I’m a bit late writing up my last few posts for Japanuary, as work and so on got in the way – though I’m sure no one is losing sleep over my lack of posts!

I told my fairly underwhelmed family that I needed to watch some Japanese telly during the cultural event that has been Japanuary. “Then watch Aggretsuko” said my 15-year-old, “it’s great”. Anime, I thought. Ugh. It’s for children. But you know what, this series (streaming on Netflix UK in handy 15-minute episodes) is really entertaining, especially if you have ever worked in an office for any length of time. And it’s definitely not aimed at little kids.

Retsuku (meaning “Fierce Child”) is, yes, a cute red panda in a kilt, but she’s also a 25-year-old young woman who is into death metal and who spends her days working in a tedious office environment, with a huge misogynistic pig (literally a pig) as a boss.

The series follows her day-to-day travails as she negotiates office politics, friendships, crushes on unsuitable men and her relationship with her over-protective mother, who is always popping round to hoover Retsuko’s apartment and trying to fix her up with awful prospective husbands. (To be honest, with a daughter about to go off to university, I actually hard relate to this woman as much as I do Retsuko!)

Retsuko, who was dreamed up by the same people who came up with the Hello Kitty brand, is outwardly sweet and placatory, until every now and then she loses her shit and goes into “death metal karaoke mode” (when she’s voiced by an entirely different actor!). You go girl.

The series is funny and cute and relatable, and I’d recommend it to anyone for a bit of light relief after a January that seemed never to end. And I found out that the series is so widely loved that there’s even a whole fan Wiki to take a deep dive into, if that’s your bag!

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