What Happened to Zen Pictures?

36 Responses

  1. Slater1974 says:

    Zen Pictures’ release rate has indeed slowed down these past months with “only” two releases per month. Also, the fact that they stopped making two parts stories also makes their stories less elaborated than they were. (I’m French, so forgive my bad English)

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  2. HorseWithNoName says:

    @ Domi666: to answer your question about favorite heroines: I don’t have any, and that is also the reason why I am not hung up on Supergirl or Wonder Woman. I am in the bracket of older than 35 (big surprise), but not by that much.

    For me personally it is about style and fashion sense. While I can agree that Jim Lee’s design for Psylocke from the early 1990s is fantastic, I find a lot of the more modern heroine designs lacking. They are just not very fun or stylish in most cases.

    From a pure fashion point of view there is nothing that beats the late 1960s and 1970s when it comes to heroine outfits. That is the reason why I find all these endless Supergirl peril movies that hark back to the girlish approach and outfit of the late 1950s so frustrating. Has nobody ever read a comic book in the 1970s?

    If you don’t know what I mean, check out this site / block. Man, look at what the did back then in “comic books for children”. That made me fall in love with this genre!

    https://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.de/2013/11/thanksgiving-feast-2013-silent-death-by.html

    Look at the costume designs for the girls from The Legion of Super-Heroes, or look how characters like Batgirl or more obscure Rose & Thorn were drawn back in the day: modern, young women, hip with the times and sexy as hell. No offense to any producer, but when I look at a lot of peril movies these days, I sense a lack of style that is annoying. What a company like Giga and movies like Redwing and Spectre have going for themselves, apart from the sexual content, there is at least a certain visual key to the heroine outfits I find very interesting.

    Yesterday we were shown a completely new look for Batgirl. And while I am not too crazy about the “girl”, I welcome this new design, simple because it tries to use a modern approach that is hip with the times i.e. retro / hipster. Why the f**k not 🙂

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  3. HorseWithNoName says:

    @ theSuperheroines.com: this might be a wild guess, Logan, but I think those how request more tamer stuff from you guys and don’t want any penetration to be shown are already fans of a certain type of heroine movies which you provide for with your excellent movies. However I feel that there are others who want something else and are not customers of yours and therefore don’t make such request, but look elsewhere. To put it frankly, when I look for R and up, I do not look at your movies.

    If you followed the discussion when the first Redwing was released (with lots of people asking for more explicit stuff) you know what I mean. I for example bought a lot Giga movie simply for the reasons Stavros states: they go the whole nine yards with the heroine still in what is left of her costume with tons on peril she had suffered.

    Both Redwing movies are very much like a Giga (or maybe a Zen) production in tone and that is why they feel so much better than a ton of other releases. Rye’s Spectre also comes close to that.

    So, there is two things I will not request: to have no penetration or other explicit material, and more supergirls (please, give the character a well deserved rest 🙂

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  4. @Stavros: I think you notice this because the majority of fans, at least in my experience, request that the Heroine go through the peril, but without many of the things you listed off… that’s definitely an eastern thing when it comes to these types of movies. The explicit penetration you speak of is something I’ve been requested time and time again, practically begged, never to show in a film, regardless of it’s rating. Just some insight from my personal experiences…

    Logan

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  5. Stavros says:

    I think Giga is still untouched in terms of sexual peril. Western producers just don’t seem to go for it, other than a bit of nudity. The only ones I can think of are XXXsuperheroines, although their costumes are cheap and awful, and Primal’s darkside. They both feature explicit penetration which is missing from almost all of the other producers. Also, western porn is unconcerned with costumes. All of the top companies like Vivid create superheroine porn, but the costumes are off in about 2 seconds and for the next 30 minutes they’re naked. That’s boring. Giga features terrific costumes, attractive actresses, clothing destruction, and sexual peril. These are things that the western companies don’t have, or they might have one or two.

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  6. Christopher says:

    I now see why WW and SG are so popular. I also like Psylocke, and I think it was Akira Lane that played her as Superheroine Central’s Psy-Strike. But that is why I like about NGC’s films. Most of the heroine’s are original and not so much SG and WW.

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  7. michinoku1 says:

    It was said up above that GIGA and ZEN are merging – they’re actually owned by the same company, and have been for a while. They’ve been under the same umbrella with the now closed ZEUS and GALLOP labels since 2002/2003ish.

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  8. domi666 says:

    @sugarcoaster
    I agree with you! Jim Lee’s version of Psylocke is one of the sexiest superheroine there is 🙂
    I would so much love to see a perfect Psylocke with an accurate costume. Some cosplays on internet are really amazing !
    That’s a shame that Zen/Giga never did this character in their videos because she really desserve an good looking asian actress 😀

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  9. sugarcoater says:

    @ Domi666

    I totally agree with you about Psylocke. She became one of my favorites when Jim Lee took over the Uncanny X-Men series and created the current Psylocke. I only wish they would stick with her outfit from the 90s; definitely one of the best looking comic book heroines during that time. I would LOVE to see a version of her played by the right model and with the proper look to that costume. There are some really good cosplay Psylockes incidentally.

    The use of Kryptonite and WW’s lasso to incapacitate the two is a good point. Most of the Marvel characters don’t have a unique type of weakness along those lines. Perhaps it’s the idea that an average person can incapacitate a super heroine is what makes those two more intriguing. And I’ll admit part of it is that I came across WW re-runs and the Supergirl movie just as I was starting to appreciate women as a teenager. Their characters made an indelible impression upon me.

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  10. Domi666 says:

    @sugarcoaster
    I agree with you about WW and Supergirl being iconic. However, their pre-made back-stories are almost all based on WW 70’s TV show and 1984 SG movie. Characters such as Psylocke, Black Canary, Black Widow, Elektra and many other have some great back stories in their comic books too. I think it’s simply less known 🙁

    I may have one more explanation about why WW and SG are so iconic. I think that’s peril related. Many people prefer peril such as chloroform or Kryptonite over pure fights or death, for example. WW is easily related to chloro and SG to Kryptonite. Personally, I prefer pure fights over chloro and my favourite character is Psylocke (and Psylocke is more related to fights than chloro, lol). Maybe i’m wrong but I think there is clearly a connection between superheroines we like and peril we prefer.

    Finally, and that’s pure speculation but, I think there’s a connection between our appreciation for superheroines and the generation to which we belong. I would be curious to know who are the favourite superheroines for people who are less than 35 years old and for those who are more than 35 years old.

    Back to the subject, what I really like with Zen/Giga is the way they mix elements from different worlds. For example, they can do video featuring an American superheroine (WW, SG, Black Scorpion…) fighting against a Power Ranger type villain. I find this original and interesting 😀

    PS: Sorry for my broken English, that’s not my native language ^^;

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  11. Chris says:

    Zen is still amazing, although I prefer the hardcore stuff on the akiba-web site. But yeah, american producers have closed the gap, although I do think the Japanese stuff is still slightly better as long as they don’t go too overboard with stupid tentacle monster stuff.

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  12. HorseWithNoName says:

    I agree with sugercoater that WW and Supergirl have a built-in backstory and are indeed iconic. This is most certainly one of the reasons why there are so many movies made that are based on these two characters and why they sell so well.

    And I also agree that when something out of left field comes along, like for example a Redwing, this is not only well received, but has stellar sales. Why? Maybe at this point in time a lot of people got sick and tired of seeing these two characters over and over again! I most certainly am.

    There are so many wonderful concepts and character designs to choose from to bring something new that has not been done time and again. And a lot of these characters from comic books or cartoons can be easily adapted for our genre and they do have their fans or are for people who want something fresh. And judging from the discussion going on at the thread of the most recent WW movies (thankfully this one in a new 52 design) there are others who want a character who has not been used over and over in various versions (or the same, like a Supergirl).

    I would love to see a beautiful redhead as Batgirl (in a costume that is not based on the old TV show) or, if you guys are old enough to remember, as Rose & Thorn. What a kinky outfit that was!

    And I also prefer a woman to a girl heroine like somebody else pointed out. No offense to any actress of course. Even though I totally (totally) dig the new Batgirl design that got released on the internet today. Finally something new! Check it out.

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  13. sugarcoater says:

    I think the reasons WW and Supergirl are best sellers are because they are iconic and have a pre-made backstory with years of pent-up desire to see these characters in serious peril. For a new character, a backstory needs to be created. Without a backstory, we’re just looking at a model in a costume. However, if the costume is done right and the model looks the part, I would imagine the video could be a best seller (I’m thinking of Redwing as a recent example).

    Another aspect of WW and Supergirl is their costume. The vibrant red and blue colors have a heroic/patriotic look to them. With WW, the star-spangled panties are really sexy looking, and wearing those with knee-high red boots is a hot look. For Supergirl, she has the cheerleader look connected to the first major comic book superhero.

    I would add that based on SHG’s bestseller list, simply using a WW or Supergirl character for a video doesn’t equate to a top seller. There needs to be a model who looks the part, as well as good choreography and a decent set. (Some of the “less than best seller” videos feature a WW or Supergirl character.) But with the right model–one who really looks the part–I can’t imagine a WW or Supergirl video not being a major hit. But speaking solely for myself, there aren’t a lot of models who can pull off those roles well.

    Just a few thoughts on the most recent subject.

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  14. Christopher says:

    My fav superheroine is Supergirl, but that’s about all I see, and WW. Thanks theSuperheroines.com for your view, I guess films based on the DC three are the hot sellers, just not sure why. I do like CTLE’s Vega films, especially the recent ones “Phantom Visions”.

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  15. Sex Porn Reviews says:

    I don’t like Zen Pictures’s videos. They never really impressed me and the sexual action is lacking. It doesn’t look good to me. I prefer Paris Kennedy’s awesome scenes from her sites.

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  16. scsf says:

    Very interesting to read this string. I agree with Spandex Fiend that Cross the Line is doing a great job. I love the variety they offer, the gorgeous talent and ability to do a great fight scene. To Logan’s points, I am more into the fight scenes, but atypical in that faster paced works for me as long as I can see the action. If you got all these gorgeous ladies fighting, I want to see them a bit and not come away with my head spinning! 😉 I do love the slow KO after a fast-paced battle though.

    I agree with several who have said that the Zen actresses and costumes are amazing. I’d love to see that girl in the black bikini and boots posted with this segment do some work with Logan and company. 🙂 For me that is an ideal costume for a heroine (or better yet villainess), but alas I have non-mainstream tastes…

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  17. Domi666 says:

    @theSuperheroines:
    I must admit that the overuse of Wonder Woman and SuperGirl (and Batgirl) in the Superheroine fetish industry makes me more and more dizzy… Sometimes, It seems like almost everybody discovered superheroines with 70’s WW TV show and 84 Supergirl movie and are asking for the same stuff again and again (and again, lol) since.
    More and more I would like to see a new generation of fans rising, with some new/different references (perhaps something less “old DC” and more Marvel, Image, Manga/anime, Video Games, whatever you want…).

    Also, I still like Zen as a producer because, even if the quality of their movies slightly decreased, they still produce videos featuring Video Game characters (Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, Soul Calibur…) or Sentai-type characters (something like Power Rangers) which is clearly not common with occidental producers.

    By the way, many occidental producers (CTLE, NGC and some others…) are now able to do better videos than Zen with great fighting scenes and great acting. The fact is, I would just love to see more Psylocke, more Storm, more Caitlin Fairchild, more Cammy…. There’s so much girls with great potential….:(

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  18. @Spandex Fiend: Thank you for the kind words 🙂 We’re looking for suggestions for new things to do and ways to improve as well!

    @Mike J: Your points are awesome – the problem I’ve noticed with my own productions is that we have to be very careful with changing things up. To this day, almost every top seller in our catalogue is based on Wonder Woman or Supergirl. This is why we are hung up on them – because the fans are. If I noticed that our Psylocke character sold the most, I would do more X-Men type characters, etc. With fight scenes, every request we get (for the most part) is for long, dragged out holds and one-hit punches for small combinations. If you look at my fighting reel as a fight choreographer, you can see that my natural fighting style is extremely fast – but I’v adjusted to cater to what the fans say they want and we, as producers, have to go with the majority or we could run the risk of not making back the money spent on the production, let alone any profit to do another film.

    @dkm: My other company, Rapture Entertainment, will take a page out of the Zen formula and style when it comes to things like that… we will just be hiring those who are comfortable with that type of content and it will open up a lot of doors for us in that regard. 🙂

    @Christopher: My Marvel-based characters don’t sell nearly as well as the DC-based ones. Including Shadowgirl, which did well, but nowhere near as well as let’s say, Lady Wonder or Moonstar, who is the same actress.

    Just my two pennies to the thread 🙂

    Logan

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  19. Christopher says:

    @NGC – I loved reading your comments on Zen. Next Global Crisis is my favorite producer at the moment. The heroines keep their costumes on, which I prefer, but costumes being somewhat destroyed is a nice touch.

    I liked the other comments too. I never bought anything from Japan mostly because of cost and I have bad luck with viruses too. I did see the Astro Girl films on You Tube and they were pretty good. I also read a few of the reviews here on Heroine Movies, and I kinda like the Justy 3 film. I think this is a great idea and hope to see more of this. One last question, how come everyone seems to do DC heroines, I rarely see Marvel. Would love to see Rogue, She Hulk, and Sue Storm.

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  20. dkm says:

    I used to love their stuff, but then they killed Zeus off and the newer movies after the Zeus brand vanished became more and more tame. There are virtually no more death endings, and to me that was the appeal. The Giga & Zeus films had crazy, brutal fights, heroine torture, and creative finishers to kill off the heroine that the American producer didn’t do (and still sort of don’t, although Cross The Line Films is trying.)

    So once that stuff went away, I lost all interest in Zen because it was no longer unique from what I could get from the American producers.

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  21. Mike J says:

    I’ve purchased a lot of videos over the years, and Zen seems complacent in what they do because the formula obviously works, they’re videos are still the best in genre for me for several reasons.

    1) The fighters and the Choreography are just better. The fights are faster, more fluid, better choreographed and the heroines in most cases are just look like better fighters. They fight multiple enemies when they’re dominating which adds to this effect. You actually have things like blocks then counters, combinations.

    2) More varied costumes on heroines and villains. In most non zen films, the villain has no costume and the heroine the vast majority of the time is some variation of Wonder Woman or Supergirl, why are we still stuck on these. Zen movies run the range of their anime characters, why are we stuck on these two. I was happy when I saw Shadowgirl which was a variation of Ms. Marvel.

    3) More varied locations, this is pretty self explanatory.

    4) Value, they’re cheap for the most part and pretty much long stand alone films. Even though they’re not all peril or action you get long stretches of heroine dominance, long stretches of beatdown, long stretches or torture. Even though the heroine wins most of the time, she usually lost at some point of the film, sometimes multiple times.

    I may be mixing up Zen and Giga because I have so many of each. I make a lot my own films threading clips from multiple videos into favorites videos and they’re usually more Zen/Giga clips than others.

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  22. Anarch1313 says:

    I’ve only seen clips from their production on Youtube, but I’ve always been fond of the beautiful actresses they cast as well as their amazing reactions to the peril. The main thin that has kept me from buying their videos is the difficulty of use of their site to gaijins like myself as well as the fact that I could never find a player that would play the format that their demos are in and feared that if I bought a video from them that I wouldn’t even be able to watch it. If I could be certain that I could play them, I would prolly get quite a few of their movies based soley on how well their actresses sell the peril.

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  23. LtStrange says:

    I think that Zen seems to have some really interesting movies. Especially costumes are often very well made. Unfortunately they use the MS Media closing the door for Mac users. The capability has also increased significantly at other produces making it not worth while with Zen any more.

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  24. Redmountain says:

    My biggest issue with Zen/Giga is just how hard it is to obtain their videos in terms of the hassle of going through their steps to purchase. With so many quality producers these days where its just log in to paypal or 2-3 clicks and download your video, the fact it seems to require a physics degree and several minutes of time just to purchase one of their films, along with their site interface makes me more inclined to purchase from someone else.

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  25. Chillyplasma says:

    I haven’t seen many of these Japanese productions, not my thing for reasons I won’t go in to.
    But I would like to comment in general on what has already been brought up. Particularly on the term “production values” which is thrown around quite loosely.

    In regards to using the same sets, this is a problem that doesn’t need to be a problem. Television productions often need a bunch of ‘new’ sets each week but usually don’t have the money and can’t afford to destroy/ rebuild their regular sets that they will need again next week. So the crew have come up with a hundred little fast and low-cost tricks that make a room look completely different. In an hour-long TV drama you might see 4 completely different rooms and not realise they are the same room.
    People seem to get into the ‘independent film’ mind-set and think things can’t be done because of a lack of money. It’s amazingly wrong, especially in 2014.

    The biggest and most important production value is a story/ script. It kind of amazes me how few producers get this. Here’s an example, Princess of Mars is an excellent story that is over 100 years old and only cost paper and ink to make. John Carter was a complete piece of crap that cost $100 million. Get the story and script right and the rest almost doesn’t matter, get it wrong and no amount of money will save you. And story isn’t hard, “there are only 8 stories”, they’ve already been written we just have to fill in the blanks. Princess of Mars, Princess Bride, Star Wars, The Godfather, The Matrix… all the same story, all different.
    The problem with this genre is it can’t decides if it wants to be (soft)porn or not. Fans ask/ beg/ demand for their fetish, chloro or bearhugs or whatever – these are people wanting a ‘porn’ fix. There’s nothing wrong with that, but thanks to vocal fans producers are trying to meet their desires and are focusing less and less on telling a story (there are a thousand ways to tell a superheroine peril story that haven’t been tried yet, but I suspect the fear of losing customers will keep things status quo for a while).
    So to bring my rambling slightly back to the original topic, I don’t think Zen will need to change their story format. I suspect a large number of their customers are those who want a ‘fix’ and will keep paying to see the same thing over and over.
    Thanks for letting me mumble.

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  26. tpsh says:

    I would say big part of the “lessened appeal” Zen/Giga have nowadays is indeed the fact that we now have actual western producers, while there was absolutely nothing until a few years ago.
    That said, there seem to have been a couple of relatively minor changes that ended up taking quite a bit off their work. First, until a bit ago most Zeus movies would follow what I call the “Power Rangers” structure: lesser baddies appear, heroine fights in her civilian clothes, heroine wins, bigger baddie appears, heroine starts losing – heroine changes into her costume / battlegear and fight goes on. In some of the latest works I have seen, there is more focus on the heroine(s) wearing their costumes/uniforms/suits et all, something we grew used to.

    The second thing is, back in time Zeus used to hire actresses that clearly had good martial arts skills; You could easily see by the way they moved that they weren’t dancers or gymnasts pretending to know Kung fu; They were the real deal – even the ones portraying minor characters, “cannon fodder” and villains. Very rarely we have seen this in western productions and, even in the case, it’s usually just the main heroine who has some proper skills. Now, Zeus/Giga seem to go the route of “believably flexible girl who can do an high kick” more often than not, and maybe that also took a bit of their edge off. Or maybe I was just unlucky with the recent clips I watched 🙂

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  27. Wonder says:

    Giga (akiba-web) is always a favorite of mine. I understand the bore with the zen-pictures formula, but for me Giga has never really disappointed. It’s a bit hardcore, which isn’t an issue to me – but to each their own.

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  28. Naruto says:

    Zen is okay. I wouldn’t be able to justly critizise them based on thier product as of late. Though i can say, looking through their catalouge and seeing some of the titles. nothing ever seems to jump at me. Giga, i DON’T like. And that is mostly because of tge sexual edge to it. I’m not usually into anything sexual though, but can tolerate it depending. Giga throws in the rape stuff too, and i just don’t dig that at all. That’s personal though. I can respect that others may enjoy it. They also aren’t the only producers who do rape imagry, but…… I usually only ever find it with giga.

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  29. usep says:

    The Formula of Superheroine movie/video i like is
    1. Heroine shows up and dominates.
    2. Heroine kills/defeats some villains.
    3. Heroine gets a little trouble.
    4. Heroine gets out of trouble.
    5. Heroine looses horribly and gets tortured.
    6. Heroine dies.

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  30. Bert says:

    It certainly seems like ZEN is not a priority anymore, with GIGA getting most of the resources. I suppose sales dictate that decision, which is a shame.

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  31. Golden says:

    @NextGlobalCrisis – really enjoyed reading your take on things. As someone learning photography at the moment I find that not having a big budget to invest has meant I’ve had to be even more creative with what I have. It also means that any time I do get the chance to shoot with the “good stuff” I really appreciate it and probably get even more out of it than I would if I had started with it.

    It was probably a blessing that you didn’t have the big budget to start with because investing your savings in something you love forces you to over achieve; definitely something you have done with NGC. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you can achieve in years to come.

    @HM / Sidekick – really liked the article and look forward to seeing more editorials on the site. I like what you’ve done over the last few weeks in expanding and developing the content with interviews etc.

    Maybe in a few months once you’ve settled in the new features you could start getting Op-Eds from regular contributors about their thoughts.

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  32. sugarcoater says:

    @ Next Global Crisis

    I really enjoyed reading your perspective on the situation and learning a bit more about the genre. Big time kudos to you for your perseverance and drive! I hope that it’s paying off big-time as you have made some of the finest videos I’ve seen, and your work is of really high quality. Thanks for the insight.

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  33. This was an interesting read. I thought I’d add my insight. Generally I don’t post on other producer’s threads because if you say something nice it will be taken as patronising, if you say something critical it will be taken as bitterness and I simply don’t have enough time left on this planet for an internet argument.

    However, since we’re discussing Zen (and as far as I know, nobody posting here represents them) I felt I could throw in a bit of opinion.

    I’d been interested in this whole genre for years and years and was very aware of Japanese films but the production that most influenced my decision to start NGC was Astro Girl. You had a character that kept all her clothes on, had a great costume, was fantastically attractive, plus some nice fight scenes and peril as well as power moments. She was meant to be ‘American’ but was actually Romanian, and some of the line delivery was a bit odd, but I really liked it, and people’s interest in it made me think that my project could actually be possible. So I owe Zen a certain amount of respect for that.

    I found it very interesting what was said about the formula of their films, and how this is broadly THE superheroine story formula. Where I differ from Zen story-wise is that I have an on-going serial whereas most of their films are one-offs. You don’t see the character again, and if you do, a different actress will play them. The films are standalone and that formula is played out. In my case the same formula is played out also, however, it may not play out in a single film. It’s a series of arcs, some only 1 films length, another might take 2-3 seasons to play out. I probably have 5 or 6 different length story arcs in play at any given time, even in the beginning I worked hard on backstory so that we’d be midway through an arc when the first season started. Anyway I could write a book on this subject, I just wanted to say that in their ways both HM and Sidekick are correct about formulas.

    The point about needing new sets etc.. I think the problem they might have is that they clearly rent or own a large facility and this means you have to use it, just the expense requires that, even for them. On the one hand it can be nice to have a studio and not worry about location scouting, and dealing with owners, and time constraints, but getting stale is a clear downside. I try to have 5-10 locations in rotation, but it’s not easy.

    Zen have a terrific advantage of being able to buy most of their amazing costume accessories in one of dozens of local shops in Japan. I envy this greatly. I love having bespoke costumes but you almost never get what was actually in your head or on paper as a design, they don’t even need to think about this.

    Another advantage they have is related to this, where superheroines and cosplay are a much larger part of the culture. They had a sizable and ready-made fanbase. I have a good number of regular Japanese buyers, but I suspect the majority can speak English. The Japanese just don’t need to concern themselves with foreign productions.

    I don’t know if Zen kicked off with large investment, I suspect so. If you are creative and have an idea of what you are doing then this can save years of work. I started by emptying my bank account to make the first film. It took 4 months to pay back (it cost about a third of what I spend on an episode now) and I immediately put all of that into the second film. As soon as I could afford to make a third I did, I didn’t pay myself a penny for two years. I have no wealthy relatives or friends, just well-wishers, and if I did anything right it was to manage my ego enough to know that I needed the help of professionals from the get-go. I’d have loved Zen’s budget from the start because I could have made something really special I feel. There is a danger that things can turn into a bit of a treadmill and creativity can go out of the window. Luckily, you can check this situation and hopefully turn it around. If they have gone off the rails at all then I suspect it is something they can put right if they’ve noticed.

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  34. Spandex Fiend says:

    I think Cross the Line Entertainment (my current favorite producer) has passed them by leaps and bounds. Talking about Zen alone, it seems that they’ve slowed their production schedule by quite a bit, and are just shoving most everything under the Giga label where they do more explicit stuff. They also went that way with Zeus, killing that site entirely and putting it under the Giga label as well. Not sure if that’s just because they want all of their traffic headed to one site (totally understandable) or if budget or both, but it seems like the “Giga” site is the main label. Which means they’re slacking off on Zen Pictures productions….both in quality and in how often they release.

    The rate of release, to me, is a big factor in keeping interest too. It seems like Zen used to release once or twice a week and now…maybe once or twice a month? I don’t even visit the site anymore because of how random and irregularly they release a production.

    I like CTLE the best because they do release something often and I know if this last one doesn’t interest me, no big deal, they have several coming down the pipe that I probably will like! I love their updates page, the instagram side bar, and everything keeping me on the edge of my seat until a release comes out. I love the stories they tell, and even if it is formulaic, it doesn’t quite come off that way. They’ve raised the bar and they keep raising the bar for themselves.

    I won’t lie, they also don’t have the problem of a language barrier. But it’s so much MORE than that. To me, it really is the need to strive for more and then doing more and testing out new techniques and new actresses, new storylines. I gotta admit, I really don’t like their comedy series, but good on them for at least trying something totally different.

    I used to be strictly a guy that only liked the hardcore stuff, and really the production values of CTLE are so good that they’ve totally changed my mind on this aspect. I’m more and more liking the characters and the stories they develop.

    Even if Zen were to produce like they did back in the day (my favorite from them was Bat Lady…at least with how the conversations work out in my head…not necessarily what they really say) and the quality stories they did…I don’t think they’d compete with some of the companies that don’t have a language barrier today. Certainly not Cross the Line Entertainment.

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  35. ximi says:

    I think there is also another angle: It seems to me due to their success,GIGA/ZEN have been going through some merge/acquisition in the last several months, or at least adding others’ work under their brand name. These days many videos sold at their site are produced by other teams. And these videos are a mixed bag at most, but in general lower in quality than the original Zen/GIGA products.

    I agree with HM on the formula thing – I have bought quite a few of their products following that formula, and wouldn’t mind more in the same fashion as long as it carries a heroine and performance I like. Their problem is less with the formula or story than with actress – maybe director as well but only professionals like HM knows that stuff 🙂 – my main problem with their recent work is the heroine actress. They are bit too “girlie” too my taste recently.

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  36. Sidekick says:

    Hey, everyone.

    Welcome to another idea HM and I had been kicking around for a while. We hope to make this an ongoing thing along with the “Week in Review” and producer/actress interviews.

    I don’t know if you want to call it an “editorial” but we wanted to write columns like these and hopefully get some discussion going. Maybe you think Zen is better than ever. Maybe you think Zen was never any good to begin with. Whatever the case, we’d love to hear both fan and producer thoughts on the topic.

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