If we didn’t know any better, we’d say Microsoft is having a midlife crisis. After breaking from tradition and totally changing its style with Windows 8 and then announcing a major management restructuring, before buying Nokia’s mobile division, Microsoft has now introduced a bizarre mascot for IE 11, the latest version of the browser. Meet Inori Aizawa, a young Anime girl, who is now Microsoft’s ‘spokesperson’ for Internet Explorer 11.

Inori was created by animation studio CACANi for Microsoft Singapore for a special video set to be shown at the Anime Festival Asia in Singapore this week. Inori's looks just like any of the thousands of Anime characters we have seen over the years. Her big blue eyes are obviously a hint at IE’s new blue logo, and so is the blue dress. If her blonde hair is meant to signify something though, that’s lost on us.

Clearly, she's a Microsoft fangirl

Clearly, she's a Microsoft fangirl

Of course, if you still don’t believe that there’s some Microsoft and Internet Explorer influence here, you will find their respective logos – the IE logo is her hairclip, while Microsoft’s four rectangles are imprinted on her blouse. After all, as “an anime personification for Internet Explorer” Microsoft really didn’t want to take a chance that someone might not get it.

To take matters a step further, Microsoft has also given Inori a Facebook page. It has a very enlightening bio too. “When I was younger, I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl. However, just like the story of ugly duckling, people told me that I have really matured and changed over the years. I feel confident in my abilities now, and I'm eager to show you what I can do,” says the honest Inori, before asking, “Why don't you get to know me a little better?”

Inori or IE-tan, as she’s known in Anime style, will join other characters (or OS-tans) that have also been based on operating systems, anti-virus software and other browsers. Firefox, Chrome, Opera all already have their mascots and the fact that it took so long for an IE version only reminds us of how much ground Microsoft had lost to its rivals.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,