WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Sakamoto Days Chapter 1 by Yuko Suzuki, Camellia Nieh and Eve Grant, now available from Viz Media.
Shonen Jump's new yakuza-comedy manga, Sakamoto Days, is about a legendary hitman, Taro Sakamoto, who quits his old life when he falls in love with a convenience store worker. Once revered in his line of work and feared by all, Sakamoto retires, marries and starts a family, becoming a normal member of society -- while gaining a dad bod.
However, being an expert hitman isn't something that one can completely grow out of. Though Sakamoto lives an idyllic life, running a convenience store with his wife Aoi, raising their daughter and being a stand-up citizen who helps around his neighborhood, his past still follows him. Sakamoto may no longer act on his desires but has thoughts of bloodshed when robbers or rude customers come into his store.
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"Once a hitman, always a hitman," or so Sakamoto's former organization says -- so they ask the clairvoyant hitman Shin to either win his former coworker over or take him out the hard way. However, even if Sakamoto's out of shape, he hasn't lost his touch; even with his powers, Shin can't land a hit on the newly reformed man. After an intense battle, Shin, a longtime admirer of Sakamoto, becomes even more of a fan when he realizes that Sakamoto just wants to protect his everyday life.
Sakamoto's former coworkers don't share his sentiments, though. Failing to assassinate Sakamoto angers them and incites an ambush. Though Shin's telepathic skills help him avoid attacks, he's severely outnumbered -- until Sakamoto comes to save him, revealing his secret arsenal of weapons. After killing off the organization, Sakamoto offers Shin a job at the convenience store. That's how Sakamoto Days makes its first impressions as a slapstick comedy which could be one of Shonen Jump's sleeper hits.
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Sakamoto Days seems to take inspiration from Way of the Househusband, a lovable gag manga where a yakuza gives up his career to support his designer wife. With great art, a "gap moe" protagonist and a lot of laughs, Way of the Househusband has already received a live-action adaptation and is getting a Netflix anime in 2021.
It's no wonder that Shonen Jump launched a similar series. Sakamoto Days, however, kicks it up a notch, adding a supernatural element with a character who can read minds. So far, Sakamoto and Shin's dynamic is reflective of Immortal Tatsu and Masa's -- a mentor who has reformed his ways paired with a "delinquent" with a heart of gold. However, Shin seems a bit more intelligent than Masa, especially since he has powers. Sakamoto Days also appears more plot-driven than Way of the House Husband, and its fight scenes fit in with Jump's general action focus.
Hopefully, Shin isn't the only one with powers in this series, and Sakamoto's wife and daughter will be featured more. Shonen Jump is catered towards young boys, which too often means that women are either side characters or not as developed as men. Still, Sakamoto gave up his life for his wife, so it'd be nice to see more of who she is rather than just her pretty face. Aoi also seems to know of her husband's past, so that could add to plot development, or to the series' wacky hijinks. It'd also be great to learn more about Sakamoto's daughter and most importantly, see if she's inherited her dad's penchant for killing.
Though Sakamoto Days only has one chapter so far, it has a lot of potential to be a long-running Jump hit. The yakuza-comedy genre has been around since GTO in the '90s, but with Way of the Househusband's debut, its popularity has risen again. If Sakamoto Days keeps entertaining, we may see even more entries in this genre.