Review: The Way of The House Husband Vol 1 & 2

Gokushufudo: The Way of the House Husband (Vol. 1 &2)
By: Kousuke Oono (Art & Story)
Published by: Viz Media/Viz Signature
Published September 2019

Tatsu, an infamous and feared yakuza boss nicknamed "The Immortal Dragon", retires from a life of crime to become a househusband. The Way of the House Husband, written and illustrated by Kousuke Oono, portrays the life of Tatsu in a variety of comedic scenarios where his domestic work as a househusband is contrasted against his intimidating personality, Yakuza mannerisms and appearance, all while frequently running into current and former yakuza associates and rivals, and the police. Publication of the manga began online on magazine platform Kurage Bunch in 2018, published by Viz Media in 2019.

Being a househusband isn’t a new concept by any means in today’s world, but try to imagine that role being filled by one of the most infamous and dangerous members of the Yakuza. What you get is one of the most awkwardly hilarious mangas you will read The Way of the House Husband. Known as the ‘Immortal Dragon’, by rivals, law enforcement, and other gang members, Tatsu has dedicated his life to being the best house husband to his wife Miku. He takes this role as a serious professional of his caliber can take it which is sometimes scary. Our first story begins with Tatsu’s morning routine; in the first panel you see this well illustrated Yakuza back tattoo, Tatsu gets dressed in his suit & apron and then proceeds to make the most amazing lunch for his wife and of course takes a foodie photo. But Miku runs out the house in a hurry without her lunch forcing Tatsu to chase her down. Let’s say a husband running after their loved one for their forgotten lunch wouldn’t be weird sight to see, but when said husband dresses like a gangster with an apron shouting and is riding a bike with a metal briefcase in the basket shouting “You forgot yer lunch!” at the top of his lungs might just grab the attention of the patrolling police officers. Even though he explains that he’s just a househusband, it doesn’t change the fact that the cops still recognize him as the infamous ‘Immortal Dragon’. While things end on a peaceful note it sets the tone of just how things will go for Tatsu throughout the series. 

When he deals with a door to door salesman selling overpriced kitchen knives, he doesn’t exactly deal with him as he just frightens him with every move he makes. First question Tatsu asks the salesman is “You got the goods?” as if this was a “deal” going down. Tatsu shows off just how handy he is with a knife that would make anyone regret giving him a sharp object. In the end Tatsu uses the knives to cook dinner for the salesman and while it was a kind gesture, Tatsu still gave off the aura of killer as depicted in the panel with Tatsu trying to give a kind smile and it just comes off creepy as hell, funny, but creepy.

When it comes to his relationship with his wife Miku, one would think that she had no clue to his past, but she knows everything about and they love each other wholeheartedly. Miku just sees Tatsu as a very sweet and loving, very intimidating weirdo, which in itself is a cute. When Miku first introduces Tatsu to her parents in a flashback in volume 2 of the manga, while Miku looks happy to introduce him Tatsu looks like very bad things are about to happen. We also see just how much Tatsu loves Miku as well. He goes as far as buying her favorite anime series Poli-Cure, baking a lovely instagram-able cake, and decorating the house with banners that read ‘Long Life’ and ‘Happy Birthday’. While this is a sweet story, the unnecessary pat down before Miku could enter her own home was a glimpse of his old habits and his rendition of Happy Birthday is what what you would call alarming. When he presented Miku with her gift she revealed that she already had this series, and in true Yakuza fashion presents himself for punishment and receives a crushing clothesline from Miku right out the window.

In another story while shopping with Miku, she does try to change up Tatsu’s look to make him more approachable. After a mini-montage you can just see with that each look he just looks more and more menacing. Tastu’s reputation is so incredibly scary that even his interactions with other Yakuza members are hilariously misinterpreted. While selling some household gadgets and homemade wares at a local flea market, he crosses paths with a Yakuza general from the Saruwatari group who runs that area. Even though Tatsu is just trying to quell things and come to a peaceful resolution, the Yakuza general takes it upon himself to take every peaceful resolution that Tatsu offers and turn them into ways that he can killed. And with every offer Tatsu proposes, the Yakuza general’s legs slowly but surely give up on him until he is just lifeless on the ground.

The art work for this series works wonderfully. Its hard line work gives it that seriousness that you would expect, but makes the situations throughout each story just more hilarious. The details throughout are just amazing, making every character unique in their own way, conveying their personalities very well. The backgrounds even have their own character, with each location feeling different from one panel to the next. Clothing definitely plays a role in the story telling; when you look at how Miku looks at work vs being at home, seeing how Tatsu dresses “normally” vs how Miku tries to dress him, and the various Yakuza members that each story introduces have a unique look to them.

I would gladly recommend reading this from the start and catch up as volumes 3 & 4 will be releasing later this year as of when this was posted. ‘The Way of the House Husband’ is incredibly funny, well written, and beautifully done. There aren’t a lot of scenes with graphic violence, but there is some violence in it. It’s a great debut for writer/artist Kousuke Oono and I look forward to seeing how well things continue to go for Tatsu and Miku. Here’s hoping this gets picked up as an anime series.

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