Our review of the first episodes of A Sign of Affection, the new shojo anime available on Crunchyroll which tells the story of Yuki, a deaf girl struggling between university and the discovery of love.
The new year has brought on Crunchyroll several interesting new titles: anime that have often already lived a flourishing life on paper or on the web and whose adaptation has long been awaited by readers, even with a certain fear. It is the case of A Sign of Affection (Yubisaki to renren), an already much appreciated shojo, one story of love and friendship which tells of the difficulty of recognizing and communicating one’s feelings to others but from a different point of view: that of a deaf girl who, having reached university, decides to expand that world made up of customs and certainties, a calm and silent world that Now he’s starting to come alive and stay close to her.
The splendid book was released on the same themes in 2016 A Silent Voice – The shape of the voice, a film that went deep into the souls of its characters: fragile teenagers who, in facing their painful problems, learned to shorten distances by relating to their peers. The manga and therefore the anime of Sū Morishita, however, does not delve into the psyche of the characters in depth, at least not right away, but somehow lets us discover them little by little and as we will see in this reviewthe first episodes released from January 6, 2024 A Sign of Affection they still turn out to be one pleasant viewingan adaptation that is the result of several interesting precautions but is the victim of a few too many rhetorical elements.
A world to discover in the plot
Yuki Itose is a student and is deaf from birth. Even though she wears a hearing aid, he cannot distinguish her sounds and for this reason the new university life that she is now undertaking turns out to be an enormous change for her. One day while she is on a train she is rescued from an embarrassing situation by a mysterious white-haired boy who seems to know how to speak a foreign language; the stranger turns out to be Itsuomi Nagi, a language student who attends the same school as him. Helped by her friend Rin, Yuki will try to get closer and closer to Itsuomi, an extremely frank person, so different from anyone else she knows, whose world seems boundless. The girl will slowly start to try something more than a friendship for her university friend and in an attempt to get closer and closer to him, Itsuomi will also begin to feel a certain curiosity towards her and sign language.
Deciding for yourself in shojo
The anime A Sign of Affection from the first episodes seems to be the faithful adaptation we would have expected. Starting from the first minutes you will be catapulted into the pink and silent world of the protagonist, in her desire to broaden her horizons, to go beyond those limits that have delimited a comfortable space for her over the years but which now that she is an adult are too tight for her. Itsuomi with his impetuosity will open a first glimmer of hope, a window through which Yuki can glimpse something lively and boundless, sometimes frightening but incredibly fascinating. This is definitely the aspect we liked most about the story: the tell the story of the discovery of the world of a young woman in search of her independenceconquest after conquest, in a succession of new experiences, new sensations and feelings to give a name to.
If Yuki manages to slowly come out of his shell, we cannot say the same for series in general which remains forced, at least for now, into the most classic shojo clichés, stringing together a series of situations one after the other that re-propose the classic “romance” that the titles belonging to this genre have in common. All the boys who gravitate around the protagonist are not only of an unusual charm and beauty, but they feel obliged to treat her as if she never had a real will to exercise on her life, a leaf in the wind constantly pushed by feelings. .. but too often someone else’s. Yes, we know these are usually the mechanisms that are highly tested and appreciated by readers who love this type of narration, but over the years many titles belonging to this target have shown us that we can always play and review stereotypes to create something deeper and more interesting. (Someone said Toradora?)
A good technical level
If so the story, although moving us, did not fully convince us we cannot say the same thing regarding the animation which was entrusted to Ajia-do Animation Worksa historic Japanese study, perhaps not among the best known, at least here in the West, but which otherwise young people like us will have already seen thanks to the series The Real Ghostbusters of 1986 (in collaboration with DiC Entertainment) and the second act of the anime Emma: A Victorian Romance of 2007. However, their production is quite long and we advise you to take a look at it, also because the quality of this A Sign of Affection there is very little to say.
The style of the manga is impeccably rendered even on screen, the fluidity with which some characters use sign language and the work that has been done on this aspect is impressive and extremely accurate. Yuki communicates with others through her hands, her gaze and the movements of her body, all elements that have been rendered with enormous naturalness thanks to a fluidity that is especially noticeable in the main characters and which denotes the qualities that the animators were able to instill in the project.
In summarizing our review of the first episodes of A Sign of Affection we can say that the anime adaptation, streaming on Crunchyroll, remains quite faithful to the manga from which it is based. In telling the story of Yuki and his discovery of love, however, he remains a little too caged in the most classic shojo clichés, not allowing, at least for now, to outline the characters with greater depth. The animations are very good and allow the complex movements of sign language to be rendered fluidly.
Because we like it
- The animations and the excellent rendering of Japanese sign language.
- The tale of discovery involving Yuki.
- The many, too many clichés that hinder the story and the characterization of the characters.