Meet Microsoft's new anime IE 'it' girl, Inori Aizawa

The new anime personification of Internet Explorer is a sassy girl who fights robots, dresses like a sexy otaku girl, and pets her cat while surfing the Net.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
3 min read

Editors' note: This is the first CNET article by Crave's newest writer, geek celeb Bonnie Burton. A best-selling author of "The Star Wars Craft Book" and host of the Web show "Geek DIY," Bonnie will be covering all manner of geek and sci-fi happenings. Got a story idea for Bonnie? Beam it her way!

What would it take to make Internet Explorer hip again? Could an anime heroine do it?

As it gears up for the launch of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 on Thursday, Microsoft posted a new ad featuring Inori Aizawa, a feisty anime girl who battles robots with her trusty SmartScreen shield while wearing a Sailor Moon-esque outfit complete with the Windows logo on her skirt.

According to the Facebook page dedicated to Inori, she's considered the personification of Internet Explorer.

Hey everyone! My name is Inori and you can think of me as a personification of Internet Explorer. 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. Why don't you get to know me a little better?
Inori's design can be attributed to Collateral Damage Studios, which posted a blog in July explaining her origins. After artist and producer Danny Choo posted an image featuring human equivalents of the Safari, Firefox, and Chrome browsers, the designers were inspired to create their own character worthy of IE's transformation from a klutzy ugly duckling into an elegant superhero.

Clearly, Inori is no Clippy (the annoying office assistant attached to Microsoft Office that just wouldn't stop pestering anyone who attempted to write a letter in peace). She's is a sassy girl who fights robots, dresses like a sexy otaku girl, and pets her cat while surfing the Net. She's the kind of girl you want hanging around your computer. Inori isn't an intelligent user interface, however. She's just a girl standing in front of robots wanting to be loved.

Of course, no anime character is worth its weight in pixels without elaborate vital stats. Inori is 18 years old with an A-positive blood type. She loves mint ice cream and surfing the Internet, and dislikes bullies.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the anime character was created by Microsoft Singapore for the Anime Festival Asia (AFA) 2013. She is a part local marketing program for anime and Japanese popular-culture lovers at AFA 2013 and across Asia and does not represent an official mascot for Internet Explorer.

Regardless of Inori's future official duties for Microsoft, she represents a shift in thinking about what IE's image could become. Here's hoping Inori's story doesn't end with this debut video below. If anyone could smack around Internet trolls in their place, it's a girl who can destroy giant robots with a fling of the wrist.