What exactly are MUSCLEs
As is very well known, thanks largely in part to Jkaris and the American Kinnikuman Information Archive (AKIA), MUSCLEs are the American
version of Japanese Kinnikuman
. The Japanese Kinnikuman were organized and released in Japan in 30 sets referred to as "Parts." Like MUSCLEs, Kinnikuman were released in varying colors. However, Japanese Kinnikuman are made of a more flexible rubber material.
From what I can gather, the American MUSCLEs were selected from Kinnikuman Parts 1 through 21. According to a MUSCLE poster released by Mattel, there were only officially 233 Kinnikuman scupts from Kinnikuman parts 1-21 that were made into American MUSCLEs. I'll refer to these 233 scupts as "regular" MUSCLEs or "poster" MUSCLEs. Additionally, there were 2 figures that came with a MUSCLE wrestling ring. They appear to be sculpts unique to the American MUSCLE toy line. Thus, the total number of official, regular, poster MUSCLEs is 235.
The following are a few of the Kinnikuman sculpts in parts 1-21 that were apparently not made into MUSCLEs as they do not appear on the poster and have not been found in MUSCLE plastic:
Brocken Jr from Part # 1
Mongol Man from Part # 2
In general, I found that there appear to be approximately 1-2 sculpts from each part between 1 and 21 that were not made into MUSCLEs.
I refer to these figures as the Non-MUSCLE sculpts
. (Here's a look at ALL the Non-MUSCLE sculpts: The Non-MUSCLE Sculpts
MUSCLEs were distributed here in American in the years 1986 and 1987, first in the Pink/Flesh color and then in multiple colors. Jkaris reports that most -- if not all -- MUSCLE products are dated 1985, so it is likely that production of American MUSCLEs began in 1985.
On the back of flesh/colored MUSCLE four packs and on the colored MUSCLE garbage cans there is a note saying:
Distributed by Mattel, Inc. Hawthorne, CA 90250 U.S.A. MADE IN JAPAN. Manufactured by Bandai.
Thanks to the above disclaimer, and research by Veers, we know that MUSCLEs were made in Japan by Bandai and shipped here to the U.S. to be distributed.What exactly are MUSCLE Super Rares
The Super Rares are by all accounts real MUSCLEs. Because they appear to be real, genuine MUSCLEs, the assumption is that they were made by Bandai at the same time regular MUSCLEs were produced, 1985-1987.
I've taken to calling these figures Non-Poster MUSCLEs
because I think it is a more accurate descriptive term. In other words, these are MUSCLE figures that do not appear on the MUSCLE poster.
The Non-Poster MUSCLEs:Part 13
Geronimo, REDPart 15
Drunken Master (DM) & Dark Emporer (DE). Part 21
Satan Cross (SC), Spinning Head Ashuraman (SHA), Black Hole Sunshine (BHS), & Dr. Bombay. The following derive from Non-MUSCLE Parts, i.e., after Part 21
The Magnificent ElevenPart 22 Part 24 Part 28
The above images were taken from this thread
and the pictures belong to Jkaris, with the exception of the Part 13 figure, which is taken from the MCIA
. More info about each figure can be found in that thread.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, there are a few qualities that stand out about these super rare figures:
1) Very few of each has been found (with the exception of SC).
Without exception, each has only been found in flesh.
They derive from parts 15-28, which were in production during, or after, 1985.
They derive from parts 13-28.
They come from the same or related Kinnikuman Parts.
5) They do not appear on the MUSCLE poster.What's the deal with Satan Cross
Although like the other rare figures 1) SC does not appear on the poster, 2) seems to have only been made in the Flesh color, and 3) comes from a related Kinnikuman Part, oddly enough he seems to be no more scarce in Flesh than other regular MUSCLEs. Satan Cross has also been found in at least three MUSCLE 4-packs.
However, strangely enough, the MUSCLE version of SC does not
include his back half. The MUSCLE version of Satan Cross is truly a mystery.
Furthermore, to date, Part 21 Satan Cross -- the one made into a MUSCLE (there are other, non-MUSCLE versions of Satan Cross) -- has never been found in Linkeshi form WITH his legs attached. Many, most, and maybe even all other two-part Kinkeshi have been found with their extra parts attached by a bit of plastic -- again, Part 21 Satan Cross has not. This and the fact that the MUSCLE Satan Cross does not have his legs has led some of us to theorize that perhaps Part 21 SC and his legs were molded as two separate "figures."
Furthermore, there have been at least 5 confirmed SHA finds and 3 confirmed BHS finds. Not to mention a few anecdotal reports of MUSCLE collectors from other countries purchasing SHA in North Eastern America (namely NY).
On the other hand, there has only been one confirmed find of all other Non-Poster MUSCLEs not belonging to part 21.
In any case, over the years the MUSCLE community has produced a few Origin Theories
in an attempt to explain why or how the Non-Poster MUSCLEs from parts 15 and 21 were produced and why they are "rare." (In other words, these theories were generally not developed with the Magnificent 11 in mind.) These theories have evolved as more data -- pro and con -- has been found in regards to the Super Rare MUSCLEs.
These theories are:1) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are regular MUSCLEs that were recalled due to small parts.2) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are MUSCLEs that were produced as prototypes or salesman samples.3) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs were exculsive figures available via the Quik Promotion.4) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs were released only in Canada.5) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are the result of a miscommunication between Bandai Japan and Mattel America.6) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs aren’t real MUSCLEs.7) Rather than lumping all the Non-Poster MUSCLEs together, each must be approached on an individual basis, or at least by the Kinnikuman Parts they belong to. (In other words, although one of these listed theories may not apply to all of the Non-Poster MUSCLEs, one theory may correctly explain the origin of one or two of the Non-Poster MUSCLEs, while a seperate theory may explain the origin of the others.)8) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are the result of a second wave of MUSCLEs that was quickly replaced by a second wave consisting of colored MUSCLEs.9) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are really Japanese Kinnikuman or some type of Japanese Kinkeshi that were sold in Japan that happen to be made of MUSCLE plastic.10) There is a high probability that MUSCLEs and Kinkeshi scupts belonging to parts 15-26 were being produced at the same time, which could somehow account for Non-Poster MUSCLEs being produced in MUSCLE plastic.11) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs are figures produced at the beginning of the line when Bandai and Mattel planned on releasing all Kinnukuman scupts as MUSCLEs. Later, it was decided not to make every sculpt into a MUSCLE.12) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs and Non-MUSCLE sculpts are the result of molds damaged before, or during, MUSCLE production.13) The Non-Poster MUSCLEs and Non-MUSCLE sculpts are the result of molds being plugged due to complications with the MUSCLE plastic flowing to them and filling them properly.14) The Non-MUSCLE sculpts are a result of a Mattel/Bandia licensing issue, resulting in the Non-MUSCLE sculpts not being made into MUSCLEs. However, mistakes were made, allowing some Non-Poster MUSCLEs to be found as MUSCLEs.I'm not claiming any special credit for creating these theories. If any little shred of what I've written is false or misleading, by all means let me know.
Edited by Soupie, 28 July 2007 - 08:08 PM.