Anime

Cult Cartoon Essentials: Kinnikuman

Kinnikuman is a manga series created by the duo Yoshinori Nakai and Takashi Shimada, known as Yudetamago. It follows Suguru Kinniku, a superhero who must win a wrestling tournament to retain the title of prince of Planet Kinniku. Nakai and Takashi planned the series when they were attending high school originally as a parody to Ultraman.

The manga was adapted by Toei Animation into a 137-episode anime series broadcast from 1983 to 1986 and follows the life of Kinnikuman, a clumsy, foolish superhero who discovers that he is the missing prince of the planet Kinniku. Since he is a clumsy fool, however, he must prove himself worthy of the throne. To do so he enters wrestling competitions and battles evil Chojin, culminating in a tournament between Kinnikuman and five pretenders to the throne: Kinnikuman Big Body, Soldier, Zebra, Mariposa and Super Phoenix.

Many of Kinnikuman’s allies begin as villains (Ramenman, Buffalo Man, Ashuraman and Warsman) or arrogant heroes (Terryman, Robin Mask and Rikishiman). The heroes and villains are collectively known as Chojin, which literally means “supermen”.

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