- Mangaka : Suzuki, Yuto
- Publisher : VIZ
- Genre : Action, Comedy, Supernatural
- Published : April 2022 — present
Family Business in Familiar Territory
The idea of hitmen and assassins settling into daily life has become a little sub-genre all its own in recent years. From the roaring success of something like Spy x Family to the bold art style and dark comedy of Gokushufudou (The Way of the Househusband), there are plenty of action-comedy series focused on professional killers.
Sakamoto Days — the debut serialized manga from Suzuki Yuto — enters the scene with stiff competition. It distinguishes itself with a heavy emphasis on the ‘found family’ trope but stumbles when it comes to comedic timing.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review Sakamoto Days, Volume 1!
Enter Taro Sakamoto — a legendary hitman of the mysterious ‘Order’, renowned and feared in equal measure for his assassination skills. At the peak of his career, the unexpected happened - he met a woman, fell in love, had a daughter, and got chubby!
Now, this legendary hitman is running a convenience store in the outskirts of Tokyo, eating cup ramen for breakfast, and helping out his community as a jack-of-all-trades. His peaceful life is soon upended when a clairvoyant hitman named Shin comes to murder him in revenge for leaving the Order. Shin, however, learns the peaceful way of Sakamoto’s family life and pledges to follow Sakamoto and help defend his way of life!
True to its name, Sakamoto Days is mostly an action-packed slice-of-life, following Sakamoto as he tries to enjoy his life as a family man, while accidentally getting involved in all manner of dangerous incidents along the way. His ruthless instincts haven’t left him behind, though... he just has to be careful not to go overboard, because his wife has forbidden him from killing!
The artwork in Sakamoto Days is enjoyable, with a detailed look that fits right alongside contemporaries such as Spy x Family, or even a shounen series like One Punch Man. The character designs have a retro feel to them, like a product of Toriyama Akira’s design blended with modern sensibilities, which helps distinguish Sakamoto Days from other similar manga.
1. Slapstick Action & Clairvoyance
Sakamoto might be overweight and seeking a peaceful life, but he’s lost none of his razor-sharp edge. There’s something genuinely entertaining about seeing a chubby storekeeper go to town on some thugs or bus-jackers, but even better is Sakamoto’s working relationship with Shin.
As a clairvoyant, Shin can read people’s thoughts around him, and then communicate via telepathy to Sakamoto. This allows the two to work in tandem, producing some excellent fight scenes that combine slapstick-style comedy with dynamic action. It’s a delicate line that Sakamoto Days walks with ease.
1. Just A Face In The Crowd
It’s incredibly hard to read — and particularly, to review — Sakamoto Days without comparing it to other, similar series, many of which share the same publisher. The most obvious comparison is to Gokushufudou (The Way of the Househusband), which stars a former yakuza boss who now lives a domestic life. There’s also Spy x Family, which features a spy, a hitwoman, and a telepathic daughter all put together in a fake family.
Here, Sakamoto Days really struggles to earn its place. The Way of the Househusband has a huge personality thanks to its distinctive art style and the brilliantly comedic expressions of Tatsu. And compared to Spy x Family, there’s a distinct lack of purpose to be found in Sakamoto Days, although we could take a guess at where the storyline might be headed.
With other extremely similar titles, it’s hard to recommend Sakamoto Days ahead of its better competitors, unless you’ve already read those and are looking for more of the same genre.
2. Content Advisory
There’s another thing that Sakamoto Days seems to struggle with — knowing whether it’s a gory series or not. With a heavy emphasis on the “no-kill policy”, most of the action is slapstick in nature (and we’ll just pretend that bad guys are okay when they get a fridge dropped on their backs). That, by itself, is fine — plenty of other similar series are opting for bloodless action.
Where Sakamoto Days gets confusing is the sudden, quite jarring, depictions of beheadings or blood-sprays. Perhaps that’s been done to emphasize that the “bad guys are bad”, since it’s mostly the enemies that engage in such bloodlust, but the tonal whiplash is not only disorientating but a little off-putting.
Taken in isolation, entirely removed from other titles on the market, Sakamoto Days is an enjoyable work. The characters are entertaining, the premise has room to grow, and the slice-of-life/action crossover has some real promise given a few volumes.
But Sakamoto Days doesn’t exist in a vacuum — its own publisher has two very similar titles available, not to mention an entire marketplace flooded with action-comedy titles. Debut titles often struggle to stand out, and unfortunately, Sakamoto Days just doesn’t have enough defining attributes to shine amidst its competitors.
Have you read Sakamoto Days? Are you thinking about picking it up? Let’s chat down in the comments below, and please remember to like the article up above! Thanks for reading!!