Story by Tatsuya Matsuki
Art by Shiro Usazaki
Chapter 52 of Act-Age brings an end to the first performance of Iwao’s final production. With the curtain closing, Araya has come to accept Iwao’s death, and that it is his duty to live on to honor him. Araya’s journey to understand his own emotions has been fascinating over the past few weeks, as it has allowed us to delve into what truly drives his motivation for acting. Of course, our main character Yonagi, while not being in the spotlight for a while, has by far had the most development in this arc. Throughout all the tension of the production’s opening night, Yonagi has been able to maintain her composure and imbue confidence in her fellow cast members. While she felt like a burden during the filming of Death Island, Yonagi seems to have overcome this insecurity and gain confidence in her acting abilities. As the cast gives their curtain call to end the night, we see that news has already spread of Iwao’s death to the public. While Arisa says that the death of the prominent producer will cause a stir, Chiyoko argues that today will also be remembered as the birth of a new star.
Usazaki continues her trend of masterfully conveying emotions and creating narrative immersion through her artwork. The final scene of the play is drawn and paneled in a cinematic manner that helps distinguish it from the non-performance portions of the chapter. Araya’s expressions and mannerisms are also portrayed distinctly when he’s on and off stage, showing the contrast between him and his character Giovanni. The highlight of this week’s art is the two-page spread when we see Yonagi’s reaction to the crowd at the curtain call. The sheer spectacle that we see from the perspective of the actors instills how their hard work has paid off, and despite its hiccups, the opening night was a success overall.
With the Stage Production arc concluded, it seems that the series will now be heading into new and unknown territory. So far, Yonagi has tackled both film and the stage, so it’ll be interesting if she now dives into a new acting medium or if her next role will be within the former two. This also surely not the last we’ll see of Akira and Araya considering how much focus they got in this arc, so their fates will be worth keeping an eye on as well. Whatever is in store for the manga’s future, I’m confident Act-Age will continue to be as captivating as ever.