Air Doll (空気人形) is a movie directed by Hirozaku Kore-eda and based on the eponymous manga by Yoshiie Goda.
Hideo (Itsuji Itao), a socially awkward middle-aged man, has bought an inflatable sex doll for companionship whom he calls Nozomi (Bae Doona). One day, for no precise reason, Nozomi becomes sentient and decides to figure out what this "life" thing is. Putting on a Meido outfit, she ventures out of Hideo's flat and walks around in the city, learning her first words by repeating what people say and tentatively interacting with them.
She finds a job as a sales attendant in a video store, and every evening, sneaks back to Hideo's place where she fakes her earlier non-sentience. As she meets more people, she realizes that all of them are symbolically as empty as she is physically.
Contains examples of:
- An Aesop: "Life cannot be fulfilled alone".
- Blank Slate: Nozomi's eccentric behavior, (such as being amazed of trivial things like her own shadow, responding to abstract concepts such as life and death in a childlike way (smiling and saying "Hard to understand."), and mimicking other people's behavior) and seeing as she's just come to life and is essentially only a few days old
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Nozomi, which is justified, since she's just come to life.
- Hideo counts as well, albeit being a much more disturbing example than Nozomi.
- Companion Cube: As stated above, Nozomi is treated as such by Hideo. Contrary to what some might think, it's not as funny as it sounds.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In order to reinflate Nozomi, Junichi lifts up her dress and blows into the valve on her belly. They later admit that it was an erotic experience for both of them, and they deliberately renew it.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Nozomi picks it up from her owner, but when asked about it, pretends she heard people speak that way in a movie.
- Meido: Nozomi initially dresses like one. People just seem to assume she's a cosplayer.
- Not So Different: The old man in the park remarks that the human race is somewhat similar to mayflies, which isn't exactly flattering.
- No Social Skills: Barely subverted with Hideo; sure, he treats Nozomi like she's alive note , but his conversations with her indicate that he does talk to other people.
- Oh, Crap!: Junichi, when he realizes that Nozomi isn't human.
- Pinocchio Syndrome
- The Rain Man: Nozomi can draw pretty well for someone who's just gained sentience.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story
- Sliding Scale Of Living Sex Toys: Nozomi is a Type 2 to Hideo, but a Type 5 to everyone else.
- Title Drop: Repeatedly done by a narrating Nozomi.
- Nozomi: I am an Air Doll.
- Weirdness Censor: Junichi finds out Nozomi's true nature when she accidentally deflates in front of him, but he takes it in stride.
- Nozomi doesn't seem to be too bothered by the fact that she was only made to fulfill sexual desires.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Oh you best believe that this trope would be on this page.
- World Half Empty: Every human being Nozomi meets is lonely and sad. The world, in fact, is empty in more ways than one: the streets of Tokyo seem strangely deserted. The emptiness is lampshaded in Nozomi's conversation with an old man in the park.Nozomi: I'm empty too.
Old Man: What a coincidence, so am I.
Nozomi: I wonder if there are more like me.
Old Man: These days, everybody is.