It is a matter of time anyway.
Ever since THAT last post, there has been many things going on in the background. The response to our first few posts was pretty good and we were constantly adding new things to our freebie pack. We know that it has caught the attention of some people at Big Blue. Before we know it, we were talking and making plans. Things just grew bigger and bigger.
And now, a couple of months later, after a couple of us decided to throw in our lot, take the risk and see what comes out of it, here you have it. The results of months of hard work, brainstorming, arguments and hand-wringing. Involving a cast of many, many people from various aspects of the community/industry and with many thanks from Microsoft, CDS presents to you our greatest achievement unlock. Inori Aizawa.
If you guys have read the previous blog post, you would have a rough idea of how we came about this idea. Back in August, this guy approached the CDS booth and identified himself as someone from Microsoft. At that moment of time, it was quite an exciting moment for us. For all we know, he was here to deliver a lawyer’s letter.
We chatted. We talked about Inori and we made an appointment to meet up again. After a couple of coffee sessions and free can drinks from the Microsoft pantry, our little plan was hatched. We intend to release a customized version of IE that can be branded with Inori Aizawa and the crowning glory to draw people to use IE, the animation. THAT animation.
Given the scale of the project, it is impossible for CDS to take it up alone. Since WaHa’s day job is at a pseudo-animation studio, they were a natural (and probably only) choice to do the animation with CDS as the executive producer. After making sure that WaHa is helming the project as the director, a couple of precious weeks were spent hammering down the storyline of the animation. There were in fact two other major contenders for the animation storyline, both which are quite cute and interesting by their own right and had growing up as the core theme.
In the end, the flashier mahou shojo theme was decided on due to time constraints and the fact that AFA was supposed to be the debut. The animation team felt that it would serve the purpose of capturing the attention and interest of the audience quickly. It sure did though it would have been nice if we had gone with something that has more story to it.
As the original character designer and the guy with the strongest vision of the character, WaHa is also involved in the creative decisions of the other aspects of the project such as illustration, web design and booth design.
The animation was only completed a couple of hours before it was unleashed on the internet in a nail-biting moment. No one knew what to expect. Even though hints and signs were everywhere, the interest level online seemed low. The AFA booth was, after all, meant to drive traffic to the Youtube video.
In the next 24 hours, everyone started picking up on the animation and the implications. There are people who like it and people who hated it. This is Internet Explorer and Anime. I supposed, once you put two highly divisive subjects together, you get a explosive mixture that generate tons of comments, discussions and very importantly for our KPI, views. Hopefully, that will also drive downloads for Internet Explorer.
The Youtube video currently stands at over 2 million views, the fourth most popular video released by Internet Explorer. The Facebook page is growing in leaps and bounds at over 40 thousand likes, more than the CDS page will ever will. There is a small Internet Explorer fandom growing and it is immensely fun to track that growth, R34 and all.
Everyone is happy. Except the haters. But haters gonna hate anyway.
So here are a couple of things to address on our end.
Why is the name reversed?
Our little pun of Ai-I works when we call her Aizawa Inori but not the other way round. For that, you can only blame English naming convention of reversing Japanese names. We are still calling her Aizawa within the team because it sounds more right.
Will there be a blue ray release of the animation along with the making of book?
Given the amount of concept art generated between the CDS artists and the animation production team, we probably have enough material to produce a simple book. A ‘the making of’ book will be something interesting to do and might be released in the future. Maybe we’ll even do a kickstarter/indiegogo for it. It will include all the concept artworks, storyboards, photographs, anecdotes and interviews of those involved. Plus a DVD (or Bluray) of the animation and more. Director’s cut version.
So is CDS still a doujin circle?
Collateral Damage Studios is still a doujin circle. Doujin banzai. We might be involved in more corporate projects but you can still expect plenty of doujin products (like Kancolle doujins…) from our artists.
Don’t ask about the duck face. Or the doubles.
Will there be more Aizawa from CDS? I don’t like IE. Can you do a FF-tan/Chrome-tan/Safari-tan/Opera-tan?
The project is scheduled to last for one year so do expect us to be drawing more of Aizawa in the future. You don’t have to love IE but you can always like our cute character!
No, we are not doing loli Fox or Chrome. But if Mozilla or Google approaches us… we might be able to consider.
I just saw a fan tribute to Aizawa Inori!
Awesome! I love fan-anything of Aizawa Inori! Go ahead. As long as it is tasteful (R34 can be tasteful!), please go ahead. And send us a link!
What are your future plans?
Since CDS just become full time jobs for a couple of us, hopefully more branding projects will come our way. We’re also keen on developing our own IP so do give us some suggestions!
Finally. Big thank yous.
I would like to thank the following partners:
Cosplay costume designer: Neo Tokyo Project
Website developer: Kamiworks
Animation team: CACANi and all the hardworking freelancers they have engaged
The awesome people at AFA/SOZO for all the publicity and help. Milton Events for rushing and tolerating the graphics/animation team in their late delivery of assets.
Valerie for being incredibly enthusiastic and cute as Aizawa
Aposekari for contributing to this project on a freelance basis. Join us! We are a nice team to work with. Most of the time. Unless deadlines are involved. Deadlines are sacred (usually)
The CDS team of Geisterstuden, Setsuri and WaHa who were involved in so many ways in this project. Take a break for now but be prepared for more to come.
The other CDS artists for handling the AFA booth so that I don’t need to deal with it. Thank you for your moral support.
And last but not least, Microsoft. I promise to use IE more often.
All hail the goddess