MANGA REVIEW | "The Way of the Househusband" - Volume One
Can a bad man leave his shady past behind for a life with a beloved? In some cases, yakuza and mafia stories tend to balance between one’s immediate family and the crime family. But has there ever been a tale of a yakuza member throwing his violent past aside for his one true beloved? Kousuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband attempts to answer that question, with a solid dose of humor and heart.
The Way of the Househusband follows a nameless former yakuza member, whose nickname was The Immortal Dragon. Now happily married, the former tough guy takes the role of the stay-at-home husband. Instead of collecting bribes and busting skulls, he’s collecting coupons and busting through citizens during massive supermarket sales. However despite his good-natured ways, he still has a habit or two that’s a bit hard to break from his mafioso days.
It’s easy to see why some folks may seem intimated by The Immortal Dragon. With that giant scar over his face and his dark demeanor, it’s understandable why those close by are frightened by his presence. But it’s when he goes out and does normal things when people realize that he’s not such a bad guy. In fact, the love for his wife is ridiculously cute! (What he goes through to get a box set of his beloved’s favorite anime is both noble and adorable.)
As one can imagine, the yakuza life never quite leaves him. A run-in with Masa reveals that his former stomping grounds have gone the way of the dodo, with his former ally pleading with him to return to his dangerous roots. That’s when The Immortal Dragon explains why he’s left that violent past behind for one with love. When Masa can’t accept that answer, well...let’s just say our protagonist knows how to do epic high-fives to people’s faces.
There’s a wonderfully balance between the tender and hilarious moments in The Way of the Househusband. Him running out to get his wife her lunch in time showcases a fatherly-like nobility, only for him to be stopped by the cops for riding his bicycle too fast. A shopping trip with his beloved results in him attempting to change his clothing style to silly results, with the end result being a moment that helps his wife smile with glee. Of course, the best moment in this first volume involves The Immortal Dragon setting up a certain cleaning peripheral, which I can’t spoil in good conscience.
Oono’s art style is one that will have you staring at certain panels for minutes at time. The crazy amount of detail he’s placed into almost every frame is pretty damn impressive! From the scar and back tattoo of The Immortal Dragon to even the food, everything in the manga shines with a great mixture of grit and beauty. Even the more action-based scenes have some amazing artwork, with some parts being reminiscent of Yusuke Murata’s work on One-Punch Man.
Opening strongly with its first volume, The Way of the Househusband has the right balance of comedy and sweet moments. One may wonder how far a scenario like this can be taken, but considering the plethora of yakuza-based stories out there, there’s bound to be nearly no limit to where this can go. Filled with hilarity and warmth, The Way of the Househusband is one new series that’ll easily slice into the cockles of any reader’s heart.
Promotional consideration provided by Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR