I’d like to start this Hand Shakers post by talking about something tenuously related instead. This is both to promote that thing and kind of explain why I find this show’s incompetence compelling. There’s a little known (at least outside of the Chinese market) 2013 film called Switch, an Andy Lau-driven hybrid of Mission Impossible and James Bond that manages to litter every moment with bizarre (at best) directorial decisions and hilariously transparent Chinese nationalism. Character motivations change at the drop of a hat, scenes appear out of nowhere thanks to a mix of poor transitions and even poorer writing, and the villain is a bleach-blonde, Oedipal yakuza named Yamamoto whose evil lairs (yes, he has two) are littered with fetus motifs and skulls.
What saves it from being unwatchable is the fascinatingly awful set design (nearly everywhere, including an umbrella museum, has strobe lights) and the wonderfully unconvincing CG. The sound design is also strange—I watched it once with a state of the art sound system, and every other minute the speakers emitted a low rumble that shook the room, even if there were just two characters talking over mimosas. If you ever get the chance to see it, I heartily recommend it—just bring friends and/or booze. My point is that Hand Shakers is the Switch of anime—gaudy, incoherent, and fun to laugh at for these qualities.
From what I can tell, Hand Shakers follows a mechanically inclined average boy who ends up as Keanu Reeves in Speed, but with the bus replaced by a comatose girl’s hand. That is to say that if he lets go of her hand at any point, she’s going to die. It also refers to her as his Nimrod, and Hand Shakers’ equivalent of Dennis Hopper’s Nimrod is a girl who cums chains. That is absolutely everything that I’ve been able to discern through the ugliest color filter on Earth and a deep enough uncanny valley to make Arpeggio of Blue Steel look like a canny elevated plain. When taking screenshots for the first time I legitimately thought that the video was fucked up, but that’s just how shitty everything looks.
It’s not difficult to tell that a lot of misplaced effort is going into this show. The script is seemingly ambitious, if laughably incomprehensible, and a lot of stuff is happening onscreen at all times. Hand Shakers is a visually busy show, with everything twinkling that can twinkle, and everything that can be covered by the shadows of ridiculously fast-moving clouds being covered. However, it never stops to think if it should distract by animating EVERYTHING to an obscene degree, or if making anime’s answer to the 2.5D shooters of the 90’s was a good idea. The highlight is a scene of a girl shaking her head to music, with the momentum transferring to her tits in a way that’s as grotesque as it is fucking funny. I genuinely hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time.
I genuinely want to know the thought processes of whoever greenlit Hand Shakers, because that’s going to make a fascinating case of abnormal psychology. But until that day, I’ll content myself by reveling in Hand Shakers’ awfulness. I won’t say that I suggest you do the same, but as a connoisseur of awful media, this gets two thumbs way, way down, and I can’t wait to see more.