Viewers who like the more classic appearance of 2D hand-drawn animation typically avoid Japanese anime that heavily rely on CGI (or are entirely CG created). Even better CGI examples, like Beastars or Land of the Lustrous, are frequently derided.
However, anime production company GoHands has created a number of series that heavily rely on computer graphics. In spite of this fan perspective, have any of these films been a success? If not, could it be due to other factors or just the use of CG?
The GoHands-produced anime series
GoHands was founded in 2006, and in 2009 the company released Princess Lover!, an anime version of the eroge visual novel. GoHands has so far created 10 anime series in addition to a few movies and OVAs. The studio is well recognized for using a lot of CGI effects, giving their anime a very distinct aesthetic. It has become one of the more divisive anime studios in the present day due to the increasing usage of CGI throughout the years.
Early on, GoHands concentrated more on modifying pre-existing materials like Copellion and Seitokai Yakuindomo. However, the studio has turned its attention to creating more original anime as a result of the popularity of its first original anime, K. Since 2015, the studio has released three original anime series: Hand Shakers, W'z, and Project Scard: Scar on the Praeter. Tokyo Babylon by CLAMP was supposed to be adapted by GoHands in the spring of 2022, which would have been the studio's first existing title adaptation since 2013. (not counting sequels, films and OVAs). However, accusations of plagiarism led to the cancellation of the series.
The Only Success GoHands' Other Anime Can't Match Is K's
K was an original anime first released in 2012; there have also been several tie-in novels, manga, drama CDs and games. Two films and a second season would soon follow, making it a bonafide franchise and GoHands' most successful series to date. This may be partly due to the efforts to make the show reach as many demographics as possible. It has a large cast of pretty boys to draw in a female audience, and while its female cast is considerably smaller, the girls (barring Anna, who is a child) are subject to a lot of fanservice to draw in male viewers.
None of GoHands' previous works had achieved K's level of international success, and the studio seemed to be attempting to replicate it with the anime-original series that followed. Like K, Hand Shakers also featured a good deal of pretty boys and fanservice, but its stylistic animation was widely thought to be overdone. Some viewers even reported feeling motion sickness from watching an episode due to the show's camera movements and heavy use of CGI. It didn't help that the story was unanimously thought to have poor writing, giving it an overall poor critical reception.
GoHands seemed to learn its lesson by the time W'z -- the stealth sequel to Hand Shakers -- began production. The camera movements are reined in and the CGI was toned down, but W'z still retains a lot of the flaws present in Hand Shakers. There's little to no uncomfortable fanservice and the show's new characters were mostly attractive young men. In fact, none of the promotional images even feature female characters, implying this work was gunning for more female viewers. However, W'z is only considered watchable at best and is often thought of as forgettable compared to its predecessor despite being a considerably better product.
GoHands' fourth original anime -- Project Scard: Scar on the Praeter -- was a more obvious attempt at getting K's audience back. But this time, the studio seemed to be aiming more at a female audience with few to no attempts at trying to appeal to male viewers. As with W'z, Project Scard's cast comprises many pretty boys with only a handful of named female characters, and it once again features super-powered young adults divided into different clans. While Hand Shakers and W'z also featured heterosexual romances that were central to the plot, Project Scard focuses more on the close bonds between the male cast. Sadly, the show fell short in terms of story and again ended up being a largely forgettable product.
K reached a level of mainstream success that may be difficult for GoHands to ever replicate should it continue to stick to original storylines or strange, experimental animation styles that just don't work. Thankfully, K's world is vast and expansive and its fans have proved to be relatively loyal to the franchise.