Kinnikuman (キン肉マン?, lit. "Muscleman") is a manga created by the duo of Yudetamago (which literally means "boiled egg" in Japanese), which is composed of Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada. The manga was published in Shueisha's Weekly Jump, and received the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen manga in 1985. An animated series was produced using the Limited animation technique.
Originally created as a parody of Ultraman, Kinnikuman was a clumsy goof of a superhero whose services were only called upon to battle monsters if no other superheroes were around.
Kinnikuman's powers came from eating garlic (ninniku, ニンニク), which would gradually fill the "garlic meter" on his forehead until he could grow into a giant to fight the monsters. His main attack was the "Kinniku Flash" beam.
As Kinnikuman developed, it began focusing exclusively on professional wrestling in which Kinnikuman would wrestle ridiculous parodies of popular Japanese superheroes and their adversaries, including "The Toilet Paper Mummy," a giant hand, and monsters based on things like pachinko machines and telephones. The heroes and villains of Kinnikuman were collectively referred to as "Chōjin," (超人) which literally translates to "Supermen". The majority of the characters were made by fans who sent in chōjin character designs or ideas and were then incorporated into the story in various major and minor roles. Notable examples of main characters created in this manner include Warsman and Brocken Jr.
The story involves Kinnikuman (his real name is Suguru Kinniku), a clumsy fool of a superhero, finding out he is the missing prince of the planet Kinniku, known for turning out the greatest superheroes in the universe. Being a clumsy fool, however, he must prove himself worthy of the throne. To do so, he enters into wrestling competitions and battles evil Chojin, ultimately 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, Warsman), and extremely arrogant heroes (Terryman, Robin Mask, Rikishiman).
As the popularity increased, an anime came about and lots of merchandising. Amongst the most popular merchandise were the "Kinnikuman Keshigomu": erasers made in the shapes of the Kinnikuman characters. The kids were playing with them as toys and called them "Kin-Keshi" for short. They were subsequently marketed as such, and accessories like a wrestling ring were soon to follow.
The wildly popular Kinkeshi figurines came to the United States in the mid-1980s under the brand name M.U.S.C.L.E., which stands for "Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere". For this release, Kinnikuman was renamed "Muscle Man", leader of the heroic M.U.S.C.L.E. characters, the "Thug Busters," and Buffaloman was renamed "Teri-Bull" as the leader of the "Cosmic Crunchers" (although in a M.U.S.C.L.E. video game released for the NES, the Japanese names of the other major characters were used). The figures were only available in random assortments, and originally were only available in a sort of fleshy pink, but eventually other colors were used as well. Accessories included a wrestling championship belt that opened up and could be used to carry figures, and a wrestling ring where most of the figures could be squeezed into a pair of plastic clamps and then whacked together using a pair of joysticks. M.U.S.C.L.E. would later inspire a similar American toy, Monster in My Pocket, in which the figures were based on typical western monsters rather than Japanese pro-wrestler parodies.
There have also been numerous Kinnikuman video games, anime, and other toys.
A sequel manga to Kinnikuman, called Kinnikuman II or Kinnikuman Nisei was written by Yudetamago, starring Suguru's son, Mantaro, and currently appears in "Weekly Playboy", a men's magazine published by Shueisha. There have been two "flashback" stories in this manga that feature Terryman and Robin Mask, respectively. Kinnikuman II is known as Ultimate Muscle in most English-speaking countries. Plus after Kinnikuman, there was a spin-off series for the character Ramenman, who was a popular character.
A brand new on-going series was created at the end of 2011, following the end of Kinnikuman II. This new series follows the original cast, set straight after the end of the original series.
- Kinnikuman (1983–1986)
- Opening Themes
- 1. "Kinnikuman Go Fight!" (eps. 1-65) by Akira Kushida
- 2. "Honoo no Kinnikuman (Blazing Kinnikuman)" (eps. 66-124) by Akira Kushida
- 3. "Kinnikuman Sensation" (eps. 125-137) by Akira Kushida
- 1. "Niku 2x9 Rock n' Roll" (eps. 1-65) by Akira Kushida, feat. Akira Kamiya (Kinnikuman) and Tetsuo Mizutori (Yosaku)
- 2. "Kinniku Mambo" (eps. 66-96, 107-124) by Akira Kamiya (Kinnikuman)
- 3. "Kinnikuman Ondo" (eps. 97-106) by Akira Kamiya (Kinnikuman) and Minori Matsushima (Meat)
- 4. "Kinnikuman Club" (eps. 125-137) by Akira Kamiya (Kinnikuman)
- "Zudadan! Kinnikuman" by Kenji Suzuki
- "Getsu! Ka! Sui! Moku! Kinnikuman" by Kent Derricott
- Monster Hunters (1-27)
- This chapter has Kinnikuman protecting the Earth from various monsters in his own clumsy way. This is where he meets Terryman and Meat and learns that he is the prince of Planet Kinniku.
- The 20th Choujin Olympics (28-51)
- Supermen from around the world compete to be number one Choujin. Kinnikuman represents Japan against China's Ramenman and returning champ Robin Mask of England.
- American Tour (52-79)
- After becoming Choujin Olympic Champion, Kinnikuman and Meat travel as international Choujin representatives. In Hawaii he loses to Prince Kamehame, who becomes Kinnikuman's instructor and teaches him the 48 Killer Techniques. After that, Kinnikuman is recruited by the World Choujin Association to reclaim control of America from two rival Choujin groups, ultimately leading to a tag tournament where he teams with Terryman for the first time as "The Machineguns".
- Monster Hunters II (80-89)
- After losing his title due to an obscure rule, Kinnikuman attempts to return to fighting monsters, only to face rivalry from a Self-Defense group. He also makes a New Years trip to his homeworld, where he gains the love of Horumon tribe female Bibinba who follows him to Earth. Kinnikuman also participates in a team of seven Choujin to save planet Rakka from invaders.
- The 21st Choujin Olympics - The Big Fight (90-121)
- When Kinnikuman is deprived of his champion title, "The Big Fight" is hurriedly arranged. This time Kinnikuman faces another Japanese choujin, Wolfman. Also the Soviet machine Warsman debuts. From this chapter on, it's all wrestling.
- The Seven Devil Choujins (122-159)
- Deep in outer space, Seven Devil Choujins lead by Buffaloman break free of their prison and are thirsting for chaos. Using Meat as their hostage, they demand to wrestle the Choujin Olympic champion, Kinnikuman.
- The Golden Mask (160-208)
- The Silver and Golden Masks are the symbols of peace for the Kinniku Tribe. When the Golden Mask is apparently stolen, the heroes must battle the Six Devil Knights lead by the mysterious "Akuma Shogun".
- Dream Choujin Tag (209-273)
- The remnants of the Devil Knights (Ashura and Sunshine) steal the Seigi Choujin's Friendship Power at the same time a tag tournament to decide the worlds greatest tag team is announced. After being abandoned by his friends one after another, Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Great (actually Prince Kamehame, and later, Terryman in disguise) form the Muscle Brothers and fight to regain the Friendship Power.
- Survivor Match for the Kinniku Throne (274-387)
- With Kinnikuman scoring such glorious titles as 2-Time Choujin Olympic Champion and winning the Tag Tournament, his father King Mayumi decides to have his son Suguru (Kinnikuman) succeed the throne. Fearing Kinnikuman's Choujin Power, the Five Evil Choujin Gods select "Five Fated Princes" to challenge Suguru for the title. In order to prove himself rightful heir to the throne, Kinnikuman and his friends rise to the challenge.
- Kinnikuman vs Terryman (Kinnikuman II Battle 9, Kinnikuman vol 37)
- After earning his right to inherit his father's throne, Kinnikuman prepares to return to his home planet. Terryman realizes this is the last chance to test his strength against his friend Kinnikuman's, so he asks Kinnikuman to wrestle him. Kinnikuman agrees, and the two begin to train like never before. Terryman proposes to marry Natsuko after the match, but then she is badly hurt in a car wreck. She doesn't want her accident to affect Terryman's wrestling and insists that he not cancel the match.
- Kinnikuman's Wedding (Kinnikuman vol 37)
- On the night of his wedding to Bibimba, Kinnikuman remains on Earth until he accomplishes one request: one sparring match against all of his Choujin allies.
- Perfect Large Numbers (388- ; Online (Shū-Play Website), 2011-ongoing)
- A peace treaty between the three Choujin factions (Idol, Perfect and Devil Choujin, represented by Terryman, Neptuneman and Ashuraman respectively) had been signed after Kinnikuman became king of his home planet. However, a new threat arrives in an era of peace: The "Perfect Large Numbers." Led by Strong The Budo, they claim that Neptuneman doesn't represent the Perfect Choujin anymore, destroying the paper. After a battle between one of the Large Numbers(Tireman) and Terryman, the other Perfect Choujin challenge Kinnikuman and the remaining Idol Choujin, the latter of which are in medical suspension after their matches in the Kinniku Throne arc, to a single combat survival match. However, while Kinnikuman accepts the challenge, the original Seven Devil Choujin, following the orders of an unknown leader, enter the competition, and they are not fighting on the side of the Idol Choujin...
- Choujin (超人 Chōjin?, lit. "superman")
- A person whose strength and abilities far exceed that of a regular human's.
- Choujin Kyoudo (超人強度 Chōjin Kyōdo?, lit. "superman strength")
- Indicates the level of a Choujin's strength, represented in levels of "Power" (ex: 950,000 Power, 10,000,000 Power), although it rarely seems to have an impact on the winner of a match.
- Choujin Olympics (超人オリンピック Chōjin Orinpikku?)
- A tournament held by the Intergalactic Choujin Committee (宇宙超人委員会 Uchū Chōjin Iinkai?) in order to decide the best Choujin in the world. Currently 22 have been held, but only the 20th, 21st, and 22nd tournaments and the 19th English Qualifying Matches have been chronicled in the manga itself (the latter two appearing in Kinnikuman Nisei). For some reason, they are always held in Japan.
- Friendship Power (友情パワー Yūjō Pawā?)
- The power of unity mainly used by the Seigi Choujins, but as Sunshine once said "Friendship even exists amongst demons!". In the Dream Choujin Tag Arc, Ashuraman and Sunshine steal it so that the Seigi Choujins would particiapte in the tournament as enemies. Also, during the Throne Arc, Kinnikuman's brother Ataru Kinniku spoke of Genuine Friendship Power (真・友情パワー Shin Yūjō Pawā?).
- Burning Inner Strength (火事場のクソ力 Kajiba no Kuso-jikara?)
- AKA KKD. Latent power that emerges during a great dilemma. Unrelated to a Choujins personal power, it adds to their Choujin Kyoudo and increases it many fold. During the Throne Arc, Kinnikuman has his Kajiba no Kuso-jikara separated and sealed away, but eventually gains it back. Any Choujin can possess this ability, but it is much more prominent in the Kinniku Royal Family, where it is handed down from generation to generation. The Japanese phrase means "enormous strength at a scene of a fire" (note that the Japanese phrase here literally includes a vulgar word and is slightly different from the original one in the language [— baka-jikara] which means the same).
- Choujin Wrestling (超人レスリング Chōjin Resuringu?)
- Used by Choujins to settle disputes. The rules are similar to puroresu and mixed martial arts, except eye poking, biting, and attacks to the crotch are allowed.
- They are basically limitless one-fall matches but with no weight classification system. At first referees were put in the rings, but as the series progressed the rulings and decisions were made from outside of the ring so as to not interfere with the fight. Matches are won by forcing the opponent to give up, KO (this often means death), 3 Count Fall, and a 20 Count on the occasion of a Ring-Out. In Tag Matches the elimination of both opponents is usually required, but occasionally eliminating only one is allowable.
- Weapon use and a third man trespassing during a one-on-one competition is strictly prohibited. Techniques that require the ringpost or ropes (ex: Choujin Hanging, Royal Stretch) are allowed, but when the ringposts are pulled out or the ropes are torn and used against the opponent they are viewed as weapons and therefore against the rules. However, weapons that are part of a Choujin's body (Warsman's Bear Claws, Buffaloman's Long Horns, Prisman's Rainbow Shower, etc.) are acceptable. Likewise, attachments to the masks of masked Choujins (ex: Kinnikuman's head fin and Robin Mask's horn) are considered part of their bodies and therefore not an infringement of the rules. The spikes on Neptuneman's vest also seem to be included in this.
- Choujin Graveyard (超人墓場 Chōjin Hakaba?)
- Managed by the Choujin Enma, it is the land where the souls of dead Choujins are sent. Through undertaking serious labor a Choujin will receive Lifeforce Spheres (生命の玉 Seimei no Tama?), and if four are collected they can be revived (however, this will not work for people who have died from old age or illness). Therefore, whenever a killed Choujin reappears in-story without explanation, it can be assumed that they underwent this ordeal. However, there are Choujins who, while there, simply float around doing nothing.
- Kinniku Clan's Choujin Prophecy Book (キン肉族超人予言書 Kinniku-zoku Chōjin Yogensho?)
- Also referred to as Muscle Prophecy. Appears in the Throne Arc. It is a prophecy book written by Kinnikuman's ancestor which tells of the future. It contains information on the Kinniku Clan and all Choujins connected to them. No one can escape from this destiny (the only exception being Super Phoenix, whom Kinnikuman personally revives with his Face Flash technique). Furthermore, if a page from Prophecy Book is burned then that part of history is erased, and if a specific Choujins page is burned the same will happen to them. The first victim of this was Kinniku Ataru.
- Celestial Realm (天上界 Tenjō-kai?)
- The birthplace of Akuma Shogun and homeland of the Choujin Gods.
- Choujin Dollar (超人ドル Chōjin Doru?)
- The currency used within the Choujin World.
- Kinniku Yen (キン肉円 Kinniku-En?)
- The currency used on Planet Kinniku.
Muscle Returns (マッスル・リターンズ, 1996, Kakutou Ace, Kadokawa Shoten) was a one-shot follow up story set 8 years after Kinnikuman's conclusion. In it, a very powerful Choujin named Buki Boy bursts onto the scene and easily takes out Warsman, Terryman, and Buffaloman, leading to a climatic show down with Kinnikuman. The story contained a few inconsistencies with Kinnikuman Nisei (which began publication two years later), one of which being the appearance of a young Kevin Mask. His mask was different, resembling his father's, and according to his starting age in Nisei (18) he shouldn't have even been born when this story takes place.
The story was edited/fixed and re-released in 2001 in the Jump Remix series. Kevin Mask's look was changed into that of a little boy in school clothes, rather than looking like he was 14 with Robin's armor. Meat, who was supposed to be in suspended animation while the story took place, was replaced by Geronimo. Even with these corrections, it still doesn't fit into Kinnikuman Nisei canon well.
Manga to anime changes
- Robin Mask's skin color was changed from flesh-colored to blue, the skin is actually a body suit he wears as evidenced in the anime where he had flesh-toned skin when not wearing his armor.Conversely, Ashuraman's was changed from blue to flesh-colored.
- In the manga, the announcer's eventually fade into the background until there's just one and he's only represented by speech bubbles appearing in the corners of the panels. In the anime, however, the announcers are always seen. Also, the color commentator Tazahama is replaced by Nakano-san.
- The more violent scenes have been toned down. For instance, the infamous scene in the first Olympics where Ramenman rips Brockenman in half with the Camel Clutch has been changed to him merely chopping Brocken's back and then turning him into ramen noodles which he then eats.
- The Dream Tag Tournament is followed by two anime original story arcs: The Psycho Choujin arc and the Heinous Choujin arc.
- In the manga there are very obvious hints that Mongolman is actually Ramenman in disguise (such as Mongolman removing his mask and fake upper-body muscles while walking off into the distance). In the anime these hints are missing.
- Originally, Kinnikuman meets Bibinba and they fall in love, causing Kinnikuman's first love interest, Mari Nikaidou, to leave Japan. After the series ends, Kinnikuman and Bibinba get married. In the anime, Mari stays around as Kinnikuman's main love interest with Bibinba only playing a very small role in the final storyline.
- The American Tour arc only covers the fight with Jesse Maivia to the rematch with Robin Mask. The Tag Tournament and the second Monster Extermination saga is scrapped completely.
- Certain names were changed, including: Abdullah→ Abdoodoollah, Beauty Rhodes→ Beauty Rorhodes, Wolfman→ Rikishiman and others. This was done to avoid legal dispute with the real-life wrestlers who used these names (Abdullah the Butcher, Dusty Rhodes, Chiyonofuji Mitsugu, and others). Some move names were changed as well, like: Niku Curtain→ Kinniku Guard and Apache War Cry→ Wild War Cry (Scramble for the Throne only).
- Kinnikuman Colosseum Deathmatch (MSX, 1985, Bandai)
- One-on-one fighting game.
- Kinnikuman Muscle Tag Match (Famicom, November 8, 1985, Bandai)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Terryman, Ramenman, Robin Mask, Warsman, Buffaloman, Ashuraman, Brocken Jr.
- 2-on-2 tag match fighting game. Released in the United States as M.U.S.C.L.E..
- Kinnikuman: Kinniku-Sei Oui Soudatsusen (Famicom Disk System, May 1, 1987, Bandai)
- A scroll action game based on the Survivor Match for the Kinniku Throne.
- Famicom Jump: Hero Retsuden (Famicom, February 15, 1989, Bandai)
- Kinnikuman Characters: Kinnikuman, Buffaloman, Neptuneman, Super Phoenix
- An action role-playing game featuring characters from several Weekly Shōnen Jump series.
- Kinnikuman: Dirty Challenger (Super Famicon, August 21, 1992, Yutaka)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Super Phoenix, Soldier, Zebra, Mariposa, Big Body, Kinnikuman Great (Secret), Terryman (Secret)
- One-on-One fighting game.
- Kinnikuman The Dream Match (Game Boy, September 12, 1992, Yutaka)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Terryman, Ramenman, Robin Mask, Warsman, Brocken Jr.
- One-on-one fighting game.
- Kinnikuman Choujin Colosseum (I-Mode, 2001, Shueisha)
- A game-site for I-Mode users where players can create their own Choujins.
- Kinnikuman II (Game Boy Advance, December 6, 2002, Banpresto)
- One-on-one fighting game. Released in the United States as Ultimate Muscle: The Path of the Superhero.
- Characters: Mantarou, Terry the Kid, Seiuchin, Gazelleman, Jade, Clioneman, Scarface, Dead Signal, Tel-Tel Boy, MAXman, Kevin Mask, Rex King, Checkmate, Fork the Giant, Hanzo, Bone Cold, Kinnikuman/Old Kinnikuman, Ramenman/Old Ramenman, Buffaloman/Old Buffaloman, Kinnikuman Soldier (Ataru)
- CR Kinnikuman (pachinko, 2003, Maruhon)
- A pachinko game based on the anime series.
- Kinnikuman Generations (PlayStation 2, April 22, 2004, Bandai)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Mantarou, Terryman/Kinnikuman Great, Terry the Kid, Ramenman/Mongolman, Seiuchin, Robin Mask/The Barracuda, Kevin Mask, Warsman/Chloe, Scarface, Brocken Jr., Jade, Buffaloman/Possessed Buffaloman, Gazelleman, Sunshine/New Sunshine, Checkmate, The Ninja, Hanzou, Kinkotsuman, Bone Cold, Geronimo, Wolfman, Kamehame/Kinnikuman Great, Canadianman, Specialman, Akuma Shogun/Goldman, Ashuraman, Black Hole, Pentagon, Neptuneman/Quarrelman, Big the Budou/Neptune King, Mayumi, Harabote, Ricardo/Lord of Darkness, Ilioukhine
- An expanded version of the Nintendo GameCube game Kinnikuman Nisei: Legendary Choujins vs. New Generation Choujins. Contains Singles Matches, Tag Matches, Survivor Modes and more. released in the United States as Galactic Wrestling.
- Trivia: Along with the Kinnikuman Nisei anime, this is the only time Akira Kamiya didn't play Kinnikuman. In this game he was played by Toshio Furukawa, who also played him in Nisei.
- Kinnikuman Muscle Generations (PSP, February 23, 2006, Bandai)
- The same game as Kinnikuman Generations but with 3 new characters (Screw Kid, Kendaman, and Soldier) and some new Story Modes. Also, Akira Kamiya returns as the voice of Kinnikuman.
- Kinnikuman Muscle Grand Prix (Arcade, 2006)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Terryman/Kinnikuman Great II, Ramenman/Mongolman, Robin Mask, Warsman/Chloe, Brocken Jr., Wolfman, Pentagon, Benkiman, Mantarou, Kevin Mask, Buffaloman/Possessed Buffaloman, Akuma Shogun/Goldman, Ashuraman, Sunshine/New Sunshine, The Ninja
- One-on-one fighting game.
- Kinnikuman Muscle Grand Prix MAX (PlayStation 2, July 27, 2006, Bandai)
- Characters: Kinnikuman, Terryman/Kinnikuman Great II, Ramenman/Mongolman, Robin Mask, Warsman/Chloe, Brocken Jr., Wolfman, Geronimo, Kinnikuman Soldier (Ataru), Pentagon, Benkiman, Kinniku Mantarou, Terry the Kid, Kevin Mask, Jade, Checkmate, Scarface, Ilioukhine, Barrierfreeman, Buffaloman/Possessed Buffaloman, Mister Kamen, Springman, SteCasse King, Black Hole, The Mountain, Atlantis, Akuma Shogun/Goldman, Ashuraman, Sunshine/New Sunshine, The Ninja, Junkman, Planetman, Sneagator
- Opening Appearances: Kinkotsuman, and Iwao
- Storymode Appearances: Meat, Mayumi, Harabote, Bibinba, Canadianman, Speacialman
- Special: People who order the game receive a Meat-kun bank.
- The same as Muscle Grand Prix but with additional playable characters and a story mode that covers the Seven Devil Choujins and Golden Mask arcs. Also contains a Tournament Mode in which between match animations differ depending on which Choujin you choose and who your opponents are.
- Jump Ultimate Stars (Nintendo DS, November 11, 2006, Nintendo)
- Battle Characters: Kinnikuman
- Support Characters: Terryman, Robin Mask, Warsman, Ramenman, Brocken Jr., Buffaloman, Ashuraman
- Help Characters: Meat, Mayumi
- Cameos: Akuma Shogun, Sunshine, Kinnikuman the Great
- A versus fighting game featuring numerous characters from Weekly Shōnen Jump comics.
- Kinnikuman Muscle Grand Prix 2 (Arcade, June 2007)
- New Characters: Super Phoenix, Zebra, Mariposa, Big Body, Neptuneman, Big the Budō
- The sequel to Kinnikuman Muscle Grand Prix, this will cover the Survivor Match for the Kinniku Throne arc.
Real life bouts based on Kinnikuman
Toei Animation announced hosting of Kinnikumania 2009 wrestling event, which would be held at the JCB Hall in Tokyo Dome City on May 29 to mark the 30th anniversary of the book. Kinnikuman went up against Ikuhisa Minowa in an pro-wrestling match. Kinnikuman won the bout. Several MMA fighters, including Shinya Aoki and Caol Uno attended bout.
- "小学館漫画賞：歴代受賞者" (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "-djikara" in another way of romanizing. A letter "ぢ" was romanized as dji distinguished from "じ" (ji) and those two have the same pronunciation. The kanji of "力" is written as "ぢから" in hiragana in this case.
- Bob Sapp to Fight Kinnikuman Cosplayer Next Week
- K1 DYNAMITE 2008 Kinnikuman vs Bob Sapp! MMA
- Kinnikumania 2009 'Real' Pro Wrestling Event Announced
- Official Kinnikuman website (Japanese)
- Offiical Bandai Channel Kinnikuman Generations anime website (Japanese)
- Official Kinnikuman Muscle video game website (Japanese)
- Official Kinnikuman Muscle Grand Prix 2 video game website (Japanese)
- Kinnikuman (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Kinnikuman Wikia A wikia on Kinnikuman
- AKIA The American Kinnikuman Information Archive
- Toriyama's World Translated issues of the manga can be downloaded in .zip format.