Updated: Apr 14, 2021
The infamous Immortal Dragon and his shenanigans are finally given the animated treatment. But like its main character, The Way of the Househusband is mismatched, messy, and hilarious.
The Way of the Househusband is all about Tatsu, a feared member of the Yakuza named the Immortal Dragon. who left a life of violence to live a life of peace. Instead of wielding swords, he wields knives and brooms since he has dedicated his life as a househusband to his beloved Miku, a full-time career woman. The audience gets treated to an adventure of hilarious misadventures. Because no matter how much Tatsu tries, he just can’t seem to shake off his Yakuza tendencies. And it gets him to trouble more than once.
With a simple premise like that, The Way of the Househusband has skyrocketed into fame. An internet darling and a beloved manga, The Way of the Househusband was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated titles to be animated. So when the trailer for the series dropped, everyone was in a rush of excitement to see what madness would appear. But one detail suddenly derailed everyone’s expectations.
Obviously, the biggest point of contention in the entire series is the animation. Or rather, the lack thereof. When the trailer dropped for the show, a lot of people were very confused with the weird style of animation that was shown. Instead of smooth frame-by-frame movement or maybe even 3D, audiences were exposed to a weird stilted style of animation that was closer to an amateur’s attempt at making anime. A lot of people actually called it “Powerpoint”-like in style. This fear that the entire anime was like this is solidified through the 5 episodes that Netflix dropped.
For obvious reasons, having animation compared to Powerpoint slides isn’t the biggest compliment. If anything, it was the biggest reason why a lot of people are angry at the show. It’s hard to enjoy a show when it looks like a lazy rendering of the manga panels. To a lot of people, it made the entire show unbearable. Just a look at the tweets, posts, and forums on the show is already filled with derision and anger at the studio and team for choosing the awkward moving picture style instead of proper animation. Despite the show still using the same scenes, same script, and having the likes of Kenjiro Tsuda, a lot are already calling the show a waste of time. A lot actually complained that it the show was a waste of time and absolutely ruined the manga’s legacy.
If looking at animatics for 16 minutes isn’t your cup of tea, then it’s better to skip The Way of The House Husband. You won’t find enjoyment if the look and animation isn’t to your liking. And since there’s five episodes of this, it will undoubtedly be hell if you can’t handle it. And if the idea of having to slug through bad animation is terrible, let this be the end of the review for you.
Final rating: 3/10
Still here? Wanna know more? Ok, then read on.
BUT! And there’s a big “but” here. Take some of these points into consideration if you think you can handle the weird animation (give the show trailer a look and check for yourself).
One, the show uses the same lines and scenes from the manga. As in they literally took everything and added nothing but the animation. Considering that The Way of the Househusband is an absolute genius of comedy as a manga, the show immediately carries on this energy. Since there weren’t any other new elements, it’s all just the pure insanity of the manga given animated form, and it’s an absolute riot if you already love it. It’s the same type of humor that fills the likes of The Devil is a Part Timer, Cells at Work!, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life, etc. Where the normal and mundane become just unbelievable and insane. Stomach the animation, and you’ll be left rolling on the floor with each and every time Tatsu takes things a little too seriously and scares the crap out of everyone.
Second, the voice work is absolutely fantastic. Kenjiro Tsuda is the voice behind the perfectionist and lovable ex-yakuza. He plays the role of Tatsu perfectly. He gets the dark seriousness of Tatsu’s yakuza soul and manages to not seem out of place when he has to challenge an old rival to a dessert-making contest, and all in the threatening aura that never seems to leave Tatsu. A combination of brilliant voice work and script-writing makes for pure madness.
Finally, and this might be the most controversial, the animation actually enhances the chaos. No, it doesn’t detract from the experience, it actually heightens and makes it amazing. Because the whole cut-out feel of the anime just keeps adding to the whole atmosphere of “is-this-serious” and “what-the-fxxk” making the whole experience surreal. You might be left questioning if you were actually high because of the show. It’s not psychedelic, it’s purely chaotic. It has the vibes of South Park and Inferno Cop where weird animation is mixed with a sharp wit and an even sharper script. If Tiktok animations were given Netflix as a platform, it would be The Way of The Househusband. It’ whole aesthetic is reminiscent of Youtube’s form of animation and comedy. It’s 16 minutes of pure meme energy. And it won’t jive with everyone because it isn’t really a style everyone is used to. It’s all bulls**t and giggles and it honestly amazing the studio was brave (or dumb or crazy depending on who you ask) enough to choose this style.
But there are legitimate criticisms that go beyond the animation. One of the biggest difficulties of adapting stories like The Way of the Househusband is that there really isn’t a story to tell. Because the manga is just focused on the hijinks and chaos that follows, translating that into a contained series can have difficulties in keeping an entertaining narrative. Stories like Cells at Work! and The Devil is a Part-Timer get by through developing character relationships that maintain the interest in the story. There’s a build-up that exists that makes viewers hooked for the next episode. But the episodic nature of The Way of the Househusband makes it difficult to keep viewers hooked beyond the comedy. Considering that all 5 episodes were made available in one go, boredom can easily set in when it’s all jokes and there’s no variation in substance.
Adaptations have the unique opportunity to address the problems of the source material and help elevate the story to greater heights. If this opportunity isn’t taken, the story can easily fade into the backburner of the audience’s attention and make the entire thing forgettable. And The Way of the Househusband didn’t take this chance. The fast-paced story is just as faced pace as an animated show. So it’s really difficult to maintain an emotional connection beyond the brief moments where Tatsu is affectionate to Miku. While brisk comedy makes for entertainment, it doesn’t make for a full show. But in a strange way, that actually justifies the weird animation style and the pacing decisions made. Since there isn’t a lot of story to go around, might as well make it fast and crazy. But it also makes it more forgettable in the long run.
If the animation and the fast pacing aren't too much of a bother, then The Way of the Househusband is perfect for an afternoon of lounging around and maybe picking up from the master of housekeeping Tatsu. And despite the divide it created on the internet, it's still a great time.
Final Rating: 9/10
The official website for The Way of the Househusband manga.
Watch The Way of the Househusband now available for streaming on Netflix!
Listen to the opening song "Shufu no Michi"