OP Sequence

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 Sequence

ED: 「マッチョアネーム?」 (Macho a Name) by Ishikawa Kaito


    1. I’ll have to check out Kengan Ashura soon. It’s amusing to see how closely such a light-hearted comedy is related to a hard-hitting action drama about an underground fight club.

  1. Hibiki’s in for a rough time. As a particular weight-loss program commercial around here says (and as I can personally attest) “if you don’t eat right the pounds will never come off.” The amount of fat she’s burning through her exercise isn’t even going to scratch the amount she’s putting on with what she eats. She needs a nutritionist to take control of her diet, or she’s never going to reach her goal.

    1. I was thinking that would be an issue. Most training regimens for bulking up recommend a high calorie diet, but those foods also have to be rich in protein like meats, dairy, nuts, beans, grains, etc.

      Akemi’s in the right church about Hibiki’s weight and her compulsion to eat being a good start for a prospective bodybuilder. But they’re in the wrong pew about what exactly should be eaten to build muscle rather than fat, and Hibiki’s snacks go too hard on oil and sugar for her to make substantial changes.

      Her friend Ayaka raises a far better point with Hibiki needing to go on a diet if she wants to make a difference in losing weight. Working out is a great start too, but if her goal is weight loss, eating healthier snacks should be a prerequisite.

  2. Going into this, I was expecting tan bun girl to show up a few episodes in as a “working out looks fun, I wanna join in!” type of character, so color me pleasantly surprised when it turned out she was the friend who called Hibiki fat that I wasn’t expecting to show up again after that plot-kickstarter ran its course.

    I also can’t help but wonder if Akemi’s muscle fetish also made her a little masochistic, considering it looked like she was struggling during her 40kg bench press yet definitely felt “excited” after finishing up.

    OP sounds like something I could look forward to every week. The ED… eh. Not so much. Maybe if FUNi included subtitles for Machio’s credits dialogue?

    1. I enjoyed what Ayaka brought to the first episode by bluntly calling attention to Hibiki’s issues. I can see her getting involved once she learns about why she’s been preoccupied lately, and from the opening sequence, it’ll be nice to see Ayaka become a more prominent character in the story.

      It could be a sense of masochism, but I got the sense that Akemi’s muscle fetish extends to herself as well. Where if people with muscles tend to scratch that particular itch, gaining muscle herself through pain and gain offers as much, if not more, elation.

      I forgot to mention the OP/ED, but I really loved how they came out. The OP is super catchy and the ED has that charm of an old workout tape with Machio’s words of encouragement.

    1. I have to admit that what drew me into the anime at first were those reasons, but I’m more than happy to see that the show itself has even more to offer than it seemed.

    1. The site can be semi-wonky with comments sometimes. The good thing is that we’re able to inspect what’s been filtered and restore comments in case our system wants to act a fool and make a legitimate comment pending.

    1. It did take me by surprise since first impressions to the promo material didn’t do enough justice to show how funny many of the jokes, gags, and situations turned out to be.

    1. The presentation was very impressive. Machio’s workout tape lessons were a great way of keeping viewers in the know-how for exercises and they made the blue text sleek when addressing the specifics behind his instructions as well as the nutritional value behind the food that Hibiki and Akemi eat.

      It was also interesting to find out that Hibiki’s voice actress is a newcomer. At first, I thought she sounded like Ikue Ootani, but this VA did a great job at pulling off Hibiki. As an Arab, it was even more fascinating to find out that Ai Fairouz is half Egyptian and speaks both Japanese and Arabic.

  3. https://randomc.net/image/Danberu%20nan%20Kiro%20Moteru/Danberu%20nan%20Kiro%20Moteru%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    How many girls show hearts in their eyes. It’s been a while since I seen such a girl outside of hentai.

    This is one exercise anime worth watching. Materials I want, if I am watching an exercise anime, ecchi and maybe comedy.

  4. I almost skipped this series thinking this was just another “X is training” meme or Anime De Training short. So glad curiosity got the best of me. The gags and comedy in this ep hit well and the fan service wasn’t overly excessive in my opinion. The workout advice is definitely a nice added bonus especially to someone like me who frequents the gym (been trying to get in shape for years). This one’s a keeper for this season.

  5. Some of the work-outs shown are a bit dangerous, although i’ll chalk that up to the animation since the explanations do match up with what has been told at the gym i visit.
    Don’t let the knees go past the feet when squatting for example. Overall though, i was more entertained by that first episode then i expected.


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