How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?

dumbellsanime

Anime is the fountain of all knowledge. In recent times it has taught me how to survive on a desert island and how to perform magic tricks. How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift teaches viewers how to work out. The show’s combination of fitness advice and eye candy motivated me to do exercise, back in the summer when the show was airing. It didn’t last though. After a while I developed tennis elbow. The strain was just the excuse I needed to revert back to a slothful existence of sitting on the couch playing video games.

OVERVIEW

Based on a manga, set in the Kengan Ashura universe, this twelve episode anime follows a high school girl named Hibiki Sakura. Due to constant snacking, Hibiki has recently put on some weight. This won’t do, so she decides to join the local Silverman Gym; hoping that exercising on the machines will help her slim down. Soon she makes a training buddy in the form of student council president Akemi Soryuin. At first glance Akemi looks like a model student, but don’t let initial impressions fool you. Her main reason for frequenting the gym is to gawk at bodybuilders.

The pair are coached by fitness trainer Naruzo Machio, who reminds me a little of the Incredible Hulk. His default form is that of a slim man. Whenever Machio flexes though, his muscles grow to the point that his tracksuit shreds apart. Although his body bulks up his head doesn’t and looks comically small in comparison. Never mind the warning of not skipping leg day when bodybuilding. This is what happens when one skips head day.

As the series progresses more gym goers are introduced. My favourite is Hibiki’s teacher Satomi Tachibana, who unbeknownst to her students is a cosplayer that likes to pose in revealing attire. Other characters include Hibiki’s best friend Ayaka Uehara, whose family own a boxing gym. Working out at said establishment has blessed Ayaka with incredible abs. Last but not least is Gina Boyd, who hails from Russia. She travelled to Japan in order to compete in an arm wrestling tournament. After the final she decides to remain in the country. Wow, immigration to Japan is more lax than I thought. Gina has no trouble transferring to a foreign school or finding a place to stay. Even language is of no concern to her. Gina is apparently fluent in Japanese because she grew up watching Jackie Chan movies??!???

VERDICT

My rating for How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift is four stars. It’s a series that is both funny and informative. The characters make you laugh, show you how to perform sets properly and highlight how easy it is to exceed a recommended daily calorie count. Overall, I preferred the earlier episodes, which focused more on training, over the latter ones. Towards the end of its run the series cut down on fitness content in favour of silly storylines. Speaking of fitness, I didn’t always agree with the advice that was given. One episode in particular seemed to suggest that intermittent fasting will turn you into a fatty sumo wrestler. In my experience the opposite is true.

I won’t hold that against the show though, as everyone is different. What works for one person may not for someone else. That could well explain how people get the same results with different methods. Just look at vegans for example. They stay slim on a diet that is high in carbs. On the other end of the scale are the keto crowd, who proclaim that carbohydrates will make you fat and that it is healthier to consume foods rich in fat.

How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift is an anime I can recommend to most people. Those with eating disorders may want to stay away though. A show that considers someone with the slim physique of Hibiki to be overweight is likely to push some people over the edge. All that said, I think it’s good to have entertainment that promotes fitness. Obesity rates are on the rise and not helped by plus size models who brainwash followers into believing that it’s possible to be both healthy and fat. People shouldn’t be ridiculed for their looks, but protecting someone’s feelings with falsehoods will cause even more harm in the long run.

For those of you who don’t care an iota about fitness I can still recommend this series. The comedy is worth the price of admission, as is the eye candy. I don’t think the fan service is a deal breaker for audiences, as it stays playful and never crosses the line that makes other ecchi shows creepy. The ladies are gorgeous and I am sure female viewers will also appreciate a barely clothed Machio showing off his saido chesto. Just be sure not to get carried away with pleasuring yourself off to animated beauties. Doing so may result in a sprained wrist… or tennis elbow.

Review of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

linksawakening

I don’t usually double dip on video games, but for Link’s Awakening I decided to make an exception. It’s my favourite GameBoy title of all time after all. Come to think of it, it’s probably my fave Zelda game too; narrowly beating out the likes of Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker to the number one spot. In this remake of the 1993 classic, players have to help a marooned Link in escaping from Koholint Island. To leave the isle Link needs to awaken the mysterious Wind Fish, who slumbers within a giant egg situated atop Koholint’s tallest peak. Unfortunately for him the only alarm clock that can wake said fishy are eight mystical instruments, which are each stored in monster infested dungeons.

OVERVIEW

Zelda: Link’s Awakening is exactly what a remake should be. The game is virtually identical to the original, but has been beefed up with modern day visuals and several quality of life improvements. My favourite enhancement comes courtesy of the Switch hardware. Thanks to the system’s extra buttons, players no longer need to pause every few seconds to rearrange their inventory. I also appreciated the addition of extra warp points, which makes travelling across Koholint Island much quicker. Content wise this edition contains all the levels from the original GameBoy release, plus a bonus dungeon that was added to the GameBoy Colour re-release a few years later.

Difficulty wise I don’t think Zelda: Link’s Awakening is too tough. The puzzles will stump you for a bit, but are solvable with some thought. Should you get stuck inside a dungeon seek out the owl statutes, as they offer tips on how to overcome certain obstacles. On some occasions, when traipsing through the overworld, it isn’t always clear where Link should go to advance the story. Fear not though, as there are phone booths scattered across the island. You can visit these to ring up an old geezer who will point you in the right direction. Helpful, if perhaps a tad redundant in this modern age where we have been spoiled by free online guides that tell you how to complete any game.

One thing that disappointed me about Link’s Awakening was the Dungeon Creator, which Nintendo promoted in their trailer. When I first saw footage of this feature I got excited about the prospect of constructing Zelda levels. Sadly what we get is no Super Mario Maker. It’s pretty much a glorified sidequest, were you earn rewards by clearing stages assembled from premade chambers. You can’t even share your creations online with other players, which would have given the game some replay value. Pity, as Link’s Awakening is short by Zelda standards. You can complete the whole adventure in under ten hours. Modern gamers may expect more content, but you need to understand that back in the day squeezing a game of this size into an 8-bit cartridge was impressive.

VERDICT

My rating for Zelda: Link’s Awakening is four stars. The game isn’t quite as epic as I recalled, but was a lot of fun to revisit nonetheless. I dug the cute graphics, the funny characters Link meets and the emotional ending. Should you be one of those players who found Breath of the Wild’s open world to be intimidating I recommend giving Link’s Awakening a try. It’s a more linear experience that focuses on puzzle solving rather than exploration. Like I said earlier, this is a great remake. Developer GREZZO has ported a great game and polished it even further. The only change that I disliked was adding physics to the previously easy crane mini-game. Now, just like a real arcade machine, the claw sometimes drops your prize. How I raged when the Yoshi doll, Link was trying to win, escaped from my grasp.

Untitled Goose Game Review

goosegame

Geese love to torment humans. If you don’t believe me just do a quick search on Youtube and you’ll find countless videos of park goers fleeing in terror, after crossing paths with an irritable goose. The star of Untitled Goose Game is no exception to that rule. Players guide said goose, as he waddles through a tranquil English village on a mission to commit “fowl” play. The village is broken up into five areas, but when the game begins you only have access to one zone. In order to unlock entry into other parts of the village players will need to commit various pranks, which are listed on a digital notepad.

OVERVIEW

Untitled Goose Game is unlike anything I have played before. If I had to pick a genre for this title my answer would be “puzzle game mixed with some stealth elements.” The above mentioned pranks require some thought, as they depend on working out where and how to use objects the goose finds in the environment. The puzzles aren’t too difficult, but may stump some “bird brained” individuals. What I like about the game’s design is that some of the brainteasers can be solved in multiple ways. For example, one early puzzle demands that you soak a pesky gardener. This can be achieved by turning on some nearby sprinklers or alternatively the goose can snatch a valuable item and force the greenskeeper to chase after him into a lake.

The stealth portion of the game involves sneaking past certain villagers, who have no patience for a trouble making goose. Don’t expect Metal Gear Solid depth from the stealth parts though, even if getting into the pub does require that the goose conceal himself inside a cardboard box! For the most part you can usually progress just by walking slowly at the right moment or distracting a foe with a well timed honk. As someone who dislikes stealth games I was okay with Untitled Goose Game’s more casual approach to sneaking. I don’t believe it is possible to suffer a game over at all. Should the goose get caught he’ll just be shooed away from the vicinity and have any item he is carrying confiscated.

VERDICT

My rating for Untitled Goose Game is a three out of five. It’s funny to see how this indie game, that was put together by just four people, is presently outselling the latest Zelda release. It would seem that gamers cannot resist the temptation to cause mischief. The game’s appeal may also come from the graphics. When I first laid eyes upon the trailer I couldn’t help but be charmed by the children’s book style visuals. On the sonic side of things, we get limited sound and music. The audio we are treated to however does its job well. Pressing the honk button never gets old and I dug the piano tune that plays whenever the goose is pursued by one of his honking mad victims.

I can’t give Untitled Goose Game a higher score, as it can be completed in one or two hours. Even if the game isn’t a full price release, I was expecting a bit more content for the money I paid. All that said, once the main campaign is finished some bonus objectives get unlocked, which extend the playtime somewhat. If value for money is a concern, my recommendation would be to wait for the game to go on sale. Alternatively fun can be had just by checking out an online Let’s Play of the game. If you want a giggle hop over to Youtube and give an Untitled Goose Game video playthrough a “gander.”

The Death of Superman Review

thedeathofsuperman

In the past I have commented that Superman is a boring hero, as he is overpowered. Now that I think about it though, perhaps I should reconsider that opinion. For a supposedly invincible character, Superman sure does like to die a lot. In recent times I have witnessed the Man of Steel perish in Batman vs Superman and the animated movie Superman: Doomsday. Completing the hat trick of demises is the film I am reviewing today – The Death of Superman. Sorry about the spoiler, but hey come on it’s in the friggin title! This straight to DVD feature is based on a nineties graphic novel. Back then news stations reported on Superman’s death in the comics. How naive we were back then. These days when a hero dies no one bats an eyelid, as it’s well known that DC and Marvel love to resurrect those who pass away.

OVERVIEW

A good chunk of this movie’s eighty minute running time is pure action. The antagonist of the piece is a rampaging monster, who the media christen Doomsday. Said alien has emerged from a crashed asteroid and is on a mission to kill anything that gets in his way. The Justice League intercept Doomsday early on, but are powerless to stop him. With the likes of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Batman out for the count, only Superman stands between the murderous extraterrestrial and the city of Metropolis. It’s disappointing to see that the foe who takes down Superman isn’t one of his more recognizable villains. Doomsday is just a generic brute with a temper and his origins are not explored at all in this flick. The only purpose of his existence is to serve as proof for geeks who like to debate that the Hulk could beat Superman in a fight.

Before the action kicks off the movie tries its best to illustrate what a swell guy Superman is, in order to give his murder some emotional impact. The early scenes show Superman battling crime and posing for selfies with citizens who cannot help but to gush about his heroic deeds. We also get some romance between Superman and reporter Lois Lane. She has been dating coworker Clark Kent, unaware that he is the last son of Krypton. Their relationship is on the rocks, due to Clark’s secretive nature. His feelings for Lois are so strong however that he decides to come clean and reveal his true identity to her. Tragically this confession comes moments before he flies off to tussle with Doomsday. When the dust settles Lois will have lost Superman, much like how Supes loses his red underwear when donning a New 52 costume.

VERDICT

My rating for The Death of Superman is a three out of five. Like many of the other recent DC Universe Animated Original Movies I would describe it as entertaining. Worth a rental, if you are a superhero fan, but it pales in comparison to the DC cartoons of yesteryear. The movie’s biggest problem is that the story is wafer thin. Doomsday crashes on Earth and Superman goes off to fight him is pretty much the entire plot. That sufficed for the comic, as back then news that DC would kill off their most famous character was a major event. Decades later however anyone who is interested in watching this adaptation knows that Superman’s death won’t be permanent. Knowing that outcome really hurts the script’s drama. Even those unfamiliar with the source material won’t be left in suspense, as the finale teases Superman’s return.

Judging the movie by itself is a little unfair though. The Death of Superman only chronicles part of the comics’ storyline. I suspect I would enjoy the film more if I watched it back to back with its direct sequel Reign of the Supermen. Although the movie lacks substance it does a decent job of laying down the foundations for a more interesting tale, which covers four imposters who attempt to fill the crime fighting void left after Superman’s funeral. One of the pretenders in question is an armoured hero called Steel, who was once played by Shaquille O’Neal. Shame that he wasn’t around to assist with the battle versus Doomsday. No matter how mighty the aforementioned Superman slayer is, he would be no match for a practionair of Shaq Fu.