Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kinnikuman ~ Inside Studio Yudetamago

10/18/11 will go down as the single greatest day in Nama Niku History.  I cannot thank Yudetamago enough for allowing me to visit their Studio and share this once in a lifetime experience and pictures with all of you.  本当にありがとうございました!!!

The Entrance to Planet Kinniku

An inside look into Studio Egg is extremely rare, and the entire experience was surreal to say the least.  I was lucky to be accompanied by two super Japanese Yudekkii, Duke and Kinoshita-san.  These guys both worked extensively on the last Kinnikuman Day Muscle Museum, and were responsible for the event's amazing Kinnikuman Day posters and Kinnikuman Kimono.  It was an honor to be able to share this visit with fellow fans who have been actively engaged in promoting Kinnikuman.

Now for the juicy stuff!

We were greeted at the door by Nakai-sensei, and a giant painting of Mick Jagger.  He is a huge Rolling Stones fan, and I knew right off the bat that I scored with the Stones 1981 American tour t-shirt I got him.


I was taken back at how neat and organized everything was, and overcome with a sense of Kinnikuman history.  I was also awestruck at the sheer volume of meticulously displayed Kinnikuman collectibles.

 


Nakai-sensei is an avid Kinnikuman toy collector and has been known to peruse the halls of many toy shops selling Kinnikuman goods in Akihabara.  Apparently they do not always get product samples for their merchandise, so he goes out himself to buy figures missing from his collection.  How crazy is that!?








 

We chatted about the launch of Ultimate Muscle and their visit to the New York Toy Fair.  Our discussion turned from toys to the English version of the Nisei anime and manga and we laughed about the difference in names, character voices, and censorship that took place.  We also discussed the phenomenon of characters popular with overseas fans that are not necessarily big in Japan.  They now know probably more than they ever wanted to about the mania surrounding the Sunigator claw and Satan Cross.   



They were very interested in the discussions that place on boards like Little Rubber Guys, and were hungry for information on the various overseas Kinnikuman scenes.  The Kinnikuman series is still going strong and I can say with confidence that there is plenty more in-store for all of us!

They also expressed appreciation and surprise with my knowledge of the original series and were amazed to hear about the dedication of many of their biggest fans.  While there are no definitive plans at this point, there is talk of making a US appearance and doing a signing event with fans.

Around this time, I was given the green light to tour the studio and take pictures of anything I wanted.  My head was swimming with excitement, and I was super glad my wife was there to step in and take over the camera!

It was also around this time, that I was presented with what is now the single greatest item in my Kinnikuman collection.


Words cannot express the joy and excitement I felt upon viewing this original piece of art.  Nakai-sensei indicated that it has been well over 25 years since he had drawn King the 100 Ton.  To get a piece of art with my five favorite choujin was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  I cannot thank Yudetamago enough for their kindness towards me, and their support of Nama Niku!

Adding the finishing touches


Absolutely Incredible!!!

I was almost on the brink of tears receiving this gift, but was suddenly saved by the giddiness of my fellow Yudekkii as they broke out their childhood copies of Kinnikuman to be signed by Yudetamago.


 


Watching their faces and sheer excitement was something I will never forget.  Grown men starry eyed and overjoyed by this interaction with their true living heroes was something I could completely relate with.  It was very special to say the least.


Our energy and jubilation reached new heights as we were then invited to Nakai-sensei's personal workspace.  On display were the current scripts and rough art storyboards for the new Kinnikuman series.  That's right folks, it is not over yet...



Handling Shimada-sensei's hand written scripts, and flipping through the unpublished art work was almost too much to process.  We were also allowed to tour the back room where a staff of six full time apprentices complete background work and other necessary tasks to make Kinnikuman come to life.

Nakai-sensei explaining what we were looking at ~ wow!

Nakai-sensei says it takes about an entire week of eight people working long hours to complete approximately 20 pages of Kinnikuman...

View of the back office

Individual artists' desks



My favorite artifact in the studio

Our visit went on to last late into the evening covering topics from old school wrestling, MMA, Kurosawa films, Bruce Lee, and Kinnikuman topics galore.  I asked them a few burning questions like what Kinnikuman's mask was made of, and they said that they had never even thought about the answer before.  It seems like a lot of the questions that fans come up with actually have no answers.  They did say however, that they will get around to answering the great Kinnikuman mysteries someday...


After my visit, I can say that with out a doubt that Shimada-sensei and Nakai-sensei are truly invested in their fans, and care a great deal about your support.  I will honor and cherish the memories of this day for the rest of my life.  I still have goosebumps and chills just thinking about it.   

 

Long live Kinnikuman ~ 肉

10 comments:

  1. Oh wow! It's like a mini museum over there! You lucky devil you~!

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  2. Sorry to have lost so many amazing post!

    That's just awesome!!! Thank to share this dream! Discussion was amazing, i imagine!... Of course, question of Mask was great, i'm frustrated by the answer! Hahaha! ^.^

    I hope see event in France one day too ^O^...

    I'm bit envious now! Hahaha

    Thank again, to testify!

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  3. pretty amazing~! and these photos are great, such an great look into the behind the scenes. :)

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  4. What an experience!!! Words can not do justice!

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  5. Awesome, the place being decorated with rare merchandise of the series, it just way too awesome!

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  6. Wow! You are now the envy of every Kinniku-fan in existence, ha ha! Great stuff bro, great stuff! I think Yudetamago at SDCC could be about the only thing to ever drag me back to that madhouse. But I would definitely brave the insane lines to see the creators of my favorite line!

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  7. man, i am so happy for you man. altho it makes me post as cthulu, this is stoneyface. i hope you really enjoy this feeling and remember it for days and days to come. what an amazing experience with mentors (i am sure you consider them mentors the way you speak of them). i would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during this amazing day. i am curious about their reaction to the claw and satan cross being so popular here. it makes me want to research figure popularity in different countries actually. :) i find it amazing that they drew such awesome pics for you! i was very moved when you mentioned that this was the first time in years for ten ton to be drawn. very cool and very moving. thank you for such an awesome interview and your dedication and love of muscle and kinnikuman!

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  8. I can only dream. Im glad one of our fellow LRGer's got to experience the studio. Their collection is jaw dropping crazy!

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  9. JUST WOW!!!
    its awesome to see the studio of one of my favorite mangakas

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  10. one of the things i have always wanted to ask sensei shimada, is whether he was named after shimada shinzaemon? from the 13 assassins legend.
    :)

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