or near impossible to fire somebody – but the fact that these are young millenial characters who aren’t considering just packing up and moving to a different company just baffles me. 

I can’t wrap my head around it – I understand wanting to make sure your co-workers okay but I don’t quite get the sympathy Retsuko has for Ton (because he still treats her like crap) especially when in seasons past, she was looking for an out.

Just leave, girl! You don’t owe the company anything. But of course, her decision to stay is because the show is focused on maintaining the status quo more or less. So she can’t leave. The original CEO has to come back, as do Ton and Kabae.

There are no major changes.

Except that Haida quits the company.

At least that’ll make next season interesting. Definitely changes up the dynamic a lot.

One thing, I really enjoyed about previous seasons was the focus on Retsuko’s singing as her method of destressing but it feels there’s been less of that this season. There’s been plenty of drinking though.

And honestly, I need a drink after watching this season because there is so much that didn’t quite add up at the end; there was very little build-up with Retsuko and the others trying to expose Himorou’s misdeeds; there’s a weird arm wrestling match and it all just ends really weirdly and anti-climatically.

Final Thoughts

I probably need to rewatch it but at the moment, Season 4 is definitely my least favorite season of the show. I just expected better. It wasn’t outright terrible, but my goodness, there was just way too much focus on Haida this season.

I hope he stays away for awhile so that Retsuko can grow more and focus on her Death Metal channel. And overcome her trauma of nearly being killed by a deranged stalker.

She deserves better.

She was always questioning herself with Haida and questioning him. She needs somebody far more confident and understanding.

And that’s the scoop.

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Grade: B-

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Year of release: 2021

Length: 10 episodes; 15-18 minutes

Director/Writer: Rarecho

Producers: Kelly Luegenbiehl, Kaata Sakamoto, Taro Goto, Yoichiro Shimomura, Miyuki Okumura, Akira Takayama, Yasue Mochizuki

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