• Titles: The Way of the House Husband, La Via del Grembiule, Gokushufudo: El Yakuza Amo de Casa, Yakuza w fartuszku. Kodeks perfekcyjnego pana domu, Gokushufudou: The Way of the House Husband, Yakuza goes Hausmann, La voie du tablier
  • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life, Not crime
  • Episodes: 5
  • Studio: J.C. Staff

Tatsu is a man of legend. His deeds are whispered in hush tones and taken in with incredulous reverence. Half-man, half-beast, half-demon. Tatsu is the Immortal Dragon and God have mercy on all those who dare stand in his way. Like the overly insistent door-to-door salesmen or pesky cockroaches for instance. Because Tatsu is a man of honour. He will not be disrespected and neither will his beloved boss. Or wife. Both titles are good really. He may once have been one of the most feared Yakuza around but that was nothing compared to his current goal of becoming the best househusband around. Thankfully he has a whole new group of associates, well neighbours really, to help him along the way!

I was so excited when I heard that the Way of the Househusband was getting an adaptation. And also a little perplexed. I am reading the manga more or less as new volumes come out and I have all of them at the moment, so I am quite familiar with the source material. And although I like it a lot, it was one of those rare cases where I wasn’t sure if it could translate to the anime medium.

I always wanted to see a coloured version of Tatsu’s tattoos

Production

I’m sure that most people don’t really take much notice to who produced an anime but in blogging circles it was a bit of a deal that The Way of the Househusband was tapped by Netflix for adaptation. Because Netflix is not good? I’m not actually sure, I didn’t follow the conversation much but most people that talked about it seemed to think that it was a bad thing that Netflix was financing the Japanese studio that created it. I personally have had generally good experiences with Netflix produced anime so I didn’t see an issue there.

And then it came out. And a lot of people felt vindicated about having doubted Netflix. I even saw Tweets about how we should no longer trust Netflix to do any anime because of how badly they messed up the Way of the Househusband! I respectfully disagree and also agree a little.

See, the thing is, The Way of the Househusband ONA is an incredibly faithful adaptation of the manga. I compared a couple of episodes to the volumes just for funsies and they were almost frame for panel. So anyone that has an issue with the story of The Way of the Househusband, has an issue with the manga rather than with Netflix. But in another way, it’s also not much of an adaptation or potentially not exactly an anime.

ok I’m not being super clear but this is a bit much

Instead of creating a classic anime and rewriting the short chapters to work in that format, The Way of the Househusband is closer to an animated manga. That may sound confusing to some people. Let’s see, have you ever seen YouTube ads for webtoons? And the characters are animated but more like cutouts and static backgrounds get zoomed in and out. It’s kind of like that. Toilet-bound Hanako-kun also uses the technique but to a much lesser degree. The overall effect is much closer to flipping through a manga than watching an anime. It’s kind of old school but I quite liked the creativity of it and I found that it fit this particular story extremely well. I am probably alone in that assessment.

Most people agree that the animation style is something “you have to get used to” or “overlook” to enjoy the show”. A bit like all the backlash to the rotoscoping in Flowers of Evil. So yeah, it’s not a very classical-looking anime and neither the character designs nor the animation is made so that the show will look “pretty” or “impressive”. That can be a turn-off to some people as it is a visual medium after all. But it is a more unusual production and that could interest some of you.

it’s hard to tell from still images

Story & Characters

As I mentioned in the production section, the story is extremely faithful t the manga. And that means it inherits some of its drawbacks as well. For one, it’s repetitive. The Way of the Househusband does tend to use a lot of variations of the same joke. I actually pointed that out in my review for the manga as well. And this is going to be amplified if you sit down and watch all the episodes in a row. This is probably the biggest misfire for a collaboration with Netflix that releases everything at once and encourages bingeing. The way of the Househusband is in my opinion best enjoyed one or two skits at the time over a period.

As for the actual story, you can pretty much imagine how it goes. Tatsu is a hardened yakuza who happened to meet and fall in love with Miku, a hardworking and awesome office lady. As he tries to adjust to his new life, he brings with him all his past habits and preconceptions. The already short 17-minute episodes are further divided into two or three short sketches.

Basically, The Way of the Househusband is your classic family sitcom with a yakuza twist. And I like it. That twist is fun enough and the characters are endearing. I won’t deny that once you know the formula you can pretty much tell where it’s going but there’s a sort of comfort in that as well.

comforting!

A second series of ONA were scheduled for production and release at a later date. I hope that viewers’ difficulty to adjust to the unusual animation will not deter Netflix from going forward with the project because I for one really enjoyed throwing on an episode at the end of the day or between two other shows just for fun.

You might like this anime if:

You have been missing the family sitcoms of the 90s but you also want yakuzas. You don’t mind unusual animation techniques.

My favourite character:

Miku. I have often wondered how Tatsu and Miku ended up together but on the other hand, I would also leave organized crime for her.

Suggested drink:

Absolute Gangster

  • Every time anyone says Househusband – clap
  • Every time Tatsu does something threateningly domestic – gasp!
  • Every time Tatsu calls a lady “boss” – take a sip
  • Every time kitty causes trouble – take a sip
  • Every time anyone enjoys Tatsu’s food – get a snack
  • Every time anyone says “Immortal Dragon” – take a sip
  • Every time Tatsu gets injured – take a sip
  • Every time anyone does a yoga pose (outside of Yoga class) – take a sip
  • Every time anyone from Tatsu’s past shows up – raise your glass
  • Every time Tatsu talks about “the goods” – be suspicious
  • Every time Tatsu gets something for Miku – awwww
  • Every time there’s a dog – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

32 thoughts

  1. I really enjoy it – not quite done with what is up because I started over at the beginning so hubby – who is NOT an anime fan – could watch with me. He caught a few frames and found it hilarious. Now we’re binging a few shows a night most nights. I’m gonna miss it when it’s over and I hope they do more. You would think if you can pry your mind open enough to accept anime (as a Westerner) you could pry it open a few more millimeters and enjoy this fun little show without being such a snob 😛 I think every review I’ve read was “you’ll love the story and hate the animation” but I think the animation (or lack thereof) suits this story. IMHO

    1. It’s a divisive anime when it comes to production but at least you are both having fun!

      1. We slurped it right down and hubby was dismayed it was done (I already knew how short it was). Now we’re hoping for a second season…

    1. Yeah, most people that haven’t watched much anime did get taken aback by such a different animation style so it’s not great for merketing.

      Then again, everything I read about Way of the Househusband ended up being generally positive so the viewers still ejoyed the show and now they’ve been exposed to new styles that are less common these days. If that means new viewers won’t get intimidated by creative animation and art styles and give more animes a chance they wouldn’t have otherwise then that’s awesome! I love that Netflix isn’t afraid to play with art styles. I say Netflix but really it’s the studios that have less oversight with Netflix as producers. That why there were production chances on Devilman Crybaby that got a lot of similar flack at the time but everyone ended up liking the show and now, a lot of people even seem to think the style adds something to the story.

      1. Someone once said that anime fans ‘eat with their eyes’ and I think that is true. Even people who aren’t snobs often turn their noses up at shows that had less than stellar animation. A good script and characters can rescue it, but it is rare. Househusband is the first as I can’t speak for Devilman Crybaby.

        I am glad I, and other viewers took a chance on househusband, but I think a lot of it also came from the word of mouth from manga readers who swore up and down about how good it was.

        1. Since animated comic form was the only way the Mangaka agreed to have it adapted, I’m thinking they didn’t have a choice though.

          I’m guessing your point is that they really shouldn’t have adapted it at all under those circumstances. And Ithere’s an argument there. But it was really made for the Japanese market and from what I’ve read it was quite well received there, including the visuals. Personally, I think it’s ok to not adapt all anime to suit the English speaking audience specifically. I guess time will tell.

          1. How they choose to adapt it is up to the creators. Should they have done it this way? I don’t know, because what is there worked, but there was probably an expectation, that this would be traditionally animated. Now if you don’t dismiss the show out of hand, you find that the humor still hits on all fronts, but there is that kneejerk reaction of “oh god, wtf have they done?”

  2. I loved this show and watched on my birthday ✨✨✨It’s definitely a funny feel good anime, I haven’t read the manga but maybe I will since I want to see more of the characters.

  3. I saw the comments for the original trailer before actually watching, and I assumed people were exaggerating that this is just a motion comic. Then I had to eat my words. It just seems bizarre to me, like they could have just save the money and made this a Vomic instead.

  4. I rather enjoyed it. It isn’t the kind of story where awesome animation is needed. It is a comic book with some motion added in. I did get tired of the predictability after a few episodes.

    There are some serious snobs out there who will dis a show if it doesn’t fit their idea of how animation has to be done. I say we should accept an anime for what it is and enjoy whatever it is doing if it is doing it well.

    1. I mean I do understand that anime is first a visual medium so if you don’t like those it’s a legitimate complaint but I felt like some people didn’t even give it a chance

      1. Comic books are visual too. This is a comic book with some motion and a little sound. That’s how I viewed it.

        Belladonna of Sadness used a similar technique.

  5. I wish I could find the article, (maybe a different time) but Netflix actually screwed over the Western audience with translation on this project. The mangaka has stated several times, that they do not want an animated series for the show. They did agree to have it become an animated comic, which is what Netflix did. So the Japanese audience knew what to expect, and it’s gotten positive reviews. The misnomer on Netflix’s part really didn’t go over well.

    However, it sounds like it’d be something I would pick up now that I have access to the service. So I’m glad it’s faithful to the manga so far!

  6. There was a lot of complaints about this on Youtube. I stumbled upon the live-action advertisement(?) for it.
    It was refreshing to hear your take on it. This sounds like a cute manga/anime.
    A friend of mine bought me Spy X Family, and it was a lot of fun to read. It seems that it could have some of the same kind of situations.

    Also, Flower of Evil is an anime?!
    A different internet plan just opened up here in the bush and I have been watching the Kdrama of it. It is intense! Despite all the grizzly suspense, the scariest scene has just been when the husband is watching videos on learning how to smile, and mimicking it.

    This would be an incredible anime. When I get past this semester, I can actually pay attention to it and watch again- yay!
    The Way of the HouseHusband sounds like a good alternative, when I need some relief from the agony. Thanks, Irina!

  7. Saw the manga on netgalley up for request a while ago but i skipped on it as i had a bit much on my plate. Seems i missed out alot

    1. Maybe not a lot but it’s quite fun. I would say go for it if you get another chance!

  8. I wanted an anime and I got a illustrated audio drama. Since I’m more of a visual type and the voice acting, while not bad, isn’t a draw for me either, I wonder why I shouldn’t just read the manga. The only pro I get is convenience (and maybe colour, but the colours aren’t that special either). It’s not bad, and it gets the material across. It just means that it’s very unlikely that we’ll ever get a proper anime.

    I’ve seen that style in a couple of shorts and I’ve never been fond of it. Inferno Cop made fun of the style (using American Comicbook aesthetic of days gone by), and was quite a bit more creative that this competent but rote show, and I still didn’t watch it. I’ve watched about two or three episodes so far of Way of the Househusband, and I’m sure I’ll watch the rest some day, and I fully agree: Miku is awesome (even by what little I’ve seen of her so far). I’m enjoying it for what it is, but I do feel a little short changed and wonder if I shouldn’t read the manga instead, which I’ve never wondered before.

  9. If you ever end up watching the live-action show (a very fun ride in its own right, I thoroughly enjoyed it), you do eventually find out how Tatsu and Miku got together – and it’s about as silly and adorable as you could want from such a title). <3

    1. I saw a short clip on Youtube that was live-action. Is it an entire show?!
      Thanks!I will look for this.

      1. The brief clip you saw might have been the inspiration for the live-action show – there was a live-action ad that came out a year or so before the drama was released, originally intended just to hype the manga I think. The full live-action drama is 10 episodes in length and came out late 2020.

  10. I actually enjoyed quite a lot the adaptation choice. I’m usually very strict when it comes to designs and animations but here it felt a little refreshing. It was a bit like part of the “comedy”. And there are frames that the longer you see, the more you laugh! 🤭

    Wonderful review as always 💞

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