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The Story of Aizawa Inori

On 6 Mar, Danny Choo posted an image featuring the different personification of the various internet browsers. Out of the three, there was one glaring absence. Internet Explorer. Our beloved (not) browser that everyone loves to trash. Not much people actually use it (in delicious irony, I’m using Chrome here) but everyone thinks it sucks. You would expect some stupid looking character to be featured but no.

So with this, something clicked.

You see, we were already looking to expand our portfolio for character design. This is something that looks properly challenging and this is also something that should be fun. And best of all, if we play our cards right, we might just have our chance of attracting big blue as a client. And so, here it goes. This is our story on how we grasped onto a possible concept and try to put our spin onto something that few people actually likes.

 

Artwork that Danny Choo shared. Where did he get it from? Found

Research

Personification of characters are not new to Microsoft. Previously, the very popular OS-tan series was started as a doujin effort to have a character represent each edition of the Windows OS. These soon spread to include characters representing common software or rival OS. Later on, Microsoft also came up with their own with official mascots representing Silverlight and Windows 7 / 8. So there might be chance for us, ok?

The concept that we wanted to go for with our IE-tan was ‘redemption’. We don’t love Internet Explorer in the past. It is bulky, slow and I’m just so much more used to Chrome by now. Within our research, we learnt that this is the theme for the latest IE10 campaign. They had grown up to be better and perhaps we should give them a chance. So here we go.

Our concept will be something along an ugly duckling story. Previous editions of Internet Explorer will be a clumsy girl who tries to do too much. She is klutzy, nerdy (like Bill Gates) and she will be someone that everyone would love to bully. There is a little moe in there as she tries to do things with earnest. Someone that us, otakus, can relate to.

Then just like how IE is marketed, she grew up, blossoming into the slick, elegant character. Some traces of the past ‘ugly duckling’ moments still remain but on the whole, she is more confident and more mature. Design elements of the latest IE will be incorporated into her character design so that she can fully represent the browser.

Within the next couple of hours, we came up with a basic design for our character. It was, admittedly  a rushed job but we kinda like what we came up with. Following the original setup of the inspiration, we did up the above illustration.  ‘Get it up first and see the response,’ we thought. If the response isn’t too bad, maybe we’ll develop the concept further into a full-fledged concept design to propose to Microsoft.

108 likes. 36 shares and 10 comments. Obviously nothing compared to if we are posting something about SAO but not too bad for an almost original artwork. The responses was encouraging enough for us to delve deeper into creating the concept.

Grappling with design

The first of the sketches that we done. A bit on the ugly duckling, clumsy IE-tan here. Earnest but klutzy. Constantly trying to handle too much and unable to cope. Especially with the multiple tabs. Constantly getting errors.

The new IE-tan in comparison is much more confident (and daring!) with your posture. Tried to squeeze in more Windows and IE symbols into the outfit design. Since the new IE emphasizes on the slick, touch panels, those was incorporated into her general design. The classic IE toorbar was incorporated into her long gloves as a means for her to control the multiple panels (tabs).

 

 With colors, further adjustments was made. A bit more blue but not the hair. That would be cliche. Some elements were simplified along the way and others enhanced. In the end, we have quite a nice, professional character concept sheet.

Debut

So this finally debuts on Monday (13 May 2013) on the CDS Facebook. The response on Twitter or Tumblr are not be amazing, yet the response on Facebook was pretty impressive. Not bad for a browser that most people condemn.

On a side note, I considered doing a promoted post for this image, something which Waha is against. Not that his objections were needed. Facebook won’t allow me to promote the post. Must be the ‘Internet Explorer’

As of 15 May, 2245 hrs (SG time), this single image has 35,744 reach. 394 likes.  88 comments. 272 shares.

That is excluding the share by AFA which has 78o likes, 35 comments and 212 shares and the share by Japanese ACGN with 342 likes, 11 comments and 43 shares. Katsu News’ share garnered 121 likes, 2 comments and 3 shares.Anime and Manga’s share has 61 likes, 3 comments and 1 share.

The CDS FB has garnered over 100 more likes through this practice. Most comments are IE negative comments such as ‘nice try, Internet Explorer’ or ‘IE sucks’. There are comments asking for Chrome or Firefox versions though ‘avatars’ of those two browsers are really quite common. But there are some positive comments too. Like ‘I use IE’ or ‘That is cute’ or ‘Maybe I’ll use IE next time’.

See? Progress.

My favorite parts are when:

1. One girl considered cosplaying Aizawa Inori. I hope she does. That will be epic.

2. Someone suggests doing an entire Windows theme pack around the character. Awesome idea. 

Seems like in certain areas, people think it is an official mascot. Good. Just as planned.

And finally, the finishing touches. What shall we name her?

Our final decision was for Aizawa Inori or 藍澤 祈(藍澤 いのり). ‘Aizawa’ because she comes from the same Microsoft mascot family as Silverlight and ‘Inori’ because given what she represents, she could definitely use a prayer.

Overall, when you read only the first syllabus of each part of her name, you get… Ai Ii.

IE-tan.

Not bad a pun, I’ll think.

Vital Stats

So here you have it. We present to you, our CDS concept art for a mascot for Internet Explorer. Aizawa Inori-chan. A girl who grew up from her nerdy past to be elegant, confident and pretty.

Just we are doing it, we’ve also come up with some vital statistics for her.:

DOB: 16 Aug 1995 (Now 18 years old)

Horoscope: Leo

Zodiac: Pig

Blood type: A+

Height: 1.62 m

Weight: 秘密~

Hobbies: Surfing the internet, geeky things like reading, Karaoke

Family: Aizawa Hikari is her cousin. The middle child

Favorite food: Ice-cream, especially mint flavor

Dislikes: Bullies

 Giveaway

Now that we are done with the character design itself, we did up some wallpapers. After all, we want these artworks to spread as wide as possible to give us some leverage for the future. Since that someone suggested doing a theme pack, we found the icon maker who did the SAO icons the last time to help us. She quickly came back to us with some really professional looking icons.

The last piece of the puzzle is the voice pack. Which unfortunately, is not ready. But we have waited too long to release this and it is now or never. When we finally finished doing the voice pack, we will be sure to make an announcement and update the wallpaper/icons pack.

So there you have it! Just go to our CDS Facebook page and be a fan of us! You can then proceed to the freebies page to download the wallpaper/icon pack as part of our long delayed 5k likes giveaway.

You can have her on your wallpaper too, reaching out to your Internet Explorer icon. If you like her enough, you can also draw fanarts of her so that we can try and spread our design around.

And finally,

Microsoft. Call me. ;)

Update: The theme pack has been updated with sound and a new wallpaper! Yay for 6k likes!

Even more updated: Alright. Since everyone knows about it and is looking here. I confess, we are responsible for making IE a mahou shojo. It has been fun.

AND to be VERY VERY SURE, KC Komicer (yours truely) is only the producer, marketing, publicity, saikang in-charge of CDS. NOT the character designer. As the credits pointed out, WaHa is the guy you should be reblogging about.

Go bug him to draw more.

 

 

64 Responses to “The Story of Aizawa Inori”

  1. - Crosse

    Great work! I’d love to try my hand in making wallpapers for her… but in a flat-ui style (following the metro UI, perhaps?) :p By any chance do you plan on releasing a render pack in the future?

    Cheers

    -C

      Hmmm… Not yet. But our character design sheet is the closest thing we got to a render pack?

      • - Crosse

        Okay! I’ll see what I can do with that then; though I hate to upscale what you have here myself (I have zero confidence in my upscaling abilities in PS lol). :p

        As always, great work! :)

        -C

    Great concept! I’m actually using IE right now and I support this move. Could you tell me what character’s the inspiration for her? Thinking of a custom Nendoroid for her since I know where to find fake bodies to experiment on – something that the other mascots doesn’t have yet (I think).

      Thanks for the compliment! We don’t have a character ‘inspiration’ for her since we designed her from scratch. She is built on our previous experience in character design. Though we have been told that she does bear a resemblance to Fairy Tail’s Lucy.

        The dress is definitely similar to Fairy Tail no Lucy-chan (due to the color) but no news of her getting a Nendoroid yet. Thanks for confirming though. ;)

    As a returned IE user since IE9, I’m loving this. IE gets a lot of flak even now, despite how far it’s come since the dark ages of IE6. I’m convinced that people will never get over it no matter how good it gets. This character concept is rather charming and seems to capture the feeling of IE’s current rather ironic underdog-like status quite well.

    The link doesn’t seem to work (clicking download does nothing) on just about any browser. Suggestions?

  2. - Jon

    Someone had to do it:

    http://i.imgur.com/7pOwI.jpg

  3. - CAlt-Del

    So Aizawa is the official mascot of IE now?

  4. - meisterbabylon

    Wah never tell me it was you guys!! Only just discovered. I was panning this as some cheap Microsoft advert. This is however damn good for doujin standard lei.

    Someone call Egotist. I’m sure Inori would want to come voice Inori. :D

  5. - Bethany Aspinal

    Those slamming Explorer are still living in the dark ages.
    Yeah, it was a hideous excuse for a browser at one point, but track record can only measure the past.
    I remember back when I downloaded Firefox and my computer was like lightning. It took me ages to get into Chrome because it was too empty, too lacking. Too clean.
    I moved to Chrome and Firefox went downhill fast.
    The point is developers are releasing and updating browsers every week, yet consumers base their decisions and reviews on the state of browsers several years back, believing nothing will change, and they’re running the best.
    Internet Explorer is not a joke browser, and hasn’t been for some time.
    It had vastly improved during Vista. By the time Win7 was released, IE was on par with Chrome, and since then, through Windows 8, it has exceeded it.

    2014 Benchmarks on Speed; Internet Explorer wins outright on 3 of 5 categories, ties on the fourth. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413640,00.asp

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