English Dub Review: Aggretsuko “We Wish You A Metal Christmas”

Your perfectly manufactured Christmas.

Overview:

Retsuko becomes obsessed with Instagram.

Our Take:

This takes place sometime after the main series, where Haida’s confession was rejected, and Retsuko has since found self-validation in Instagram. She is taking tips from Tsunoda, and is since progressing to the point where Instagram likes are her one source of validation, whether she likes it or not.

It’s as much of a romance comedy as much as it is a commentary on Instagram-obsessed people. Tsunoda gives Retsuko good tips on how to take nice photos, sure, but she also is inadvertently pushing her own culture. Tsunoda is obsessed with Instagram, and granted, she is very good at it, but she also becomes very upfront about the kind of reality it is. Once you become a purely Instagram girl, your casual photos become manufactured, and your life is no longer your own. You are constantly forced into a cycle of putting out content, and your life becomes something worthy of consumption. In other words, it becomes a duty and less so fun, with the fact that Retsuko is seeking validation making it all the more of a cycle that makes it impossible to break out of. Sure enough, seeing everyone make plans on Christmas Eve (a time for dates in Japan) makes Retsuko feel incredibly jealous and undervalued.

After Goromi and Washimi’s dates both don’t go well, Retsuko realizes just how manufactured Instagram life is. They’re both perfectly fine women, but that they don’t have any pretenses of whether their day went well or not. Retsuko doesn’t have to throw away her Instagram, but she also doesn’t have to pretend that her life is better than it actually is. Comparatively, Tsunoda, whose life looks fantastic on Instagram, is actually bored out of her mind, and is cheered up by seeing Retsuko have a good cheap soba dinner with her friends.

Haida actually does want to ask Retsuko to hang out on Christmas Eve, but he’s not sure if he should. He was rejected by Retsuko, and is afraid that the same thing would happen again. Their relationship hasn’t been strained, as Retsuko doesn’t feel uncomfortable around him, but Haida isn’t sure whether he has the courage to take that step, especially not after Retsuko makes it seem like she has a date for Christmas. He does eventually manage to make a step forward, meeting up with Retsuko after she’s done with her soba dinner. From the ending, it seems like at the very least, he managed to get Retsuko to hang out with him at a future time.

Overall, it’s cute and still pretty in line with the usual Aggretsuko flavor. I didn’t think they’d make a Christmas special, but I’m glad that they did. This is both fun and has something to say.

Score
9.5/10

Noelle Ogawa

A writer, editor, and 4th generation New Yorker. An avid fan of comics and manga, particularly psychological thrillers, or featuring sports. Can't stay away from the horror genre. Long-time kaiju enthusiast.

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