My youngest child introduced me to an anime program exclusive to Netflix called Aggretsuko (Aggrevated Retsuko) and said I would really enjoy the program. Truth! This is a show about a 25-year-old anthropomorphic red panda Retsuko who has a job as a low-level accountant. She doesn’t like her job, but she feels stuck. But, Retsuko has a surprising secret… she carries around with her a microphone and, when she is alone, she lets loose screaming completely kick-ass death metal with lyrics about her thoughts and feelings.
Honestly, I can’t help but to watch this program in awe… there are so many issues related to Industrial-Organizational Psychology in this program, it makes for a compelling and entertaining study in the modern workplace and surprisingly transcends cultures. In class, we learn that Japanese work culture is that of a collectivist culture which values the dynamics of the group over the individual. However, the dynamics among the characters in this show work for both individualist and collectivist societies with some in-depth views of individual contributions and accomplishments in addition to the overall work of the accounting team and the overall company.
You’ll find among the cast of other anthropomorphic beasts a cool and busy-body Fennec Fox, a self-assured Secretary Bird, a highly successful marketing maven Gorilla, a gossipy Hippo, a suck-up Meerkat, an overbearing Pig boss, and a variety of other types of animals, each with unique but stereotypical personalities. Through Retsuko, a mild-mannered pushover who pines for freedom from the workplace, and her point of view, if you have worked in any kind of organization, you can empathize with the experience of at least one of the characters.
From harassing bosses to job satisfaction, from training others to handling interoffice conflict, and from team building to inappropriate counterproductive work behaviors, this show so far (I’m still in the first season) has a little of everything to share about our “home away from home” at work. It shares about motivations, work skills, people management, OCBs (organizational citizenship behaviors) and CWBs (counterproductive work behaviors).
It also explores the effects of work, relationships, and personalities on the lives of beings outside of work. I really love that Retsuko finds refuge in metal music making shrieking melodies in private at work in the lavatory or renting a personal karaoke booth at a local venue.
If you haven’t seen this show, and you have an interest in how people (or cartoon kawaii animals) think and behave at work, I highly recommend watching Aggretsuko!