Saturday, April 6, 2019

REVIEW: Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas (anime TV series episode)

Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas is not, as I initially assumed, a standalone movie, but rather a special Christmas-themed 22-minute episode that is a direct continuation of the first season of the series.

This post contains slight spoilers.


Retsuko gets addicted to Instagram and the quick bursts of joy that come from random people liking her carefully staged photos of food and supposedly perfect moments in her life. Instagram both feeds her need for positive feedback and sets her up to feel like a failure in comparison to everyone else. Christmas and its requirement of happiness and some kind of plans with other people (friends or family, but a date would be even better) just makes her feel worse. Meanwhile, Haida wants to ask Retsuko out to a party but worries she'll turn him down.

Once I got over my disappointment that this was just a Christmas-themed episode and not a full movie, I really enjoyed it. Comedy series can sometimes fall into the trap of not allowing characters to have some sort of forward movement, so it was nice to see the characters moving on a bit from the events of Season 1, even if only a little. Retsuko didn't deal with her disappointment over how her relationship with Resasuke ended by instantly latching on to the next romantic opportunity that presented itself, and she found something new to take up her time (even though it didn't really end up making her feel any better). I winced at her decision to view Tsunoda as a role model, but I think Tsunoda is beginning to grow on me - her reaction to Retsuko's second Christmas pic was nice. I suspect that her skills at deciphering the truth from small clues in Instagram photos are at least as good as Fenneko's.

As far as the episode's message about Instagram (and social media in general) went, I could imagine it resonating with lots of viewers. I could see the series getting a lot of mileage out of other social media-related topics - here's hoping Season 2 gets into it a bit more.

I'm willing to wait and see how things with Haida work out. I liked that he didn't react to Retsuko's rejection of him by turning mean and bitter - he was still friends with her, even if she wasn't interested in him romantically. At the same time, it was clear that he still hoped for a "yes" from her a some point down the line. Part of me hopes that she ends up dating someone else yet again, so that Haida can prove to viewers like me that, this time, he can handle it without becoming bitter and drinking himself into a hospital stay.

All in all, if you liked the first season of the TV series, you should definitely watch this. I'm looking forward to Season 2.

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