by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Seeing as I likely won't get another chance to stand on this particular soapbox, I wanted to take this opportunity to point out something that's been bothering me for years now: Hand Shakers is a terrible title for this show, and it makes no sense. Everyone in this series is holding hands, not shaking them – there's a difference. If this were a show about colleagues who all gained super-powers after a brief but cordial introduction, then that would be one thing, but the name of this franchise should be something like Hand Holders, or Palm Pals, or Finger Feelers.
Now that I've finally gotten that off my chest, we can continue on to the W'z series finale. Back when Hand Shakers ended in 2017, I was bowled over by how stunningly anticlimactic its conclusion turned out; W'z no longer has novelty on its side, so while its ending is just as lame and unsatisfying as its predecessor's, I'd be a fool to have expected anything else. To W'z's credit, “My wish is surely…” at least attempts to tie a bow on the story, instead of just leaving things open for an OVA or God forbid another sequel. It still isn't any good, though.
First, the fight against Midori and Seba. We get a lot of buildup for Yukiya and Haruka's big plan, but it's poorly explained. It just amounts to calling on the two new Hand Shaker pairs from this season for backup, though Gai, Masataka, Senri, and Hana only show up for a brief moment to blast the bad guy and his butler with some energy beams before disappearing again. Then Yukiya and Haruka do their thing, by which I mean there's a lot of ugly CGI and characters flipping about with Nimrods, and the show tries to make Yukiya seem like the kind of level-headed badass that even scares a villain like Midori, but it doesn't work at all. Instead, when Seba and Midori retreat and promise to return with a vengeance, it feels more like Team Rocket is blasting off again.
With the villains having unceremoniously retreated, the three central pairs of Hand Shakers are put in charge of wrapping up the story. Tazuna, Koyori, Mayumi, Nagaoka, Yukiya, and Haruka all gather together and start waxing philosophical about the true nature of being a Hand Shaker, which has something to do with overlapping hearts and harnessing the power of a wish or some such nonsense. Tazuna explains that two of the three pairs have already met God, and since Yukiya and Haruka beat Seba and Midori, they must be at a similar power level. Apparently, this meansat if they all hold hands on top of each other's hands, then by their powers combined, Yukiya should be able to make his wish to magic away all of the story's conflict.
So that's literally what he does—Yukiya's wish is to “get rid of all the unwanted wishes granted by God”. Nielsen mentions that this wish is some kind of “repeat”, which I didn't fully understand; maybe it's a reference to the 13th episode of Hand Shakers I never saw. Either way, Midori loses the big gem in his chest, and he no longer has the ability to take advantage of Ziggurat, so I guess he's done being a bad guy. Seba then shares a sexually charged moment with Midori, where he princess-carries his teary-eyed master like a man carrying his groom across the threshold on their wedding night. The romantic subtext of the Hand Shaker pairings has never been subtle, but this pair has had such little presence in this series that their amorous little coda felt totally out of place (and more than a little weird, seeing as the two met when Seba was a full-grown man and Midori was maybe ten).
Everybody else gets their own happily ever after, too. Mayumi and Nagaoka are still doing their thing, and Koyori looks to finally be aging, which will be good for Tazuna, who probably gets asked plenty of uncomfortable questions about his tiny girlfriend. As for Yukiya and Haruka, they're just going to keep holding hands and spinning records, “meshing” together for all time. It's a nice enough note to end the series on, but it's also unearned. Nothing in this story has mattered – all of the stakes have been contrived or downright nonexistent. Mayumi and Nagaoka never needed rescuing, Midori and Seba were defeated with ease, and Yukiya's entire character arc consisted of learning to be less awkward sometimes.
This is why I think W'z is actually worse than Hand Shakers. That first season might have been literally unwatchable at times, but its superhuman level of failure merited a certain level of notoriety. W'z is technically superior, both as a work of animation and as a story, but all that means is that it's graduated from being a mythically terrible garbage fire to merely an everyday sort of bad. It's not horrible enough to be memorable, but not good enough to warrant any praise or recognition. Years from now, when my great-grandchildren wander the wastelands of our former civilization in search of answers to why humanity fell so far, I'm sure they'll be told stories of the legendary Hand Shakers. I'll give W'z maybe a week before I start to forget it even existed at all.
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