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March 11, 2011

Interview: Studio Happy Chicken Pink Owner Charlie Maib

When did you form Studio Happy Chicken Pink? I must say the name is very interesting.

Find Studio Happy Chicken Pink on

Studio Happy Chicken's official birthday is April 4, 2009. That's the day we shot our first release, Sundae Girl. The name and the chicken logo existed before that, though. A long time ago I fancied myself a manga artist (this was before anime was cool in the US… Back when the only way to see new releases was through mail-order fansubs that were translated on Tandy computers) and I did a comic that involved penguin suits. I attempted to draw a penguin, but it ended up looking like a chicken. I thought that the chicken looked especially happy, so I drew three lines over it's head to show that it was REALLY happy. I was never any good at drawing boys so I represented myself in the comics by drawing me as this happy chicken. Later, I launched a magazine called Service Service and we needed a name for the company, so I called it Studio Happy Chicken. That's where the chicken in a circle design comes from. We folded after a few issues because of the investment vacuum created by 9/11. Fast forward 8 years and I adopted the chicken logo again for the gravure studio; and because of the sexy nature of the films, I made the chicken pink… Thus Studio Happy Chicken Pink. A long answer to a short question… Probably more than you wanted to know.

I've gotten a chance to see two of your releases; Ayaka is Your Angel and Les Gamins. Both are very enjoyable, but oh so different. How have they been received by international audiences?

We shot our first two films, Sunday Girl and Ayaka is Your Angel almost a year before they saw commercial release. We spent a lot of time banging on doors in Tokyo trying to find a distributor. I didn't realize how hard it would be to find distribution in Japan! In Japan, unless you are Japanese, it's very hard to do business because there is a strong undercurrent of prejudice towards non-Japanese people in the professional community.

We actually released our titles in America a good four months before we were able to secure representation in Japan. Sales were slow at first… It's difficult to be a new company, and our distributor had a little trouble marketing us because we fall into a grey area between mainstream and porn. It's especially hard in Japan because we have no brand recognition so we're having to build a consumer base in an over saturated market. But in the last 3 months, we've seen a big boost in market representation in the US with our films being sold at such mainstream retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Sears. We're really working to make "gravure" one of the buzzwords of 2011.

Is the art of a good "tease" a lost art form in erotica?

Absolutely. With the proliferation of porn on the Internet, Americans expect that our titles will be pornographic. People are so use to seeing it all that when they don't, it can strike them as being a little off. We're constantly fighting a battle to prove we're not porn.

What are some differences that you've seen in Japanese erotica as opposed to what's popular here in the states?

There’s a huge cultural difference in what Japanese people find erotic and what Americans find erotic. For instance, there's a bestselling photo book in Japan that just has pictures of school girl's thighs. That's considered highly erotic. If someone were to release that book in the states, people just wouldn't get it. Conversely, women in American erotica seem to be more bold… More in command. In Japanese films, women are portrayed as submissive and powerless.

What can you tell us about the term "Gravure Idol"?

Gravure is literally French for photograph. In Japan, gravure refers to what Americans would call "cheesecake". There are tons of gravure idols in Japan, but most of them only make one or two videos to make some quick cash and are never seen again. I see the term 'idol" thrown around a lot on the internet; usually being used to describe a girl who is posing, professional or amateur. Real gravure idols are represented by a company and have a carefully controlled image. It's tough work being a gravure idol.

How we're you able to discover some of the Studio Happy Chicken ladies like Ayaka?

Believe it or not, we put an ad in the newspaper.

Do your films play theatrically in Japan or other parts of the world?

Unfortunately, they don't. Converting digital cinema to 35mm prints is very expensive and at this time wouldn't be very cost effective. I'd love to see our stuff reach theaters. Maybe in the future.

Are you yourself a fan of Japanese adult features?

Yes and no. I really enjoyed the films Sex and the Fury and In the Realm of the Senses, but they're both older. To be honest, I find a lot of what's released in Japan now to be garbage. It all comes off as being very low budget. I hope that the people who watch our films get a sense of the time and effort we put into each release.

What's on the horizon for Studio Happy Chicken? Any future releases you can tell us about?

Right now we're working on a film with one of our Happy Chicken Girls, CoCo, called Another Side of Catherine. After that we'll be shooting the follow-up to Ayaka is Your Angel, called Ayaka is Your Devil. I've got a bunch of ideas floating around in my head… One of those things is a modern Japanese take on Alice in Wonderland set in Shinjuku. In the short-term April will see the release of @Home Idol featuring Moe Takahashi and Studio Happy Chicken Girls which is a Blu-ray exclusive "remix" release. It has bits and pieces from our current catalog, plus an exclusive cut of the two girl scene from Les Gamins and a few exclusive films on it, like Symphony of Youth. We're releasing it at a budget price of $19.99 to get it into the hands of people who may not be familiar with our work.

For more information on Studio Happy Chicken Pink releases go here: and be sure to also hit there Facebook page:

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