Tomoe Shiro, a formidable racer with a very promising career, experiments a U-turn when a serious accident puts his life at stake. He recovers miraculously though when his heart is replaced with the engine of his own racing car. However, because of that very reason, race regulations demote him to the category of a mere mechanical part of the vehicle and is deprived from the right to participate as a pilot in regular races. Only in a far away colonial planet, along with a multitude of other charismatic pilots also vetoed from participating in regular competitions, will he be given the opportunity to race for his pride and the money of the prize. And so this exciting rally starts!!
I spent a couple of minutes trying to find info on Tailenders but came up with very little. This 27-minute short movie has often been compared to the phenomenal full movie Redline, either favorably or derisively for being a copy. Oddly enough, Tailenders aired a mere month after Redline’s debut at the Locarno International Film Festival. It would’ve basically been impossible for it to have been made in that timeframe even as short as it is. It’s much more likely Tailenders took inspiration from what little they saw in the Redline pilot in January 2009, because if they went completely without encountering it than this is surely anime’s greatest coincidence because of all the similarities. I also couldn’t even find the purpose of Tailenders’ creation. If it’s a movie for the sake of making one then I find it odd it’s Picograph studios’ only work. Perhaps it was a pilot to secure possible funding for a full movie or TV series. Whatever the case, Tailenders is here and it’s all we got.
Personally, I couldn’t care less about the Redline similarities, intentional or otherwise. Actually, I couldn’t be happier. Redline is possibly my favorite anime movie ever, and anyone who feels strongly about it wishes they just had more of it. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and if the people behind Tailenders saw greatness in Redline then I applaud them for recognizing what worked and doing an impressive enough job at emulating it. All art has a genealogy somewhere.
In the Tailenders universe, mankind and other various creatures have been forced to live nomadic lives on gigantic moving cities due to a malfunctioned terraforming machine that’s been going around wreaking havoc on the environment for years. High speed racing has been glorified, as these “Tailenders” scope out the constantly changing Earth as they race. Among these drivers is Shiro, who gets into a life-threatening accident just as he’s about to overtake the simulated ghost of his hero and rival, “Loser King”. Shiro is revived by the mechanic Tomoe, with his body changed and heart replaced with a new special engine. Shiro himself has now become the vehicle, and he and Tomoe aim to be faster than ever in the upcoming race. But Tomoe has her own grander goals in mind…
The premise and reasoning behind a dystopian future that has forced humanity to constantly move is clever and an appropriate ideology and backdrop for the high speed breathless thrills. There’s also a simple theme of human and technology evolution that’s possibly inspired by Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann when taking a look at the lightning-struck animation style that bears similarities to that Gainax work and studio Trigger. Despite this setting construction almost no time is spent showing these moving cities and other than Shiro and Tomoe’s meeting practically all other time passes on the road.
This is where the action is, and the prime time to talk about what draws people to Tailenders. If you’re looking to things similar to Redline, the subject of racing doesn’t matter as much as the art style and quality of animation. Tailenders features the same beautifully bright solid colors contrasted with heavy outlines and pitch black shading covering most sides of characters and objects. It’s absolute sugar sweets for the eyes, and the jagged character designs that all look drastically different from each other keep the environment constantly fresh and always bring out the stark coloring.
The animation is generally smooth but is not nearly as fluid as Redline, which reveals a handicap of time, budgeting, or talent. This is where the similarities start to become differences as it’s clear where Tailenders falls shorter. There’s much less movement in scenes than Redline, and many shots attempt to draw less frames to portray movement more simply. This leads to a lot of frames of just straight traveling cars and moving backgrounds, and basic cockpit angles. The vehicles are CG, probably because they’re easier to reuse on frames. Although the cel-shading look to them with the solid color textures make them cohesive enough to the world’s general art style, the clear detachment the CG has from the 2D backgrounds further makes them look like objects being dragged across a screen. There just isn’t as much going on in each of Tailenders’ scenes as Redline. The music is hardly adrenaline pumping with just about only an average main theme and many scenes of silence, even behind the wheel. Sound editing is occasionally weak and combines with the simple display of movement to create scenes that could do better to have more impact. A particularly shocking example is the cheap slashing sound used when Goodspeed lands on top of the missile shooters that has almost no punch behind it. It dials down the excitement.
Still, these are by no means too significant flaws when being compared to one of anime’s most technically visceral achievements. Other than audio, Tailenders is still an impressive visual piece that carries a light but likably eccentric enough storyline, world, and characters. For 27 minutes it meets an all-around quality that’s high enough for it to not run out of gas and be an easy recommendation for anyone looking for more anime with bright, sharp, and kinetic art direction. It may be carried by those things since Redline also has a more empathetic main character and even a more believable romance, but I would’ve been fine watching more of Tailenders as it is. It’s a pity things stopped here.read more
I never thought that a single 27 min episode would be good enough for a movie.. stunningly enough Tailenders broke the record in this case, utilizing a meager half an hour this movie gave me an unexpectedly good and entertaining experience.
The story is set in future when mankind plants Terraformers on planets in an attempt to colonize them. By going haywire Terraformers produce disastrous consequences of tectonic shifts, environmental changes and 'stampede'.The protagonist, having an engine as his heart, must now participate in a precarious race with the Terraformer as the final destination risking his life to achieve what the Loser King couldn't 100 years ago.
A rapid plot development and simple sci-fi imagination about racing form the core of the movie. The plot is fast-paced but not rushed and doesn't seem to have missing/skipped parts, I'm saying that most people can easily comprehend the plot and all its sci-fi inventions and appreciate it. Though its mainly focused on racing other aspects are also glimpsed at nicely. The fiction introduced is nothing extraordinary but original enough. However sometimes too many elements are introduced all at once in a not so impressive manner, the racing course also didn't impress me much.
I hope you notice the use of contradictions.. 'Loser King' as a hero and 'Tailenders' as great racers.. its amusing
The art and animation are good if not great. The art and graphics have been done really well with minimal use of CG. The action scenes are somewhat lacking in both depiction and direction, what is expected is sometimes skipped and the focus, angles and timing do not come out so well in some racing scenes. The rest of the animation is much better and impressive.
Sound.. what to say , your usual noise of engines revving up, tires screeching and the like, nothing more, nothing less..
I'd rather not comment on characters cause 27 minutes is hardly time enough to define and develop a character. If I had to say, I suppose the main cast are introduced pretty well even though they don't have an air of originality to them.
All in all I think it has a decent plot which is skilfully executed with nice animation, for a time pass its really good. The sci-fi touch given is also nice and improves the potential, if developed further it can turn out to be really good.read more