Exogini

M.U.S.C.L.E.s conquer Europe! Exoginis are the Italian version of American MUSCLEs. They seemed to have been released at about the same time as MUSCLEs and Kinnikumans. Only 40 individual figures were available, a huge difference from the 236 MUSCLEs available in the US. However, a definite improvement of Exoginis over the American and Japanese lines was the introduction of six new innovative colors, shown above: Ivory, Black, Metallic Silver, Metallic Blue, Transparent Green, and Transparent Pink! Our American colors barely compare to the clear plastic Exoginis! Below are direct scans of 16 Exoginis...


There was also a second series of Exogini! This interesting fellow below-left is from that series, but is different from the figures in the first series in that he doesn't have a MUSCLE/Kinnikuman mold. He looks like some kind of a samurai or a ninja. To the right is a scan of more second series figures. The yellow guy is actually from Monster In My Pocket... he just managed to sneak into the scan.


If they are not Kinnikuman molds, where did the second series Exoginis come from? Scott Franckowiak sent in some information on the subject:

This figure was released in the U.S. as a part of the creatively titled M.U.S.C.L.E.-like figure set known (if I recall correctly) as N.I.N.J.A.S. They are roughly the same size as their flesh-colored cousins but they come in black, red and yellow and have the added feature of at least one item on each of the figures that glows in the dark (usually a weapon). Most of them are ninja and samurai types, although a handful are clearly robotic and at least one is an animal/human hybrid. Another interesting feature is that several of them are actually pairs of mini-ninjas combined together as a single figurine (such as a pair that holds either end of a gigantic nunchaku). They were available in Target/K-mart type stores in my home town of Milwaukee but I don't recall in what quantities they were sold. I vaguely recall four-packs and some type of larger quantity with the exact contents obscured in some way, but I have no original packaging to back this up.

Exoginis are made of a plastic that is similar to MUSCLEs. But besides the colors, a few drastic differences between Exoginis and MUSCLEs/Kinnikumans exist. Click on the pic below for a larger and more detailed scan.


As you can see, Exoginis are slightly smaller than American MUSCLEs or Kinnikumans and their sculpts are of a noticably poorer quality. In this example, the Exogini's frill is less defined and its details are a little fuzzy, both of which are indicators that Exoginis were molded from production MUSCLEs, not the original Kinnikuman molds. Additionally, the familiar "Y/S*N*T" trademark is missing from the Exoginis, which is noticable in this comparison scan of their backs.

Given these differences it's my theory that Exoginis are not officially licensed Kinnikuman toys! European toy companies have been known to rip off other toy manufacturers in other lines such as Star Wars. A common practice of bootleggers is to use production toys to cast molds, which leads to a degradation in detail of the bootleg and a slight decrease in its size... both of which are prevalent in Exoginis. Also, Exoginis don't have the Kinnikuman trademark, just like most other bootlegs.

But just because Exoginis may be bootlegs doesn't mean that they're not awesome! They're actually very good quality figures for bootlegs, and alot of the colors are much cooler than MUSCLE colors! I'm a huge fan of the clear Exoginis! I think that Exoginis definitely spice up a MUSCLE collection!

For more information about Exogini, including scans of the packaging artwork and each Exogini's name, check out Albertinoz's Exogini page. Thanks to HawkHead for the scan of the second series pink ninja!