Parents' Guide to

Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman

By Marty Brown, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Combination sitcom and food show is delightfully bonkers.

TV Netflix Comedy 2017
Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+

Funny but borderline innuendo. Fine for innocent kids.

This is a really hard one to rate. My 11 and 8yr old have been watching this and think it’s hysterical, which is why I’ve rated it 8+. It IS delightfully weird, surreal and funny. My children are also both into food so it’s interesting for them from that angle. The issues I have with it go over their heads, for the moment. A bit like I only ever saw the Carry On films as funny/ silly as a child. But I couldn’t watch this with a teenager. The main (and other characters’) relationship with food is overtly sexual and sometimes quite dark. Mostly it’s just amusing (Kantaro frequently makes climaxing noises and facial expressions when trying new desserts) and being oblivious to the connotations my kids just find it funny. But there are a couple of scenes that are more concerning - one of his female colleagues has a very submissive/sexual fantasy about him ‘punishing’ her for finding out about him playing hooky to eat desserts during work time. Another scene shows him getting revenge on his overly controlling dentist mother by eating eclairs while she sleeps, but with a lot of moaning and sweat in the process (on both their parts). Full-on Oedipus. I’m fully aware this review will sound like someone reading too much into this programme, but just watch a couple episodes and you’ll see what I mean. It’s not subtle! The point I’m making is I’ve rated it 8yrs + because my kids enjoy it, there’s no bad language, violence and there are a lot of interesting messages in terms of work/ life balance and the main character’s obvious repression and unhealthy obsession with sweets. BUT as an adult I find some scenes really uncomfortable and could not watch this with a young teenager or more worldy wise kids than my two! The other point to consider is that the whole show is subtitled, which may put a lot of kids off watching anyway (and impossible to follow for young kids). Perhaps just watch a couple episodes yourself first and make a judgement for your own children!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Like Kantaro himself, this show is so invested in desserts that it's nearly impossible not to be won over. Whenever Kantaro visits a restaurant (all of them real places in Tokyo), he goes in-depth on what makes the dessert great, describing the preparation, ingredients, and finally, the actual tasting. The show uses a wide variety of techniques to make each of Kantaro's descriptions a rich visual experience. Ingredients are shown in beautiful close-ups, and Kantaro often has extreme emotional reactions to them. Each dessert sends Kantaro into such a reverie that he hallucinates himself becoming one of the ingredients: When he eats melon kikagori, he becomes a melon-man, dancing with his melon-bride; peach parfait inspires a vision where he is reborn from a peach, only to engage one of his co-workers in a battle to see who can do the most squats.

As the show evolves, the workplace half of the setup gets more intriguing as well, with Kantaro having to evade co-workers that have decided to follow him on his sales route or have discovered his dessert blog. Slowly, Kantaro becomes a deeper character than he appears to be early on: He's a man who has built not only his job, but his entire worldview around sweets, but over time, he becomes more empathetic for other people and their own passions. The fact that Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman can build that level of drama around what's essentially a Food Network-type tourism show makes it even more astounding.

TV Details

  • Premiere date: December 1, 2017
  • Cast: Matsuya Onoe
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Comedy
  • TV rating: NR
  • Last updated: February 18, 2023

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate