Saturday, February 11, 2012


Name of Toy Line: Namakeshi
Manufacturing and Distribution: Nama Niku, Muscle Things, Marty "THEGODBEAST" Hanson, and Eric Nilla.
Years of Production: 2011-
Countries/Regions Available: Unknown
Size/Scale: 2"
Figure Trade Markings: *
Approximate # of Figures: 5 sculpts, dozens of colorways

Details: Namakeshi are the creations of the Nama Niku webmaster; Nama Niku is an English language website devoted to covering Kinnikuman related news. Kinnikuman is a Japanese property that began as a manga and has since been represented in anime; mini-figure, action figure, vinyl, and designer toy genres; video games; apparel; and more.
In brief, the Kinnikuman story centers on the goofy but super powerful, main character, Kinnikuman (Muscleman) and his struggles against a plethora of equally powerful evildoers. The story is incredibly rich with humor, creativity, originality, and charm. Since their origin in the golden 80's, Kinnikuman and "Kinkeshi" toys have overtly and subtly inspired countless artists and creators.
Mattel's M.U.S.C.L.E. toy line - which many Western collectors will recognize - used some of the sculpts from the Japanese Kinnikuman toy line but discarded the characters and story. While this allowed/forced Western collectors to create their own storyline and characters, we missed out on one of the greatest storylines to ever come out of Japan.

The Namakeshi proudly fall into the category of toys overtly inspired by Kinnikuman. In fact, Namakeshi are "kitbashed" sculpts, meaning they were created by using parts from Kinkeshi sculpts and original sculpture. *Thus in many cases, the original Kinnikuman keshi trademarkings, YSNT, can be seen on Namakeshi.
The author of Nama Niku tells us:
Nama Niku means "Raw Meat" in Japanese, and is a nod to the "niku" (肉) in Kinnikuman combined with the idea of raw/fresh Kinnikuman news.

Most of the figures I come up with are either an homage to something in the Kinnikuman universe, or a shout-out to the term Nama Niku (生肉) itself. For instance, the Meat Grinder is all about the Raw Meat!
I'm going to attempt to cover the Namakeshi in order of their chronological creation, so far as I have been able to determine it. (Note that I do not mean the order in which they were first cast/produced.) The creation process, like the Namakeshi themselves, is quite eclectic.
We start with The Half Baked Ham. This character first appeared in a post on the Nama Niku blog on Friday, April 29th, 2011 in honor of Kinnikuman Day. However, the sculpt was slightly different than the sculpt presented below.

This figure was produced in partnership with Eric Nilla (a very talented artist who has contributed to MXD in the past). Eric has created much of the artwork for Nama Niku and the Namakeshi, including the banner at the top of this entry and the one below that served as the header for the baggy in which this figure came.

The Half Baked Ham was crafted and cast to have the appearance of a bootleg figure. A bootleg is an unlicensed, exact copy of an authentic toy sculpt, usually mass produced and made of a cheap, light weight plastic.

In this case, as stated above, the figure is actually a kitbash and was cast by Eric Nilla in a nice, extremely rubbery plastic.

The next creation to come forth was the Meat Grinder. Like its predecessor, the Meat Grinder has the body of a Kinkeshi sculpt with a custom sculpted head and lettering on the body.

M is for Meat Grinder!

Be sure to note the hand being ground up in the grinder.

This figure was produced by Muscle Things, master mold maker and mini-figure mad scientist. He uses an absolutely splended plastic that is firm and rubbery. It has a wonderful texture, has a solid, heavy feel to it, but it is also quite flexible. The color is delightfully rich as well.

Here's a look at how the flesh colors of the Half Baked Ham and the Meat Grinder compare to a flesh/pink Kinkeshi and a MUSCLE.

Next in the Namakeshi timeline are the Gyu-Dome and the Ventriloquist. A very popular food dish in Japan, and one of the favorite dishes of Kinnikuman himself, is Gyu-don (Gyūdon), a bowl of rice topped with thinly sliced beef and onions. Gyu-Dome is a guy with a huge bowl of Gyu-don for a head!

Gyu-Dome has been produced by THEGODBEAST and most recently, Eric Nilla. TGB used his standard, hard, high-quality resin along with thermal activated, Solar Color Dust, which causes the figures to change color when heated. They also glow in the dark!

The Namakeshi produced by TGB were shipped in gumball machine, or gashapon, capsules. There's one featured at the top of this entry, and more pictured below.

Eric Nilla, using the original molds created by TGB, has cast the sculpts in a soft, rubbery material. (Perhaps the same material used for the Half Baked Ham.)

Rubbery, dark blue Gyu-Dome

The figures produced by Eric were shipped in bags with a custom header card which he also designed.

The Ventriloquist, Nama Niku's next creation, is truly a unique mini-figure. I don't believe I've ever seen anything like it, haha. Just like Gyu-Dome, it was first produced by TGB in hard, thermal reactant resin and then by Eric Nilla in a rubbery material using TGB's molds.

Namakeshi capsules

Nama capsule versus Kinkeshi capsule. Note the infamous Kinkeshi melt marks!

Next we have the Chibi (baby) Meat Grinder. Essentially a mini version of the standard-sized Meat Grinder. The design looks great and works really well as a mini. A subtle, but great touch is that the grinder handle is on the opposite side on the mini version of the character.

The Chibi Grinder was produced by Eric Nilla and is cast in the same rubbery material as the other figures he has produced.

Wow, what a unique cast of characters. I love them all. Each one carries with it the spirit of Kinnikuman! There are a few other characters that Nama Niku has created, including a wicked looking Frakenshine character, a few pieces that have gone into a mini-figure project that has yet to be completed, and at least one amazing piece still in the prototype stage.

If you love Kinnikuman, MUSCLE, or mini-figures, then you will love Namakeshi! Thanks so much Nama Niku for bringing these guys to life.

Related Websites:

Some of the Namakeshi figures used in this entry were given to MXD by Nama Niku.


King.the.100t said...

I am absolutely flattered that you would even consider doing a write-up on my figures.

Fantastic job!

To answer your question, most of the figures I come up with are either an homage to something in the Kinnikuman universe, or a shout-out the term Nama Niku (生肉) itself.

Nama Niku means "Raw Meat" in Japanese, and is a nod to the "niku" (肉) in Kinnikuman combined with the idea of raw/fresh Kinnikuman news.

The Meatgrinder is all about the Raw Meat!

Wolf Voigt said...

And for the Themal-Dust for the color change: :)

Rawrub said...

What is the material these are made from? Why does it vary?

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