Spoilers for ‘Aggretsuko’ Season 3
Retsuko has been bogged down by her corporate accounting job for most of her life. ‘Aggretsuko’ has poked fun at many aspects of living a life bound to an office job and in Season 3, they introduce a new concept — that of the side-hustle. Initially introduced as something Retsuko (Kaolip/Rarecho/Erica Mendez/Jamison Boaz) should consider to pay for her VR-boyfriend-game addiction, it soon becomes something she has no choice over but to embrace, and to her surprise, she finds that she’s extremely good at it.
At first, it’s painful to see Retsuko avoid trying a side-hustle for herself. She tells Fenneko (Rina Inoue/Katelyn Gault) that she’s simply not talented enough to pursue a venture that she could get money from. Still, she watches with envy as her colleagues and her friends pursue alternate ways of making money, using their various talents and following their dreams to do something productive outside of their soul-sucking office jobs. It’s a dream that’s commonly shared and one that everyone can relate to, especially as the pandemic-induced lockdown as brought out a seeming wealth of productivity in a handful of people, while the rest of us are just struggling to hold on.
The lockdown has given everyone a lot more free time at home and when it began there was an initial rush not dissimilar to New Year’s resolutions. People were going to work out. Finish the book they’d been planning to read. Start crafting homemade artisanal goods and selling them off the internet for a little extra cash. Most of these side-hustles faded quickly and we learned to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves — while still harboring just a little bit of resentment for those who seem to have blossomed during the lockdown and become more productive than ever before.
However, as the pandemic rolls on, the pressure to make the most of one’s talents rises once again as money starts growing tight. Not everyone is fortunate to be able to work from home, not everyone is able to stay healthy and as companies try to stay afloat as the economy takes a hit, not everyone is able to keep their jobs. Finding new work is a nightmare and as bills and stress pile up, monetizing one’s hobbies starts looking less like a dream and more like a necessity.
All it takes is one unfortunate accident for Retsuko to find herself in more debt than she’s ever been in before. She’s forced to work for a ruthless businessman in charge of an underground pop group and on top of that, she’s not even making any money from it initially. Retsuko only earns money when the band earns money and it’s currently operating at a loss. Retsuko literally cannot afford to be modest about her talents. If she’s ever going to pay off her debt, she needs to step up, make her ideas clear and use whatever talents she has to bring in money for the OTMGirls and herself.
It turns out, fortunately, that she’s quite good at this. She’s clever and resourceful, able to find a way to monetize merchandising for OTMGirls in ways that actually make them money. She’s doing this beside her job and she still manages to find time to start posting YouTube tutorials that take advantage of her one true passion — heavy metal. Retsuko has found a way to make a living out of her passions at last, giving heavy metal voice tutorials to people online looking for a safe way to vent. It’s inspiring but it’s also worth remembering that it was something she was forced into just to keep herself financially afloat.
As the pandemic continues, the pressure to make the most of all the free time on our hands is only increasing. These are the very definition of desperate times and the desperate measures we may have to take could involve us taking the kinds of risks we never would have taken with our talents. ‘Aggretsuko’ is not set in a world that has a coronavirus pandemic but the themes within it are more relevant than ever.
All episodes of ‘Aggretsuko’ Season 3 are now available on Netflix.
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