Curated Culture

Explore Tomorrow's Tech, Today's Trends, and Timeless Pop Culture.

‘Kotaro Lives Alone’ Review

2 min read

Image courtesy of Netflix

‘Kotaro Lives Alone’ tells the story of an enigmatic 4-year-old boy names Kotaro Sato, who moves into Shimizu Apartments on his own. Kotaro seemingly has no parents, but as the series progresses, we learn more about his back story. Kotaro talks like a Japanese Feudal Lord and is more responsible than your average toddler. Throughout the ten-episode run, we’re treated to mostly simplistic storylines, but they also deal with serious and at times, complex subject matter.

‘Kotaro Lives Alone’ is based on a Japanese manga written by Mami Tsumura in March 2015. There were 8 volumes published before TV Asahi debuted a ten-episode animated series in June 2021. Although the show is supposed to feel like a comedy, it definitely runs more like a drama. With each passing episode, we’re treated to light-hearted moments and serious dramatic undertones. It has all the spirit of some of my favorite after-school specials from the ’90s.

There’s a colorful cast of characters in the Shimizu Apartment complex, but none are more important than Kotaro and his next-door neighbor Karino Shin. Karino is a down-on-his-luck manga artist who initially seems just as childlike as Kotaro. There’s also Mizuki Akitomo, a spirited young woman who has a secret of her own, and Isamu Tamaru, a Yakuza-like character who’s struggling to establish a relationship with his own son. Each character has their own relationship with Kotaro, and it is through these relationships that we see some of the depth and dimensions of the characters shine through.

As the series progresses, we learn some hard truths about Kotaro’s parents and why he lives alone. It’s these truths that force the other tenants to band together and share in the responsibility of helping Kotaro along the way. Perhaps the most important character growth in the entire series comes from Karino himself, who starts of reluctant to interact with Kotaro but ends up being his “loyal servant” by the last episode.

The first few episodes were a little slow burn, but by the end of the third episode, I was hooked. There’s something compelling about Kotaro and how he deals with things like anxiety, dishonesty, and responsibility through the eyes of a toddler while also inspiring the adults around him to be better in the process.

‘Kotaro Lives Alone’ is now streaming on Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights