My household is no stranger to Hello Kitty. Gorgonna often dons garb emblazoned with her Most Holy Image. Hello Kitty is woven into our family mythology; our crops are imbued with the blessings of the Sanrio pantheon.
So when the minds behind Hello Kitty recently introduced Aggretsuko (“Aggressive Retsuko”), a headbanging, beer-swilling red panda, you can’t blame me if I take this as a sign of my personal faith.
Now, don’t let my wife know, but I’ve never cared much for the Feline of Greetings and her fellow deities (please don’t excommunicate me, Honey). Hello Kitty is too commonplace. Keroppi is too colorful. Chococat is cute enough, but he’s still just a cat. Badtz-Maru has the potential to be counter culture’s patron saint, but “looking annoyed, always” is as extreme as he gets.
She works in an office. She gets frustrated by her bosses. And she lets off steam by going to the karaoke bar after work and singing death metal. I’m not saying she completely mirrors my lot in life, but I’ve already seen enough to make me a true believer. And I’m rather excited for my home’s future decor.
I’ve always appreciated how Japanese media embraces the absurd, but this — this speaks to me. “Aggressive Retsuko” embodies the pent-up, anti-authoritarian feelings that traditional metal is all about. She shares that same need for a cathartic, violent release… or maybe she’s just the result of yet another smart marketing ploy. GG, Sanrio.
Either way, I think she’s rad as hell. And I’m prepared to blow a lot of money on Aggretsuko merch for m… my daughter. Ahem. Yes. Like, I’m already willing to drop $25 on a concert tee for a band I want to ‘rep. Who’s to say I couldn’t put that towards yet another of Sanrio’s anthropomorphic manifestations in the name of fun and family?