W’z

August 3, 2019

This is so wack, my man. I never really thought Hand Shakers would get a sequel and I never really thought W’z (pronounced as Wise and not Wiz as I thought) was that sequel. When I first read the synopsis, I never really gave much thought about it as it says something about a genius DJ prodigy kid. Nothing hinted of any sorts it was related to Hand Shakers. I thought this would be some music themed anime and even so, it was strange for me to get interested in the DJ genre. DJ and those techno club music aren’t my tea so naturally I would have given this a pass. Something didn’t mesh apparently so I ended up checking it out. Until I watched through the first episode that I started realizing there are pretty familiar things. Oh dear. Too late. Really, this is just so wack, my man…

Episode 1
It is 10 years later from the events that ended in Hand Shakers. There is a young boy going viral on the internet. Dubbed as W’z, this genius DJ who is getting many hooked with his music is actually Yukiya Araki. He is on his way to start his new term of middle high school and because he isn’t concentrating, the mere touch of an innocent by-stander causes her to temporarily enter Ziggurat. Though, she loses her memories of her time in Ziggurat when she returns. Yukiya wants to take up music at Kita Asuka Academy. However his father opposes it very much and it looks like Yukiya is going heed his advice. Along the way, he meets Masaru who takes an interest in him and suggests meeting Koyori who is a teacher at that school. Masaru leaves when Yukiya’s childhood friend, Haruka Tosabori arrives to accompany him to school. Yukiya thinks he has no talent since his video wasn’t that well received. Haruka disagrees and to prove he has much more talent than that, she suggests doing whatever crazy thing he has on his mind. That night in the crowded streets, the duo set up the DJ equipment right smack in the crowd. Yeah, nobody cares. When they hold hands, they enter Ziggurat. They don a mask as he streams live his DJ talent. Some people are stumped because they are watching this video right in this spot and they can’t see this dude anywhere. Yukiya realizes they are under attack and goes to protect Haruka. Not just 1 but 2 pairs of enemies, Hana Mihara-Senri Teshima and Gai Kishiwada-Masataka Sakai. They are here to steal his power. Yukiya manages to deflect their attacks with his Nimrod sword.

Episode 2
Because the enemies are busy trying to outdo each other, this allowed Yukiya and Haruka to escape. At school, Yukiya sees Koyori. He experiences some weird flashback/trance when she touches him. Koyori can tell he is W’z (did Yukiya seriously think that mask was enough to hide is identity?!) and although he has seen many of his videos, she wants to ask the recent one where he entered Ziggurat. It seems Yukiya has this ability to enter Ziggurat by holding anyone’s hands. The caveat is that they cannot summon Nimrod and they lose their memories when they leave. But Koyori touches him again and nothing happens. She cannot enter Ziggurat anymore and she has a request of him since there are people she wants to find trapped in there. It is believed that Nagaoka and Mayumi met God. However they went missing after that and Koyori has never seen them since. With Yukiya’s ability to enter Ziggurat anywhere, she hopes he can help find them. She also notes the dangers that will follow him as there will be people targeting him. She wants to protect him and the best people to do so are those ex-Hand Shakers. We hear the wishes of the other parties. Gai and Masataka want to stay in Ziggurat forever while Hana and Senri want to get rid of this power and hold hands like normal. Yukiya returns home. He needs to face his father who is still opposed to the school of his choice. It seems his parents, Reijirou and Yukine are ex- Hand Shakers whom we knew as Break and Bind respectively.

Episode 3
Yukiya tells Haruka that he deleted his recent video after receiving lots of comments. He is still unsure what to do so Haruka believes he is afraid because he is unsure what the right thing to do is. The ex-Hand Shakers of Chizuru, Hayate, Koyori, Lily and Masaru converge at the former’s restaurant. However Reijirou crashes in and picks a fight with Masaru whom he believes is the one influencing his son. Masaru claims removing him from the problem will not solve anything as he will eventually face off with other Hand Shakers. After cooling down with a cuppa, they discuss about Yukiya already deleting the original but you know the internet, what is uploaded will always stay there forever. Yeah, clones of his videos everywhere. Further revelation shows that Yukiya isn’t really Reijirou and Yukine’s son. He is their adopted son, though he doesn’t know that now. Flashback shows some shady characters gave baby Yukiya to them to be raised and grown in Ziggurat, free of combat and strife. The main point of discussion is Yukiya isn’t just able to bring anyone into Ziggurat, he was able to bring in something huge like his entire DJ equipment. If this is so, can he bring something out of Ziggurat too? This is dangerous as there are people who want to use this power for criminal activities. All of them despite not being able to summon their Nimrods, want to protect and advise Yukiya. After all this, Reijirou still refuses. He is tired of dealing with Hand Shakers and the likes. Of course his wife talks to him about respecting what Yukiya wants to do. And when that happens, all they can do is simply watch over him. Yukiya finally arrives at the restaurant and he feels awkward with Koyori being close to him. Does this guy like her?

Episode 4
Hayate and Yukiya enter Ziggurat to start looking. It’s a boring conversation until Hayate mentions about Tazuna being Koyori’s partner. But he had to travel around the country to do some business. And this made Yukiya mad because he ‘abandoned’ her?! Sure, complain what a jerk he is to Haruka. She plays along and to calm him down, she gives him tickets to Western King Fest musical event whereby his favourite DJ, Nielsen Fumiyuki will be playing there. Next time, Yukiya pairs up with Chizuru for the search. She talks about how great Tazuna was. Because they met God, Koyori is now able to live normally and not always hold Tazuna’s hands to exist. But Yukiya still seething he ‘abandoned’ her? When they return, Haruka gets the wrong idea of Yukiya ‘dating’ a ‘loli’. Yeah, it’s that taboo word but to prove Chizuru is an adult, she doesn’t blow her top. Chizuru tries to set up Yukiya and Haruka as a date. But that has to be put on hold since Gai and Masataka are here. Back to Ziggurat to fight. Worse, Hana and Senri are here too. Chizuru and Senri are shocked to see each other since Senri works at Chizuru’s place as a part timer. This is awkward. Soon they start fighting but this time the enemies make a pact to cooperate against Yukiya. But whoever defeats him first wins. Chizuru realizes that without a goal or desire to protect someone, Yukiya cannot win. Thanks to Yukiya’s irregular power, Chizuru is able to draw her Nimrod. She clones themselves to escape back to reality. Even so, the enemies still want to fight and Yukiya is tired and injured during that battle. Don’t worry. Finally Tazuna shows up for help. Holding Yukiya’s hands to go back into Ziggurat, the enemies are now certain about his abilities to have different partners to enter Ziggurat. Remember Tazuna’s Nimrod of gears? Welcome back.

Episode 5
Tazuna easily defeats them and suggests they pull back. Wise choice. They can’t defeat him as they are now. In school, Tazuna discovers a transmitter underneath Yukiya’s belt. That’s why they knew where he is. Tazuna has a heart to heart talk with Yukiya inside Ziggurat. He explains they are the same because of their ability to summon Nimrods as they like. Tazuna understands his worries as when he became a Hand Shaker for the first time, he was also targeted. But with his feelings to protect Koyori strong, he overcame all that. Of course with a few slip ups. Yukiya’s Nimrod that he names Disk is the core of his heart so when he is lost, take a look at yourself. Senri now can’t return to Chizuru’s restaurant. So she’s going to ignore all her messages? The girls get their details of W’z from this mysterious informer known only as Composer. He sounds shady but they have no choice but to trust his info as that’s all the lead they’ve got. With them reminding us how they want to rid of this power, time to see flashback snippets of their close relationship together since kindergarten. Yeah, Senri got bullied and Hana came to her rescue. Lots of handholding until they’re grownup. Is it because they hold hands too much that one day they find themselves in Ziggurat? In school, Yukiya is shocked that he and Haruka enter Ziggurat despite not touching each other. So now close proximity can also trigger this? And you bet Hana and Senri are on the offensive. They are much stronger than before because thanks to their flashback bonding. I don’t know why Yukiya is standing there just defending and protecting Haruka and getting injured. I know Haruka is also hurt so shouldn’t they hide in some structure? I’m sure the girls only target Yukiya so if he runs elsewhere, they won’t bother with Haruka. I don’t think taking hostage is their style. Because of this, cue for flashback of Yukiya and Haruka’s childhood moments. Yeah, they’re close, right? I suppose the power of yuri makes Hana and Senri even more powerful. Hell yeah, their handphone charged right up to 150%!!! If only my battery can last that long! But WTF, banzai to the power of yuri!!!

Episode 6
Will the power of yuri penetrate through Yukiya? Not if Haruka helps power up and cuts through them first! Now Senri and Hana are at Chizuru’s restaurant and siding with them? They believe Composer has lied to them and only using them. Because now they have officially lost, he blocked them from his contacts. Also, Senri and Hana lost means they are unable to go into Ziggurat. Something they have wanted all along and was as simple as just losing. The gang discusses about Composer and how he leaked info to mislead others. Because Yukiya’s position was also known despite the transmitter was destroyed, it could either be him or those other guys. The only sensible thing is to confront them. Yukiya wants to come along since this is his fight. Gai and Masataka thought they were going to meet up with Senri and Hana to fight Yukiya but realize they have flipped sides. It is confirmed the transmitter was from them and since they refuse to destroy its records, they’re going to fight. This time Yukiya is paired with Masaru to handle the duo. I guess it’s due for their flashback. When they were kids and on some camping trip with Nagaoka and Makihara, that was when they learnt about Hand Shakers for the first time. Through the years, Gai developed interest in hiking the mountains and stargazing. Other friends didn’t share the same ‘boring’ hobby except for Masataka. Okay, he looked uninterested too but he plays along. That’s when they made their dream to go into Ziggurat if they can’t go into space. During the battle, Gai falls into Masaru’s trap cards, immobilizing him. This allows Yukiya to go after Masataka. Meanwhile Tazuna and Koyori bump into Nielsen. Koyori remembers him at her father’s lab a long time ago. Nielsen wants to talk to Yukiya since Midori Okuike of Okuike Group is making his move. Yeah, that’s the company that sponsored Koyori’s father’s research. Are things starting to come around?

Episode 7
With Masataka in danger, Gai forcefully breaks himself out even if it means hurting himself. But with Yukiya right in Masataka’s aim, he shoots at Gai. Is that on purpose? Flashback shows Masataka was a nervous wreck when he first entered Ziggurat and he hated shooting people. So Gai told him if he finds it hard to shoot anyone, shoot him. Then the game will end. With Gai down, Yukiya cuts down Masataka. Now that they’re defeated, are they like friends? As promised, they delete the data. Haruka learns Yukiya has submitted a music application not as W’z but as himself. Why does this make her feel inferior, praising he has a lot more talent than her? Cue for flashback to see how they met. Haruka took up a musical instrument just because he was good in music. Now she feels she can’t keep lying to him. Tazuna and Yukiya oddly hang out with each other. They’re getting along just fine. Yukiya didn’t expect Koyori to join in. I suppose Tazuna forgot to tell him. At the karaoke, Yukiya is tone deaf. But Koyori continues to support him… Real partners stick through thick and thin, right? When Yukiya brings Tazuna back to his home, it looks like Reijirou wants to fight him but it’s his crude way of greeting this dude. They’re friends, huh? Talk about old times, they’re so modest and humble in their victory and defeat then. Although Reijirou noted Tazuna and Koyori met God, the problem is they couldn’t remember what happened after. Now they shift their attention to Yukiya. What are his ambitions? Still not sure but he wants to help Koyori find her sister with his power. At first he was afraid and scared of it because he once dragged Haruka into Ziggurat and she ended up injured. He hated it. Then he was targeted by others and caused problem for others. He knew he was lying to himself but in fact all he wanted was not to be rejected. Reijirou gives his blessing to do whatever he wants.

Episode 8
Koyori calls Haruka out late just to tell her about Yukiya lying and that Haruka has something to say to him? Oh dear. What did you do? Now you making Haruka cry harder as she blames herself for dragging him down because she isn’t good enough. She fears he will leave her and she doesn’t want that even if it means Yukiya ending up hating her. Koyori relays her experience with Tazuna. So the bottom line is to stop lying. Easier said than done. Tazuna tells Chizuru and Hayate that Midori is Composer and the one pulling the strings. Of course this info wasn’t for free and he made a deal with Nielson. It seems that DJ is still an active Hand Shaker despite never meeting God and his goal is to watch over Ziggurat and those connected to it. The school cultural festival is here. Nielsen brings his busty and sexy assistant, Tamari so they could watch W’z AKA Yukiya who is to perform here. Safe to say that everyone else is here too to see him perform. Yukiya is nervous but once he starts getting into the groove, everyone is stunned at his awesome talent. So good that even Reijirou cried. Yeah… This gives Haruka the motivation that she wants to tell him something when this is done. What a coincidence. Yukiya too. After Haruka’s band is done with their awesome gig too, the band members congratulate themselves. Then they talk about Yukiya who is pretty weird (but in a good way) and despite this makes Haruka awkward, I don’t understand why she gets worried when she realizes Yukiya was hearing this. She realizes she has lied again. Wait a minute. WTF did she say? Did she say anything?! Hence the melancholy of Haruka continues…

Episode 9
Haruka isn’t answering Yukiya’s calls. Yukiya receives a call from Seba Suchan who is calling on behalf of Midori to meet. He is hesitant until he mentions this is regarding Hand Shakers. Yukiya tells this to the rest and Tazuna will accompany him. Both meet Midori for the first time. He cuts straight to the point that ever since mankind is eating up resources in the name of development, he wants to use Yukiya’s power to bring things in and out of Ziggurat. As time moves differently there, Hand Shakers can create copies of the same world as many times despite the Ziggurat crumbles after their battle. So as we can see, Midori is able to enter Ziggurat with Seba and has duplicated loads of silver bars. So he is going to use this concept to solve resources and energy problems plaguing the world. He doesn’t call this exploitation and merely wants his assistance. Unlike other Hand Shakers with their own desires, Yukiya will become God himself and move humanity forward. Tazuna opines this will destroy the world balance. But what does Yukiya think? Since he doesn’t approve of the Hand Shakers fighting each other like those recently, Midori believes their thinking is not aligned and will talk again in the future when they are of clearer mind. Now Seba calls Haruka and brings her to meet Midori. It seems the lie she has been hiding from Yukiya is that she remembers everything that happened in Ziggurat. Though she doesn’t want Yukiya’s powers to be exploited, Midori puts it in a nice way that he is a nice kid but others will take advantage of him and at the same time he doesn’t want to force his ideals on Yukiya. He believes if Haruka can become Yukiya’s partner and act in his place, he will use all his power to protect her. They share the same path and he can help her. The clincher: We’re doing it for Yukiya. Nielsen finds out that Midori has made his move. No time to be fooling around. Time to go busting. Yukiya soon learns that Haruka transferred to another school and moved out. Wow. She really told nobody. Not even the school bothered to announce to her classmates. Feeling worried now? He goes talk to her mother and she tells him she suddenly wanted to transfer to Okuike University and living in their dorm. Wow. Things really move fast when you have the money and influence. Oh Yukiya, you now have something to tell Haruka? Something about your feelings?

Episode 10
Nielson confronts Reijirou. He was the one who handed baby Yukiya to him 10 years ago. Now he is mad that Reijirou broke his promise and let Yukiya be a Hand Shaker. He could have taken Yukiya’s powers any time but didn’t because he believed in him. Now Nielson is going to crush that boy. I guess this stems from his trauma when he was an active Hand Shaker. He lost his then partner, Jessica. Reijirou then finds Yukiya and can tell he is having trouble. So Yukiya tells him what he knows about Midori and Haruka being taken away just because he refused. But it could be that Haruka went on her own volition rather than being forced. Father is going to give him a ride to the dorms to settle his business. Along the way, he reveals the truth about Yukiya being adopted. Even though not his own child, he loves him as his own. Why say so when he knows this isn’t an appropriate time? But thankfully Yukiya didn’t freak out. He somewhat knows. There were no pictures of him in his younger days. He wasn’t entirely sure but with this revelation, he is now. Entering Ziggurat, they are confronted with Seba. Damn, what a waste of the bike as he cuts it in half! He wants them to leave. No can do. If Haruka doesn’t want to see Yukiya, why is she here?! Seba and Reijirou face off. The latter might be a bit rusty and gets beat down. But nothing like a father’s love to turn the tables and turn it into some head butting fight? Whoever has the hardest head wins. Meanwhile Yukiya and Haruka have no choice but to fight since they’re stubborn. Haruka condemning herself as a liar unworthy of him. He shocks her that he too is a liar. Smooth operator in session as he commends her very being who is always by his side cheering him up. Hostility turning into awkwardness when both confess they love each other. That’s not a lie, right? And Yukiya saying he wants her as his partner, is that in Hand Shaker terms? Seba won’t allow this and tries to attack Yukiya. With Reijirou pinning him down, Yukiya and Haruka combine their Nimrod to kick him out from Ziggurat. Yukiya and Haruka are back on good terms. But they can’t get out from Ziggurat. Because Nielsen and Tamari are going to defeat them.

Episode 11
Yukiya is happy to see Nielsen since he is a big fan of his. I’m sure Nielsen will give him his autograph after this but now it is Hand Shakers business first. In order to wipe out Yukiya’s power, Nielsen summons Tazuna and Koyori into Ziggurat. This is his irregular power. The offer to Tazuna was to join forces and take down Yukiya’s power. Koyori is fine if Yukiya loses that power and she can’t look for her sister anymore but Yukiya will not have that. All that is left is to battle it out. With Tazuna being formidable, I’m not sure how Yukiya and Haruka now gets it as they, uhm, summon some pog or something, attach it to their Nimrod and summon Reijirou and Yukine here?! WTF?! Whatever. Reijirou and Yukine keep Tazuna and Koyori busy so that Yukiya and Haruka could duke it out with Nielsen and Tamari. During the fight, I guess Nielsen felt Yukiya’s vibes that he truly wants to use his power to search for people. So Nielsen stops the fight and has Yukiya meet up at a certain place later. Nielsen commends Yukiya as the first irregular Hand Shaker he didn’t defeat because irregulars can cause some imbalance and that is why others show up to manipulate their powers. Not sure where in this Ziggurat, Nielsen leads Yukiya and Haruka to where Nagaoka and Mayumi are staying. Yukiya crying at the sight of seeing them? Must be so touching, huh? They explain why they choose to remain here. Nagaoka has an incurable disease that no current medicine could help. But his wish was for Mayumi and Koyori to lead normal lives and Mayumi’s wish was to stop Nagaoka’s illness. So did God heard it and granted them? Apparently stopping time in this Ziggurat is the only answer. You mean God just didn’t make Nagaoka’s illness disappear? Lame! Yukiya gets this great idea. Lend his handphone to call Koyori and let Mayumi talk to her! Damn, did they not bring any phone around here? It must be one long talk since there’s a lot to catch up for the sisters. Maybe Yukiya should leave his phone here? After they leave, it is revealed that Yukiya is the son of Nagaoka and Mayumi. Because time stopped here, the moment he was brought back to reality, that is when time came flowing back all of a sudden and he grew up many years all at once. Just weird… So I guess you can’t slow down your aging if you head back to reality.

Episode 12
Yukiya and Haruka see Midori directly. They’re here not to fight him but believe can grant his wish. Because their powers include summoning others including ex-Hand Shakers into Ziggurat, they can set up many sham victories until one is able to meet God. Now I’m confused. I thought you stopped being a Hand Shaker and lose all that power when you’re defeated? Anyway, Midori rejects this as he no longer has a wish to ask God. He shows them a giant crystal embedded in his chest. It seems Midori has also met God. What he said about saving the world was just an excuse. His true desire is to exploit the system of Hand Shakers, God and irregulars. Flashback reveals his father pushed Akutagawa and his team to hasten their research on Ziggurat. He wanted to become like Columbus discovering America, a new world. He even allowed them to use his son as experiments. However Akutagawa went missing and the only reason Midori stayed relevant was because he was a Hand Shaker. To regain his value, he met God and granted his dad’s wish. He brought out some gem from Ziggurat. He had to cut his own flesh since it was embedded into it. Father was happy and the experiment continued and it made Midori close to death. Doctors even had to operate deep into him to dig out the crystals. Seba couldn’t stand it all and shot the doctors and his father to death. When dad pleads for help from Midori, he pulled the trigger many times and killed him. Overkill! That’s for all the loveless exploitation! Now Midori will fight Yukiya and Haruka not to defeat them. But to torment them. It is clear that Midori is way more powerful so Yukiya and Haruka retreat. Midori won’t give chase as he knows well this tactic of theirs to bait them. Back in reality, the rest of the gang are lying safe in one of Nielsen’s place. It is a good thing since Midori’s men have started targeting the families of Yukiya and Haruka’s home. They can’t stay here forever and need to fight back. Yukiya is going to need some reinforcements then. Midori realizes Yukiya’s side has also taken action and got away from his men. The negotiations weren’t to buy time and believed Yukiya really wanted to help out. Although they ran away, Midori believes the outcome will still be the same. He has his men take control of Nielsen’s club and predicts the Hand Shakers will attack via Ziggurat.

Episode 13
Inside Ziggurat, Yukiya-Haruka faces off with Midori-Seba. However the former aren’t alone as they temporarily summon their ex-Hand Shaker friends into the fray to deal some damage to the latter. To allow their battle to continue and not interrupted, Reijirou, Yukine, Nielsen and Tamari are fighting other Hand Shakers. You mean there are tons of them?! Don’t worry. They’re so insignificant that we don’t really care. Meanwhile we take a detour, Mayumi explaining her wish to want a son to be born between them then. So she’s like Virgin Mary? She wanted a son who is strong and never lose. You mean a son like God? So is Yukiya like Jesus Christ???!!! WTF???!!! We now return to the Ziggurat battle. Yukiya calms himself down and strikes Midori. That was fast. Midori retreats but vows to return and make him kneel. Yukiya then summons Tazuna, Koyori, Nagaoka and Mayumi. From what I understand, they all have powers qualified enough to see God. We have 2 pairs who have met God. On the other hand, Yukiya just defeated someone who met God. Hence Yukiya is qualified to meet God. Damn, does that even mesh?! Did Yukiya realize Nagaoka is his real dad? In the aftermath, it seems Yukiya has lost his powers and he is happy with it. We hear Nielsen and Makihara talking about the shocking wish Yukiya made that nobody expected: Getting rid of all the unwanted wishes granted by God before losing his own powers. Oh, how selfless. Because of his unselfish wish, Midori is now free from his curse. No more crystal embedded in his chest. In a dilemma over his role and existence, he ponders if he should go after Yukiya to seek revenge for saving him. My man, you trying to be some twisted second class villain here? Seba isn’t sure but he mentions that he knows someone who was once saved from death. That’s himself. Midori made him his butler instead of letting him die. Just to show Midori isn’t some cold hearted jerk, Seba carries him like a princess and he starts getting emotional and cries. Probably Yukiya’s greatest wish, the one not granted by God, is to become a DJ under Nielsen’s tutelage. He’s already a talented DJ. Need I say more?

OVA
We delve into the past of Reijirou and Yukine before the events of the Hand Shakers TV series. He was a delinquent dropout. She was an elite high school girl. Also the stalker type. And a masochist. Scold me more, Reijirou! Creepy… Reijirou had a hard time manning several part time jobs and it’s bad enough that Yukine often breaks into his room without his permission just to be with him. Then it all gets worse when he gets fired from all his jobs. Even the restaurant job he worked, the owner, Kozaki accused him of stealing stuffs when it was he himself who gave it all to his fatty customer, Oyama whom he is sucking up to. Even Yukine doesn’t approve of her father trying to break them up. Flashback reveals they were childhood friends and always close together. However Reijirou changed when his mom died. She realized she is the only one by his side and only knows his true and warm aspects. Yukine tries to be smart and goes to slap Kozaki and Oyama for being unfair. Of course they retaliate by trying to rape her. Good thing she texted Reijirou about what she was going to do and here he comes to save her. After pushing those guys away, the moment Reijirou and Yukine’s hands touch, they enter Ziggurat. So now they are Hand Shakers? So was Reijirou’s whatever wish that strong to qualify them for that? Apparently Kozaki and Oyama are also Hand Shakers. They relentlessly attack the newbies. Reijirou realizes that chain dream wasn’t just a dream. Yeah, Yukine had that dream too. And with renewed determination, Reijirou uses his chain powers to fight back. Partly it is Yukine’s masochism that wants him to bind her harder but also it enhances his powers. Reijirou is able to turn the tables on them and now they are the ones cowering in fear and begging for mercy. Reijirou gets cocky as he tells them off. He is about to mercilessly crush them but Yukine stops him. She has a conscious? Actually, she wants him to save all his rage for her. But of course. After defeating them, the duo realize they need to make their wish come true so they go to crowded areas to find more teams to defeat. Well, we all know what happened next. The rest is history.

Wack’… ZZzzZZzzz…
Ah well… It really all doesn’t mesh. I don’t know whether the TV series actually ended the entire series itself and the OVA feels very disjointed because it has nothing to do with W’z and more of a prelude to the Hand Shakers prequel. No characters from W’z whatsoever and heck it should have been actually called Hand Shakers OVA 2. Technically, which is also correct in a way since this season’s OVA is indeed the second OVA overall after Hand Shakers very first season’s OVA. Yeah, really wack, my man. Making it even more wack for me is that this OVA looked even more interesting than this season. Yeah, pretty odd I should say. Probably it’s because of Yukine’s character that I wasn’t totally expecting her to be like that sort of character before… Maybe they’ll make another OVA. This time about Jessica. You know, Nielsen’s previous partner. Because is it me or do I feel that this plot was unnecessary or the producers totally forgot about it. Yeah, I guess this doesn’t really matter. Won’t mesh anyway.

I didn’t really get the overall plot of this season at all. Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and people who are after his power. Okay, I get that. But they want to make it look like some sort of massive power was behind the scene that was after Yukiya’s power. It really felt weird. While the Okuike Group might be a huge conglomerate, I don’t really feel its impact and presence in the story. It felt like Midori was just a single guy trying to get what he wants and his power and influence on the group was just fringe and marginal. In between, we have Yukiya being worried and conflicted about his own power. Therefore the much needed drama to help build Yukiya’s character from a loser into a slightly better, uhm, loser. Technically. Because he might have lost all those great powers but at least he has his life. And girl. And they bring back many of the original Hand Shaker characters just so to let us know that the power of friendship is a reason why Yukiya is able to change and become a better person. I guess that’s not a bad thing and it is better off than starting off as an overpowered character.

While the flimsy plot is one thing, it got me pondering how this whole system and mechanism of Hand Shakers works. Because from the looks of it, God must be a dick and a sadist. Like Nagaoka’s illness. You mean the Almighty can’t just wish for his dreaded disease to go away? With a snap of a finger? Maybe Nagaoka who doesn’t talk much wasn’t being specific but I mean, this is God. The one and only God. Shouldn’t He understood all that and cured him instantly instead of making time stop and stuck inside Ziggurat like forever? WTF, dude?! Initially I was under the impression that the Hand Shakers fight in some battle royale and the last one standing gets to meet God. But apparently you fight and defeat enough Hand Shakers, obtain their powers enough to qualify to make you meet God. Isn’t this insane? Like Yukiya’s suggestion for sham victories, if this really worked then God didn’t really thought out this very well. I thought it was a sacred honour-cum-privilege to see God and understandably only one, the best of the best could do so. But having so many meeting Him, damn this feels more like an exclusive club or something.

The other problem being the creation of Hand Shakers themselves. So apparently I was also under the misconception that this Hand Shakers thing was just a one time battle. From what I see here, it looks like there is no starting and ending point. As long as you rake up enough victories, you get to meet God. Which brings me to this point as of how many Hand Shakers are there really? How many are there right now? In the final episode we see Reijirou and Nielsen bashing up other Hand Shakers so it must mean that there is some Hand Shaker battle still going on. How does one become a Hand Shaker? The narration in the beginning of some episodes I assume is from God. Sounds like a young Japanese adult guy. At least that ossan at the end of last season whom I thought was God was actually Nielsen. The terms to become a Hand Shaker sounds vague. You have a wish? Then join hands and fight your way to see me. Yeah, pretty shady if you ask me. And I suppose if you wish hard enough, God may somehow give you those Hand Shaker powers. Go forth! And entertain me! Haha!

With that, this also brings me to the next point that is also related to the plot of the series. With Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and many coveting his power, I was under the impression that there would be hundreds targeting him! Damn there were only 2 groups!!! WTF???!!! Even if they had like 5 pairs of Hand Shakers, I guess that would be acceptable. But damn, just 2 pairs?! Oh yeah. Big deal indeed. It doesn’t really mesh. I guess we need the cliché tropes so that when Yukiya defeats them, they become somewhat his allies. So if there were like 100 of them, how to fit them all in the final battle? Oh yeah. You really got me. So just 2 freaking groups who just target Yukiya’s power. And they’re not even scary.

Hana and Senri are just cute and provide some female eye candy and possibly some boobs fanservice since Senri is a cow tits monster. I guess she replaces Lily as she doesn’t make much appearance here. I said female eye candy because I have a hunch this series caters more to male bishonen as seen in the opening credits. That group pose… All guys! At least hot guys. Gai and Masataka are another bunch of weirdoes. Masataka being the quiet one and Gai being the lively one whose catchphrase is “Sugoi…”. Like as though he has a limited vocabulary or something. Yukiya and Haruka are supposed to be the Tazuna and Koyori of this season. Both their problems are not having an honest heart. They claim they lie to each other but once they get that out of the way, they’re just unstoppable. So cliché. Good thing Yukiya doesn’t continue to pursue his crush on Koyori (thank goodness for Haruka). Because it would have been freaking weird to have fallen in love with his aunty!!! And his wish to undo unwanted wishes? What are the chances that God isn’t being a dick and undo some wishes that were really wanted? Hey, can’t say. It’s not like God knows what we really want in our hearts, right? This series’ God is so dumb. I don’t like this idea either but I feel Yukiya should just become God and take His place and make the world a better place.

Finally with Midori being the antagonist of the series, I thought it was going to be a running joke that he and Seba would never appear. Hence their only chance is in the next episode preview where they talk some nonsense whatever. I thought this is all they would amount to. Their proper and formal appearance would be after 3/4 of the season and it already felt too late. It is hard for me to support or even hate Midori as the so called villain because his character is written in a mediocre way. Hard to sympathise with this dude despite his tragic background because I just couldn’t connect how it turned him into a Hand Shaker. Hard to hate this dude because he is one of those hot looking bishonen guys and his actions aren’t really despicable albeit twisted. This guy just wants a reason to exist. I guess being alive isn’t good enough because he is so rich and have everything, that’s just boring. Uh huh. What a boring villain.

Previous Hand Shaker characters make their cameo enough to make this season look like a sequel. They usual provide some support to Yukiya and Haruka and don’t do much so as not to take away the spotlight from them. Like Chizuru and Hayate, why are they still around? So it is as though the gang have a fixed place to gather and discuss their Hand Shakers related problems. Otherwise they could have been done without like some other characters. Like Makihara whose absence is so obvious. It is stated that he went on some journey to try to find a cure for Nagaoka. In the final episode it is hinted he has made some progress. WTF???!!! If God couldn’t find a cure, you mean this siew mai lover could???!!! This doesn’t mesh!!!

But I couldn’t be more grateful that Kodama and Hibiki didn’t show up here. If they did, it would have been a complete alumni of last season’s Hand Shakers. It is also because Kodama was really annoying with her celebrity quotes. Thank goodness. I guess she is too busy with her singing and acting career to even care about this. Good for her. Good for us. Phew. Isn’t it odd that Nagaoka and Mayumi had been missing for so long and thanks to plot convenience, they are finally found? Like WTF?! Thanks to the OVA, we get a shocking glimpse of how different Yukine’s character is. It’s like she’s a totally different person and can we say that motherhood changed her into a decent person and ‘freed’ her from that masochism? Reijirou still has that rage and short temper with him like forever, but Yukine is like a cool cat now. Yeah, parenting does change some people. Imagine how freaky if Yukiya sees his foster mom as some masochistic slut. Totally wack!

Action scenes are rather okay. Nothing really spectacular. Using CGI for Nimrods and some pretty abstract scenes in Ziggurat as excuse that you are in a different world. Yukiya’s irregular power sometimes feel like a convenience to the plot and action because otherwise how could he overcome more powerful and determined Hand Shakers? Ah, I see that is what it means to be an irregular. Since GoHands animate this sequel, it goes without saying that their trademark weird colour hues permeate every scene we see. I did say that this series feels like a guy anime because the guys look slightly better than the girls. Do you not see the female characters look a bit one kind? They’re like… Weird dolls… Like Tamari, WTF is this hippy hipster doll look? Same case for Yukine. She looks like a bisque doll or something.

Unfortunately music isn’t the main theme here. You can feel the same jazzy and bubbly vibe it has in the prequel. Not to say that they are bad but it is not as attractive as I would find them in K. And W’z seemingly only have hit song on his DJ music… Whatever. I hope he doesn’t become a one hit wonder. Opening theme, Reason by Ryohei Takenaka sounds like it is trying too hard while Kamisama Wa Kitto by Fuki as the ending theme sounds ill-fitting as a slow ballad. Yes, it’s calming in a way but it feels like in the aftermath of seeing God whatsoever. With the old Hand Shakers cast retained, lots of new ones joined this season that none I recognized. That bad, huh? They include Katsumi Fukuhara as Yukiya (Touya in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni), Akane Fujita as Haruka (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei), Daisuke Namikawa as Nielsen (Rock in Black Lagoon), Atsumi Tanezaki as Hana (Miu in Blend S), Inori Minase as Senri (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Takuya Eguchi as Gai (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Yoshinosuke Yamagami as Masataka, Toshiki Masuda as Midori (Kirishima in Boku No Hero Academia), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Seba (Yamato in Nanbaka) and Minami Takahashi as Tamari (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma).

Overall, the sequel is still as disappointing as the prequel. The producers tried to make an original anime out of the Hand Shakers but I guess it is very certain that God didn’t grant their wish and turn this into a hit masterpiece. Boring plot and characters is more than enough to turn anyone off and drop this series like a rock. It must be amazing for me to stick through till the end thanks to all the thick skin of stubbornness that I have accumulated in watching animes like this over the years. Oh well, if they decided to surprise us and do a third season, then I have to admire their perseverance and aversion to failure. Because like Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”, said Henry Ford. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit”, said Michael Elsner. But still, it doesn’t take away the fact that this season is really wack and doesn’t mesh…

Hand Shakers

July 29, 2017

At first the name of the series seems a little suspicious. Because Hand Shakers sounds like a name that would be befit a porn title. Holy sh*t! Right. Only dirty minded people can think of this. Rest assured that it isn’t so. Instead it is a sci-fi action thriller. So what is new about this series? Teams in pairs fight each other in battles in which if you win enough of your matches, you get to meet God. Yeah, you can’t get more original than that. Because the way you are supposed to fight your opponents by summoning so called awesome weapons is by joining hands (really), thus the name of the series and the term given to all those who participate in this flimsy battle thinking they can meet Almighty based on this flimsy unproven reasoning. Oh yeah. Very original indeed…

Episode 1
Tazuna Takatsuki is in an intense battle and ‘complaining’ he would rather be fixing old watches than in this sh*t. His opponents seem to be S&M fetish couple because the girl is giving out ambiguous moans, chains tightly wrapped all around her and her super big bust feels like it is going to explode anytime. Seriously. We go back a little while in time in class as Tazuna talks to Lily Hojou. It makes them look like a couple but they’re not. Or are they? With those kind of boobs, I would sure love to f*ck date her. He fixes some broken device of hers. After school, he is supposed to meet Nagamasa Makihara at his lab. His lab looks like the hospital where his sister died holding his hands. Trauma? Then he sees a girl in bed. She looks exactly like his sister but isn’t. When Koyori Akutagawa grabs his hand, suddenly he experiences some sort of augmented reality and some voice telling him he’s received this Revelation of Babel, blah, blah, blah. In short, he is now a Hand Shaker. When Makihara enters, he is so happy Tazuna is now a Hand Shaker but warns never to let go of Koyori’s hand otherwise she will die. Say what?! Before things can sink in for Tazuna, the place is under attack by chains. He takes Koyori and runs outside. He sees that chain S&M couple as the attackers, Break and Bind. Break is cocky when he learns Tazuna is a newbie and doesn’t even know terms like Nimrod and Ziggurat. He relentlessly attacks. When Tazuna decides to stop running and fight back, his refusal to let go of Koyori’s hands (because she was going to) as it traumatizes him about his sister’s death suddenly has him unleash his Nimrod: Loads of gears? Break isn’t pleased as he tortures Bind to sound more sexually suggestive to increase his power attacks but nothing much happens. This guy is still cocky yet upset he should beat this pipsqueak easily. Because now Tazuna assembles all the gears to become a giant sword and fight back.

Episode 2
Tazuna defeats Break. In the aftermath, Makihara explains Break has been sent to the hospital and they’ll be fine. He explains about Hand Shakers. Selected people who have to fight each other in which the winner will get to meet God and get their wish granted. Yeah, as original as ever. Some terms are explained like Nimrod (weapon) and Ziggurat (the parallel where Hand Shakers fight) as well as the reason of holding hands is to gain power and recharge to create Nimrod. When a pair loses a fight, they lose their powers and thus can no longer participate in battles. Because Koyori’ is also in a Ziggurat in this reality, you let go her hand, she dies because it drains her power and existence. So is Tazuna going to forever live his life holding her hand? Don’t worry, Makihara can iron out the adult stuffs and make it work. Because now Tazuna’s parents welcome Koyori into their household with open arms. Maybe they just want to tease their son in this ‘romance’. After dinner, it is the awkward bath scene. How do you take off your clothes? Apparently if you let go of her hand, she won’t die immediately so Tazuna has to do things quick before grasping it back again. So awkward this guy that he got his nose bleed all over the place. Now who is going to clean this up? In school, Tazuna introduces Koyori on her behalf (excuse given, she is from Brazil and too shy to talk). You bet the other guys are going to get jealous at how close they are since they never let go their hands. They run away from the unruly mob and bump into Lily. Tazuna introduces the girls as Lily hands him her brother’s handheld to fix.

Episode 3
Not sure what Makihara did but now he tells Tazuna that he is able to let go of Koyori’s hand for 15 minutes for his whatever needed break time. Centeotl Group’s Chizuru Mitsudera and her subordinate, Hayate Azuma arrive at school to do a presentation of improving the cafeteria’s school efficiency. Due to her petite size, many believe she is just a school girl and worse, Hayate’s underling. The duo then bump into Tazuna and Koyori who invite them to treat them at their group’s outlet, Cocktail Corn. After nice servings of parfait and hospitality, you start to wonder why they get such good free service. Turns out Chizuru and Hayate are Hand Shakers too. They know about Tazuna and Koyori and set this all up. Chizuru and Hayate’s past reveals how they were ostracized due to office politicking. So down and out as they drink their woes, they had this wish God will hear them out and all hat prejudicial stuff disappear. Confident Chizuru and Hayate go on the offensive with their acrobatic stuff and speed. Tazuna is only left defending since Koyori is being useless standing there holding hands.

Episode 4
So when Tazuna decides to fight back, he has to deal with Chizuru’s clones. The guys start fighting their individual battle but Hayate lost and Chizuru concedes defeat. In the aftermath, Chizuru and Hayate profusely apologize to them for not knowing the life threatening condition that Koyori has. They respect Tazuna for fighting and protecting Koyori who doesn’t have her own Nimrod. Chizuru then explains one of the abilities of holding hands is that they are able to exchange memories and emotions. Tazuna doesn’t know anything about Koyori because she was sleeping all the time prior to her awakening. Then she explains about the triggering of Ziggurat. One way is when 2 sets of Hand Shakers get within a certain distance holding hands. Because Tazuna and Koyori are always holding hand, they are easy targets because it is like ‘advertising’ they are Hand Shakers. That is why Hand Shakers have their own nicknames to avoid the inconvenience in real life of their real identity being found out. This is another way to trigger Ziggurat without holding hands as long as the Hand Shaker knows your identity. Chizuru and Hayate decide to become their guardians and their first order is to give them at nickname. At least for Tazuna. He is nicknamed Single Gear. After they leave, Chizuru becomes very frustrated that they actually lost. She thought they could win. Hayate almost killed them because he was crying too and his eyes aren’t on the road! What a way to blow away the blues via drinking. That’s the adult way.

Episode 5
Tazuna and Koyori hang out in another restaurant belonging to Centeotl with Chizuru and Hayate. When they leave, suddenly Tazuna realizes Koyori is missing. How the f*ck can they lose each other if they were holding hands?! Koyori is lost and starts crying upon realizing Tazuna isn’t holding her hand. Luckily she is found by Lily and her younger brother, Masaru. They take her to a card tournament where Masaru owns his opponent. Lily is being supportive of Masaru but does she has to be cheering this loud? It’s embarrassing. For the crowd, that is. After that Lily personally plays with Koyori and loses! Note, this is Koyori’s first time. But that made the girls become friends. Funny. Girls bonding over a card game? Tazuna is searching around as he calls Makihara about the problem. Now you only want to start thinking about putting GPS on her? Tazuna is then called out by a man, Daichi Nagaoka who seems to know Makihara. He reveals Makihara was once a Hand Shaker and asks Tazuna his reason for fighting. Does he know he is destroying the wish of others by defeating them? Well, what is Tazuna’s wish actually? Let’s say it has something to do with his dead sister. Nagaoka tells him off that Koyori is not his sister’s substitute as he is fighting to keep her alive. At this point, Lily calls Tazuna to inform Koyori’s whereabouts. Gotta leave. Lily realizes she doesn’t have enough money so Masaru offers to pay. Lily feels embarrassed as she confides in Koyori about her secret. She’s in love with Masaru?! When Tazuna arrives, for the first time you can see Koyori’s face lit up with joy as she runs to him. When both pairs hold hands, suddenly they enter Ziggurat. Lily and Masaru are Hand Shakers? Why doesn’t that surprise me? As they both don’t want to fight each other, one way to escape Ziggurat is for both sides to lose their will to fight. Nothing happens. The siblings take it as a challenge that they want to fight and go into combat mode.

Episode 6
Taking Yugioh and whatever card games to the next level, Masaru’s Nimrod is materializing the properties of the card for the attack. To drag out the ‘explosive’ action, thus we get a flashback of the siblings. Lily is praised by her parents because of her outstanding performance and hope she would do even better. Masaru on the other hand is a total opposite. He only cares about his card game and this made mom cry and scream her head off. Like he cared. So Lily went to nicely talk to him and I suppose the clincher was Lily being ‘cute’ when she is clumsy. He allows her to hug him and that’s when she professed her love to him. A start of their close bond. So close that you could smell incest coming up. Back to the fight, Tazuna takes a beating but luckily Koyori decides to stop being a liability and do something useful. Remember she is also good in this card game? She has deduced Masaru’s attacking pattern and leads Tazuna to avoid them. Both sides face off and give each other one last chance to stop fighting. It feels odd because they express they don’t want to hurt the other but yet they eventually go through with it. Even weirder when Masaru finishes all his cards, Lily immediately stops him as she doesn’t want to see him hurt. But he asks permission to borrow her cards instead and she relents. Apparently this wasn’t good enough because we all know Tazuna is main character material as he charges through the final push to strike down Masaru. They lose. Cue for Lily to put up her emotional drama for Masaru. She doesn’t blame Masaru for losing as she feels it was her selfishness that made him do this. You think so? And they both realize how weird they are for confessing they love each other. I’m so weird out by this now…

Episode 7
Tazuna confronts Makihara about him being an ex-Hand Shaker. He confirms it and also never got to meet God. Obviously he lost, right? When asked about Koyori being put to sleep, she already had a condition that made her lose her memories and ability to sleep. As she was born a Hand Shaker, she had a partner before Tazuna but that partner’s identity was unknown. Makihara was desperate to keep her alive so he put her to sleep. So when Tazuna was able to hold her hand, it made him happy. Now Tazuna has a problem regarding his class for the cultural festival. His friend had some problem getting some ingredients. He took it to Lily and got rejected so he wants Tazuna to talk to her again because they know each other, right? And yeah, we could see some double standards because she would try for him. Unfortunately she couldn’t so Tazuna turns to Chizuru for help in which she agrees. Then another problem arises when all the cooks in their class got into some mishap. That’s the thing when you do secret training. Guess what? Koyori volunteers to cook. So testing her cooking at home, wow, it’s like she has a natural talent to be a top chef. Part of the deal for Chizuru to supply the ingredients is for Koyori to wear a traditional Japanese outfit in which she looks stunning of course. This should rake in the big bucks. They experience brisk business during the festival and whatever problems the utensils and burners gave them on that day, Tazuna the handyman can fix them. In the end, it’s such a roaring success that their class also won the best booth award. Literally icing on the cake.

Episode 8
If you think Kodama Azawa is an idol performing in an ordinary concert, please note that she is a Hand Shaker who is singing as her way of fighting. Yup, her opponents do not stand a chance. She has chubby Hibiki Moriyama as her partner and manager who sucks up to her. But the most annoying thing about Kodama is how she loves to quote lines from historical personalities to show how knowledgeable she is. Shut the f-… And you may have guessed it, Tazuna and Koyori are their next opponents. We right away get into the thick of the action because why go through all the sappy pre-fight drama when you can just jump in and kick each other’s ass. Yeah, to distract us from the boring fight in which Kodama is dominating like hell, more of her quotes. Please shut the f-… Surprisingly but not surprisingly as well, Tazuna almost lost! Actually he could have but managed to escape with his life. Kodama unleashed a powerful attack and Tazuna protected Koyori using his body. If they weren’t underwater, Tazuna could have been flat, if you know what I mean. And it is that underwater too how they made their escape. As Makihara treats him, he tells them that they are probably Hand Shakers who are closer to God. Hand Shakers who defeat many opponents gain the powers of those they defeat. This explains why their Nimrod is affecting Ziggurat itself. Because Tazuna is main character material, now we hear his resolve to protect Koyori, blah, blah, blah. You’re luck there is a next time for you. Now we shift our attention to Kodama and Hibiki who are supposed to be preparing for a real world concert. Then they get the bad news their stupid president has cancelled it. Kodama remains positive (more quotes, please) because she’ll do everything and anything for her fans. Because being an idol is like being God. That’s why she is going to win. Wow. I think that is true in a lot of aspects. Finally, we see the drama of Koyori crying while beside Tazuna. Because it tugs our heart strings to see a kawaii girl cry like this.

Episode 9
Now falls sick from his wound’s infection. Makihara is no medical doctor but he tells him to be positive and rest. Too bad Tazuna wants to show his main character badly because he still wants to get up and go fight. All for Koyori’s sake says he. He knows where to find her since she is a famous idol. When his parents are concerned about him, he talks back and tells them to shut up! Oh my. Then they tell him to look at Koyori’s face and see if she really wants to do this. Kawaii girl crying… Nope. Nothing wrong. WTF???!!! So now he doesn’t think Koyori can think on her own (partly true) because he has to win for her at all cost? So typically main character. The rematch is here but this time Tazuna has the home advantage of being in his Ziggurat. It doesn’t bother Kodama since she would prefer to defeat him in his own world. As they start, Tazuna and Koyori target Hibiki. Lucky fat guy can run. As expected, Tazuna takes a beating once Kodama is ready. This pathetic sight has Koyori really tearing up. Then like how cliché it is, memories of times spent with Tazuna trigger her to have some magical girl transformation into a fairy (supposedly her Nimrod). Better, she can now speak properly without struggling. You know they both kick ass when Kodama starts sweating. Couldn’t find the right words now, can you? To cut this battle short, Kodama lost. As expected. Now we see her crying and rant how she suddenly realizes everything. She had no fans. She blames herself to be fake anyway and should have taken up some shady offer doing shady things if she knew this was going to happen. Wait. What? You mean you won’t regret doing porn? Kodama knows she has always been winning because Hibiki has been exchanging info with a certain doctor and arranging who she fights with. That way they would avoid opponents having an advantage over them. Kodama thinks it is all over but it’s time for Hibiki to bring back her spirits. He is going to stick with her through thick and thin. Otherwise why would he throw his life away and follow a little girl to become her fan and manager? On second thought, that sounds creepy. Hey, at least he is still her fan. To show Kodama is a strong girl, she rebounds and won’t retire yet. Lastly, Tazuna apologizes to Koyori for being selfish and thanks her contribution that had them won the battle. The best part is that Koyori can converse like normal and no longer some dumb retard. They thank each other for being together.

Episode 10
Now that Koyori is no longer a retard, Makihara is really grateful to Tazuna from the bottom of his heart. Thankfully the duo don’t have to stay and see him shed tears of joy as they are called by Chizuru to work part time in one of her restaurants. It is a good thing Koyori is put in the kitchen with Tazuna firstly I don’t think Chizuru will get any work done since she’ll be staring at how cute Koyori is in her waitress outfit. Secondly, it would be so freaking awkward to see a pair of waiters taking your orders while holding hands. Like, are you trying to trigger me or something? For some reason, Hayate lectures them about some life lesson. I suppose they’re lacking in content so they had to waste time with this crap. Koyori might not be a retard but she is still dense so she thinks all that may be because he likes Chizuru? This makes petite girl fluster so much so she takes it out on Hayate with her weird back punching whatever. Lily and Masaru visit them but nothing much. After Tazuna and Koyori get their pay, Chizuru suggests they go out on a date. Why is Hayate blushing too? Tazuna and Koyori stop by a shopping mall where Kodama is performing. They meet Hibiki who is happy that they get to go on with their lives. Then they meet up with Makihara but won’t want to accompany him to some boring science fair. Time to insert the much needed drama because here comes Nagaoka. He is disappointed Tazuna continues to be Makihara’s slave. Makihara on the other hand isn’t pleased to see him. He had a feeling he wasn’t dead but during that long absence he never bothered to contact him whatsoever. Tazuna asks who this guy is so Makihara hints an old acquaintance who once had a deeper relationship. Don’t tell me you’re gay???!!! Here is a surprise. Nagaoka is seen holding the hand of a girl looking pretty in a kimono, Mayumi. Is she Koyori’s clone? No prizes to guess he is a Hand Shaker too. Nagaoka won’t say how he saved Mayumi’s life. But before he ends this, he is going to reveal everything what Makihara never told them. So this is okay?

Episode 11
Your obligatory flashback episode. Makihara and Nagaoka were Hand Shaker partners. Also, their senior researcher, Akutagawa and his wife were also Hand Shaker partners. They go about fighting such matches to gather more data about this phenomenon. One day, Akutagawa’s wife gave birth to twins, Mayumi and Koyori but inside Ziggurat, dispelling lots of theories they have come up along the years as these children were naturally born Hand Shakers. However happy times didn’t last because many Hand Shakers target them. I mean, kids are easy targets, right? It is heart breaking to see the twins cry each time they survive each brutal attack thanks to their parents as well as Makihara-Nagaoka pair. The more this happens, the crazier and ruthless Akutagawa became. As long as he could defeat the enemy, any underhanded and dirty tricks are all fair game. Akutagawa will not heed Makihara’s advice for more solid data because it is better to put things into practice. He believes of winning this game to reach God and break this curse. So when Akutagawa and his wife beat their final Hand Shaker pair, they disappeared. It is never known if they had met God or they died. Despite so, a funeral was held for them. More bad luck when the twins fall into coma. It is Nagaoka’s turn to go crazy. Believing this isn’t what Akutagawa would want, he will carry out his will. So he kidnaps only Mayumi? Why only her? Makihara tries to plead rational to him as they are researchers but Nagaoka is sceptical if the research would ever end. Goodbye. Oh man, did he jump out of a window with a girl in hand?! After Koyori lost her partner, Makihara put her into deep sleep. Nagaoka also did the same but with drugs. That will only destroy her heart. Makihara continues explanation about emotions between the partners that form a bond that becomes Hand Shakers. Because that bond between Makihara and Nagaoka broke, that was how they stopped being Hand Shakers. So Nagaoka is using some sort of drugs too to force Mayumi to love him? Is this why they are Hand Shakers? Tazuna learns Nagaoka was the one who sent Kodama after him. As he has watched his battles, he understands his fighting style. So it’s decided. They’re going to fight. Because Tazuna isn’t going to accept the other option of backing down and putting Koyori back to sleep. Besides, it is Koyori’s will to fight too. They decide this together. Off they go into Ziggurat. But Makihara isn’t worried and knows Tazuna will win. Yeah, me too. Main character.

Episode 12
The fight begins but what is this Tazuna and Koyori using their fleeing tactic? Apparently Mayumi’s Nimrod is dangerous as her bouncing balls can change the Ziggurat. With Nagaoka easily dismantling Tazuna’s gear sword, fighting him head on will not be easy. Time for some moral signalling because Mayumi starts to get weak as she is creating too many Ziggurats and Nagaoka is forcing her to carry on instead of resting. Tazuna chides Nagaoka for wanting Mayumi to disappear. He doesn’t care. He’ll make them disappear before they do. Because of that, Tazuna and Koyori manage to power up and do powerful moves to injure Nagaoka. He is not defeated yet but he still wants to continue. Then this is the ‘funny’ part. Mayumi stops being a retard and speaks for the first time! And because Mayumi is going way past her limit and going to disappear, now Nagaoka is worried?! What the?! Mayumi doesn’t mind disappearing if it is to protect him. So leave it to our young heroes to save her. I don’t know what they do just touching her to bring her back even if they had no guarantee it would work. But it did. Because of that, Nagaoka loses his will to fight and they return to reality. When Tazuna asks why couldn’t he continue his research with Makihara like always, Mayumi hints Nagaoka has some sort of illness and not much time. He is doing this because he is kind and only fights battles which he sacrifices himself. Oh really? That one didn’t look like it to me. Mayumi knows all this because of their bond so she felt his heart and all. If you’re wondering why he didn’t just ask Makihara for help because he is his partner, it is precisely that reason why he couldn’t. Huh? Is this guy a tsundere or something? Nagaoka leaves with Mayumi hoping one day they will fight them again. In the aftermath, Makihara checks up Koyori and doesn’t find any threatening anomalies although her condition stays the same. He hopes to leave it to him to find Nagaoka and then hopes to take care of Mayumi. Trying to be responsible? Nagaoka’s wish to God is to find a cure for the twins, though happy Mayumi hints hers is something else. Lastly, after all that scenery time wasting scenes, we are hinted that God might be some ossan waiting for a Hand Shaker to challenge him.

OVA
This episode shows the past between Koyori and Mayumi. However there is nothing much and is a complete waste of time because it doesn’t tell us anything more. From what I understand, in the aftermath of Akutagawa and his wife defeating the last Hand Shakers, they disappeared. Makihara, Nagaoka and Shigure take the girls out to town. It was such a happy day. Until Nagaoka went to get some drinks, Shigure betrays and knocks out Makihara. She is the partner of Kouichi and their plan is to defeat the Hand Shaker guys by taking either one of them as hostage. That is good enough for them to ‘win’. Because if they defeat the girls, they will disappear so what better way to just defeat the adults and cease them from being Hand Shakers. The girls disagree and fight them. They manage to stand their ground enough until Nagaoka comes back to defend them. With Makihara backing up, the duo try to escape but is stopped dead in their tracks. Ironically after they are defeated, Nagaoka tells them to leave. Just like that?! Is seeing their repentant face enough to assure they will not try this crap again? In the aftermath, Mayumi is most affected. She becomes traumatic that this always happens to them and can’t live normal lives. Heart breaking loli crying :’(. Not sure whether this next change in scene goes further back or forward. Because after the funeral of Akutagawa and his wife, the girls become vegetables. It is thanks to an organ donor that managed to keep them alive but still at vegetative state. And that organ donor happened to be Musubu, Tazuna’s sister who just passed away. Yeah, what a sad day for the family. What a sad day for Tazuna. No use having regrets now. The end. That’s about it, people. Are we so disappointed?

Head Shaking…
Oh dear. Thank goodness it is over. It was just horrible. I don’t think I can stand another season of it. There were probably lots of unanswered questions that I might want to ask but it could be just me not remembering them if they were explained because I find this series so bad. If I do remember them, I don’t really want to open a can of worms by trying to figure it out and put the (incomplete) pieces of the puzzle together. After all, the scientists couldn’t figure it out so why should I? After watching a couple of episodes, I already had this sinking feeling in my guts that this wasn’t going to turn out great. True enough that fear comes true during halfway when I realized this anime is just crap and boring. But I already have one foot in the grave and how bad can half a dozen more episodes be? Yeah, it is going to get worse…

There isn’t really much to the story and somehow everything that has happened feels forced and put together overnight. Because this is an original anime so somebody has to come up with the plot and everything. Everything feels so convenient and predictable right from the start when Tazuna is the chosen one to awaken Koyori and how a noob like him even won his first battle against his first opponent whom I believe is a much experienced Hand Shaker. Everything screams and points toward the fact that he is main character material. He can’t lose big, that’s it.

Because this is sci-fi, something that I am not really fond of, there are some explanations of sci-fi terms. I want to say that I am too dumb to understand them but I find that whatever science fiction theories they come up here aren’t that complicated and it is mainly because it isn’t much either. You get the basic gist of what a Nimrod and Ziggurat is but anything more like its history and workings are all up in the air. Conveniently classified as still under being researched. Heck, even this meeting God theory after beating a certain number of Hand Shakers feels like a shaky theory itself. Nothing is really conclusive. Because of that, this is your cheap and crappy reason for our characters to engage in exaggerated high adrenaline sci-fi battles.

I have this feeling that this series is trying to replicate another anime series, K. The very obvious fact I said so is because GoHands, the animation studio who made this crap also produced that said anime. You can see the very strikingly similar styles in almost every aspect of this series and although it tries hard to be better, it seemingly fails. I am not really a fan of the K series and even though I didn’t really fathom what really went on there, at least by comparison K is still a much better anime than this one.

Obviously the art style takes very much after K. This is very evident as you can see the very odd colouring that messes with your mind. Because you wonder if they producers didn’t feel like finishing the scene or they just ran out of certain colours and just went ahead like that. If you have watched K and Coppelion (another series under GoHands), you would understand what I mean when I am talking about the visuals. The fact that the characters look very young and child-like doesn’t make it any better. At least in K we have hot bishonen guys and in Coppelion we had a few bishoujo girls. But here everyone looks so young or cute that it is hard to take them seriously. I mean look at Chizuru. She looks like an elementary school girl (which is so for the series’ running joke). Is it me or do some of the girls look like dolls. Koyori, Mayumi and even Lily look like one so much so they look a bit unrealistic. Oh, Chizuru and Kodama look close enough that sometimes I get confused between them. Even more similar looking than the twins… Same case for Tazuna and Masaru. And one of the worst offenders in the visuals department is the use of CGI. It isn’t so obvious at first but then you slowly realize how jarring and odd for it to be mixed with 2D drawing. It seems so awkward enough that you might want to tell them to go back and take proper programming classes. Maybe that is why the colour and hues are bizarre enough to distract you from the horrendous CG effects.

Another section that this series tries hard to emulate K is the music department. Remember how K had an awesome soundtrack filled with a handful of very catchy BGMs? I’m not saying that I love the entire K soundtrack but there are a few songs that I really like and can’t stop hearing till today (of course I don’t hear them every day). In here, the BGMs have this feel like as though they are trying to copy those pieces like the jazzy and casual ones. Unfortunately as cool as they may sound, it really didn’t resonate with me. Making it fare worse is that such music is played during conversations so it feels and sounds really odd to hear characters talking and then this kind of music being played in the background. Maybe it is to distract you from the horrendous plot and make you confused and not pay close attention to what they are saying.

Then there are the action sequences too. K was popular enough because it had beautifully choreographed fighting sequences. They do it with style! But for Hand Shakers, it is hardly the case because the action bits feel all too messy and all over the place. To show like as though they are battling each other, you see them jumping and running around all over. And with the camera angles trying to follow them, it tries to make an impression that the battle is so over the top epic. I don’t know. I just find them boring. Because everyone seems to only have 1 or 2 unique weapon fighting styles that they keep spamming over and over again. Worse, I don’t really understand how it all works. Because I don’t really know about Tazuna and Koyori’s Sprocket Gear and Single Gear. Just pieces of gears mashed together to look like swords so he could swing and strike the enemy or it could all come together as a shield. Masaru kept spamming his cards and Kodama sings or whips around. With not so spectacular CGI and effects, no wonder it became a yawn fest. Also the fact that you know who is going to win because at this point you keep remembering who the main character is.

As if to distract you from all that or to add more value, thus one of the cheesiest and cliché fanservice ever. Because you have this feeling that they are trying to rein you in when the first episode features a busty BDSM woman in some chain orgasm scene. Yeah, it definitely would make you go WTF. And then for obvious fanservice, Lily’s bust has been ramped up many times fold to make it so obvious and numb pervy otaku minds in hopes that they will not notice how crappy the overall anime is. I mean look at Lily. Doesn’t she look like a sex doll?! And for those who aren’t into big monster cow tits, thus an obligatory bath scene of Koyori with Tazuna. Yeah, it was damn awkward… By the way on a trivial note, if you watched Seitokai Yakuindomo, a series filled with dirty jokes, sexual innuendoes and subtexts, it was produced by GoHands too. Not saying that Hand Shakers have such indecent jokes but just saying maybe they want to have their own brand of such fanservice?

Now on to the characters. Disappointing. Shallow. Generic. What else can I say? Like I have said earlier on, Tazuna is the cliché and standard of what it means to be a main character. He is pretty normal and doesn’t stand out until he is forced into some extraordinary circumstances in which he becomes the unwitting hero. And yes, his own sense of justice and responsibility which makes him all a bit annoying because there was one time he went too far with it. That’s just plain selfish. Of course he realizes his mistake and instead of being a dictator over Koyori’s life, they discuss and do things together. Heck, they don’t even need to discuss. They sort of know each other so well that it is assumed they want to do things together. You can tell from their smile on their face and the confidence when they say it. Oh heck. Just make it simple. Anything about Tazuna, please refer to main character status and characteristics. Enough said. At least you can say he is the guy who keeps on holding to his girl’s hand till the end. Yes. Till the very end.

Koyori on the other hand starts off as an annoying character because she is more of a retard and excess baggage-cum-liability whenever Tazuna goes into battles. You thought she would be cute because there is a certain charm when girls don’t talk a lot (sexist!) but unfortunately not Koyori. The shaky reasoning for her to constantly need to be holding hands with Tazuna is a shaky reason why they need to be together. Besides, I don’t even know anymore how long she can go on without holding hands without dying. I see her fine most of the time. Better be safe than sorry? And so as to make it simple like her Tazuna counterpart, please refer to token heroine or damsel in distress for most of the early parts and then after her awakening, she is ‘promoted’ to (questionably) strong female lead. And yeah, I find this part of her a bit annoying too: She has a penchant to say “It’s because we’re together”. It’s like her catchphrase. Anything that does not need further reasoning or explanation, say this to shut us all up. Okay. Moving along…

Then you have other supporting characters thrown in who aren’t memorable but annoying in their own ways. Like Makihara who is always sounding positive and cheerful to a point it is annoying. Right. Who needs a gloomy researcher? And we make him a little more unique because of his love for Chinese siew mai as well as him reminding us how positive he is. His total opposite in character is seen in Nagaoka as he harbours misguided hatred and revulsion against everything that has happened. And what do you know? He isn’t really the bad guy as we think he should be. Because with Mayumi also miraculously stopped being a retard and explain things nicely, it’s like they’re assuming we’re getting the wrong idea about this guy and to correct that perception. He is just misunderstood because he doesn’t say it straight to your face. Imagine how quickly everything would have been solved had he signalled his thoughts clearly. Yeah, the sisters wouldn’t even be fighting each other then.

Like shonen genre, enemies Tazuna and Koyori fought and defeated somewhat become their friends. And then you get to know their silly personality as part of the character building like Chizuru and Hayate being a comedian pair if not for the fact they run a chain of restaurants around the city. Also that joke of Chizuru being Hayate’s subordinate that annoys her and she loves to take it out on him. Subtle romance? Whatever. Then you have another annoying pair with Lily having extreme brother complex as she fawns all over Masaru. So much for love triangle potentials with Tazuna. Lastly the most annoying pair ever would be Kodama and Hibiki. Thank goodness they lost because Kodama will not shut up about her quotes from famous past people. Better for her to keep on singing as a lesser idol than a serial quote master.

And while we are on the subject of pairings, let me just speculate on the fail romance it tries to bring in. Freaking obvious would be Tazuna and Koyori whom you will get to see for the entire series about their bonding. Because if a guy keeps holding a girl’s hand, it has got to mean that their relationship must be taken to higher and deeper levels. I guess guys love it because it makes them feel useful and needed when they help out retarded girls who constantly need protection. It is trying to say that couples who hold hands for long periods of time will be together for very long and forever. Because literally you didn’t let go and that’s why you’re still together, silly! As Lily already loves her little brother, it raises thoughts about incest as we forget about the possibility of her turning into a jealous slut trying to steal Tazuna away from Koyori. Hayate and Chizuru better stop their manzai comedy act and start hitching up with each other instead of watching Tazuna and Koyori make progress with theirs. Oh right. Don’t want to make it look illegal of a man dating a loli. Finally Hibiki can scream and be amazed forever with Kodama as an eternal fan boy. Even if she has zero fans, at least she has one fan she can count on by her side.

Having said all that, my biggest speculation about meeting God thingy is probably one big scam for all Hand Shakers to re-examine their lives and go about living the way they should in the first place. Do you not see how the world did not end for them? They continue their lives like normal like as though they have never been a Hand Shaker in the first place. Therefore instead of taking the laziest shortcut of getting God to become your genie or become God yourself, why not take destiny into your own hands instead? Don’t you see this is much more fulfilling? Hence for better or worse, this shaky and shady Hand Shaker system might be a blessing and greater good after all. But then again, it might all be just one big crap that nobody understands. F*ck that ossan whoever he is. He might just be another Hand Shaker trolling us for all we know.

There are a few recognizable seiyuus landing their voice to this series but even so they can’t save it. They are Tomokazu Sugita as Hibiki (sounding just a little creepy with his fan boy-cum-manager role), Showtaro Morikubo as Makihara (almost turning into One Piece’s Bartolomeo), Satomi Arai as Tazuna’s mom, Mikako Komatsu as Kodama and Kenjiro Tsuda as Nagaoka. I was surprised to learn that Jun Fukuyama and Youko Hikasa were also present but their roles were just very miniscule and cameo as Break and Bind respectively. The other casts are Souma Saitou as Tazuna (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne), Sumire Morohoshi as Koyori (Erica in Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya 3rei), Ai Kayano as Lily (Inori in Guilty Crown), Ayumu Murase as Masaru (Kazuo in Hatsukoi Monster), Sumire Uesaka as Chizuru (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Kaito Ishikawa as Hayate (Genos in One Punch Man) and Ai Kakuma as Mayumi (Est in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance).

I have to admit that one tolerable thing that I like is the opening theme, One Hand Message by OxT. This rock based theme with its funky base line does have this epic feel and I guess it is quite fitting for an action genre for this anime. If the song sounds a bit familiar it is because it is the same group which sang the opening theme for another anime, Clattanoia from Overlord. That song was cool. The same can’t be said for the ending theme, Yumeiru Ame by Akino Arai. Not only it is a slow piece but it sounds creepy the way the singer sings it. It is as though she is trying to whisper and do a slight falsetto while singing. Heck, it reminded me of the ending songs for the retro anime, Outlaw Star. Oh wait. It’s the same singer! This confirms it. After decades, she actually sounds creepy.

Overall, this is one disappointing anime that you need to stay away if you are very prone and sensitive in getting disappointed. Everything is so bad, forced and predictable that imagining a porn version of this series would be even more entertaining. Like Koyori can never let go of Tazuna’s dick and he is constantly getting rubbed. HOLY SH*T!!!!!! I can’t believe I actually thought of that. If you are looking for better sci-fi series, even I would say To Aru Majutsu No Index is way much better despite I hate all its confusing terminologies and I can’t remember much of that show that has now become a distant memory in my head.

This anime might be a failure but so as not to be pessimistic, Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake, never tried anything new”. Well, we know this show is definitely a mistake. To quote from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Well, we now know this series is one of the ways it won’t work. Michael Jordan once said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. Well, looks like this anime needs to try again. Many more times. Also from him, “I can accept failure. Everyone has failed at something. But I can’t accept not trying”. Well, try harder next time, this anime. Oh, I realized I went on too long about this. “Never miss a good chance to shut up”, said Will Rogers.