Aggretsuko: Meet Her Friends #1 focuses on the Sanrio character Retsuko, popularized in the U.S. by her Netflix series, Aggretsuko. The plot here is straightforward, focusing on Retsuko and her friends Gori and Washimi as they spend a night at a karaoke bar and create stories about their mysterious, protein-obsessed yoga instructor.
Viewers of her show will be familiar with this slice-of-life style of storytelling. Everything feels grounded, beyond the anthropomorphized animals, but isn’t that part of why we’re all here? The stories themselves are purposefully outlandish, the types of stories people make up to explain the behavior of strangers. Washimi’s story for the yoga instructor is that he is an abusive yogi who learned learned the error of his oppressive teachings and now uses his yoga power for good, and takes a vow of silence, except for the word, “protein.” The girls have a laugh before Gori tells her story, in which the yoga instructor is an alien from a destroyed planet, who discovers through the power of yoga that he has superpowers. He uses his position as a yoga instructor as an alter-ego while he fights crime as a superhero. Retsuko’s story is decidedly more romantic with the man building up his muscle to win the affections of a girl. Each story gives insight into the character telling it.
The issue is ultimately a light and fast read, reminiscent of the show. Writer Cat Farris’ script is sharp and entertaining, with each character having a strong voice. Illustrator Lisa DuBois and color artist Andrew Dalhouse do a fantastic job replicating the visual aesthetic of the show, with Washimi’s refined elegance, Gori’s confidence, and Retsuko’s shy-but-secretly-full-of-rage attitude all coming through. The stories all move with an ease, the lettering by CRANK! helps move the story along at a steady clip.
However, it’s that breeziness of the story that makes it hard to recommend Aggretsuko: Meet Her Friends #1. Yes, watchers of the Aggretsuko series may be used to these brief stories, but you don’t pay extra for them beyond your Netflix subscription and you get a season’s worth at a time. At $3.99, that same brevity works against Aggretsuko: Meet Her Friends #1. There’s just not a lot of substance here, and it may simply boil down to the way that the issue replicates the feel of that television series. The issue may make a nice gift, but unless you’re a die-hard fan who wants to collect everything, it may simply be more cost-effective to wait for the trade here.
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