Note: Credit where it is due, I am got this idea from Annie of Evening Tea Musings, who wrote about it first. Be sure to check her out.
As you can tell I’m more then a bit obsessed with A Sign of Affection. Pretty shortly after I wrote up my Winter Reads, and review, I still wanted to keep talking about this series. If the series maintains it’s popularity, it’s more then likely that the rights for a live-action will be snapped up by someone ASAP. I know most people are more into anime adaptations, but this section is here to convince you otherwise!
Of course, for those of you tuning in unfamiliar with A Sign of Affection, here’s a quick plot summary: Yuki is a deaf since birth university student. She likes what most young women her age enjoy, hanging out with her best friend Rin, Social Media, and enjoying her life at university. Due to her deafness, Yuki’s world is rather small but enjoyable. Her small world is interrupted by the globe trotting Itsuomi, a mutual friend of Rin, during her commute. He is unperturbed by Yuki’s deafness, quickly adapting to communicate with her before parting. It’s in that moment where Yuki’s world starts to expand, just a little, as she and Itsuomi begin to learn about each other’s completely different lives.
Now, we can dive into my casting suggestions.
Shin (Kamio Fuju)
At this moment of writing, we don’t know all too much about Shin. The few things we do know are Itsuomi considers him his closest friend, he’s a beautician, he’s shorter then Itsuomi, and he drinks like any good university student. He’s got the classic bad-boi-esque appearance with many piercings and shaggy but stylish hair cut, and I think that would be a great fit for Kamio Fuju. Fuju has a pretty big repertoire of roles despite his age, including a ‘bad boi’ in H&L The Worst. Seeing him do another variety but with a better premise would be delightful as both a fan of Fuju and someone excited to see where Shin could go as a character.
Emma (Shiraishi Mai)
Now for Emma, the traditionally beautiful, somewhat possessive childhood friend of Itsuomi. It was both easy, and hard for me to think of someone to take on her character. I immediately thought that a women current or ex46-48 would probably fit the bill the easiest. I also considered Nanao, but she’s just a little bit too old to be playing a college age kid in my opinion. A quick scroll through some recent graduates of the 46’s and I was immediately struck by Mai. She had just the right features, minus black hair, and has a fair bit of acting experience on top of it to round out my reasoning. I’d be very excited to see her take on Emma!
Oushi (Hagiwara Riku)
If there’s anything we’ve seen in the manga, is that so far Oushi is the only other character that uses sign language fluently, and he’s pretty reserved. A bit icy, for reasons that will probably come to a boil sooner or later, but seems rather protective of Yuki. As for an actor, I had a really hard time thinking of someone who could fit the bill. I had to scroll through some other projects I enjoyed and bingo, Riku appeared. He certainly has the experience of supporting and main roles, I liked his character in 3-Nen A-Gumi. Aside from having needing some serious lessons and on-set coaching on sign language; I think he could really nail Oushi!
Kyoya (Shiraisu Jin)
Kyoya, I had a really hard time figuring out who I would cast as him. He’s kinda not really plot relevant as of what’s been released. He’s Itsuomi’s co-worker, and Rin’s love interest but we haven’t seen too much development of him yet. The under development of the manga character, lead it to being hard to figure out what kind of actor would best suit playing Kyoya. I dug around some more, mostly looking through previous dramas I’ve watched seeing who, visually could pull off Kyoya. So in my most superficial, but potentially brilliant pick, I have Shirasu Jin. I’ve actually really enjoyed several of his roles in the past, and he’s got the experience to back it all up. It almost seems wasteful to have him be a supporting character, but I think him being a balancing out between my next picks for Rin, Itsuomi, and Yuki!
Rin (Ishii Anna)
Rin was one of the easiest characters for me to cast in my head even at her first appearance. I always thought, for no readily apparent reason, that Rin looked a lot like Anna. From an experience standpoint, Anna has the range from romance to thrillers, with lead a supporting casting needed to pull of Rin. For Anna, it’s an easy fit for her to to be the upbeat and supportive Rin! An added bonus, is that given Anna’s background in dance, she should be able to take to the basic signs Rin uses with Yuki as well.
Itsuomi (Iwamoto Hikaru)
I try not to be biased in my selections, but that bias does creep in from time to time. When I first started churning the idea of who would best fit to portray Itsuomi I was at a bit of a loss. For two reasons, mostly height and age relation. There are younger guys in Japan who are tall like Itsuomi, but those that can also pull off a white-blonde hair style are slim. My brain originally thought of casting Snow Man’s youngest, Raul as the role, given his past of sporting blond into silver hair, and his height. However, he still lacks the mature features, and overall acting experience needed to pull it off the role.
Which is where Hikaru comes from. I won’t say his prior dye job was perfect, but it does show promise when coupled with his mature features, and height (182cm). Admittedly, he does not have as much experience as some of the supporting cast members I’ve chosen. Critically, he does have experience in other fields, kabuki, theater performances, and of course concerts. So he does have a lot more experience under his belt than listed on his IMDb. Itsuomi is, as of writing, a rather stoic guy, with intentional speech patterns, that I think Hikaru could easily portray on screen with the right female lead to play off of, and a solid director.
Yuki (Shiraishi Sei)
This was obviously the hardest casting ever since Yuki is the lead actress and oddly enough one of the last casting choices I made. I know that there have been some major pushes, specifically in the West, for more diverse actors and actresses to be cast as characters with those same struggles. So I did some research and tried to find a deaf actress to play Yuki. I did stumble across Oshidari Akiko, and while she is talented I think at 50 she’s a bit too old to play a college-age character.
So, I ended up chosing Shiraiashi Sei. I was between her and Hirose Suzu for a very long time, but I feel that Sei suits Yuki a bit more. I’m also biased as hell, because I think Sei is incredibly talented and could handle the nuances of Yuki without being overbearing or inaccurate. It would probably be her most demanding role to date, since she would need to learn and be coached on sign language. However, I have faith that the correct calls would be made to have the best representation and execution possible.
As an added bonus, Sei is only 159cm so the height gap would be just about right for those height gap fans.
My final casting, isn’t really casting but I know both the screenwriter and director I would want for this series. If it was a series, or a movie for that matter, whichever they could get the budget for. Personally, I’d want it to be a drama, but the trend has been movies lately, so either one would be fun. Back to screen writing, I would love to get Okada Yoshikazu on board with this project. Being able to collaborate again with Shinjo Takehiko as the director once again, but in a modern setting would be insane since they both worked on Kimi no Te ga Sasayaite Iru (1997). For those unfamiliar, that’s another manga with a deaf female lead that was later made into a drama series. It’s one of the more touching series I’ve seen in recent years, and I hope to talk about it soon here on my blog. With both having even more experiance since then, especially with Shinjo directing quite a few modern shojo live-actions: I have no doubts they would knock it out of the park.
With that, that’s my casting choices if A Sign of Affection were ever to become a live-action drama! I hope other’s found this interesting and fun to read, as much as I did writing! If you disagree or have your own picks for who should play who, be sure to let me know in the comments down below! With that, I’ll see you next post!