It’s the main plot of Handshakers. If you could have anything you want, what would it be? Would it be fame? The survival of a loved one? Unmatched power? Or would you just study the mechanism that might grant the wishes, by operating within it?
Handshakers is a series that fluctuates between the world we exist in and small pocket dimensions where Handshakers – a pair of “chosen ones” can battle it out with the ultimate goal being a final battle with a divine spirit/God that will grant their wish.
There’s an upside and a downside to wishes. Some wishes aren’t meant to be granted. Some wishes aren’t even really meant to exist at all. But, because we are all human, sometimes our failures become wishes. Sometimes our flaws become wishes. Sometimes, achievable goals through hard work and practice become wishes.
Welcome to the family of characters existing in Handshakers.
Tazuna is a gifted high-schooler. He’s a tinkerer, with a leaning towards electronics and mechanics, and is quiet life is going to change forever.
Having been recruited into the service of Dr. Makihara for a part-time job, he takes the hand of a sleeping young girl, and is immediately bonded with her as a Handshaker. Dr. Makihara has been keeping Koyori in a coma, waiting for the “right person” to come along and build a relationship worthy of his ward.
Dissonance and Elevation
Handshakers takes place half in 2d animation and half in 3d animation. The intricate weapons that they create within the Ziggurat battles fluctuate between jarring and appropriate. During the first battle, you will not only ask yourself why there are chains, but why they feel like they don’t belong to the warrior wielding them. You are exactly as out of sorts as Tazuna.
In other parts, where the transitions flow more smoothly with the animation, or where the focus is on the characters, you can draw yourself past the look and into the story. When it’s beautiful, it’s gorgeous. It’s got a thin-line shojou look that’s very 90’s and fun. When the dialogue is good, it’s great.
The problem is where it doesn’t mesh.
Some of the wishes are downright uncomfortable (making those interactions equally uncomfortable). Some of the animation is frustratingly difficult to watch because of how very “not there” some of the 2d characters seem with their 3d weapons.
Some of the characters – a lot of them – have a one-note personality that makes the series into a twisted morality fairy tale. Don’t take the easy way out. Don’t rely on wishes. Also, don’t wish for forbidden things. The “Don’ts” in this series could drown a person.
Example: Dr. Makihara keeping secrets made me want to throw him through a wall. It should NOT be that difficult to share information about your ward with the kid who’s tethered to a quiet ziggurat-tied orphan. He is living with her now. TALK TO TAZUNA, DR. MAKIHARA.
Boxed set info:
The Handshakers Boxed set comes with Two Blu-ray and Two DVD discs, and slipcover. The extras include Episode 13 (subbed, but not dubbed, a prequel episode) and its preview, as well as a textless opening and closing.
Despite the huge chibi eyes, they’re high school kids. It’s TV-14 for a reason. If you need trigger warnings, please check TV Tropes, it’ll help.
This was my second pass at watching Handshakers. The first pass, I only made it a few episodes in. Because of that, I did miss out on more of the interesting ziggurat battles, and I hadn’t even gotten to the 4th battle, which I found was one of the more fun ones to watch.
In closing, the weapons are called “Nimrods” in reference to the classic meaning of “mighty hunter” and not the current meaning here in the states of “idiot/moron”.
After you get past that, then you might have a good chance of getting past everything else.
- The dub really meshes fairly well with the overall series
- The transitions to the Ziggurat are at turns graceful and upending, as they should be
- Light special features
- The plot holes are big enough to fall through.