A life-size blow-up doll develops a soul and falls in love with a video store clerk.


Hirokazu Koreeda


Yoshiie Goda (manga), Hirokazu Koreeda (screenplay)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Bae Doona ... Nozomi
Arata Iura ... Junichi (as Arata)
Itsuji Itao ... Hideo
Joe Odagiri ... Air Doll Maker
Sumiko Fuji Sumiko Fuji ... Widow
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sei Andô Sei Andô
Tasuku Emoto ... Peep-tom Student
Mari Hayashida Mari Hayashida
Mari Hoshino Mari Hoshino ... Apple Woman
Ryô Iwamatsu Ryô Iwamatsu ... Owner of Video Rental Shop
Tomomi Maruyama ... Moe's father
Miu Naraki Miu Naraki ... Moe
Jyonmyon Pe Jyonmyon Pe
Masaya Takahashi Masaya Takahashi ... Ex-substitute Teacher
Susumu Terajima ... Policeman


A sex doll who is both a sexual companion and the recipient of her owner's all-around affection comes to life and becomes self aware. She begins to experience and experiment with life and has so many questions including many when she coincidentally walks into a video store and is hired by the shorthanded manager. She begins to experience and query birth, life and death. In the meantime, her owner is taking his time cluing in to his doll roaming around the city and having a life. Written by aghaemi

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The huge watch on the air doll's left wrist always points to the same time: 3 o'clock. See more »


Nozomi: It seems life is constructed in a way that no one can fulfill it alone.
Nozomi: Just as it's not enough for flowers to have pistils and stamens, an insect or a breeze must introduce a pistil to a stamen...
Nozomi: Life contains its own absence, which only an other can fulfill...
Nozomi: It seems the world is the summation of others and yet, we neither know nor are told that we will fulfill each other...
Nozomi: We lead our scattered lives, perfectly unaware of each other...
Nozomi: Or at times, allowed to find the other's presence ...
See more »


References The Little Mermaid (1989) See more »

User Reviews

the return of ARATA
6 May 2010 | by fundaquaymanSee all my reviews

With each of Kore-eda's new films, he tries new topics and/or narrative approaches. This film reminds me less of his previous work and more of Michel Gondry's short film that's a part of the TOKYO!(2008) compilation (a collection of 3 films with the topic being the city of Tokyo directed by three directors - Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, & Bong Jun-Ho).

Unlike some of his previous films that had connections with "family" and "memories" (AFTERLIFE, DISTANCE, NOBODY KNOWS, MABOROSI, & STILL WALKING), AIR Doll also connects but focuses on Losses - not about loved ones passing away, but the lost of values and feelings that make us human. In a much more surreal narrative compared to his previous realite approaches to story-telling (HANA being the exception as he was trying to dabble with comedy and period-pieces), AIR DOLL's story is dark and fairy-tale like. As usual the cinematography is perfect and appropriate for the story he is telling, and Kore-eda in this case works with Taiwanese DP Lee Ping-Bing to bring some of the most beautiful visuals and colors to each and every scene - the close-ups utilizing soft spot-focus are good enough to be used as Leica advertisements.

While the subject matter to AIR DOLL could have treaded onto "hentai" territory, Kore-eda keeps it in its surreal context and what results is a reflection on how we all are lost in a time where we also have all our material needs satisfied as substitutes to the valuable things in life we no longer have.

It's great to see the enigmatic Arata returning to a Kore-eda film (as always, his characters almost always come across as the alter-ego to the director), and Kore-eda again shows his love of the movies. I had no idea he actually liked THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY.

My favorite of Kore-eda's work still being THE AFTERLIFE, DISTANCE, and NOBODY KNOWS, but AIR DOLL is a bold attempt for Kore-eda, showing he can break the mold and continue on his journey of bringing new ideas to the film medium. Kore-eda and Kiyoshi Kurosawa are no doubt two of Japan's most talented filmmakers today.

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Release Date:

26 September 2009 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Air Doll See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan


Box Office

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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