Title: The Way of the Househusband (Gokushufudō / 極主夫道)
Author: Kousuke Oono (Story & Art)
Genres: Comedy, Seinen, Slice of Life
Published: 2018 – Present
Volumes: 5 [Ongoing]
Japanese Publisher: Kurage Bunch (magazine); Shinchosa (tankōbon)
English Publisher: Viz Media
Available to Purchase in English?: Yes (Indigo / Amazon / Barnes & Noble)
Note*: Indigo has this title listed as being appropriate for all ages. However there is swearing plus some blood and violence, so I’ve given it a teen rating. I would recommend it for teens aged at least 15+.
Synopsis: Tatsu, an infamous and feared yakuza boss nicknamed “the Immortal Dragon”, retires from crime to become a househusband so that he can support Miku, his kyariaūman [career woman] wife. The episodic series depicts a variety of comedic scenarios, typically wherein Tatsu’s banal domestic work as a househusband is juxtaposed against his intimidating personality and appearance, and his frequent run-ins with former yakuza associates and rivals. (Wikipedia)
I first came across The Way of the Houshusband at my second job (bookstore) and immediately mentally put it on my to-read list. I initially only had time to glance at the cover for a few moments so I didn’t get a close look at Tatsu and just thought the title was about, well, a househusband. Maybe there was a kid involved. I didn’t realize the title had anything to do with the yakuza. Imagine my surprise when I finally started reading and surprise! Yakuza everywhere.
Tatsu is one seriously creepy dude. If you’ve ever seen an anime or a show where a character is urged to make a normal-looking smile, and it comes off as really awkward or creepy, that’s Tatsu. He’s ex-yakuza so he’s covered in tattoos and just looks like one badass mofo…. but he wears an apron and sandals. He’s concerned with getting the best bargain at the market so he can save as much money as he can. He collects coupons so he can enter a raffle. Basically if you can think of something a stay-at-home partner would stereotypically do, and juxtapose it against a crimelord boss, that’s The Way of a Househusband.
It’s a comedy gag manga so the chapters are fairly short at about 15-17 pages each. Just long enough to pull off the gag or make a few jokes, then end and move on to the next chapter.
Some of my favourite chapters were when Tatsu and his wife Miku went grocery shopping together (she tried to sneak extras into the cart without him noticing, but he always put them back), Tatsu’s father-in-law trying to awkwardly bond with him over a game of catch, and Tatsu attempting a variety of exercise classes but being super creepy while doing them.
There are 5 volumes out already, but unless there’s an overarching plot I’m not sure how long a gag series like The Way of the Househusband could run for. I’m not familiar with this type of comedy and therefore don’t know what its lifespan typically looks like. It’s definitely funny and there’s lots to poke fun at, but when does it stop being funny and start becoming repetitive? There is a loose plot as it seems like some other yakuza people around town try to track Tatsu down once in awhile, but those scenes are few and far in between.
If you read The Way of a Househusband and wonder how Tatsu’s wife came to fall in love with him, well, I’d like to know that too. Just kidding. Tatsu looks scary but he’s got a good heart, and in chapters like the one where him and his wife go shopping together you can see how their personalities complement each other well.
Do I Recommend This Title to Others?: Yep. It’s a yakuza boss in an apron making a cute little teddy bear DIY chair and fighting with a Roomba, what else could you want? ^_~v
Final Score: 8/10