One of the things I love in romantic fiction is when characters are allowed to just spend time with one another. So much of romance media can get caught up in either the rush of first love or the drama of will-they-won’t-they, that we lose track of the actual romance. Most of us are never going to have dramatic love confessions in the pouring rain or crash a wedding yelling “I object” at the last second. We are, if so inclined, pretty likely to go on dates with another person and hang out with them, learning about one another and forging a connection through simple, mundane communications. That’s where the magic happens, and the sparks of attraction can ignite into the burning passion of love.
So it’s nice that after their surreal not-date at Costco, Itsuomi, and Yuki spend most of this episode just, like, chatting. Despite Yuki’s nervousness at being casually invited over to his place, once the two are comfortable and communicating, they build an easy rapport that’s a lot of fun to watch. It’s really cute that Itsuomi keeps various currencies from all the countries he’s been to, and seeing him share all the keepsakes he’s collected is a valuable look at his most unguarded. Yuki explaining how her family communicates with her – and decidedly not telling him about her hangups regarding her voice – is probably my favorite moment of the whole episode. There’s an intimacy to learning more about somebody, especially somebody you’re into, but that intimacy also requires a level of trust and security that can’t always keep pace with the butterflies in one’s stomach.
That just makes it all the sweeter when Yuki has her unguarded moment and ends up letting Itsuomi hear her voice for the first time. You can practically see the twinkle in his eye realizing it’s something about her he’d never witnessed before. I also just adore these two writing out their conversations. There’s just something striking about following their dialogue and then seeing it all there, like a road map of the small, yet significant journey they went on while talking. In a similar sense, the way Yuki writes out her response to Itsuomi’s hand is a unique way to further build intimacy, combining the necessary focus on hands for sign language with the romance of holding and kissing hands to make something that just…works on a visceral level. It’s good stuff that allows the show to build a warm atmosphere as our central couple grows closer.
Of course, there’s still some drama, though thankfully the episode works to resolve it quickly. I love that Emma’s initial attempt to cause drama fails, only for her to inadvertently succeed by handing over Itsuomi’s house key at just the wrong time. If we’re gonna have somebody who causes misunderstandings on purpose, at least they can be funny about it. To Emma’s presumed consternation, however, Rin continues to be the Wing-Woman MVP by immediately bringing Itsuomi over to clear things up, and I cannot thank her enough. It’s fine for characters to act clingy or petty and stir trouble, but when a misunderstanding is this blatant, it’s much more satisfying to see our main couple work through it promptly with actual communication – especially when communication is the central theme of the entire story.
Now the question is where these two go from here, now that Yuki has confessed in all but name. There are still plenty of lingering concerns about Itsuomi’s personality, but considering that kiss on her delicate fingers at the end of the episode, the question of romantic interest is answered. So are they…dating? Feeling things out? How will everyone else react if they do? That’s still up in the air, but if A Sign of Affection can continue delivering warm fuzzies this warm and fuzzy, I’ll be happy.
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