Redline is an odd film to think about. At its very well-presented surface there are racecars with rocket launchers that seem to fulfill a base desire for wanton destruction. But with such bombast in the film, it would be easy to assume the writing is shallow, isn’t great, or is even bad. That Redline actually has solid storytelling to go along with its senseless action is as much of a surprise to me is at might be to you.
But yes, the film does indeed have racecars/mechs/boats/whatever with rocket launchers as the first few minutes will prove. But the race the contestants are in isn’t the namesake, but a qualifying event called Yellowline. The story itself follows the exploits of JP, who lives and breathes racing, but unlike the other contestants his ride isn’t armed to the windshield. As Yellowline concludes, an unfortunate event causes him to lose the race, but as preparation for Redline starts, a string of coincidences give him another chance to compete in the race.
From there, most of the film spends its time building character relationships and motivations. I would say world building, but most if it is made on the spot for whatever would be cool to happen in that situation. The titular race is going to take place on Roboworld, a planet whose rulers really don’t want the race taking place there. Somehow, they’re obligated enough to let the racing committee set up shop for the race, but violent enough to attack the racers, whether at a diner or at the race itself. Said racing committee has rules about race rigging to protect its entrants, despite all of the racers being allowed to drive what are effectively war vehicles. Yeah. Really.
Don’t mistake my facetiousness for disdain though. There’s a certain charm in knowing that flirtatious twins who command a racing stripper mech...come from the royalty of a magical kingdom planet. And the incompetence of Roboworld’s rulers makes the thought of how they run the planet humorous. Very little of the setting from its rules on racing to eligibility for racing don’t align. The racing committee has rules in place to protect its entrants, but they don’t seem to mind letting a police officer and the convict he’s chasing compete. The only consistency here is how inconsistent everything is. It’s cool things for the sake of cool things.
But back to the characters, all of them are fairly archetypical. JP is the typical cool cat who lives for glory, Sonoshee the sexy love interest, and Frisbee the manager and friend who makes the tough decisions. There’s nothing else to say about them individually, but together their naturally connected backstories give a surprising amount of weight to their relationships. These backstories don’t say much, but they unfold in a deliberate pace to give an otherwise brash film a surprising amount of heart. It’s just a shame the main trio is held back by the film’s need to try and flesh out other characters.
But that doesn’t mean all of the other characters were poorly realized. Big Robot and Crybaby Robot (seriously, you won’t remember them by name) are naturally introduced as JP and his epic pompadour go around scouting out the competition. The other characters, not so much. They’re introduced in a brief way that makes sense, but at the same time it’s easy to spot that their only purpose will be an excuse to create explosions at the Redline race. If the film didn’t waste time to pretend it cares about its other characters, then that time could be used on the main trio to make them something more than solid.
Of course, watching this film for the deeper meaning of what it means to win or for a character study on JP would be missing the point. The reason to watch Redline is for its final act, where studio Madhouse delivers on the film’s tagline to ‘WITNESS THE FUTURE OF ANIMATION.’ Instead of seeing the visuals take shortcuts to give the illusion of speed, speed is seen as racers take shortcuts within the visuals. Every vibration from their engines shifts each vehicle ever so slightly as even their hair sways with each skid and drift. It’s smaller details on top of fast-swerving objects against gorgeous backdrops.
Part of what makes the backdrops—and characters—gorgeous is the artstyle of saturated contrast. Colors that are normally dull manage to shine, colors that normally shine are brilliant, and shadows don’t give colors varying shades, but are pure black and used to highlight details for stylistic effect. It’s an artstyle of extremes that creates subtlety to be appreciated during the slower moments of the film. And even when the film gains speed, the visuals never lose their radiance and detail.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack is underwhelming—not bad—by comparison. The number of distinct pieces can be counted on one hand. They’re fun while they play during parts of each race, but the limited number of tracks makes the action slightly boring to hear (but it’s always fun to watch). I say slightly boring because character dialog thankfully picks up the musical slack, as the refreshing trash talk between contestants breaks the monotony of engines roaring. The non-action parts of the film especially rely on dialog to keeps things interesting, and for the most part it succeeds.
But it’s that non-action part of the film that I need to bring special attention to. Understandably, a film focused on spectacle still needs compelling enough characters to make the action worth caring about. And they ARE solid characters. At the same time, ‘solid’ might not be enough to hold everyone’s interest for most of the film, especially when it’s the animation—the action-packed animation—that’s the main draw of the film. For a story with characters who make split-second decisions, viewers will ironically need a small measure of patience.
Still, these faults aren’t enough to make Redline a bad or even average film. It’s uneventful moments are still energetic, the setting pulls off a casual disregard of consistency for coolness, and the character interaction believably builds backstory. Overall, no part of the film is ‘bad’ because even its weakest parts are still ‘good.’ With just enough human drama to accelerate the spectacle of racecars with rocket launchers, Redline will leave you at the edge of your driver’s seat.
This movie ( which has absolutely no relation to One Piece ) is aimed at fans of racing movies, such as The Fast and the Furious. On a secondary level it will appeal dearly to anyone who loves great animation, over the top action, and not much of a plot to tire his mind while looking at the pretty lights. Anime and racing go way back as the original Speed Racer but it was only after Initial D came around that people started to care about the genre in those weird Asian cartoons. Many others tried to redo its fame but none managed to do so… until this baby came out.
The production took seven whole years just to guarantee the necessary quality and style that such a project would require. And DAMN I must say the results are rewarding you in the fullest. I mean DAMN it looks super epic gorgeous just to look at. It has this style that makes it feel like a stylish graphic novel and soundtracks full of beat. It is not a first; they did a similar style in Dead Leaves and Trava: Fist Planet but the budget alone makes this ten times cooler. Studio Madhouse once again proves that it’s the king of anime series with this beauty, and if GAINAX hadn’t made Gurren Lagann while the film was still in the making, it would have caused an unparallel tsunami of excitement worldwide in its stead. But it’s ok; I consider Red Line to be the Gurren Lagann of movies.
So, just like your typical blood-boiling racing movie, the goal everybody has in the story is to win in a race. That is all, do not look any deeper for more, these guys just live to race. Although there are some attempts to flavor it further by inserting some secondary events, such as miners trying to sabotage a military facility, which is hiding a weapon of mass destruction, which goes out of control, which causes laser satellites to fire upon the planet, which causes Katsuhiro Otomo to think about suing them for shamelessly stealing all his ideas from Akira, down to it the story is by far the least of your concerns and by far the weakest aspect of the film. You are not watching this for its substance but for its over-the-top style; end of story. Everything follows the rule of cool and thus you get these insane stunts and explosions which if the story was trying even a little bit to show realistically, would have resulted to the horrible deaths of all the competitors in just a few minutes after the race begins. I mean, seriously, don’t try to make any sense of it because you will be facepalming every 30 seconds and you will miss all the awesomeness of the action.
Just like the story, the characters are also nothing complicating. We basically have 8 cars with one or two drivers in each, and every one of them is there for fame and glory. They are all quite the crazy folks risking their lives for a silly race but then again the whole point of the movie is to bring out their idealism to heights of mount Everest, so they fit the whole thing. Plus, none of them are fakin wimps like most of modern shows are full of today. THIS IS GAR MAN! I LOVE GAR! They are walking down the street with their uber machoness and revealing sexuality, making everybody to just drop their jaws and look for their ejected eyeballs by the awesomeness. DIS IS DA SH1T YIHA!
The story focuses mostly on two drivers, JP and Sonoshee, as well as the childhood fiend Frizbee and his shady dealings with the mafia regarding fixed races. The first two are like star-crossed lovers and to be honest I didn’t like how they even tried to include such sloppy excuses for romance in this mess. I guess it’s necessary to show some sort of romance amongst all the madness for the first place. It’s still weak though. As for his friend, well, he is supposed to make things more grey but the way everything in this movie happen are so insane that it doesn’t mean much in the longrun. As for all the rest, they are there only for flavoring the whole thing and despite each one being presented as entirely different, they are eventually quite unimportant despite the epic stuff that blow up around them.
Anyways, both characters and story are eventually nothing but dressing for the action, which as I said so many times it’s superb. I am usually not fond of such shallow works but it also doesn’t drag more than it should, so I don’t think I would like it if it was a series. In this case it is awesome for the purpose they make it to be; something between Oban Star Racers, Mad Max, and Death Race 2000 all in one package and hyped to over 9000 in adrenaline. If this does not get to you, nothing will.
So that’s pretty much it, a movie you watch for the adrenaline and the oozing style. It’s not going to make you think about anything but it’s a great piece of action of a level much higher that most others out there. Take it as it is or GTFO!
I first heard about this film while review videos to cure boredom. Then one video was about Redline. However, that just made me aware of the movie's existence. Later, I received many recommendations for anime movies and Redline was one of the more numerous recommendations. So, I just started watching it to finally see what it was all about
The whole concept of the show is, at it's bare bones, Mario Kart but in space and a million times more badass. Basically it focuses on this grand space race with the hero, "Sweet" JP as one of the participants. That's pretty much it. Also, there's what I felt was a really forced romance that wasn't really fleshed out very well. Actually, that's my main problem with the story. It wasn't completely fleshed out. The romance happens just because there just had to be one. I don't mind there being romance but never appreciated forced ones.
This animation is by far one of my most favorites I've ever seen. The movie puts majority of the effort into making it look as awesome as possible. Mission Success! The art style is so comic book and the use of color is fantastic. The heavy amount of black in contrast to vibrant colors adds a whole lot of depth. As for action scenes they were clean and crisp. The execution of all the action was done extremely well. It's a full on attack to your senses. All pun intended, it goes pedal to the metal 1,000 mph and is balls-to the wall. What else do you expect from MadHouse, which I believe animate the best action scenes.
The dialogue reminded me more of them having actual conversations. Although there's the mandatory screaming in Japanese. I actually liked that because they seemed to fit the characters then. The music seems like it was for a video game. It was all techno and electronic. I usually don't listen to that stuff on my own time but it was nice here because it fit in so well with the video game like vibe the show gives off.
My main problem with this is that they were barely fleshed out. No one's true motivations felt 100% clear to me besides a few minor characters. The main cast just felt lacking in depth. However, they were a fun group of people. JP is your typical cool guy and it feels like he's not really trying and I like that. It makes you want to BE like him.
Easily the greatest thing about this show is its stunning art style and very appealing animation. I could just look at it all day and still love it. However, it just lacked substance. If they just gave more depth and give clearer motivations then I'd really love it. They just glossed over some pasts that could've helped. I mean the movie is 1hr 42min. They definitely could've moved time for that. Other than that, it was a really good movie to watch that's a feast for the eyes.
Not great, but not the worst. It's an animated Fast and Furious. And that series is terrible except the first film. So this movie pretty much missed the mark for me on all points. If you find nothing interesting about cars, this will bore the crap out of you. I watched this to see if it was "kid friendly". It has ONE nudity scene that I can remember and average swearing. So, it's safe for all ages. Though I doubt our son will be entertained much.
Really great anime, mostly for it's drawing style. Fun to watch, the animation is really awesome too. It's out of the box, brings racing animation to a whole new level.
Characters is another part that makes this anime good. Well you might hate it if you're sticked around with "moe" style, but they're just so good, especially MC and his rivals. Even the background characters are made well if you see it through.
Not sure about the story though, it's kinda lack of something. It just my common sense, don't make it affect your affection to this anime. The ending is quite a sudden cliffhanger too, imo.
Give an overall 8.5. Don't know what to say much about this. It just basically so good. I had goose bumps watching the final drag xD Well, as I said, you might hate it if you're sticking around with "moe" art style, but give it a shot, will ya?