Review: The Way of the Househusband vol. 1 – Kousuke Oono

Review: The Way of the Househusband vol. 1 – Kousuke OonoThe Way of the Househusband, Vol. 1
by Kousuke Oono, Sheldon Drzka
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Genres: Graphic Novel, Humor
Pages: 160
Source: Library
My rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Housework without honor or humanity

He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him “the Immortal Dragon.” But one day he walked away from it all to walk another path—the path of the househusband! The curtain rises on this cozy yakuza comedy!

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4 stars icon graphic-novel

I’d heard wonderful things about this manga, so when I saw it was finally available at my library, well, I jumped on it. It’s a hilarious collection of loosely connected slice-of-life stories from a yakuza who’s traded turf battles for bargain sales.

Tatsu has retired from being the infamous “Immortal Dragon” of the yakuza underworld to become a househusband. The running gag throughout the book is that he brings the same yakuza energy to things like making lunch for his wife, finding her the perfect birthday gift, and shopping for groceries. He hasn’t quite completely detangled from his old life, though, as one of his former henchmen finds out when he spots him in the grocery store. Tatsu lectures him that “you can’t protect what’s precious to you through violence” while simultaneously cooking a gourmet meal, then beats the guy up when he makes fun of him for it.

Each chapter follows a different activity in the life of a househusband from a hilarious new angle. My personal favorite was when he was asked to babysit a neighbor’s kid and teaches him how to properly “clean up” after an accident. It’s generally light and silly though it carefully never strays too far into the absurd. Each chapter starts with the househusband performing a vaguely ominous task – like showing off his yakuza tattoos as he arms himself with a weapon – before it’s revealed he’s actually doing something completely innocuous – like getting ready to make his wife a lovingly styled instagram-worthy lunch. Miku, his wife, is equally hilarious, whether she’s clarifying that the “white stuff” he’s asking for is actually flour to a terrified grocery clerk or attempting to make him look less, well, scary.

I’d be remiss to not note that a lot of the humor does come from how Tatsu defies the norms of gender essentialism. From wearing a cutsie shiba inu apron over a suit and jacket to using his blade skills for chopping veggies, it’s the juxtaposition of the very masculine performing (traditionally) very feminine work. I don’t feel like any of it was down in poor taste, though. In fact, it does seem to highlight just how much work goes into the sort of unpaid and unnoticed work women traditionally do around the home.

Overall, this was hilarious and a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to see what Tatsu does next!

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