Kotaro Lives Alone: ​​The Spring 2022 Preview Guide

What’s this?

The story centers on a 4-year-old boy named Kotarō Satо̄, who moves in next to Shin Karino, an unsuccessful manga artist. Kotarō has no parents and lives alone. Not only does he seem to make a living, but he actually seems more groomed than his weird neighbors.

Kotaro lives alone is based on mommy tsumuraThe manga and broadcasts on Netflix.

How was the first episode?

Caitlyn Moore


Due to my day job, I have a love-hate relationship with anime that features young children. Write them well, and I’ll rave about how the series really captures them; write them poorly or too precociously and it’s hard for me to suspend belief long enough to really get into the story. I had heard good things about Kotaro lives alone, but I couldn’t feel anything beyond the most cautious optimism when I started the first episode. I know four-year-olds, and it was hard to imagine a story where I could believe that a child is four years old and capable of surviving on their own.

Somehow, miraculously, the first episode manages to strike that balance, painting a tragicomic picture of a little boy who has been forced to grow up too quickly. Part of the reason it works is because of the way Kotaro wears certain affectations, like copying the extremely formal and old-fashioned language of a samurai cartoon he likes, like armor while mimicking adult behavior. Moments like the brief shot of him reading a newspaper on the toilet, and Japanese newspapers have a lot of difficult kanji in them, at an age where a child is hardly expected to read hiragana, with their little legs dangling say a lot.

What Kotaro lives alone understands is that a four-year-old doesn’t become this weird mixture of adult and child by growing up in a healthy environment. Nothing has been said explicitly so far, but there are a lot of unique little lines that indicate something in his previous home life forced him to grow up too early, and whatever happened, it was neither fun nor cute. There’s a tragic undertone to each laugh, whether due to Kotaro or the messes the other adult tenants are in his building, that keeps it from becoming cloying or overly sentimental. If anything, it’s an all too real reminder that children are denied their childhood every day.

James Beckett


I turned 30 this year, and the older I get, the happier I am to watch domestic anime that focuses on more “adult” themes. Despite the very peculiar and almost fantastical nature of its premise, Kotaro lives alone it’s right up my alley. Shin Karino is exactly the kind of protagonist I’m interested in seeing more of these days: a real human person facing real daily struggles. He is trying to rekindle his creative spark and save his career as a manga artist; he has to deal with his colorful and strange neighbors; he even throws his back as soon as he gets up from the table (he passes us the best, man, don’t worry). The only “strange” angle to Shin’s life is that he is suddenly drawn into the day-to-day adventures of an incredibly precocious and eccentric four-year-old who apparently lives alone.

This is the plot angle I wasn’t sure about, as unrealistic independent smart kids are a cliche for anime in general, but I like the way it Kotaro lives alone characterizes its titular type. The very childish problems he goes through (figuring out how bathhouses work, successfully bandaging skinned knees, getting a TV to watch his favorite cartoon) contrast nicely with the jaded adults around him. Mizuki clearly has some drama in her personal life and her job hosting her, and even the flamboyant Tamaru feels more grounded once she learns that she’s having a hard time keeping the family together. her own family. The jokes in which Kotaro’s “feudal lord” act clashes with his inherent immaturity might have seemed vulgar or difficult, but the show always manages to make the viewer sympathize with the child’s trials and tribulations as much as with the adults. . Who among us hasn’t walked into a complete stranger’s house just so they can tell you that you did a good job?

I only have one major complaint about Kotaro, but it’s kind of silly: the show is pretty ugly. Apparently the art style is looking for this weird kind of abstraction that doesn’t get filled. Crayon Shin-chan, though all the faces and bodies are oddly proportioned and stretchy enough to look disgusting. It’s a look that might appeal to some people, but I just couldn’t get into it no matter how hard I tried. Yet, Kotaro lives alone It was a very pleasant surprise, and if you can get over its rough presentation, you just might come to love the boy as much as his neighbors.

Richard Eisenbeis


Watching this episode, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or cry, and I suspect that’s exactly what the creators were going for. After all, it has a setting that is either inherently comic or inherently tragic depending on the tone of the work. And let’s be clear here, Kotaro lives alone work hard to walk the right line between them.

First, the funny side of things. We have a four year old doing all the things he needs to do as a person living alone for the first time. 90% of the time, he does as well as any adult, which means that the norm in our minds is that Kotaro acts like an adult. The humor comes from the unpredictable moments in which he acts like the boy he really is, betraying our expectations in obvious ways. (This is the exact same joke frame used for Stewie and Brian in Family man). It’s an easy way to get a laugh, especially if you care about the character.

Then there is the tragic side of things. We have a seemingly parentless boy who lives alone in a dilapidated apartment building and surrounded by unscrupulous adults. Worse yet, he has a street mentality that no kid his age should have, for example, he knows how to reduce the swelling after crying too much, which has some heartbreaking implications. Plus, he clearly still wants to be a kid: to have his hair washed by an adult and to be praised for doing something on his own for the first time.

But the real trick of the show is that everyone in that apartment building is as lonely as Kotaro. We have a manga artist struggling to live up to his huge success; a hostess who escapes her financially abusive boyfriend by getting drunk; and a low-level mobster who is no longer allowed to meet his son. Despite their circumstances, this group of broken people has a chance to become something by stepping up and becoming the family Kotaro so desperately needs. It’s a show that plays on your emotions in the best way, and I’ll definitely watch it until the end.

Nicholas Dupree


Is it strange to say that what this premiere reminded me of the most was garfield fancomics? Not like the body horror ones that go viral on Twitter from time to time, but the more realistic and dramatic ones that try to apply a sense of emotional realism to the static, archetypal characters of the timeless comic strip. Because the premise of this – an eccentric boy named Kotaro lives alone in a low-rent apartment block and embarks on low-stakes adventures with his adult neighbors; it feels like something you might find running for 20 years in a newspaper comic. That is, until it starts to slide into darker punchlines with far more serious implications.

It’s a weird balance to strike, and this first episode fails to fully maintain it. There are long stretches of this episode that are just a couple of jokes that go on and on without much escalation or change. Likewise, the initial shock of the implications about Kotaro’s life before he ended up as a Pre-K tenant wears off pretty quickly, and once those clues keep piling up, it becomes decidedly harder to laugh at him strutting around. the city with his plastic samurai sword. There is definitely a version of this setup that can work, even be great, but as of this release it doesn’t seem like they’ve figured out the right formula.

Sure, there are a handful of moments that are funny, charming, or bittersweet, but they come off as isolated incidents that don’t mesh quite well. And since they don’t quite fit together, it ends up feeling like every fraction of what this show is after is fighting for attention. Are you enjoying this goofy segment of Kotaro being picked on by a bird? Well, that’s over so we can get her to learn about his neighbor’s failed marriage and the visitation rights fight with his young son. Do you feel compelled by Kotaro slowly letting his neighbor in and perhaps accidentally admitting his own loneliness? Try to hold on to that feeling as he and Kotaro walk through the supermarket and the boy freaks out at the thought of having an unknown baby.

The advantage is that the whole series is already ready. Netflix, so you don’t have to wait long to see if things start to fall into place better in the future. And there’s something genuinely engaging about this material, if nothing else, Kotaro’s striking eyes and strange speech patterns of his kept my attention throughout the first episode. So hopefully this can freeze into the best shape of its own, because there’s definitely potential here.