Act-Age artist Shiro Usazaki has finally broken her silence on the situation surrounding the cancelation of the series following the arrest of writer Tatsuya Matsuki on August 8. Previously, Usazaki had retweeted the two statements put out by the Weekly Shonen Jump editorial board regarding the situation, but this marks the first time that she has posted from her own account.
Speaking via Twitter, Usazaki put out a lengthy statement detailing her thoughts and feelings on Act-Age‘s cancelation. Firstly, she praised the victims of Matsuki’s sexual assault for their “enormous courage” in speaking out about the situation. In her own words: “There has yet to be a legal decision, but the fact that the victims came forward… must be taken seriously.”
As such, Usazaki says that she “accepted” all of the measures put forward by the Jump editorial board with regard to Act-Age’s cancelation and its future volume and merchandise releases. This is interesting as it implies that it was Shueisha that decided upon the current course of action, which is remarkably different from how they reacted to the situation surrounding Nobuhiro Watsuki and Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro.
In any case, Usazaki asked fans not to “turn their cries of disappointment” towards the victims given that Act-Age came to an end in such a magnanimous manner – it is ultimately not the victims that are to blame for the current course of action, and they will carry the scars of the assault with them forever. In her own words: “From now on, whenever they pass someone with a similar appearance, they will tense up and hurry along. They will fear walking around at night. They will feel fear and tension that should have had no place in their lives.”
It is quite telling that Usazaki had to go out of her way to make this clear. There are some fans of the series – a minority, for sure, but also quite a vocal one – that have made it their mission to lobby for the continuation of the series, saying such things as “The work has done no wrong.” But let me make our stance clear: we here at OTAQUEST stand in full and unconditional support of Tatsuya’s victims and Shueisha’s actions, and wish them a full and speedy recovery.
With Usazaki finally commenting on the situation, it feels as if a line has been put under the whole Act-Age situation. True, the feelings of heartbreak and betrayal will never go away, but at least now we know where Usazaki stands on the issue. We wish her well in the future and look forward to seeing her future works.