The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 1

By Kousuke Oono. Released in Japan as “Gokushufudou” by Shinchosha, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Kurage Bunch. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Sheldon Drzka. Adapted by Jennifer LeBlanc.

Sometimes, it has to be said, an author comes up with a premise that is so magical that you are tempted to say that it writes itself. This is never a good thing to say, especially to the person writing it, but let’s face it: the premise of this manga, which is that a yakuza thug is trying his hardest to go straight and become a househusband, is magical. You should read it for that alone. Fortunately, the execution is also very good, showing off a minimal cast and going in several directions that I wasn’t expecting. I have to admit, I suspected that the gag would be how good the husband is at typical housewife things, but no. He’s really good cooking with knives (a holdober from his former job), but is otherwise trying to learn on the job, so to speak, and we see him fail several times. There’s also the matter of his face. Let’s face it, he has a face that yearns to stare someone down and yell “Huuuuh?!” menacingly.

At some point in the past, our hero met his wife, fell in love, and decided to give up his unlawful career to be a homemaker while she became the breadwinner. In general the series falls into three different scenarios: one where he’s trying to do a housewife thing, and we are amused at the results and at the faces he makes; another where he’s interacting with his wife, who can seemingly beat him up (we see her strongarm him through a window when he overreacts to buying her a birthday gift she had already by cutting off his pinky) and loves PreCure; and interacting with an old member of his gang, who looks up to him and wants to get him back into the old yakuza (mostly, from what I can tell, so that said guy can be protected, as he’s a bit of a wannabe schlub). Through it all, our hero makes it clear: being a househusband is what he does now. And he’s going all in.

Again, the author knows his strength, and it’s in drawing that “Huuuuuuh?” face that our hero wears seemingly all the time. He may no longer be “the Immortal Dragon”, but his face seems to be stuck that way, causing lots of misunderstandings. Sometimes this causes problems for his more down-to-Earth wife, who has to explain to the store clerk that the “white powder” he wants is flour. At one point she tries to do something about his image by dressing him in less stereotypical clothing, which leads to a series of hilarious fashion disasters. It’s also the best chapter for showing off their marriage, as we see them fighting but also trying to accommodate each other. They make a pretty great couple. Oh yes, they also have a cat and a Roomba, and the two combined may make the funniest chapter in the book, at least for pet owners.

There’s not much plot development here beyond the basic premise, but why would you want it? I hope at some point we see a flashback as to how our couple met and fell in love. But other than that, the main reason to get this is that it’s funny. Recommended.

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  1. I’ve been so into the Yakuza games lately, this sounds like exactly the sort of off the wall subplot that would somehow happen in-game or something. Though I must admit, the main Yakuza in that game, outside of story, tend to prevent thugs from stealing money (including from other Yakuza) and generally prevent violence, more than anything.

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