Retsuko the Red Panda returns in Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas, which serves a timely reminder about the loneliness during the holiday season and the perils of social media.
The culturally relevant Retsuko the Red Panda is back for a one-off episode to embrace the festivities. Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas shows our little cute/angry character routinely facing the same habits, but this time she is facing the pressure of the holidays and as usual, finding it socially challenging to fit in.
I enjoyed the first season; the Netflix original anime mirrored working life and how the different levels of social classes burdened the regular working person, especially a woman, and in this case of Retsuko the metaphors and underlying lyrics that came from her hardcore rock singing was an outlet to be enjoyed. Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas is designed to keep the stockings fresh for the streaming platform, yet it served as a friendly reminder of one of the best animes of the year.
In the Christmas special, Retsuko is consumed by Instagram. In her lonely bubble, she realizes that the social media app not only makes her feel welcome but also popular and the likes she gets from each photo drives the character to want to grow a broader audience. Amusingly, the Red Panda finds that it spurs her being, as she takes a random picture of her ice creams.
Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas is another lesson regarding our generation, and the countless times I’ve seen the all-consuming Instagram profiles that make a particular person look like they have an inspiring life. Of course, in reality, Retsuko’s life is much the opposite.
As the message surrounding social media grows, the bite-sized Christmas special reminds us of how lonely it can be at this time of year. Retsuko’s passion for growing on Instagram makes her realize that she needs company on Christmas Eve before her family get-together on the big day.
There has been a lot of easily constructed Christmas trash thrown on to the platform this year, but I cannot grumble at Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas; it continues to be sweet, thoughtful and endearing.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.