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A group of OS-tans. Background, left (clockwise): Windows 98SE (in box), Windows 95, Symantec Antivirus (male), Windows 2000 (in front), Windows Server 2003 (fish outfit, with cat), Windows 98 (unusual form), Windows XP (holding skirt). Background, right: Windows 3.1, DOS (not their "official" os-tans). Foreground: Windows CE (fairy), Windows ME (levitated by CE).

The OS-tans are an Internet phenomenon or meme that originated within the Japanese Futaba Channel. The OS-tans are the moe anthropomorphism/personification of several operating systems by various amateur Japanese artists. The OS-tans are typically depicted as women, with the OS-tans representative of Microsoft Windows operating systems usually depicted as sisters of varying ages.


[edit] History

The concept of the OS-tans is reported to have begun as a personification of the common perception of Windows Me as unstable and prone to frequent crashes. Discussions on Futaba Channel likened this to the stereotype of a fickle, troublesome girl and as this personification expanded Me-tan was created and followed by the other characters.[original research?] One of the early works to predominantly feature the OS-tans was an interactive Flash animation showing a possible intro to an imaginary anime show known as Trouble Windows.[citation needed] A fansub of this was eventually created and is partly responsible for the spread of the OS-tans to English language imageboards.[original research?]

The OS-tans are not an original concept and are predated by Toy's iMac Girl, who was featured on a series of desktops released between August 1998 and March 1999.

[edit] Commercial products

Ohzora Publishing produced one book based on OS-tan characters, titled Trouble Windows OS-tan FanBook (とらぶる・うぃんどうず OSたんファンブック ?)[1]. It includes illustrations by over 25 contributors.[2] It also includes 95-tan, ME-tan, XP-tan figures, titled OS Girl 95, OS Girl me, OS Girl XP respectively[3], but include a molded space for 2k-tan (named OS Girl 2K).[4]

ME-tan, 2K-tan, XP-tan were designed by GUHICO of Stranger Workshop,[5][6] while 95-tan was designed by Fujisaki Shiro from H.B.Company.[7]

Parthenon Production Limited,company had commercialized Pink Company's OS-tan products.[8]

MALINO from Deja Vu ArtWorks produced the Me Document and Shared Folder! trilogy, which were sold in digital format.[9]

[edit] Tan suffix

The Japanese suffix Tan (たん ?) is a mispronunciation of Chan (ちゃん ?), an informal, intimate, and diminutive honorific suffix for a person used for friends, family, and pets.[10] In this case, the mispronunciation is used intentionally to achieve the contrived cute or charming effect that is commonly associated with its use by young children and is also sometimes added to the names of non-mascot characters. The personifications as a whole are commonly simply called mascots or mascot characters and as such the Tan suffix itself means nothing outside its role as an honorific and its implications of cuteness. Normal suffixes including San, Chan, and Kun are also used with OS-tans depending on the character and the speaker's preference or omitted entirely.

[edit] Examples

[edit] Windows Vista


Longhorn's most distinguishing characteristic is usually her horn-shaped pigtails (some variants have up to four pigtails). Silver or white hair appears to be the most frequent, although light blue and black are also seen. A common costume design was a white and red sailor fuku and stockings. Since the release of more details about Vista's interface, her look has changed slightly. A black maid's outfit is now emerging in popularity (which matches the new default Vista color scheme), as well as a circular Windows logo hair clip, identical to the new Start Menu button in Vista. There also seems to be a more finalized version who has a hair colour similar to that of Vista wallpapers, with a range from light blue, to yellow, to green. She also wears a type of long coat (which only covers her left and right sides) which are transparent to imitate that of the Aero glass effect.

[edit] Windows XP

Windows XP Pro

XP-tan is a dark-haired girl with ribbons in her hair and an "XP" hair ornament typically worn on the left side. As Windows XP is criticized for bloating a system and being very pretty without being as useful, XP-tan is commonly depicted wearing very tight clothing with huge breasts. Additionally, as a reference to the memory usage of Windows XP, she is often seen eating or holding an empty rice bowl labeled "Memory". Some variants include a version for XP Home known as "Homeko" who has green hair which she wears in a short ponytail with two large XP-shaped hairclips that cover her ears, as well as a less common variation representing Windows XP Media Center Edition. The outfits worn by the two main variants are based on the loading lines at the Windows splash screen during startup.

[edit] Windows 2000

Although a few variants exist, the most common operating system represented is Windows 2000 Professional. She is typically drawn as an intelligent, professional, reserved looking woman with short blue hair, glasses, and hair clips that resemble cat ears flanking a small white bonnet or ruffle, similar to a maid's bonnet, that shows the Windows logo. Her outfit resembles a swimsuit suggesting the Windows logo colors worn with long blue coat, alluding to the popular opinion that Windows 2000 is the most stable and dependable of the Windows operating systems. Due to the greater stability of Win2K compared with WinME, which was released near 2000, 2K-tan is often described as the guardian of ME-tan. The particular shade of blue used in most drawings is similar to the default Windows 2000 desktop color.

[edit] Windows ME

Windows Me

The design of ME-tan, the personification of Windows Me, is very much in line with the Japanese concept of kawaii or cuteness. Her design has changed little from the artist's original designs and is depicted with green hair in long pigtails wearing a maid outfit with a ! badge on the front in the spirit of the Windows yellow error icon. While she is considered to be a hard worker, webcomics often depict her failing at anything she tries to do, often literally crashing and irritating her sisters. Additionally, when she is not frozen or out of control, she tends to do things showing a lack of common sense or knowledge, such as putting soda into a microwave oven or defending herself by swinging a leek (This is a pun; a firewall program called "NEGiES" is pronounced like "Negi"(leek) in Japanese.) In spite of, or perhaps due to, her pitiful plight, the clumsy ME-tan is considered by fans to be one of the most beloved OS-tans.[citation needed]

[edit] Windows 98 and 98SE

Windows 98SE

While many variations exist the most common depiction of the Windows 98 operating systems is a pair of young girls. The OS-tan representative of the original release of Windows 98 is shown in a white and blue uniform that includes the Windows logo as part of a neck tie, navy blue hair, and a "98" hair clip. The Windows 98 Second Edition OS-tans is similar in appearance, but wears a green sailor school uniform with the letters "SE" on the front. Two early representations that are also seen are a pair of stick-limbed Pocky boxes with a face and version number drawn in crayon. This is a reference to Vulcan 300, a character from the Zatch Bell! anime series. These early representations are still used as a mecha piloted by the girls, dolls carried by the girls, or sometimes even as hiding places for them.

[edit] Windows 95

As 95 is considered to be the oldest of the modern 32-bit Windows operating systems, it is usually represented as a traditional lady from the early modern era of Japan. She is typically depicted as a gentle-looking brown haired woman in a kimono, with a hair ribbon showing the four Windows colors. Her outfit is a traditional kimono and a hakama of Japan and she wears thick sandals, or geta, on her feet. These were a woman college student's typical clothes as seen in the earliest period during the course of the modernization in Japan (from the Meiji period to the Taishō period) and is a reference to the modernization of Windows in comparison to the modernization of Japan. Additionally, the pattern of her kimono is based on the file "hana256.bmp", which was used as a desktop wallpaper pattern in the Japanese version of Windows. She is typically depicted as engaged in drinking tea, serving meals or doing other housework.[citation needed] One recurring theme in stories is her unfamiliarity with newer, post Win-95 technologies, such as USB devices and broadband internet connections. She is also occasionally depicted wielding a katana in an aggressive manner, symbolizing that it was with her generation of operating systems that Microsoft finally achieved full dominance of the personal computer market.

[edit] Mac OS X

Mac OS Leopard

The Mac OS X girl is often portrayed as cat-eared catgirl, following with the Apple "wild cat" naming tradition. (Every Mac OS X release has a codename like "Jaguar", "Panther", "Tiger", "Leopard" and so on.) Otherwise, she is shown as an older variation of the Mac OS 9 girl, wearing a platinum white coat and a wireless AirPort device fashioned as a hat. She is occasionally shown holding a publication of some sort, as Macs are often used for desktop publishing.

[edit] Linux


Originally seen as a bearded penguin (a reference to Tux, the penguin mascot of the Linux kernel), the more friendly image of a girl with helmet and flippers was chosen as a human alternative. Her helmet usually has horns on it, likely a reference to the GNU software which comprises the common system programs present in nearly all Linux distributions (hence "GNU/Linux"). The "gear teeth" on the helmet are a reference to KDE, a common desktop environment used with GNU/Linux. The foot symbol on her shirt is a reference to GNOME, another common desktop environment. She is often seen with a spear that has flags attached representing the GRUB, LILO and GCC tools for GNU/Linux.

[edit] American-Tan

Windows OS-tans are created by Japan. In one story, however, the OS-tans meet their fellow -tans from the USA. The difference between American and Japanese OS-tans are in the muscular bodies of the American OS-tans.

The Americanized versions, called XP-USA, Me-USA, 2K-USA, were published in the Ohzora's FanBook as "TROUBLE・WINDOWS in USA", by Saint Muscle.[11] A color version in 16 volumes was published by Pink Company as "Troubled Windows IN USA".[12]

[edit] Supporting Characters

Because of heavy associations between operating systems and their supporting programs, such as antivirus clients and web browsers, many supporting characters are created to personify the idiosyncrasies of these applications. Among popular examples are:

  • Dr. Norton
  • Miss McAfee
  • Firefox-tan
  • DOS-tan
  • Opera-tan

[edit] Awards

Wired rated OS-Tan as one of the 'Lamest Technology Mascots Ever'.[13]

[edit] See also

[edit] References and footnotes

[edit] External links

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