Monday, August 6, 2012

Redline: So good it will traumatize you

In the DVD special features for Redline, the director comments that he wanted to make a movie that used only hand-drawn animation to recreate how he felt watching anime as a child. He goes on to say that he wanted the animation to be so good that it would traumatize the audience. He has a point: everything about Redline is over the top: the action, the vehicles, the characters, the setting, and the music will make sure that the audience does not spend a fraction of a second being bored.
Except for JP's classic muscle car, the other cars are so outrageous they would make Sebulba weep
In the world of Redline, racers from all over the galaxy meet to prove who is the best in a crowd-pleasing, no-holds-barred race for the finish. The story, such as it is, follows a pair of likable losers who want to make it big in the racing world. JP is the easygoing driver whose desire to win is matched only by his outrageous hairstyle. His best friend is Frisbee, a green-skinned alien who is also JP's mechanic. The two of them find themselves invited to participate in Redline, the most infamous race in the galaxy. Naturally, they accept, and the race is on!

This time, the race will be taking place on Roboworld, a planet so militaristic that the planet's leaders fear that the racers will stumble upon military secrets during their race. The president of Roboworld therefore decrees that the race is illegal, and he will use the full power of his military to destroy the racers before any of them can make it to the finish line.

Redline clearly owes a lot of its style to video games
The cast of characters is just as over-the-top as the show's premise. The two standouts are Sonoshee, a pretty girl who is familiar to JP and who is totally dedicated to winning Redline at all costs, and Machinehead, the reigning champion of Redline who is literally at one with his vehicle when he races.

Though it's a racing anime, Redline manages to fit in bits of nearly every other kind of anime style, from fighting monsters and mecha to magical girls. In some ways, I was reminded of Unforgiven, which is the best western ever because it understood the genre so well. Redline does the same thing for anime, almost always playing it straight and cranking it up to the max.

No matter what is happening at any moment, there is always something to see. Redline was created by Madhouse, a studio famous for making some of the best-looking and most inventive anime features. The locations and characters are wonderfully designed. It feels like watching it once can't possibly be enough, because often there is so much going on that the viewer cannot take it all in.

When it comes down to it, there is only so much I can say about Redline, and I still can't provide a good idea of what you're in for when you see this movie. It's an assault on the senses, nonstop style and action. If you're a fan of animation, action, and science fiction, you should go out and see Redline as soon as possible.

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