Hand Shakers

Hand Shakers

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Tazuna is a high school student, living in Osaka, who loves to fiddle around with machines. One day, he receives a repair request from an university laboratory. He accepts the request and ends up meeting a girl named Koyori, who has been bedridden for a very long time. Suddenly, Tazuna and Koyori get pulled into a whole different world called “Ziggurat”. In this world, there are Hand Shakers, two people who touch hands and create the Nimrod. Their goal is to defeat other Hand Shakers in order to gain an audience with “God”, who will grant them wishes. Protect with your own Hands!

I’m going to be honest, the reason why I’m watching and reviewing Hand Shakers is because it has been absolutely panned. People literally don’t have anything good to say about it. They give it the golden anime 3-episode rule (if they even get that far) and they drop it like a less-than mediocre sack of potatoes. Well, I’ve given this one the 3-episode rule, and do you know what? I’m going to carry on watching.

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Now, I’m not saying that Hand Shakers is anywhere near being one of the best anime I’ve seen recently. It’s not. I’m also not saying that I’m going to watch it all the way to the end. If it gets completely unwatchable, I won’t have time for it. But there’s just something about this one. It might have something to do with its notoriety and it’s definitely got a lot to do with the ridiculous concept. What I think it is about Hand Shakers that intrigues me is that it’s so bad that it makes it watchable.

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So Tazuna realises that upon grabbing the hand of a comatose girl that looked like his dead sister that he cannot let go of her hand ever again else she might die. This is why I love anime. There’s no real explanation as to why, or how, or if this is even true, but Tazuna doesn’t want Koyori’s death on his hands (ahahaha) and isn’t willing to take the risk. He also finds out that he is a Hand Shaker and holding Koyori’s hand gives him special powers to fight against other duos (who seemingly don’t have to hold hands all the time). Oh, but if Koyori loses one of these Hand Shaker battles in the Ziggurat, she also dies. So not only has our young hero lost the use of one of his hands, he also can’t lose a battle against these arguably more-experienced pairs that are constantly challenging him. And Koyori’s not even good company. She barely speaks, stands around staring and has so far been nothing but dead weight in all Hand Shaker battles. What will all of this mean? Where will it go? Will it all make sense in the end? Probably not. It’s ridiculous and insane.

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The overall animation isn’t the best, but I can’t help but enjoy the artwork, particularly Koyori’s character design. She’s made to look very ethereal and pretty, which is a saving grace for her because she is mute with all the personality of a dish rag. I also like the colours and design in the way the Ziggurat is displayed. I assume that Tazuna calls the powers of gears to him with Koyori’s talents because it was quickly and briefly mentioned in the first episode that he’s good at fixing things. I would like to think that there’s more to this theme, but I’m not holding my breath.

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Hand Shakers is not good by any stretch of the imagination. The main characters are so unrelatable and the supporting characters appear dumb.  I’m still reeling from Tazuna’s parents, after a short explanation from a guy at Koyori’s hospital, just accepting that their son is now always holding hands with a silent girl who barely knows how to undress herself, that she’s living with them now and launching straight into teasing Tazuna about his new ‘girlfriend’. This anime literally beggars belief. I don’t know what’s going on and, if I’m honest, I don’t really care. I’m just in it for the crazy plot holes, the oh-so tenuous and flimsy reasons why things are happening and the weird ecchi accents that smatter the action in a way that is truly bizarre. I watch Hand Shakers for laughs, because it’s so bad that I can’t even be mad at it for being bad. Peculiar, perhaps, but I’m in it for the levels of nonsensical craziness that even Gintama can’t offer me.