MANGA REVIEW | "The Way of the Househusband" - Volume Nine
Is the Immortal Dragon really that invulnerable? It seems like after all of this time, the cracks of The Way of the Househusband are finally starting to show. What was once a highlight of the manga comedy realm feels like it’s now become someone who’s overstayed its welcome. Have the jokes become stale, or has it simply fallen behind the trends of other comedies? Volume Nine of The Way of the Househusband displays that answer in a sheepish fashion.
For most of this volume, Taiju acts as the savior to his neighborhood and former yakuza buddies. From de-stinking up an apartment to selling culinary tools, Taiju uses his over-the-top personality to both deliver and acquire the goods. However, not every battle he takes on is a guaranteed victory, especially when it involves kids. And in these instances, The Way of the Househusband shows its stronger side.
The highlight of this volume involves Taiju attempting to teach a young girl to eat her vegetables. Putting on a friendly face, the Immortal Dragon plays along with the girl’s pretend food. However, when he merely mentions adding veggies to the beef, he’s greeted with a terrifying stare from the child. And the more he tries, the creepier the kid gets. It’s an episode that stands toe-to-toe with many of the classic earlier chapters.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about most of this volume. Masa’s lazy antics — be it helping to clean his home or attempting to get ready for the day — keep him from evolving as a character. Former boss Hibari has a moment of cuteness when attempting to needle felt a kitten, but it’s no different from her earlier antics at a cat cafe. The other former/current bosses attempt to have their moments in the sun (even when it’s too hot), but they just don’t seem to add anything unique to the formula.
I feel bad for Miku, who only gets to shine in a bonus comic revolved around fireworks. There are times where I feel like Kousuke Oono should change things up, and give the wife some moments to shine. Although Tatsu’s the focus of this manga, the lack of Miku makes me fear that the author’s going to leave her behind in the future. (Please Oono, don’t do to Miku what Jim Davis did to Odie’s original owner Lyman!)
There is still a flicker of hope that The Way of the Househusband can pick itself up. However, with this being the ninth volume, it’s clear that Oono’s creative well is close to drying up. Perhaps if he gives Miku more moments to shine or add some new characters to the mix, the Immortal Dragon can stay immortal. But if not, well, maybe we can get a legit Crime-Catch Policure spinoff to happen. (The animators clearly put more heart into that fake trailer than they did with the Netflix series!)
Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt and Mandy Earles of VIZ Media.