Long-time followers of The Revolution know that there are two things that I adore beyond anything else: The Legion of Super-Heroes and Kinnikuman! Well, we are here to talk about the latter because some massive Kinnikuman news was dropped on us yesterday! Honestly, I had to take the day off just to process the news before deciding to write about it.
Shueisha and Toei Animation announced that a Kinnikuman anime revival is headed our way! This news was dropped on us by the new official Kinnikuman anime Twitter account.
There is even a website set up for the new Kinnikuman anime. The new anime is celebrating Kinnikuman’s 40th anniversary. We have no further news about the new anime. We do not know how many episodes it will be. We don’t know which studio will be handling the animation. We also do not know the release date. But, who cares?! Right now all you need to know is that the best manga of all time is getting a new anime!
The news gets even better for Kinnikuman fans, at least in Japan, as there will be an exhibition for the anniversary at Tokyo Tower from March 18-April 2.
I am incredibly jealous! I wish I could be there. If there are any followers of The Revolution in Japan then hook me up with some swag and I will be sure to pay you back!
For those of you not familiar with Kinnikuman, this manga is delivered by Yudetamago which is the pen name for the mangaka team of writer Takashi Shimada and artist Yoshinori Nakai. Kinnikuman follows the adventures of Suguri Kinniku who is a clumsy and comedic character but also immensely powerful and heroic once he sets his mind to a fight.
Kinnikuman is a shonen manga that is a mashup of superheroes and pro wrestling. If you like either of those two genres then you will probably love Kinnikuman. The emphasis of the Kinnikuman manga is on badass and brutal action, silly comedy, and friendship.
Also, those of you who were kids of the 1980s might recognize Kinnikuman from the popular Mattel toy line M.U.S.C.L.E. Who didn’t have a ton of these pink figures in trash cans scattered about the house?
Readers who enjoy current manga like One-Punch Man and Maschle: Magic and Muscles would certainly love Kinnikuman. Some mangaka who have cited Kinnikuman as one of their favorite mangas and influential on them would include Hiromu Arakawa (Fullmetal Alchemist), Hiro Mashima (Fairy Tail and Edens Zero), Yusei Matsui (Assassination Classroom and Elusive Samurai), and Eiichiro Oda (One Piece). In fact, Oda even submitted a fan-designed character to the original Kinnikuman manga! You might know that character as Pandaman who is one of the most notable Easter eggs in One Piece.
Look, I have already written up a detailed explainer on the Kinnikuman franchise. I am not going to go through it all again here in this article. Go ahead and read my detailed explanation of the Kinnikuman franchise and then come back here for the rest of this article.
Kinnikuman is extremely popular in Japan. The Kinnikuman manga has sold over 77 million copies by 2021. Kinnikuman manga began in 1979 and ran until 1987 for a total of 36 volumes.
Next up was the Kinnikuman Nisei manga that ran from 1998-2005 for a total of 29 volumes. Then Yudetamago delivered the Kinnikuman Nisei All Out Choujin Assault manga that ran from 2002-2007 for a total of 5 volumes. We also got the Kinnikuman Nisei – Ultimate Choujin Tag Hen manga that ran from 2005-2011 for a total of 28 volumes.
Then in November 2011, Yudetamago resumed the original Kinnikuman manga that ended back in 1987! I still remember how insanely excited I was that day when I learned this news! The Kinnikuman manga has been published since 2011 up to the present. The latest volume of Kinnikuman, Volume 81, just shipped in Japan this week.
The original Kinnikuman anime ran from April 1983 to October 1986 for a total of 137 episodes. There was a second Kinnikuman anime called Kinnikuman: Scramble for the Throne which ran from October 1991 to September 1992 for a total of 46 episodes. Kinnikuman also had one TV special in 1984 and seven theatrically released movies from 1984-1986.
There was a third anime called Kinnikuman Nisei – Second Generations which was released in the United States as Ultimate Muscle: The Knnikuman Legacy. Unfortunately, 4Kids Entertainment completely butchered the story when delivering the English version. This is probably a cartoon that many of you might remember. Ultimate Muscle ran in the United States for two seasons from 2002-2004 for 77 episodes. There were also two movies released only in Japan for Kinnikuman Nisei from 2001-2002.
Side note, we got some cool toys in the United States to go along with that Ultimate Muscle cartoon from 2002-2004. Some of you guys might remember those toys. We also got a kick-ass Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation video game in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube and a Galactic Wrestling: Ultimate Muscle video game in 2004 for the Sony PlayStation 2. Some of you guys might remember those two games. I loved both of them!
The New Kinnikuman Anime: What Can We Expect?
It is pure speculation time! This is exactly what you do when you know absolutely nothing about an upcoming anime. Here is what I hope happens with the new Kinnikuman anime. Since the original Kinnikuman manga volumes 1-36 have all been made into anime during the 1980s and 1990s, I see no reason why the new Kinnikuman anime would not pick up with Volume 37 when Yudetamago restarted the Kinnikuman manga in 2011.
Now, they could easily pick any part of the newly restarted Kinnikuman manga for the new anime. But, it just makes way too much sense to simply start with Volume 37 and progress from there.
Will the new Kinnikuman anime make its way to the United States? Well, that is a damn good question! At this point, the Kinnikuman manga is not available over here in the United States. I mean, c’mon Shueisha just go ahead and put it on Manga Plus or Shonen Jump + already! People will love it! I will even offer to pay for the translation!
On top of Shueisha not releasing the Kinnikuman manga in the United States, we also have not gotten any of the old Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Nisei anime over here. This is despite the fact that Crunchyroll has had a partnership with Toei Animation dating back to 2008!
There is no reason why Crunchyroll should not at least have the subtitled version of this new Kinnikuman anime on their streaming service. Seriously. No reason at all. But, given how little Shueisha and Crunchyroll have pursued Kinnikuman here in the United States makes me skeptical if we are going to get this new Kinnikuman anime.
This is an awesome time to be a Kinnikuman fan! I never thought we would be so lucky as to get another Kinnikuman anime. I definitely hope that Crunchyroll puts this new Kinnikuman anime on their streaming service. Hell, I will forever badger Sheuisha about translating the current Kinnikuman manga for us. Regardless, I will definitely watch this new Kinnikuman anime when it comes out by whatever means necessary if we don’t get it over here in the United States!