How Heavy are the Dumbbells You Lift? – 12 (Fin) – The Friends We Met Among the Weights

The final episode takes most of the cast to Tokyo’s fictional insular island “Nikunoshima” AKA “Muscle Island” where there is an annual contest for bodybuilding and a talent show. Due to the Summery climate the gang gets to show off their new swimsuits in the Spring, though the heat is a bit much for Gina. Hibiki and Akemi only came to see some hot guys and muscles, respectively, so both are crestfallen to learn that part of the contest is cancelled due to lack of participation.

Still, all four girls participate in the talent section, though another Russian steals Gina’s Cossack dance routine, while Ayaka decides to wear to little for her dragon flag demo and gets disqualified. Akemi wows the crowd with perfectly-executed handstand push-ups, while Hibiki demonstrates her superhuman punching power once more.

The two end up in a draw for the win, so they have to face off against one another to break the tie. Akemi relishes the opportunity to compete one-on-one against Hibiki in a bench press-off, but alas, Hibiki is too hungry to attempt even one rep, making Akemi the winner by forfeit.

Jason and Mr. Director had an overarching plan to film the contest “Candid Camera”-style, but the boat they used to try to get their ahead of the girls ends up breaking down, and they end up stranded at sea in a parody of Titanic that, while completely out of left field, is still pretty funny (Barnold ends up rescuing them, though who knows how).

Meanwhile the girls celebrate another successful contest by playing with fireworks on the beach, and Hibiki and Akemi affirm their strong friendship, which for Hibiki meant getting into healthier, better shape, and for Akemi meant meeting new friends who shared her passion for fitness.

Like last week, this episode suffered from a distinct lack of momentum and energy in the storytelling (as opposed to the always-game characters and seiyus) as well as a rehash of elements already used better (Hibiki’s punching, the contest format, swimsuits).

While it didn’t end while at its strongest, Dumbbells was still a fun, unique, quirky, and above all inspiring little show packed with lovable characters. Next month I’ll be joining the gym to try to build a better me. That would not have happened were it not for this show!

Glasslip – 06

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The teen drama is kicking into overdrive on Glasslip, with hardly a moment of interaction between two of the friends that isn’t awkward or discordant. Only Hiro and Machi are above the fray, but they seem to be unwittingly isolating themselves from it. While the methods vary from person to person, the fact remains: the circle is tearing itself apart.

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Of course, making omelettes requires the breakage of some eggs, and if these six people are to enter adulthood as “complete selves”, perhaps drifting apart either peacefully or fitfully, is simply a part of that process. In their first confrontation that ends in the punch that gives this ep its title, Yuki and Kakeru both say they can’t help how they’re acting, it’s just the way they are.

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Of course, because of who’s fallen for whom, some omelettes will land back in the pan when flipped, and others will land to the floor. Kakeru and Yuki both like Touko, but Touko can only choose one of them, while Yana loses either way because she likes Yuki. It’s the kind of predicament that can lead young people to make rash choices.

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At points in the episode both Touko and Kakeru remark on how they basically may be awful people, but I don’t think they’re being fair to themselves. They are who they are, and they like each other; one has to assign an order of precedence, and in the case of finding someone who makes you feel complete and with whom you share future flashes, well…in my book that’s pretty important.

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As I said, the drama and intrigue was laid on thick this week, with heated phone calls and even a duel challenge. But as intense as all this feels to its participants, the episode keeps everything in perspective by making the indifferent surroundings of the town as conspicuous as ever; essentially showing life going on as it always has and always will. No amount of omelette-making can mar its serene constancy.

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