Kinnikuman

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This article is about the media franchise. For the title character, see Kinnikuman (character).
Kinnikuman
Kinnikuman (Jump Comics).jpg
Cover of the fifth Japanese volume of Kinnikuman, published by Shueisha on December 15, 1980
キン肉マン
Genre Comedy, Sports
Manga
Written by Yudetamago
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump (1979–1987)
Shū Play News (2011–)
Original run Initial run
May 28, 1979 – March 1987
Continued run
2011
present
Volumes 47
Anime television series
Directed by Yasuo Yamayoshi
Takenori Kawada
Tetsuo Imazawa
Music by Shin Kawabe
Studio Toei Animation
Network Nippon Television
Original run April 3, 1983October 1, 1986
Episodes 137 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Kinnikuman: Scramble for the Throne
Directed by Atsutoshi Umezawa
Music by Akihiko Yoshida
Studio Toei Animation
Network Nippon Television
Original run October 6, 1991September 27, 1992
Episodes 46 (List of episodes)
Manga
Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy
Written by Yudetamago
Published by Shueisha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Playboy
Original run April 19982004
Volumes 29
Manga
Kinnikuman Nisei: All Chōjin Dai-Shingeki
Written by Yudetamago
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine V Jump
Original run May 2001March 2007
Volumes 4
Anime television series
Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy
Directed by Toshiaki Komura
Studio Toei Animation
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run January 9, 2002December 25, 2002
Episodes 51 (List of episodes)
Manga
Kinnikuman Nisei: Kyūkyoku no Chōjin Tag Hen
Written by Yudetamago
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Weekly Playboy (2004-2011)
Shū Play News (2011)
Original run 20042011
Volumes 28
Anime television series
Ultimate Muscle
Directed by Toshiaki Komura
Studio Toei Animation
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run April 7, 2004June 30, 2004
Episodes 13
Anime television series
Ultimate Muscle 2
Directed by Toshiaki Komura
Studio Toei Animation
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run January 1, 2006March 29, 2006
Episodes 13
Related media
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Kinnikuman (Japanese: キン肉マン?, lit. "Muscleman") is a manga series created by the duo Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada, known as Yudetamago. It follows Suguru Kinniku, a superhero who must win a wrestling tournament to retain the title of prince of Planet Kinniku. Nakai and Takashi planned the series when they were attending high school originally as a parody to Ultraman.

The manga was originally published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1979 to 1987, and was first adapted by Toei Animation into a 137-episode anime series broadcast on Nippon Television from 1983 to 1986. It restarted publication in 2011, and has spawned spin-off manga and anime series, video games and Kinnikuman-related merchandise.

The manga series has been popular in Japan, selling over 66 million copies by 2007. As popular as was the anime series and its merchandise, such as Kinkeshi, a line of action figurines released as M.U.S.C.L.E. in the Northern America. Although it received the Shogakukan Manga Award for children's manga in 1985, it has received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

The story involves Kinnikuman (real name Suguru Kinniku), a clumsy, foolish superhero who discovers that he is the missing prince of the planet Kinniku (known for producing the greatest superheroes in the universe). Since he is a clumsy fool, however, he must prove himself worthy of the throne. To do so he enters wrestling competitions and battles evil Chojin, culminating in a tournament between Kinnikuman and five pretenders to the throne: Kinnikuman Big Body, Soldier, Zebra, Mariposa and Super Phoenix. Many of Kinnikuman's allies begin as villains (Ramenman, Buffalo Man, Ashuraman and Warsman) or arrogant heroes (Terryman, Robin Mask and Rikishiman). The heroes and villains are collectively known as Chojin (超人 Chōjin?), which literally means "supermen".

Ultimate Muscle[edit]

Mantaro Muscle (also known as Kid Muscle—Mantaro Kinniku in the Japanese version) is the spoiled son of superhero wrestler King Muscle (Kinnikuma in the Japanese version). After 28 years of peace, the Seigi Choujins' (Muscle League) old enemies regroup and form the Demon Manufacturing Plant (dMp, known in the English version as Destruction, Mayhem and Pain). The Muscle League has lost its edge and are overwhelmed by the young, well-trained fighters. Recognizing their weakness, the Seigi Chojin reopen the Hercules Factory (a school for superheroes) and begin training a new generation of heroes to take on the dMp. At first unwilling, Mantaro (Kid Muscle) is one of the young heroes and defeats his father to prove his readiness to graduate. He and the other new Seigi Choujin defeat several members of the dMp and meet Kevin Mask, who quits dMp when he discovers their lack of honor. They also battle Sunshine and his pupils, who destroy the dMp after developing a renewed respect for the fighting spirit of the Seigi Choujins. The manga continues with the New Generation Replacement Tournament, Mantaro's challenge to master his inherited potential (Kajiba no Kuso Chikara, "burning inner strength" or "the fire"), the return of the Chojin Olympics, a fight with the Demon Seed (a villainous group), a backstory for Robin Mask and a tag-team tournament set in the past. Although the manga begins as a fairly lighthearted, humorous (albeit violent) story, later arcs (the No Respect and Demon Seed storylines in particular) have a darker tone and frequently deal with psychological trauma.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada, friends since fourth grade,[1] decided to create a manga series in high school.[2] Before its regular publication, the series (originally a parody of Ultraman)[1] was released as two one-shots in Shueisha's magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump in December 1978 and March 1979: Okamarasu no Maki (オカマラスの巻?), which won the Akatsuka Award, and Eraginesu no Maki (エラギネスの巻?).[3] Its serialization began in the May 28, 1979 issue and concluded in March 1997.[4] Shueisha collected the chapters into 36 tankōbon, releasing them from February 15, 1980 to April 15, 1988.[5][6]

A one-shot, Muscle Returns (マッスル・リターンズ Massuru Ritānzu?), was published in Kadokawa Shoten's Kakutō Ace in January 1996.[3] Despite the title, the series only began regular publication on November 28, 2011 in Shū Play News, Shueisha's web version of Weekly Playboy.[7] The 37th tankōbon was released on January 29, 2010, and the 47th volume was released on July 4, 2014.[8][9]

The first 36 volumes were re-published as part of the Jump Comics Selection line in 26 volumes,[10][11] as part of the Jump Comics Deluxe line in 18 aizōban volumes from January 14 to November 18, 1999[12][13] and in shinsōban format on July 6, 2013.[14][15][16] Kinnikuman was also published in the Shueisha Jump Remix bargain series from 2001 to 2013.[17][18] From July 5, 2012 to January 3, 2014, 44 e-book volumes were published as part of the Jump Comics Digital line.[19][20]

Sequel and spin-offs[edit]

The first manga spun off from Kinnikuman was Tatakae!! Ramenman (闘将!!拉麺男?), a series focused on Ramenman which was published in Fresh Jump from 1982[3] to 1988.[citation needed] It was compilled into 12 tankōbon volumes released between 1983 and 1989.[21][22] In 1998 and 1998, Tatakae!! Ramenman was re-published in 9 volumes,[23][24] in 2002 in 8 volumes,[25][26] between 2004 and 2006 in 12 volumes,[27][28] and in 2009 in 5 volumes.[29][30] Toei Animation adapted it into a 35-episode anime series, which was broadcast from January 10 to September 11, 1989.[31] In 1988, a film was released on July,[32] and a video game on August.[33] In 2009, the anime series and film were released in a box set.[32] Also, a spin-off of Tatake!! Ramenman, subtitled Chōjin Dai Meikan (超人大名鑑?), was released in 1995.[3]

After the publication of several one-shots of Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (キン肉マンⅡ世 Kinnikuman Nisei?) from August 1997 to February 1998, it began appearing regularly in Weekly Playboy from April 1998[3] to 2004[34] and was published in 29 tankōbon volumes from October 19, 1998 to August 19, 2005.[35][36] It was re-released in 21 aizoban volumes from September 18, 2009 to January 18, 2011.[37][38] Two one-shots of Kinnikuman Legacy were published. The first, Densetsu no Joshō: Heracles Factory (伝説の序章~ヘラクレス・ファクトリー Densetsu no Joshō Herakuresu Fakutorī?), was released on February 22, 2002[39] and the second, SP Densetsu Chōjin Zenmetsu! (SP伝説超人全滅!?), was released on May 24 of that year.[40]

All Chōjin Dai Shingeki (オール超人大進撃 Ōru Chōjin Dai Shingeki?), an Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy spin-off, was serialized in V Jump from May 2001 to March 2007[3] and its four tankōbon were published from August 2002 to August 2007.[41][42] To continue Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy's storyline, Kyūkyoku no Chōjin Tag Hen (究極の超人タッグ編?) was published in serial form from 2004 to 2011[43] and released in 28 tankōbon from November 18, 2005 to December 19, 2011.[44][45]

A feminized version of the series, Kinnikuman Lady (キン肉マンレディー Kinnikuman Redī?), was created by Masashi Ogawa and began as a webcomic on the Ultra Jump Egg site on June 19, 2008. Its first tankōbon was published on March 19, 2009,[46] and on September 17 it was moved to the Ultra Jump website.[citation needed] The series concluded with the release of its third tankōbon on June 19, 2013.[47]

Anime series[edit]

The first animated series based on Kinnikuman was produced by Toei Animation and directed by Yasuo Yamayoshi, Takenori Kawada and Tetsuo Imazawa. The 137-episode series was originally broadcast in Japan on Nippon Television (NTV) from April 3, 1983 to October 1, 1986.[48] It was followed by Kinnikuman Kinniku-sei Ōi Sōdatsu Hen (キン肉マン キン肉星王位争奪編?), directed by Takeshi Shirato and Atsutoshi Umezawa. This 46-episode series was produced by Toei and aired on NTV from October 6, 1991 to September 27, 1992.[49] The first series was packaged into 12 DVDs, released from December 6, 2002 to November 21, 2003, and the second series was released on four DVDs from December 5, 2003 to March 21, 2004.[50][51][52][53]

On January 9, 2002, Kinnikuman: Second Generation premiered; the 51-episode series aired until December 25 of that year,[54] and was released on 12 DVDs from September 21, 2002 to August 8, 2003.[55][56] Licensed by 4Kids Entertainment as Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy, it was broadcast on Fox Box.[57][58] In 2003 a 13-episode sequel for non-Japanese audiences was announced,[59] also airing on Fox Box[60] and from April 7 to June 30, 2004 in Japan.[61] Another 13-episode spin-off, Kinnikuman Second Generation: Ultimate Muscle 2, was broadcast from January 4 to March 29, 2006 in Japan.[62] All three series were directed by Toshiaki Komura, produced by Toei Animation and broadcast in Japan by TV Tokyo.[61][63][64] The two spin-off series were released as two-DVD box sets on February 24 and June 23, 2006.[65][66]

Films[edit]

Seven films based on the original Kinnikuman were released from 1984 to 1986. The first, Kinnikuman, was directed by Takeshi Shirato and released on July 14, 1984.[67][68] Kinnikuman: Seigi Chōjin vs. Senshi Chōjin (キン肉マン 正義超人vs戦士超人?), the last film, was released on December 20, 1986 and was directed by Yasuo Yamayoshi.[67][69] All seven films were compiled on a DVD released April 21, 2004.[67]

Two films based on Kinnikuman: Second Generation were directed by Toshiaki Komura. The first (eponymous) film was released at the Anime Fair on July 14, 2001[70][71] and the second, Kinnikuman Second Generation: Massuru Ninjin Sōdatsu! Chōjin Dai Sensō (キン肉マンⅡ世 マッスル人参争奪!超人大戦争?), was released at the same venue on July 20, 2002.[72] The films were released on DVD on May 12, 2002 and April 21, 2003, respectively.[73][74]

Video games[edit]

Several video games based on the series were released. The first were for home computers; a simulation game was released for the PC-88 in November 1984,[75] followed by the 1995 fighting game Kinnikuman: Colosseum Deathmatch (キン肉マンコロシアムデスマッチ コロシアムデスマッチ?, Koroshiamu Desumatch).[76] The first console game (Tag Team Match: MUSCLE) was released on November 8, 1985 for Nintendo Entertainment System,[77] and the last game (Kinnikuman: Muscle Grand Prix 2 Tokumori (キン肉マン マッスルグランプリ2 特盛?)) was released for PlayStation 2 on September 25, 2008.[78] The social networking service GREE released Kinnikuman Memorial (キン肉マン~メモリアル~ Kinnikuman Memoriaru?) on February 27, 2014.[79]

Other media[edit]

See also: Kinkeshi and M.U.S.C.L.E.

With the manga's popularity, Bandai produced a brand of eraser-like action figurines (keshi) titled Kinkeshi between 1983 and 1987.[80] In Japan, Bandai has released 418 different types of figures, and it was mainly sold through Gashapon.[80][81] As it attracted Northern American market's interest it was brought by Mattel under the name M.U.S.C.L.E., and a total of 236 figures were traded domestically[1][82] between 1985 and 1988.[citation needed] In 2007, Toei asked fans if they would like to see all 418 figure types included in the Kinnikuman complete box set.[81] On December 20, 2008, the box set with all the two first series episodes, all seven films, a TV special, and all the figures was released.[83] Aside from this most known series of products, a myriad of other Kinnikuman-based merchandise were released both in Japan and in the America, which vary from action figures[84][85] to plush dolls,[86] from key holders[87][88] to pen drives,[89][90] from picture books[91][92] to trading card games.[93][94]

Reception and legacy[edit]

As of November 2007, the series sold more than 66 million copies in Japan.[95] A volume of Kyūkyoku no Chōjin Tag Arc and several other volumes (from 37 onward) are among the best-selling manga in Japan.[96][97][98][99] As well as Kinnikuman's manga was considered a hit, the series' merchandise in general was also successful.[1] Bandai reports that over 180 million units of Kinkeshi were sold in Japan.[80] Shaenon K. Garrity said, "The M.U.S.C.L.E. figurines ... were the sole American extrusion of a 1980s manga/anime/licensing phenomenon."[1] The anime series was popular, premiering with a rating over 20 percent.[14] The Kinnikuman complete box set, scheduled for a December release, had 25,000 reservation requests as of August 2008.[100]

Garrity called Kinnikuman a "cross between superhero parody and pro-wrestling goofiness".[1] Liann Cooper of the Anime News Network said that the "artwork alone is enough to clothesline itself and the whole concept of superhero wrestlers is like a manga-fied Mucha Lucha", but Ultimate Muscle "is actually pretty funny".[101] On T.H.E.M Anime Reviews, Christi wrote, "Overall, Ultimate Muscle is the best thing about the Fox Box anthology." She praised the "funny, and in their own disgusting way, charming" characters, its "crisp and well-done" animation and the "very clean and appealing" character designs.[102] The 2013 edition of Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, a survey of the manga and publishing industries, named Kinnikuman the seventh-best manga series for male readers.[103]

Widely regarded as a classic manga series,[85][104][105] it has been cited by Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa as a series she "love[s]" and as an influence to her work.[106] Moreover, Kinnikuman has inspired real life wrestling events. At the Fight Entertainment Group's FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 event in Saitama, Japan, Bob Sapp fought Kid Muscle (played by Akihiko Tanaka) in an MMA match.[107] Toei Animation announced a Kinnikumania 2009 wrestling event, scheduled at the JCB Hall in Tokyo Dome City on May 29, 2009 for the manga's 30th anniversary.[108]

References[edit]

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