Hand Shakers episode 1

Episode Title: “Conductor to Contact”

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The anime takes place in Osaka in “AD20XX,” and revolves around the Hand Shakers—partners who can summon “Nimrodes,” weapons born from their deep psyche by joining hands. In order to grant the pair’s wish, the Hand Shakers compete with and fight other Hand Shaker pairs. The top pair will then meet and challenge “God.”

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So… Yeah.

A brief disclaimer: This is not my typical kind of show. I listed it as an alternate this season before I really knew much about it. When scathing review after review came out I realized I may be making a mistake, but I decided to go with it anyway. Having low expectations helped, as I was made aware of pretty much everything that I would dislike about it beforehand. This made it easier for me to actually try and see what the show was trying to do without being too distracted by everything it was failing at.

Make no mistake, the people who are blasting this show are doing it for solid reasons. The characters don’t really captivate, the plot is kind of just thrown out there, and enough ecchi physics to fill my tolerance quota for the year in just one episode. The protagonist happens upon a bed-ridden girl, because reasons, and touching her hand makes all kinds of weird things happen, as he was given the Revelation of Babel. A sort of humorous interaction with the professor he came there to see quickly turns serious before the pair’s (he and the girl) first challenge appears with a perverted unique way of fighting. The fact that all the other people suddenly disappear when this happens makes me think it occurs in some extra dimensional space, but there’s no way to know right now.

But beneath all that nonsense though, there appears to be something there in the way of religious myth or allegory. You may miss it if you’re not familiar with all of it (I wasn’t until Kimmie filled me in), but this quest to meet and challenge “God” has many possible implications. It’s enough to get me curious, at least.

The animation both helps and hinders this show, at different times. There are scenes that look rather nice, and others where the heavy CGI is really disorienting and looks ugly next to the 2D characters. The music, on the other hand, is quite good, which leads to a confusing atmospheric sense at times. This one is being watched with caution, but I am tempted by the possible underlying theme.

Good
– The music is actually good
– There is a possible Babel analogy?

Bad
– Characters are really bland so far, and the surface story is flimsy
– A ridiculous amount of ecchi physics
– The CGI is just awful sometimes

KimmieKawaii

From the reviews I’ve already come across, most viewers were put off by the 2D characters mixed with CGI 3D surroundings. To be honest, I found this foray into experimental territory to be rather intriguing. Rapidly executed fight moves and bewildering perspective angles, however, make for a truly disorienting experience. Complicating matters further, the heavy use of incandescent colors and reflective surfaces does little to acclimate viewers to the environment.

Now these issues are enough to diminish viewership. And, honestly, I wish that was all I had to complain about. The synopsis for Hand Shakers’ though did little to prepare viewers for how the premiere episode unfolded. Laden with cryptic biblical references, I attempted to make connections between the Tower of Babel (from Revelations) and the direction this series will take. How the leader Nimrod from the Bible and the ‘Nimrodes’ weapons from Hand Shakers are connected, I haven’t a clue. While my fingers are still crossed that these biblical elements are meant to impact the narrative in some deeply profound way, I will likely be disappointed. After all, the plot has unfolded in such a perplexing way that I’m not even entirely sure I’ve grasped everything episode 1 meant to deliver.

Without wasting too much effort in explaining this last glaringly obvious issue, I will just say that if you are at all bothered by fanservice, DO NOT watch this series. With as many series as I’ve seen, occasional (and unnecessary) fanservice doesn’t bother me.  With that said, the amount of sexually suggestive moments in this series was so copious and ‘in your face,’ that it managed to distract me from appreciating what I did find enjoyable.

Good 
– Character design and background animation was intriguing
– Makings for a compelling plot (if executed properly)

Bad
– Summoning powers are obviously enhanced if female partners are tied up and abused
– Main protagonist accepted having a stranger be suddenly bound to him and undertakes a mysterious challenge before viewers even comprehend what is happening.

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The CGI and 2D combination may be disorienting for some viewers

This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party

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11 thoughts on “Hand Shakers episode 1

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  1. Omg! Just was hoping to watch it this season, after reading Prattle’s review and the gifs I couldn’t.

    Have fun watching another 2 episodes before dropping it, or not? 😁👊 The animation though looks good to me…✌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, Prattle has strong opinions. I can’t really recommend this based on the first episode either, but if you’re curious, why not try it?

      The animation, like I said, worked fine in some places but in others it was a bit much. In any case now that it’s up here, you’re right, I’m stuck for 2 more episodes at least. As with every series, I hope it gets better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I kind of ignored the biblical references this first episode given there are a lot of anime that throw around religious symbolism or terminology but never really take it anywhere. If it looks like it will become significant I’ll have to go back and rewatch (cringes at the thought) to pick it up.
    Honestly, this episode was kind of dreadful but it was the kind of dreadful that I find sort of amusing and entertaining and I’ve said before I’d rather watching something bad and entertaining than boring so Hand Shakers is beating a lot of shows this season just because of that. Still, the chain girl… why? Why? Why? Anyway, this is on my watchlist for the season at least for now though I do have a few back ups in case it becomes truly unwatchable (though a lot of people would argue it already is).

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    1. Unfortunately EVA is one of those many anime that go overboard with religious imagery but never really coalesce it into a solid point, so I know what you mean.

      Hand Shakers seems to be very specific here though, with the allusion to Babel and Nimrod, though I suppose you could just take the premise of “challenging God” and work backwards, but I just want to believe in something!

      I can’t explain Bind. I don’t know if even the show’s writers can explain her convincingly. It’s terrible, but as you said, the show is doing something, and has a decent soundtrack while it does it.

      Hopefully your experiment with this doesn’t go too badly. I know plenty of people have run away from this screaming, but it can’t hurt to take a chance. Can it…?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, the worst that will happen is I’ll have something to put on my worst of the year list and I’ll get to write a very sarcastic review. From that perspective, I think its worth continuing.
        I really will have to get around to reviewing Evangelion eventually. I love it but it has so many issues its going to be a hard show to tackle.

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  3. Hmm, I always start watching series after they are finished (well, almost always) but I do browse through Crunchyroll to see what’s new. I had read the plotline for this series, but it did not really interest me. Reading through this review, I think it is one of those Animeseries that I might watch if I run out of ideas for what to watch. (Which I guess is pretty much never lol 😂😂). Great post though!

    Liked by 1 person

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