Anime Review

Anime Hajime Review: How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

Original Run: July 3, 2019 - September 18, 2019
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Comedy, Sports
Based on the Series Created By: Yabako Sandrovich and

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Hibiki Sakura (voiced by Ai Fairouz) puts a lot of stock into her appearance and tries to remain as good looking as possible in the hopes of getting a boyfriend. As such, she is always on edge whenever her stomach grows even slightly, and try as she might, she can never keep the weight down (she wonders as she leaves her chronic snacking unchecked).

Determined to get the body she has always dreamed of, Hibiki joins the recently opened, world-famous Silverman Gym.

Little does Hibiki realize, getting in shape takes hard work and dedication, and the lack of both puts her at a disadvantage. However, it quickly becomes clear that working out can be much more enjoyable if you do it with others.

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Series Positives

It’s strange.

I can’t remember the last time – if there ever was one – when I came across a series like Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru (Dumbbell). This series was fun. It caught me off guard, it got me laughing, and I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I didn’t enjoy myself.

However, Dumbbell could be equally slow, irritating, and downright dull. As the show went on, I could feel myself losing interest, and it was difficult to pay attention to what was going on near the end. Nevertheless, Dumbbell had a special knack at regaining my interest, which to that I’m obliged to consider:

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Maybe this isn’t the type of series meant to be marathoned. Perhaps watching this show in short bursts would have been better. If you did as such, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Dumbbell’s greatest strength was its stupidly high energy. This series was big, silly, and it could go completely off the walls. Adding to that, every now and then this show was exceedingly clever with its unexpectedness. It was usually impossible to predict what was going to happen next, which made it all the funnier when a well-placed curveball hit its mark. To put it another way, Dumbbell would speed up to a million miles an hour, knowing exactly where it was heading.

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Helping this series be like a bat out of hell, but still preventing it from going off the rails was its characters. Everyone in this show was loud, aggressive, and odd (to use a bit of a loaded word). There was Hibiki Sakura, who was trapped between her vanity and her laziness. Akemi Souryuuin (voiced by Sora Amamiya) had her near debilitating muscle fetish. Naruzou Machio (voiced by Kaito Ishikawa) was the obsessive bodybuilder who rarely thought of anything aside from bulking up. I could keep going, but I think you have the idea.

Aside from its energy, if there was something Dumbbell had in abundance, it was personality. More importantly, though, this series had consistent personality. Regardless of the situation, you could expect characters to act and behave in specific ways. Although I understand it if you think I have just contradicted myself on what I said about this series’ unexpectedness, please know that the consistency in this show was what was unexpected.

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Every character had some type of tick that would appear without warning. One of my favorites was Hibiki’s superhuman strength. I’m not talking about the sort of strength needed to lift weights. In that respect, Hibiki wasn’t anything unique. Contrary to that, though, she had an immensely powerful punch, and she could even give the hulk that was Machio a workout in an arm-wrestling match. There weren’t many opportunities for Hibiki’s talent to surface, so when it did, it was a hilarious shock.

Lastly, for this section, I wouldn’t be able to say I did my most thorough review of this series if I didn’t comment on its use of fanservice. For starters, Dumbbell was never shy from showing some skin, so know that before you begin. That being as it is, what surprised me was how well this series implemented its fanservice, for it was the joke rather than the point. Dumbbell used the excuse of explaining proper form when doing various exercises to do whatever the hell it wanted. On top of that, this show was fully aware of what it was doing, for these segments were not subtle.

So, if you’re wondering how fanservice can work in a show’s favor and not be a frivolous distraction, look to Dumbbell. Of course, that isn’t to say this series didn’t have its fair share of distractions.

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Series Negatives

I feel it is necessary to repeat myself. I had a lot of fun with this show, and yet, some moments nearly put me to sleep. In terms of the latter, the unfortunate fact of the matter is, Dumbbell’s dullest segments were also its most prominent.

For the record, I do like the idea this series had of explaining how different exercise methods and equipment were properly done. I also thought this show was on to something by giving out useful workout advice and dispelling falsehoods many people have about the best way to get in shape. Plus, I am not going to sit here and say I won’t try to implement some of the techniques I saw.

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This is, of course, working under the assumption that the tips Dumbbell was giving were truthful and accurate. If they weren’t, then this show just wasted time for no reason, and I would be much less forgiving.

Taking all that into consideration, what exactly am I talking about?

Dumbbell’s most reoccurring segment was when one of the characters, usually Machio, would explain what workout everyone was about to perform. At first, this was a nice novelty. However, even in those earlier instances, I saw problems.

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In the Series Positives section, I said this show had energy. Although that is true, it is only a partial truth. The energy I found to be fun and enjoyable was when Dumbbell was letting its silliness happen, and there wasn’t much commentary. During the workout tutorials, though, this series would do a very Japanese form of comedic analysis where the characters were aware that a bit was occurring.

Quickly, these exercise segments seemed to turn this series into a legitimate, albeit corny/oddly sexual, workout program. And they lasted a long time, utterly destroying the flow of whatever was going on in the main story.

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Nothing of importance occurred during these moments, so it was easy to accidentally check out for about five minutes. Maybe it is just me, but if you can skip vast chunks of a show and still follow what is happening, that is an issue. It means that a series is filled with irrelevant filler content, and that is simply no fun.

Fortunately, as I said earlier, Dumbbell was always able to grab back my attention when it needed it to be there. So on the plus side, each filler segment was in between actual substance.

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Final Thoughts

I cannot deny the charm that existed in this series. After all, never once did I think I had made a mistake by watching. In fact, I’m glad to have gotten around to this one.

When it was on, this series was on full blast. The characters were a lot of fun, there was plenty of hilarity, and like it or not, you might just want to try some of its exercise tips. I know I will.

Still, there are going to be points when you aren’t watching an anime. Instead, you’ll be sitting there with this strange workout program with forced jokes and tongue-in-cheek fanservice.

Be that as it may, Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

1 comment

  1. to be fair dumbbells doesn’t really have a main story and is more of a series of events that are episodic which is also true for the manga. nothing ties in together except for when they come back to an excercise they’ve talked about before and expand on it a bit more.

    and yes I do guarantee that the workouts and tips they’ve given are very genuine that’s why this series as both a comedic fun time and educational kind of show. the creator of this series is the same guy who also does kengan asura of which there’s an anime adaption on netflix if you want to check that out cause dumbells is a spin off of kengan asura and a lot of the jokes here are yes they are based on japanese comedy so i can’t blame folks who feel like it didn’t hit but to be fair judging comedy is mostly subjective since everyone has a different sense of humor. it’s other comedic value comes from the various references in there. some may have been obvious to you but others are more based on characters from kengan asura itself which is why this anime has a lot of praise going for it too. I can’t go much further than that since I’ve only just started kengan so i can’t give much more info than that sadly. so yeah it’s flawed in some areas but again this is a series that knows what it’s doing when addressing its audience and it knows who its fanbase is so in a lot of ways you can say this was more for them while also taking a middle ground in getting new fans to check it out. if you thought the anime was fanservice check out the manga. a lot more detailed there lol so to give credit where its due the creator and author of dumbbells and kengan asura really went above and beyond to get his information on the human body and explaining it in a way you can both follow and be entertained by.

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