MANGA REVIEW | "The Way of the Househusband" - Volume Two
There’s a sheer level of brilliance within Kosuke Oono’s The Way of the Househusband. The tale of a retired yakuza member living his life in a happy marriage finds ways to take one joke, and pull out new punchlines every time. Its second volume continues this trend, as it has Tatsu the Immortal Dragon taking on a plethora of daily routines to the extreme. (And yes, we finally get his real name!)
The second volume of The Way of the Househusband has Tatsu balancing his new life with remnants of his old one. He tries out yoga for the first time, takes part in a flea market, and finds himself entertaining the in-laws. But things from Tatsu’s past creep up on him, as an old enemy returns. Things get somewhat sticky as the cops trail him during a seemingly shady deal, as well as a gang of suspicious men invade a volleyball game.
It’s the twists and physical humor that make the daily life aspects of Tatsu’s routines all the more hilarious to watch unfold. His joyful face as he exercises looks menacing to others, whereas a friendly bargain for a market item appears shady as hell. Even when elements of the past meet up again, they wind up resulting in some innocent-yet-kooky fun. This comes to play when his rival gets out of jail and sets up shop in a crepe truck. All of this is presented with a dose of intense action, despite the antics being far from hardcore.
One of the best examples on how grand The Way of the Househusband can be with its humor is in a chapter involving Tatsu and his wife buying a car. At first, it starts out with his questionable comments, with the salesperson unsure of what to think of his mentality. But when it’s time for a test drive, Tatsu can’t help but see possible enemies everywhere. From a clean-looking business man pulling out a knife to a grandpa holding a bazooka, the imagination that Tatsu has is both bonkers and laugh-inducing.
What makes these stories work so well is how they are framed. The jokes don’t overstay their welcome, and the chapters aren’t too overtly long. By keeping these narratives short and sweet, it helps with the comedy to feel nice and even throughout. This way, Tatsu’s antics don’t become threatened with tiresome clichés; they’re nurtured with the right dose of silliness and unpredictability.
It’s easy to see why The Way of the Househusband is becoming a favorite in the manga fandom. By taking average mundane tasks and throwing in over-the-top reactions & antics, Oono is able to bring together a strong level of comedic gold from Tatsu’s way-of-life. If anything, this volume shows that you can take the man out of the mob, but you can’t take the mob out of the man. For the sake of The Way of the Househusband, we should be grateful for that!
Promotional consideration provided by Erik Jansen of MediaLab PR