Check out this sexy/weird scene from Air Doll, a new Japanese movie that’s showing in select theaters in the U.S. this weekend. If you’re looking for an alternative to the Airbender/Twilight monoliths, Air Doll is a decent choice. Spoilers below.
Yes, Air Doll is about a blow-up doll that comes to life and ventures out into the world. (We posted the trailer ages ago.) It’s based on a manga by Yoshiie Gōda.
Her owner is a frustrated, lonely waiter who has no real friends or loved ones, and he cherishes the blow-up doll, Nozomi, as his only friend. Nozomi pretends to be inanimate when her owner is around, and the scenes between the two of them remind me of Lars And The Real Girl, except that the owner takes full advantage of her rubber/silicone vagina. The scene, early in the film, where the man has sex with Nozomi, is one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in ages, especially since you hear a loud rubbery creaking noise, like an air mattress, throughout, and then you have to watch him washing her Fleshlight-style vagina out afterwards.
And then, much later, Nozomi has wandered off and gotten a job at a video store and gotten friendly with her fellow clerk. And then she accidentally cuts her hand and starts to deflate, which leads to this incredibly romantic, disturbing, sexy scene where he reinflates her and she experiences real passion for the first time:
[Editor’s note: This video appears to have been taken down.]
That scene is going to stick in my head for a long time.
A lot of the film shows Nozomi struggling with the same sorts of issues you’d expect to see a robot that achieved sentience dealing with. What does it mean to be alive, what’s the purpose of existence, does everybody have a birthday, etc. And she discovers that lots of the people she meets are just like her: empty inside. (She still returns to her owner every night and pretends to be just an inanimate doll for him, at least for a long stretch of the film.)
It turns into a really beautiful story of awakening, but it never forgets the fucked-up nature of its subject matter — it’s always the story of a blow-up doll who’s been made to satisfy the sexual desires of lonely men, and the movie just gets more twisted as it gets sweeter. Without giving too much away, there are some twists late in the film that will be especially jarring and weird if you’ve gotten invested in the fate of this plucky, childlike sex doll come to life. The film does drag in places, and some of the shots of the sex doll wandering the city, gaping in wonder at everything she sees, could have been trimmed quite a bit. But it’s worthwhile both for the strange beauty of this film and for its willingness to go to some ultra-dark places.
Here are some stills, one of which might be considered NSFW:
Air Doll is playing in San Francisco and Berkeley for sure — but check to see if it’s coming to theaters in your area as well.