GIANTS AND TOYS BLU RAY REVIEW

The advertising industry has always been an undulating beast, constantly changing, constantly adapting, constantly decaying. Like the fame it breeds, it is fickle but fastidious in extracting every last drop. In GIANTS AND TOYS, the 1958 film from  Yasuzo Masumura, it is powerfully explored with blackly comic undertones.

World is at the head of the confectionary industry in Japan. Candies are its game and making money its aim. Problem is the opposition are also in for a rebrand. New recruit to the marketing department Nishi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) is eager to impress boss Goda (Black Test Car’s Hideo Takamatsu). When they discover 18-year-old, Kyoko (Hitomi Nozoe), they think they have it. She might be rough around the edges but is she the one to send their brand to the stars?

GIANTS AND TOYS is a pointed affair. It is sharp pointed at that. Consumerism in Japan is the main target and that gets a solid spearing. American capitalist influences were hammering the post war economic environment. They introduced a myriad set of Americana. Marketing manipulation for instance is one. Franchise and fast accounting another (although Japan inspired the Just In Time economic modelling).

That is actually skewered here as well. GIANTS AND TOYS richly screams at the painful infusion of Americanism. The move away. The transition if you will. The legacy of America is a thing we are still coming to terms with but here it is seen in past and future. Business people are Game Theory driven, destroying each other. Well the newer ones are. The loss of honour has left something wholly cohesive in Japan destroyed. The power to do good or avoid conflict, has diminished. Though it is not harking back to the Shogun era, it is suggesting some of its good points have been lost for the worst. Within this also is written social calamity, as this fails to avoid fast fame and quick bucks. WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER is close to this in terms of American cinema but the bite here is hard to ignore.

DISC

Visually, the print is faultless. Flawless. Colour fixed and fantastic. Audio feels a little less worked though. The mix is too loud in areas and vocals drift.

EXTRAS

Tony Rayns introduction is a starting point for the ages. Solidly intelligent and short enough to hold attention. Earl Jackson Essay is almost as good. Being an almost history of the cinema treatment of industry, American influence and ad people.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed Japanese mono audio
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar Irene González-López
  • Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns
  • In the Realm of the Publicists, a brand new visual essay by Asian cinema scholar Earl Jackson
  • Original Trailer
  • Image Gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Michael Raine

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