It’s been a long time coming, but I am happy that I get to cross off yet another anime from my ever-going “Plan to Watch” list. I will be honest here, Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? has always been an anime I watched to watch, but it was always one that I would “eventually” get to. Which meant it wasn’t too high up on my list of things I wanted to see, and at the end of this series, I believe that it was justified.
During a regular after-school grub crawl, gluttonous high schooler Hibiki Sakura is confronted about her ever-expanding waistline by her best friend, Ayaka Uehara. With her attempts at solitary exercise failing miserably, Hibiki decides to join the newly opened Silverman Gym. At her orientation, Hibiki runs into student council president and school idol Akemi Souryuuin.
However, it soon turns out that Hibiki is in for a lot more than she bargained for. Not only is Silverman Gym full of world-renowned bodybuilders and athletes, but to make matters worse, Akemi turns out to be a total muscle fetishist! Grossed out by the scene unfolding before her eyes, Hibiki begins to leave, only to be stopped by trainer Naruzou Machio. Completely enthralled with her newfound Prince Charming, Hibiki signs up as a gym member. Now, as a result of her spur-of-the-moment decision, Hibiki must adapt to her new lifestyle.[Written by MAL Rewrite] of MyAnimeList.net
When that is the synopsis of the anime, nothing about it really jumped out at me. So it’s safe to say, although it was an anime I wanted to get around to, it wasn’t really something that excited me. But nevertheless, I did want to give it a watch. For what it’s worth, I thought it was better than expected. In large part because the concept itself isn’t something that I’ve seen before. Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? Tries to connect proper exercising and healthy habits into an easily consumable art form. In short, Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? is an educational anime. Now, educational anime has never been a thing that I will actively seek out, but the concept itself presents a challenge. The challenge of balancing education with entertainment, which is no easy task. So in that regard, Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? It wasn’t so bad.
Were there things I disliked about the anime? Yes. Something in particular that I disliked was that each episode felt very segmented. Since this anime at its core is supposed to be educational, of course, you’re going to have to fit that aspect into the show. In this case, two segments were allotted for each episode (one during the first half and one during the second half), where they’d segway into the lesson of the day. That I didn’t mind, but there wasn’t really a flow. There wasn’t much in terms of a transition. They sort of just happen and kill the flow of what was happening beforehand. That by itself was something I did dislike.
However, that aside, I will once again give props to this anime. It turned something that, to me, isn’t that entertaining and tried to make it so. Not everyone enjoys sitting down, watching a show where the majority of the content is educational. While Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? is precisely that, it does try hard to make it entertaining. We have the insanely buff Machio, whose clothes rip off whenever he flexes. We have Akemi, who has a weird obsession with muscles, especially when the muscle is flexing. Tachibana, whose real motivation to be fit is to continue with her hobby cosplay, Gina, plays right into the stereotype of what everyone thinks a Russian should be portrayed/act as in an anime or in real life. And finally, we have Hibiki, who I thought was the most relatable person because she too wants to have a fit body but wants to do it through the easiest way possible. She’s the person who believes in all the myths that we thought were true. She’s the person that overdoes it on exercises because it focuses on an aspect that she wants to improve. Hibiki is that person who will eat as much as she wants after a workout as an award for working out.
You have all these characters, all of them having their own quirks. I did like that because it didn’t feel as though they were stepping on each other’s toes. Each one of them had their time in the spotlight and got their fair share of screen time. But, more importantly, each one of them contributed to the educational process in their own way. Whether that be providing demonstrations or proving myths wrong. I definitely think that the characters were what made Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? Remotely entertaining and watchable; without them, I do not think I would have been able to last three episodes. As a matter of fact, I do not think I would have put this anime on my “Plan to Watch” list.
Overall, going into this anime with little to no expectations worked to the benefit of the anime. For what it’s worth, I did enjoy it up until a point. There was definitely some moment that felt pretty bland, almost like I was watching a lecture. But then there were highly entertaining episodes like episodes nine and ten that I really enjoyed. If I were to give a letter grade, it would be a B-, on a scale of 1 through 10. I think I’ll rate this anime a 6/10 (A low six). All that being said, this is one anime I won’t be recommending for you to watch because there are better things out there.