Actor’s arrest parallels his character’s story arc, and also has elements from Cinderella.

Tokyo. March 4. 1:35 a.m.

A thirty-something woman stands at an intersection in the Taishido neighborhood of the city’s peaceful Setagaya Ward, waiting for the signal to turn green so she can cross the road. Suddenly, a man grabs her from behind, groping her chest.

Luckily, Kamen Rider Duke, one of the characters from seminal tokusatsu (costumed superhero) franchise Kamen Rider, is on the scene! Surely he’ll defeat the evildoer, right?

Oh, wait. It was Kamen Rider Duke who was doing the groping.

On April 5, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police formally placed 30-year-old actor Tsunenori Aoki under arrest for indecent assault. Aoki, also a resident of Setagaya Ward, has admitted to the charges, saying ”I’ve been really busy with work, and I had too much to drink and got carried away.”

▼ Tsunenori Aoki (wearing glasses)

Aoki (who in addition to Kamen Rider Duke has portrayed anime characters in stage musicals such as Prince of Tennis’ Keigo Atobe and Princess Knight’s Captain Blood) had been drinking by himself at a nearby restaurant until about 1 in the morning. An examination of security camera footage showed him groping four different women within a 30-minute span after leaving the restaurant, and the woman he grabbed at the intersection suffered minor injuries to her neck and back.

In an odd parallel, Kamen Rider Duke, who initially appears in the Kamen Rider Gaim arcs of the franchise as a force of good, turns out to have a sinister, hidden darkness, eventually meeting an untimely death. While Aoki’s life is in no danger, it has been announced that he’s stepping down from a planned role in stage production Messiah, which opens in Tokyo on April 14. His scheduled appearance at the premiere of movie Yamikin Dogs 8, which also premiers on the 14th, has been cancelled as well

▼ Kamen Rider Duke

While Aoki’s actions on March 4 were far from heroic, one male passerby who saw what he was doing displayed a more gallant heart, attempting to subdue the actor. Aoki managed to shake him off and fled on foot, but not before dropping a packet of personal promotional documents he’d been carrying, including a photo of himself, which made it easy to determine the culprit.

Adding one last layer of irony, Aoki’s casting as Kamen Rider Duke is part of a broader trend in tokusatsu TV series; in recent years, producers have been stocking their shows with smooth-faced young men to appeal not just to the elementary school-age boys who make up their core audience, but also to their 30- and 40-something mothers who are also near the TV while their sons are watching. But while there are plenty of women who’d ordinarily be thrilled at the prospect of a chance encounter with Kamen Rider Duke, Aoki’s behavior means he’s definitely lost at least four potential fans.

Sources: Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko, Yahoo! Japan News/Daily
Top image: Pakutaso