Over the past few years, Netflix has become increasingly experimental, taking risks on projects that would never have seen a premiere on the streaming platform in its early days.
whose last fact squid game looks incredibly tame by comparison as it sends Japanese toddlers out into the real world to run errands – and get this, it’s completely authentic. Old Enough, known as Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand) in Japan, has been held since 1991 and sees children aged two to four venture into the streets, shops and workplaces with a view to adulthood.
The first episode begins with a two-year-old child being sent to the local supermarket to buy curry, Boten-branded Satsuma fishcakes, and flowers. It’s weird to see the child’s mother saddle the toddler with a bag full of cash and a yellow flag to wave at the cars, then just wave it at sunset. I didn’t know whether to admire this little boy’s courage or gasp in horror for his safety.
“This race actually requires a one-mile ride each way!” says the narrator. “This distance is a new record for a solo race at two years and nine months!” he adds. Old Enough is billed as a documentary and yet it has more of a game show feel, using comedic music, a laugh track, and the aforementioned narrator cracking jokes while sharing words of encouragement. It’s a crazy concept and yet there is more to it.
A quick Google search and everything becomes much clearer. While yes, these toddlers are truly exploring the real world on their own, they’re not totally unsupervised. Parents and people working on the show monitor the child throughout their adventures with security checks in place for the route taken in advance. To prevent anyone from panicking at the sight of a two-year-old walking on the side of a highway, all adults and drivers are given advance warning of what is happening.
It’s an incredibly popular show and has been on the air since 1991. It’s easy to see why, once you realize a child isn’t in danger, you can appreciate how confident many of these youngsters are – probably more than many adults today.
In Japan, Old Enough airs as a three-hour episode several times throughout the year. Fortunately, Netflix did the right thing and cut it down to 20 episodes ranging from 10 to 20 minutes each. This makes it more manageable, while being just as tempting to play next. I can’t imagine the logistics for this to work in the US or Europe, hence why I assume it’s been around for over 30 years in Japan and why everywhere else it chooses not to. ‘adapt. Still, a healthy, if not partially insane, good show that’s perfect for the weekend.
All 20 episodes of Old Enough are now available to stream on Netflix. Looking for more shows to binge on Netflix? Check out the best T3 shows to watch on Netflix this month.
Also, be sure to read the 5 mistakes everyone makes with Netflix to get the most out of the streaming platform.