Air Doll, the Japanese Film About a Sex Doll That Comes to Life


A story about an inflatable sex doll that comes to life and tries to make sense of the new and often very sad human world around her, Air Doll is a Japanese feature film that will be opening this weekend in San Francisco and Berkeley. The trailer is available on YouTube.

When I first read the synopsis of the film, I thought it was going to be funny and of course it reminded me of Mannequin, the 1987 classic featuring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. However, I quickly realized that Air Doll is not a comedy. The press release calls it, “a magical meditation on what it means to be human.” I call it a look into the sad and lonely world of Japan and Japanese society from the point of view of a true outsider (the sex doll.)

The opening sex scene between the lonely waiter and his sex doll is unforgettable and cringe worthy, in that good way you expect from all Japanese cinema. On a personal note, if I were friendless, depressed, pathetic, and had no life and no chance with a real woman, a sex doll wouldn’t be that bad. I mean, it’s better than being by yourself, right? And who knows, it might come to life and look like the beautiful Korean star Bae Du-na (The Host).

I would recommend this film to people who are looking for something different. It’s not your typical Hollywood movie, and that’s a good thing in this case. Do note that it does drag in parts — and stretches the concept of “willing suspension of disbelief” to it’s breaking point — but it is worth staying till the end. The end will surprise you. Trust me.

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About Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (, the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.
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