I realize Iíve been away from Cant for several weeks now. Inexcusable, I know. I can only console myself with the knowledge that Iíve still written more columns than Harlock. I thought I might be gone forever, but thereís an issue thatís been nagging at me for some time. And I feel this is the right venue in which to vent my throbbing spleen.
As you all know, Iím Cantís resident expert on Transforming Battle Robots. Some other authors dabble in this interest, I know, but Iím the one who really knows what Iím talking about. Iíve loved Transforming Battle Robots since I was a wee Cindy Ė I still remember being glued to the teevee, watching Captain Harlowe fight the Decepticons on Battle of the Planets. As I got older, and video gaming technology became more advanced, I started to get really into the Battletech games, buying custom joysticks with up to three, even four buttons for high-precision control. Iíd program one button to go ďrightĒ and another for ďleftĒ and even a third one for ďfireĒ. (I hope Iím not boring you with all the technobabble details Ė I just love it all so much!) Why, Transforming Battle Robots are simply part of who I am.
But the more I watch them, the more perturbed I am by the modern social causes they could be advancing, but arenít. Theyíve captivated our imagination, emboldened our hearts, but they arenít really helping expand our souls.
Let me explain my philosophy: Transforming Battle Robots are really just a metaphor for the human condition. Just as Intergalactic Battle Frigates and Space Fighters appear to be cold, cruel instruments of mechanical efficiency Ė but in reality conceal anthropomorphic inner robot selves with desires and feelings Ė we humans project an image of rigid civilization, hiding the animal spirits that lurk within our hearts.
Now, underneath the surface of ďacceptedĒ society thereís a movement growing. Men and women around the world have chosen to cast aside the shackles of conventional humanity to embrace their inner beasts. Who have the courage to express on the outside the animal instincts they feel on the inside. With accessories as simple as fur ears and a tail, or as complex as a handmade, lush, full-body suit of animal pride, these individuals are at last taking a stand against the sterile, oppressive norms that have dominated human interaction for too long. These people are rebels. These people are heroes. These people are Furries.
And the world of Transforming Battle Robots needs to embrace this movement. Really, can you think of a more perfect way to spread the word?
Hereís my plan: See, weíve all seen the classics of the Transforming Battle Robot genre. Weíve watched the whole Gundam series and played all the Mechwarrior games so many times that we know them all by heart. So really, do we need to see all these again exactly the way they were originally created? Sure, we could, but at this point itís all just pointless nostalgia for a youth misspent in front of a cathode ray tube. Instead, we could take these classics and update them for the new millennium! How? By adding Furries, of course!
A little CGI, a little Photoshop, a little of that superimposed-image magic that made Forrest Gump such a great movie, and Voila! Your old-school robots now have Furry pals. Your battle tanks have Furry drivers. Your transforming robot fleet is led by a Furry general, in an epic search for a Furry homeland. My Mantra is simple. Does it have a Transforming Battle Robot? Then it needs a Furry.
We could even have the Transforming Battle Robots go from mecha-vehicle to robot form, and then the robot form could sprout fur, whiskers, and a big bushy tail. It would be like the old Transformers triple-changers, only instead of the third form being a lame space shuttle or WWII tank, it could turn into an alpha wolf or even a slick black panther. Weíre talking wicked cool.
Now, Iím not quite sure how to dress up like a Transforming Battle Furry for Comic-con this summer. I just know Iím glad I donít have a kid keeping me home, and that I look forward to speaking nothing but Klingon the whole damn time.
Itís a damn shame Harlock canít go. But thereís always Furcon 2007 next spring. Thatís right in San Jose, practically next door. Heíll have plenty of time to finish the little details on his suit.
Columns by Cindy