Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – W’z

I went into this series completely blind. All I knew about W’z was that it was by GoHands and was another original anime. Since I enjoyed K, K: Missing Kings, and K: Return of Kings, I felt like giving this show a chance. Just what was W’z about and how the hell do you even pronounce it?

Let’s Go!

First Impressions

From the very first frame, this had GoHands’ signature color scheme. A CG rainbow overlay of colors to depict the world around us. Then the main part of the show kicked in and the CG rendered backgrounds were jaw-dropping as expected. Very few studios produce movie budget-level television anime but GoHands is one of those few studios that can. Visual eyegasm aside, I found this show to be rather odd and confusion at the start but as the episode progressed, you kind of got a sense of what was happening.

Apparently, there is an anomaly that happens when certain people hold hands. They are transported to an alternate dimension that overlays with the real world. From what I gather, if you’re not attuned to the person you are shaking hands with, you have those memories of the event erased upon exiting the alternate world. Yukiya, our “possibly 14-year old” main protagonist (he, himself, isn’t even sure of his own age), is considered an irregular handshaker in the fact that he can seemingly enter the alternate world by shaking hands with, virtually, anyone he chooses.

This draws the attention of other handshakers, especially after he uses this power to shoot a promotional video to help get more viewers on his anime YouTube-equivalent channel. Yukiya is an up-and-coming DJ, by the way in case you were wondering why he was trying to shoot a PV.

There also seems to be two stories unfolding here… one between Yukiya and his father, who is upset of his choice of university. This introduces us to Masaru Hojo, an associate of Yukiya’s father who approaches him one day but doesn’t really say why he’s talking to him. We’re also introduced to Haruka, who runs up and interrupts their conversation. Haruka is blatantly in love with Yukiya but acts in your typical way where she can’t admit it. Haruka ends up getting pulled into the alternate world where other handshakers converge in order to kill Yukiya and take his power for themselves.

This brings us to the end of the first episode and I have to say, it’s pretty interesting. GoHands certainly set up a lot of different story paths to explore here and we got the right amount of character introduction as to not overwhelm the viewer. The three-way standoff at the end painted a picture that everyone is in this for themselves, and rightfully so. Whoever emerges victorious in this battle will have their wish granted (Fate/stay night anyone?)

Also, if you want something to pique your interest, Yukiya’s nimrod (the names they give their weapons) in this series is a sword… made out of CDs. How fitting for a DJ!

The only parts that bothered me were the BLATANTLY OBVIOUS BAD CG! Shots of large crowds tried to mix CG-animated people in with our main characters who were animated in the “traditional” fashion. It was a polarizing clash that really brought you out of it. Also, the show has adapted something that others have as of late, and that’s darkening the screen during fight scenes whenever flashy attacks are launched. I started noticing this while watching Boku no Hero Academia (especially in their openings) and since then, I’ve witnessed in a few other shows as well, W’z being the latest. I understand the reasoning behind it but it’s REALLY distracting and wish companies would just stop doing it.

Worth Watching?

MAYBE – So far, the first episode, once everything was all said and done, laid out an interesting premise and gave us the right balance of character introduction, plot development, and action to hook you. I don’t think this anime is going to win any anime of the year awards based on what I’ve seen thus far; however, it is interesting enough to be watchable on a week-to-week basis. While shows from GoHands are pretty to look at, they often fall into the “just okay” category when it comes to story. With these being original anime with no source material, it should be a sign to put forth your best effort to wow your audience and pretty visuals are not going to carry you through the remaining 12 episodes. I put this as a maybe because I would like to see how they continue to develop the story and characters. None of them really leaped off the screen and did anything to make them feel super unique. All felt run-of-the-mill but maybe I’m over-judging the show based off of a single, solitary episode. That’s why I want to give this one a chance.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, W’z is pronounced “Wise.” No “going to take a whiz” jokes here… at least not yet.