“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.’”
Hand Shakers got my attention right from the first episode due to its unique art. With heavy use of 3D CG animation for its background and scenery and 2D art for all of the characters, it’s something to get used to. Although that might sound enticing, it seems like the studio handling the Hand Shakers project focused too much on the animation and disregarded the story itself.
The story is alright at best, it’s very choppy with information gaps between episodes at times. Maybe the studio was rushed for time but, whatever the case, sometimes starting an episode would have you completely confused on how the characters got there in the first place. The biggest disappointment is the turning points in battle. A good battle scene will involve the character being forced into a corner, find his or her inner strength, and then use the new found power to defeat the enemy. But with Hand Shakers, those steps are compacted into about thirty seconds of fighting. So with zero emotional build up in the fight, it’s hard to get pumped up and root for the character. It would’ve done better as a 24-episode anime rather than 12.
Artwork & Animation:
As many of my readers may know, I’m not a fan of 3D animation, and it’s used excessively in Hand Shakers. Most of what’s animated in 3D are the backgrounds which include; the surrounding buildings and the interior of rooms. While I appreciate that there are cool buildings in the scenery, putting the 2D and the 3D together was disorientating. This is seen in battle sequences, where the camera will do an 180 turn following the 2D characters. It was strange to see, and the artwork didn’t always match up with what your mind wanted to see. I do like and the understand the fact that it’s something new to grab the attention of the masses, but it could’ve been done in a better way. The character design, are also not that great. The faces of the character felt like they were squished, for whatever reason.
The characters are plain boring. with the forceful comedic gags and catch phrases for certain characters, as well as important-looking characters that get no attention or background whatsoever. Koyori is one of the most developed characters in the show, and yet she doesn’t even talk until the 10th episode. Tazuna is your cliche male anime protagonist, there’s no reason why it couldn’t have been anyone else.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
If there’s one thing I enjoyed in Hand Shakers It would have to be the soundtrack, but even then it wasn’t the best, only because some of the music was used at the wrong time. The final fight scene’s song sounded ls passive, another reason why I couldn’t get into the fights.
I was intrigued at the beginning with the new art style but it soon became too overwhelming and disorientating to enjoy.
Overall: score 6
While I do appreciate the new territory that Hand Shakers explores, the delivery was rushed and not thought out. If you wanna try something new and funky, give it a try, but I wouldn’t waste your time.