I feel Gokushufudou works for the same reason of why I love Leslie Nelson’s brand of comedic movies. It’s a very serious character in a completely out of tone situation. Our main character, Tatsu, is an ex-yakuza who left all of the gang violence behind to completely support his wife in her work by taking care of their house. However, even with the smallest chores of cleaning the bath or doing the dishes, he treats it with the same horrifying and meticulous seriousness of a gang-sanctioned killing.
Along with the humor that comes from a very serious character in a comically out of place situation, I also enjoyed this manga for what it says about gendered roles as well as enjoying the smaller moments in life. The former of those is touched on mildly with the fact that he’s a stay-at-home husband. Several characters from Tatsu’s past visit or attempt to take him down. However, while most situations can be taken care of by just how terrifying Tatsu’s reputation is, he also directly touches on questions about why he gave up being a Yakuza for something that some see to be beneath him, with some commentary on how important it is for their to be a good balance in a relationship of duties and tasks as well as how he, as a man, can enjoy taking care of chores and supporting his wife as this is also a very important job. It doesn’t come across as preachy as the story naturally explains this through various interactions and also does a good job of balancing morals like this with a lot of laughs. However, the fact that it’s there in the first place and handled fairly well is something I love.
Also, I just ADORED the interactions between this man and the wife in the sparse moments we get to see them together. Rather than arguing over something ridiculous for a joke, the manga goes the extra mile in writing a relationship between two dramatically different people who surprisingly get each other at the end of the day, and it’s that hilarity that shines through and makes their marriage delightful to read.
And speaking of those moments, we also get plenty of smaller situations where we see Tatsu interacting with various other people in his community: neighbors, friends, and various others who also are retired or supporting their families primarily at home. Tatsu is invited to local volleyball tournaments with friends, to go to yoga with neighbors, and to join others in various activities during the day. It’s genuinely hilarious to see his incredibly serious approach to very mundane interactions and it’s a cute kind of humor to see even when Tatsu operates bargaining prices as if it’s life or death situation, the people around him can see his dedication and good nature, accepting him and loving him throughout his quirkiness. Though, he still scares the shit out of other Yakuza.
This is definitely a feel good kind of manga but the major draw is just how ding dang funny moments are with such a serious Yakuza giving his all to something ridiculously not so. I’m really enjoying this one so far, particularly because of how great the artist is balancing that hyper serious and dramatic art style of its main character with the ridiculously mundane situations Tatsu is in. If you get a chance, definitely check this one out. I tried and tried but I can’t seem to find a licensed translation of this manga. You can find it easy enough online, though, if you look around. If anyone finds a licensed copy of this translated that I can buy, PLEASE PLEASE let me know. I laughed so hard at this and I absolutely need to throw money at the original mangaka. This is a blessing.