The Justice Choujin, both old and new.
Sequel to Kinnikuman
, Kinnikuman Nisei
is the story of Mantarou Kinniku (Kid Muscle), a young brash wrestler from a Planet of Hats
— that hat, of course, being wrestling.
Americans got their eyefuls of it by way of 4Kids
as Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy
, so it got the standard treatment
. Oddly enough, aside from blood, a great deal of innuendo and fart jokes were left in. A great
deal of innuendo. But that's neither here nor there. The dub's title was based on the MUSCLE toy line in the U.S., based on characters from the original program (which was never dubbed or released in North America).
In this world, Professional Wrestling
is Serious Business
, so the next generation of superpowered wrestlers is getting trained at the Hercules Factory, and Mantarou is no exception. While Mantarou is a coward, he's usually willing to fight when the chips are down, and this wins him a few friends: Terry the Kid (Terry "The Grand" Kenyon), an American (and, by default, Texan
); Seiuchin (Wally Tuskett), an anthropomorphic walrus; and Gazelleman (Dik Dik Van Dik), an anthropomorphic gazelle and supreme victim of The Worf Effect
The action is organized into arcs. The first arc deals with the gang's attempt to graduate; the second arc deals with their struggles against the evil dMp; the third arc focuses on their battles against the new graduates of the Hercules Factory; and the final and longest arc deals with the Chojin Tournament
, a gigantic battle between the world's greatest wrestlers.
There are two manga series—one that is running in "Weekly Shonen Playboy" in Japan and is being sold in volumes in the US, and another that appeared in V-Jump in Japan, follows a different continuity.
This show provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents - Quite the opposite in the case of Mantarou - Kinnikuman was extremely happy to have a son to continue the bloodline of the Kinniku clan that he pampered Mantarou to the point where he became a Spoiled Brat. It makes sense when you read the original series and see that Kinnikuman's father Mayumi, while not a bad person, completely failed at being a good father to both of his sons and Kinnikuman probably didn't want history to repeat himself.
- Played painfully straight with Kinnikuman's Evil Counterpart, Kinkotsuman. His constant abuse of his son and wife created one of the most monstrous heels in the history of the series.
- Aerith and Bob - Seiuchin's mother is named Suzy and his sister is named Dorothy.
- All American Face - Terry the Kid. Like Father, Like Son, after all.
- Also Gorgeousman, whose outfit was the Confederate flag (censored in the US, of course).
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: UL-TI-MATE MUS-CLE!
- Ascended Extra: Puripuriman (Monsieur Cheeks in the US) only appeared in the background or group shots in the original series, but in Nisei he recaps recent events at the start of each episode.
- Awesomeness by Analysis - Scarface uses this to determine the weakness of an opponent's move and determine how to improve them accordingly. Which he then uses on the opponent.
- Badass Normal - Played around with. Chaos was simply unaware of his status as a Choujin and thought he was an ordinary human.
- Balloon Belly - Some of Mantarou's eating binges result in this.
- Hydrazoa, being made out of water, has the ability to absorb his opponents into his body and drown them, causing this.
- Be Careful What You Wish For - Kinkotsuman was nothing more than a Big Bad Wannabe in the original series, who tried desperately to defeat Kinnikuman but was thwarted every time. In hope of finally beating Kinnikuman, he put his rather milquetoast son, Bone Cold, through hellish training. The result? Bone Cold became a certified Bad Ass, but part of his motivation of becoming one was because he hated his old man's guts (who at this point, had an epiphany and tried to make amends) and wanted to distance himself from how lame Kinkotsuman was.
- Big Eater
- Blood Knight - Thirty years later, Neptuneman is still seeking a Worthy Opponent.
- Book Dumb - Played with in the dub.
- Boring Invincible Hero - For some, Kevin Mask amounts to this. Has yet to lose a match in the manga. The single arguable counterarguement was when he and Scarface fought the last two Akuma Choujin in the Demon Seed arc, Voltman and Ashuraman. But it was a match where losing one teammate amounted to a loss, so Scarface was the one that was defeated instead.
- This is mostly due to Popularity Power, since Kevin comes in first place in nearly every character poll. Mantarou, meanwhile, is lucky to even be in the top ten.
- He does lose in the semi-finals of the V-Jump manga—and not even to Mantarou!
- Bring My Brown Pants - Much like his father, Mantarou's bladder/bowels tend to break down under fear. Also like his father, this has won him matches.
- Bumbling Dad - Kinnikuman has become this to the point that Mantarou doesn't fear or respect him at all.
- But Not Too Foreign - Terry the Kid is half-Japanese on his mother's side.
- Call Back - Terry the Kid throws a race at one point to save a drowning child (whom nobody had seen drowning because they were busy watching the race). According to him, he was motivated by a memory of his father throwing a contest to save a puppy from an oncoming train - an incident seen in the original Kinnikuman.
- Also like Akuma Shogun in the original series, Checkmate is unable to feel pain, thus he doesn't know when he's injured, however it turns out to be a bigger deal for him than it does for Akuma Shogun.
- The Demon Seed arc heavily resembles the Seven Devil Choujin arc.
- Mantarou's fight against Dialbolik/Tel-Tel-Boy is similar to his father's battle with Stecasse King in the original series.
- Legox's weak point is similar to Sunshine's (a cornerstone piece).
- Calling Your Attacks
- Camp Gay - Pri-Clun, a photo booth Choujin in the second Tournament Arc had this as a running gag.
- Canada, Eh? - Canadaman and Canadaboy (The Manitoban)
- The Can Kicked Him - Wash Ass (Hollywood Bowl)
- Casanova Wannabe - Along with inheriting his father's incredible physique and his Eleventh Hour Superpower, Burning Inner Strength (which was called Ultimate Muscle in the English dub) it looks like Mantarou inherited his father's rather poor luck at wooing the ladies.
- Well Suguru did manage to get two girls to truly like him; Mantarou at least managed to get two girls to follow him around... for some reason.
- CCG Importance Dissonance
- Charlie Brown from Outta Town - Kinnikuman Great appears once more in the Ultimate Choujin Tag Team arc, this time as a disguise for Choujin otaku Chaos Avenir. Due to a tear in the mask, his hair pokes out of the forehead of it, just like Mantarou. In the Finals however due to Chaos' death, Kinnikuman Great arrived with his mask restitched and it was Kevin Mask.
- Warsman does this twice. First as Kevin Mask's trainer Kuroé (Lord Flash), and then as Hells Bear Belmond.
- Mammothman as Hells Bear Michael.
- Character Development - by the time the Choujin Olympics comes to an end, you will see a completely different Mantarou during his matches, he is more than capable to act without Meat giving him advice every minute, when the Ultimate Choujin Tag Team arc kicks in Mantarou can be considered an independent fighter already, he no longer acts cowardly during the matches and is now the one to pass some advice to his partner Chaos.
- Clean Dub Name: Subverted! Gazelleman was renamed 'Dik Dik Van Dik' for the english dub, a change that went over so well that after American TV show X-Play reviewed the (actually good) Ultimate Muscle Gamecube game Adam Sessler started wearing a Dik Dik T-Shirt, constantly referenced Dik Diks and even put (radioactive) Dik Diks into the X-Play online videogame!
- There was also an anime magazine that listed this as "the number one best name change ever".
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass - Mantarou. His later tag-team partner Chaos is also an example.
- Curse Cut Short: Used in the Dub:
Kid Muscle: "Hey I just got it, that 'K' on Terry's forehead must stand for Kiss-"
Meat: "Hey! Why don't you watch your mouth kid. If you use profanity they'll send you packing right off this planet."
Kid Muscle: "Why didn't you say so you son of a-"
- Darker and Edgier - Unlike the original Kinnikuman, which was classified as Shounen, this series is classified as a Seinen manga, resulting in the series being much more violent than its predecessor.
- Death's Hourglass - Suguru was given this by Satan in a form of a spider with the help of the evil alliance of the Lightning, Thunder, Neptuneman, and Mammothman before the semi-finals of the Ultimate Choujin Tag Tournament. It does three options to try to halt the process: Power of Love by a hug from his mother, Bibinba, or Mari (he didn't with the third since he's being faithful to Bibinba); turning upside-down to turn the sand back, and using Iron Sweat, which is caused by breaking friendship as a Seigi Choujin, as a magnet to prevent the sand from ever flowing. With the help of Terryman berating him, the third option got rid of it once and for all.
- Defeat Means Friendship - Continues in the vein of the original series.
- Dented Iron - The majority of the first generation. Especially Kinnikuman himself.
- Played frighteningly straight with Mantarou. Since he didn't have full control of his Burning Inner Strength he wouldn't completely heal from his battles. At one point we see all the scars he had accumulated to that point and it is horrifying.
- Dirty Old Man - Jijioman, who makes up the more active half of Barrierfreeman.
- Discard and Draw - When Brocken Jr.'s arm has been cut off by Lightning and Thunder, Jade no longer knows how to do the Red Rain of Berlin because memories of learning the move in the past from Brocken was altered. Fortunately, it is replaced with a new technique from Brocken back then who had a hook arm due to the altered past called "Brocken's Repatriation " which turns Jade's left leg into a sickle!
- Ditto Fighter - Bloxx/Legocs is capable of shaping himself into a mold of any opponent, copying not only their appearance but their abilities and tactics. After doing so to Kevin Mask, their fight quickly turned to a merry-go-round of Cross Counters
- Do Not Call Me Paul - Mantarou originally hated his name because he found out why he was named as such. Subverted in the fact that he either got over or stopped caring about how he was named.
- Enjo Kosai - One shot villain The Rigany manages to force this on a minor female character in the manga.
- Expy - Kevin Mask is an Expy of Real Life professional wrestler Kevin Nash. Not only is this evident in Mask's name, but also in that Mask's body build and "screw tradition" philosophy are extremely similar to Nash's.
- Also, much like Nash, he doesn't lose.
- The Constellation is more than likely an Expy of Black Hole, another Devil Choujin from the original Kinnikuman.
- Face-Heel Turn - While almost totally absent from the original Kinnikuman series, there are several instances of it happening here, including Neptuneman, Sunshine, and Ashuraman (Three villains from the previous series who had been "befriended", Brazilian fighter Ricardo, and most recently, Seiuchin.
- Ricardo is an interesting case, as he didn't so much turn evil as he decided to stop resisting his evil nature.
- The Faceless - Mantarou and Suguru (and some other major Kinniku fighters), both son and father's real faces are unknown, truth to be told most of the Kinniku race would qualify if their masks weren't so blatantly modeled exactly like their real faces that one couldn't tell they were wearing one if not for their Ultraman-shapped heads. The few instances Mantarou and Suguru shows a glimpse of what their real faces might look like it proves that they are nowhere as Gonk looking as their masks imply, it must be divine as in the Ultimate Choujin Tag Tournament arc when both take off their masks, their faces are so impossibly cool that it blinds the crowd thus preventing their faces to be known, also the silhouettes are more detailed this time around to at least confirm they are not ugly, it could be above average even.
- Fake Brit - In the classical sense of non-British actors portraying British characters, but also in the sense that in the dub, Geronimo (who was originally a member of the Cherokee tribe who was from Oklahoma) was rechristened "Beetlebomb" and voiced like Ringo Starr. This did not go over well with fans, but 4kids was probably forced to do so due to the fact that America has gotten rather wary about using Native Americans in fiction.
- An in-universe example with Checkmate. Despite his personality being that of a classic, British gentleman, he's actually from Monaco.
- Fan Disservice - The non-sexual kind. Warsman and Mammothman teaming up in the most current arc was, in spite of being foreshadowed heavily earlier in the arc, nice to watch since both have always been fan favorites in spite of the latter being an Omnicidal Maniac. Then Mammothman suffers from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder...
- Fantastic Racism - One of the main reasons why the Demon Seeds made a Face-Heel Turn by siding with Satan/General Terror was due to their dissatisfaction with their treatment by normal humans. The humans' treatment of the Devil Choujin is somewhat justified because, well, the Devil Choujin did try to take over the world...multiple times.
- Freudian Excuse - Kevin Mask really hates his father, Robin Mask due to the Spartan-like training he forced him to endure. Bone Cold, son of Harmless Villain Kinkotsuman, became incredibly cruel thanks to his old man abusing him and his mother.
- Ashuraman made a Face-Heel Turn due to his his son going absolutely crazy after finding out about his Devil Choujin days. The fact that he, along with the other Devil Choujin were treated rather harshly by humans for their misdeeds despite switching sides did not help matters.
- Generation Xerox - Played straight with Canadian Boy and Specialman Jr. Obviously subverted with Mantarou (who was a lot less heroic than Suguru at the start), Terry the Kid (who actively tries to not be like his father) and Kevin Mask (who also sought to be different from his father). The subversion of the trope is inverted with Maxman, who looks nothing like his grandfather, Sneagator (a Devil Choujin from the original series) but is just as intimidating as him.
- Genius Bruiser - Scarface's power and speed make him a force to be reckoned with, but his real strength is his mastery of wrestling techniques and his intelligence.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar - You know; 4Kids!
- Give Him a Normal Life - Kinnikuman decided to try this with Mantarou and thus had his fight records annuled so that his son wouldn't know of his evil-fighting career. It kinda backfired in that Mantarou became incredibly lazy and cowardly.
- It does pay off during Mantaro's fight against Tel Tel Boy. Tel Tel channels Suguru, hoping to instill some 'fear of the father' in the son, but since Mantaro's grown up thinking his dad as nothing more than a bumbling idiot, it backfires. Completely.
- Go Mad from the Revelation:After finding out that his father used to be a particularly nasty villain,Ashuraman's son, Shiva totally snaps and kills his mother, which results in his father having to perform a Mercy Kill.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door - Kevin Mask was going through this phase when the series began, but now seems to be on the Face side. Scarface is pretty much stuck in this trope for now.
- Heel-Face Turn - Well, this is the sequel of Kinnikuman after all.
- Henpecked Husband - Kinnikuman. One must wonder how he managed to become one considering the fact that he married Bibinba, of all people.
- Husky Russkie - Ilioukhine, a Choujin who can turn into nearly any kind of aircraft. He's not incredibly beefy, but is noticibly larger and more muscular than most main characters.
- How Much More Can He Take - Taken to as great an extreme as you can imagine, then a bit more after that.
- I Just Want to Be Normal - The reason why Kevin Mask runs away from home.
- I Was Quite a Looker - Subverted. The flabby, aged Kinnikuman was simply better built in his younger days. It's unknown whether or not his facial features have deteriorated thanks to Mask Power.
- Implacable Man - Check Mate was introduced as a villain who felt no pain. Mantarou turned this against him, pushing Check's body beyond its limits without him knowing. After his Heel-Face Turn, Check lost this aspect of his character.
- Improbable Age - Mantarou and his pals begin their wrestling careers at age 14.
- Informed Ability - Gazelleman graduates the Hercules Factory as the # 1 overall wrestler. He never wins a single match (Save for one in an anime Filler arc).
- He also wins one in the V-Jump manga, which follows a different continuity.
- The same can be said for Jade. Despite being described as the best fighter of the new graduates, since his introduction he's only won two matches.
- Insistent Terminology - Doubled as a Running Gag in the anime. People would often stress the wrong part of Mantarou's full name (ie. Kinnikuman Taro instead of Kinniku Mantarou). Cue Mantarou correcting them with visual aid.
- Joke Character - Both this and its predecessor are full of such characters. For instance, two of the Chojins who make it to the wrestling part of the Chojin Crown are a Lego—err, building block man and a high-tech toilet man named "Wash Ass" in the Japanese version (his mentor was a character from the original series who was a urinal from the Inca Empire).
- In the dubbed version, at least, the latter character is also a successful actor on the side (he's called the Hollywood Bowl).
- Kick the Dog - Dial Bolic/Tel Tel Boy killing famous wrestlers just to get an audience's attention.
- His fellow dMp member Maxman is no better; when Dial Bolic/Tel Tel Boy fails to beat Mantarou, Maxman kills him (yes, by kicking him).
- Neptuneman, after Wally/Seiuchin regains his humanity, teams up with Mammothman, and they proceed to literally rip his face off.
- Suguru and Terry were shooting dogs at an alarming rate in their match against Mantarou and Chaos. Fans were not pleased.
- Dead Signal and Clioneman both attempted to kick the dog (or more accurately, smash the dog and incinerate the fans, respectively). Coincidentally, they never made any major appearance outside of a cameo in the anime-only Poison Six Pack arc after their defeat.
- Kid Hero - Naturally, Mantarou "Kid Muscle" Kinniku.
- Legion of Doom - The dMp was created by the remnants of the Brutal, Devil, and Perfect Choujin joining forces.
- Like Father, Like Son - Terry the Kid is so much like his father Terryman that he's built up a nice little complex about it. Mantarou also shares a number of similarities with his father, but is also incredibly different in just as many ways.
- Lovable Coward: Kid Muscle, like the opening song states: This guy could save the Universe, If he only had some GUTS!
- Love Interest - Rinko (Roxanne) and Jacqueline are supposed to be this for Mantarou, but unlike his father's interests back in Kinnikuman, Mantarou's are obviously not as interested on him as his father's, whom had their eyes for him not long after their introduction. Actually in Mantarou's case is implied at best because later in the series both girls hang around with him just for hell of it; Suguru at least had a few chapters deticated to him and his interests developing some romance; poor Mantarou has none.
- Adding insult to Mantarou's injury, Suguru's triangle with Bibimba and Mari still gets some attention in the Ultimate Choujin Tag Team arc just because is conveniently set in the past, something that was wrapped up in canon decades before is more important than the new implied Love Triangle, yep.
- Mask Power - As in Kinnikuman, Mantarou will be forced to commit suicide should his mask be removed, the Kinnikuman Great mask makes a return to create a Third Charlie Brown from Outta Town. Mars/Scarface takes this to an extreme with his "Madness Mask" that gives him a drastic power boost whenever he puts it on.
- Mega Manning - Scarface's most oft-used ability is that of analysis, which he uses to create improved versions of several techniques that get used against him.
- Meaningful Name - Ikemen's name is of the ironic variety; it means "handsome man", which he's anything but.
- Moral Myopia: Peshango's reaction to Ricardo's true nature, to immediately attempt to kill the man for being a by-birth Evil Choujin, along with the attitudes of Ricardo's fellow students. And the discrimination was BEFORE it was revealed he killed the old man.
- Names to Know in Anime - Daisuke Gouri (voice of Mr. Satan and Heihachi) as Robin Mask, Norio Wakamoto as "Blood Killer", and in the original, Akira Kamiya, who played the main character in Fist of the North Star as Kenshiro.
- New World Order - The dMp, which stands for "Demon Manufacturing Plant," though in the US dub, it is said to stand for "Destruction, Mayhem, and PAAAAIIIIINNN!"
- No Koreans In Japan - Averted. Unlike the original Kinnikuman, there are several Korean Chojin including Namul, Jijimiman, Bossam, and Tteok.
- Old Superhero - The heroes of the previous series are made painfully aware of their age in their initial (failed) attempt at combating the dMp.
- Otaku - Chaos is a Choujin Otaku.
- Out of Focus - Out of the six other chojins who graduated from the Hercules Factory in episode five with Kid Muscle, Terry, Wally and Dik Dik, one of them (Barbarian) is killed off shortly afterwards, and the others practically vanish after the Generation X storyline.
- Patronymic - Played straight with Terry the Kid, who borrows from his father Terryman's name. Subverted with Kevin Mask, who is part of the Robin family that for generations adhered to this trope (His great grandfather was Robin Grande, grandfather was Robin Knight, and father Robin Mask).
- Psycho for Hire - Bone Cold.
- Phenotype Stereotype - Terry the Kid, Kevin Mask, and Jade all fall under this.
- Redemption Equals Death - Seiuchin/Wally during the Ultimate Choujin Tag Team Arc. After being turned into a truly horrifying psychotic Perfect Choujin by Neptuneman, to the pont of killing Checkmate, Barrierfreeman, Comrade Turbinski/Iloukhine and Scarface, plus breaking Jade's neck, he is finally snapped out of it during the match against Warsman and Mammothman. He dies shortly there after, pushing Warsman out of the way of the new team of Neptuneman and Mammothman's Optical Fiber Cross Bomber—which strips all the skin off of his face.
- The Remnant - Remnants of the dMp have a habit of showing up in most story arcs after their organization's collapse in the first.
- For that matter, Scarface sought to revive the dMp using the trophy for the Ultimate Tag Tournament.
- Rule of Cool: It was called the Ultimate Tag Tournament for a reason.
- Running Gag - see Insistent Terminology
- Shout-Out / Meaningful Name - Mantarou's name, when rendered in classical Japanese format, is "Kinniku Mantarou", an obvious Shout Out to Ultraman Taro. Bone Cold is named for "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Kevin Mask is named for Kevin Nash.
- Hell, so many of the wrestlers are shout outs to Japanese toku heroes/villains or real wrestlers.
- The dMp's logo, character alignment (a group consisting of heels) and letter stylization (only the second letter is capitalized) is an obvious shout out to the nWo.
- Thong of Shielding - Lord Flash.
- Time Stands Still - As a Time Choujin, this is one of Lighting's abilities called Acceleration by inserting a mouthpiece which helps him go through a few seconds in time.
- Chaos can also do this with the same type of mouthpiece Lightning has from his belt buckle to save Neptuneman.
- Time Travel - The current Tournament Arc in the manga is entirely based around this, with Mantarou and company facing off against heroes and villains of the past.
- Training from Hell - Both the Hercules Factory (for Faces) and the Demon Making Plant (for Heels) specialize in this.
- Troubled, but Cute - Kevin Mask is prime Mr. Fanservice, especially since he recently had his mask removed for a few panels and was revealed to be incredibly good-looking.
- Un-Cancelled - The anime was cancelled in Japan after its first Tournament Arc. Thanks to the effect of Germans Love David Hasselhoff, 4Kids Entertainment funded a second season, which was brought over to Japan as Kinnikuman Nisei: Ultimate Muscle. It still wasn't very popular and had to be cancelled and Un-Cancelled again before the entirety of the 4Kids-produced season was shown.
- Urban Legend - Thanks to the events described in the Give Him a Normal Life entry, Kinnikuman himself becomes one.
- Verbal Tic - In the anime, Mantarou gained a penchant for replacing the polite sentence-ender "masu" with "massuru/muscle".
- Weak, but Skilled - Suguru of all people. 28 years of downtime have wrecked havoc on his physique, but he can still pull off some killer submission techniques.
- The Worf Effect - Originally Gazelleman's specialty, but because he's been less and less active as a fighter recently, it appears to have been passed on to German brawler Jade. It probably didn't help when Gazelleman began to be regarded as a joke in-universe as well. The fact that even he admits he's a Joke Character now pretty much ends any chance of him being competitive again.