Usually, when I do these manga first impressions, I like to read the first two or three volumes of something. There’s no rule stating that I have to do that, but I want to understand the general vibe of the series in question. This is a little different.
I only read a single volume of A Sign of Affection, but I feel like that was more than enough to understand what the series is all about, and I have plenty to talk about. I definitely didn’t only read one because I’m having trouble buying the other volumes.
A Sign of Affection is pretty self-explanatory. It’s your typical cute shoujo manga with an adorable girl and hot guy falling in love. The selling point is that the aforementioned cute girl is deaf and uses sign language, which is where the name comes from.
That turns it from being a pretty generic rom-com into a really fascinating look at a relationship between someone who is and someone who isn’t deaf and how they interact with each other and get along despite coming from such different worlds.
While I won’t say it isn’t slightly concerning at times, it shows us a really heartwarming and fascinating look at love and building relationships that I really don’t see all that much.
Yuki is about the most adorable lead you could have for this story, and I think that’s pretty much the point. She’s inherently adorable, but when you add in the fact that she is deaf and can’t really speak much because of it, it makes her body language much more exaggerated like when she waves violently or smiles, she’s, for lack of a better word, cute, and that’s about as much the point of her character as it is to make Itsuomi hot.
While I can’t say I have a perfect understanding of what 19-year-old girls are into these days, Yuki seems to be obsessed with his long fingers, hands in general, and his forcefulness. While I can understand how that can be attractive, it is mildly concerning, but again, I think that’s the point.
While they haven’t really gone too in-depth about it, Itsuomi’s actual intentions with Yuki are unknown. She very clearly wants to love him, but it’s fairly one-sided. Itsuomi does seem to be fond of her, but less like a romantic partner or even a friend and more like a pet. He continues to randomly pat her head out of nowhere, call her cute at weird times, and barges into her life randomly wherever he wants. These are all things that are a little fishy on their own, but when you consider that Yuki is deaf, it makes the whole thing a lot more interesting.
It opens up a bigger conversation about whether she should be treated any differently because she’s deaf or whether she should be allowed to branch out and see things through. One character very explicitly states that Itsuomi is either toying with her or using her to fill his own ego, which, to be fair, is possible.
But that then shows that he clearly doesn’t think of her as a friend and instead the deaf girl, implying that nobody could ever actually like her for her. But then there’s the fact that being deaf is part of her, so that’s something to consider as well. There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff going on, and that’s the biggest reason I was curious about this manga to begin with.
With that being said, I can’t say that some of the normal shojo tropes aren’t a little creepier than normal here. I already find the general forcefulness that men have in these stories to be a little off-putting, but when you add in the fact that this guy’s target is a girl that could be more vulnerable, it worries me a bit more.
Especially when the story seems pretty sensitive to her limitations by specifically calling characters out for approaching her from behind. It’s equally messed up for Itsuomi to go around touching her whenever he wants, taking her hand, and doing all of these things when she can’t as easily tell him not to. That and her first reaction is that it’s ok if it’s him, which tells me she needs to care about herself more. He’s done nothing to deserve that trust.
Again, with the general sense of maturity the manga seems to have with its premise, I believe a lot of these things will be addressed with time, but it is fascinating to think about, and that’s all you really need in the end.
A Sign of Affection is a really intriguing manga that I think a lot of people would have a good time with. More than that, though, it’s unique and doesn’t give us just another run-of-the-mill lead, but a main character who has limitations in life and shows us how she can overcome them.
Any story that showcases these types of characters more will always be good in my book, especially when it does seem to have a decent understanding of the story it’s trying to tell. At a first glance, it’s good stuff. Check it out if you want. I will now continue to track down the other volumes. Wish me luck.
Thank you very much for reading
Seriously, though, don’t go around randomly touching anyone. It will likely get you in jail.