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Manga / How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

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From top to bottom: Gina, Ayaka, Hibiki, and Akemi.

How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? (Danberu Nan-Kilo Moteru?) is a manga series written by Yabako Sandrovich and illustrated by MAAM, which has been serialized on the Ura Sunday website and the MangaONE app since 2016.

Hibiki Sakura has gotten fat! Worried that her life as a beautiful maiden is over, Hibiki thinks about joining the brand new Silverman Gym in order to lose some weight. While going on a tour, Hibiki meets her schoolmate Akemi Soryuin, who is also looking to join the gym.

Thinking that this gym must be full of beautiful people like Akemi, Hibiki wonders if she will finally find a boyfriend. Unfortunately for Hibiki, Silverman Gym seems to be full of nothing but hardcore macho men, except for the very handsome personal trainer Naruzo Machio. Instantly smitten, Hibiki joins and begins her quest to lose some weight.

An anime adaptation aired from July 3, 2019 to September 18, 2019. The anime was produced by Dogakobo and is licensed in North America by Funimation.

See also ST☆R: Strike it Rich, made by the same team and set in the same universe, and Kengan Ashura, written by the same author and also set in the same universe but with a different illustrator, and is tonally darker and more action-packed than this series.

Tropes present in the work:

  • Art Shift: The series does this frequently. Depending on the situation, a single chapter may go through multiple styles. The characters break the fourth wall constantly to acknowledge it.
  • Barely-There Swimwear: Ayaka wears this to the Miss Meat Island contest, reasoning that Sex Sells and this will give her an advantage in the contest. The outfit in question is so barely-there that it's never actually shown, as Ayaka is covered by Pixellation when wearing it. This ultimately backfires, as Ayaka is disqualified because of her swimsuit.
  • Big Fancy House: Exaggerated for Akemi's home, much to the shock of her friends when they visit. Her bedroom is the size of a stadium, with one entire wall consisting of a 120 foot tall television.
  • Big "NO!":
    • This is Hibiki's reaction when Akemi tells her that she wants them to become strong and macho together.
    • Satomi is mortified when Akemi notices that she has a odd diamond shaped tan on her stomach.
  • Bland-Name Product: Silverman Gym is a fairly obvious rename for Gold's Gym, of which there are about a dozen in the Tokyo area alone.
  • Book Ends: The anime ends with Hibiki and Akemi competing in the Miss Meat Island contest and facing a final tie-breaker round. They decide to do a bench press contest: the very first exercise they did together in the very first episode. They even set the starting weight at 40 kilos, which is what Akemi was pressing at the time (whereas Hibiki couldn't even press 20). It even ends the same way, with Akemi competing her set effortlessly whereas Hibiki fails to do a single lift, albeit due to hunger rather than weakness.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens quite a bit. Especially when Machio starts openly spying on scenes he's not in straight through the screen.
  • Broken Aesop: The main moral is that any ordinary person can get fit with some hard work — which is offset by the fact that Hibiki is not particularly dedicated (she consistently eats poorly, for instance), yet still has impressive physical gifts. Your ordinary person is not going to be able to punch boxing bags so hard it breaks the chains or effortlessly defeat a world arm wrestling champion with only a few months of training, even if they work much harder than Hibiki does throughout the series. And of course, most of the other characters are simply not ordinary to begin with, being either fitness buffs (Machio, Akemi) or top-tier athletes (Ayaka, Gina). The characters that are the most ordinary, Satomi and Kutaro, are frequently made the butt of jokes relating to their lack of athleticism despite by all appearances being serious about their fitness, which makes one wonder how productive the manga is really being about trying to make ordinary people hit the gym.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Miss Meat Island contest introduced another Russian Named After Somebody Famous person named Krystal Gerson, who wound up accidentally stealing Gina's Russian bodybuilder gimmick. She initially seemed like just a one-off gag, but when the gang decides to visit Russia, she shows up again.
  • Butter Face: Invoked and played with in the form of Machio, a rare male example, who has a normal-looking face and the body of a professional bodybuilder. Lots of girls regard him as this, since he lacks the expected "rugged" facial type. Hibiki sees him as an inversion; to her, Machio's face is handsome, but his overly muscular body is unappealing. Akemi sees him as a subversion; to her, his combination of muscles and a handsome face is straight-up fetish fuel.
  • Casting Gag: Once again, Tesshō Genda voices a character who is The Ahnold.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Machio routinely (and intentionally) rips his tracksuit clean off, simply by flexing his muscles, to the point where it's a running gag. To keep the gag fresh, as time goes on, he only rips off part of his suit at times. He even exploits this tendency at one point, using it to call numbers for a raffle, destroying a nice tux in the process.
    • Hibiki has a tendency to accidentally rip her own clothes, partly due to the fact that a lot of those clothes are too small for her, considering the weight she's gained. For example, while stretching at the pool, she rips the butt of her swimsuit and Ayaka has to take her to buy a new, better fitting one. Also, during her arm-wrestling battle with Gina, she exerts herself so much that she tears her shirt, revealing the bra underneath.
  • Continuity Cameo: There's a lot of cast turnover in Kengan Ashura to this series. Protagonists Ohma and Kazuo (particularly the latter) also pop in from time to time.
  • Crossover: For one of the volume releases of both Kengan Ashura and Dumbbells, both series had an extra chapter covering an eating contest where Kengan's Ohma and our Hibiki out-ate the competition and each other.
  • Date Peepers: Hibiki, Gina, and Satomi spy on Akemi and Machio during their "date" in Destinyland.
  • Destroying a Punching Bag: When Nana asks Hibiki to work out with a punching bag since she's in a boxing gym, she punches the bag off the chains to show that she is much stronger than what even she thinks herself being. She later does it again as her special skill during the Miss Meat Island contest.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening theme is sung by Fairouz Ai (Hibiki) and Kaito Ishikawa (Machio), while the ending theme is sung by Ishikawa.
  • Don't Try This at Home: This message appears after Hibiki, Akemi, Ayaka, and Satomi agree to have an endurance match in the sauna.
  • Edutainment: The series goes to great lengths to show the audience how to properly exercise.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Hibiki becomes curious when she sees Machio hanging out with another woman. When Ayaka's sister Nana shows up at the gym, it's revealed that she's the woman who Hibiki saw. It's also revealed that the reason why they were seen together was that they were attending their middle school reunion. Later on, it's revealed that they went to high school with Ibuki as well.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: This happens when Satomi explains to Hibiki that her class is disqualified because she illegally picked up the baton her classmate dropped during the 400 meter relay.
  • Exposition Already Covered: In Chapter 42, when Hibiki, Akemi, and Satomi find a burn machine in the gym and questions what it is, Jason is about to explain it to them but Hibiki ignores him and asks Machio about it. Jason gives him a Death Glare with a creepy smile.
  • Fitness Nut: Most of the trainers and the regular members of the Silverman Gym are very hardcore bodybuilders who seem to live to achieve perfect musculature.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Gina occasionally confuses Chinese and Korean customs and culture along with Japanese and early on thinks Hong Kong is just a stone's throw away from metropolitan Japan.
  • It Runs in the Family:
    • Hibiki and Ibuki are both noted by the rest of the characters to be complete idiots, though it takes slightly different forms in both of them.
    • Like her sister, Akemi has a thing for heavily muscled men. It is mentioned every woman in the Soryuin family has a muscle fetish.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: During the amusement park trip in Chapter 26, Satomi, after being separated from Hibiki and Gina because she was nauseous, goes off on her own in her joshikousei cosplay, musing that she'd better not run into someone she knows, lest they learn about her hobby. Unfortunately, she runs into Rumika, who's also cosplaying as a joshikousei, and the two freeze in shock. They agree afterwards to pretend like nothing ever happened.
  • Love Triangle: Defied. Hibiki believes this to be the case. When she finally gets the courage to confront Akemi about what she thought were Akemi's feelings for Machio, Akemi explains that she views him as a Lust Object and doesn't think he's boyfriend material for herself at all because despite her muscle fetish, she has other things she's looking for in a man.
  • Male Gaze: The series really doesn't shy away from focusing on the body parts of its female characters in any given situation. Whether their legs, butts, chests, etc.
  • Mythology Gag: An example from the anime to the manga: Machio's lesson-of-the-day segments get a one-time reference in a manga chapter that was released after the anime finished airing.
  • One-Gender School: As the name implies, Koyo Women's Academy is an all-girls school.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Played for Laughs in the Sports Festival, where Hibiki is chosen to participate in the 400m relay race and trains hard to be able to run faster. Come the race itself, one of her classmates accidentally drops the baton and her class is disqualified before she even has the chance to run because she illegally picked it up.
  • Shared Universe: It takes places in the same world as Kengan Ashura, going by the many cameos of fighters from that series in here. Akemi's beloved big sister and chairwoman of the school happens to be Shion Soryuin, who is very prominent in Kengan.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Hibiki and Ayaka watch a movie starring Harnold Dogegenchonegger. The movie is an obvious parody of Commando. The rest of his filmography isn't much better, featuring goofy mashups such as Last Action Predator, Conan the Red Bull, or Twins Cop. He wasn't in The Terminator, though; that was some other guy who looks like him.
    • Hibiki refers to Nana's Drill Sergeant Nasty routine at the Glory Gym as "Million Dollar Crazy".
    • Machio cosplays as the "Muscle King". In reality, he's cosplaying as Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star. In the manga, the series the "Muscle King" comes from is labeled (in English, at least) as Lifts of the North Star.
    • At the same event where Machio cosplays as the "Muscle King", Satomi cosplays as Shimakaze from KanColle.
    • In the manga, Ayaka references Rocky III when she suggests that she, Hibiki, Akemi, and Satomi should do some sprinting on the beach.
    • Akemi earned the nickname the "Koyo Joyner" when she got first place against the track team in the 400 meter relay the year prior.
    • Gina credits watching Jackie Chan movies as one of the sources she used in order to "understand" Japanese culture.
    • When asked for a name during the girls' attempts to make a name for themselves in a variety show's talent section, Satomi (who's wearing a bogu kendo mask) gives the name F*ck the Budo.
    • One of the contestants in the arm wrestling matches is Rolento.
    • Hibiki and Tadakatsu decide to cheat in a shogi tournament by having Tadakatsu, who's relatively well versed in the game, advise Hibiki through the matches. Tadakatsu even wears Fujiwara no Sai's iconic robes before their first match, and nearly references the series by name.
    • Chapter 96 provides a short parody of the final match in Slam Dunk, from the pre-match taunting down to the last shot and the post-match commemoration. Gina even shouts the opening's lyrics in Russian at some point.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • It actually is true that static stretches do more harm than good when done at the very beginning of a workout routine, akin to the "cold elastic" principle. For the record, static stretches are more suitable for the "cool down" period in a workout whereas the dynamic stretches Akemi recommends are what you use to "warm up". The manga even handily cites the study as a reference.
    • The manga has panels dedicated to describing the particular workout being done, and it's cited by fitness professionals to be pretty accurate to each one.
    • When Hibiki hears about squats, she immediately pictures a pro wrestler in her mind. This is because Japanese professional wrestling is known by its grueling training regimes, and in particular by their emphasis on Hindu squats. Karl Gotch, a training zealot who had trained with Indian wrestlers, was a big influence on them.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Hibiki's a Big Eater who has a cultivated tan, which put her in sharp contrast with her older brother, a Chuunibyou who's paler than a sheet. This makes the relationship between the two even more unlikely to observers when standing side by side.
  • Straight Man: Odd in that almost every girl in the cast (save for Akemi) that signs up for Silverman Gym has a bout of commentary on Machio's antics and the sexualized infotainment sections until about their first month in the gym when they just start rolling with it anyway. Satomi's straight man commentary in regards to Machio overshadowing her at an anime convention is drawn out enough that it wears her out and sends her slipping out of her cosplay early.
  • Super-Deformed: The ending theme has the characters depicted this way.
  • Wall Pin of Love: Once Hibiki explains to Akemi in the first episode that she eats six meals a day, Akemi suddenly slaps the wall behind Hibiki in feverish approval.
  • Weight Woe: Sparks the plot, despite the fact that our leading lady is at best "fluffy" when the plot starts.
  • Workout Fanservice: Besides a lot of questionable angles and some Does This Remind You of Anything? moments, every explanation on the exercise of the day is almost always done by a female character and usually ends with them being half to fully naked and covered in sweat. Hibiki frequently lampshades it, accusing Machio of trying to get people to pay attention by punctuating his lectures with attractive women and his own flexing muscles.
  • You Are Fat: All the girls are pretty supportive of each other, but Ayaka likes to tease Hibiki about her chub and her eating habits whenever Hibiki moans about her goals not being met. It helps that they're best friends.

Alternative Title(s): How Heavy Are The Dumbbells You Lift


Hard Hitting Hibiki

Hibiki awakens her inner Saitama.

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Main / PracticeTargetOverkill

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