Aggretsuko Season 5
Off to a raging start, concludes with an apathetic end.
Edit: Looking back on this review, I realise that I've gotten really hung up on the final episode and haven't really gone into detail about what I did like about this; the truth is that it largely boils down to being more of what I liked in previous seasons such as the characters and all the wacky antics they can get up to while also being relatable at the same time.
I don't often anticipate anime releases anymore, getting hyped about anime is often a risky endeavour as a lot of shows may very well come with some strings attached, with that said I actually was looking forward to this one to a reasonable degree (not exactly getting hyped but still looking forward to it), overall I would say that most of the time it was what I had expected, more Aggretsuko, I was invested the same way as I was before but one of the biggest issues I have with this season comes from it's ending, more on that in a bit.
First off, the good, as per the previous seasons, the characters are down to earth and believable while being entertaining as well, while I do think that I've seen the best of the characters in previous seasons, they are still likeable for the most part, unless they are not meant to be, case in point, Haida's dad, let's just say that this guy is quite frankly unhinged.
The character designs are great as usual, just like in the previous seasons, the fact that the characters are all anthropomorphic animals with human personalities and above all else, actually well written and relatable is something I very much would like to see more of.
Until the finale, the show mostly packs away the death metal scenes which is good for me because they were easily my least favourite parts of the earlier seasons.
The length of the episodes is a good length as well, making it so that it is much easier to fit in just one more episode before finishing up but the final episode does make me think that maybe for the first time this season could have had a more typical anime runtime.
On the note of the final episode, it is a mess, in fact it is making me struggle to find more positive elements to this overall season, even though there are plenty, I would vastly have prefered it if the middle part was bad instead of the ending as I can then have ended it on a high note but alas; it tries to cram in at least a few episodes worth of story into one, slightly extended, episode, according to what I've read, this is supposed to be the final season but there are so many unanswered questions, such as who tried to run over Haida with a truck and will the person responsible get his comeuppance? I can take an educated guess that it was likely his dad, if not Jiro himself as Jiro basically said to Haida "wasn't me" even though, if he had absolutely nothing to do with it, then he likely wouldn't have known about the truck as, as far as I remember, no one even mentioned it to him.
Another issue I have with the final episode is the fact that the characters decide to do this ridiculous rap, the one thing I didn't like about the previous seasons was actually the metal scenes but that rap scene made the metal scenes seem somewhat tolerable by comparison.
The worst thing about the last episode though is that it rushes the finale to an otherwise excellent show, when I'm enjoying all that leads up to it, I would like a satisfying conclusion to the story to wrap it up but here it feels like just another episode, it does not feel like the finale, unfinished character arcs are either rushed or abandoned which ironically stings the most because everything up to this point is really good.
For an example of a perfect way to end a long running show, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, there a full episode was allocated to seeing the conclusion to any unfinished character arcs which were very close to the end anyway, there we got to properly see off the phenomenal characters for one last time, for comparison, here it's like no one knows it's supposed to be over until it's over and even then, if I were not told this was the final season then I would believe that more was on the way.
Honestly the one redeeming element of the finale comes from the most unlikely of all sources... none other than Ton himself, there is a part where Retsuko is struggling to get people interested in her political party thanks to the fact that she has lost interest in her death voice, only Ton comes along and tells her to literally unleash the same energy she unleashed when badmouthing him as far back as the first season IIRC, this brings Ton's character arc full circle and is actually a really good way to end his one, I just wish the rest of the unfinished arcs got a conclusion like Ton's but as it stands, it's like that one good scene in Shrek the Third, a really good scene surrounded by an absolute mess, unlike that film however, Aggretsuko season 5 has far more than just one good scene, I know I was heavily fixated on the finale but that's what happens when not enough time is allocated to end a fairly long running, show that is otherwise really good.
Overall I know that this seems largely negative but I did enjoy watching this, however the more I think about it, most of what I liked about this also applies to it's predecessors and the ending scuppers my final thoughts on the show to some degree, even going as far as to start a new plot point literally in the already pushed for time last episode, if this were not the final season I could have overlooked how the conclusion was handled as I could then anticipate a season that gives the characters a satisfying send off; there might be hope for a special episode down the line to do just that but until or unless that happens I can only give this a.