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VIZ Flexes with manga acquisition of ‘Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy’

by  in Comic News Comment
VIZ Flexes with manga acquisition of ‘Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy’

Official Press Release

San Francisco, Calif, Tuesday, December 3, 2003 ­ VIZ, LLC, one of the
leading publishers and distributors of manga comics and anime content
for North American audiences, flexed some muscle by announcing the
acquisition of ULTIMATE MUSCLE: The Kinnikuman Legacy from Shueisha,
Inc., one of Japan’s largest publishers and also a VIZ partner. The
manga will be offered through the SHONEN JUMP family of graphic novels
and will begin shipping in March of 2004 and hit bookstores and comic
stores nationwide in mid-April.

The original MUSCLEMAN (KINNIKUMAN in Japanese) was created by the
renowned manga artist duo Yudetamago (composed of Nakai Yoshinori and
Takashi Shimada) in 1979 while the pair was still in high school.
MUSCLEMAN was an action-packed tale of a band of wrestlers who take on a
motley gang of evil, equally muscle-bound counterparts to save the earth
from destruction. Yudetamago was also responsible for other popular
manga series including LIONHEART, TOTAL FIGHTER K, and MR. GOURMAND.
MUSCLEMAN, drew a devoted following in the pages of the Japanese edition
of Weekly Shonen Jump. Its sequel, Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman
Legacy, has now spawned 23 volumes and sold over 7 million copies in
Japan. In America, an anime version of ULTIMATE MUSCLE premiered in 2002
on the Fox network’s Fox Box and the show has become a favorite of
children and young adults. The program is now into its second successful
season and a bevy of related action figures and video games have
followed.

“This is the first time that ULTIMATE MUSCLE: The Kinnikuman Legacy has
been made available in English and we are pleased to offer it
exclusively to American audiences on a bi-monthly basis,” states Hyoe
Narita, Senior Vice President of Editorial, and Editor-in-chief of
SHONEN JUMP. “In the wake of the popularity of the FOX Box televised
series we look forward to fans discovering ULTIMATE MUSCLE: The
Kinnikuman Legacy in its original graphic novel incarnation. VIZ has
taken great care to accurately translate the title from Japanese and has
secured the blessing of the Yudetamago duo for this release. Both a
sports and action adventure tale, fans of the show as well as anime and
manga enthusiasts will be captivated by the exploits of Kid Muscle, and
I look forward to the graphic novel also serving as a compliment to the
ardent following the Fox Box series has garnered.”

ULTIMATE MUSCLE: The Kinnikuman Legacy tells the tale of Kid Muscle, the
son of legendary wrestler King Muscle. Years have passed since King
Muscle and his fellow Muscle League Champions vanquished the evil DMP
wrestlers ­ a freakish band of sadistic muscle bound aliens from another
planet who sought to invade earth. But now a new generation of the DMP
is trying to invade again and the old Muscle League proves no match for
their younger, stronger opponents. Hope lays in the League’s own New
Generation, and their reluctant leader, Kid Muscle, the son of King
Muscle. But Kid possesses none of the charisma of his father. He’s
cowardly, lazy, and determined not to become a part of the new team. Kid
is sent to Earth against his will where he continues to train and
gradually begins to develop a sense of responsibility and self
confidence, as well as a rack of muscles that would make The Rock proud.
Kid forms a team of wrestler heroes to take on the DMP and the results
are earthshaking, body slamming, ultimate powered action that sends our

planet sailing over the top rope.

“ULTIMATE MUSCLE: The Kinnikuman Legacy works on a variety of levels and
that is part of its enduring popularity,” says Yumi Hoashi, Vice
President of SHONEN JUMP. “While the sports and wrestling-related action
develops a high level of drama and suspense throughout each issue, the
story also communicates lessons in overcoming adversity and seemingly
insurmountable obstacles. It demonstrates what can be achieved through
cooperation and self confidence. In that respect, the character of Kid
Muscle demonstrates a variety of positive personality traits.”

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