You are Our Dead Spaceman: Torn and Worn in Giants and Toys

Shot 1: Yousuke Nishi Taking the Spacesuit

Shot 1 above illustrates the climatic return of Yousuke Nishi after his failed attempt in retrieving Kyoko Shima to continue branding World’s caramels as wished by his boss. Though many themes are seen throughout Giants and Toys, this particular shot highlights the complexities of corporate darkness and practices that interplay behind the frustration and helplessness of loyal employees with integrity. The juxtaposition of the crazily smiling but exhausted boss and the frustrated and helpless employee serves to demonstrate, along with the various elements found within the mise-en-scène, the degeneration behind the glorious publicity of corporations in times of ever declining sales.

Being promoted to the president of World, Nishi’s boss is awkwardly and shamefully depicted in the scene as a man crazed for success but pressured by extremely poor sales. His smile is twisted and displays his joy when his loyal employee Nishi returns, out of integrity and responsibility, to become the new spacesuit mascot. The poorly dressed president and the lowly employee in a spacesuit that used to symbolize so much popularity all emphasize the deterioration of World. The uncolored model of the space world exhibition on the table further suggests the incompleteness of the publicity campaign and program, dealing another blow into the sales of World. Finally, the revolving lights of World as captured in the window are never fully captured by the camera. The darkness that surrounds the turning globe foreshadows, if not realizes, the downfall of World.

Nishi, being perhaps the typical but also model of the employee through his dedication, trustworthiness, loyalty to friends and company, and moral character, is questioned by the president’s “You think so?” comment in response to his statement that he will not become like him. However, as my analysis above already indicates, and supported later by the closing scene of the movie, Nishi is, not surprisingly, finally molded into another already expired spaceman that mechanically entertains the night street with his fake publicity smile – perhaps, another gear to be worn, if not already worn, down in the corporate machinery.

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