Alternative titles: Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru, Danberu
Manga Adaptation by Dogakobo
Streaming on Funimation
When Sakura Hibki’s love of habitual snacking starts to put on pounds, she signs up at her local gym. Only problem? Her classmate Akemi’s muscle fetish and the gym’s…hardcore clientele. And so Sakura embarks on her journey to achieving physical wellness through lifting hard and heavy.
Gee’s verdict: This is Actually A Stealth Kengan Asura Post
As a fan of the boisterous fighting manga Kengan Asura, Danberu’s place in its wider narrative universe (by sharing the same author) is a strange one. On some level, its focus on physical fitness and exercise falls in line with author Sandrovich Yabako’s personal sensibilities. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of Kengan Asura’s charm to be found in Danberu. The running joke is that Sakura is getting fat (but within still attractive standards) and needs to go to the gym where she’ll react to the gym’s wacky regulars while getting weightlifting advice. In the meantime, you’ll get some leery pans over the girls’ bodies as they explain what parts get trained by the given exercise of the day. It frankly isn’t that compelling of a formula but compared to some of Dogakobo’s prior efforts, it certainly isn’t the most offensive. If you’re in the market for cute girls lifting weights, you could certainly do worse.
If nothing else, the actual subject matter in Danberu is acceptable in its presentation, barring some wonky lifting postures. As someone who lifts weights, there was something admirable to Danberu’s newbie friendly take on weightlifting. We all start somewhere, and most of us start pretty weak, but what matters is commitment and consistency. Otherwise though, there just isn’t really much substance to it. As always, Dogakobo does excellent work visually but continues to squander their potential. As someone familiar with some of the original manga, the formula you see in this episode is what you can likely expect for the remainder of its run time. Maybe that works for you. For me, I’ll be waiting for the Kengan Asura anime to disappoint me later this season.