New M.U.S.C.L.E. Figures – Wave #8

New MUSCLE Figures Kinnikuman

The Kinkeshi Premium figures have been released as complete boxed sets (Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9). Bandai added to the Kinnikuman Kinkeshi Premium figures by releasing a series of figures in vending machines (Gashapon). The capsule has a checklist and single sculpt. The main Gashapon series has six sculpts in three colors: (1) Flesh; (2) Blue; and (3) Red. Some sets have painted chase-figures. Some of the sculpts are two-piece, which was a trait of some original Kinnikuman figures. The first series, third series, fourth series, sixth series, seventh series, eighth series, ninth series, 10th series, and 11th series has already been reviewed.

There are also special “best of” sets. These figures follow the same format, but the colors are Flesh, Green, and Clear. The first and second sets of this special “best of” figures have already been reviewed.

Bandai released yet another special set, “Kinnikuman Wazakeshi Premium.” This new set features two-piece combinations of characters. The sets contain five two-piece sets. They only color that is available is the original keshi/M.U.S.C.L.E.-flesh color. The first and second volumes have already been reviewed. The most recent special edition from Bandai does not seem to have an overarching title or brand. The most recent set is simply called, “Clan Forces Gathered.”

Box – Front

Box – Back

There was some delay picking up this set. Not because I didn’t want it; because I couldn’t find it for sale. More specifically I couldn’t find it for sale at a decent price. I finally decided to overpay.

When the set arrived I knew I hadn’t overpaid. The set was so much cooler than I expected. I instantly knew why it had been so difficult to locate a set – it’s awesome.

Kinnikuman Muscleman New FigureI have to start my review with this Kinnikuman. My most frequent frustration, albeit minor, is too many Kinniku-characters.

This figure made me eat my words. He’s awesome.

Is it simply the mask? Is it the eyes? Is it the pose?

I think it is all of it. This figure is all tiny details that result in an awesome figure. And, I think, that you couldn’t copy the recipe to make another cool figure. It is just one of those times where everything comes together in a perfect storm – which adds to the difficult to define coolness of the figure.

Speaking of coolness, this next figure is dripping with it.

Saying this figure has a King Shark-vibe is too lazy. That’s the only humanoid-shark I can think of instantly.

But if you look closely at the mouth you will quickly notice this isn’t simply a King Shark-inspired character. Those two eyes made the figure for me.

If the eyes weren’t there, then I’d probably praise the sculpt and neutral pose. I’d say how this feels like a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. All of those things are still true, but the eyes elevate it. It isn’t, simply, an overly violent shark attack victim. It isn’t, simply, and shark character either. There is a wacky blend between the two – and I love it.

I stopped taking front and back of every new M.U.S.C.L.E. figure because some of the backs are boring. I thought I said it somewhere; can’t find it right now.

That doesn’t matter with the next two figures.

Whoopee! (I didn’t want to say “wow” again, so I googled “wow synonym” hoping to jump-start my brain. It didn’t work, but “whoopee” made me laugh.)

This Wolf Man figure is a classic M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. He’s identifiable, but he’s unique. The figure instantly engages your imagination. I love it. Strangely, this figure made me wonder something, “Does anybody dislike a figure like this one?”

Collectors will always have differing opinions, but are certain types of figures can’t-miss? This seems like a can’t-miss figure.

Confusion and delight. Maybe, more accurately, it was delight followed by confusion. The specifics probably don’t matter because I loved this figure.

But this is the third “Polka Dot Man,” right? I believe I fell in love with my first exposure to him in Wazakeshi Vol. 2. And my favorite version appeared in the early Gashapon #1 that was only recently reviewed.

Is this a third version of the character? Either way, I love it. Simple and fun without being overworked. I think these “simple” designs are the toughest characters to turn into a cool figure.

Wrapping up the front-back series of figures is this mysterious character.

When I first saw the figure I thought, “Hey, this is a pretty cool new figure.” Then I turned him over, “Is this a version of infamous Claw?”

I don’t know; don’t care. This, again, drips that M.U.S.C.L.E. feeling. The figure is unique, identifiable, and similar (in a insanely subtle way) to other figures.

This figure, to the left, has none of those qualities.

Is this a chibi figure? The first time one showed up, in Vol. 5, I didn’t mind. But is this a small character or a chibi?

I’m assuming it is a small character. I don’t hate him. But I don’t like him either. This figure leaves me feeling very indifferent.

For me, this is the modern equivalent to the #211 M.U.S.C.L.E. figure; another figure that leaves me indifferent.

Make no mistake, I am not complaining. The sheer volume of figures, plus the awesome figures that feel like new M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, has me thrilled with everything Bandai has released. After all of those figures there is going to be a new figure that doesn’t fill my heart with childhood infatuation.

This character, to the right, has always has felt like it was on the periphery of my M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. He feels equal parts familiar and unfamiliar.

This time he felt even more familiar, “Didn’t they already make this figure?”

Kind of. A hooded version was included in Gashapon #6. Do I like this version better? I don’t know. He just feels different. It reminds me more of the unproduced M.U.S.C.L.E. from Part 20 of the original Kinnikuman releases.

Speaking of original Kinnikuman figures, I have not included many of the new Kinnikuman Kinkeshi Premium figures because they have felt like simple rehashes of characters. Not better or worse, just re-sculpted, nearly identical versions. To my absolute surprise this box included three original figures that surpassed their originals.

The first figure is the #168 M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. I always like the original sculpt, but the proportions always felt slightly off.

This new sculpt corrects the proportions and leaves the figure looking 100% better. I imagine, with this figure, that collectors would be most divided about the cord. The old version of the cord was delicate, maybe the most delicate M.U.S.C.L.E. piece, and it is prone to breaking. The new version is M.U.S.C.L.E. tough. The new version isn’t breaking. But does that upset collectors?

It didn’t upset me. The overall new sculpt makes the change 100% worth it.

The #50 M.U.S.C.L.E. figure has always been one of my favorites. I just thought he looked really cool.

When this new version showed up I wondered if this was a new or different character. It couldn’t be the #50 figure. I had to pull out a #50 figure. I was shocked. It was certainly the #50 figure. And, in my mind, it is unquestionably a better version.

The embarrassing part is that I can’t figure out why I like the new version so much more. Sure there are differences, but those don’t feel like the correct explanation. I think both versions are classic. I think it comes down to the faces. The new face looks better.

Finally, there is the updated #22 M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. Again, I always like the original sculpt. I didn’t think you could improve the figure.

To my utter surprise, I love the new version even more. It feels cleaner and more well thought out. When I look at both figures the original one looks overworked. The new version feels more refined. The two figures remind me of pre-production movie art. The original version is one of the possible versions of the character, but the new one is the final movie version.

I’ve mentioned several times, on the site, how I would suggest buying these sets. Go back and read the Anthropology 400 posts or try my new suggestion.


  1. #1 by Orgg on August 6, 2019 - 6:28 pm

    The little figure is “Kid Warsman,” or Warsman as a child before he got his helmet and mask.

(will not be published)