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More than 40 years after the first appearance of the globally beloved Hello Kitty, Sanrio has introduced a new character that’s destined to become your new favorite adorable animated animal.
Her name is Aggretsuko, short for Aggressive Retsuko, and she’s a red panda. Whereas Hello Kitty was ostensibly created for children and was purposely designed without a mouth so that she only speaks from the heart, Aggretsuko, who’s “a single, 25-year-old female Scorpio with blood type A” is definitely for adults. Introduced in 2016, Sanrio’s latest mascot works in accounting at one of Tokyo’s best trading companies, and routinely deals with the irritations and injustices of modern office life, all while trying to maintain a healthy social life in a big city. And when she’s bored, she drinks, and when she drinks, she actually gets hungover.
While Hello Kitty might only gaze sweetly at an inconvenience, Retsuko has a different way of unleashing her anger: death metal. In each brief peek we get into her life on Instagram or YouTube, Retsuko starts out every day in a good mood, sweetly training a new coworker or grabbing lunch with a friend. Inevitably, something annoying happens, like when in the middle of teaching someone how to use the Sanrio version of Excel, they start mindlessly eating at her desk, talking with their mouth full and getting crumbs everywhere. Retsuko tries to keep her cool, but seconds later, she lashes out in death metal karaoke, her eyes glowing with anger. “PUT THAT AWAY! WITHOUT DELAY! EATING WHILE I’M TALKING IS NOT OKAY!”
All Sanrio creations are cute, but none have ever been as relatable—and critical—as this red panda.
In another episode, Retsuko is out with colleagues, enjoying a bottomless beer special that’s nice and cheap. Suddenly, her two coworkers deviate from the plan and get wine and shochu, which cost extra, and keep piling on. Sashimi! Wings! Fish liver! Seaweed! “Um, we’re splitting all this?” she asks. “Aren’t you going to order too?” they goad her. Full of rage, Retsuko unloads.
If you like Retsuko’s death metal lessons in etiquette, there’s much more where that came from. There’s the time when her hippo coworker, Hippatricia, carelessly lets her messy mountain of papers nearly crush Retsuko. And rather than tidy the mess immediately, Hippatricia has the gall to continue inhaling her instant noodles.
As with every Sanrio superstar, there’s plenty of Aggretsuko merchandise you can buy to personalize your home or office, including coasters, memo pads, and even a blanket for your chair at work—though the best Aggretsuko product is clearly her miniseries of meltdowns. Use them as a reminder to actually take your full hour at lunch, which is when you can watch as much Aggretsuko as you want—just don’t forget your headphones.