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Tatsuya Matsuki

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First tankōbon volume cover of manga Act Age, featuring main character Kei Yonagi

Tatsuya Matsumoto (born 1994), better known by his pen name Tatsuya Matsuki, is a manga writer for the Japanese manga series Act-Age. Act-Age is written by Tatsuya Matsuki and illustrated by Shiro Usazaki, and was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from January 2018 to August 2020, with its chapters collected into 12 tankōbon volumes.

Act Age writer's arrest

In 2020, at 29 years-of-age, Matsuki was arrested on June 18th after he had allegedly groped the breast of a "middle school" teenaged female ("middle school" generally refers to ages 12 to 15 in Japan), at around 8:00 p.m. at night. According to police, the young female was walking in the Nakano ward of Tokyo on June 18 at around 8:00 p.m. when Matsuki approached her from behind on a bicycle, touched her on her chest. Afterward, he fled the scene on the bicycle and the young female went to the police, who analyzed security camera footage to investigate. Police discovered through security footage that about an hour later, a similar event occurred on a nearby Nakano road with a different female middle school student, involving someone who resembled Matsuki. When met by police, Matsuki reportedly told police there was "generally nothing incorrect" about the accusation, before being taken into custody. Matsuki was indicted for the second of these events, and he accepted this charge in court,[1] expressing regret and remorse for his behavior and explaining that he acted out and out-of-character under duress; that he harbored many worries and anxieties but could not talk about them and became desperate. He told the court that he has a complex towards women, and acted it out on a stranger.

Matsuki’s trial came to a close in Tokyo District Court on Dec 23. The prosecution had sought a 18-month prison sentence without suspension, while defense had sought a suspended sentence, arguing that the defendant had received punishment in society such as the cancellation of his manga series. The presiding judge Tota Akamatsu sentenced him to 1 year and 6 months as the prosecution had been seeking, but with a suspended sentence for 3 years as the defense had sought. This means that if Matsuki is not arrested for the same behavior for the next 3 years, he will not serve time in prison.

The cancellation of Act Age manga

Before its cancellation, the manga he had written the story for was popular. As of February 2019, the first five volumes of the manga had 750,000 copies in circulation. As of June 2020, the first eleven volumes of the manga had over 3 million copies in circulation.

The series ranked third on the "Nationwide Bookstore Employees' Recommended Comics of 2018". In April 2019, it was nominated for Best Shōnen Manga at the 43nd annual Kodansha Manga Awards. In December 2019, Brutus magazine listed Act-Age on their "Most Dangerous Manga" list, which included works with the most "stimulating" and thought-provoking themes. The series ranked sixth in a 2020 poll conducted by AnimeJapan of "Most Wanted Anime Adaptation". In June 2020, it was announced the manga would receive a stage play adaptation in 2022 titled Act-Age: Night on the Galactic Railroad. The play would be produced by talent agency Horipro, and directed and written by Shū Matsui. However, on August 11, 2020, after Matsuki's arrest and the manga cancellation, Horipro announced the cancellation of the stage play.

The editors of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine had announced on August 10 that they canceled the serialization of the manga. The chapter that appeared in 2020's combined 36th and 37th issue, which shipped on August 11, is the final chapter. Shueisha also ceased sales and distribution of the manga's physical and digital volumes. The American counterparts were harsher in censoring the work, with Viz Media and Manga Plus deciding to not publish the series' final chapter on their platforms. While the first 2 volumes had been released in English by Viz Media on July 7 and September 1, 2020, respectively, following Matsuki's arrest, Viz Media removed its listing of further volumes.

The plot of Act Age

The story focuses on Kei Yonagi, a high school girl who strives to become an actress. She lives with her two younger siblings, after their father left them and their mother died. Kei has an extreme talent for method acting, to the point where she loses track of reality while acting. She uses memories from her own past to fully get into the role, making her approach extremely immersive to the point where she gets lost in the role and becomes unable to distinguish fiction and reality. At an audition, some speculate that acting of this intensity could be self-destructive, and cite that as a reason for not accepting her. However, Kei catches the eye of the highly acclaimed director Sumiji Kuroyama, who steps forward with the intent of bringing out her full potential.