Giants and Toys: Like Clockwork

Giants and Toys, by Yasuzo Masumura, is a story about three competing caramel companies and the relationships between their employees, the relationship between business and fame, business and sales, and the relationship between celebrities and the sales of their products. In several scenes, Mr. Goda’s lighter malfunctions; as the lighter turns into a shadow in the background, the foreground show various montages, such as caramels quick journey around the company’s factory to be packaged and Kyoko’s fame skyrocketing with the increasing amount of World Caramel advertisements using her as their star.

 

Caramels on a journey around the factory until they’re packaged. Goda’s lighter malfunctioning in the background.

This scene is one of the biggest messages in the film. Both scenes start out with a failing lighter not igniting. This image fades into the background, barely visible but still existing as a montage plays in front of the audience. The sound of the lighter trying to make a spark plays throughout the whole montage; the sound is rhythmic and works as a metronome for all the actions in the montage. It is important in the scene with caramels are being made because it shows the idea of how caramels are made like clockwork. Each piece of caramel goes through the same process in the factory: to be made, cut, and put in packages so vendors can sell them to children; this process follows a rhythm as each step follows a quick orderly pattern, in step with the metronome-like sound from the malfunctioning lighter. In short, the making of caramels in a factory runs like clockwork.

 

A montage of Kyoko’s advertisements showing her increase in popularity. Goda’s lighter malfunctioning in the background

When Mr. Goda’s lighter fails again, a new montage displays while the lighter fades into the background as a shadow again. This time the montage is Kyoko, showing several pictures of her posing with caramels, her rotted teeth, and later in a spacesuit for their promotion for World’s caramel advertisements. Each job increases the amount of photos she takes, shown in the montage, which shows her rise in fame; the amount of pictures displaying her popularity. In the same way caramels are made in a timely and orderly manner, this montage gives the idea that using a person works the same way. Each picture of Kyoko in World’s advertisement increases her fame, which increases their product’s popularity. In this sense, Kyoko’s fame is seen also like clockwork, it follows certain steps in tune with the metronome sound of the failing lighter.

 

Both scenes are nearly identical to each other: they contain failing lighters, rhythmic metronome sounds, and a montage of something, Kyoko’s fame or the production of caramels, occurring in an orderly fashion. The scene being similar gives more ideas to the story of Giants and Toys: selling people is like selling caramels, and that sales of products and their characters are linked and dependent on each other. This idea focuses on Kyoko and how she is nothing but an object to sell to consumers to make profit. Without caramels, Kyoko would never have risen to fame; but without Kyoko, World would not have increased their sales. Their dependence on each other affects their popularity and determines World’s sales. In the end, they are both objects to World, who always search for ways to improve their products to make a profit in a timely order, like clockwork.

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