Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru is an anime from last year. It’s a Doga Kobo series based off of a Web Manga. You know, the studio behind New Game & Yuru Yuri. I have yet to review a bad anime from them. So, let’s dive in with a little cautious optimism.
Sakura Hibiki is worried about her weight and her inability to attract a hunky boy. So, she decides to hit the gym. Little realising that her unattractiveness stems from being dumb as a brick and not her appearance. She tries the newly opened Silverman gym and winds up collaborating with a group of classmates on a light-hearted journey to physical fitness.
There are two fundamental flaws with this series. The first is that it spends a huge amount of time on fitness and nutrition tutorials. You know, the kind of stuff you can learn about much better and more efficiently elsewhere and don’t need to watch an anime for. I thought Tsuritama spent too much time with its fishing tutorials but this series easily has twice the tutorials with none of the charm.
That’s the second big problem here. This series is not funny. It tries to be, but its idea of “comedy” is exceptionally stupid. Hibiki tries to hit on a boy, finds out he has a bodybuilder’s physique and looks disgusting to her. The girls try to do exercises at home using chairs for support, accidentally break chairs because they weren’t sturdy enough. Their teacher cosplays and doesn’t want them to know. These are the kinds of jokes you can anticipate. Half the time you only know they’re trying to be funny because they use some hideous, exaggerated face one one of the main girls.
I’ve said in the past that a comedy doesn’t need characters who are deep or complex and I fully stand behind that statement. What a comedy does need are characters who have strong interactions and mesh well for comedic moments. The characters in this range from being bland and unfunny to just being a bit obnoxious.
It’s like Sandrovich Yabako wanted his characters to be different, noticed that other comedies tried to make characters who were funny and endearing and decided that he was going to go in the opposite direction. Jokes on him, Seth MacFarlane did that first.
The character designs are pretty much the standard “cute girls doing cute things” type. But with obnoxious amounts of fan-service and changes to ugly faces as a signal to the audience that it’s time to laugh. Because otherwise you would never know which parts you were supposed to find funny.
On the subject of the fan-service, this anime is downright sleazy with it. Most of the main characters are in their early high school years. And the fact that they frequently mix the fan-service with exercise tutorials makes it seem like Sandrovich specifically made this series to appeal to the types of guys who perv on women at the gym. With some overly muscled dudes thrown in just in case there’s someone with a bodybuilder fetish who finds this all tolerable.
The acting isn’t bad. Not the best I’ve heard from Amamiya Sora, Touyama Nao or several others. But it’s basically passable performances with occasional bad direction leading to exaggerated delivery. Although, in fairness to the director Yamazaki Mitsue, exaggerated performances are often a hallmark of bad comedies. It’s like there’s this idea that if the actors just go full ham on their lines, they might get a pity laugh for trying so hard.
The music is mostly bland. The ending theme tune is really annoying. The opening theme tune is almost decent but ten it throws in the characters shouting the names of exercises and that just sounds terrible. It kind of reminds me of the American cartoon C.O.P.S, where the theme tune had a nice beat but when you throw in all the random “Cops” throughout it just makes you want to hear the tune without lyrics.
There’s very little. There’s one scene where Gina seems almost interested in her female teacher. Then all the characters go back to chasing that elusive boyfriend who finds them charming and not imbecilic and annoying.
Areas of Improvement:
- You don’t need tutorials in an anime. Seriously, anyone who wants to learn about strength training and nutrition has much better sources available. All your audience is going to do is get up and get some crisps, kinder eggs or other junk food while there’s a lull. Or fapping to the images of under-aged girls exercising because they can’t do that at a real gym any more.
- If complex characters are beyond you, which they clearly are. At least make characters with endearing qualities who can work well for comedy.
- If you want to go all in on the fan-service, at least make your main cast grown women. Honestly, there’d have been no real difference if the main cast had been made up of young ladies in University and their teachers. Except that the adults in the fan base wouldn’t be under observation by law enforcement. And it would be significantly less skeevy.
This comedy is pretty bad. It’s unfunny, downright obnoxious at times, spends far too much time on boring fitness tutorials and sleazy. That being said, I have seen much worse comedies. I’ve seen ones with much more annoying characters. I’ve seen ones with much more wretchedly bad humour, this one is mostly just stupid. And I’ve seen ones that are much worse with their fan-service. It’s still bad, but I’d hesitate to call it terrible. My rating is going to be a 3/10. As for people who might enjoy it, fitness nuts who really want to watch media that tells them how to do the exercises they’re already doing might get a kick out of it. Guys who want to gawk at women exercising but either don’t want to enter a gym, can’t because they got kicked out already or just don’t want to act pervy in public will certainly find an outlet here. I can’t really suggest it to anyone else.