「お正月何してる?」 (Oshougatsu Nani Shiteru?)
“How Are You Spending New Year’s?”
With a heavy heart, I must acknowledge that this is the next-to-last episode. Much like with most stories, endings ultimately make way for new beginnings as our eleventh episode focuses on the girls celebrating the New Year. While it allows girls to discuss ways of exercising as they enjoy time away from the gym, it opens the door towards new opportunities as they make their TV debut on a talent competition.
Rather than investing an abundant amount of time in the gym, this episode has the girls making do with the fact that the gym is not as readily accessible for their New Years fitness goals. The staircase heading to their local shrine helps to keep them active, but it’s more amusing to see how much influence Macchio has in their hometown considering that his family just happens to own the temple. I wasn’t aware of parks in Japan being in the dire situation that the anime describes with many of them being limited or stripped of their playgrounds, but it appears to be in primarily urban areas like Tokyo and I am all too familiar with living in cities where entertainment or amenities are stripped as a result of older people complaining. There are some fun characters returning though in this episode such as the creepy fighter Ozu who previously taught Hibiki how to smash a priceless chair and now joins Macchio at his temple. Meanwhile, when the talent scout from the idol episode returns, you assume he’ll just suffer yet again as he did before. In a fun turn of events, however, his desire to find something attention-grabbing for ratings have him cheering on the madness that the girls could possibly bring to him with their exercising techniques. Although his program loses out to a nip-slip, he finds another opportunity to chase after ratings with Jason Sgatham’s proposition to cover the Nikunoshima Tour held by Silverman Gym.
The New Years festivities helped bring out some of the more unique tips the show has regarding working out without lifting weights. To completely intertwine itself with the New Year, the girls’ trip to the shrine gives them the chance to explain the benefits of climbing stairs. Since I usually opt to go for the stairs instead of elevators, it’s nice to see the ins-and-outs of how I can get the most out of climbing flights of stairs. Unsure of how valuable Ozu’s techniques are given that many of them use your body’s own force to strengthen muscles as a court-of-last-resort alternative to lifting, but I have gotten many things wrong about the exercises on this show such as last week’s tricep techniques. Some of the more interesting moments came around the end when we saw the Wrestler Bridge and the Glute Bridge. As a method for strengthening wrestlers’ necks to prevent injury in the ring, it was cool to see the details behind the Wrestler Bridge. At the same time, it was nice to have the Glute Bridge as a safer alternative considering how risky it can be to place your neck in a vulnerable enough position to twist under your weight. As much of a novice as I am regarding exercising and lifting, it has still been a treat to see how fascinated the anime is with diving into these exercises, ultimately encouraging viewers to take an active role in getting invested in reaching lifestyle goals for a better, healthier body. I’ll be heartbroken when I have to say farewell to this show since it’s been such a fresh breath of air in the middle of a busy Wednesday to sit back for a moment and watch the characters of Dumbbell make an effort to be more physically active. With the Nikunoshima Tour though, at the very least we should be ending on a climactic note that will aim to define what the girls have been pursuing this whole time by truly discovering how heavy the dumbbells they lift would be.