A look into how the Character challenges stereotypes and issues with society.
In this Critique, we follow The Way of the Househusband which is about an ex-yakuza member Tatsu formally known as “The Immortal Dragon”. He has abandoned his old life to follow an alternative path which is of the househusband. He now lives with his wife Miku and their cat Gin and we follow him as he does his household duties daily.
The Anime has gotten many criticisms over its animation style. Yet for me, it was refreshing to see a different Art styling. Although I do agree that the overall animation could have been better. Even without ever reading the Manga, I agree that the overall animation feels flat, cheap, and hurried. It felt like a comic pager came to life, although just so slightly. I guess as someone who loves the fact that hand-drawn characters could come to life and fill you with excitement, this was a tad boring. But like I said, and maybe because I am a newbie in Japanese anime, I did not mind it.
The interesting thing about The Way Of the Househusband are the characters in the series. They are vibrant and they bring the animation to life. Tatsu’s mannerisms and personality allowed for a lot of great and funny brilliance of the character. This kept me glued to the screen throughout the show. I felt “something” special about watching not just a funny comedic anime but as a subversion, a rebellion of long-held ideas about manliness/masculinity and society’s pre-conceived stereotypes about gender roles.
For a counsellor in Shillong (Shillong being the heart of preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity and stereotyping and profiling), this Anime and its characters speak volumes on how people in the community behave and judge people based on their ideas which is heavily molded by society and its patriarchal kings.
Tatsu, the househusband takes head-on this outdated and obsolete thinking. The thoughts that society is about who is the breadwinner and who is the homemaker. He also challenges the concept that, for a man to do household work, he must be feminine in nature. If you have seen the anime or manga, you can clearly see what I mean.
Tatsu, a once ‘Man of a Man’, shows how hard it is to shake off his old life. This is because the surrounding people in his community have profiled him and known him as the Yakuza King he once was.
Even in Real Life, people have time and time again suffered through the same feeling and treatment by the society they are in. Their actions and behavior in the past marks and plagues the person for life. Even if the person has paid their debt to society and has totally shed the behavior of the past, they can never start a new life or tread on a fresh path without people judging and assuming the worst.
I love how the anime shows the way the people in the community and the police treat Tatsu. All this only because of how he looks, which is so relatable in real life. Here in Shillong for example, Metal music is the devil’s work, Beards is the terrorists’ work, housework is the woman’s work, long hair is feminine, a person from another community is Pure Evil, and Vaccines are the work of the 666 and so on. These are but a few examples of how the anime captures reality. It transcends beyond cultures completely to reveal a sad truth present in all communities.
Tatsu, the legendary yakuza who single-handedly defeated a rival gang with a lead pipe. One day, he disappeared and resurfaces equipped with an apron instead instead of a lead pipe. Totally changing from who he was in the past.
While that idea may sound funny and comical to many Men out there, yet him giving up violence and trying to make an honest living as a househusband is in fact very common even in our society. Although they will not like to admit it publicly, which is not exactly their fault as this is because of what society has hammered into them.
The protagonist in the Anime tries to adapt to mundane household tasks. Through this journey, he finds that being a house husband has its own challenges. From failures in the kitchen, to shopping for dinner, to many more incidents and events throughout the anime. (this is real!!)
Despite him trying to live peacefully, misunderstandings seem to follow him at every turn and we cannot help to wonder if that affects negatively on his marriage life. So far in the short Animation shown on Netflix, It seems he has it handled. But as a counselor trained in couples therapy, I know it is not so easy as to simply adapt to a new life with responsibilities that can eat your brains out.
We can see in the Way of the Househusband, Tatsu has many hobbies that he does to stay creative and active. This is a classic move to ensure that the task at hand does not overpower him. Like many couples, activities are the way out of a slump or simply owning their space within the relationship. Of course, in the course of counselling, a plan is thought out that will suit each couple together and individually. Because marriage need not necessarily mean one stops growing or exploring.
However, because the anime is too short to go deeper than this, I cannot further expand it. But overall the spark and chemistry between Tatsu- the ex-yakuza and his wife Miku- the office assistant, seems to work just right and I do hope this carries on as the Anime expands.
Lastly, I like how the Anime pushes us to think and explore the idea of reform. How we can help people change their lives for the better without having preconceived judgments and bias opinions about their characters. The possibility available for a former criminal to try and turn away from a life of crime, and how can we as people living in a community practice forgiveness.
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