D I S C U S S I O N – A N I M E
Some faces are well recognisable. Well, yes, your dad is one such person, but the man above could, in all likelihood, top your father on the tier list.
This man was a yakuza leader; a legendary underground figure, named Tatsu, hailed and feared by the ordinary. They call him the “Immortal Dragon”, the man who visited the rival clan’s headquarters to smash tens of their heads with a single lead pipe all by himself. And now,
He’s a househusband. A brilliant one, at that.
This is the premise painted by Kousuke Oono’s fan-favourite manga The Way of the Househusband or Gokushufudou. The story is simple and comedic. It’s about Tatsu’s daily struggles, and occasionally his cat’s. Millions of its copies have been sold worldwide to countless women, and men, fawning over his character and aspiring to marry a similar man. Soon after, Nippon TV produced a live-action adaptation of the series. Netflix was second to react to this rise in this demand and brought us an anime adaptation last April.
Those of you who still don’t recognise this face, now seems the right time to let go of that ignorance. But with so many choices at hand, which medium might be the best one for you?
Whether you’re just a curious beginner or an obsessive Tatsu-enthusiast, here is what you need to know before you choose to get to know the series a little better.
As with any other slice of life, there is no overarching conflict in the story. We just follow Tatsu through his daily shenanigans, a new one with each chapter. The method of delivery remains constant yet never goes stale. Even if you memorise Tatsu’s character by heart, you are guaranteed to be enthralled by him again and again.
Though the yakuza subgenre has been utilised time and time again, it hasn’t run out of creativity. Unlike some other genres (ahem, issekai), this one still remains unplagued by a plethora of identical trope-y characters. Whether it is the Great Teacher Onizuka or Back Street Girls or Gokushufudou, all of them have a fresh take on what it means to be an ex-yakuza.
The highlight of the storytelling, however, is its usage of comedy. With page-turning gags, minimal dialogue and slapstick mannerisms, the manga, in a way, brings about a modified reenactment of the 1900s silent comedy films on a page. And it is highly effective, statistically speaking, since many celebrities reported it to be the secret to their smiles. The story might just be the concoction you need after a disappointing day.
Overall score: 7.5/10
I’ll save you the trouble of reading me sing praises for several lines and keep this short — it couldn’t be more beautiful. Best of all, it is fitting. The stark, detailed images creating a serious atmosphere perfectly juxtaposed with the comical plotline. It is like watching a ridiculous JoJo scene with its menacing suspended purple letters while the characters comically beat someone up. The artwork is the sole reason why the series doesn’t end up being unbearably cartoonish. All the characters look highly expressive, which is crucial for the jokes in the story. Again, the style couldn’t be more fitting.
The crucial life-changing question on everyone’s minds right now — can I keep the panels as my android phone’s wallpaper? The answer is yes, all the pages are made with 100% wallpaper material.
Overall score: 8/10
Most comedic stories are character-driven. And it just helps the case of Gokushufudou since it yields highly memorable characters. People are bound to get an image of Tatsu flashing in their brains when they hear the word ‘househusband’, and I guarantee that by the end of this manga you will be one of those people. In terms of character development, you can’t expect much but in this case, the story does just as great without it. Just like the art style, the characters are fitting. Their quirky traits work in tandem with the rest of the elements, just as a good househusband does with his family.
Overall score: 7.5/10
Who is this for?
Everyone. This is the best place one can start. And if you have already been introduced to Gokushufudou by any of the adaptations, it will be a sacrilegious act if you don’t give this source material a try.
All the chapters are quite short and one can easily schedule a few minutes for each of them. It will definitely be easier than finding time to clean one’s drawers for sure.
The manga does not disappoint in any aspect. That is the way of the househusband.
Say hello to the elephant in the room. What on earth is the deal with this style of animation?
If you’re a beginner who has only watched the trailer, I have news for you. The slideshow-esque animation is going to persist throughout the series. And for those of you who have already watched the series — yes, here you’ll hopefully find your answers and also the much-needed closure you deserve.
This adaptation of Gokushufudou was allegedly advertised in Japan as an animated comic rather than a full-fledged anime. Which, according to some reports, has decreased the dissatisfaction since the Japanese people knew what to expect. Gokushufudou’s creator himself was against this show from being “conventionally” animated. He wanted it to preserve the comical feel and found this style fit to do so. So, the adaptation wasn’t set to be an anime to begin with. Therefore, it being presented as an example of a bad “anime” has always been a fallacious argument.
It has been a very bold creative choice so far. And much like any other form of experimental art, this has also been criticised more than it has been received. Where do we draw the line between what is considered anime and what isn’t? Is this creative expression or just a cash grab? And most importantly, does it interfere with the story experience?
The answer is that it is highly subjective. It might be nothing but jarring and distracting for you, which can very much ruin the whole thing. Or you might find it cool and appreciate it like a new ice cream flavour that you have never tried before.
As a “conventional” anime, the overall score for animation is 2/10.
But as an animated comic, the overall score is 7.5/10.
The plot remains congruent to that of the manga. However, as mentioned earlier its delivery significantly varies from that of an anime. How you receive the comedy is up to you as well.
The downside, however, is that each of the episodes has gained momentum. Since they have packed a handful of chapters into one episode, it feels like there is less time to comprehend what has happened in one mini-episode before moving onto the other. This minor pacing issue can leave you feeling exhausted by the end of one mere 15-minutes episode.
Overall score: 6/10
The Sound and Characters
You might not have liked what you saw, but you are guaranteed to like what you hear. Because this is where the adaptation shines the most.
Kenjiro Tsuda, the voice actor for Tatsu, is essentially the Keanu Reeves of the seiyuu world. With a neverending list of works in his portfolio, he has built his career on many of the characters we have grown to love. Tatsu is memorable, but Kenjiro Tsuda makes him all the more memorable.
Both the opening and the ending themes are annoying, in the sense that they’ll be stuck in your head through numerous showers. The music used is nothing mind-blowing but does what it’s supposed to do, which is to make the show better.
Overall score: 9/10
Who is this for?
If you’re a person who finds it difficult to read books (which, by the way, is a weird problem. You should work on that) but want to experience the manga, then this will be the best place for you to start. Since this is only an animated version of the comic, you don’t risk losing anything. On the contrary, you gain all the amazing sounds the series has to offer.
But no matter what, it is important to keep an open mind before loading Netflix to watch this adaptation. Whatever opinion you form about it, after that, is entitled to you and your Twitter followers.
In the modern day and age, two questions which most people ponder on while having a shower are:
- What is the Krabby Patty secret formula?
- What is the recipe for the ever-elusive good live-action adaptation?
The answer to the first one is still under FDA investigation, but the answer to the second one might just be found here. Gokushufudou’s J-drama is an example of how live-action should really be done.
Instead of replicating the plot of the source material, the story is transposed with original creative spins. We are introduced to a new character, a child in Tatsu’s family. Instead of only focusing on comedy, it also adds layers to the characters which the manga was not interested in doing. For instance, the drama tries to answer questions such as why Tatsu left the yakuza and if he’s a competent father and a partner, which makes the adaptation a great deal more enjoyable. Who doesn’t like character development, right?
However, one thing worth noting is that the comedy in the show is very Japanese. By that I mean it has rather exaggerated slapstick mannerisms. If that puts you off then opt for the manga instead.
Overall score: 7.5/10
With over-the-top facial expressions and cartoonish behaviour, the antics of the characters might come off as bad acting at first. However, it doesn’t take much time to realize that this particular style really fits all the characters and their roles in the story. Gokushufudou, at the end of the day, is supposed to be ridiculous. Then again, this overly dramatic approach might put some people off. If you want to get a feel of the style prior to investing in the show, just watch a Japanese commercial compilation on Youtube and you’ll know.
Tamaki Hiroshi, the actor playing Tatsu, is probably the closest dupe to the original character. Definitely watch the drama if you would like inspiration for impeccable cosplay. The cast members hold their characters deceivingly well sometimes. For example, Tatsu, in the story, posts pictures of the food he cooks on Instagram. And the Instagram page used in the drama actually exists and is very in character. Comedy at its finest, really.
This is not sponsored but make sure to give Tatsu’s Instagram page a visit.
Overall score: 7/10
The use of the OST here is better than that of the anime — personal opinion. It quickly alternates between suspenseful to cheesy trumpet noises and astronomically enhances the sketches.
Nothing is revolutionary about the music but it works. And that is enough.
Overall score: 7/10
Warm aesthetic but janky transitions. The exaggerated camera movements make sense given the ridiculous context of the story but can become very irritating sometimes. This is probably the only downside to this adaptation.
Overall score: 5/10
Who is this for?
This adaptation is recommended for both first-timers and fans who are looking for more of Gokufushudou. Whether you decide to watch it or not, do visit Tatsu’s Instagram page nonetheless.
That’s it. If you’re not extremely indecisive, you’ve probably settled on an option by now. Farewell on your journey to drool over ex-yakuza husbandos. Be ready to witness toxic masculinity being thrown out of the window in the most wholesome and positive way. May the power of God and Anime be on your side.
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