Note: This review is the final part of an event called "The Nine Hells". This is for Day IX (The Circle of Treachery) and contains mild spoilers. While this doesn't give everything away, your discretion is still advised. Or not.
Hand Shakers is the action schlock anime of lore about a young boy who ends up getting roped into a trial by God himself after a girl in a hospital bed holds his hand unconsciously. From there on, the duo are not only bound to hold hands for the girl to survive, but to also gain access to a power as well as an alternate dimension called the Ziggurat, where they are forced to fight others of their kind for the right to visit God for a chance to get a wish of theirs granted.
Storyline The storyline is basically a huge sloppy mess as it goes along while the premise already gets betrayed sooner into the tale as the main duo go from having to cope with dressing and bathing in their bound state from having to hold hands for their health to being able to get separated for a set number of hours without the girl of the duo, Koyori dying due to her condition. From there, the tale becomes a very incoherent and weirdly-paced slog of events and battles that are just there for the show to try to look cool. There was some building about the mechanics of the Ziggurat, the hand shakers themselves and their powers that happen to literally called "Nimrods", but they were all explained in a pretty iffy fashion and weren't expanded on much throughout the whole series. Instead of an interesting story that balances the main duo's lives with their journey to earn their wish from God that happens to be tied into a death game, we get some rather mostly frustrating and shoehorned battles, filler-like events between not only the main duo, but their opponents, even after they lose the running to have their wish granted. This trainwreck of a show sports one of the most anti-climactic endings to ever witness that even shows that whoever wrote it ran out of time like a 5-page essay that was only one page in with only 5 minutes until the deadline. Nothing in any inch of this show is worth even remembering in terms of the whole story.
Characters The same also goes with the characters, whom are abysmally developed and don't have much of anything going for them other than their tropes and one-note personalities like Break and Bind's fetish fuel and Chizuru for being a token (legal) loli as examples. While also developed poorly, both the main characters, Tazuna and Koyori ended up with the most fleshing out. However, while Tazuna was just a blank slate of a protaginist with a bit of a sister complex (okay, more than a bit), Koyori is also as blank as Tazuna, but ends up with more of a personality thanks to hanging around with him and some of the other characters, but other than her sweet calm demeanor through learning to speak and do the daily essential tasks, that's pretty much it. As if we didn't have enough sibling complex characters about, there's Lily, whom is a full-fledged brocon to her younger brother as well as the fanservice girl. There's literally nothing else to her other than the usage of her tarot cards, which served jack-all for her hand shaker battle alongside Masaru, whom is a clone of Tazuna except for a slight tsundere trait and has a deck consisting only of explosion attacks within his powers.
There is also Makihara and Daichi, whom had a interesting approach within their backstories, but it ends up coming off as shallow as they are and with the addition of Koyori's sister, Mayumi, she is given the very same treatment. Shockingly, the one pair that does get on some nerves long enough to become Evil Town residents are Kodama and Hibiki for being extremely annoying with Kodama reciting famous quotes from real people while even breathing and Hibiki for his constant orbiting on Kodama despite it being his job as an idol manager. The rest are as memorable as a breakfast eaten from someone's early childhood days and just make this show more of a chore than cleaning an entire apartment complex.
Pros and Cons The one single legitimate pro of this show is that it had a few good musical themes withing the background tracks and to kick everything off with the cons, the main themes are grating and overwhelmingly unbearable like the opening sequence theme or just flat out dull and boring in case of the ending sequence theme. The coup de grâce of the entire show alongside everything else up to here is the completely inconsistent visuals. It looked like a little kid was handling the control room of a security camera system and tried every single button and lever to see what would it do with no regards to the destruction that it would cause. There is cheaply-made CGI for many scenes (including one scene where completely CGI-looking people were roaming about), mixtures of said CGI and real world imagery with 2D animation, frame rate problems, shots that have been lazilyreused, shakycam shots, lighting problems, fish-eye views, still shots for some of the filler shenanigans, over-designing of colors, textures and effects for both the normal world and The Ziggurat combined and completely unnecessary camera panning that Google Maps can't even be proud of. The same goes for the animation for being fluid in some points while being rather choppy in the next through the entire show.
And as the problems keep piling on like the runs, there is a disturbing amount of unnecessary fanservice (even for somebody that doesn't mind the stuff), mainly involving Lily and her sweater puppies, but also has some showcasing for Bind being crotch stomped and ends up making an inconsistency with the supposedly flat Koyori down the line. Some of it is also inconsistent as well thanks to a few averted panty shots from the quote machine of the pop idol section of Hell. The only other thing that the show did half-decently was the sound design for some of the fighting scenes, which have abysmal choreography even for an action schlock show and ends up having some (also inconsistent) bloodshed in a few battles for those that are squeamish.
English Dub/Sub Comparison/Evaluation This was the one time that I want to ask the official dubbers, FUNimation if they were on a huge combination of narcotics to have this show simul-dubbed at the time of the show's airing. Some voices like Tazuma, Koyori and Makihara are a nice fit while the rest either doesn't sound as fitting or end up sounding misplaced. The official English sub has a mostly smooth translation, but ended up skipping a key part for a document that revealed Lily's brother to be adopted in one of the filler scenes alongside some voices in the Japanese dub also becoming rather annoying like Kodama's and Makihara's to an extent. Both versions end up taking a neutral stance in the evaluation.
Final Verdict After finally conquering the beast and his creation, I can finally give this the more than obvious Absolute Hell rating. Unless you would like to endure severe pain, torture and sickness from all the visuals of this show like I have, don't even think of watching this show. I can safely recommend the other methods of torture over watching this dreck. As for me, The pain of The Nine Hells is finally over, or at least until I somehow end up running into an anime that's worlds worse than even this one.
Current Situation: I wanted another excuse to use Enterprise as an avatar again.
Old Man Dream: ...later titles in the Macross franchise can finally come stateside with all involved parties finally coming to a truce over how to handle things with the Macross trademark and all later anime in the franchise associated with it.
Apr 9, 2021 10:26:05 GMT
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT