Episode Title: “Conductor to Contact”
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.”
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.
– The music is actually good
– There is a possible Babel analogy?
– Characters are really bland so far, and the surface story is flimsy
– A ridiculous amount of ecchi physics
– The CGI is just awful sometimes
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.
– Character design and background animation was intriguing
– Makings for a compelling plot (if executed properly)
– 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.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party