All right, the Revolution thought it was time to give some love to manga. The Revolution loves to read manga as much as American comic books. Our reviews are going to be slightly different for manga. First, since a manga volume is waaaay longer than a single comic book, we definitely are not going to give as much detail or depth in the synopsis of the review. However, The Revolution will still rate each manga volume and give you plenty of comments. The first manga that we wanted to review is the Revolution’s favorite manga: Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy.
I’ll go ahead and give the Revolution’s followers a little information on Kinnikuman, but for more detailed info check out the links section for the AKIA website. Some may remember the M.U.S.C.L.E. toy line from the 1980’s that was brought over by Mattel. They were Kinnikuman toys from Japan, however, only the toys were brought to America and not the storyline. So, Mattel changed the names and gave the toy line a different background and storyline.
Kinnikuman was a manga and anime in the 1980s that centered around a character called Kinnikuman or in English “Muscle Man.” His real name was Suguru Kinnikuman. He was originally a parody of Ultraman. However, after several volumes, Kinnikuman became a superhuman wrestler. Good superhumans would fight evil superhumans in the wrestling ring with the control of the world at stake. Kinnikuman was generally a cowardly idiot who became the ultimate superhuman wrestler and matured into a mighty champion who still acted like an idiot on occasion.
Ultimate Muscle is the second manga starring Suguru Kinnikuman’s son Mantaro Kinnikuman. Or Mantaro Muscle as they translate it for English. Mantaro’s superhuman name is Kid Muscle. This manga follows him trying to follow in his father’s footsteps to become the greatest superhuman wrestler and to defeat all evil superhumans.
The Ultimate Muscle anime was dubbed by 4Kids and aired on the FoxBox for two seasons. It was pretty funny but lacked the adult themes and the brutal violence of the manga. After the FoxBox canceled the Ultimate Muscle anime, Viz licensed the manga and started printing it under their Shonen Jump Advanced label.
The Revolution will tell you upfront that Ultimate Muscle is not Neon Genesis Evangelion or Ghost In The Shell. Ultimate Muscle is more absurd. This manga’s strength lies in the outlandish characters that Yudetamago creates. The stories don’t try to have any pseudoscience as far as how the technology or powers of these various characters work. It is a very fantastical manga. It is just meant to be an enjoyable fanciful ride. Don’t bother trying to think while reading this manga. Just sit back and enjoy the unusual characters and the nonstop action.
Creative Team: Yudetamago. It means “boiled egg in Japanese. It is the pen name for the artists Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada who together do the story and art for the manga.
Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: Ultimate Muscle Vol. 11 continues Kid Muscle’s “Fire Challenge” where he must take on the three deadly members of No Respect. The challenge is designed to test Kid Muscle to see if he can tap into “The Fire” which is a superpower that his father wielded. Kid Muscle can only temporarily display that power. Kid Muscle has a Soul Lantern that displays how much “power” he possesses. Each time he can beat one of the bad guys Kid Muscle’s Soul Lantern will burn stronger showing the increase in his power.
In the past volume, Kid Muscle already defeated the first member of No Respect, Forkolossus. In Vol. 11 continues Kid Muscle’s fight against the second member of No Respect: Hanzo. Hanzo is one sick bastard. He has a Japanese demon mask and a Gene Simmons tongue. His right arm can morph into a blade that can cut through anything. He also has “Origami” attacks where he can create a giant pinwheel of death to slice up his opponents. Hanzo can also create a puppet out of the ring floor and use it to attack his opponent.
The fight between Hanzo and Kid Muscle has plenty of bloody and violent. During the match, Kid Muscle overcomes his own cowardice and to channel “The Fire” in order to make a dramatic comeback. The match ends with Kid Muscle crushing Hanzo.
Next up for Kid Muscle is the final member of No Respect: Lone Bone Cold. Kid Muscle is transported to an Okinawa beach where the match will take place. Of course, instead of training, Kid Muscle decides to party with some of his Muscle League (Think the JLA) friends in the local Karaoke Bars. The partying includes a fake wrestling match between some dude and a hot chick. Plenty of adult humor ensues with the guy grabbing her boobs and putting his head in her crotch. Like the moron, Kid Muscle hops into the ring and wants to fight the girl. To make up from ruing the show, Kid Muscle ends up allowing a regular human to step in the ring to fight a superhuman and to win free drinks for 1 year if they can beat the superhuman. One of the Muscle Leaguers, Gyro, beats the first contestant. Then Lone Bone Cold appears and gets in the ring with Gyro. Bone Cold ends up performing a stretch move that tears Gyro’s ribcage out of his body. He then leaves telling Kid Muscle to get ready for more of the same.
Comments: This was another great volume of Ultimate Muscle. This manga just keeps getting better and better. I absolutely love the manga version far more than the 4Kids cartoon. And it seems that each volume keeps getting more and more violent. Yudetamago will never be confused with great writers, but they do know how to craft an entertaining action-packed story that is also very well-paced. Their art is very solid. It is a lot better than many more popular manga titles like Initial D, Eyeshield 21, Hunter x Hunter, GTO, and St. Frog just to name a few.
Hanzo is a great villain. I really enjoyed the match between Kid Muscle and Hanzo. Plenty of action and very well-paced. Lone Bone Cold looks pretty interesting. He is definitely one nasty snake of a villain. The scene where he first tears off Gyro’s ears and then rips his ribcage out of his body was just sick.
Of course, the Vol. 11 had plenty of humor as well. The scenes with Kid Muscle and his friends partying away in the Karaoke Bar were pretty funny. Yudetamago usually does a pretty good job mixing humor in with all the violence in order to keep this manga from being too grim. Kid Muscle’s character keeps progressing and developing a little bit more with each volume. You can see where he definitely has the heart of a champion somewhere deep inside.
Of course, the real draw of Ultimate Muscle is all the crazy characters. This volume had two great villains to make it plenty entertaining. The Revolution definitely recommends this manga to anyone who just wants some good action, raunchy humor, and wild characters.