A Sign of Affection Volumes 6 & 7 Review

Itsuomi is an older college student who can speak multiple languages; Yuki is a younger college student who’s completely deaf. The two are drawn to each other regardless, and begin dating but outside parties aren’t so keen on their new relationship. Long-time friend Emma, who’s loved Itsuomi for years, is keen to get straight answers out of him. Whereas Yuki’s fellow sign language friend Oushi realises he has feelings for her now that she’s taken. But with Itsuomi’s long-term plans to travel the world, and Yuki just starting to find her feet in a new job and relationship, can the pair work their way through the issues and to each other?

With the anime adaptation of this romance series due in January 2024, the latest volumes really kick the relationship of the main couple into high gear. Volume 6 starts with the end of Itsuomi and Yuki’s first official date, but things escalate quickly from there, with Itsuomi being forward with not just how his love for languages and travelling grew, but also how he finds his feelings for Yuki precious and starting to grow. Yuki is understandably overwhelmed, but also wants to be honest about her feelings for him too. The real stars of this volume however are Emma and Oushi, for different reasons. Emma has loved Itsuomi for years and having found out about his new girlfriend in the previous volume, she decides to confront him herself (which matches her character, she’s always been the more forward one). She decides to take him to an arcade, hoping the loud noises will dull the heartache of being rejected, but still, it’s very telling of their relationship in this scene. Itsuomi has been very clear that he’s not interested in her in that way, and finds her method of communicating with him frustrating, whereas Emma feels entitled to an explanation of not just his feelings but also the girl who ‘stole her man’ (even though she has no right to, as they were never an item). I also really liked the minor fourth-wall break in this section, where Emma starts to reminisce about her first encounter with Itsuomi, only for him to break her out of it before it can even begin. It’s a funny moment but also significant as Emma tries to make the moment all about HER feelings, whereas Itsuomi’s decision to date Yuki has nothing to do with her. It’s a very human, and relatable moment, for anyone who’s ever been on either side of such a situation.

Then there’s Oushi, who was introduced as Yuki’s rather rude friend who happens to know sign language but seems to dislike any male who comes near her. In the previous volume, Itsuomi picks up right away that he likes Yuki, but tries to be friendly about it, realising that Oushi just doesn’t know how to communicate how he feels. Itsuomi is a really good guy to have not judged Oushi’s feelings but instead try to build a friendship between them, which is why Oushi’s so mad that Yuki has fallen for him. So, when Oushi sees Itsuomi wandering off with a mystery girl (Emma in this case) he immediately thinks he’s cheating, but also recognises that he just WANTS it to be that way so he can sweep Yuki away. This builds up to a nice moment where he’s caught in the rain, and Yuki ends up offering her umbrella, leading to Oushi hugging her in a very affection way for Yuki to finally pick up on his emotions. This scene plays differently to the Itsuomi and Emma situation; Oushi has feelings for Yuki that makes him feel protective and possessive of her, but he also recognises that he’s not in the right here. He tries to sign to Yuki that everything is OK, but she’s not so convinced. It’s a different kind of miscommunication between each couple; for Itsuomi and Emma, she’s the one who isn’t listening to another’s feelings and boundaries, whereas for Oushi and Yuki, he’s the one who’s struggling to communicate, despite having all the tools and realising too late that he had every opportunity to do so.

Volume 7 picks up right where Volume 6 left off. Yuki agrees to spend the night at Itsuomi’s place, but he’s drunk. The pair do get more intimate than before but Itsuomi ends up admitting that he’d like her to move into his spare room. On one hand, this relationship is moving very fast, and you can understand Yuki’s hesitation and feeling overwhelmed by such an offer. But as we get further into the volume, Itsuomi’s rash proposal makes more sense, with his long-term plans to travel and wanting to make the most of their relationship now. However, we also learn more about Yuki’s self-doubts and get a really nice look at her inner everyday life. Because she’s deaf, it’s common for her not to notice thing like pens dropping, or people trying to grab her attention, and so in any form of long-term relationship, the other person will have the extra mental work of living with her condition, as much as she does. This puts a lot of doubts into Yuki’s mind. It’s these little details about Yuki’s life that really show how much thought, love, and attention that the mangaka has gone through to portray how this very down-to-earth and realistic relationship with a deaf person might be. It all builds up to a beautiful moment between the pair, leaving with a cliff-hanger for Volume 8 to pick up on.

Volume 7 also really has a great side-story with Oushi too. After he gets drunk and finally confesses to his friend group why he’s been so troubled lately, his friends try to comfort him and make a long-term plan to eventually win Yuki over. In the midst of this, we’re treated to a really funny ‘Mitoki Theatre’ where the friends imagine a Snow White-esque tale, casting Oushi as a poor witch with a magic mirror, telling him that his ‘Princess’ Yuki loves ‘Prince’ Itsuomi, and the said Prince is actually evil and takes poor Yuki away from Oushi. Not only is it really beautifully drawn (Itsuomi makes for one handsome prince) but it’s telling that Oushi is cast as the ‘witch’, who is normally the villain in these types of stories, a reflection of his self-loathing? Sadly, Emma’s side story in this volume isn’t as interesting. She’s now decided to give a relationship with Shin a go (Shin has loved Emma for years, but knew she longed for Itsuomi, and so never acted on his feelings until recently), but it doesn’t feel earned. The pair make plans for their first date, and it’s sweet that Emma makes the connection that Shin should be the one who chooses where to go (Emma is super popular and persuasive so tends to do her own thing) but it’s too rushed to feel believable. Hopefully future volumes will give the audience more reasons to feel connected to this new pair.

Christine Dashiell continues to translate the series and there’s some translation notes at the back of Volume 6, but not #7. Weirdly, Volume 7 has the emotional climax, only for the very next page to be an ad for Go! Go! Loser Ranger which just breaks the tension immediately and made me laugh. It would have been nice to have a translation note or even just a blank page between the emotional cliffhanger and the manga ad, to break away from the story gently without killing the mood entirely.

A Sign of Affection continues to be an excellent romance series, with distinct detail into a life of a deaf person and the challenges that comes with it, whilst also exploring different issues with communication across the board. I can’t wait to see how it continues in Volume 8, and how the anime adaptation will go in January 2024!

8 / 10


By day, I work in the television industry. By night, I'm a writer for Anime UK News. Twitter: @lilithdarkstorm

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