Today we are going to take a look a some figures that aren’t normally on my radar – Kinnikuman wrestling figures from Japan. What are these you ask? Well, I’ve seen them floating around for a while now because there are modern figures produced by Tamashii Nations / Bandai, but I never really looked into them. Some were cool looking, some crazy, but it seemed to be a whole intricate world that I just didn’t know about. I got a hold of a couple recently and did a bit of research.
Basically, if you remember M.U.S.C.L.E. from Mattel in the 80s, those little rubber figures that are making a come back via Super 7 now – Kinnikuman is the original Japanese property those were based on. Mattel just imported, renamed, and promoted them as M.U.S.C.L.E. in the States. Since then, Kinnikuman has continued to evolve over the years in Japan with multiple anime shows, video games, and toys. One of those animes even got put out here in the 00s called Ultimate MUSCLE, a play on the Mattel angle.
Tamashii Nations via S.H. Figuarts are doing modern, super articulated versions of all these original M.U.S.C.L.E. figures now. Masterpice M.U.S.C.L.E. if you will. Many have been released in Japan, and they are starting to make their way to the US directly. Today we are taking a look at three – Ashuraman, Kinnikuman Solider, and Brocken Jr. The premise of all these guys is that they are wrestlers. So during the various plots about teams and world domination and so on that of course comes up during an extended Japanese anime – they wrestle, WWE style. That being said, they all have fighting body articulation and work perfectly with the Tamashii Stage Act Ring.
I am no expert in this 30+ year lore at all, but the figures were fun to run through a set with, and some just look cool regardless of where they come from. If you are interested in finding out more about this whole crazy world, I suggest hitting youtube and searching, here’s a starter link. You can also check out some cool M.U.S.C.L.E. archives like Nathan’s M.U.S.C.L.E. Blog and the Univeristy of M.U.S.C.L.E..
Read on to check them out for yourselves, you can grab them at some of our sponsors now!
Key shots here, full set below!
Disclaimer: Bluefin Brands provided these figures for review purposes.