Adult Toy Story: Romance vs. Reality in "Air Doll"

A sad, tired man takes the late train home from work. He comes home to his consolation: dinner and conversation and lovemaking with his beautiful girlfriend. Except his girlfriend is a blow-up doll. The conversation is entirely one-sided; when the lovemaking is over, he scrubs out her removable vagina with a hose.

This has clearly been going on for some time. How long, we don’t know. The next morning, though, the doll comes to life. Or comes to something like life.

And her story begins.

There are a lot of ways to look at “Air Doll,” a beautiful, thoughtful, oddly delicate new film from acclaimed Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-ada (“Still Waiting,” “After Life,” “Nobody Knows”). And the sexual angle isn’t even the most obvious one. There’s quite a bit of sexual content in this film, but — surprisingly for a movie about a blow-up sex doll — it’s not the main focus. The existential questions — what does it mean to be alive? what does it mean to be conscious? how do we distinguish between people and non-people? — leap much more to the foreground.

But this is me. And this is CarnalNation. So let’s talk about sex.


Thus begins my latest piece on CarnalNation, Adult Toy Story: Romance vs. Reality in “Air Doll.” To find out more about what this new movie says about sex — and especially what it says about sexual intimacy — read the rest of the piece. (And if you feel inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to Carnal Nation — they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!

Adult Toy Story: Romance vs. Reality in "Air Doll"

3 thoughts on “Adult Toy Story: Romance vs. Reality in "Air Doll"

  1. 1

    If you want a far more ribald take on this idea, the Sexy Losers webcomic (winner of 6 out of 5 toilets on the “list of potentially offensive webcomics” offsensometer) had a thread about the “Dutch Wife Fairy” who brings sex toys to life.

  2. Eli

    I think your interpretation was a little harsh on Hideo; it seemed to me that he didn’t “replace” the doll because he was tired of her, but because she was hiding in the cupboard under the stairs; he’s overheard complaining about someone disposing of his stuff, although that part is fairly ambiguous.
    Also, his entire reaction to her animate status takes place within the five minutes after being suddenly confronted with his doll come alive. I think he was more conflicted than your review suggests; he did ask if she could go back to the way she was before, but he also did go after her when she ran away.
    And the doll *does* finally end up taking the erotic initiative, albeit with not-so-good results…

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