Jkidnote: This the first time using a setting where beyond basic stuff, you need to learn html. I’m still going along with learning html as I go. So instead of spending hours on resizing images to fit this page. I decided to post as much images releated to the net character at <a href=http://www.yschan.org>YSchan</a>. There’s a thread on /ys/ about it with the images.
Also this page will be updated this night with new information. See you there!
Many 4channers do know about Anonymous, the infamous net character that is manifested in the real world as people with Guy Fawkes masks or occasionally as a silhouette of a person wearing a two piece suit with no head. But many do not know the origins of the net character itself. Not even modern /b/tards know the origins of this form of anonymous. But it’s still worth looking at to understand this important piece of *chan culture.
In order to understand this character we first have to define what a net character is. A net character is a personification of an item of character or a fictional person who is borne from the internet. When I mean born from the internet I mean, created from the internet. Good examples of Net Characters can be found on two sites: iichan’s Net Character’s board, and 4chan’s /nc/ board.
From the iichan’s /nc/ board (http://www.wakachan.org/os/wakaba.html) we can see various characters such as Vocaloids, personifications of foods, signs, Windows Operating systems, Hetalia, and ones based on video games such as Portal. The 420’s version of the net characters board (http://boards.420chan.org/nc/) feature western characters like from Homestuck, yurikki from the touhou project, yakui and tcc-chan (the personification of 420chan) The 2chan net character board (2chan net character board: http://dat.2chan.net/10/futaba.htm) is similar to iichan’s character board but there a few differences. There is a more focus on the nijura maids, the OS-tans and other personifications. Plus there is a focus on not safe for work material as well.
Net Characters: Characters borne from the internet
The vocaloid characters are based on are a series of vocal synthesizers that were released by a Japanese company known as Crypton Future Media. The first in the series is Hatsune Miku, a female vocaloid. Later as the product became popular, more vocaloids were created such as Kagamine Rin and Len, Kaito, Kamui Gakupo (based on the voice of Gackt), Megurine Luka and many others. Their characters are the subject of many fan art, songs produced by them by friends, and have a large fan base and cosplay that persist to this day. They even have their own *chan called mikuchan.org
Second, is the Nijiura maids. The Nijiura maids were born from Fubata Channel’s /b/ (also known as the Nijiura boards). They are a collection of characters dressed in maids most of whose “personalities are based on puns involving their names” (http://danbooru.donmai.us/wiki/show?title=nijiura_maids). There are fifteen primary maids of Nijiura some of them based on apathy, anger, chattiness, confusion, beauty, and even one on size. One of them is Yakui the medicine maid.
According to the Nijirua Maid Love website by shii, her name is based from 薬餌 【やくじ】, medicine. She is addicted to all kinds of drugs medical and in 420chan’s case, recreational. She usually has mouth drool coming out and wears handcuffs. Problem is if Yakui is adorable, why she wears handcuffs? (http://shii.org/maids/yakui) For some reason, Yakui is the most known of all the Nijura maids. Particularly on 420chan’s /nc/ board (formually /yakui/)
Finally, we have the OS-tans. The OS-tans are personifications on Windows operating systems such as Windows 95, Me, XP, Vista, and Seven. They’re all depicted as females, but there are some male counterparts to the OS-tans known as OS-kuns. The concept of the OS tan’s begun with Windows Me personification on Fubata Channel. With Windows Me there was an eventual series known as Trouble Windows. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS-tan http://www.otakubell.com/os-girls/ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OS-tan)
There are other types of Net Characters: Personifications based on pokemon, countries, touhou, wiki’s, and other as well.
Now with the introduction to Net Characters out of the way, I want to introduce you to the Net Character of Anonymous. Like Nijiura maids, and OS, it was created by 4chan’s /b/. To some /b/tards he is known as Old Anon. When I mean Old Anon I do not mean an elderly person, I mean a the classic anonymous most /b/tards and some 4channers know instead of the new “Project Chanology” anonymous that has spread to a stand-alone complex.
Old Anon usually manifests itself as a person who wears a black two piece suit with a white shirt, red tie (or sometimes a black tie) and dark shoes. The person itself is usually completely covered in green, more specifically the face and hands. The face itself may be covered green with no facial features, few facial features, a sign that says “No picture required”, or a face with a question mark. Even the question mark can be colored white, yellow, or black depending on the creator. In some cases it shows a mouth, with the rest of the face covered.
Now the words “no picture available” was the first appearance of anonymous. It appeared as a picture on 4chan’s /b/ as a silhouette of a picture with a green face with the words “no picture available.” The possible earliest appearance of the net character was noted at Tuesday, December 14, 2004, 2:38:12 AM (fight4chan) The picture and image spread on. There are many variations of anonymous out there. There’s a early image of him at Saturday, January 08, 2005, 11:38:18 PM (hyperfighting)
However, the first major appeared of the old anon may come from sage-man, which is a flash animation by former 4chan moderator Okk. That is when it Evolved to a man with a suit at 2006 (4chan)
But the character of old anonymous itself, we don’t know the true origins of the character. However, we can trace it to an old painting called the Son of Man.
The Son of Man – or by it’s French name “Le fils de l’homme” is a 1964 paiting by the Belgian surrealist painter.
At least it hides the face partly. Well, so you have the apparent face, the apple, hiding the visible but hidden, the face of the person. It’s something that happens constantly. Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us. This interest can take the form of a quite intense feeling, a sort of conflict, one might say, between the visible that is hidden and the visible that is present.
(Source: Torczyner, Magritte: Ideas and Images, trans. Richard Millen (New York: Harry N. Abrams), p.172.)
In the context of imageboards, we see the visible (the context and the message), but we do not see the hidden (the identity of the person or the true side). The apparent face is the name, hiding the visible but hidden, the true identity of the person. On imageboards, it’s something that happens routinely. Every thread you read has a message, hides another thing, we always want to know what is hidden by what we see.
There are several similarities of the Son of Man and Old Anon: The black suit, red tie, and white shirt are the same. Main difference is the covering of the face with the apple, you can see the part of one eye but not the entire face. But in the old anon you can see the general shape of the face but not the true side of the face you can see any of its real facial features. Minor differences include no green gloves and but there is a hat.
But it’s not only on the internet where can you see this personification. It’s in real life where you can also see this personification of anonymous in the same varieties like in online. Occasionally seeing one without the mask or in radically different forums. But there are many ones that have a familiar face…from a certain movie (and actually an comic book based on the film) called “V from Vedetta” simply called V.
From that face was known as New Anonymous. Born from the Project Chanology protests of 2008 they reflect the mocking of scientology rather than actual protests. But eventually that mask evolved from its Chanology origins into the moral (aka moralfag) faction of Anonymous.
BONUS INFO: Toshiaki.
Believe it or not, Toshiaki from 2chan’s /b/ do have a net personification. It comes in two forms: The first form is a young male with a white shirt and black hair, with its eyes covered (if faced by the camera) or his head turned away from the screen. He also accompanied with a personal Ninjura Maid called Medoi. (http://shii.org/maids/medoisanmedoisan.png) Another form of Toshiaki is manifested a neckbearded male with glasses and medium long hair. Occasionally with a blanket because he’s a NEET and can’t afford the electric bill. (Those images of that form of toshiaki can be found on this thread:http://yschan.org/ys/res/78.html#i80)
A Side Note: While the net personification of anonymous represents the average channer, there is no true personification of 4chan similar to what 420chan has (TCC-chan). While there are attempts to personify 4chan similar to what other popular internet and social network sites have been treated to, they either accentuate the anonymity of the site, or the shock nature portion of the site. A possibly real reason why 4chan can’t be personified is that it has many boards (some 50 of them) and if anyone tries to personify the website, the personality of the character would be schizophrenic.