How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? is a breath of fresh air since it is an anime that is geared around working out and exercising, eating right, and taking care of your body and mind. It is an anime that takes the exercises it promotes seriously, but takes the non-exercising aspects not overly seriously, which improve its overall enjoyability.
A "supposedly" flabby girl in Hibiki Sakura is looking to shed some of her extra chunk in which I found it difficult to locate, unless of course you are expecting a stick figure for all you 2D waifu lovers out there. If that is the case, then yeah, she's a fatty; a whale out of water. We see her weighing herself and she comes in at 56 kgs, which translates to roughly 123.5 pounds. In reality that is not being fat at all, unless you are almost no muscle and come in at an astounding height of 122 cm, or 48 inches, or if you have anime's exclusive Huge Breasts. That is not the case here.
On her first day of checking out an international gym chain that just opened in her neighborhood, she runs into fellow school classmate, Akemi Souryuuin, the picture perfect, model student. Together the two of them embark on a journey of getting fit!
Sounds like a fun anime, right? Well, it is but there are some things that significantly hinder the storyline experience. The educational portion about health is very accurate, but not 100%. Things often change in the world of fitness and health. Anyone who watches this and decides to take all its advice at face-value could find themselves doing more harm than good.
Secondly, the non-exercising portion of the plot, albeit often LOL funny, can be sometimes redundant and without enough additional plot to support the educational aspect of it. Plus, there are some many random occurrences that happen throughout and with some of them hinting towards new sub-plot arcs. However, they either get started and left unresolved, or they are merely suggested without anything becoming of them at all. The story could have been so much better than what it is if the writing is more precise and tighter.
The art and animation are not top-notch, but it serves this particular anime very well. The art is colorful and bright, and mister Machio’s muscles are drawn with precision! The animation is relatively consistent and the added aura effects of Barnold Shortsinator is a nice touch. The female Ecchi is minimally drawn beyond tasteful proportion, while the male muscular fanservice is drawn well beyond proportion.
The OP and ED are decent and can be a little catchy. The main reason why the sound is so good are because of the ripping of clothes, the muscle-headed male groans, and the "special" Hibiki moments that are priceless.
I am going to sum this part up with a few character highlights (but no spoilers).
The English dubbed VA's did a solid job bringing life to the characters. Hibiki's mouth, personality, and select behaviors make her a LOL riot! The few unexpected surprises she brings to the series make some of those moments of insanity even funnier. Akemi's ogling, drooling obsession over man muscles is funny. The level-headed and straight-shooting Ayaka's abs make mine look like flabs. Gina's Otaku side is a nice surprise and Alexis Tipton's Russian accent is charming. Miss Tachibana's character is a mixed bag of behaviors that make it difficult to truly pinpoint her personality, although she is not a bad character by any means. Lastly, mister Machio is a sincere trainer who flexes WAY TOO MUCH! My eyes started to hurt around episode three and thereafter from seeing his tiny head perched upon his mountainous figure.
Some of the running jokes can feel overdone and tiring after a while. The multiple problems in the plot take away from the potential gem this could have been. BUT, and that is a big "butt" 😉, I still recommend watching How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? if you want some good laughs with some good characters, flexes, grunts, and groans!
Entertainment Score: 7/10 (2x)
Achievement Score: +2 Overall
My expectations were Low, and it delivered Slightly Above those expectations.
Age Rating: TV-10+ (the ecchi is very modest and on the lighter side; some uber muscle fanservice)
I wish I could recommend this show to a beginner that's interested about getting fit, but I really can't.
It is a wonderful idea to try and get people interested in exercising with an anime that's both entertaining and educational. Alas there wasn't a single episode without at least some bit of outdated information about exercises or nutrition.
As I understand, the show is based on a manga that's a bit older and that's why it contains some more anecdotal and bro-sciency advice. Many new studies and discoveries about fitness and nutrition have surfaced since.
Just to name some examples, this show promotes "golden time" (= anabolic window) and supplementing BCAAs – both of which are industry wide scams to sell more supplements and have been proven ineffective in several non-biased studies – in addition to showing incorrect forms on many exercises and giving outdated or misguided advice like "don't lock your elbows, it might hurt your joints" and "deadlifts are too dangerous for beginners".
Also it gives no mention of steroids, but shows all the men with ridiculous amounts of muscle mass only achievable by using steroids. I think this promotes false body image and bigorexia.
Mostly you should take this as a comedy show with some real ecchi scenes and pay no mind to the advice given.
But if this show does sparkle your interest in getting fit, please look up current information instead of just taking the advice from this show. You can read up on recent studies on supplements and watch recent videos about exercise form from some of the more trusted fitness Youtubers like AthleanX, Jeff Nippard or Scott Herman. (They also sell some supplements and their own workout programs, but these are optional. Anyone can get a great body totally free or at least by purchasing some equipment or a gym membership.)
From the creator of Kengan Ashura comes Do You Even Lift, Girl? "How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?"; an anime that will make you want to stop being a couch potato, hit the closest gym you have and do your best to get more ripped than Barnold Shortsinator Arnold Schwarzenegger.
There's not much to say about the story in this show since it's premise is fairly simple and it's not really a story-driven show. It follows the trials and tribulations of Hibiki, a highschool girl who noticed she was getting plumpy and thus she started her quest to get slimmer (yet she still eats like every day is cheat day).
Of course a simple story works in this show's favor since that's just a vehicle to deliver pretty accurate tips (save for some tidbits here and there) to train properly without hurting yourself, spiced up with some eye candy to *ahem* keep your attention.
FRONT DOUBLE BICEPS!
The art in this show is the typical cute stuff Dogakobo delivers for most of the time, and it looks consistently good! Sometimes the art shifts to a more serious look for comedic effect (ie: the arm wrestling episode) and, like King Crimson, it just works. They even go as far as making the characters look as if they were taken from an 80s manly anime!
BACK LAT SPREAD!
This show's soundtrack is ok and usually goes unnoticed (save for "that epic track") yet they do what they were inteded to do; improving the scenes they were played in. Both the opening and the ending were good and catchy tracks you'll keep playing in your mind for ages. If I had to choose which one I liked the most I'd pick the ending song Macho Men Macho A Name.
The voice actors did a great job too. Ai Fairouz's job as Hibiki is specially noteworthy since this was her first major role and she nailed it.
ABDOMINAL AND THIGHS!
Of course a show like this wouldn't have been able to work at all if it didn't have an endearing cast. They are all equally funny to the point it's hard to pick a favourite character. Don't expect much character development though, after all this is mainly a comedy.
In short, this is the kind of show anyone with an interest in fitness would appreciate (whether you're a full-blown beefcake or someone who just started doesn't matter), and even if you're not interested in the topic at hand the characters are funny enough to make up for it. So sit back, grab your favourite pre-workout drink, and enjoy the show!
Disclaimer: This is a steroids-free review. No performance-enhancing substances were used in the making of this review.
Funny as hell, would watch again.
If you're an engllish speaker, I do recommend watching this one dubbed. the dubbing is fantastic.
It should be pretty apparent after the first episode weather you're going to like this anime.
The story hardly exists and frankly doesn't matter. When it comes to the genre comedy, that's par for the course. This is super light hearted with zero heavy topics (except for dumbbells).
The animation and drawing is surprisingly good. While a good chunk of this anime is just your standard cookie cutter crap, that's not true in it's entirity. Not the best you'll ever see but much better than most anime coming out in recent history. Many emotive scenes get their own special detailed drawings. A lot of their jokes also get extra attention. Of course, the human body is well done, especially the male body (think Baki but less grotesque). Again... this is an anime about working out.
The educational parts are brief but happen multiple times per episode. It's very informative... I could of lived without it but it was well done. If you're interested in learning how to safely work out with minimal equipment, then this anime is for you.
Who's the audience for "How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift"? I'd say pretty much anyone over the age of 15, of any sex, who can handle very brief scenes of ecchi. Ecchi is definitely not the focus of this anime. It's a highly relatable and one doesn't need to be into working out to enjoy this.
The story is focusing on how to do an exercise properly while maintain a good diet, it shows us the mistakes that people often had while exercising and tells us the correct way to do it.
The animation is pretty good and the characters are all great, the girls problems in the story especially Hibiki Sakura makes us learn how to keep motivate ourselves when we having difficulties to gain an ideal bodyshape.
The sounds makes the animation more intresting.
Overall this anime is very good especially for people who currently have a workouts routine like me.