Hibiki has noticed that her clothes aren’t fitting as nicely as they used to. It looks like it might be time to start some exercise, but where to begin?
Hibiki doesn’t like to eat. She love’s it! But, her voracious appetite is starting to have its impact and her friend has noticed. When Hibiki comes across a free trial to a new gym, she has no idea where it’s going to take her or if she’ll even continue beyond the trial. As luck would have it, another girl from her school is there for the trial – Akemi, the student council president.
They begin their first training session with Machio and within minutes they’ve both decided to sign up. A muscle gym is not where you’d expect to find a couple of teenage girls, but before long they’ve been bitten by the exercise bug and it completely takes over their lives, but in a great way.
There is an overarching story, but it’s mostly about friendship and exercise. Hibiki and Akemi grow closer as friends throughout the series which is highlighted in the touching moment on the beach. The group grows as the series goes on, but it’s ultimately about Hibiki trying to reach her target weight. In reality, Hibiki is perfect as she is, but it’s about her happiness and goals, so who are we to judge?
Hibiki is the focus of the series and also the best girl. She’s just too awesome for words. Her story is something I’m sure most can relate to. She just wants to lose a little weight and feel confident about herself. So, imagine her shock when, after a couple of weeks of training, she’s gained weight. Worry not, this series is full of helpful tips and information that explain all the pitfalls of exercise and misconceptions.
Akemi is the student council president and the focus of the friendship/rivalry. They are both incredibly supportive of one another and really drive home the message of not being too competitive and having someone to lean on in the exercise journey. She’s also obsessed with muscles and watching her reaction to the musclebound monsters that seem to inhabit the gym is always fun.
Ayaka is Hibiki’s longtime friend and the one that points out Hibiki’s weight gain. It turns out that Ayaka is also a trainer at her families boxing gym. She ends up joining Silverman’s Gym with Hibiki and Ayaka when she sees how much fun they’re having there. This girl has the most incredible abs ever!
Saotomi is a teacher at Hibiki’s school and signed up to the gym not expecting to find students there. She is about to leave when Machio’s smile convinces her otherwise. Saotomi has a secret, however, and that is on weekends she is a cosplay professional. It was great to get someone a little older (I said a little, please don’t kill me, Saotomi!) to see how training isn’t the same as when you’re younger.
Gina is the Russian exchange student who came to Japan to compete in the Silverman’s Gym Arm Wrestling Tournament. When she loses to Hibiki in the final (spoiler, Hibiki is a monster!), she arranges to live with her so that she can learn her secrets. In the end, Gina becomes another part of the group of friends, although she’s constantly trying to get them into idol contests and the like!
Machio is the trainer at Silverman’s Gym. He is a muscle god! When in his tracksuit, he looks like any other normal person, but if you mention muscles, he shreds his clothing and starts to pose. Machio is also the voice of reason and offers the girls guidance on their journey. There are a lot of lessons that can be taken from what he says and he has a massive impact on the overall feel-good, non-judgemental vibe of the series.
Honestly, there are more semi-naked men in this series than women, but that’s fine. It’s actually hilarious. I love how Machio explodes out of his tracksuit and how everyone else at the gym is just wearing their competition briefs. All of the girls are awesome, however, and they really get to shine in the Machio Demonstrations which usually end in a glamor style shot. It really is hard to not fall in love with this cast and the story. Obviously, you expect lots of grunting and huffing as the girls work out in short shorts and tight tops.
Story Rating: Excellent
Now this might seem like I’m overselling it but despite the fairly simple story, it was excellent. This series was without a doubt my favorite series of the summer and that includes to non-ecchi titles that I cover on The Otaku Author. I loved the journey that the girls went on and the information that the show delivers in such an easy to digest format. It does such a great job of creating a positive attitude that I know of people that have joined a gym just off the back of watching this.
Ecchi Rating: Hot
I’m going to go with Hot here because of how much the characters grow on you and all of the glamor shots. There’s lots of footage of the girls working out, showering, in the sauna, etc. It’s not overly in your face, but it is there. The series takes on a lot of different styles of animation to highlight different things which is also fun. Ultimately, it’s hot. I’ve classified the series as ecchi lite, but girls working out is hot! You can’t change my mind on this.
This series has been the most rewarding series I’ve watched in ages. I loved every moment of it from the outrageous parody of gym-goers to the amazing attitude that it portrays. The moment that sealed it for me was when Machio responded to a comment about not laughing at someone who couldn’t lift much. He said, ‘Why would I laugh at someone that is trying to do something to make themselves better?’ and he looked genuinely shocked that someone would ask him that.
I think that’s what made this series so beautiful. There was no judgement and everything felt positive. It makes me want to be better and do better. When there’s so much crap on TV which is basically judging people and laughing at people this felt so refreshing. Plus, the girls are smoking, but their character is also beautiful. They are good and genuine and the world needs more people like that.
If you still want some more, there are more images and highlights on the episode reviews below.
- Season One
- Episode 1 – Why Don’t You Try Strength Training?
- Episode 2 – Why Don’t You Have Some Protein?
- Episode 3 – Sensei’s on a Diet, Too?
- Episode 4 – Did You Have a Nice Summer?
- Episode 5 – What’s Your Sports Day Event?
- Episode 6 – Want a New Rival?
- Episode 7 – Want to Be an Idol?
- Episode 8 – What If We Get Lost?
- Episode 9 – Have You Seen God Before?
- Episode 10 – Do You Like Christmas?
- Episode 11 – How Are You Spending New Year’s?
- Episode 12 – How Heavy Are the Barbells You Lift?