The Cambridge Geek


This new Netflix series started out as 100 episodes, each about a minute long, before being re-written into this 10 episode run, with episodes about a quarter hour long. (I've grabbed screenshots from the original run, because Netflix is annoying about screenshots. If you know to do it, without using a virtual machine, feel free to tell me in the comments.)

Retsuko is a red panda wage slave, with a boring job as an office drone in accounting. She gets through the day by indulging in her secret passion, scream metal karaoke, both in actual karaoke bars and just occasionally in a quiet room at the office, with the mike she carries around with her.

I was prepared for this to be a one note joke, but it covers an impressive range of common office politics, with a decent swing into sexism, self-esteem and a bit of alcoholism. That's helped by having a decent cast of "people", all of whom are flawed in one way or another.

Pretty sure he's eating pork balls. Not sure how that works.

The closest characters to Retsuko are her immediate co-workers; a hyena that tends to be a bit sappy, and a fennec fox that's amusingly bitchy. About everything. She will sit there laughing at problems heartily enough that you expect the hyena to get jealous. Just to ensure the subtlety of the stereotypes hits home, her boss is literally a chauvinistic pig.

Feel free to try and sing along. You might struggle.

The animation is pretty simple, in line with the original. Not sure what it's made with, but it looks a bit like flash. That doesn't take too much away from it, giving a nice contrast when the animation switches from the relaxed cheerful life to the bursts of angry red screaming and discordant music.

It's unexpectedly true to life, dropping into some of the more serious elements of elitism in the office. For example, two of the female execs, who Retsuko looks up to and eventually befriends, spend significant effort to remain aloof and serene, while falling apart when out of sight.

Think I've found a new desktop background.

It even manages to throw romance into the mix, with Retsuko hoping to hunt down, trap and get married to a man (another red panda), so she can become a little housepanda and never need to work again. Not at all mercenary.

With all the other aspects it's still a comedy however, and I challenge you to watch it without laughing.

Score 4