This show was beyond low quality and will be one of the worst animes of the year.
Typing up old notes. Sorting the recycling. Cleaning my cat’s litter box with a tweezer. What do all of these things have in common? It’s a list of things I could have done with the four hours which were wasted watching all of Hand Shakers. Strap yourselves in because the rage train is about to leave the station.
The story is your standard magical battle plot. A boy (Tazuna Takatsuki) meets a girl (Koyori Akutagawa) which results in him getting powers from taking her hand. It is revealed he is a “Hand Shaker” someone who can summon a “Nimrod” (magic weapon) and enter into the “Ziggurat” (alternate dimension) to fight. If you fight enough people you get to meet God and get a wish. Standard fare for a series but somehow this show makes such a fantastic premise feeling boring and contrived.
Despite establishing the fact Koyori is weak, Tazuna having to hold her hand to give her energy so she doesn’t disappear, and if they lose a battle she will vanish completely you just don’t care while watching it. Koyomi has all the personality of a piece of driftwood who prefers to spend most of the series communicating in grunts, moans, and signs. It’s not as adorable than you’d think. Also, the length of time they are allowed to be separated starts at never, goes to 15 minutes, and even reaches two hours. It feels less like a standard progression and more like an “as the plot needs it” excuse.
There also is a distinct lack of tension in every battle the pair engages in. They are fighting adversaries who are far too friendly and lack any real motivation. Fights involve building destroying destruction (which of course doesn’t affect the real world since they are in the Ziggurat), but no one is truly fighting for a nobel or just cause. No one’s family member has cancer, is being abused, or will be miserable for the rest of their if they don’t get their wish granted. In fact, after teams are defeated by Tazuna and Koyori, they apologize and are super keen friends forever. It’s so tripe, you want to vomit but since there is no substance to the show you can’t puke anything up.
Also, using “20XX” as the date your story takes place in? Unless your series features Megaman you have no right using this year.
Usually as a critic there is some redeeming factor to take out of any piece of media. For the most part this is often the result of the visual art aspect. As long as a production is at least trying there should some merit to it. This is my traditional way of thinking and it was unfortunately shattered after watching Hand Shakers.
This anime employs so many of the cardinal sins which can hurt an animated series it’s unfathomable. Let’s go through the list shall we. Rough mix of character animation with the CGI? Check. Poor animation moments which are incredibly noticeable so you can tell where production phoned in their work? Check. Cranking up the brightness to the point it actually hurts the visuals? Check. Fanservice which comes off as more embarrassing than sexual? You better believe check! The amount of visual errors which occur is beyond appalling.
I sadly don’t have enough experience with the band OxT to tell if this is a proper representation of their work. Hopefully it’s not as the opening is generic and not very catchy. The real travesty in the closing theme song by Akino Arai. She sounds like she is totally disinterested and lacking energy in the song. For a better representation of her work go listen to “Voices” from Macross Plus. In fact, go watch Macross Plus instead of even thinking about watching this anime.
Congratulations Hand Shakers! You are officially a contender of the worst anime of the year. Few shows make me actually regret the time I wasted watching them but you found a way to succeed in this aspect. Bravo! Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go re-watch Gundam Build Fighters and remind myself I actually still enjoy anime as a form of media.
Hand Shakers is streaming on Crunchyroll.