I, Cartoon Robot

They can put a man on the moon, they can make microwave ovens--so why can't they build a 30-foot-tall clanking robot? It would be a childhood wish realized, if science could construct for me a 30-foot-tall clanking robot to call my own. Oh, the fun we'd have! I, sitting astride my humongous metallic friend's shoulder, stomping around town crushing the occasional car or espresso cart. Alas, until that glorious time I must be relegated to fantastical cartoon representations of the robotÉ such as the following.

- The Transformers: The Movie (1986). YeeeeahhÉ a clanking robot that can transform into an 18-wheeler! One of the greatest Saturday morning toy commercials makes it to the big screen in this strangely enjoyable outing. Oft compared to Star Wars, it's the age-old battle between the Autobots (led by Optimus Prime) and the Decepticons (led by the deceptive Megatron). Lots of weirdo vocal cameos including Orson Welles, Scatman Crothers, Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy and (whoopee!) Judd Nelson. And best of allÉ TWO swear words! Dirty, dirty robots!

- The Big O (2001)--Everything about this stylish Japanese anime series is a convoluted mystery. It's set in the futuristic Paradigm City where all the inhabitants have lost their memory. The protagonist, Roger Smith, is a noirish detective/"negotiator" who is determined to discover the reason his city is in its current predicament with the help of his butler, cute android assistantÉ and a 30-FOOT CLANKING ROBOT. Like a cross between The Transformers and Twin Peaks.

- Iron Giant (1999)--A boy becomes the luckiest sonofabitch in the world when a 30-FOOT CLANKING ROBOT falls from the sky and befriends the little shit. Sorry, I love this movie and especially the animation, AND YES, it made me cry. But how am I supposed to rejoice when someone else has a 30-foot-tall clanking robot, and I don't? Anyway, it's based on the 1968 children's book by Ted Hughes and is a thinly veiled allegory about not being afraid of gay people. Especially 30-foot-tall clanking gay people! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY