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Friday, May 14, 2021

Rumic Sign, るーみっくサイン (Manga Hand Gesture Used by Surprised or Attacked Characters)

In Japanese, ruumikku sain るーむっくサイン, "rumic sign," is a hand gesture similar to the corna or the ILY sign done by manga and anime characters when they're physically attacked or suddenly surprised by a situation.

Makoto マコト doing a Rumic hand sign in surprised reaction.
Character: Makoto マコト
Anime: Minami-ke みなみけ (Episode 2)

The sign is also called ruumikku poozu るーみっくポーズ, "rumic pose," or chuudon poozu ちゅどーんポーズ, "chuudon pose."

Definition

In Japanese, ruumikku sain るーみっくサイン refers to a weird hand sign used by manga artist Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子 in her works, like Urusei Yatsura うる星やつら, Ranma ½ らんま1/2二分の一, Inuyasha 犬夜叉, etc.

One of her works is Ruumikku Waarudo るーみっくわーるど, which was translated to English as "Rumic World." Hence, it makes sense to translate the sign as "Rumic" Sign.

The term chuudon pose comes from the chuudon sound effect found in manga when characters are hit.(dic.pixiv.net)

Meaning

According to Takahashi Rumiko, the hand sign, which she first used in Urusei Yatsura, doesn't have any actual meaning. It seems she drew it when a character was attacked, for example, in order to make the scene look silly so that the character didn't seem badly hurt.

For reference, a partial translation of an interview with her where she explains the sign:(natalie.mu, emphasis mine.)

  • komedhi shiin toieba, kyou wa {zehi okikishitakatta} koto ga aru no desu ga..... {odoketa} shiin de yoku toujou suru, {ryoute no nakayubi to kusuri-yubi wo mageta} poosu arimasu yo ne. are wa {sensei shika kakarenai} hyougen da to omou no desu ga, nanika tokubetsu na imi ga aru no deshou ka.
    コメディシーンといえば、今日はぜひお聞きしたかったことがあるのですが……おどけたシーンでよく登場する、両手の中指と薬指を曲げたポーズありますよね。あれは高橋先生しか描かれない表現だと思うのですが、何か特別な意味があるのでしょうか。
    Talking about comedy scenes, there's something [that] {[I] must ask [you]}..... [it] shows up a lot in {silly} scenes, [that] pose [with] {the middle and ring finger bent in both hands}. [I] think that's an expression [that] {nobody but [you] draws}, does [it] have some special meaning?
    • odokeru おどける - a scene where someone "fools" around, a silly" scene.
    • sensei 先生 - "teacher," but can also refer to an "master" of a craft, an "artist."
Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子 doing a hand sign similar to the corna that she uses in series that she has drawn, like Urusei Yatsura うる星やつら and Ranma ½ らんま½.
Person: Takahashi Rumiko 高橋留美子
Source: 永井豪の描く女の子のボディラインにハッとした - natalie.mu, accessed 2021-05-03.
  • kore ne (to itte jissai ni poosu wo totte kudasaru). anmari kangaezu ni kaita-n-desu kedo......, nandarou, tatoeba dotabata shiin de bun-nagurareru deshou? {sono mama buttobasareru} to, yayamosureba {"itasou" "hidoi" tte} inshou wo motarete-shimau kamoshirenai-n-dakedo, {kono te ni natteru} to fushigi to chittomo shinkoku ni naranai, toiu (warai). {{yoyuu aru na, daijoubu nanda} to wakaru darou} to omotte kaita-n-desu yo.
    これね(と言って実際にポーズを取って下さる)。あんまり考えずに描いたんですけど……、なんだろう、たとえばドタバタシーンでブン殴られるでしょう? そのままぶっ飛ばされると、ややもすれば「痛そう」「酷い」って印象を持たれてしまうかもしれないんだけど、この手になってると不思議とちっとも深刻にならない、という(笑)。余裕あるな、大丈夫なんだとわかるだろうと思って描いたんですよ。
    This, [right]? (saying [this], [she] actually [makes] the pose). [I] drew [it] without thinking very much but......, what is [it], [I wonder], for example, [a character] gets hit in in a slapstick scene, [won't he]? If {[he] gets thrown around like that}, then [you] are likely to get impressions {[like] "it seems painful" "[that's] horrible,"} but if {[his] hands are [like] this}, then strangely [it] doesn't [feel] even a bit serious, (laughs). [I] drew [it] thinking {[the audience] will understand {[he] has leeway, [he] is alright}}.
    • dotabata
      ドタバタ
      Moving around violently, e.g. when a character is chasing another in a room, fighting, etc., seen in slapstick comedy.
    • yoyuu ga aru
      余裕がある
      To have leeway. In the sense of not being at one's limit. In this case, the character making a silly pose looks like he can easily shrug off the damage. Tis but a scratch. It's fine.
  • {saisho ni kakareta} no wa?
    ──最初に描かれたのは?
    [When] [was] {the first time [you] drew [it]}?
  • "urusei" de, desukane. souieba, ato kara dokusha no kata no tegami de, {kono te no katachi niwa {{"ai rabu yuu" toiu} imi ga aru}} to oshiete moratte. sore wa mattaku shirimasen deshita. sonna ni ii poosu dato omottenakatta desu yo.
    「うる星」で、ですかね。そういえば、あとから読者の方の手紙で、この手の形には「I love you」という意味があると教えてもらって。それはまったく知りませんでした。そんなにいいポーズだとも思ってなかったですよ。
    In "urusei," [I think]. [That reminds me], afterwards in a letter from a reader, [a reader] taught [me] [that] {this hand shape {has a meaning of {"I love you"}}}. [I] had no idea about that. [I] didn't think it was such a good pose!
    • She's referring to the ILY sign, which in American Sign Language means "I Love You."

Confusion

Since there's absolutely no way the average person would know this is just a random gesture the author came up with, been several articles appear to have been created around the internet along the years of several series making up all sorts of theories for what this sign is supposed to mean.

A TVTropes article calls this "warding gestures,"(tvtropes.org) presumably because of a similar warding gesture found in Buddhism.

A seated Buddha making a karana mudrā hand gesture.
  • Context: a karana mudrā カラナムードラ, which is said to ward off evil.

An Inuyasha wiki calls it an ILY sign.(inuyasha.fandom.com)

Ranka Lee ランカ・リー, doing an ILY sign, ILYサイン.
Character: Ranka Lee ランカ・リー
Anime: Macross Frontier, マクロスF (Episode 12, Cropped)
  • Context: an idol striking a cute pose, complete with wink and stars.

Someone out there is probably going to mistake it with a corna.

Shinra Kusakabe 森羅日下部 doing a "corna" hand sign, koruna コルナ.
Character: Shinra Kusakabe 森羅日下部
Anime: En'en no Shouboutai 炎炎ノ消防隊 (Episode 18)
  • Context: Shinra awakens.
  • rokku-n-rooru!!
    ロックンロール!!
    Rock 'n' roll!!

Conversely, the rumic sign shouldn't be mistaken for the fox sign.

Howan ほわん doing a double "fox sign," kitsune sain キツネサイン.
Character: Howan ほわん
Anime: SHOW BY ROCK!! Mashumairesh!!, ましゅまいれっしゅ!! (Episode 1)
  • Context: a fox girl with fox ears doing fox hand signs.

Examples

For reference, some examples of the rumic sign in manga and anime:

Maaka Karin 真紅果林 doing a Rumic hand sign in surprised reaction.
Character: Maaka Karin 真紅果林
Anime: Karin かりん (Episode 3)
Marie マリー doing a rumic hand sign with a lightning background.
Character: Marie マリー
Anime: Tatoeba Last Dungeon Mae no Mura no Shounen ga Joban no Machi de Kurasu You na Monogatari, たとえばラストダンジョン前の村の少年が序盤の街で暮らすような物語 (Episode 3)
あぶないっ!! ひっ!! 普通の人はそんなリアクションしない!! 違うっ! 私、まんがなんて読みません!!
Anime: Katte ni Kaizou かってに改蔵 (Chapter 7 of Volume 23, 今世紀最大の痕跡)
  • Context: how to tell someone is a weeb an otaku オタク.
  • abunai'!!
    あぶないっ!!
    [Watch out]!!
    [It] is dangerous!! (literally.)
  • hi'!!
    ひっ!!
    *shriek*
  • *she does a rumic sign.*
    • Note: I didn't add the arrows, they were already in the panel.
  • futsuu no hito wa sonna riakushon shinai!!
    普通の人はそんなリアクションしない!!
    A normal person doesn't make that sort of reaction!!
  • chigau'!
    違うっ!
    [It's a misunderstanding]!
  • watashi, manga nante yomimasen!!
    私、まんがなんて読みません!!
    I don't read manga!!

References

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