I have written four articles about hair color in the ongoing A Sign of Affection anime. The first article covered the proof that the heroine of the series, the 19-year old Yuki Itose, began dying her hair to the strawberry-pink color we see in the series when she started college. The second article dealt with the silver hair of her love interest, the 22-year old Itsuomi Nagi, examining a picture of him from three years earlier when he had his natural black hair. My third article looked at episode 7 wherein we saw that Itsuomi’s black roots were showing after he took a trip abroad. Finally, my episode 8 article examined the ever-changing hair color of Itsuomi’s best friend and hair stylist, Shin Iryū. Because A Sign of Affection is remarkably detailed when it comes to matters involving hair coloration, we were able to establish without any doubt both that Yuki, Itsuomi, and Shin dye their hair and what their natural hair colors are. However, my articles thus far have mostly lacked a discussion of purpose – that is, why these characters dye their hair. My initial post on Yuki includes my speculation about why she dyes her hair based on what we know about her character. Yuki has not definitively resolved the matter – so I can do nothing but stand by my assessment from my Yuki article. However, in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection, Itsuomi explained why he dyes his black hair silver. The truth is unsurprisingly related to Shin, and we can draw an inference from Itsuomi’s reasoning to explain why Shin dyes his hair.

(See my full collection of posts on hair color in Japanese anime, manga, novels, and games.)

Before continuing, a brief note on spoilers. This article is solely about Itsuomi’s hair color and not the overall story of A Sign of Affection. However, his reference to the reason he dyes his hair comes in the midst of a confrontation with another character in episode 10 which would have the tendency to indirectly suggest some things that happen during the second half of the series. While I think it is safe for people who are watching A Sign of Affection or who plan to watch the series to read – not least because the anime has few ambitions of being unpredictable – those who are currently watching the series or who plan to watch it in the near future may want to bookmark this article until they have watched episode 10 .

Before getting into the important hair color points from episode 10, let us take a brief detour to episode 9. Oushi Ashioki is Yuki’s childhood friend. While we more or less established in previous articles that he Oushi does not dye his hair, he will play a role in our story here. In episode 9, a character named Izumi Yoshiki saw Yuki walking outdoors with Itsuomi (whom she does not know), and she perceived them as being a couple. By this point, it is well established that Oushi is not a fan of Itsuomi’s because Itsuomi is close to Yuki. Izumi informed Oushi that she saw Yuki with a man who appeared to be Yuki’s boyfriend. Oushi took a stab at guessing who the man was:

Scene from A Sign of Affection episode 9 with Izumi Yoshiki sitting on one side of a bean bag cushion and Oshi Ashioki on the other, playing a game. Oushi asks Izumi: "Did he have silver hair?" Oushi is referring to Itsuomi Nagi.
Oushi, who we can only partially see on the other side of the beanbag, is the speaker (subtitle courtesy of Crunchyroll). He is playing what appears to be a game console that is definitely not a Nintendo Switch. While I have in the past criticized anime characters for using proprietary operating systems and social media platforms, I will rate Switch as acceptable.

Oushi asked if the man had “Silver hair.”

I have had some difficulty deciding what Itsuomi’s hair color is supposed to be. I went with silver since I doubted he was going for a natural-looking gray. Oushi seems to endorse the silver description. With that being said, note that “silver hair” is the translator’s choice and we will see that Oushi describes it differently in one scene in episode 10.

(Izumi appears to have olive-brown hair. However, I have on which to decide if her hair color is natural, let us return to the pertinent issue: Itsuomi’s silver hair.)

Oishi confronts Itsuomi in episode 10. Itsuomi responds by dragging Oushi with him to the cultural exchange clubroom (Itsuomi is a club member) to talk things out. Some minor context for everything that follows: Itsuomi is a bit odd, but he is also striking in appearance (tall and noted as being handsome apart from his unusual hair color) and unusually charismatic when he wants to be. Oushi is mercurial, possessive, and sulky, especially when it comes to Yuki. Before we get into their exchange (pun intended), I could not help but share a screenshot of one of the photos on the wall of the clubroom.

Scene with a photograph in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection showing Itsuomi Nagi wearing a black chonmage wig. His silver hair peaks out from the back.

Itsuomi covering his silver hair with a chonmage wig for one of the club’s plays. Look closely and you can see his “silver” hair peaking from the back.

Early in their conversation, Oushi tells Itsuomi that he hates him. Itsuomi – fully knowing the real answer – blankly asks why. Oushi lists several reasons why he hates Itsuomi, none of which are the real, obvious reason. One of the reasons he offers relates to Itsuomi having had to first bleach his hair in order to dye it.

Scene with Itsuomi Nagi sitting in the cultural club room in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection. A subtitle, which is Oushi Ashioki speaking, reads: "And who knows how many times you've bleached your hair?"
Itsuomi is pictured. The subtitle is Oushi, who is in the same room as Itsuomi. Subtitle courtesy of Crunchyroll.

While hair dye is well-established in the world, Oushi’s singling out Itsuomi’s flashy hair makes it clear that it is one of the first things that people would notice about Itsuomi.

Itsuomi’s attempt to talk things out man-to-man with Oushi in the clubroom was unsuccessful – in part because Oushi has a tendency to behave like a child. Thus, we pick up that evening in the bar where Itsuomi works for his older cousin (we visited the bar in my first article of the A Sign of Affection hair color series on Yuki). Oushi arrives and takes a sulky swipe at Itsuomi’s hair color while calling him an unkind name:

Itsuomi Nagi and Oushi Ashioki sit alone at the bar run by Itsuomi's cousin in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection. Oushi insults Itsuomi while referencing Itsuomi's "gray" hair.
Itsuomi is left and Oushi is right. The speaker here is Oushi. Subtitle courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Interesting. Before it was silver. Now it is gray. I am not sure whether Oushi used a different word here than in his question to Izumi in episode 9 or if Crunchyroll opted to translate the same color differently.

However, Oushi’s attempt at a burn proved to be fortuitous for us and, unexpectedly, for Itsuomi. Itsuomi clearly has the upper-hand in their interactions and dispute, which plays a role in making the already-immature Oushi behave more petulantly than usual. Itsuomi proves to be socially adroit and works to turn Oushi’s irritating behavior into a way to start an actual conversation. Oushi had tried to get a rise out of Itsuomi with his hair color comment, but in response Itsuomi calmly reveales the backstory of his hair color:

Itsuomi Nagi and Oushi Ashioki sit alone at the bar run by Itsuomi's cousin in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection. Itsuomi tells Oushi that he is letting a friend experiment on his hair, which is silver. We know the friend is Shin Iryu.
The speaker here is Itsuomi (left). Note the subtle attention to detail. In the previous screenshot, Itsuomi is looking down at his drink when Oushi speaks. Here, Itsuomi is looking up with his head tilted toward Oushi. Subtitles courtesy of Crunchyroll.

“I’m letting a stylist buddy experiment on my hair.” It was possible to infer that Shin was Itsuomi’s hair stylist in the early episodes of the series. Shin stated as much outright in episode 8, which I covered in the previous series article. What we did not know, however, was that Itsuomi is Shin’s test subject. We can combine this statement with our study of episode 7 and 8. It seems possible that Itsuomi himself does not care all that much about having silver hair. While he was certainly busy when he was traveling through Southeast Asia and India for a couple months (covered by the first half of episode 7), we saw that Itsuomi made no effort to maintain his hair color while he was abroad and that he saw Yuki before having his roots dyed upon his return. It may be possible that Itsuomi would have never dyed his hair at all if not for Shin. Alas – I doubt that we will resolve the issue in the final two episodes of the current season of A Sign of Affection.

We can also draw an inference regarding Shin’s changing hair color, which was the subject of my episode 8 review. Shin is more stylish than Itsuomi and his passion is hair. But it may be possible that his own changing hair color (he is the only character to have changed his hair color in the series’ present) may simply be “experimenting” on his own mane.

I conclude with the next thing Itsuomi said to Oushi after the “experiment” line:

Itsuomi Nagi and Oushi Ashioki sit alone at the bar run by Itsuomi's cousin in episode 10 of A Sign of Affection. Itsuomi tells Oushi that he may have an afro the next time they meet.
Itsuomi (left) cracks a joke about his own hair in response to Oushi’s insults. Subtitle courtesy of Crunchyroll.

Itsuomi cracks a joke – suggesting that Shin may give him an afro. This joke makes Oushi laugh, much to Oushi’s chagrin. This is the first instance in which a hair color or styling line is significant to the plot of A Sign of Affection. Itsuomi subtly turned Oushi’s childish attempt to make him angry into a way to tell Oushi something about himself and then made a joke at his own expense. Oushi laughs at something Itsuomi says for the first time. Itsuomi had already established the upper-hand and social dominance in his interactions with Oushi, but his joke is a way of saying “I come in peace.” He actually wanted to reach an understanding – man-to-man – with Yuki’s sulky childhood friend and also get to know someone who had been and was a unique figure in Yuki’s life. That he used his hair as a prompt to reach his goal seems like as fitting a capstone to my series of articles on hair color in A Sign of Affection.