MHHO Mascots

Every time MHHO has been remade, it's mascot, Maeko, has also changed as well. It's become a tradition that the webpage and the girl who runs her evolve together. Designing and redesigning MHHO has always been something I enjoy, so I try to do it every year if I can. It keeps the look fresh, and allows me the opportunity to play around with Maeko's character and appearance.

When MHHO was a simple, single page with a black background with bright blue text hosted on Geocities, this was the form Maeko had. In a way, this was her childhood. She was a little spunk of a girl, who greeted you as you entered the page (despite the fact that there were no images at this time). The page didn't last too long in that form, since I was forever tweaking and playing with it, learning HTML. Though Maeko has changed a great deal since this time, I'm still fond of her original form.

As my webpage grew into a website with random bits and pieces to it, I decided here would be a good place to show off my artwork. As such, I immediately began plastering the site with any scrap of art I had laying around. But the child Maeko didn't suit me anymore. Since I was really into the RPG Freelance Mercenaries, I decided to use the form I had there. To date, this is my favorite of all of Maeko's appearances. It's at this time her eyes took on their customary purple cast. Since I was using Crayola pencils to color most pictures, I started using the "mango" pencil to do her hair, giving it a slightly orange look to it. She was smooth, sleek, and very lovable.

But then the next year rolled around, and I no longer liked the look of my site and I felt Maeko needed an update as well. So I began splitting up the page into sections, making everything nice and neat, and I started tweaking Maeko's armor. I'll admit to some plagiarism with her chest armor, since I saw something similar in an anime (a hentai anime, no less) and fell in love with it. Then, since I had the top made, I just threw in a body suit that had a startling resemblance to the body suit worn by Rockman.EXE. Her boots, however, remained as thin and streamlined as ever. I made her eyes less 'pointed' and gave her a softer, more innocent look that seems to have stuck. About the only thing that had remained the same so far was her bang's style, despite the fact that her hair was getting longer.

At this time I was entering the later part of my teen years. I was growing more mature (at least in appearance) and I felt Maeko needed a more mature form as well. I decided to make her look more like how I felt I looked, although in the end she looked nothing like me. She lost her traditional hairstyle, her eyes grew smaller and went back to being blue. She also got older and behaved more like an adult. I changed her past (again) and gave it a slightly more tragic turn. The webpage reflected her personality, and had a very simple and less flashy appearance. I always liked it. I got rid of a lot of pages I wasn't using anymore, and allowed it to focus more on my art.

It was around now that I finally moved off Geocities and out into the world of mhho.com. I had already designed the new layout and everything, and Maeko had her new look. She regained her innocent appearance that I'd sorely missed, and her hair and eyes went back to 'normal'. I gave her a more Mega Man-ish appearance, settling for a bit darker blue then normal for her armor color. Her boots went from their normal slimmed look to the huge Mega Man style boots. I'll admit Alia's original design was an inspiration of Maeko's new look, but she was still the same 'ol girl people had come to know.

After so many years of tweaking and poking at both the page and Maeko's design, I had finally found an overall look for both that I liked. So when it came for the yearly change, I decided to simply change the few aspects I didn't like and keep it more or less the same. The result was a website and a Maeko design that I completely fell in love with. Maeko's appearance was so much what I wanted that I was tempted to make it her permanent look. That year, I asked people to draw Maeko, and the more I saw of her, the more I loved it. I considered it her ultimate form. She was sleek and sexy, but still managed to have the open, friendly attitude that people had grown accustomed to.

But, I ended up having server problems and issues out the wazoo, and it was getting close to the time when I'd have to revamp again anyways. So I decided that with the move would gain a new look! I wanted everything to be different. I began designing a new look for Maeko, and I wanted her armor to be completely different from before. The result was two different designs, and me unable to choose between them. I was tempted to go with her more mature and sexy appearance, but I decided to open it to a vote. Let the people decide which they liked better. I was surprised when a majority preferred her younger, sweeter version, since I tend to be surrounded by guys who like big-busted ladies. So Maeko remained youthful and chipper. She actually took on an appearance slightly younger then before, and her 'armor' was more cloth-like then metal in appearance.

Before you knew it, March rolled around and with it was MHHO's 8th birthday. As such, a new layout was needed. This time, I chucked aside all previous layouts and went for one that was completely different. But when it came time to design Maeko, I decided older was better. So I checked out all my old versions, and took the parts I liked and rebuilt Maq from the ground up. She ended up looking older and more human-like, sporting a pair of dark gray pants instead of a more robot look. A lot of her design was taken from versions 6.0, 5.0, and oddly enough, 2.0. In the end, we got a new Maeko that looked completely different from her previous incarnations.

When MHHO 9.0 came around, I wanted to try even more new items for the page. As such, I tinkered with Java Script for the very first time. It took a lot of work and tweaking, but I finally got it to work. Each section of the page had a different image for a background, but oddly enough, no real images of Maeko. But there was a version of Maeko present. After so many tries, I once again switched from a more human look to a more robot one. Maeko also got herself her name. For years, she'd been called "Maq" or "Maqqy", the same as me. So I started calling her Maeko (close enough, but still different). Sadly, she was only seen in about 2 or 3 pieces of artwork.

Then quite suddenly, we hit our 10th anniversary. I was truly stunned. I had started this page back in 1999 on a lark, and it had grown to such proportions. I went a little back to basics when redesigning the page, going back to having frames. However, they kept messing up, so I went to full-blown CSS for the entire layout. Instead of having a smaller box to read, like so many of my previous sites, I went ahead and let loose, making full use of the screen. Then, I turned to Maeko. As much as I love her looking like a reploid, I could find a breast plate I liked. So I gave her a more cloth-like appearance there, and also gave her back her pants. The one thing I really changed was her boots. I've been using the same general boot design since about 2.0. As such, I gave it a major over-haul. The end result was something I absolutely loved.

And that's where we stand. Maeko continues to change every year, along with MHHO. Hopefully they'll both only continue to get better.