Over the last few years, Netflix has become more and more experimental, taking risks on projects that would have never seen a premiere on the streaming platform in its early days.
The latest of which makes Squid Game look incredibly tame in comparison as it sends Japanese toddlers into the real world to fulfil errands – and get this, it's completely authentic. Old Enough, known as Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand) in Japan, has been running since 1991 and sees children between the ages of two to four years old venture through streets, shops and workplaces in preparation for adulthood.
Episode one begins with a two-year-old being sent to the local supermarket to pick up curry, Boten-brand Satsuma-age fish cakes and flowers. It's bizarre to see the kid's mum saddle up the toddler with a bag full of money and a yellow flag for waving down cars then simply wave him off into the sunset. I didn't know whether to admire the courage of this little lad or gasp in horror for his safety.
"This errand actually requires a one-kilometre journey each way!" says the narrator." That distance is a new record for a solo errand at two years and nine months!" he adds. Old Enough is presented as a documentary and yet it has a more game show feel to it, utilising comedic music, a laughter track and the aforementioned narrator who makes jokes while sharing words of encouragement. It's an insane concept and yet there's more to it.
A quick Google search and it all becomes much clearer. While yes, these toddlers are really exploring the real world for themselves, they are not totally unsupervised. Parents and those working on the show monitor the child throughout their adventures with safety checks being put in place for the route taken ahead of time. To avoid anyone panicking at the sight of a two-year-old walking down the side of a motorway, all the adults and drivers are made aware of what is happening ahead of time.
It's an incredibly popular show and has been running since 1991. It's easy to see why as once you realise that a child is not actually in any danger, you can appreciate just how confident a lot of these youngsters are – arguably more so that a lot of adults these days.
In Japan, Old Enough is premiered as one three hour episode a couple of times throughout the year. Thankfully, Netflix has done the sensible thing and cut it down to 20 episodes ranging from 10 to 20 minutes apiece. It makes it more manageable, while equally just as tempting to play the next one. I can't imagine the logistics of making this work in the US or Europe, hence why I guess it's been around for over 30 years in Japan and why everywhere else has opted out of adapting it. Still, a good wholesome, if not partially insane, show perfect for weekend viewing.
All 20 episodes of Old Enough are now available to stream on Netflix. Looking for more series to binge on Netflix? Check out T3's top shows to watch on Netflix for this month.
Also, make sure to read up on the 5 mistakes everyone makes with Netflix to get the most out of the streaming platform.