「体育祭何に出る?」 (Taiikusai Nani ni Deru?)
“What’s Your Sports Day Event?”
The progress that Hibiki has made along the way has begun paying off in this episode as she becomes more inspired to stick with the program and get fit enough to be within arms reach of her current goals. While the wheel of fate has other ideas in mind for how she should prosper and what the end results would be in her efforts, this episode gives us a glimpse of how her school’s Sports Day has helped open her up to the possibility of getting in shape.
Many of the past episodes show Hibiki being quick to undo any of the hard work or effort she puts into trying to slim down from exercise. However, Episode 05 flips the script by giving Hibiki far more leeway to gain some short-lived victories of her own. Because this episode’s main focus is on a relay race that Hibiki must prepare for, her current objective is to strengthen muscles that are pivotal for maintaining endurance during running enough so to push a surprise victory through. Although her excitement about working out rests on the fact that toned muscles that are beneficial for running also happen to be centralized in parts of the body that are considered attractive, she is thoroughly dedicated to keeping up with muscle-strengthening and cardio training for the event to the point where she would reflect on the hard work she did to prepare for the race as she pushes through to Second Place. Hibiki’s decision to grab the baton her partner was supposed to pick up might have gotten her disqualified, but it was still impressive to see Hibiki dedicate herself to actually building a regimen for herself to follow when past episodes have seen her struggle with commitment-phobia about exercising.
I don’t have much of a dog in the race in fact-checking the show, especially with an admittedly basic understanding of the fundamentals taught through physical training, but it is nice to see this episode spend time on weight-training exercises for runners. The anime retains its dedication to the gym by honing in on the leg curl machine as a means of strengthening hamstrings, quads, and other assorted leg muscles. They also made sure to reach out to those looking to exercise at home or on-the-go by stressing the significance of bicycle crunches to help give a boost to the lower back and hip muscles such as oblique abdominals or iliopsoas. This episode was pretty straight-forward with its advice though since their lessons were predominantly in exercises rather than nutrition, so it didn’t tip off any of my Spider Senses regarding whether it’s 100% by-the-book. Aside from weight-training, the episode dedicated a chunk of time to the benefits of a sauna, highlighting its usefulness as a means of promoting circulation rather than the illusion of weight-loss that burning off water-weight can yield. Funny enough, the anime gives us a warning for the first time not to recommend what the girls are doing when Hibiki dares her friends and teacher into an endurance contest on who can stay in the sauna for the longest stretch of time. Dumbbell‘s humorous side is always a pleasure to see too, whether it be the torturous session the girls face in the sauna, how Macchio’s body alternates between ripped and slender as he slips back into his track wear or the outright bluntness that Hibiki has on placing the most effort into her training as soon as she heard that the leg curl machine would help her achieve her ideal body. I’m still itching to see who the silver-haired girl is from the OP and ED, but for now, our current cast is still very fun to follow as they work to bulk up and trim down.