Microsoft hasn't really been the definition of hip, lately. But now, just when we thought browsers like Google Chrome meant that no one would ever voluntarily use Internet Explorer again, Microsoft has decided to relaunch it. And that's not even the news here: for reasons best known to themselves, they decided to use a rather sexy teenage manga heroine named Inori Aiwaza as its new face.
"The world's most popular browser just got cuter," says Windows on its Facebook page. Or perhaps just a bit creepier? In a video, the new company's new mascot Inori Aiwaza fights robots using what looks like a SmartScreen shield. In a short blue dress, white kneesocks and a ponytail held together by the Explorer logo, Inori describes herself as a "personification of Internet Explorer." And she's even willing to admit that, like the browser she represents, she didn't use to be all that cool, either:
"When I was younger, I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl," she writes on her Facebook profile. "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."
Alluringly, Lolita-costumed Inori asks "why don't you get to know her a little better," and if you're convinced, you can download the new anime-themed browser here. Thankfully, perhaps, at least Inori is not as young as she looks: born on 16 August 1995, she recently (and conveniently) turned 18 years, just like Internet Explorer.
In Japan, manga-personified operative systems - known as OS-tan - is already a thing, and Windows has just introduced Inori to the world ahead of the Anime Festival Asia which is to be held in Singapore this weekend.
Has Windows become that awkward parent who is just trying to be cool and down with whatever it thinks the kids are into these days but just keep getting it wrong? Or is Inori the best thing that has happened to the male teenage computer geek since Lara Croft? Could be a bit of both; and even if it's a bit of a cheap trick, it might just work. Sorry Mac users — Inori only works with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Images: Windows via Facebook