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Riri and Masaru Hōjō are two card-loving siblings who just happen to be “Hand Shakers” in opposition with protagonists Tazuna and Koyori. Like the other Hand Shakers who seek to defeat God and get their wish granted, they have a sad backstory that makes them determined to get what they want, no matter what. But unless you looked really, really closely in the latest episode of Hand Shakers, you would never see a spoiler that reveals the reasons why their pasts end up being so painful.

[This article contains major spoilers for episode six of Hand Shakers.]

While not specifically stated, the reason that Riri and Masaru fight is–while neither of them have told each other–they each happen to be in love with each other, despite their age difference and, oh yeah, being siblings. Their profile on the anime’s official website also says that their wish is “romantic love.”

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Since childhood, Riri has been loved by her parents, but has gotten extreme pressure from them to get the very best grades. Even when she gets 100% on her tests, her father goes so far as to tell her “not to get cocky.” While her mother is very kind to her, her father is fairly standoffish, never interacting with her or her mother except when it comes to Riri’s academics.

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On the other hand, the mother of the Hōjō household treats young Masaru horribly–she yells at him for causing trouble in school and, instead of trying to listen to him, breaks plates out of frustration around him. A frightened Riri has to go so far as to convince her to let her talk to him instead when he is being scolded. But Masaru’s not a bad child. While he might have problems dealing with others, it is obvious that he is very intelligent. Just by looking at the awards on his wall, you can see that he is a talented young man. Then, why does his mother treat him so differently from Riri?

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At the end of the episode, after the ending credits sequence, Riri and Masaru come home to their parents calling them for a family meeting. They comment on how strange this is–after all, their parents are still married, but normally refuse to be in the same room as one another. For only three seconds or so, we see a paper on a table with text that can’t be properly read without high resolution footage and zooming in. Crunchyroll’s stream of the anime didn’t subtitle this scene, either, so if you can’t read Japanese, you can’t see this paper that reveals a major plot point for these characters.

The paper has the following text:

Title: Certificate of Individual Registered Matters (Page 1 of 1)

Permanent Residence

Name

(Illegible)

Masaru Hōjō

 

Family Register
Family Register Re-establisment

 

[Date of Re-establishment] July 21, 2005

Person Recorded in Family Register

[Name] Masaru
[Date of Birth] June 14, 2005
[Father] Ryōtarō Sonezaki
[Mother] Hatsune Sonezaki
[Relationship] Eldest son
[Adoptive Father] Kaneaki Hōjō
[Adoptive Mother] Mari Hōjō
[Relationship] Adoptive son

Identity
Birth

 

 

Adoption

[Date of Birth] June 14, 2005

[Place of Birth] (Illegible)

[Date of Family Register Entry] June 20, 2005

[Applicant] Father

[Date of Adoption] July 21, 2005

[Adoptive Father’s Name] Kaneaki Hōjō

Adoptive Mother’s Name] Mari Hōjō

[Owner of Previous Family Register] Ryōtarō Sonezaki (address illegible)

Blank space

This form is a near perfect match to the “Certificate of Individual Registered Matters” form, which is used to record an individual’s entry into a family register. What is a family register, you ask? A family register–also known as a koseki–is a record of every family in Japan. It is required by law that Japanese families report births, deaths, marriages, and adoptions among other things to the government using this form. In fact, marriages aren’t even official unless a woman is entered into her new husband’s family register.

According to Masaru’s family register entry, he was born on June 14, 2005 to Ryōtarō Sonezaki and Hatsune Sonezaki, making his original name “Masaru Sonezaki.” His father registered him in their register around a week later. For reasons not yet (or maybe never) explained, parental rights of Masaru were changed over to Riri’s parents, Kaneaki and Mari Hōjō, only one month later.

If Masaru is not his mother’s child, it would make it a little more understandable–though not forgivable–why she would treat him so coldly. Ms. Hōjō even hints that she suspects her husband of cheating on her, a suspicion that could have a connection to Masaru’s adoption. But at any rate, if Masaru is not a child of the Hōjō household, that means he is not related to Riri in blood. Does that mean that he and Riri have no reason to fight as Hand Shakers anymore?

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Maybe this is a giant spoiler for future events featuring the siblings. Or, maybe this is something that will never be touched on again! But it’s interesting that a single moment at the end of an episode that seemed insignificant revealed so many details… and opened up so many questions at the same time.

Hand Shakers is streaming with subtitles on Crunchyroll, and an English dub is available now on FUNimation.

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