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Well, guys all I can say is, if you already have watched the first episode and liked it then don’t read the following passages. I’m trying to be objective here but I will probably fail to give you a proper review on the first episode of Hand Shakers. I decided beforehand to add this to my watching list, mostly due to the studio choice. I regret now my lack of interest in the last few weeks, a quick PV check would have made me change my mind. In any case make sure to check my other episode 1 reviews!
Hashtag: #ハンドシェイカー (reads handosheikaa)
Setting and Composition
There was not much plot being explained, all we know after episode 1 is that the anime revolves around so called Hand Shakers – partners who can summon weapons, so called „Nimrodes“. They are not allowed to let go of their partner’s hand by no means. Each pair seems to have a different Nimrod, I mean so far only two pairs appeared, so that’s what I conclude. According to the synopsis there’s a lot more going on, with challenging „God“ and such but that has yet to be covered by the anime. Both protagonists meet and end up being Hand Shakers, then they happen to get attacked by another pair. They struggle but eventually manage to summon their Nimrod.
I won’t be doing a character intro this time since there’s not much to comment on. Instead I’ll be talking briefly about the series composition…. I’m trying. Expect lots of salt and „3D“. The staff is almost the same as in K (-Project), the composition even slightly resembles it. So what was so unbearable to watch for me? Handling 3DCG animation is a delicate topic for me, if not properly planned and executed it can be a real pain in the ass. It can totally ruin the atmosphere and destroy entire scenes. Complex mechanical movements are often being covered by such animation but that’s it. Animating background characters in CG is apparently a common way to save money for companies. As for Hand Shakers, it’s like 80% of the episode is being directed by CG. Somewhat finely drawn 2D characters move in a ocean of random 3D movements, unnecessary complex 3D camera movements clash with overly used 3D background textures and freaking CG chains. It’s like hell if you want your eyes to enjoy the scene, I mean there’s nothing to be seen in the first place. It’s hard to see on mere pictures or screencaps but I suppose it’s also painful for the average watcher. I’m not a big fan of the character design but it’s decent … such a waste. Not totally sure, but there even were short scenes where part of clothes were being animated in 3D, why!
You might think „heck, anime is not all about animation there’s more to it!„, I know but your eyes just happen to watch and they also need to be satisfied. Plot-wise there was not much directorial work in my opinion. I felt totally helpless, you’ve been pushed into the „story“ with some early foreshadowing. Later on you know what happened but without any effect, people appear and both protagonists happen to be pushed into a fight without any visible reason. To be honest the whole episode felt like an experiment being conducted by GoHands. Few studios and staffs have their problems with certain parts but they would never abuse their weakness, instead they would just try to cover it up and use it in short scenes almost unseen by the watchers. I’m not sure if the director is to blame, he doesn’t have much experience in directorial work as far as I know. Despite all the salt I’ve been typing out here, the first episode had few really beautiful cuts.
Few words for the end
Yeah, that’s it. Impressive how much writing-urge I could gather after just one episode. The following weeks will tell more about the story, hopefully. I admit I didn’t had any expectations in the first place but I didn’t expect to be disappointed on this level. I don’t want to point my finger on people blaming them for this outcome. The whole text may have implied that I’m a die-hard fan of the series who’s just been bitterly crushed by the anime, but that’s not the case! It’s just such a waste to see people working on projects like this but fail to utilize its (possible) full potential. It makes me cringe so hard (grr). With that in mind, I’ll keep watching like always. I don’t want to ignore the staff’s efforts – it’s just my bad nature. I’ll be back reporting more from the depths of hell in mid-season, maybe this just turns out to be a bad dream…
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