TL;DR – why bother being a househusband unless you’re going to do it well?
Review (warning: spoilers)
Yakuza boss Tatsu is known as “The Immortal Dragon”. His status is mythic in proportions. People in the criminal underground say that he destroyed ten of his rivals in one night unarmed and alone. His upper body is covered in tattoos of an entwining serpent, his every word resonates with deep authority, and his stare alone makes the legs of enemies turn to jelly. It is not hard to imagine that he has a hundred ways of disposing bodies, and can administer torture to extract information without batting an eyelid.
As he approaches you with trim black suit, slick black hair, and polished black shoes, you feel The Immortal Dragon wrap his serpentine length around your body, freezing you in place, his claws sink into your shoulder. You begin to buckle beneath that gaze, the weight of his aura making you hope that whatever end he has in store for you, it will be swift and painless.
And then you notice he’s wearing a white shibainu apron with a picture of a cartoon dog sticking its tongue out on front.
Gokushufudou (or “The way of the househusband”) is a hilarious look at what happens when a Yakuza boss decides he has had enough of crime and turns his mind to living a life as a househusband.
Tatsu is now married to career woman, Miku, and the anime follows the daily antics of Tatsu who takes his job as househusband as seriously as he did when he was the number one, most feared crime boss in Japan. Number one, most adept househusband is in his sniper sights.
The comedy is in the delivery as initial scenes of each episode (which are skit in length) convey the idea of some sort of criminal activity but results in a domesticated one which Tatsu attacks with relish. Comic moments include:
- Tatsu using his tanto blade to slice vegetables instead of body limbs.
- Going ga-ga over his balcony vegetable garden where he has grown basil, mint and other herbs and yet a police lookout thinks he is growing marijuana.
- He tries to make tapioca balls for bubble tea and the scenes look like he’s trying to chemically make drugs.
- Pretends to not want to go to a theme park but secretly has always wanted to go because he never got to as a kid and ends up bringing a fabulous high tea and loves playing with the animals.
Hilarity also comes in the form of other Yakuza characters, many who now seem to have retired and are also trying to live a non-criminal life. One of the funniest I found was Torajiro, a rival Yakuza boss that Tatsu dismantled, who has now become a crepe vendor and owns a food truck.
Their encounter which builds up to be a bloody fight to the death ends up being a cook off involving desserts. They both make a dish and then take multiple photos using their phones to post on Instagram to see who gets more ‘likes’.
The animation itself is interesting. Most of the episodes are a series of stills that zoom in and out for effect. Actual movement is minimal (for example, they’ll animate mouths moving for speech but the scene itself is a still), which is a different approach. In parts, it felt like I was watching more comic book panes than animation, but because of the skit nature of each episode, it works rather than detracts from the series.
There is nothing particularly deep and meaningful with Gokushufudou but it does make me want to get a shibainu apron and wear it over a suit while I go to shopping centres, car dealerships, theme parks, beaches…
7 out of 10