Does that sound like an unfamiliar name to you? Well, how about Internet Explorer? For those still not in the know, this is the name of the new anime girl mascot that Internet Explorer has adopted. She appeared (cosplayed by Valerie) on the AFA stage last weekend, accompanied by an impressive promotional video that depicted everything an otaku wanted, with epic fight scenes and a “magical girl transformation” routine. And the best news? Inori Aizawa was designed by none other than Collateral Damage Studios, a popular doujin group from Singapore! CDS has collaborated with NUS’ Comics & Animation Society plenty of times, so we’re on good terms, so of course we’re proud that their art has made it big worldwide, even on a pretty meh internet browser. I don’t think this promotion will drive many youths back to IE, but it sure might help to boost sales directly from the merchandise itself. Why, it’s up for a contest against Danny Choo’s own mascot, Mirai! (I know I know, most people think of Kyoukai no Kanata’s Mirai now).
You can Google how Inori Aizawa looks. She’s pretty much the typical genki anime girl. They’ve even meticulously included biodata about her, such as her birth date, which happens to coincide with the founding date of Internet Explorer or something. And her likes and dislikes, which includes stuff like ice-cream and antivirus software. What I really like about this entire set-up is the fact that the anime culture has become quite a big deal now. It used to be that anime lovers were a bunch of snivelling antisocial teenagers, but now large companies have found profitable opportunities delving in this industry, and they’ve found that otakus can spend big and wild, even wilder than the most rabid shopaholic in a boutique sale. Internet Explorer, we’re honoured that you think so highly of us. Really, thanks a bunch.
I don’t know how else they can bring Inori Aizawa further (I’m calling her by her full name because I’m confused which is her first name and which is her surname), but I do hope she shows up in more Windows-related events. Also, can anyone make a guess why she is Inori Aizawa? I haven’t paid attention to the kanji, if any, of her name, so I can’t make out the meaning behind this. I can only surmise that Inori has some relation to Internet, perhaps? And Explorer is… Aizawa? Sounds a bit of a stretch, but I suppose they wanted to give her a more authentic and likeable name than Intane Ekusupulo or something.
But well, best of luck to this cyber heroine! Kawaii!