It feels weird considering Parts 1 and 2 separately since The Way of the Househusband is a short with each episode only lasting 17-18 minutes and released in totality on Netflix. Watching the show in spurts was exactly how my husband and I treated the show as we sat down for dinner and queued up a few episodes at a time; this show was our go-to series for when we needed something lighthearted with a low time commitment.
The situation: a former major yakuza member lives his daily life as a househusband to his office worker wife. The comedy: Tatsu is an amazing homemaker who still applies his former vocabulary and logic to everyday tasks. Every time he opens his front door while preparing a meal it looks like some kind of gore movie with blood splatters covering his apron and a dripping knife still in hand. Whenever he makes a delivery around town, including his wife’s forgotten lunch box, he uses a metal briefcase like some kind of bomb or drug—of course cops are going to pull him over!
What really sells the comedy of these scenarios are how Tatsu interacts with the world around him. If he’s alone at home, often humor stems from how he talks to their pet cat, or how he justifies his logic to himself. When he goes out and speaks with others, we can see the confusion on their faces as they try to understand how his often violent language applies to the innocent actions at hand.
My favorite skits often center on Miku, his wife, and how the two of them navigate as a couple. While she can be thanked for “domesticating” Tatsu, she isn’t some soft, docile partner—she can also be obsessive (for her favorite anime), violent (in the kitchen), and a little clueless (her cooking is the stuff of nightmares). Their affection for one another radiates out from each scene and they’ve quickly become one of my favorite anime couples of all time.
The decision to release Househusband as a short series fits perfectly with the narrative style. This is a comedy comprised of many skits that admittedly share a common voice and repeat tropes related to Tatsu’s former life and expectations placed on homemakers. Despite the predictive formula, the short length of each scene and the quick pace we take prevents jokes from feeling too familiar and tired; I am legitimately laughing out loud in every single segment.
Some viewers may have also avoided this show for the art, which might look choppy with its heavy use of stills. I, however, find the flat canvas that moves with the dialogue fitting for the slapstick comedy. We get movement with the sharp voice acting the drives the energy of each scene. More complex animation would have diluted the strength of this comedy’s script, though I do admit I’m still curious what it would have looked and felt like as a more traditional animation. Would the jokes slap as hard? Would I have found their expressions just as comical? It’s hard to say, but I doubt it.
I’m honestly struggling with how to rate this show because while I do think it is one everyone should try, I know it won’t tick the boxes that so many seem to need in animation and story length. Perhaps Househusband also feels so personal to me because I myself am a housewife, so I can relate to a lot of his situations around cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a healthy relationship. I certainly pale in comparison to Tatsu, whose chef skills towards which I can only continue to aspire!
Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.