Famous amongst aspiring AV stars who do the naughty while their husbands and significant others look the other way is the major AV studio to end all major AV studios, Soft on Demand. This one-time indies adult video production company was founded in 1995 by former TV production director Ganari Takahashi. His ideas were far from normal in the Japanese adult industry at the time: make films that borrow more from variety TV and feature everyday women instead of experienced talent and productions focused mainly on the act of coitus. Saying the salad days of Soft on Demand were commercially successful is an understatement.
One of the earliest success stories from the early years of Soft on Demand was their Magic Mirror Bus Series. The concept was to install a mobile studio complete with a mirror that only allows people within the studio to see out yet remains opaque to those outside and throw it all on a truck that makes stops around Tokyo. Within, amateur women from fruitful nanpa missions are interviewed and enticed via cash awards to do salacious things. This series, which began in 1996, is still running strong nearly 20 years later.
We now hear more from the head of DEEPs (a production company owned by the SOD conglomerate) about the early days of the Magic Mirror Bus:
“Ganari Takahashi got the idea from earlier late-night variety shows that did something similar with famous people. His slightly hardcore take on it surprised many an office lady and college student."
The idea at first was not necessarily to use a one-way mirror-affixed studio, but to do something that had a public nudity theme. Along with that, elements of nanpa were incorporated and thus, the Magic Mirror Bus was born.
“It wasn't a pretty sight at first, but the Magic Mirror Bus was such a success from the get-go that future iterations of the long-running series greatly improved upon its design...at a great cost.”
A larger Magic Mirror studio led to using even larger vehicles which actually became somewhat of a problem both driving on the road and finding parking. The narrow streets—even in metropolitan Tokyo—are not kind to extraordinarily large automobiles.
“They eventually branched out with a lighter and more refined Magic Mirror Bus to combat the size issue back in 2009. This turned out to be a smart move and it only took them 15 years to perfect it.”
From its humble beginnings, the Magic Mirror Bus series is a fantastic example of what unique Japanese AV is all about.
(Translator's note: other studios have since emulated the Magic Mirror concept to varying degrees of success. It's very common for AV studios to 'borrow' ideas if they take notice at how well they are selling. It's still possible to see the famous bus in action if you are in the Tokyo area, but are all the eager women who board it truly amateurs...?)
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