Cast: Kenjiro Tsuda
Genre: Comedy, slice-of-life
Netflix release date: August 29, 2021
5 episodes, approx. 6 minutes
‘The Ingenuity of the Househusband’ is a series made up of five vignettes that follow the everyday life of Tatsu, a housebound husband. In the episodes, which last about five to six minutes each, we see the househusband (Kenjiro Tsuda) take on household tasks with meticulous care. These chores include the washing of dirty stained clothes, the fixing of the door and the cleaning up of the house after a party.
The show is loosely based on the Japanese manga series “The Way of the Househusband”, which was created and illustrated by Kousuke Oono. It has been adapted previously into a live-action drama (as “Gokushufudo”) and a web anime. The latter was released by Netflix earlier this year and reviewed by EastMojo.
Compared to the manga, drama and web anime, the new live-action is static and shallow. This is because the original comic explores Tatsu’s life outside the home, observes his interactions with neighbours and friends, and even explores his ex-yakuza life. The first two adaptations did the same. However, the new live-action fails to explore any of these aspects of Tatsu’s life, and the camera always remains inside Tatsu’s living compound. It doesn’t even show a glimpse of his wife, a busy corporate head who appeared previously.
Therefore, much of the humour and intrigue lies with a single character: a tough and intimidating man taking the house tasks head-on the way a gangster takes on an illicit job assignment. This form of humour is different and chuckle-worthy. But after an episode or two, the story runs out of fresh gags and starts to seem repetitive. No one wants to watch an entire 6-minute episode on a character polishing a bathroom mirror while a narrator explains the action in extreme detail, no matter how amusing it may seem.
‘The Ingenuity of the Househusband’ (which is a questionable title in itself) is a largely forgettable series. It can be passed over unless one has followed the original manga or anime show, is a Japanese culture enthusiast, or is a Marie Kondo fan hunting for a similar show but with a comic twist. One might even wonder why this project was greenlit by Netflix in the first place.
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