Story by Tatsuya Matsuki
Art by Shiro Usazaki
Chapter 49 of Act-Age has us further delve into Araya’s past to see his journey to become an actor as well as his relationship with Iwao. Prior to this chapter, Kuroyama finally arrives at the theater to see Yonagi’s final scene as Campanella. Seeing Kuroyama blown away by both Araya and Yonagi’s performances further shows how much both of these actors have evolved through the stage production. Though as we saw last chapter, Araya’s performance has caused him to reflect on his feelings towards Iwao’s looming death, which transitions us into a flashback of Araya’s childhood. When he was younger, Araya lived an aimless life with no real passions, and little regard for those around him. Despite all this, Iwao was drawn to him from an early age and insisted that he become an actor. Iwao serves as a father-figure for Araya, looking out for his well-being and providing him with food and shelter so that he stays off the streets. That being said, Araya still doesn’t have the drive to pursue acting despite Iwao’s numerous attempts to convince him. By the end of the chapter, we finally see this mindset change as he encounters Arisa Hoshi following her meeting with Iwao, which at last ignites his interest in the acting world.
Usazaki’s artwork is as beautiful as always in this chapter, and is showcased at its best here through Araya’s facial expressions. Throughout most of the chapter, we see Araya main a constant expression of disinterest to the things around him. Even when he is slapped at the beginning of the chapter after making a woman angry, his face shows no reaction, showing the continual boredom that lingers within him. These expressions are contrasted at the end of the chapter when Araya encounters Arisa, at which point he evokes a feeling of awe with the smile that appears on his face. Usazaki’s ability to convey emotional changes so effectively through her use of reactions shots is a testament to her talent as an artist.
Based on the events of this chapter, it’s hard to say how much longer the series will stay in flashback territory. That being said, learning more about Araya’s emotional state and past has been fascinating so far and is providing further impact to the parallels that Araya is facing between his real life and his role as Giovanni. Whatever Matsuki has in store for readers in the coming chapters, I know I’ll be on the edge of my seat.