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[A Sign of Affection]
AKA: ゆびさきと恋々; Yubisaki to Renren (translates to "Fingertips and Affection", per Wiki)
Genre: Shoujo
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll.
Content Rating: PG-13 (Mature themes.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: My Love Story; Skip and Loafer; A Silent Voice
Notes: Based on manga by suu Morishita, published by Kodansha in Dessert

A Sign of Affection


Yuki Itose is deaf, and has never been in love- until she meets Itsuomi Nagi, whom she's instantly smitten with. Fortunately, he's willing to communicate with her on her own terms. (Yuki's "terms" include lip reading, sign language, and texting on her phone.)


Yuki is best described as emotionally "gushing", while Itsuomi is everything a young woman might want- tall, incredibly handsome, and unfailingly considerate. (The one time he makes a surprising move on her, it's because he misinterpreted her signing. The STORY wants us to believe that, too.) He seemed an awfully smooth character, and since few of us are as perfect as we try to appear at first, I was looking for some flaw in the guy, to at least make him more interesting; every story needs some kind of conflict. Or, even if they were going to make Itsuomi Yuki's flawless "knight in shining armor", there needed to be at least a "dragon" (some threat to their relationship) that required slaying, but we've only a couple of metaphorical Goblins here, and as we all know from Isekai shows, Goblins are only Level 1 threats. (Parents are not so much an issue here, since our cast is college-age.)

Goblin #1 is Oushi Ashioki. He's a longtime acquaintance of Yuki's (though not exactly a childhood friend) who's learned sign language to communicate with Yuki. (As Itsuomi will also do; Itsuomi is, of course, enthusiastic, and adept, at learning new forms of communication.) While Oushi later reveals he's in love with Yuki, he's usually curt with her, and treats her as someone who needs "minding", insisting she stay within her "limits". Yuki acts surprised when she finally learns his feelings, but she obviously knows he's being overprotective of her (she feels the need to lie to him about her destination, when she goes on an early date with Itsuomi.) Did it ever occur to her to wonder WHY he was this way? Anyway, it's obvious that Oushi's thing with Yuki was always VERY one-sided. (He didn't even have her phone number; someone eventually gives it to him, which was rather bad judgment, since his not having it meant, perhaps, that she never WANTED him to have it.)

Goblin #2 is Emma Nakasono; she's a longtime acquaintance of Itsuomi's, and perhaps a more credible threat to our lead couple. As with Oushi, she perhaps assumes a deeper relationship with the person she's crushing on than actually exists. There's a third wheel here, though: one Shin Iryu, a hairdresser who's been crushing on Emma for a long time, and has been hanging out with BOTH Itsuomi and Emma, ostensibly because he's a close friend of Itsuomi's too. (Shin has a bit of a martyr complex here, "sacrificing" his love for Emma for the happiness of Emma and Itsuomi, but if he were a TRUE martyr he would of course leave Emma and Itsuomi alone together; whether consciously or not, his insistence on their being a threesome signals that he DOES still have interest in her himself.)

A pair of potential lovers who DO know that couples need some "alone time" is Kyouya Nagi and Rin Fujishiro. Kyouya is Itsuomi's cousin, and they're both bartenders at the same bar, while Rin is a close friend of Yuki's. This pair never gets nearly as much attention as Itsuomi and Yuki- in fact, they're sometimes relegated to being a kind of Greek Chorus to our primary pair. Even though they're maybe intrinsically a little less interesting than Itsuomi and Yuki, I STILL wished we'd seen a little more of their dating, just for a break from the leads, AND because there's never too much love in the world.

Oh, before I go: Itsuomi travels a great deal, because he likes learning languages (he speaks three, and is learning sign for Yuki's sake), and he likes experiencing other cultures. His intended career path sounds a LOT like that of one of my wife's relatives, who is in charge of the International Students program at a small college, and teaches English As A Second Language. I don't know if the remuneration for this sort of career is better in Japan. But my wife's relative is only able to get by with some extra income from HIS wife's business. We see Yuki get a part-time job during the series; maybe she shouldn't plan on giving it up.

They say the course of True Love never runs smooth, therefore I guess this can't be True Love. What we have here is Idealist's Shoujo. Personally, I like my characters a bit more idiosyncratic. (I'll even take prickly, like Hori in Horimiya.) But, as with Akebi's Sailor Uniform, I recognize that some folks love a pure "feel good" show, and this certainly IS one. It's implied that even the Odd One Out may not stay so forever. So I weighted the rating accordingly.Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: No fanservice, no sex, and, while tempers may flare, there's really not much violence either. We'll say PG-13 for mature themes.

Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll video stream
Review Status: Full (12/12)
A Sign of Affection © 2024 suu Morishita, Kodansha/ A Sign of Affection Production Committee
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