“Lead by Red”
After defeating his first team of hand shakers, Tazuna meets with Makihara to learn more about Koyori and what the purpose of hand shakers are. Tazuna learns that Koyori is different than the other hand shakers, in that she will die if separated from him. Because of this, Tazuna reluctantly agrees to Makihara’s plan to introduce Koyori as a foreign exchange student to his family.
I don’t know if I can say that Hand Shakers improved appreciably in this episode, but after the puzzling sequence of events in the first episode taking things a little slower in order to do some character work is helpful, or would be if there was any appreciable headway made in that regard. Instead, viewers get a few bits of information on Tazuna’s new partner Koyori, who has yet to utter a line in this series, explaining why she needs Tazuna to keep hold of her and that she is different from the other Hand Shaker partners. Tazuna himself is a little less of a blank slate in this episode, echoing viewer sentiments in his confusion about why he should be involved with any of this.
The glimpse into his family life was a little odd, but does liken Koyori to a possible sister that Tazuna once had. At least they addressed the fact that he has a family and presumably needs to live a normal life while he’s not fighting other Hand Shakers. Logistical issues like eating, bathing, and going to school are also addressed. Logic sticklers like me appreciate that details aren’t being ignored, but their handling isn’t the best either.
This episode offers nothing to get excited over, but isn’t as jarring to look at, which seems a shame if any further “excitement” will coincide with disorienting animation.
– The affectionate parents do nothing for the story, but were kind of nice to see
– The series seems to be trying to answer questions while keeping some “mystery”
– Eccentric (assistant) professor is eccentric
– Any hope I had of the story being allegorical isn’t helped this week
Like my review for ACCA episode 2, Hand Shaker’s 2nd episode also began with an information dump. Now I’m not against this tactic, especially when a detailed story is up against time constraints. With that said, a lot of what viewers were told, through Makihara, was information that any semi-intelligent person could already conclude. Any additional information that was ‘new’ to the audience was far too vague to be useful at this point. To be fair, I’m likely downplaying the significance of what was detailed. Basically I learned three relatively new pieces of information:
- If a hand shaker is defeated by another hand shaker, than the losing ‘team’ will not be granted access to god.
- Koyori is somehow different than all the other hand shakers, so if Tazuna lets go of her hand for some undetermined amount of time, she will die. Okay…
- Even though Makihara is not (nor has ever been) a hand shaker, he has made it his life’s mission to find out everything about them. Seriously? Get a hobby.
The rest of the episode is dedicated to Koyori transitioning into Tazuna’s home and school life. For starters, she has to live with Tazuna’s family, under the guise of a foreign exchange student, who is unfamiliar with Japanese culture and language. This seamless integration is practically eye-rolling. Not only do Tazuna’s parents immediately accept this flimsy story but are fine with their young son feeding and bathing their new guest. Interesting…
So what positive came out of episode 2? Well, the animation isn’t nearly as disorienting. Also, viewers are being slowly fed a backstory on Koyori’s character. Aside from that, not much more can be ascertained about what the hand shaker’s overall goal is and why it is necessary to complete.
– Animation quality has improved.
– Backstory on protagonist, Koyori, beginning to take shape.
– Convenient liberties taken with Koyori’s seamless integration into Tazuna’s life.
– Episode 2 did little to further the plot. It was mostly filler, in my opinion.
This post is part of our seasonal episodic review series. To view all the posts in this series, click the following link: Viewing Party