3 Episode Rule – The Way of the HouseHusband

3 Episode Rule is a series in which I watch the first three episodes of a new anime and decide whether to stick with it or drop it based on those three episodes alone.

I think I’m starting to hit that dreaded stage of anime fandom. The one where I’m that guy who sees the list of manga are getting adaptations in the coming season and find myself wondering what the point in watching them is when I’ve already been reading the manga. Anyone else out there like that? No?

Maybe it’s just this specific case I’m struggling with then. Mostly because of how damn good I feel the manga actually is. Kousuke Oono has an amazing talent at expressing situational comedy through his character’s posture and facial expressions.

The entire premise of this series to present these absurdly contradictory situations and then show the normal people either reacting as normal people totally would upon being presented with the situations they find themselves in. Or they’re as loopy as the main character himself and fall in with his wacky approach to life.

I should probably give a premise of the series first shouldn’t I. The Way of the House Husband follows Tatsu; a former Yakuza, one so intimidating that he earned himself the nickname “The Immortal Dragon” from his peers. Although now, that life is behind him.

Not to say he’s an aged man now or anything, If anyting he’s as tough as he’s ever been. He’s just made the choice to pack in the life and start a new one as a homemaker and husband to his career driven spouse Miku.

What makes this series so amazing in my eyes is the sheer intensity Tatsu brings to his otherwise pretty mundane list of household tasks. While he certainly left the way of the Yakuza behind, it never left him. And he brings fire, intimidation and aggression to all aspects of his life as a Househusband, one is actually very good at.

I love this manga so much. Which is why I feel all the more bummed from watching the first three episodes of anime adaption that dropped on Netflix.

It’s tricky for me to root out the source of my distaste for this adaption. If it’s based on my experience with the source material, or if I would have felt the same way having seen these episodes in a vacuum. I have to imagine though, with any amount of bias, I would have felt the same way.

First off, I have to point out that to me, this isn’t an anime at all. Not really, it’s more of a motion comic. The anime plucks a bunch of chapters per episodes and turns them into vignettes, which follow the situations presented in the manga exactly. So while all the content is there… it just lacks the charm of the source material.

The motion comic aspect of the series really doesn’t actually bother me that much. I could have very easily been happy with the direction for the adaptation, had it been done right. Because the anime is trying to emulate the art of the manga so exactly, it feels like it loses something in the transition.

The original work of Kosuke Oono, in black and white has this amazingly moody feel that makes it feel like its coming out of very specific genre of work. Which is part of the reason the comedy works. It’s a silly comedy presented in the style of a super serious crime series.

Putting it into colour robs the scenes of their impact I feel, which dampens how hard the joke hits every single time.

Verdict: It’s just not working for me

Here’s the thing, I started this post by saying I didn’t want to be the guy who turned his back on an anime because he’d already “read the manga”. However, with a comedy like this I don’t really feel like that rule can apply. I’ve been super resistant to catch up on My Hero Academia Manga, but I worry it might impact my enjoyment of the anime.

And yet I happily watched the second season of Kaguya Sama when that came out this time last year. And I’ll totally watch Stone Ocean when that comes out. In the end though, if this looked anywhre near as good as the manga did in terms of its artwork, even if it were just a motion comic, I would most likly be singing its priases.

I’m just let down by this adaptation in every regard. It’s just enough to warrant being adapted at all, especially when there is a pretty great live action version that did it better. This really is one of those occasions where I think the Manga just did it better and the anime failed to justify itself at all.

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