A young, suave, though reckless racer named JP barely makes into Redline, the biggest, most dangerous racing event in the universe where anything goes. It's held once every 5 years, and ear time in a different place; this time it's on the planet Roboworld, whose government does not approve of Redline. And the rulers plan to stop its racers by any means necessary. JP will have to battle both Roboworld's police forces as well as the other 7 racers if he wants to win. Chief among his competitors are the beautiful, fiercely independent Sonoshee McLaren, and four-time Redline champion Machine Head Testujin.
Take Speed Racer, Wacky Races, and the general art style of F-ZERO X, mix them in a blender, and add fantastic art/animation/writing, and Redline is what you'd end up with.
Seriously, though; Redline kicks ass. It's fun, has a great sense of humor, is brilliantly animated and drawn, and features two cool, intelligent, fun leads.
Redline wastes no time whatsoever drawing you in. In just a few minutes we're watching the Yellowline, the preliminary race to determine who goes onward to Redline. Here we see a cool-looking alien planet, with inhabitants who looks like a mix of animal people and aliens who wouldn't look out of place in a Muppet film. Our main character amongst the many racers is Sweet JP, who kind of looks like a mix between a young Elvis Presley and The Fonz from Happy Days. He's a reckless racer who loves to race, and race fast especially. Our other lead is Sonoshee McLaren, known as Cherry Boy Hunter. Manageable, independent, and intelligent, she's simply not just eye candy for the guys watching Redline. (Though she is very easy on the eyes.)
So yeah, JP and Sonoshee follow typical anime character archetypes; easy-going male racer and self-reliant female racer, respectively. Still, their characters are developed well-enough in the course of a mere 102 minutes, with as much development and chemistry between them that one could muster without going under/overboard. Director Takeshi Kokie is very careful to not go too fast or too slow with the plotting of the movie, as is creator/script writer Katsuhito Iishi. Though JP arrives on Roboworld barely 20 minutes in, it's over 40 more minutes after that he finally starts racing on the Redline.
But as great as the racing action is, some of my favorite parts of the film were the parts that didn't involve racing, specifically between the Yellowline and Redline races. My personal favorite scene is when JP is at a bar on Roboworld, where he talks with Sonoshee and meets some of the other racers while the frustrated manager puts up with their fighting. It's a nice way to flesh out some of the other racers. Soon after we also have video profiles of some of the racers as well as the REDLINE race comes up, some which are so over the top they border on parody. (Machine Head Testujin, for example, pets a dog in his profile. There's something funny about a tall, menacing, voice echoing metal man petting a dog sincerely that makes me chuckle.) I also enjoyed the scenes with JP talking to his crew: his manager Frisbee, and his old mechanic. JP and Frisbee's is actually much more complicated than first glance, resulting in one of the better final scenes near the end of the movie, in my opinion.
So yeah, even Redline's slow moments are great. One thing always consistent is the amazing art.It's not as beautiful as a Studio Ghibli film per se, but it's much more stylish and gritty. Often I kept forgetting that I was watching something animated. And the animation is never lazy; crowds move, characters actually move their bodies and mouths when they talk, and the backgrounds are busy but never get in the way of the characters. According to the DVD extras, it took 7 years and over 100,000 hand-drawn frames to make Redline. The effort shows in every frame. Even the card and mecha are hand-drawn!
The music is quite good in Redline as well, but it's mostly rock music that wouldn't sound out of place in a F-ZERO game. Heck, some of the characters wouldn't look out of place in a F-ZERO game (with the possible exception of Sonoshee). I like the English ending theme, but it's pretty forgettable, unlike the movie itself it plays in.
One of the major reasons I got into anime in the first place was because it was more "adult" and edgy than what most American cartoons were. Redline is one of the best examples of this not from Studio Ghibli I can think of. It's an anime for grown-ups, no kids or grown-up kids. It's beautiful, gripping, and fun. I give it high recommendations!
An unforgettable anime experience. Regardless of your anime tastes, you should definitely give this a go. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: NOT FOR KIDS! There's quite a bit of violence (blood and death are rampant in one scene), as well as some fan service from twin female racers as well as Sonoshee's bare breasts out in one scene, nipples and all.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Redline © 2010 Katsuhito Ishii - GASTONIA - MADHOUSE / Redline Partners
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