Why You Should Watch Kotaro Lives Alone? (without spoilers)

Families are messy and wild and sometimes families are found in different situations. On a typical day, I was browsing through Netflix when I came across this ten-episode anime, Kotaro Lives Alone. It’s a manga written and illustrated by Mami Tsumura. It was picked up by Netflix to be an Original Net Animation (ONA) and then later premiered in March 2022. It’s a spring 2022 anime!

I think I binged it all in one go. It is a very ordinary anime, with days filled with mundaneness. However, because of Kotaro, you can see small things in a different light.


The apartment sitcom style comedy focus on a four-year-old boy named Kotaro Satо̄, who moves next door to Shin Karino. Kotaro has no parents and lives alone. Not only does he seem to earn a living, but he also seems more put together than his bizarre neighbors. He is a strangely bright child, who speaks formally. He is way better at living alone than his adult counterparts.

We, the audience initially don’t know much about Kotaro. We learn more about him through his neighbor, Shin Karino who is a struggling mangaka living as a bachelor.

The depiction of living through Shin Karino is pretty realistic, as he is every adult who lives alone. You can sympathize immediately with the man, in his understandable laziness. Who would want to move when it’s Winter? It’s a sitcom-style show with several self-contained plots. They still weave a narrative throughout which makes us understand a little more about all the characters slowly.


Since there are no outright villains and heroes, it’s more suitable to talk about primary and secondary characters

Primary Characters

The primary cast are the colorful neighbors of Kotaro. They are the main people we see and interact with. Each has their own non-traditional quirks and struggles.

The primary characters increase and decrease as the show goes along. All the primary characters change in some way due to Kotaro. The character development in small ways makes this anime remarkable. Kotaro is a bundle of habits and maturity out of place for a little four-year-old.

Shin Karino is a mangaka with a mediocre drawing, with a typical and a typical adult. He is also an orphan with a tendency of being lazy in general. His character changes and becomes more and more dependable throughout the anime. Karino represents us, the point of view of the audience who are slowly growing attached to Kotaro.

Mizuki Akitomo is a neighbor of Kotaro, she is a hostess at a local nightclub. She is a refreshing addition, as she is like an older sister figure for Kotaro. She puts up a nonchalant attitude in front of everyone, but she seems to be dealing with her issues.

Isamu Tamaru is a gangster which has a surprisingly nice nature. He finds Kotaro a reflection of his child and hence cares greatly for him. The four characters are individually dealing with loads of heavy things. The more you watch, the more you see how all of them have such different lives.

Secondary Characters

If the primary characters are compelling and complex then the secondary characters are interesting at the first glance. They make you would want to know more about them. They range from employees of a mart Kotaro shops at to his parents. Kotaro’s parents are important to the plot but are not the focus of the story. They drive the plot along. The other side characters are a delight to watch. They all seem to be affected by Kotaro in tiny ways. Kotaro has a lot of friends, and all of those are cared about by him.


Living alone isn’t easy, but Kotaro manages (better than any of us). The conflict arises when he is torn between allowing himself to depend on the people around him or being independent. It’s not a choice a child should have to make, a fact noted by the character around him.

Kotaro can’t exist in a vacuum, he should be able to ask for help just as easily as he gives it. He is constantly trying to help those around him while refusing to get help himself and as you watch along, you’re hit with how much Kotaro must have suffered in his life to make such decisions.

Kotaro doesn’t want to admit to crying, but he doesn’t hesitate to proclaim “There is no shame in crying. I wouldn’t view any different even if you were crying.” This dichotomy exists and brings conflict because Kotaro is kind to everyone but himself. It’s both relatable and guts wrenchingly sad because again, a four-year-old shouldn’t feel this way.


It’s not an anime driven by big actions, but rather small actions portraying complex emotions. The smallest gestures show love and compassion like never before. It’s not an anime full of big fights or dramatic gestures, it’s an anime full of small things which turn into massive realizations.

One of the few examples is Kotaro smiling first time over a drawing Karino makes for him. Both the gestures (drawing a cartoon on a bandage and smiling) are small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they are still played a role in establishing the bond between the two. A pair of gloves and a box of tissues can mean a lot if there are stories attached and this anime does a good job of showing these stories.

Art style

The art style does take a little getting used to since it is not as gorgeous as a general slice of life anime is. The vertical rectangular with bright dots in the eye to indicate shine is most definitely unconventional. The palette is bright and almost strangely reminiscent of old children’s shows like Doraemon and Shin-chan.

It hints at nostalgia, but the art is unlike the ones most people would like at first glance. It makes it as if we are watching the whole thing from Karino’s drawings since his art is said to be mediocre by his editor. You will forget about the art style as soon as you finish the first episode because it may be different but it’s not distracting in the slightest.


Kotaro Lives Alone have 10 episodes and each episode ranges from 25-30 minutes. A total of 300 minutes (at maximum) or 5 hours. It’s a binge-able anime and I finished it on a weekend all at once.


Watching the anime, you see the cracks in the foundations of all the people in the show, it’s one of those rare shows which have pretty interesting characters full of flaws. People we assume to have their lives together are just as broken as the other one. It’s a show which disguises itself behind a slice of life, but truly gives you both the ups and downs of the life. It gives you loneliness and family that extends beyond the blood ties, it shows how people can change and grow.

The soft way it deals with complex topics and how accurately it portrays how most of us work, happy on the surface, a thin veil of harmony. We all are hiding parts of ourselves that are the reason we act a certain way. It deals with abuse and neglect passively, it affecting everything the character does, but it’s not the main point of the story.

The foundation of our lives may be damaged, but the cracks are welded with gold. This anime captures that uncanny feeling by the throat. Not an anime that gets concrete resolution but something that will touch your heartstrings. It’s interesting and it feels real outside of a few wild elements.

Personal Score

Kotaro Lives Alone is a good anime, with its flaws and beauty so it’s a solid 8 for me. I’d recommend it. If you’re looking for a quick punch to your emotions and want to laugh along while crying at the same time.

This is all, for why you should watch Kotaro Lives Alone. If you enjoyed this article or liked the way I write, or just want to support me then please consider buying me a cup of coffee! Or check out the Mob Psycho 100 Review here.

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Hello, I tend to ramble and rant about anime. So I decided to share it with the world! I am also a digital artist generally found on Instagram. If you want to contact me then please feel free to reach out, I always read the comments!

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