Aggretsuko Season 3 continues the story of Retsuko, a small and cute-looking red panda. She’s still working in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm, and she still goes to karaoke to vent her frustrations by singing death metal.
Retsuko has gotten into a virtual reality game, and this one has her interacting with a virtual boyfriend. Unfortunately, the virtual boyfriend talks her into spending all kinds of money on the game, to the point where she doesn’t have enough money to eat properly anymore. Her money problems only get worse when she accidentally crashes a rental car into a van belonging to Hyodo. When Retsuko tells him that she can’t afford to pay everything that she owes for the damages, he insists she come work for him. It turns out Hyodo is the manager for an up-and-coming underground idol group called OTM Girls, and he wants Retsuko to act as the group’s accounting manager. There are three girls in the group, with Manaka being the leader. We learn that she’s slightly older that Retsuko, which I thought was interesting. She’s can be blunt, but as we see during the series, she also cares about others. The other two girls (I can’t remember their names), tended to not have any real personality of their own. So much so, in fact, that I don’t even remember what their names were. They just seemed to agree with everything. I’m guessing this was intentional, though, and not simply a case of bad writing.
At first, Retsuko and the girls in the group aren’t making any money because Hyodo keeps wasting so much money on merchandise, and the group has a small following. But after Retsuko finds her backbone and comes up with all sorts of ways to save money, all of the girls start getting paid for what they’re doing. At first, things seem to be going well for Retsuko… until Hyodo discovers her singing death metal at karaoke. He then comes up with the idea of changing the band’s sound and forcing Retsuko to be part of the group and become of the leader. This, of course, is the beginning of various problems for Retsuko. She tries to hide this side hustle from her co-workers, but someone at the office discovers her secret. Also, near the end of the season, Retsuko discovers she has someone stalking her.
But this season isn’t just about Retsuko. Haida plays an important role as well. A new character named Inui is introduced, and when she meets Haida for the first time, it’s clear to the audience that she seems interested in Haida. They run into each other at a record store, and it seems like the two of them are hitting it off. Near the end of the season, Haida finds himself being torn between his feelings for Retsuko and his feelings for Inui.
I’m going to be honest and say when I first heard about the idol group angle that was going to be part of this season, I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. But the idea of Retsuko getting sucked into a virtual reality game and nearly draining her bank account seemed like something she would do. And how she ended up becoming part of OTM Girls works with the way Retsuko was characterized in the previous two seasons. And the build up of the storyline with Retsuko and the OTM Girls was enjoyable to watch but became a little concerning once the stalker aspect was introduced into the story.
Unlike the ending of the second season, it felt like the story basically wrapped up at the end of this season. If this third season is the last we see of Aggretsuko, I would consider this to be a decent ending. To be honest, outside of developing the relationship between Retsuko and Haida, I really can’t see where else this series could take these characters. But who knows? Netflix could surprise me and announce a fourth season for the series at some point. And if they do, I’ll watch it.