I love a good post-apocalyptic tale, especially one that involves zombies. This sort of tale has taken many forms over various mediums, such as Shinji Mikami’s Resident Evil video games, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic books, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later film, Brian Keene’s The Rising novel series, and sculptor Abe Junnosuke’s Neo Japan designer toy line for his RESTORE brand.

The Neo Japan Story

Neo Japan is a comprehensive universe that several of Abe’s releases have emerged from, including the Iron Meat (2015) sofubi figure we’ll be examining today. But before we closely look at this stunning 8.25” piece, let’s take a quick overview of the universe it belongs to.

Neo Japan takes place at an unspecified point in the future, a time when Tokyo is overtaken by an epidemic known as “Zombing,” an outbreak that makes the faces of those infected become identical, making them lose their sense of individuality, and the only common factor seems to be that these are all people who have become dependent on a mysterious company’s quote-unquote “STUFF.”

This epidemic was the direct result of a scientist known as Dr. K trying to unlock the secrets of the universe through human experimentation, medical tests that accidentally created a monster who almost immediately escaped. The monster fell into the clutches of the mysterious company and their exploitation of the creature resulted in “Zombing.”

To combat this outbreak that he inadvertently caused, Dr. K modified and revived the dead body of Mr. Motofumi Okada, giving birth to the Ultraman-esque hero NEO JAPAN (2014). But NEO JAPAN is not alone in his fight as he is joined by one of Dr. K’s failed human guinea pigs, a man reborn as the cyborg named IRON MEAT.
RESTORE's Iron Meat - Front View

My Impressions of Iron Meat

The Iron Meat character first appeared as a more realistic looking Garage Kit-style sculpture, but the recent soft vinyl versions have a lovely playful, cartoonish toy feel about them. In addition to the light-colored Magical Iron Meat version, which was released at the 2015 New York Comic Con & Taipei Toy Festival, I also have the Medicom exclusive Iron Mega Meat (2016) edition.

Immediate first impressions make you think that the exposed brain under a clear dome is the standout element of this figure’s sumo-like body. And while the irony of a combatant against a zombie-esque outbreak having an exposed brain isn’t lost on me, and the execution of this element is absolutely spot-on, I’m much more impressed by a little detail that is easy to overlook: the openable CD-ROM drive in the back of the character’s head.
Already loaded with a disc that reads RESTORE on it, you’ll also notice that the brand’s name is emblazoned on the gauge in the figure’s belly. With loads of articulation to maximize display options, the removable arm rockets are definitely a highlight as well, though I wish the forearm ended with something more defined.
RESTORE's Iron Meat - Hand Off
Typically produced in very small, hand-painted editions, the major drawback of these — and all RESTORE releases — is that they are difficult for the average collector to get their hands on. But my fingers are crossed that this will change and more readily available versions will be forthcoming.

Editions of Iron Meat [show]

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