So, the recent Nama Niku Wrestling Alliance event was a SMASH success! A whole bundle of Keshi makers, collectors and otherwise dorks showed up, and there were drinks, toys and important conversation （笑） to be had in abundance!
For you information hungry types, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m sitting at a (unspecified chain name) coffee locale with the USA’s preeminent Kinnikuman and Keshi authority, Mr. NAMA NIKU himself! We’re going to talk, and I’m going to Type some of the key points here, and then you to can know what this Keshi thing is all about! For those of you who aren’t big on the information gathering thing, you can just skip down to the Event and Toy photos. Either way = Enjoy! (btw – Nama Niku is actually named Tyler)
What Makes you Psyched on all this stuff?
“The thing that’s exciting about this scene (collecting and all) is that it is never ending. There is so much cool stuff out there and (now) so many people creating great new stuff. Also, the number of janky bootleg figures and the sudden appearance of new and cool old stuff… It’s a constant experience of ‘discovery,’ and finding something new and awesome always keeps me going.”
What is your favorite move in the Chojin Dreamtag Arch?
“For sure! It’s gotta be the Muscle Docking! DUDE!”
Seriously though, what peaked your interest in Kinnikuman to begin with?
“As a kid, I collected M.U.S.C.L.E. I was into the design, but the whole backstory thing didn’t exist, as far as I knew. So, I made stories up – and I cut and glued figures together to make new characters and new stories. That lasted through college. Then I came to Japan for the first time. I was at a Toys R Us, and there were these big articulated Romando figures. “WHAT???” They had names? Was it a Japanese Bootleg of M.U.S.C.L.E? Was it some sort of copy? NO! It was the original thing – the REAL deal. The figures I had come to LOVE had funky names like Buffalo Man and Meatokun. My world was rocked. The truth was revealed. “
OK. The hard facts. How many figures do you own?
“A lot. I’ll just send you a couple pictures.”
Anything in particular that you have in your collection and really treasures?
“Yes. I was lucky to go on a tour of Yudetamago’s studio, Studio Egg, and was given an AMAZING piece of original Kinnikuman artwork. This:”
Tyler with his heros at Studio Egg!
Moving on. What is Nama Niku all about? What are you trying to accomplish with the blog and your figures?
“Nama Niku is the place to go for RAW and UP-TO-DATE Kinnikuman news. At any given time, you can find cool interviews with Kinnikuman and Keshi folks, reviews of merchandise (old and new. Bootleg and legit), pictures of Yudeki (Kinnikuman fans - think ‘Treki’ but rooted in the name Yudetamago – who is the creator of Kinnikuman, and now this is a run-on…oops.) collections, and much much more! Check it out!”
“Nama Niku figures have their roots in my passion for making and mashing and customizing keshi figures. I started making all sorts of wonky figures, casting them myself (sometimes), sharing them on-line (on sites like Little Rubber Guys and OctoberToys), and just giving them away. I was SHOCKED! People liked them. They were just supposed to be funny little blog mascots, but people wanted them in their collections! That was exciting. I started working with some really cool cats – M.U.S.C.L.E. Things, Marty Hansen (the Godbeast) and Eric Nilla for example, and we got some figures cast up, and they sold. The whole idea was to make NEW characters that would fit with the original Kinnikuman line – stories and all.”
Some of Nama Niku's "Whisky Sasquatch" figures that recently sold through the Mandarake twitter feed!
“The thing is, the creation of new Kinnikuman characters (Choujin) has always been fan driven. From the start (an even now) Yudetamago allowed fans to submit ideas for new characters, and many of those designs became popular characters in the comic and in keshi form. Ergo, when I do this stuff, the Japanese Yudeki don’t just accept it, they embrace it! It’s all about “Yujo Power” (Friendship Power), which is a major theme in the Kinnikuman series, and serves to make the people who collect and are excited about Kinnikuman stuff some of the nicest toy nerds around!”
Tyler and the Nakano Broadway Microkan headmaster, Miyakoshi-san. True Yudeki! True Yujo Power!
That’s Neat. So, what’s next on the agenda?
“I’ve got some new figures in the works, some great collaborations and all that good stuff. Superfestival is coming up and (plug warning!) RAMPAGE TOYS will have some great new figures ;) Basically – I’m on the road to fame and fortune (NOT!)”
That’s All! Here’s pictures from the show:
Nama Niku "Archival Display"
Eric Nilla's Cythulu figures.
RAMPAGE painted vintage Deka Keshi
RAMPAGE handpaint Super Cupcake Luchadore
Eric Nilla's Elephunt
RAMPAGE handpaint DEATHMATCH keshi
NNWA exclusive Meatgrinder!
NAMA NIKU (Tyler) rocking the new Art Junkie "Kinnikuman Emotions" Tshirt - released at the event, and available NOW in the RAMPAGE SHOP!
Big thanks from both Tyler and myself to all who came out for the event, to all who grabbed some of the awesome keshi released at the show and to all the folks who have grabbed some cool toys from the shop since the show has ended. Good Times!