This New Hidden Gem From Netflix Is Amazing – And I Can’t Stop Watching It

Finding good family content on Netflix can be tricky. The streaming service is filled with neon-soaked movies and shows, and there’s also the virulently popular (but criticized) CoComelon, which always seems to have a spot in Netflix’s top 10.

Also, as someone without kids, I rarely watch virtual bins of healthy G-rated content on my own (I do manage our top family movies on the Netflix page, though). It is only with the rare and exceptionally brilliant program like my new favorite that I find myself immersed in this world of smiles and joy.

That said, I’m extremely impressed with Netflix for its latest import: Hajimete no Otsukai. Well, that’s his name in Japan. On Netflix, you’ll want to search for “Old Enough!” and get ready to fall for some cute and lovable vibes you might struggle to find elsewhere. And it could become the last entry on our list of the best Netflix shows.

What you need to know about Netflix’s Old Enough!

Every episode of Old Enough! follows one or two kids on an adventure billed as one big deal. The child is followed by a film crew to make sure everything goes well, but they must achieve a specific goal as best they can, without any help or interference. A narrator explains how well the child achieves the goals, and episodes are only 12 minutes long and can last up to half an hour.

Horoki in an episode of Old Enough!

(Image credit: Netflix/Nippon TV)

Sometimes the tykes run errands every day – the first episode is about two-year-old Horoki on a trip to get flowers to offer at his grandmother’s altar, as well as fishcakes and curry – while others are a bit more involved, like the episode where a three-year-old has to navigate the bus route home alone.

Currently, Netflix has 20 episodes of Old Enough!, and if the series is successful enough, we could expect many more episodes to come. Old enough! was a hit in Japan on Nippon TV, airing in prime time for over 30 years, so there are probably a lot more episodes Netflix could bring.

Why I love Netflix’s Old Enough!

We live in a world where reality TV shows fall into a few specific buckets. You have your programs filled with drama with backstabbing galore (programs like The Kardashians and competition shows like Survivor). Then you have wholesome competition shows (see: The Great British Bake Off and The Great Pottery Throw Down).

Old enough! drops into a whole new world: a wholesome spectacle with extremely low stakes. Or at least the stakes were low for us. For these kids, every day is big business. And the narrator adds to that, explaining each mission with a bit of playful intensity. For Horoki, the narrator explained that “This race actually requires a one kilometer ride each way! This distance is a new record for a solo race at two years and nine months!”

Horoki wanders into an episode of Old Enough!

(Image credit: Netflix/Nippon TV)

One of my favorite episodes so far is episode 18, which follows Keita, 4+, the only son of parents who both have busy jobs (dad works maintaining the vineyard bridge in Tokushima, mom works in a tea house). Keita’s parents know that they kind of spoiled and pampered him growing up, and he gained a reputation for being a bit of a whiner.

So mom asks Keita to run an errand for tofu and konjak (a local plant). What Keita doesn’t know is that both items are very large and heavy, which is why his parents specified to bring smaller amounts. They also asked him to pick up a specific mustard because they know he’s afraid of the mascot on the wrapper. Throughout this task, Keita is kind of spaced out, in that smiling, distracted way that kids often have.

Keita struggles to continue his mission in an episode of Old Enough!

(Image credit: Netflix/Nippon TV)

Keita initially refuses to race and eventually complies. And along the way, we see his parents worrying about him, and… well, I’m not going to spoil you, but Keita’s memory definitely undermines it.

Old enough! won me over with the charm of these children, and how the show presents their dilemmas. You don’t need me to tell you that life these days is especially stressful, so I’m happy to say that Old Enough! is practically the perfect relaxing spectacle to watch.

Netflix surprises again – proving it’s not a formula

Keita tries to buy tofu in an episode of Old Enough!

(Image credit: Netflix/Nippon TV)

Personally, I’m pretty impressed with Netflix for taking this show out of the Japanese TV world and bringing it to a ready and willing American audience. I’d wonder what took Netflix so long, but it’s pretty clear.

Netflix is ​​applying the lessons it learned from the success of Squid Game — that subtitles shouldn’t be a barrier to enjoyment — to more demographics. We can only hope that Netflix will use its global reach to try and make different versions of Old Enough! for different countries, because there is a whole world of eccentric children.

About Shelley Hales

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