Tuesday, May 11, 2021

REVIEW: The Way of the Househusband (anime TV series)

The Way of the Househusband is a slice of life comedy series. Wikipedia says it's an "original net animation," which may be a better way to refer to it than "TV series," since that perhaps sets different kinds of expectations.


Tatsu is a former yakuza boss who was known as the "Immortal Dragon." He's now happily married and a dedicated househusband, putting the same attitude and energy into grocery shopping, cleaning, and cooking that he once put into facing off against other yakuza. In fact, his yakuza life hasn't quite left him behind - he keeps coming across old associates, and the police can't help but figure that he must be up to no good.

When I heard that this series was being made into an anime, I was really excited. I figured that movement, sound, and voice acting could really bring this series alive and turn what I thought was a decent but uneven manga series into a fabulous comedic anime.

I didn't watch the trailer, but I knew that early viewer reactions were...not good. Lots of people talking about how bad the animation was. But I figured (hoped) that that was just the usual fan grumbles you find with pretty much any series that gets any attention. Since I already had a Netflix subscription, it wouldn't take anything more than a bit of my time to give the series a shot.

I hate to say it, but the first episode in particular had me thinking "They were right." I've read that the animation style was a deliberate choice. I can certainly believe that, but that doesn't stop it from looking cheap. Very little movement, and a lot of reliance on manga speed/focus lines and sound to create the illusion of movement. Or at least to attempt to create it. It was not good, and to make matters worse, the artwork occasionally looked off. 

Things got a little better after the first episode, but overall this was an underwhelming experience. The flow from one scene to the next was terrible, and the effect was extremely choppy. Scenes I remembered liking in the manga didn't communicate as well in the anime. I think part of the problem is that there wasn't any time to really pause and enjoy some of the more ridiculous moments. The only time I laughed was during the cockroach bit.

The voice acting was decent - Kenjiro Tsuda (Tatsu), in particular, did a wonderful job, especially during the Happy Birthday song. Still, I hate to say it, but I don't recommend this. If you're able to, stick with the manga.

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