The highly spurting wave of industrialization caused Japan to undergo a myriad of changes. Despite the benefits earned from the changes, many were detrimental to the society. In the comedy film Giants and Toys, Masumura attempts to satirize the inhumanity of Japan caused by industrialization through the depiction of unauthentic food.
The main portrayal of food in the movie Giants and Toys is candy, specifically caramel. The movie revolves around three rivaling caramel companies that take any chance they can to “sell” their product. Despite their knowledge of the detrimental effects of junk food, they do not cease to advocate for their products and instead glorifies the bad results. The company men use Kyoko’s “rotten” teeth caused by the overconsumption of candy as an advertisement. Having ”rotten” teeth is not an attractive value. However, blinded by the society’s bandwagon, people fail to understand what is good and what is bad anymore. Thus this symbolizes a decaying society just like Kyoko’s front teeth. However, people are not entirely “rotten,” as some kids call Kyoko, “ugly from up-close.” Not everyone gives in to the dishonest advertisement, causing the company’s profit to collapse.
The lack of substantial meal is critical in this film. Despite having several depictions of unauthentic food that include caramel, chocolate, candy, and pills, there is not one scene in which a real meal is integrated. This may possibly answer the reason why the relationships between people in the film are so fragile. For instance, Goda’s wife states that he is out “late” everyday. This signifies that Goda never takes his time to have a meal with his wife, meaning there is no significant interaction such as conversation, within their relationship. The inhumane human nature caused by industrialization is exposed as Goda fails to understand the importance of his marriage, and spends most of his time working. Thus the lack of interaction, primarily rooting from the failure of having a meal together, causes their marriage to be dysfunctional. Ultimately, the wife is shown to have lost her sanity as she attempts to replenish the horrible marriage by taking in a black cat.
The lack of substantial food is depicted through the film’s numerous incorporations of alcoholic beverages. Despite many generations’ significant enjoyment of alcohol consumption, alcohol definitely does not have a pleasant taste, and is not consumed for an enjoyable taste but for the effects that are brought upon the human brain. Alcohol has been traditionally used as a tool to gain personal satisfaction, to conquer secretive information, or to deceive an enemy. The portrayal alcoholic beverages are especially frequent when Nishi appears with Kurahashi, his lover that works for his rival company, Apollo.
The vast alcohol consumption by the couple implies their deceitful nature towards each other that is validated as Kurahashi ultimately ends up deceiving him. However near the last scene, a change occurs.
Kurahashi leaves behind her full second cup of alcoholic beverage in order to catch up to Nishi. Kurahashi’s giving up of her drink for Nishi symbolizes a change in their relationship. Without an inclusion of alcohol in their life, they are able love each other honestly. Their honest love is depicted in the very last scene of the movie, as Kurahashi remains by Nishi’s side when he is alone. Therefore, the consumption of unsubstantial food only causes detriments to human.