As I watched Aggretsuko
, it struck me as an anime version of My Cage
, which has often been summarized as a furry Dilbert
: Animals work in an office and, with the possible exception of evil bosses, hate it. MC
cartoonist Ed Power agreed with my assessment when I mentioned it to him. When he later asked for MC
fan art and said he wouldn't mind a crossover, I had an idea of what to do. Pictured above is Norm T. Platypus, protagonist of MC
, channeling Retsuko by using death metal karaoke as an outlet for rage.
Originally, I was going to draw Retsuko next to him, telling him he wasn't doing it right, but that would raise so many questions. How would they meet? Does Norm know Japanese, or does Retsuko know enough English to say, "You need to constrict your vocal cords"? And would Norm's wife, Bridget, be OK with him spending all that time after office hours with another mid-20s woman?
I also strongly considered using Jeff T. Shark instead, because (1) he may be even more miserable than Norm, (2) he's less likely to get fan art, (3) he's closer in coloration to Retsuko, (4) he's divorced, (5) we know less about him and might believe more easily that he could get into this situation, and (6) he has sharp teeth to flash. I rejected him because (1) he's less likely to be recognized out of context, (2) his goggles and mouth structure limit facial expressiveness, (3) a raging shark looks less funny than a raging platypus, (4) I found him harder to draw, and (5) Retsuko might not feel OK hanging out with a pantless land shark.
Regardless of whom else I'd draw, adding Retsuko seemed superfluous and overly complicated. Most fan art that I've seen reduces the red panda's head-to-body ratio, because few artists go for Hello Kitty proportions. I'm not big on deliberately altering preexisting toons' proportions (Link v. Linka
notwithstanding), and not even the onetime manga parody character in MC
looks much like her. Besides, I can be pretty lazy.My Cage
is a former newspaper comic resumed as a Patreon webcomic by Ed Power and Melissa DeJesus. Aggretsuko
is a Netflix series based on a set of TV shorts by Sanrio. I claim no ownership of either.