When I went to Twitter, broken as it is today, I was instantly surprised to see the short but stunning preview trailer for Yubisaki to Renren better known in English as A Sign of Affection. As I wrote before when I praised this manga creating duo: In the modern age of Shojo, suu MORISHITA truly is one of the hardest working and most relevant creators in the game. The duo originally met in high-school and were classmates. Makiro creates the storyboard/layouts (writer), and Nachiyan illustrates the story. Among manga readers, they are perhaps best known for their polished art style of their books and the very engaging, layered stories of their characters.
A Sign of Affection is a Shojosei genre blurring manga that follows the slow burn-ish romance of new college student Yuki, who is deaf, and the jet-setting, world curious Itsuomi when they meet at the same college. Yuki communicates mostly through Japanese sign language, and Itsuomi jumps at the chance to start learning how to sign to not only be able to speak with her and to, eventually, show how much he adores her.
A Sign of Affection as a manga series is simply one of the most thrilling, yet intimate series to hit the Shojo genre in such a long time. The news of its anime adaptation brings so much joy to fans who have been wanting more of this incredible series that has taken the world by Shojo-sparkled storm. Am I extra for a barely-over-the minute trailer that’s not even coming out this year? YES. Is it the hype warranted? YES.
It Is All About Connection
Something personal that I was willing to share via social media that I hoped was wholesome to read about is that I’ve been slowly re-learning ASL partially due to A Sign of Affection along with all the folks on Tik Tok (Thank you Deaf Tok!) signing with purpose & confidence! I had learned ASL, American Sign Language, as a kid. Unfortunately, I did eventually forget what I had learned as I had no one to practice and sign with. It was easily one of my favorite childhood memories, and my heavy regret of losing this language has lessened once I started to pick it back up at my own pace. Recently during the Transformers Rise of the Beasts press tour, actress Dominique Fishback revealed how and why she learned Sign Language. That video snippet brought me back to why sign language was so important to me as a kid and why it still resonates with me now, as an adult.
A Sign of Affection revolves around Yuki: a first-year college student, whose world revolves around her friends, social media, and the latest sales. She’s happily exploring the world by way of her college classes, the new people she’s meeting on and off campus, and even considers a part time job. A chance encounter on a train leads to her meeting fellow student Itsuomi-san and her world starts to widen. But even though Itsuomi is a globe-trotting young man who can speak three languages, sign language isn’t one of them. The way these two are drawn to each other and how Itsuomi yearns to get to know Yuki and learn Japanese sign language is easily one of the most impactful manga series that I’ve come across in such a long time. Watching these two learn how to communicate, the budding feelings between them has been such an intimate and thrilling read and hearing an anime adaptation means the world to me. Seeing more hearing impaired disabled characters in anime is always welcomed!
Shojo/Shoujo Fans Are EATING
There has been documented and heated discourse in the manga and anime community on the decline of Shojo (and Josei) anime adaptations lately. Colleen, one of my faves on YouTube created one of my favorite videos explaining the problem here, and they returned the topic a year later. To the ones chronically online who enjoy Shojosei, the joke is that the Shojo girlies/fans are EATING after getting a few adaptations in recent anime seasons, yet we’re still in famine.
Then the A Sign of Affection trailer drops, and we’re all embracing each other and crying like Shojo is having a renaissance—You know what?????
Bitch We Might be. We just may be, and guess who is here to enjoy the ride? As my favorite genres via manga and anime, it is frustrating the slow dip of coverage and releases dedicated to this fan base of mostly girls and women. As a genre, Shojo is NOT a background character. She breathes main character energy. Oh, he’s HIM? Guess, what? She’s HER. Shojo is THAT Girl. She has whole manga magazines dedicated to her in her native country and that I know she has nothing to prove.
Related news reveals that Kodansha USA announced this week at Anime Expo that their newest slate of print manga licenses arriving in spring 2024. This includes all-new print titles, new omnibus editions, new-to-print titles, and more, include an A Sign of Affection Omnibus of 3-in-1 omnibus edition! This is big news as this series dropped during the pandemic (first volume release: Mar 31, 2020) where manga buying soared among readers. Also, this series gained a bigger following being available digitally–I faithfully read it on the Azuki app and tweeted on chapter release day when I could. If Twitter of the past was my partial online diary, I was preaching the gospel for years about this series, see here in 2020, here in 2021 and here in 2022.
The omnibus means even more fans get a chance to read the incredible series next year as or around the time the anime adaption hits streaming services. I am so excited, and my heart is so full! A Sign of Affection defines what modern day Shojo is in my books, and since Shojo is my first love–when it comes to manga, I really feel like I am receiving a love letter that my much younger self would be so happy to receive. Simply put, A Sign of Affection illustrates that connection is important and trying to understand others is the key. Reasons to live? Anime Adaptation of A Sign of Affection come January 2024!!
The A Sign of Affection anime is scheduled for January 2024.
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