Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy

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Name of Toy Line:
Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy (Micro Muscle Wrestlers)
Production Company: Bandai
Distributor: Bandai America Incorporated
Characters and Elements: Yudetamago/Shueisha, Toei Animation

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Larger Version

Years of Production: 2002/2003
Countries/Regions Available: USA & Canada
Size/Scale: 1.5"
Figure Trade Markings: (c) Y/S.T.A. / B. 2002

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Approximate # of Figures: 186

Details: In 2003, Bandai tried once again to bring the uber popular Kinnikuman story and its characters to the West in the form of tiny, plastic figures. Unlike the first attempt, otherwise know as M.U.S.C.L.E., Bandai chose to include the Kinnikuman story line, something they did not do with M.U.S.C.L.E.

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Series 1-4

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Series 5-12

Ultimate Muscle figures are made of hard plastic and were produced in several colors including peach/flesh, red, yellow, blue, translucent blue and red, solid silver and gold, and painted. Let's take a look!

Group photo -- smile!

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Silver and gold figgies.

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Translucent figures, which came with the Ultimate Muscle collectible card game.

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One of the coolest things regarding this toy line, and something Bandai again chose to include from the Kinnikuman Keshi line that they did not with the M.U.S.C.L.E. line, are the posed figures.

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A painted figure, Dik Dik, seen here with an unpainted figure sharing the same sculpt.

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The painted figures are of considerable quality as you can see with the below example.

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The line consisted of twelve series of approximately 15 figures. Each of the 12 series had unique sculpts and figures that were only available with that specific series, and were all packaged together. This had the effect of making the task of completing a full set relatively easy; although there are a few silver and gold sculpts that are apparently very hard to come by. The 12 series were released in groupings of four, that gave us:

Series 1-4

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Series 5-8

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And series 9-12, which were only available in Canada.

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A look at the packaging.

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You can see in the above picture that the bottom portion of the package is covered. What you can't see in the above picture is that this covering does not continue to the sides of the package. However, for series 1-4 packaging, this covering wrapped around the entire bottom of the package and noted that "8 mystery wrestlers" were included inside. In series 5-12, as seen above, the sides of the package were uncovered and one could easily peek in and see which figures were included.

Furthermore, each 5-12 series package also contained a card from the Ultimate Muscle collectible card game. The card was packaged with the back showing, so one could not tell which is until after opening the package. If you look closely, you can see the card in the above picture tucked in behind the figures.

Here's a look at the artwork on the back of series 1-4 packages.

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Larger Version

And, finally, a look at the artwork on the back of series 5-12 packaging.

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Related Web sites:

Naochin's Ultimate Muscle Archive

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