Japanese Film ‘Romance Doll’ Opens Up Conversation on Love, Sex, and Dolls
More than an enjoyable work of fiction, the movie brings the sex doll design industry to the big screen.
Director Yuki Tanada originally wrote her novel Romance Doll more than a decade ago, when sex dolls were just beginning to emerge onto the market.
Fast forward to 2020 where not only do sex dolls exist, but where they are also being equipped with cutting-edge technologies, Now, more than ever, people are interacting with dolls. Whether for romance, sex, companionship, or simply for a paycheque, Tanada brings all of these interconnecting complexities to the big screen in her most recent film adaptation Romance Doll.
The comic drama follows the life of Tetsuo, a young man who reluctantly takes a job designing sex dolls because he has no money. When he marries, he decides to hide the truth about his profession from his wife, resulting in a whirlwind of drama and secrets from both parties.
In addition to being a film that puts a rather taboo topic at the forefront, Tanada’s Romance Doll explores the relationship and connections between humans and sex dolls; something that is becoming more of a reality each day.
Tackling the topic from another perspective, the film focuses on Tetsuo and his role of sex doll designer rather than the more obvious choice of a sex doll owner. As the industry continues to grow, so does the amount of people working in it, giving insight into a different and atypical relationship that one may have with a sex doll and the implications of such.
The film’s focus is primarily on sex dolls rather than robots (meaning dolls with more modern technology), yet the conversation remains the same; how will we as a society navigate their inclusion?
There are many things that we are only just beginning to consider such as consent, relationships, law and policy, etc.
When asked if she thinks humans will soon seek out love/sex with robots rather than dolls, Tanada told the Japan Times:
With dolls that don’t talk, there is communication between the doll and its owner, but the owner also has a separate kind of communication with humans. If that same person can buy a robot that fulfills all his needs, communication with other humans becomes unnecessary. And that may be dangerous. And scary.
Regardless of the discussion that the film provokes around sex dolls, Romance Doll is still a fictional work of comedic drama for all to enjoy.
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