The summer anime season rolled around and threw the Dumbbell show into my face.
Well, not really. I looked at it myself and thought: oh God, is this another one of those Anitore! EX kind of shows which is kinda educational but an episode lasts for 4 minutes and half of them is the op and ed? I’m quite glad that it wasn’t the case.
How heavy are the dumbbells you lift? or Do you even lift? (if MAL says so, it must be right) follows Sakura Hibiki and her relatable journey to loose weight.
The plot “kicks in” with a simple question, that her friend Ayaka poses:
Long story short, our heroine decides to try out a diet and then strength training (various workouts at home, plus running), but fails and, a week later, decides to check out a gym.
She doesn’t seem to be overly enthusiastic as she wanted to avoid spending money, but she, wow this got too relatable too quick, couldn’t get motivated all by herself.
At first Sakura looks hesitant and even discouraged at the overly enthusiastic classmate, Akemi Souryuuin, who is known for being perfect (but has a weird love for muscles), and the type of the gym, however, she enrolls at the sight of the handsome and friendly instructor Machio.
We get a short info section about the certain workout the characters will be doing and here comes the best part:
It doesn’t take itself too seriously or not seriously enough.
The whole anime is colored in its vibrant comedy, many reoccurring gags and hilarious facial expressions. It keeps the light and chipper tone throughout it’s more educational sections too.
Actual research has been done (the author is very knowledgeable of not only various workouts but even different workouts for different muscle types, nutrition etc; I’m not sure if this info is from experience; friends,their experience or internet forums on such topics, nonetheless, homework has been done ).
Tldr; the “education” has actual bulk to it, the author doesn’t just wing it and say oh man, here’s a cute/sexy anime girl doing push ups or something, on the contrary, it even emphasizes the importance of doing it correctly and actually shows what way to move/not to move, if you want an actual workout and not a lazy way out or a strain.
I’m not saying it doesn’t have fan service, that’d be a lie, but it’s not brainless. It even pokes fun at it:
As light as this show is, I found that Sakura’s struggle hit a little close to home (it will to anyone who is or has been new at something) and that genuine frustration took me by surprise. She gets tired, frustrated and in a way disappointed that she couldn’t do even half as much as Akemi, while Akemi lifted 40 kilos, as she is not a newbie to this.
It doesn’t really help that the friendly Machio tried to encourage Sakura saying that he felt frustrated starting at barely a 100, but it’s the good intentions that matter, right?
All in all, this is a quite simple show about a girl who tries to lose weight by going to the gym and the friends she meets along the way. It isn’t one of those shows that loom over you after years with its impact felt in generations, but it’s light, fun and even educational, so you might have a laugh and learn something at the same time.
P.S.: If you do try to replicate some of the exercises, please remember not to push yourself to the breaking point