Thoughts on “Old Enough!”

A while back, Netflix started airing a show from Japan that’s called “Hajimete no otsukai” (My first errand) that’s been renamed “Old Enough!”

Apparently, and I’m not in America anymore so I’m not 100 percent sure, this show has stirred up controversy. People abroad seem to be under the impression the kids are left totally on their own during filming, which I think is surprising considering someone is obviously there filming.

So, to anyone who seems to somehow think these kids are on their own and that Japan does this sort of thing all the time, I give you these lists to explain the ways in which neither of these ways of thinking are accurate.

The kids are not on their own. At all.

  1. The film crew is there not only to film, but to keep an eye on the kids. As viewers of the Netflix show even shows, they immediately act when the child is in any sort of danger. One episode, for example, has a kid drop an apple down a hill, which rolls into a road. The camera crew wasted no time chasing that apple down before the kid could even think about stepping into the road.
  2. The people in the entire area where the kids are running errands are told well in advance that the errand-running is going to happen. While they are told to try to act casual, of course there are going to be people out on the streets more than usual waving at the kids more than they usually would.
  3. As one episode noted, the police also get involved to make sure the route mapped out for the kids is safe. One episode had a special, temporary road-crossing sign that was created, with approval from the local police, just for the kid running the errands.
  4. Camera crew people also dress up like locals to further blend in and be at hand in case the kids need help.
  5. I don’t think Netflix has any, but I remember seeing some episodes where the kids just didn’t want to go, and they ended up not going. I think the Netflix show just wanted to show kids who actually do end up running the errands on their own.

This is not common practice in Japan, either

  1. While Japan seems way more casual about letting kids be independent, I don’t personally know many families who would be willing to let their pre-elementary-school-age kids go out on errands like the show depicts. I’ve talked to a few of my friends here about this, and a few said, “Well, maybe I would let them go to the store right next to our apartment alone, but I’d follow right behind them anyway.”
  2. I think if any little kid went up to a cashier at a store and asked to buy things, the first thing the cashier would say is, “Where are your parents?” No one would think, “Ah, a little kid running errands alone” as far as I’ve ever seen here. It’s just not common practice here.
  3. That being said, elementary-school-age kids are expected to get to their elementary school on their own. If they live out in the countryside, then they’re expected to walk as a group with kids who live nearby. The school kind of pounds into the kids’ heads basic safety rules like, “Don’t just run across the road” and then most of Japanese society expects people nearby to help out if an elementary school kid looks like they’re in trouble or about to do something dangerous.
  4. I think the show is meant to tell parents “Hey, your kids can do more things than you think” and to tell their kids the same thing. I think kids seeing the show might gain more confidence in thinking they can do things on their own, which I think is a good thing.

The show is just to see how kids would react if they thought they were alone running the errands. They are in no way, shape or form actually out on their own. I love watching this show just to see how kids act when they think they’re on their own like that, though, and I’m usually deeply impressed by their fortitude and strength.

If you’d like to read more about how the show is made, please visit here.

Moon Knight

Life got in the way, and I’m only now just starting to watch this series on Disney+.

I also kind of put it off because I’ve never heard of Moon Knight, the superhero, and I didn’t know how interested I could be in a comic series I’ve never even heard of. Out of a love for the MCU, I finally decided to start watching it.

I. Love. It. I’m only three episodes in at the moment, unfortunately, but I love what I’m seeing so far. Oscar Isaac’s performance is spectacular, especially in episode 3 when the god Khonshu possesses him. His acting in this makes me want to go back through his filmography and see more works he’s done (I’ve seen quite a few, but it makes me want to see even more).

Ethan Hawke is also brilliant as a man who at times lulls you into thinking “Maybe he’s not that evil.” I saw an interview with him for this series, and he said something along the lines of “I think you can’t play a villain thinking they’re a villain.” I love that kind of mindset.

Seeing the two of them simply acting in this series has been enough to make me love it. The storyline hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet (it being only halfway through) so I’m excited to see what happens. I feel like I’m watching a six-hour movie.

I’m already hoping there’s a season 2, and I saw online (so who knows how true it is) that Moon Knight might somehow feature in the upcoming Thor movie. Maybe the ending of Moon Knight will change my mind, but I really hope not. I’ve been trying like crazy to avoid any spoilers online (so much of Multiverse of Madness has been spoiled already just in the headlines of entertainment news sites).

As a side-note: I’m a huge Marvel movie fan, but I can’t say I’m really interested in that many of the comics. I think it has to do with my preference for Japanese manga-style comics rather than the American style. Maybe someday I’ll try reading some, though.

The Bucket Fountain

State of Matter just published a short story of mine called “The Bucket Fountain.” About a college kid coming to terms with his own death, I had intended it to be a fantasy story with a mixture of horror in it, but maybe I’m just not cut out to write horror because it comes across more as fantasy and a bit goofy than anything else.

I’ve also noticed the tendency for horror stories to end in despair and tragedy, at best, so maybe the fact “The Bucket Fountain” gives some sort of closure makes it more fantasy than horror.

The story is actually a companion piece for “The Guide,” which I had published last December.

I wrote “The Bucket Fountain” first and then “The Guide”, which is why “The Guide” kind of brushes over the events of “The Bucket Fountain” and then talks about what happens next. If you have a minute, I’d personally love it if you read “The Bucket Fountain” first and then “The Guide,” but obviously it’s up to you.

I’m a huge, huge fan of crossover stories, which is why I tried my hand at making a few. It’s probably why I love the MCU so much.

How like life that characters cross into each other’s stories all the time, and I love the kind of mental puzzle it entails to have everything still somehow work out on a kind of timeline. While I know the MCU isn’t perfect in this regard, I still marvel (no pun intended) at how they can keep an overarching story going and make it so much fun to watch play out on screen. I think it must help to have such a treasure trove of comics to choose from.

I hope to write more crossover stories since they’re so much fun to write, and I’ll be sure to let you know what short stories connect with what.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

I know I’m extremely late to the party, but after waiting for the rental fee to lower on Amazon Prime, I finally watched this movie last night.

I’m a huge fan of almost all movies Marvel has made through the years, but I don’t think this movie was as amazing as the reviews made it out to be. It was a good movie, I think, but it didn’t hit me the way some of the other works have. I think it followed a superhero movie formula a bit too much.

I think maybe I’m in the minority when it comes to Marvel movie preferences, though – I loved the Eternals while knowing full well that this was definitely not your formulaic action superhero movie. I loved that about it. I also loved every Marvel TV series that has come out on Disney Plus. I think I’m the same as the majority in loving WandaVision the best, though. What a great series.

Maybe my problem with No Way Home is there weren’t as many plot twists as I had wanted. Peter Parker wanted to “fix” all the villains, and he did. The multiverse almost came crashing down, but one spell seemed to fix absolutely everything (Side-note: Does that mean everyone across the multiverse has forgotten every Spider-Man’s identity?). From the Doctor Strange 2 trailers (I haven’t seen it yet), it seems like it wasn’t quite the quick fix the end of No Way Home makes it out to be, but the ending still kind of irked me.

Also, nitpicking here but how is Peter Parker able to get by when his legal guardian is dead and Happy has no idea who he is? I would’ve loved some sort of brief explanation about how Parker’s been surviving and how he has any money for an apartment.

What I loved most about this movie is how it really helped further along the character developments of the other two Spider-Mans. There was even a brief note about how horrible Spider-Man 3 was. I liked having the superheroes have time to just talk about how they’re dealing with things and how they feel about situations rather than the plot just focusing on them punching people and saving the day. Most of these action movies force the actors to convey depths of emotion on their face for a split-second before the next action sequence. I liked that this movie gave them some downtime to just talk.

I would love to see the three of them have a movie together again, and I hope I’m not alone in that.

Finally got to watch it!