Adapted from the beloved manga, the show sees a yakuza boss retire from the world of crime and embrace domesticity. In the trailer, the man once known and feared as the ‘Immortal Dragon’ grapples with sewing, cooking and colours mixing in the wash. In one scene, he berates and screams at his Roomba for failing to “attack the corner” of the room. It is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds, and it is glorious.
Anime often gets a bad rap for being over the top. The endemic of children in British high schools Naruto running didn’t help, and remains a stain on the national consciousness.
Nevertheless, this reputation is unfair for two reasons. One, it disregards the more grounded, serious work that’s been accomplished in Japanese animation, like the philosophical musings of Ghost in the Shell. Two, the idea that anime is parodically over-the-top forgets that intensity is key to what makes so much of it great. No-one could forget the high-octane food orgasms – and I do mean that literally – that have come out of Food Wars! Animation opens the gateway to so much that would be impossible in real life, like computer scientists being respected. It would be a shame to waste that opportunity just to keep in line with the expectations of dour, narrow-minded sceptics.
Thankfully, the anime industry has never paid much mind to its worst-faith critics, and The Way of the Househusband is no exception. If the trailer released on 2 March is anything to go by, the show has no issue being big or brash, which is perfect given the climate. In times like these, where people never stop talking about ‘times like these’, TV takes on additional importance. It needs to either provide escapism or help people navigate their feelings about the pandemic. Just as important is deciding on one and sticking to it. Game shows that try to hobble on as usual with a few tacked-on jokes about Zoom are no good.
A mob boss used to an extreme degree of control trying to deal with new challenges in an apron is an easy sell. With tight writing and solid performances, Netflix could be onto another winner.