“Commercialization: Death of Nature” — Ivy Nguyen

In the opening of the movie, Kyouko is depicted with crooked teeth, unruly bangs, and an unusually high pony tail. She carelessly yawns with arms raised in the air; the comical scene is captured, turned black and white, and multiplied to look like a replication of Andy Warhol’s popular popart. The multiple, raw replications blow away at the end of the opening— symbolizing Kyouko’s loss of naturalness and individuality as she is involved with the company. In Giants and Toys, Yasuzo Masumura illustrates how Japan’s extreme commercialization of caramel results in their worker’s loss of individualism and naturalness.

In the opening of Giants and Toys, the president surveys Japan’s industrious workforce from the window in his office. He remarks that the workers look like caramels— uniform, the same taste, flavor and used to make a profit. This strange comparison of the employees and caramel indicate the unnaturalness and loss of individualism of both the candy and the workers and Masamura demonstrates this defilement artistically through Goda’s defective lighter. The repetitive clicks of the defective lighter syncs the constant flow of the assembly line while depicting the transparent sparks in the background. Not only does this scene portray the futility of the company’s efforts to commercialize the product as the lighter refuses to work, but also shows the internal defilement of the candy and how it becomes unnatural.

As the company continues commercializing their candy competitively, the employee’s health declines. One example of this is shown through Goda’s— the ambitious co-director. When he is promoted as the director of the company, his pep pills and tranquilizers no longer work when he contracts the same malignant cough that his ex-boss had from overwork. His greed and obsession over the promotion slowly drives him to insanity to the point where he puts his health aside. However, Goda’s health is not the only thing that becomes unstable— the company is as well. The creation of caramel gradually changes when the lighter no longer syncs the repetition and uniformity. A female worker faints from overwork and the caramels are sprawled across the floor. The extreme commercialization of caramel is like a poison that causes death— or naturalness of the human body.

Kyouko’s starts out as a silly unpretentious girl with her rotten teeth, young character and silly gestures of sticking out her tongue. This rawness— like the basic spices of suger or salt— is the foundation of Kyouko’s popularity and exponential grown to fame. However, the candy— which is manufactured in a factory and assumed to be chemically altered— disrupts the basic spices that Kyouko possesses when they are fed to her tadpoles. Similar her tadpoles in the safety of their makeshift home, Kyouko shares this naturalness and safety as well. However, this industrialized caramel is fed to Kyouko’s tadpoles during her rise to fame eventually the tadpoles die one at a time—foreshadowing the threat of Kyouko’s livelihood by the company.

The death of Kyouko’s individuality and naturalness is shown by her straight teeth, perfect hair and porcelain skin. At this point, all of Kyouko’s tadpoles have died and Kyouko has given into the uniformity— like the workers of the company and like the mass manufacturing of the caramel; she has molded into someone seemingly perfect and becomes “saleable goods.” The over-commercialization and uniformity of the company causes loss of individuality and naturalness in the company’s workers— especially through Kyouko.

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