Contributing writer – Films about men and their sex dolls, including Craig Gillespie’s “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007) and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Air Doll” (2009), may portray the owners sympathetically, but they also frame them as damaged outsiders, if not total creeps.
Mutsuki Kameyama’s sci-fi romance “12 Months of Kai” erases any ick factor by centering the film on a 28-year-old female web designer who presents as almost boringly average and setting its story in the near future (2025 to be exact), where a mysterious company called Somnium manufactures sophisticated personal care humanoids (PCH for short). These machines perform sexual services but otherwise bear little resemblance to the low-tech blow-up dolls of yore.
Instead of plumbing the depths of human sexuality, Kameyama, who wrote the original script, focuses on the protagonist’s struggle to normalize her unusual relationship with her PCH in the eyes of not only friends and family but also herself, while dealing with standard-issue romantic drama complications.
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