OP: 「お願いマッスル」 (Onegai Muscle) by Fairouz Ai and Ishikawa Kaito
「筋トレやってみる?」 (Kintore Yatte Miru?)
“Why Don’t You Try Strength Training”
After watching the first episode of Dumbbell nan Kiro Moteru, there is no doubt in my mind that this will be one of my favorite anime to follow this season. There will be some competition since summer has only started, but the first episode scratches every itch I had for a clever comedy about struggling at the gym, working towards the ideal bod, and, of course, muscles.
If you’re looking to get back into exercise or exercise at all, Dumbbell nan Kiro Moteru is a good anime to start with. In the process of trying to slim down after a lifetime of poor eating, Sakura Hibiki (Fairouz Ai) is taught the basics on how to get the most out of her visit to the gym. Throughout the episode, personal trainer Machio Naruzou goes through step-by-step instructions on exercises to warm up with and tone out your arms and legs. It does seem odd that the anime would focus on weight-lifting for Hibiki’s weight-loss plan since bulking up is a prerequisite for anyone looking to gain muscle mass in particular. In fact, Soryuuin Akemi (Amamiya Sora), gushes about Hibiki’s weight as the optimal size to begin a regimen of getting absolutely shredded. But it does provide us with valuable tips for a productive day at the gym. From bench-pressing and squats to expectations to have before, during, and after weight training, Dumbbell nan Kiro Moteru efficiently encourages viewers to get the most out of their workout regimen.
What helps Dumbbell nan Kiro Moteru stand out this season is how funny the anime is when its jokes are set-up and executed. The animation makes sure each comedic beat is amplified to its highest capacity, making use of their expertise in drawing detailed muscles to capture every feature to its fullest. While it does use this for some of its ecchi, its self-aware sense of humor draws attention away from getting too over-indulgent and spends more time in this episode capturing the hyper-extreme muscles that the gym’s men, including Machio. Hibiki and Akemi’s reactions to the gym are also hilarious with Hibiki being taken aback whenever she has to contend with trying to lose weight at a gym where its patrons look like professional body-builders and Akemi being unable to hold back her unbridled desire whenever she notices the men around her cater to her particular muscle fetish. One visual gag that I feel shows off the anime’s high potential is how flavor text appears to count the calories on every snack that Hibiki eats, only switching to the benefits a food item has when Akemi eats something else.
Our two leads so far have also offered far more depth by showing off their motivations, personalities, goals, and quirks within the first episode. Hibiki’s main goal is to slim down through exercise rather than change her diet, but she finds herself constantly challenged by being out-of-shape and needing her support system at the gym to give her proper incentive to push herself as hard as she can. Akemi has far more ambition with the complex she has for muscles, whether it be seeing people with muscles or gaining them herself, but her cheery disposition and drive heavily subvert the otherwise standard notion of your stock anime rich girl. And, at the end of the day, what Dumbbell nan Kiro Moteru accomplishes within its first episode is creating a fun, witty narrative where these girls are able to achieve their best goals with some educational tips on weight training, over-the-top musclemen, and tasteful ecchi to spice things up. I’m looking forward to seeing how far the anime goes in helping the girls achieve their goals and getting viewers ready to hit the gym.
ED: 「マッチョアネーム?」 (Macho a Name) by Ishikawa Kaito