This Week: The Way of the Househusband
A househusband is basically the male version of a housewife or a person who takes care of the home. Usually the images that come up for a househusband would be a guy sitting at a computer, not a scary-looking man in a cute apron making lunch in a hurry. The image gap between a househusband and the apron-wearing man in The Way of the Househusband is so wide, it could kill and that’s what makes this anime and manga series a comedic gem worth stealing–I mean, reading and watching.
Kousuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband follows former yakuza, Tatsu “The Immortal Dragon”, as he takes care of his and his wife’s apartment armed with kitchen knives, vacuums, and cute aprons. While this series is essentially slice of life with no magical items, The Way of the Househusband puts housekeeping in an extremely comedic light thanks to the use of street lingo and yakuza connections. Tatsu manages the cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping with his own flair–and always within his former yakuza background–in between his misunderstandings with other yakuza, neighboring housewives, and the police box officers.
I’m not a housewife, but I cook, clean, and shop, and let me tell you, it’s not an easy shot to take, especially on a daily basis. I have mad respect for Tatsu in this sense. In reading and watching The Way of the Househusband, Tatsu makes meals, vacuums and dusts, and grocery shops against hordes of housewives like a pro. He even goes out of his way to teach other men and boys the how-to in the way of the household with DIY projects, laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Somehow, only Tatsu and the women in the series can do all these things–though doing them well is up in the air for Miku, Tatsu’s working wife–so when some of Tatsu’s former yakuza connections show up with the know-how, it begs the question, “Don’t kill me”–er, I mean, “So you know how to (insert household chore here)?” Of course, I have to acknowledge that this series is staked in Japanese society, and women are expected to do housework while men work. When I lived in Japan, there were grown Japanese men who couldn’t make a bento box to save their lives, and that was completely normal.
In the manga, the artwork is very cool. It’s hard to believe that this is Kousuke Oono’s first serialization. The lines, the compositions, the character designs, they’re all so fresh and bold. Even though the storytelling style is more in line with the four-koma comics and manga out there, the panels and the art style break out of those constraints to tell short instances into Tatsu’s life. I also wonder how much the artist researched yakuza or the stereotypes about yakuza just to get Tatsu’s visual mannerisms right.
The anime series would be less of an anime and more of a motion comic with some animation. It’s basically a slightly more tamed version of the manga, almost line by line, and I imagine it’s more for those that don’t like reading. For those who do like reading, the manga series is on its sixth volume in English.
Now all that’s left is the live-action series coming out this year!Get The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 1 on Amazon by clicking on the link or pic!