Bingo review 13: Happy
Some years ago, I had moved cross country for my first full-time job after finishing school (at least for the time being) and one thing that I started turning to for comfort from the stresses of a new job in a new area away from home was manga. Longish story short, it started with a magazine in the grocery store and grew from there. Ever since, manga has been a go-to for a feel-better read. I recently picked up The Way of the Househusband (vol. 1) and it just made me smile; thus it qualifies for the “Happy “ square.
It’s basically a gag manga, meaning a series of humorous vignettes, in this case about a former yakuza gangster who is now a stay-at-home husband to his career gal wife. The fun and funny comes from things like how he takes pride in his housecleaning skills which come from experience cleaning up crime scenes to hide the evidence, but is unsure about how a Roomba-type device will do, or how every time he goes out, he’s misunderstood based on how he looks. If he’s going out grocery shopping, former rivals think he’s shaking down the shop, or he’s pulled over by the police on his bike for being suspicious when he’s trying to catch up with his wife to get her the lunch she forgot to grab, or when babysitting a neighbor kid, he tries to entertain the boy by teaching him a gambling dice game (to which the child says “I don’t think this is an appropriate game”) etc. I’m actually not totally sure of his actual name, although I think it might be “Tatsu”; his wife calls him “Ta-chan” (a nickname of some sort) and a former associate calls him “Masa” (uncertain from context if this is first or last name) but also “boss Tatsu”, and everyone else who knew him in his former life just goes with “the Immortal Dragon”, but that’s ok. He’s got enough character without a specific name.
The art style plays along with the humor of the plot and characters; the angles and expressions on the main character’s face for example are classic to the gangster character that he apparently used to be, except that it happens when he’s trying out a diy chair craft, or dealing with a door to door salesman. The part that keeps things both funny and happy is that things always work out; like when former rivals corner him, he gives their leader mittens he got at a sale, reminding the leader of his mother and he (the other leader) gets all the feels and forgets his former rival is walking away. There’s also a section featuring the family cat Gin, in which we see what kitty gets up to when left alone for a while (mostly conversing with some of the other local animal/insect residents of the area).