Takeshi Koike's debut feature; seven years in the making. Redline is an anime about racing, only presented like nothing seen before. Produced by Madhouse, with second key animation from Gainax, music from James Shimoji and a cast and crew pumped with everlasting potential, this is certainly one of - if not the - most adrenaline filled anime film to date.
As a film about racing, the plot is fairly standard fare, but the larger than life presentation coupled with the sheer imagination and creativity that has gone into Redline is second to none. The story - despite cliches - is both exhilarating and incredibly well paced.
The action is, as you would imagine; fast, fantastic and full of adrenaline. The drama is at times cheesy, but it fits well with the films over-the-top attitude. The crazy antics in Redline make it clear the film isn't to be taken too seriously; it isn't a production that sets out to challenge our minds, but rather an exhilarating thrill-ride that's sole purpose is to entertain. In that respect, the story delivers and then some.
The tagline for Redline during its release was 'Witness the Future of Animation' and it's safe to say the studio never doubted the creativity of the team behind the film. Madhouse handled the production, with second key animation from Gainax - the films full development totaled seven years, with over one hundred thousand hand-made drawings. The amount of action and detail on screen at any one time is so vast the film begs for repeat viewings. The animation - in a word - is mind-blowing. The film is full of colour, detail and beauty like no other, the art style is vigorous and unique, and the character designs are fresh, exuberant and interesting.
The music - chiefly a variety of electronic compositions - is sublime. It blends seamlessly with Redline's fast-paced visuals, the sound editing is first-rate and the vocal tracks leave warm, fuzzy feelings - especially the ending song. The vocal talent is superb and particularly noteworthy; the film employs actors rather than seiyu in the leading roles. The leading man - JP - is voiced by Takuya Kimura, a member of the pop group SMAP and veteran actor who starred in Yoji Yamada's The Hidden Blade, part of the directors Oscar nominated samurai trilogy. The leading lady - Sonoshee - is portrayed by none other than Yu Aoi; an actress with many award-winning films under her belt, multiple of which were directed by national treasure and acclaimed auteur Shunji Iwai. Lastly, JP's right-hand man Frisbee is handled by Tadanobu Asano, one of few Japanese actors making a name for himself in Hollywood (recently he starred in Marvel's Thor). To quote journalist Helen McCarthy; "casting him was a stroke of genius."
The main characters all very much fit into conventional archetypes, but they're not made to be complex, deep, thoughtful beings. The characters, like the story and presentation, are themselves larger than life, quite literally. JP and Sonoshee alone make up about half the human population in the entire film; all of the other characters belong to their respective alien races, besides two other humans. The characters are written to be entertaining, to build the scale of the film and to perform as the archetypes we know and love, but that's not to say they're by any means flat; the main characters receive a sufficient amount of development, and the supporting cast is comprised of an exceedingly rich, varied, exciting and incredibly fun horde of wonderful characters.
Redline is a film not to be taken too seriously and anyone doing so has certainly missed the point. Needless to say, if you want a realistic racing film then you have come to the wrong place. However, if you want a fast, funny, eye-watering, explosive experience that will suck you into a world which words barely do justice, this is the film you're after. But, more than a film, Redline is an experience. Every element works in melody, bouncing off and complementing one another, ultimately creating a tremendous overall work that is magical to behold, completely unlike any other anime production to date.
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Synonyms: Red line
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Aug 14, 2009
Producers: Tohokushinsha Film Corporation
Licensors: Anchor Bay Films
Duration: 1 hr. 42 min.
Rating: R+ - Mild Nudity
Score: 8.281 (scored by 188819188,819 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.