For some people, living an idyllic life of apples and cake is hard to relate to. For those people the makers of Hello Kitty bring you Aggretsuko.
Everyone knows Sanrio’s central character Hello Kitty and her ever-expanding line of merchandise that ranges from aircraft to maternity clinics. But the company also has a vast range of characters in an effort to cater to all walks of life and personal tastes.
Are you down with dog butt-holes? Well, you’ll love the cuddly pudding-puppy hybrid Pom Pom Purin. Do you dig hard rock with heavy make-up? Sanrio’s got you covered with their own visual kei band Shingan Crimson. Are you suffering from seasonal affective disorder or even just a little on the lazy side? If so, then Gudetama the runny egg that can’t get out of bed is there to help.
And now Saniro’s latest creation looks destined to hit very close to home with a lot of people. Her name is Aggretsuko and she’s a 25-year-old red panda (usually called a “lesser panda” in Japan) who works in an office and is growing increasingly disillusioned with what should be the best years of her life.
Sanrio (@sanrio) January 05, 2017
Aggretsuko must deal with being at the bottom rung of her organization and getting much of the grunt work shoveled onto her. Here we are also introduced to her cute but spiritually crippled colleagues like Director Gorilla, Secretary Washimi, and an as-of-yet unnamed hippo who spits food when she talks and likes to show pictures of her nephew.
When the burdens of a workaday life at a faceless corporation — gradually robbing Aggretsuko of her youth — become too much to bear, the kanji for “rage” appears on her forehead.
▼ In Japanese, her name is Aggressive Retsuko (アグレッシブ烈子) where the kanji for “Retsuko” mean “rage-child.”
Luckily, Aggretsuko has an outlet in the karaoke room when she vents her frustrations to the tune of a death metal track.
Afterward, she goes home feeling a little refreshed and prepares for the next day of work optimistically remembering that line from her favorite non-copyright-infringing film Left with the Wind: “Tomorrow is a new day.”
Although Sanrio could probably thrive off the licensing of Hello Kitty alone, the company has built up a solid roster of characters like Kiki and Lala or My Melody. And seeing that they are constantly exploring new ideas for brands even in less-than orthodox places shows that this company will be around for a long time.
And it looks like they may have their next hit on their hands. Having only been released a few days ago, Aggretsuko is already generating a lot of buzz, even in the U.S. It appears that her plight is resonating with a lot of people, but we’ll know just how much of an impact she is making when the next Sanrio Ranking rolls around.