Last month, Microsoft surprised the Internet with the release of a new anime style video that was designed to promote their Internet Explorer web browser. The clip showed a woman, who was the personification of IE, battling monsters that were meant to represent viruses and other threats. As it turned out, the heroine in the video was first created as a fan project several months ago by a group called Collateral Damage Studios. The IE mascot they made just for fun, which they named Aizawa Inori, caught Microsoft's attention and was turned into an official campaign for the browser.
Neowin got to ask a few questions to the team, which collectively answered them via email, about their IE mascot creation and if we will see Aizawa Inori again.
What can you tell us about Collateral Damage Studios? Where and when was it formed and how did the team get together?
Collateral Damage Studios was founded back in 2007 among a group of friends who just wanted to draw. We are a Singapore based group with aims to promote illustration and the appreciation for it within the community.
The creation of the IE anime character started just as a fan project. Is the team fond of IE and Microsoft in general?
They are the underdogs here and that appeals to the anime fan, yes? We might not be hardcore champions of their products but we don't dislike them.
Were you surprised by the reaction the mascot got when you first showed it on your site?
Quite surprised, really. Fans tend to prefer fan art and original art does not usually appeal as much.
How did Microsoft contact you about the mascot?
They tracked us down and approached us in person during a local anime convention, International Cosplay Day Singapore.
How much input did the team have in adapting its mascot designs to Microsoft's ideas?
A lot. Our direct contact within Microsoft is really pleasant to work with and very receptive to our ideas. I suppose that he believes in giving us the creative leeway on presenting IE in a new light that will appeal to the fans.
How did you guys feel when Microsoft said they would make a anime short with your mascot design?
It was an immense challenge. Technically, CDS produced the anime with the help of another company, CACANi. It was cool. Very cool. We really enjoyed the time we spent dealing with the storyline of the animation short.
Will we see her again in future anime shorts and/or promotions?
During our time preparing for the animation, there were at least six other possible storylines we did boards for. Out of those, there are two others that we still think holds a lot of potential! If Microsoft is keen and willing to fund us, we would love to adapt those other stories on Aizawa into animation.
We want to thank the team for answering our questions!