Kinnikuman II Sei takes place several years after the events of the original Kinnikuman. Mantarou Kinniku is the 59th prince of Planet Kinniku and son of the renowned wrestler, King Suguru. Lazy, immature, and cowardly, Mantarou seems to have little in common with his heroic father.
When a powerful group calling themselves the dMP threatens the Earth, only someone as powerful as Kinnikuman stands a chance against them. Not knowing the current whereabouts of the King, a plan is formed to have his son Mantarou take up the mantle. The idea of fighting super villains does not sit well with Mantarou, who initially runs away from his duty. He flees to Earth where he encounters Meat, his father’s old trainer. Despite Mantarou's shortcomings, Meat sees King Suguru in him, and believes he can set the prince on the right path. Thus begins Mantarou's journey to better himself and save the world.
Kinnikuman Nii-sei, most known as Ultimate Muscle in the West, is the follow-up sequel to the Yudetamago's classic Kinnikuman. Manly and action packed like its predecessor, however it still lacks the originality and epicness of the first series in my opinion. This series was the only "Kinnikuman" trademark anime that was released outside Japan towards the majority of the West (Latin America and France had the original Kinnikuman TV series running) so many of the viewers were unaware that there was an original Kinnikuman series that aired years before Ultimate Muscle. The original manga was released in 1979 (TV series in 1983) and this sequel
was released in 1998 (TV series in 2002). This sequel does not cover the full manga but it still covers the majority of it, so I'll be focusing on the TV series rather than the manga counterpart.
Story is enjoyable. Not great nor bad, but enjoyable. A mixture of comedy, action and some bloody scenes (also featuring MANLY MEN). The story focuses on Kid Muscle (Mantaro Kinniku in the original japanese), the son of the king of Planet Kinniku the legendary King Muscle (the original Kinnikuman) and its progression on becoming a strong fighter to defeat the invasion of the D.M.P, an evil Chojin (Superhuman) group that invades Earth. Since the previous heroes of the original Kinnikuman were too old and weak to enter the battlefield once again, a group of new super-heroes was created to combat the D.M.P, entitled the "New Generation". Kid Muscle starts as a clumsy and idiotic man, just like his father before him, but, like him, progresses from being a foolish man towards a powerful hero. I feel like I was watching a reboot from the original Kinnikuman, because the setting had the resemblance of the Chojin Olympics (over-the-top wrestling matches) and the fate of Earth lies in this event. It was good because it brought a sense of nostalgia but I think they could've changed the environment a bit. But this is coming from me who watched the original series before going into Ultimate Muscle, so for the majority of you may think this doesn't happen in your minds. Now, like I said, the TV series does not cover the full manga. The last chapters of its manga counterpart were more dark toned than the ones the anime covered.
The art is very good for its time, the character movements are fluid and dynamic, shows us a great sense of action. Definately an improvement over the original Kinnikuman series, but we're comparing an anime that aired in the 80's and one that aired in the 00's, so it's a bit unfair. The manga counterpart's art improves upon its predecessors' aswell.
Soundtrack is okay, not memorable. The japanese opening theme is really good but the rest of the soundtrack is forgetable. The voice acting is great nonetheless. However, the english dub is horrible, I recommend to watch it in its original dub. Even the english version of the opening is nothing compared to the original one.
In my original Kinnikuman's review in MAL, I stated that one of the series' best feature is its character development. However, the same I cannot say about Ultimate Muscle. The original series focused on Kinnikuman, yes, but his allies (Robin Mask, Terryman, Ramenman, Warsman, etc) had great screen time and character development, and we felt that Kinnikuman was not the only protagonist around there but the entire Super-Hero roster. In Ultimate Muscle, Kid Muscle is the main focus. The "New Generation" roster, mainly Terry The Kid, Kevin Mask, Seiuchin and Gazelman (the first two being the sons of the legendary Terryman and Robin Mask from the previous series) have little screen time so we don't actually connect ourselves to them like we did with the old roster's members. The villains are forgetable, some cool and others just...meh. Now, in Kid Muscle's case, he is clumsy and careless (like father like son in the first times), but a lot more pervert than his old man. Kid Muscle looks exactly like his father King Muscle when he was his age, except for the short piece of hair. Heck, the majority of the characters that returned from the original series, for those who watched the original series first, just brings a sense of nostlagia. I did like the fact that they brought back Alexandria Meat to be Kid's advisor, just like how he did to his father.
The one character that I believe that was the only one that got its deserved attention and screentime was Ashuraman, also from the previous series. We can see his struggle to decide wether he's a good chojin or an evil shojin.
I enjoy this anime, even with its flaws. I just like action packed anime, plus I like wrestling, comedy, action and manliness so Ultimate Muscle is just the type of anime for me just like the original Kinnikuman.
A 7 is fair by be. Try and watch the series for yourself and experience the manliness of wrestling over-the-top fights that you've never seen before.