Blu-Ray Review: Giants and Toys

The Allied occupation of Japan ended in 1952 and much of this period was devoted to rebuilding lost industrial capacity and moving towards a democratic society. Whilst poverty was still rife, the period of depression and despair which followed defeat had begun to turn into opportunity. Americanisation was rife and most trends originated from the occupying power. Advertising and manufacture were no exceptions. As is so vibrantly captured in Giants and Toys.

Nishi (Hiroshi Kawaguchi) is excited to begin work in the marketing department of World Caramel. It’s a thrilling time with his friends and fellow graduates Yokoyama (Koichi Fujiyama) and Masami (Michiko Ono) starting at rivals Giant and Apollo respectively. Nishi’s boss is the ambitious Goda (Hideo Takamatsu), who won’t let anyone stand is the way of his success. Eager to impress, Nishi helps him groom a poor and uncouth young woman (Hitomi Nozoe) they find on the street for stardom.

Giants and Toys is a rip-roaring yarn which captures the excitement and tensions of the time in a story that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood drama. Yasuzô Masumura’s film is dripping with cool, from the hard-boiled and erratic Goda to the American styles and fashions which had become prevalent during the period. Smart and sassy. Sexy and sumptuous. Giants and Toys is a comedy with a dark and tragic cutting edge.


  • 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

Giants and Toys is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 10 May.

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