Kotaro Lives Alone is the newest Netflix original anime series that has become quite popular among those who love the slice of life genre in anime. There have been many who binged through the anime quickly enough to the point that they finished it in a matter of an hour due to how short this ten-episode series is. So, with that said, how did Kotaro Lives Alone end? That’s something we’ll explore in this discussion.
Kotaro Lives Alone starts off as a weird-looking anime that isn’t the most visually appealing but fits its genre as a comedy anime that is supposed to be more focused on its narrative than its animation.
Regardless, the anime begins by introducing us to Kotaro, who moved into a new apartment and introduced himself to his neighbors. But the twist here is that this is a four-year-old boy who talks so formally that he resembles a feudal lord of some sort. And this surprised his neighbor, Karino, who is a struggling manga artist.
As the series progresses, we learn more about the history behind Kotaro and why he talks that way. It was revealed that he lived with parents that neglected him. His father was abusive and was not allowed to see him. Meanwhile, his mother often left him alone at home without anything to eat and without anyone supervising him.
Kotaro’s history allowed him to learn how to live independently to the point that, in the anime, he is often seen cooking his own meals and even taking care of himself in the apartment. And the reason why he talks the way he did was due to the fact that he learned how to speak by watching a cartoon about a samurai, who he looked up to and often watched when he was bored and alone when left unsupervised.
It was also revealed later in the series that the reason why Kotaro gifted all of his neighbors tissues was the fact that he actually ate tissue before when he felt hungry because his mother didn’t leave him any food to eat. In a sense, giving tissues to his neighbors was a symbol of him wanting his neighbors to have something to eat as well whenever they were hungry.
Essentially, Kotaro’s life and the way he lives as an independent four-year-old boy were the results of the neglect that he suffered from his parents. And this forced Karino to become more overprotective of the boy to the point that he took care of him and even walked him to school every day.
In the final episode of the anime, Karino ends up getting a new job that makes his schedule more complicated. This makes it more difficult for him to look after Kotaro as his schedule doesn’t always permit him to take care of the boy.
Meanwhile, Akane, who is Karino’s ex but is staying with him for a while, saw how Karino’s schedule and his responsibility with Kotaro were seemingly overwhelming him. This prompts her to tell the boy that Karino doesn’t have time for him anymore because he’s busy with his own life. In a way, she was keeping Karino from Kotaro so that he could focus on his own career and become the successful manga artist that he wanted to be.
But the truth is that Karino actually loves and cares for the boy as if he were his own son, and that was when he told Kotaro that Akane was wrong. In fact, he told him that Kotaro inspired him to become a better artist.
As the final episode progressed, Kotaro asked Karion to take him to a place that’s close to the Konami train station. This turned out to be a cemetery, a place where his mother once took him to. Kotaro brought Karino to the graves of his grandparents, and Karino realized that one of the headstones had the name of Kotaro’s mother on it.
Essentially, Kotaro’s mother was already dead and was buried in one of the graves. And Kotaro doesn’t even know that she’s already dead.
This prompted Karino to tell the young boy that they should go back together to the cemetery together if he wanted to because Karino didn’t want him to see that his mother was already dead and so that he could pass all of his memories to his mother.
In a way, the series ends with us seeing a fine line between drama and comedy that was crossed masterfully by Kotaro Lives Alone. There were plenty of laughs in this anime along the way, but we also got to experience several emotional gut punches while learning more about Kotaro’s history.
The series ends with Kotaro declaring that Karino was now his loyal subject, as he stayed true to his nature of speaking like a medieval Japanese feudal lord.
The ending of Kotaro Lives Alone shows us a growing and progressing foster father-and-son relationship between Karino and Kotaro, as the older man realized that he was all that the boy had and needed in this world. And Kotaro also realized that he now had a “loyal subject’ in Karino, who was willing enough to go out of his way to take care of the boy.
In a way, if ever season 2 of Kotaro Lives Alone does come, we might end up seeing more of the same dynamic between the two main characters but in a manner in which we see them acting more like a father-and-son duo.
However, the thing about Kotaro Lives Alone is that it seems like it’s going to be a limited series. We can neither confirm nor deny the possibility of a second season, but it seems like season 1 is all that we are getting because the final episode of the anime seems to be a series finale.
The reason why we are saying this is that the ending was crafted to become open-ended rather than allowing us to see a clear ending. In a way, it is up to our imaginations to understand how Kotaro and Karino will move forward from that point in their lives and how they can become a better duo.
Moreover, Kotaro’s life seems to have gone full circle because he realized that he didn’t have to do everything on his own when he had someone like Karino helping him out. His character development is already completed, and all we can do as fans is to imagine how he would grow up to be a fine young man in the future.
Giving the anime a second season will make things complicated because of the fact both of the main characters’ development arcs have already gone full circle. Kotaro, as mentioned, learned that he didn’t need to rely solely on himself all the time. Meanwhile, Karino had a hole in his heart plugged in by a young boy that he realized he needed to be there for.
Then again, a second season still isn’t off the books. Given that Kotaro is still four years old, the next season might explore more about him learning about his surroundings and the different people that he will meet in his life. We could even see him learning more life lessons and making new friends.
Of course, it might be interesting to see how Karino’s career will take off from the events of season 1, given the fact that he still has his own personal dreams to accomplish. Then there’s the possibility of Kotaro probably closing the chapter on his father, who we might end up meeting down the road.
There are plenty of possibilities that the show can follow after the events of season 1, and the decision is on the part of Netflix to renew it for a second season. Then again, if it doesn’t get a second season, the open-ended conclusion of season 1 seems like a satisfying ending already.