A few weeks ago I was invited by Jamillah Knowles to speak on the Outriders programme on BBC Radio 5 live to help introduce listeners to the idea of OS-tans (Jamillah, if you’re reading this, thank you for having me on the programme). I sound a little nervous in the clip, but if you guys are interested in hearing it, you can find it here.
Now to get on with what I wanted to talk about. Thanks to Jamillah’s excellent investigative work, it seems that Nanami Madobe, the first so-called “official” OS-tan of yester-year, was not officially endorsed by Microsoft Japan. Shocked? Yes, I was too. Thinking back on the release of the Nanami Madobe theme and the news surrounding her, this answers a few questions.
1. Why doesn’t the Microsoft logo appear on any of the wallpapers included in the theme?
If Microsoft didn’t contract the creation of Nanami, then there obviously wouldn’t be any logos in the wallpapers.
2. Why was Akiba PC the only news source to report on the creation of Nanami Madobe?
The fact that everyone credited Akiba PC as the source of news of Nanami’s creation is strange enough to raise suspicion.
3. Why wasn’t Nanami ever on Microsoft’s website?
Unlike the 5 characters Microsoft created to promote Bing and Hikaru Aizawa of Silverlight, Nanami Madobe never appeared on Microsoft’s site. This is a major indication that they do not own her.
Unfortunately, this revelation raises more questions than it answers, such as the following.
1. Nanami was too elaborate to have been created by a single person, so who did it?
2. How did they manage to hire Nana Mizuki to be the voice of Nanami?
3. Why go to all this trouble to create an OS-tan?
As far as anyone knows, Nanami’s character design was done by artist Wakaba, but I don’t think he would go to all the trouble of showing Nanami to the world just to get some recognition. According to Nanami’s Facebook page, she was produced by Windows 7 Mania. After visiting their website, I discovered they were owned by a company called Techno Alliance Corp. It doesn’t look like they have anything to do with Microsoft so if they really were the ones that made Nanami, then Microsoft really didn’t have anything to do with it.
After clicking through the Windows 7 Mania website, I found a little announcement about a Nanami Madobe event. If these guys are hosting Nanami events, then it very likely that they had something to do with her creation. As for why they’d make her, it’s probably to get more system builders (most of which probably hang around akiba) to buy Windows 7 Ultimate DSP. So what do you guys think, are there any other companies that would have benefitted from the birth of Nanami Madobe?
EDIT: Just as I was about to post this, I looked at the image files that came with the Nanami theme. Sure enough, under the copyright section it says “WAKABA/Windows 7 mania. All Rights Reserved.” So I guess that’s problem solved. Looks like most of the internet is wrong about her being official.
Also, for anyone disappointed that Microsoft didn’t actually make Nanami, it looks like they released 3 new characters this week. In addition to Hikaru Aizawa, the mascot for Silverlight, Microsoft has now released Lei, Aoi, and Yu. My personal favourite is Lei :)
EDIT 2: I forgot to post this earlier, but if you want to read the BBC News writeup on OS-tans that followed the radio broadcast, you can find it here.