For an animation with so many CG elements regularly moving around the screen, Hand Shakers has a distinct lack of flow to marvel at. When coupled with its offensive treatment of a woman in a discordant attempt at titilation, I wanted to shut off the premiere within the first two minutes.
Tazuna is whizkid schoolboy that can fix machines with such ease that he finds it fun. After fixing the audio player of the student president (a girl who’s chest obeys some truly bizarre laws of physics when she’s listening to music) and the engine of a strangers car, he hops on his road bike to go help a university professor with another odd job. He arrives at the professors office to find it empty, except for a white-haired girl on a bed surrounded by intensive care machines.
The girl, Koyori, opens her eyes and grabs Tazuna’s hand, inciting distorted visions to appear on the walls and forcing him to lose consciousness as a disembodied voice speaks to him of ‘challenging Babel.’ When Tazuna wakes, the professor appears to tell him that if he lets go of Koyori’s hand, she will die. This explicitly stated plot point is really the only thing to latch onto with Hand Shakers, because the prof vanishes immediately after, giving way to a practically nameless, chain swinging punk in a leather jacket who forces Tazuna to grab Koyori and run. And that’s where the episode falls apart.
Choppy CG animation hampers Hand Shakers even more
What could have been a below average action sequence framed by some biblical references like Nimrod and Ziggurats, is marred by the treatment of the woman Chain-Villain is holding hands with.
I swear a cumulative three minutes of Hand Shaker’s 24-minute debut feature Chain-Dude’s magical partner writhing on the ground as he tightens the chains around her. In one sequence, I kid you not, Chain-Bro even does this with one boot forcing down on her crotch. As a result, I found it hard to sympathize with Tazuna, even when a flashback — prompted by Koyori’s bedridden form — shows his sister’s hand slipping out of his as her hospital monitors flatline.
Hand Shaker’s effects aren’t particularly impressive either. Chain-Man’s iron links sporadically shoot through the floor and walls in his pursuit of Tazuna, but the texture on the chains often looks cheap and flat. Tazuna’s floating gears (presumably generated by Koyori) fare a bit better. Their interlocking animations and combination sequences with other floating bike parts were the highlight of the episode, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. Similar gear sequences even appear in this season’s Youjo Senki, and in a much more compelling fashion than animation studio GoHands’ attempt with Hand Shakers.
If, rather than sadistic mistreatment of a scantily clad girl, Hand Shakers kept it’s surreal displays limited to the environmental mayhem it shows off when Tazuna first forms a bond with Koyori, this premiere might have had legs to stand on. Instead it’s an awkward looking mess with poorly written, unnamed characters that don’t inspire confidence in the anime’s future.