How heavy are the dumbbells you lift?” is a Japanese manga series penned and illustrated by Yabako Sandrovich. It was serialized through Shogakukan’s weekly magazine and manga ONE app between May 2021 and August 2021 and has so far collected into twelve-volume volumes as of April 2021. I have enjoyed this series since the first volume was released and I can relate to the “grunt” character in the story because I used to be a “growl” myself when lifting. The manga series takes place in a world where human enhancement is not possible and instead, the body is modified through genetic engineering through a process called augmentative augmentations.
Mangai has taken a twist on the classic “natural born” fitness idol theme by having his main character, Jubei, a bodybuilder. This originates from a trip to Japan where he met and became friends with Ryokumoto, a local artist who specializes in traditional Japanese martial arts. As the story goes, Jubei was invited to the studio of Ryokumoto where he learned of his master’s latest project-the creation of a new type of martial arts technique called Bakugan. Jubei then left to continue on with his new quest while joining other martial artists who were already interested in the sport at the Japanese style of training known as Katsu.
So begins the series as Jubei sets out to challenge the Gym Owner of the United States, Masane Amaha, who has trained with the best of them in the world. The gym is also run by Ryokumoto, who wants to maintain his own reputation as the best in the world. With the help of his childhood friend, Aiko, the two struggle to figure out who will be able to defeat Jubei first. I won’t give too much away, but you’ll definitely need to tune into the next episode to find out! One thing is for sure-aside from the incredible transformations that take place throughout the show, there’s also a lot of build-up for the rivalry between Ryokumoto and Aiko (one of the supporting characters).
Aside from the awesome fight scene between the gym owner and the straight man, this was my favorite episode of Samurai 7. The special effects were expertly done using special effects shots that made the episode really exciting. The use of music was very fitting to the show as it complemented the kind of fighting climax that takes place. Overall, this was a great episode that will satisfy those who loved the pure hardcore action with a touch of fanservice.
“Ryuuru Retsuden” is another great episode that introduces us to our new hero Ryuken, a young and powerful martial arts fighter who is searching for someone to protect him. The director and writer did a great job making the viewers get to know Ryuken very well. At the beginning of the series, we are introduced to Ryuken by his trainer, Kiseki. He is a martial arts prodigy who has trained almost all of the famous martial artists in the world. It is his belief that martial arts are the key to protecting the world from enemies attack, so he enrolls Ryuken and other young men at his gym.
As the story progresses, we get to learn more about Ryuken and his past experiences. His past experience started when he was a little kid when he discovered his father’s experimental serum that can transform anyone into a super-soldier. Ryuken took this serum as a gift, but the doctor’s research proved that the serum needs to be taken daily, or it will start to deteriorate anyone’s body, which is why he left his dad’s clinic as soon as possible. Thus, the viewers can guess that Ryuken has a passion for martial arts and for his father’s work, but he does not want to go to the gym at first because he is scared that he might lose his strength.
Because of his terrible experience, Ryuken developed a deep fear about the gym and bodybuilders, which is also one of the best elements of “How heavy are the dumbbells you lift?” In this show, the gym instructor, Mr. Yellow, tries to persuade Ryuken to join him, but Ryuken ignores him completely. Later on, the said gym instructor tries to get Ryuken interested in working out with his “loser weight”, but the latter is having none of it. Later on, the said trainer reveals that he was the one who tricked Ryuken into joining and that he planned to make Ryuken lose hope that he can gain muscle like his father.
The next day, Ryuken goes to the military facility, where Yabako is training him along with a few other Japanese soldiers. However, Ryuken is too tired to work out. When Yabako asks him how heavy are the dumbbells you lift, Ryuken answers that they are only thirty-five kilograms. When Yabako tries to help him, Ryuken is too embarrassed to say anything, so she leaves. He later finds out that Yabako is actually a Japanese spy, who is hired by the Japanese military to find and recruit new soldiers.