New M.U.S.C.L.E. Figures: Gashapon #17

The Kinkeshi Premium figures have been released as complete boxed sets (Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11). 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, second series, third series, fourth series, fifth series, sixth series, seventh series, eighth series, ninth series, 10th series, 11th series, 12th series, 13th series, 14th series, 15th series, and 16th series have 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.”

New M.U.S.C.L.E. Figures Gashapon

Since the 13th series Bandai has been producing underwhelming two-piece figures. The figures are perfectly fine, but why is Bandai making simple figures two-pieces?

If the relatively basic sculpt can’t be produced as a single piece, then take it back to the drawing board. There can be wonderful discoveries due to limitations.

I admit my complaint is nitpicking. Plenty of original Kinnikuman figures were two-piece. I’m applying M.U.S.C.L.E. “rules” to actual Kinnikuman figures, which makes my complaint frivolous-adjacent.

Look at these two figures to the left. I like the Gear-Guy more than the Kinniku-dude, but both are perfectly fine sculpts. But do either truly benefit from being two-piece?

Are either exponentially more dynamic? More exciting? More unique?

The answer to each of the previous questions is, “No.”

I don’t expect this trend to stop. Bandai has clearly decided this type of two-piece figure will continue to be produced. And the reality of that decision is probably pretty boring. Bandai must have identified some cost-savings/manufacturing efficiency producing these figures. And I’ll learn to happily live with it. For me, this is the closest thing to new M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and I don’t want it to end. Kudos to Bandai’s manufacturing efficiency…or whatever.

Bandai’s “normal” two-piece combination is awkward in this series. I admire trying to create a dynamic pose, but this one is pretty awkward. The figures are incredibly well-sculpted, but look terrible in their correct pose. I tried something different.

The new pose would be titled, “The Noogie.” I think it works. Or, at a bare minimum, allows you to see the better sculpt more clearly.

The other sculpt that fills the “second two-piece” slot for this series is shockingly different – and I love it.

There is certainly some Kinnikuman story-related reason behind this sculpt. It doesn’t matter to me. This sculpt evokes the deepest M.U.S.C.L.E. feelings in me. It is mysterious. It is identifiable. And it kickstarts the imagination.

This would have been a mini-playset for me as a kid. It would have been an Indiana Jones-like magical temple. Or maybe an ancient communicator for contacting the home planet. The Clan Forces would have certainly been the guardians of this mini-playset.

I hope Bandai keeps producing this oddities from time to time. The element of surprise and imagination is critical in making something feel like a M.U.S.C.L.E. toy. I think this is one of Bandai’s best new M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.

Pentagon was fresh in my mind. And this version is perfectly fine. Black Hole is fine too. I would entertain the argument it is better than the original sculpt, but I wouldn’t die on that hill defending the idea.

I think these individual figures look best when they face each other. It creates a cool, slight mirroring impression.


  1. #1 by GreyEagle06 on November 19, 2020 - 6:43 pm

    I’t funny how good second pair looks the way you made it! I wish I could get my hands on some of these though.

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