- 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’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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.