Internet Explorer Fanart Leads To New Anime Mascot

The 2013 edition of Anime Festival Asia has an unusual contributor: Microsoft Singapore, which celebrated the event by creating a two-minute advert for itself. The video has gained over 2 million views since its debut last week.

The cartoon personifies Internet Explorer as Inori Aizawa, an anime girl who lives in the terrifying post-apocalyptic wasteland that is the Internet. When confronted by evil virus-robots she transforms into an all-action magical girl in the tradition of Sailor Moon.

Her superpowers include an antivirus shield, all-seeing browser windows and, erm, rocket boots, which represent the browser’s incredible speed, or something. The short ends with Inori successfully fending off her foes (the biggest of which is red and suspiciously fox-like) with a barrage of lasers, leaving nothing but a gaping crater in the surrounding Internet.

Today Online provides some details about the short’s background. The main character was created by Low Zi Rong of the design company Collateral Damage Studios, and arose from a tradition in fanart in which items of software are personified as anime characters: fans have depicted Firefox, Chrome and Opera in this way, and Inori’s creator decided that it was time for Internet Explorer to have its own anime hero. The character was not officially endorsed to begin with, but this changed when Jonathan Wong of Microsoft Asia-Pacific approached CDS in the hopes of using Inori in marketing.

The animation itself was made by the CACANi (“Computer Assisted Cel Animation”) research group of Nanyang Technological University. The short does not contain a credits list, but the CACANi Animation Facebook page currently contains a number of behind-the-scenes tidbits.

Inori also has her very own Facebook page, where you can read her updates:

(Disclosure: Nanyang Technological University is an advertiser on Cartoon Brew.)


  • Ded_Ghost

    so the personification of internet explorer “used to be clumsy, slow and awkward”…I see what they did there…

    • Mike

      ..and now it’s only clumsy and awkward. Progress!

  • sydney

    Now if microsoft could only figure out a way to keep the bloody thing from crashing to its virtual knees every single time I try to use it…

  • George Comerci

    Makes me want to use Internet Explorer again…should I? If it means more shorts like the first one, I’m game :)

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I haven’t used IE in about a decade now. I never look back.

  • ddrazen

    Cute (it should go without saying) but rather than an off-the-shelf dystopia I still prefer the vision of the Internet as the land of OZ conceived by Mamoru Hosoda in “Summer Wars.”

  • luca

    ho come on. the piece is really well made. anime often has a bit of underlying sexual content, might not be your cup of tea but its mostly just playful. its ok for animation to be sexual/erotic you know? but this piece definitely isn`t. I didn`t even notice the upskirt shots until I read your comment but you sure spotted them quickly ;)

  • Lulu

    Has anyone used this software before? (CACAni?) The animation is really impressive. Also judging by their behind-the-scenes photos on FB, it looks like they animated a lot of it using Windows Surface tablets… Needless to say I’m really intrigued. Am I just falling for an ad? Anybody have experience with CACAni or animating on Surface?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It shouldn’t, it’s downright creepy!

  • Haruna

    Truly a toxic genre

  • Mei

    This reminds me of Madoka Magica. The animation is really good too!

  • someguy

    you are soo wrapped . And easely offended.

    This sexualisation as you call it is an anime tropes. Called fan services it is present in some anime and absent in other it is present for boys and girls and is as shallow for boys. It’s just a silly thing. And we notice the panty shot it just does not bother us cause we can make the difference beetwen reality and animation like any human can.

    Also sexualizing 10 years old looking girl is a subgenre of anime.

    This character in particular is obviously not 10 year old she just have a stupid voice. And also there isnt any upskirt of any kind in this animation. There’s just an angle of view that let us see under the skirt but theres a foot in front of it. Or unless op mean it last like one frame and he have special eyes.

    And what luca meant is that op devaluate de genre and this piece completely based on the sole fact he think it’s wrong to show panty shot… while there isnt even one in this particular piece. Im sorry panty shot are rarely present in great anime. The thing you get in great anime is a beach episode at most or skimpy clothing in general for w/e reason.

  • someguy

    the personification of thing… is just a thing in japan since forever. This is not marketed toward us it’s marketed toward japan.