Slate's Seth Stevenson decides to look at Tokyo "One Cliché a Day." Yesterday's focus was comics and anime. His favorite is pop culture character is Sirotan (left), who Stevenson notes dresses up as other marine life. [Stevenson gives Sirotan a "Wackiness level" of "yellow, or 'elevated.'"] But the real prize is a crazy giant panda robot:

Also cute is a giant robot panda character, of which many toys and T-shirts have been made. This is, as you might expect, a giant robot panda, which I guess might do battle with other robots or something. The beauty part is that when you lift the top of the robot panda's head, it reveals a control room, from which the robot panda is operated, and sitting in a chair in the control room, pushing buttons and pulling levers, is a real, non-robot panda—presumably one gifted with superb mechanical skills and a deep understanding of robotics. I take strange glee in imagining this clever panda constructing himself a giant robot panda with which to dominate other robots. Wackiness level: red. Severe!

Reader Adam gave Gothamist some more information about this brilliant use of pandas and robotic concepts (Robonimal) in anime: It is Panda-Z by Bandai subsidiary MegaHouse. [Via Kokoro]

Now our panda transformer looks woefully low-fi. But we still love it, though we are looking into plane tickets to Tokyo to pick up some Panda-Z and Sirotan.

Another exercise in a few Tokyo cliches, though warmly intended, Lost in Translation.