On Aggretsuko, the best and most relatable anime about adult life
Although Aggretsuko has been around for years, it’s not a household name. While it’s garnered positive reviews from fans and critics alike, and has managed to last five full seasons, it’s hardly a juggernaut of the medium like Demon Slayer or Attack on Titan.
A major reason for this is certainly the genre and premise of the show. Rather than being a Shonen epic about some well-meaning heroes confronting fantastic enemies, it’s a slice-of-life about a 20-something Japanese office worker who navigates the challenges of adulthood; albeit with anthropomorphic Sanrio animal characters and some tangents involving wacky, out-of-the-ordinary events.
It’s not the kind of show you’d expect to be anything more than a fun distraction, and many have probably continued to sidestep it for exactly that reason. Which is a shame considering its final season cements it as one of the best anime portrayals of adult life one could ask for.
For all his jokes about dealing with office life and the general monotony of being a full member of society, Aggretsuko’s real strength has always been his informed and serious portrayal of the challenges of adulthood. It’s brutally honest about how demoralizing it can be to seek a way out of the rut of adult responsibilities to do what’s important to you, and how that almost always leads to failure, setbacks, or results that aren’t what one was hoping to achieve.
However, in its fifth season, the show focuses on these struggles in a way that’s hard not to empathize with, regardless of what the upbringing was. The final act is the culmination of all of this. Aggretsuko, who has become a casual symbol of her generation’s anger and frustration through her online video series, becomes a political candidate for a smaller party in order to garner more attention in an election.
Should she win, she could potentially bring about change amid years of stagnation and a lack of legitimate solutions to problems she and so many people face. She would also act as a symbol of change for those who have abandoned society and would rather let their lives stagnate rather than participate in what can feel like a machine designed to crush them.
Haida supports her in this, having just lost his home and job and being forced to struggle to get back on his feet lest he be seen as a liability to society or his loved ones. He also bears the brunt of the risks associated with this election, as his family’s ties to other parties mean his support of Aggretsuko gives him a target as a disruptor of the more mainstream political parties.
And after all the effort she and her friends have put in — after the money spent, the battles with more traditional candidates, and the threats faced by her and the people she cares about — she loses.
In doing so, however, she creates the conditions for things to get better in the future by motivating other people her age to keep trying and to get involved in society so that they can push it forward for the better. She and Haida also trudge better through the challenges of everyday life and are in a better position than at the beginning of the series.
It’s a silver lining and far from a picture book ending where everyone lives happily ever after. The season’s antagonists will not be brought to justice, and the issues faced by the main characters throughout the trial are still issues they must contend with in order to move forward. Adult life is still adult life, and it can never be decisively defeated, a la a Shonen villain representing all the world’s woes.
But that’s what Aggretsuko is all about, and that’s where the real beauty lies. It doesn’t gloss over the fact that being an adult can be hard, and acting with good intentions or working hard doesn’t guarantee optimal outcomes. Just surviving in society requires constant effort and working with others to ensure the best possible existence.
This will probably never be a show for everyone – god knows life can be hard enough without escaping, or at least spending time on series that don’t remind you how hard passing can be – but those who are willing , giving it Look might find a show that reflects their daily struggles like nothing else. Adult life can be tough, but as Aggretsuko shows, it can still be made manageable as long as you’re willing to keep trying and keep pushing forward.
https://twinfinite.net/2023/03/heres-to-aggretsuko-the-best-most-relatable-anime-about-adult-life/ On Aggretsuko, the best and most relatable anime about adult life