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First Glance: A Signal of Affection

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Manga Adaptation by Ajia-do Animation Works

Premise

On the train, a deaf college student strikes up with a kind man. The two fell in love right away once she recognizes him from school.

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Jel’s verdict: Straightforward

I haven’t watched a straight-forward romance like this in a long, but it’s okay. The main couple’s prompt admission of their feelings for one another is kind of pleasant, but even that seems to be more typical of anime these days. We don’t have much time to get to know them beyond the fact that they are pleasant individuals with pleasant friends, and that’s about it. It all has this flawless, made-up romance shine to it, which is kind of off-putting to me personally but not in a terrible way.

The main character of A Sign of Affection, Yuki, is one of the novel’s distinctive features. She is deaf, and although though I’m not an authority on the subject, it seems like they did their homework before beginning. Yuki’s ability to read lips is one instance; this skill is frequently employed in the media as a sloppy workaround to enable deaf people to “hear” all that is being said. However, in this instance, Yuki is genuinely shown to be misinterpreting certain words and struggling to follow a conversation taking place across the room from her. It appears they are attempting to provide us an accurate depiction, so I’m glad they are not just brushing these things under the rug for convenience’s sake.

This episode was great all around. The interactions between the main characters are quite lovely, and they seem like nice people. I think the remaining episodes will focus on Itsuomi, the main character, learning sign language and the pair getting to know one another. Is that sufficient to support a whole series? Perhaps, but first I’d like to see a bit more.

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Artemis’ verdict: Cautiously Curious

I had to at least give this one a shot because shoujo romances seem to be harder to come by these days, especially when compared to all the action-adventure shounen fare and the typical isekai crammed into small spaces. Moreover, the cast is college-age, which makes this adaptation even more unusual among anime adaptations. For these reasons alone, A Sign of Affection is probably going to be appealing to a lot of viewers. However, it also seems like a really nice love tale, so I think I’ll be watching it through the season. Will it bring the genre into the modern era? I doubt it; aside from the deaf protagonist, the cast isn’t all that special, and although more varied representation is always a good thing, it’s not a personality feature in and of itself. I hope that A Sign of Affection keeps that in mind. Even for a slice-of-life romance drama, this was a cute start, but it was also quite slow, so I’m interested to see what else, if anything, the series can provide.

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