Have you ever wanted a brand new game and were so excited for it that literally you’d count the days till you finally had it…then when you pop that game into your console of choice realize…wow this is trash. “Hand Shakers” (from studio “GoHands” creators of the mixed review show known as “K”) is that exact feeling but only doubled, akin to getting the game but also the collectors edition meaning you dropped a load of cash on a bad product.
Hand Shakers has an intriguing, albeit “Absolute Duo” ( a similar anime series) feel. Tazuna, our MC for this story, is an ordinary young man who helps people despite barely helping himself. He ends up finding a young woman in a bed and is reminded of his own sister’s demise in a bed ridden state. This is when he takes her hand and ends up having to enter an unusual tournament as a Hand Shaker, warriors who team up with others and using each other’s hand holding to power up and create an arena called the Zigguraut where battles become fierce but usually not deadly. However, in the case of Tazuna and his new partner named Koyori, battles are life and death for her. If he loses and or removes his hand for too long, she will die. Now they find themselves having to work together to seek wins to maybe meet God and learn why the Hand Shakers even exist.
Hand Shakers won’t be a show you want to care for the story or characters and by the end you’ll actually hate most of them for being one dimensional or just weakly created.
Unfortunately this is where the unique concept stops as the series progress quickly into random happenstance and unusual storytelling. You’ll never feel connected to any of the Hand Shakers as their stories are all been there done that scenarios (with the exception of a business duo who are actually cute and feel more real than any of the others). What’s worse is that by the end you won’t feel a solid story being told but a story that decided to rush towards a conclusion that leaves room for a season 2 but probably won’t happen. Hand Shakers won’t be a show you want to care for the story or characters and by the end you’ll actually hate most of them for being one dimensional or just weakly created.
While the Music is pretty awesome (Opening song done by “OxT” and the ending done by “Akino Arai”) usually enforcing/infusing action moments or calmer moments with flair and depth respectively, the same can’t be said for the animation. Studio GoHands has already a mixed anime list, to me, as their usual works range from moe to attempts at being edgy, and while Hand Shakers is neither, it doesn’t mean that its unique more like a failure.
I want to believe that on paper they felt this animation style, which mixed 2D with 3D CGI, would look stylish and fluid but in reality just ends up being sickening and mediocre. I’ve had some viewers actually tell me they suffered motion sickness watching the show because of the odd design choice. While I’m prone to car sickness, I didn’t feel to nauseated (not at least physically but maybe mentally) watching the show but I can understand why that some people have responded in the manner they did. I didn’t mention the voice acting because honestly I felt the characters were okay but nothing to write about (Koyori herself barely talking till the end of the series).
Overall Hand Shakers in two words is near failure. There is some attempt at uniqueness and I can’t fail it entirely for trying to change the animation game, however that doesn’t mean others won’t outright fail this. Myself personally I was on the fence while watching this show and the only reasons I didn’t give this show a F, is because the music is really strong and some of the fights are cool. Thus if I did grade it I would give the show a D-. I’ll end this review by saying the character famous quote, it doesn’t mesh well…(Please note I was unable to review the first 2 episodes of Hand Shakers as I was out of state when it first aired but I did review episode 3 and talked about my initial impressions)