The concept behind The Way of the Househusband is so damn clever it’ll make you wish you thought of it first. What if a cold-blooded killer gangster did away with his criminal ways and became a homemaker? Would he take his precision and super seriousness to the kitchen? What would that lifestyle be like? This is a story that’s as serious as it is comedic and it’s one of the freshest stories I’ve seen in a manga in some time.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
It’s a day in the life of your average househusband—if your average househusband is the legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon”! A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but! 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!
Why does this matter?
This is part of Viz Media’s Signature series putting extra emphasis on their confidence in the series.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Kousuke Oono has got quite an original premise on his hands here. This is a comedy to be sure, but it doesn’t make fun of housework so much as make fun of the intensity the main character brings to simple chores. At the start you’re introduced to The Immortal Dragon and his new lifestyle of cooking and cleaning. He’s a caring dude who wants to do the best job imaginable taking care of his wife. It’s hinted that he was a killer and given how precise he is with every task he’s clearly one of a kind.
As the story pushes forward through its nine chapters we see him learn new ways of cooking, befriending a Roomba, and grocery shopping. Little hints at his previous lifestyle pepper the story, making your imagination run wild. For instance, when he’s at the grocery store he asks “Where do you hide the white powder. The good stuff?” The clerk thinks he’s speaking about cocaine given his tattoos and how he’s sharply dressed, but no, instead he’s looking for flour. Much of the comedy works due to his lack of understanding of how he comes off. He simply goes about his chores like they are life or death tasks none the wiser that those around him think he’s a gangster.
The art is very clean, detailed, and realistic-looking. Oono does a good job capturing The Immortal Dragon’s weirdness and disconnects from reality. He’ll turn his head and smirk offering up food and it’s easy to see him doing the same thing with a gun. He’s not out of his mind per se, but something isn’t quite connecting.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
There are three bonus manga stories that are light and somewhat pointless. They’re little vignettes about other characters in The Immortal Dragon’s circle.
Is it good?
This is a clever story that feels like an instant classic thanks to its unique take on a gangster. There’s also a surprising level of emotional depth as we try to relate to a man who made his new life’s work homemaking.