Act-Age is a story about a struggling girl becoming struggling actor. Kei Yonagi is taking care of her two younger siblings after her mother's death and her father's abandonment, and she’s trying to make it as an actor in order to pay the bills (after having several failed attempts at all kinds of other jobs). Yonagi goes on an audition for an acting agency, and her ability to get lost in the scene scares the production team. Everyone she meets thinks that she has an uncanny talent, but she can’t separate reality from fiction when she’s acting, which could be dangerous. One director, Sumiji, thinks she has the natural ability to be a super star, so he takes her under his wing and tries to nurture her talent without destroying her.
I thought that this was actually a really interesting story. I’m not sure how accurate it is to the way movies are made in Japan, but it does have insight into the film industry itself. I really want to see more about how this talent/blur of reality affects Yonagi, and not just in ways that make it difficult for her to find a job. In one of the practices set forth by Sumiji, he has her play an extra in Edo-period Japan where she has to watch a child killed by a soldier for disrupting the Shogun's day, and she becomes so immersed in the scene that she really becomes a villager in the Edo period. It will be fun seeing the different situations Yonagi gets into while she's learning how to act. Also, I really appreciated the art by Shiro Usazaki, except for the one fly-away hair on the top of Yonagi's head that I really just want to clip. Everything else is great. The scenery is very detailed, and characters are nuanced and distinct.
VIZ has rated this for Teen and that seems appropriate. There are some hints at nudity as Yonagi and siblings are bathing, but no details.
Sara's Rating: 8/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
This review was made possible with an advanced reader copy from the publisher through Edelweiss.
Tags: Rating: 8/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Realistic Fiction
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