Kinnikuman (キン肉マン, lit. transl. "Muscle Man") is a Japanese 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 originally published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1979 to 1987, and was first adapted by Toei Animation into a 137-episode anime series broadcast on Nippon Television from 1983 to 1986. It restarted publication in 2011, and has spawned spin-off manga and anime series, video games, anime films, and several Kinnikuman-related merchandise.
There is also a sequel, the Kinnikuman: The 2nd Generation (キン肉マンII世, Kinnikuman II Sei, known as Ultimate Muscle outside Japan) manga that was serialized in Weekly Playboy between 1998 and 2004. It was published in North America by Viz Media under the title of Ultimate Muscle. It was also adapted into three different television series, all of which were broadcast on TV Tokyo in Japan and released in North America by 4Kids Entertainment.
- In the anime of Kinnikuman (anime), Kintaman was called Kuntaman so not to sound like kintama (testicles). In the TV Special he was called Tankiman.
- This change was to avoid offence due to potentially offensive language
- Certain names were changed, including: Abdullah→ Abdoodoollah, Beauty Rhodes→ Beauty Rorodes, Wolfman→ Rikishiman and others. This was done to avoid legal dispute with the real-life wrestlers who used these names (Abdullah the Butcher, Dusty Rhodes, Chiyonofuji Mitsugu, and others).
- This change was to prevent potential legal issues
- The more violent scenes have been toned down. For instance, the infamous scene in the first Olympics where Ramenman rips Brockenman in half with the Camel Clutch has been changed to him chopping Brocken's back in half and then turning him into ramen noodles, which he then eats.
- This change was to tone down the violence for rating reasons
- In the manga, Kinniku Mantaro was blackmailed by Sunshine into being the referee for the match between Terry the Kid and Rex King because he went to a topless galbi bowl shop. In the anime, Sunshine blackmailed him because Mantaro simply ate at a fish restaurant and couldn't pay the bill.
- This change was made due to Mantaro being underage, thus avoiding the problematic area of illegal sexual activity of a minor in a place of alcohol
- In the 4Kids dub, the faeces of Mantaro was changed to a sentient "stink bug", due to faecal matter being considered an inappropriate subject matter for children and broadcast