Tuesday, September 22, 2020

REVIEW: The Way of the Househusband (manga, vol. 1) by Kousuke Oono, translated by Sheldon Drzka

The Way of the Househusband is a comedy series. It's licensed by Viz. I bought my copy brand new.


Tacchan, a former yakuza boss who was known as the "Immortal Dragon," is now a househusband who supports his wife in her career as a designer. He takes being a househusband just as seriously as he took being a yakuza boss, but he hasn't been able to change his demeanor to fit his new life. His tough guy behavior never falters, whether he's taking a cooking class, berating a Roomba for not doing its job properly, or going grocery shopping.

I've wanted to give this series a try for a while, but the reviews I looked at were mixed enough to give me pause. Then Right Stuf had a sale (I'm depressingly weak towards sales), and I decided to grab a bundle that included the first three volumes of this series. 

The danger of all gag manga is that the author won't be able to figure out how to keep the gag fresh, and that may turn out to be a problem here. I suppose I'll figure out whether that's the case soon enough. This first volume was okay, but it did have a few problems.

Each chapter was set up to show different moments in Tacchan's househusband life: grabbing stuff on sale, cleaning his home, buying his wife a birthday gift, watching out for a neighbor's kid, etc. And each time his yakuza past, habits, or demeanor would color his actions and experiences in some way. My favorite chapters were all the ones with his wife and the one with the Roomba. Especially in the first half of the volume, though, it often seemed like the jokes cut off just a little sooner than they should have, or didn't end on quite the right beat.

The artwork was pretty good, except for one thing: that kid Tacchan babysat. Something about his mouth placement was off, particularly in the third-to-last panel on page 94 - it was too far left, nowhere near his chin, and suddenly it was hard to pay attention to anything else.

I'm hoping that future volumes focus on Tacchan's relationship with his wife more. (Does she have a name yet? If she does, I unfortunately don't remember it...) She was relatively used to his behavior and yet was still occasionally taken aback or horrified by some of the things he did, and not at all shy about letting him know. I'd like to see more about how they met and how their relationship evolved. I loved that a guy like Tacchan seemed perfectly fine with a life that involved maintaining his home and supporting his wife in her career and interests, even as tough guys from his former life thought this "househusband" stuff must be a joke.

Anyway, crossing my fingers Oono somehow manages to keep things fresh and sticks the landing on the jokes a little more often in the next couple volumes.

No comments:

Post a Comment