「Conductor to Contract」

When judging a series, the three episode rule exists to prevent any preemptive call on the merits/weaknesses present. It’s not a hard and fast rule—and entirely subject to personal taste and patience—but it does encourage better objectivity in the long run. For Hand Shakers though, three episodes will likely be hard pressed to change initial opinions.

Hand Shakers’ problems are immediate from the get go, with the largest culprit being the animation. Although one should know what one is getting into with GoHands (the producers of K), it seems like the studio decided to go more experimental and less quality control this time around. Panoramic shots greet nearly every major environment, with heavy emphasis on crowd scenes in particular. Normally this would be intriguingly novel, but the idea loses its charm after experiencing it several times in a row. Combine that with some seriously distorted perspective shots, shaky camera movements, and claustrophobic colour schemes, and the whole thing risks turning into a vertigo-inducing mess. That doesn’t even touch on the 3D either, which at times works seamlessly with the 2D artwork—particularly in character-centered scenes like those crowds—but often runs at a different frame rate to the 2D, simply enhancing all the aforementioned cinematic issues and aggravating the viewer’s focus. The chain CGI and those hilarious breast physics just add the cherry on top to this dilapidated mix.

Synopsis does not help Hand Shakers’ case either, where once again technobabble meets meek protagonist and his fated meeting with the girl meant only for him. This style of story has been done numerous times before, with Revelation of Babel, Ziggurat, and Nimrod stand in terms for whichever battle plot is the flavour of the week season. Personally Hand Shakers’ premise reminds me of C: the Money of Soul and Possibility Control currently, but such opinions are always liable to change. Case in point that bondage scene immediately out the gate, which certainly raises the audiovisual stakes going forward. The one real curiosity I have though is the whole hand holding aspect, which definitely is something new for this type of story. It’s unclear what the boundaries on that are requirement, especially given Tazuna (Saito Soma) and Koyori (Morohoshi Sumire) switched their held hands on a couple of occasions, and Bind and Break noticeably never held their own at times. At least next episode looks to explore this idea of constantly needing to lock fingers with your love partner further.

Although impossible to objectively call a series only one episode in, there’s no denying Hand Shaker has already dug itself one hefty hole. With little chance of any serious change in animation style going forward, Hand Shakers’ success will likely come down to its story, which–while currently unknown–does not invite any serious promise as of yet. I’m always open to changing my mind, but unless Hand Shakers shows good improvement going forward, this one will quickly find itself slotted in with the likes of Big Order and Coppelion.




  1. Based on episode 1 alone, I predict that this is gonna be like Guilty Crown all over again.

    Starts up as an anime with amazing visual spectacles, then crashes and burns due to a pathetic excuse of a plot. No amount of artistic talent can save an anime with piss poor story.

    The 2 main leads of Hand Shakers are almost carbon copies of the ones in Guilty Crown.

    I’ll give it 3 episodes, but I have low expectations on this one.

    1. Let’s not get carried away here – that comparison would imply there was amazing visual spectacle or artistic talent present in this episode. It was an abomination of an eyesore, perhaps one of the worst-looking first episodes I’ve seen in anime. GoHands have really outdone themselves with this one…

      1. Really? I thought the animation in this episode was decent.

        Smooth transition of movements, a world where even the background characters are more than immobile inanimate objects and the bounce of that presidents gigantic tits.

        Aside from the chains and gears which I consider as an eyesore, I thought the animation was above average.

      2. PS: Im the type of person who puts heavy emphasis on story over animation, thus despite my 7/10 praise in Hand Shaker’s animations, I still have little-to-no expectations for the series.

  2. This show is actually nauseating to watch. There was a fine line they were treading with K’s visuals and it’s quite obvious they went far far beyond that line, made a kaleidoscope in the process, shoved a flashbang up its sphincter, pulled the pin, and then called it Hand Shakers.

  3. I actually enjoyed the experimental animation. It was a little weird at first but it grew on me. The colors and movement were a different style than anything i have ever seen before. The story feels like it could be a bit flat though. Hopefully, there is more depth than what it initially seems. We’ll see i guess.

  4. Visually-Nauseating is the only way I could describe this episode. From the shaking perspective shots constantly being used; rather bland character designs with their round-as-hell faces specifically made to fit their huge-as-hell eyes; the rack on some of these girls….seriously we ALL know why they were drawn like that; the stupid chain bondage scenes; biggest culprit being that PS2 level graphics that’s slapped over the 2d graphics. Like seriously, when some shows use CG at least they have the decency to try and make it work together with the traditional media. If they know it doesn’t look right they just make the entire scene CGI….but actually putting the two together like this….ugh.

    Also all I can say is….that opening credit font….good god that was horrid. It’s like they took a high school that took a single community college graphic design class and told them to make the credits. It’s pretty bad when your own credits look so photoshop generic. Did this person ever study typography at one point in their lives?

  5. I lasted 3:40 before I took a dramamine and deleted the file. It was like being on a rocking boat falling through a crowd and the colors were all over the place. You’d have to be high on LSD to enjoy this one with the magic dragon. -DELETE-

  6. I wanted to like this, I really did….but it was awful. That cheap CGI meshed with the horribly flat characters was just laughable at best and uncomfortable at worst
    And what? I’m really supposed to believe that they are NEVER going to let each others hands go FOREVER? I hate it when anime treats me like I’m stupid, and especially right out the door

    1. The whole hold hands forever angle is just stupid. From taking a shower, sleeping, eating, to dripping a deuce its just not really feasible for 2 people to always hold hands.

  7. Terrible. Horrible. Abysmal. Disgusting. Awful. Dreadful. Horrendous. Atrocious. Appalling. Rubbish. Crap. Bad. Vomit-inducing. Eye-gouging. Mind-melting.

    What other words have I left out that could accurately describe this giant pile of poo? Animate should be ashamed that their name is associated with this.

  8. The vomit-inducing camera angles (and weirdly over-bouncy student council president), as well as the bad integration of 2D, 3D, and what looked like sort-of photorealistic backgrounds were a mess.

    We get it, someone took a class on how to simulate a fisheye lens. Dude, nobody uses those for serious photography for a reason. It looks nasty.

    Also, 2003 called, it wants its CG jewelry FX and gears back. Those were similarly nasty. Damn, Go Hands, did you guys do that on an Amiga or something?

    Visually unappealing MAX. Plot? What Plot? It’s something you’d use in an episode of a romcom “Oh senpai, I lost the key to the handcuffs!” you know, something dumb like that, that only lasts for one episode. But 12-13 of this? Seriously? This isn’t going to end well. In all the meanings.

    And from the preview, I can tell they’re already trying to amp up the prurient interest with gratuitous shower scenes. “Oh NO! We HAVE to HOLD hands FORever! (Because the script says so.) HOW will WE EVer showER! (And by we, I mean the female lead, because we need to generate ratings.)”

    Meh. I may watch another ep or two? Maybe? Just to see what the hell “Hand shakers” are supposed to be… I’m guessing it’s MLM, though.

  9. Well… the animation is… unique?

    Oh, who am I kidding? This is a mess. I don’t mind a studio playing with animation, but there really needed to be quality control for this series. Especially since no one understands what is going on with the plot.

  10. Hmmm…. UFOTable’s God Eater had better and more pleasant and easy to the eyes. Is Hand Shakers totally made using CGI? It does make Brave witches CGI bloopers look tame. Art direction wise, set design and colours, SHAFT’s LSD laden psychedelics looks tame relative to Hand shakers

    Velvet Scarlantina
  11. …..to be honest, apart from the really bad fanservicy bits (K Project kinda had this problem too, what with characters like Seri and Neko, but this much right off the bat was downright awful) and those chains, I actually quite liked the animation. Not that I deny it was very bright and busy, but I just found it really pretty, so I don’t have as many complaints there as everyone else seems to.
    Where plot is concerned….well. Maybe it’s just me, but it sort of feels like they attempted to do what Ga-Rei Zero did, plunging us right into the thick of the action with the first episode, and then using the next episodes to actually go back to the beginning and gradually work us up to what had happened in the first, before then using the final couple of episodes to move forward after the point of the first episode, to show us what happened next. Except that they attempted to do that all in an episode. Which….quite frankly, didn’t work. Hence why the plot looks a mess at the moment. I mean, that’s not the entire problem, but this is the sense I got from it.
    But still, all in all, there were elements of this that did have me intrigued and wanting to know more, and I quite like the protagonist. I also adore Koyori, for no real reason I can think of at the moment but even so. So I’ll be giving this the three episode rule at the very least, to see if what I did like about this will be enough to bear out the not so great aspects.

  12. I wonder if they rushed this out the door. I still remember how good stand alone complex looked, that was ages ago. Now we have cel shaded mobile games that looks better than this too.

    Story wise, I don’t know. All I remember is Bind’s moaning….

  13. Honestly, since you mentioned C – at least C had Iwasaki Taku as composer (who is one of the most skilled composers active) and so it had at least one semi-redeeming factor 🙂
    This, though…it manages to feature an artstyle that at the same time looks like budget AND awkward. Not to mention that the characters always clash with the background and seem like projected ON the scene, instead of being part of the scene. Oh, I guess that is where the awkwardness comes from… 😀

    P.S.: I forgot who the author was and where, but it happened on your blog (which is the only anime-related blog I actually read and I rarely bother commenting) and somewhere in the last month, please never use “factoid” again as an 100% synonymous expression for fact. Since, you know, it actually is something VERY different ٩(′д‵)۶

  14. Watching this show is making me physically ill and I’m not even five minutes in.

    Between the excessive CG, the panning backgrounds and… I can’t even tell what it is about the characters movements exactly but it’s just so off it makes me slightly nauseous.

  15. Given how much I love K, I never would’ve imagined how I would despise this show. It physically hurt my head to watch it, and while I adore dynamic camera work as much as the next fan it was dizzying in the worst way.

    This is my personal view, of course, and if others find something to enjoy in this series then I’m glad for them. I just couldn’t.

  16. This show… I watched…. well, “watched” this ep out of curiosity.

    Even if the visuals weren’t atrocious, the guy grinding his foot into his partner’s groin would have ample reason to bail.

    And when I said “watched”, I meant started it up, watched in fascination for a few minutes, then semi-listened while doing other things, occasionally looking over.

    Regarding plot, I’m totally clueless, as clueless as the main, and yet I lack nothing but a desire for the lead staff to return their paychecks in shame.


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