The OS-tan (short for Operating System-tan) is a Moe Anthropomorphism
of various Windows operating systems (or at least that's how it started out), and is now a common feature on the Japanese Futaba Channel (where they originated). In fact, web browsers, antivirus programs, and other applications have gotten similiar treatment.
The -tan is a deliberate mistranslation of the -chan suffix, as it's supposed to sound like something said by a small child (hence evoking cuteness)
Originally, the first OS-Tan was Windows ME-tan, who was drawn as a cute Idiot Haired Dojikko
to represent how the actual Windows ME was highly unstable. Afterwards, several more Windows OS-tans were made, and eventually the premise exploded to making moe
versions of almost every OS or popular piece of hardware in existence. The cult popularity of the OS-tan characters led to Microsoft Japan creating Madobe Nanami, an official OS-tan
, as a spokesperson for Windows 7.
In fact, this little phenomenon even sparked a fake trailer for an anime series called Trouble Windows
, which has also been licensed as a name for artbooks depicting the OS-tans.
Video of the Trouble Windows trailer here
Tropes common to the OS-tans are:
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Windows 2K-tan is often drawn this way, though XP-tan also has this look on occasion.
- Ascended Meme: Windows 7-tan was given an official personification, Nanami Madobe. Windows 8 has TWO of them, named Madobe Ai and Madobe Yuu.
- Internet Explorer 11 now has one as well in Inori Aizawa, complete with her own Facebook page. She is the sister of several Japan-side mascottes for Silverlight, the Aizawa Sisters.
- Big Eater: XP-Tan, who often is shown holding up a big rice bowl labeled "Memory".
- Brother-Sister Incest: Homeko [XP Home Edition] has a crush on her Spear Counterpart brother "Homeo".
- Canon Foreigner: Windows 1.0, 2.0, and 3.2 (Chinese 3.1) -tan are regarded as this in fan works.
- Cat Girl: Windows 2000-tan's hair clips make her look like one.
- The latest Mac OS-tan's are all Cat Girls due to their production codenames.
- Depraved Bisexual: Dr. Norton [Antivirus] is drawn as an ugly perverted ghost [after the Norton Ghost program] who keeps trying to ogle the Windows-tans, or make them undergo Creepy Physicals that represent invasive deep system scans, at every opportunity, with XP-tan being his preferred victim. He also has an implied fetish for Bill Gates.
- Dojikko: ME-tan, representing how the system was liable to crash. To a lesser extent, Inori Aizawa was also a klutz when she was younger.
- Elegant Gothic Lolita: How Windows 3.1-tan is often drawn.
- Cute Kitten: Windows 3.1-tan is always depicted holding a cute black kitten labeled "DOS".
- Hair Decorations: Nearly all the -tans have hair accessories, usually a cute stylized version of the logo of what they represent.
- Fangirl: Windows CE-tan is a big In-Universe fan girl of the Dreamcast, as a variant on the CE OS code was used as the Dreamcast BIOS.
- Fiery Redhead: Windows 95-tan when mad.
- Furry Fandom (What the web browser Firefox and its companion email client Thunderbird are designed after)
- Girl with Psycho Weapon: SE-tan and her can opener, wielded with intent to castrate. Mac OS gets explosively violent when faced by the Windows girls, throwing bombs at them.
- Humongous Mecha (Windows 98 and 98SE-tan commonly ride around in ones that resemble snack boxes)
- Hospital Hottie (Miss McAfee [Antivirus] and AVG [Antivirus], who are both drawn as attractive, with the former being drawn as a monocled British woman and the latter as a good looking male student doctor)
- Improbable Weapon User: ME-tan often uses a leek for self defense. SE-tan uses a can opener.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Vista-tan has this look as a premise.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Windows 95-tan's katana represents her dominance over all rival systems of the time.
- Lady of War: Windows 95-tan.
- Meganekko: Windows 2K-tan.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: Usually as a cute girl or woman, though male versions exist.
- Punny Name: Nanami Madobe means "Windows 7".
- NT-tan (NT 3.1/3.5/4.0) is called Inut-tan, as the pronunciation is very similiar to the Japanese word "Inu", which means dog. In fact, NT-tan is often drawn as a cheerful girl with dog ears)
- Aizawa Inori, pronounced "I E".
- Reality Subtext: In spades. Both the Nijura OS-girls and Microsoft's mascots are intentionally crafted around their parent software's history and quirks, which are worked into their character designs and personality. the Apple Mac OS-themed girls tend to have a dislike of the Windows-themed girls, for example, although only the older OS 7 version of the Mac-tans gets explosively violent, hurling Cartoon Bombs modeled after the Row of Bombs error screen common to early-era Mac OS machines. Inori Aizawa hates bullies, stemming from people making fun of her from her early days in the business when she was considerably clumsier and less reliable.
- Serious Business: Windows 95-tan, in reference to how Windows 95 started off Microsoft's opening shot in its war to outdo Macintosh, gets downright Knight Templar when it comes to fighting Mac OS-tan's.
- Shown Their Work: Inori's character design and lore references vast amounts of Internet Explorer lore. Her shoes have Trident markings on them, referring to the Trident browser rendering engine used in IE. Her anime trailer features the other Microsoft-created mascots as well, with a faded Nanami Madobe poster appearing early and Ai and Yu Madobe dolls on her desk in the ending. Even her birthday and personal history correspond to Internet Explorer's actual launch date and such!
- Shrinking Violet: Windows 3.1, DOS-tan and Linux-tan are depicted like this.
- Spear Counterpart: Many OS-tan's originally drawn as girls have male counterparts.
- Stripperific: Vista-tan, due to the fact her clothes are transparent, in reference to the "Windows Aeroglass" theme.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Mac OS uses bombs as an attack.
- Team Mom: Windows 95 and 2K-tan assume this role for the Windows OS-tans.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Homeko-tan.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: 98-tan and 2K-tan have blue hair, ME-tan and and 98 SE-tan have green.
- The Wiki Rule: Besides having a page on The Other Wiki, there is an entire OS Tan Wiki.
- Zettai Ryouiki: We have XP-tan, 7-tan among others.