Tazuna has a gift for fixing anything mechanical. He is usually asked for favours fixing things by his classmates, but one day he receives a request from one of the professors at the local university to come down and help him out. When he gets there, Tazuna finds a mysterious lab with a comatose girl inside who reminds him of his dead sister. When he takes her hand the girl reveals that her name is Koyori and the two of them are pulled into a strange new world. The two of them are Hand Shakers – partners who have received the Revelation of Babylon and must now hold hands at all times. Before any more can be explained, the two are attacked by a similar pair with intimidating magical powers.
Wow. Wow. I never thought that there would be a show this season with a premiere more baffling and awful than Spiritpact and Idol Incidents combined. Something broke in my brain while I watched this episode and I was reduced to disbelieving laughter at just how ugly, weird and terrible one anime could be. In that sense, Hand Shakers is groundbreaking. That’s some pretty backhanded praise though.
Within twenty seconds of starting Hand Shakers revealed itself to be the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. The colours clash, there’s so much CGI used that any traditionally animated elements stand out awkwardly against overly VFX-ed backgrounds, and GoHands’ obsessive need to use hypercolour gradients over each and every shot makes everything on screen look horribly overexposed. Add to that the fact that more time has been spent animating the girls’ boobs (by someone who has never seen a boob no less, and is clearly haunted by their seemingly Lovecraftian properties) than anything else, including the characters’ faces, and you have a trainwreck in the making. There is one shot near the beginning that’s kind of cool – a series of crowd scenes, some using fish-eye lenses in an interesting way – but the reason that this part actually looks good is because it’s reused animation that’s been lifted from the second season of K Project.
I actually nearly turned off the episode at around three minutes in. This is because, in addition to the visual torture that I was going through thanks to the disasterous choices outlined above, Hand Shakers has a prolonged scene about three minutes in (and again, later in the episode) where the camera leers at a girl with chains erotically snaking around her body while she cries and moans orgasmically and her male partner shouts at her about how useless. The voyeuristic camera angles, crazy wriggly breasts that were about to burst out of her blouse like an Aliens style chestburster, and extreme sexual crying were all enough to make me want to get the hell out of here. But I persevered… somehow.
So far none of the characters are at all engaging, and the plot is incredibly contrived. Tazuna has to hold Koyuri’s hand forever now, or else she will die, so I’m sure that he will have to pop into showers with her and help her undress, etc., for her own good. She’ll die otherwise! That makes it OK! The next episode preview did nothing to assuage my fears in this department. Hand Shakers makes it quite clear what you’re getting into, as if the nightmarish boob jiggling didn’t make it obvious enough already.
If you’re thinking, “Surely, she must be exaggerating. No show can be this unwatchable!” then I implore you to watch the first three minutes or so of Hand Shakers. It almost has to be seen to be believed. But, I can assure you, I will spend the rest of my days doing my damndest not to see another moment of this show.
P.S. If you want a more in depth look at everything that was wrong with Hand Shakers in terms of animation and visual style, along with a brief history of GoHands as an animation studio, I’d recommend checking out this fascinating article by Sakuga Blog.