(Translator's note: This post is a continuation of a previous entry.)
The Usurpers of the Sex-Less Japanese AV Stars
Thinking back upon it, I feel like the early 2000's era of Japanese AV was the last hurrah of the even earlier adult video rental boom of the 90's. From the production standpoint, the sky really was endless when it came to satisfying the demands one's imagination can conjure up. This also made for some pretty memorable AV stars with a commanding presence in the industry.
Nowadays, it's significantly easier for any woman to saunter into an agency and don the AV star moniker. On top of this, scouts are out in vast numbers scouring the streets of cities for women willing to spread their legs on camera. Those with extra special looks may forgo the requirement to have actual sex on camera, but those types of productions are not as common anymore (Translator's note: sex-less productions such as penis washing are still common, but AV stars who only do them will find staying relevant in the industry difficult).
On top of this, many AV stars languish in overly stretched out debut periods sometimes lasting as long as 2 years. Those that are not lovers of actual intercourse also frequently call it quits after this period. Thus, the period leading into this with 'sex-less' AV stars holding center stage really was one of both longevity and happiness for those on the production side of things.
However, the atmosphere on sets changed after this era ran its course. The market for 2 year Japanese AV star debuts followed by retirements was well-situated for the rental market—the market that dominated the industry for many years. However, the increasingly viable market for selling titles started taking a bite out of this strategy and walking into many Japanese AV stores one would see 'sale' stickers adorned over the cases of movies previously marked as 'rental-only' (Translator's note: this is a bigger deal than it sounds at first. Many of the big Japanese AV companies at the time counted on customers frequently renting versus buying as it ended up making them more money. On top of this, rental movies were generally sold to the stores for $100+ (USD) per title!).
The plus for this stratagem change was that it extended the shelf lives of many Japanese AV stars who would otherwise retire from the business after the artificial 2 year limit. With more AV stars staying on the scene longer thanks to the for-sale market, the gentleman's agreement major AV makers had not to show actual sex was gradually lifted. This is when the number of AV stars who did not do actual sex began to drop...drastically. Today, 'sex-less' Japanese adult actresses are all but extinct.
Not all is bad about the current state of the industry. 15 years ago, we'd never imagined the sheer number of high quality titles being produced today. For example, the lineup for the new Japanese AV production company TEPPAN features nothing but really high quality titles featuring nothing but big-name AV stars. Something like this would be unheard of many years ago.
As you can see, there were pros and cons to the 'sex-less' era of Japanese AV. Surely the cast of titles years in the past—well some of them, really—still are recalled with much fondness today. Whom was the most popular depends upon the fans and their wild imaginations.
Written by Pedal Shishido
Pedal Shishido is an erotic writer who has been watching AV since the dawn of time. He also is a formidable user of English with a level 1 Eiken score and scored an 800 on TOIEC. He's quite active being active (?!) covering AV on and off scene.
Men's Cyzo recommends this title to readers of this article.
(Translator's note: Even back in the late 90's and early 2000's, companies such as SOD Create, Soft on Demand's production division pushed the boundaries by not subscribing to NEVA's strict regulation. In fact, in spite of the proscription of uncensored genitalia in Japan, regulation within the gargantuan AV industry is done internally (though some registration may be required at district police precincts). To make matters surprising given Japan's group nature, there exists multiple industry-created regulatory agencies that create and look over mosaic before a movie can be released.)
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