Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Review: A SIGN OF AFFECTION, VOL. 1 by suu Morishita


Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I have wanted to read this book since the moment my friend showed it to me just a few days ago. I love seeing a deaf girl in manga! I studied sign language at university so I have a special appreciation for the deaf community and for sign language.

A Sign of Affection is a shojo manga about a deaf first-year college girl named Yuki. One day she gets asked for directions by a foreigner on a subway, and her classmate Itsuomi notices her signing and steps in to help, thus sparking a connection between the two of them.

First of all, the art style is adorable! It’s soft and delicate, really a good choice for this series. Especially the colored pages at the beginning—they have a beautiful watercolor effect to them. It makes me wish the whole book was in color.

This was my first time reading a manga as an ebook, and it was an interesting experience. The ebook is formatted like a normal ebook, to be read from left to right, but each page must still be read from right to left in the traditional manga style. The only problem I encountered was when an illustration spanned two pages, it would show the right page first and then the left, so it felt like I was seeing it out of order, but that only occurred once as far as I can tell. I still prefer to read manga physically and that’s what I would recommend, but the digital format still works just fine if you prefer that.

I really enjoyed this story a lot. Yuki is so sweet while Itsuomi is rather forward but in a friendly way. I love that he took a genuine interest in her.

This story delicately tackles all the hurdles that come with being deaf. Yuki experiences the feeling of knowing people are talking about her right in front of her because she can’t hear. She experiences what it’s like to be expected to lip-read and not be able to see someone’s lips and also not understand some of the words being said. She has to learn how to navigate a school full of hearing people who can’t sign and don’t understand her. She knows what it’s like to feel left out. She is confronted by people’s ignorant comments that since she’s wearing a hearing aid she should be able to hear just fine. There are so many realistic scenes and moments in this manga; anyone who has any experience with the deaf community will really appreciate it. I was amazed at how much deaf culture the authors were able to capture in this single volume alone.

I loved seeing the difference in fonts depending on how communication was occurring in the story. There was the classic manga font for Yuki’s thoughts and the narrative of the story; a lowercase sans-serif font for text on a screen since Yuki usually types back and forth to communicate; the classic manga font but in grey instead of black to show when people were speaking and Yuki was reading their lips to see what they said; and then a fourth font in grey to represent what someone was saying via sign language. It was very easy to tell whether someone was speaking or typing or thinking or signing, and I really appreciated that added detail in the story.

Overall, I loved the first volume of A Sign of Affection! (And that title is so clever!) I can’t wait to read the future volumes and watch Itsuomi learn signs here and there to better communicate with Yuki. She’s so smitten with him and it’s so sweet! I’ve already added this manga to my list of must-buy series because I’m already in love.

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