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At San Diego Comic Con this year, a manga series named The Way of the Househusband won the Eisner Award for Best Humour Publication of 2020.
The illustrious Eisner Awards are given out for creative achievement in the American comic book industry, and have been running since 1988. It’s quite rare for a manga series to receive one of these accolades, so in celebration we come bearing a review of Kousuke Oono’s hilarious, award-winning series, plus some other great comedy manga that you should definitely check out!
By Kousuke Oono
The Immortal Dragon. A legendary yakuza said to have defeated ten rival clans in a single night, unarmed. A scarred, rugged man with a glare that will freeze you to your very core. A man so ruthless, so professional, that he will always complete his duties, without hesitation. And what are these duties, you may ask? Well, be warned. It can get a bit… messy.
Winner of the 2020 Eisner Award for Best Humour Publication, The Way of the Househusband (or Gokushufudou) is an absurdist comedy manga set around the daily life of an ex-yakuza named Tatsu. Having given up a life of violence, Tatsu now spends his time as a devoted househusband, cooking and cleaning to help his wife, Miku. However, old habits die hard, and Tatsu often ends up causing misunderstandings through his unique looks and mannerisms.
This series is one of the best comedy series I have ever read. Oono is a master of using contrasting contexts to comedic effect, having the stoic Tatsu taking his household chores way too seriously. Watching Tatsu blend his serious yakuza attitude with mundane activities like laundry and vacuuming is something that always stays fresh, and the reactions of those around him are so well timed and presented that it elevates the humour to a whole new level.
If you are looking for a nice easy manga to read, with hilarious moments and some genuinely good housework advice, then you can’t get any better than this series.
By Aka Akasaka
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘love is a battlefield’? Well, this series takes that idiom and ramps it up to eleven. In love, the first person to confess loses, and puts themselves in a position of lower power against their loved one. This is the mindset of both Kaguya Shinomiya and Miyuki Shirogane, members of the Student Council at Shuchiin Academy. Instead of being honest with their feelings for each other, the pair have entered a ‘geniuses’ war of love and brains’ to try and make each other confess. Will they be able to make each other confess? Or will their constant scheming only push them further apart?
Kaguya-sama: Love is War is the quintessential modern romantic comedy. It is a self-aware series, including deconstructions and subversions of popular romantic tropes that have become iconic in Japanese romantic comedy. While it is an appropriate series for manga fans both new and old, seasoned fans will gain an extra level of enjoyment from the fresh new look at some of the long existing tropes of the genre.
With that being said, Kaguya-sama is still an amazing series in its own right. While it is a romance series at its core, this is not the sole focus, and there is plenty of incredible comedy and slice-of-life aspects for people who prefer that over romance. The relationships between characters are handled maturely and realistically, even outside of the “main” relationships like Kaguya and Miyuki. The series also handles themes relevant to teens without shying away from them, addressing in a natural way that is very relatable for the readers. All in all, even if you would not call yourself a romance fan, Kaguya-sama has something for everyone, and is a must-read manga series.
By Tatsuya Endo
Spy x Family is a fun and light-hearted comedy manga from Tatsuya Endo. Follow the story of the super-spy, Twilight, as he attempts to infiltrate a prestigious academy with the help of his adoptive daughter Anya and newlywed wife Yor.
The twist? His new wife is also hiding something – she is one of the most prolific and dangerous assassins on the opposing side to Twilight in the ongoing cold war, and is marrying him so she is not placed under suspicion for being single. Their daughter Anya is also unusual – she is an orphaned esper who can read minds and is aware of both of her parents’ identities!
With all three of these characters having to juggle both their secrets and their newfound family, will they stick with each other through both the good and the bad? Or will the stresses of both the job and a family prove too much for them?
Spy x Family is what you could consider a ‘dark horse’ among popular manga titles. Originally published in March of 2019, this series has quickly become a strong competitor against other manga with more longevity and anime adaptations behind them, and for good reason. While there is some political intrigue and action, as is typical of the spy genre, the main driving force behind the series is the comedy and the heartfelt family moments.
Endo’s illustrations are also a credit to the series, bringing scenes to life such as Twilight chasing down a group of enemies, Yor defending her family from an attack, and Any being an incredibly smug child. If you are looking for a fresh new feel-good manga, then Spy x Family is for you!