Redline (2009 film)

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Redline
Redline (2009 film) poster.jpg
Japanese theatrical release poster
Directed by Takeshi Koike
Produced by
  • Kentarō Yoshida
  • Yukiko Koike
Screenplay by
Story by Katsuhito Ishii
Starring
Music by James Shimoji
Production
company
Distributed by Tohokushinsha Film
Release dates
  • August 14, 2009 (2009-08-14) (Locarno[1])
  • October 9, 2010 (2010-10-09) (Japan)
Running time
102 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Redline (レッドライン?, stylized as REDLINE) is a 2009 science fiction auto racing anime film produced by Madhouse and released in Japan on October 9, 2010. The directorial debut feature of Takeshi Koike, it features the voices of Takuya Kimura, Yū Aoi and Tadanobu Asano, and an original story by Katsuhito Ishii, who also co-writes and sound directs.[2] The film is set in the distant future, where a man known as JP takes on great risks for the chance of winning the titular underground race.

After a total of seven years in production, Redline was intended to premiere at the 2009 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and follow Summer Wars, Mai Mai Miracle and Yona Yona Penguin as the fourth and final feature film Madhouse planned to release between summer 2009 and spring 2010. However, further delays resulted in the delay of its world premiere, pushed back a few months to August 14, 2009, at the Locarno International Film Festival and its Japanese release to fall 2010.

Plot[edit]

In the future, on the Planet Dorothy, a planet dominated by canine humanoids, duck tail hair styled "Sweet JP", races in the planet's YELLOWLINE car race, a final elimination race despite two interplanetary wars to the most popular race in the galaxy, the REDLINE. The crowd is watching the race on a screen in the desert at the Water Stop. His mechanic Joshua Flathead, called Frisbee, is watching the televised race with a mafia boss. The gambling boss is concerned that JP might attempt to win the fixed race, but Frisbee reassures him that JP needs bail bond funds from the pay-off. JP attempts to win while Frisbee resorts to a remote detonator transmitter, which the mob boss never notices, causing their TransAM20000 to explode making the Crab Sonoshee hovercraft the winner.

While recuperating in a Dorothy hospital Frisbee tells JP he's off the hook with his bondsman. JP turns down the money as a crowd of reporters storms the hospital room where JP learns that he has been voted by popular demand for Redline, this time to be held on Roboworld in the isolated M-3 nebula Federation. Roboworld, a planet dominated by zealous purist militant cyborgs whose President has threatened on interstellar television to hang all involved with the Redline mothership if they appear out of hyperspace over their planet with their hundreds of television satellites.

Inside DEST Tower, on Roboworld, the President asks his Secretary, Sec. Titan, for a report about ships landing on Roboworld's moon, EUЯPSS, a de-militarized zone that Roboworld signed away to refugees in the M-3 nebula Federation. The President obtains an oath from Colonel Volton to fight to the death to protect Roboworld and the M-3 nebula.

While the racers stay on Roboworld's moon EUЯPSS and as the days count down to REDLINE under constant media coverage, Frisbee's alien junk dealer, Old Man Mole, wants to put weapons on the TransAM. JP finds Sonoshee McLaren in slow hours at the Oasis restaurant. Shinkai, formerly of the Roboworld army, shows up at the Oasis when racer Little Deyzuna, a recently AWOL Colonel Volton subordinate, attacks Shinkai's partner, Trava. The Redline favorite, Machinehead, a large cyborg, attacks Deyzuna who in turn is retrieved by Col. Volton. Machinehead confronts Volton for being in the de-militarized zone. Volton reminds the racer the Redline event will be repelled by the army and police before leaving the damaged restaurant.

Fireworks and bookmaker agent parties break out on the Roboworld surface, which are raided by deadly android police robots. Miners on Roboworld use their suits to sabotage the military base's power station while the Race Commission which promotes gambling hires Earth native racing partners Lynchman and Johnny Boya to sabotage the Orbital Disintegration Cannon which Sec. Titan plans to destroy the Redline mothership with the instant it comes out of hyperspace.

While in hyperspace, the Princess on the Redline ship from the planet Supergrass marks the course on a military base with a pair of scout vessels. The starting line at the north Knock-out Tower and the finish line to the south, east of DEST Tower. Unaware of the sabotage against the Orbital Disintegration Cannon, the President realizes the racers are on the planet and becomes desperate to protect as a secret an illegal Bio-logical weapon's lair at Zone XXXXXXX (Seven X) named Funky Boy. With Funky Boy destroying the base coinciding with the orbital cannon coming back online the President orders fire on it. The explosion takes out most of the racers while JP rights his car off its side. Sonoshee rides with him when Funky Boy regenerates. Frisbee watches the race on televisions in the mob boss's giant Cadillac hovercraft where he revives the same Yellowline deal. Machinehead and JP race to the southern finish line where JP wins by the length of his duck tail.

Development and release[edit]

Redline was produced by Madhouse[3] and directed by Takeshi Koike, who also wrote the storyboard and served as unit director and animation director. The film's producers were Yukiko Koike and Kentarō Yoshida. Masahiro Fukushima served as executive producer. The task of writing the script was shared by Yoji Enokido, Katsuhito Ishii, and Yoshiki Sakurai. The film's character designs, original and otherwise, were done by Katsuhito Ishii, who also served as one of the film's sound directors, the other being Youji Shimizu. The film's music was composed by James Shimoji.[4]

According to Tim Maughan of Anime News Network, Redline was released several years later than originally planned. Its development took seven years and used 100,000 hand-made drawings,[5] which Maughan notes is all the more unusual as it is Koike's directorial debut.[4]

Redline was initially meant to premiere at the 2009 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, where it would have competed in the Feature Film category.[6] Instead, it premiered during the Locarno International Film Festival in August of the same year.[7] Several more advance screenings were done at international film festivals during 2010.[8] In May, Redline was shown during the Sci-Fi-London 9.[9][10] In June, it participated in Annecy 2010 in the category "Feature Films out of competition".[11] During September, it was shown in Australia and New Zealand as part of Reel Anime 2010.[12] Redline was shown in Austin, Texas on September 23,[8] and in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 15 as part of the Scotland Loves Anime film festival.[13] At the 2010 Nantes Utopiales Sci-Fi festival, the film received the special mention of jury and public.

The film opened in Japan on October 9, 2010. Coinciding with this, the film was shown in a San Francisco-based Viz Cinema theater from October 8–14, 2010. Distribution in North America is handled by Manga Entertainment.[3]

Soundtrack[edit]

An official soundtrack to the film by James Shimoji (ジェイムス下地?) was released under GBC label on October 6, 2010,[14] and contains 42 tracks.[15] It ranked 207th on Oricon's album chart.[16]


Reception[edit]

Tim Maughan of Anime News Network describes the film as "something very special, very different, and insanely exhilarating." In particular he praises the film's director, saying that "Koike has managed to make all this chaos believable." He goes on to say that "Redline is animation not only at its best, but also largely animation for animation's sake." Although Maughan says some may dislike its techno soundtrack and "minimal plot," he calls Redline "the most insanely exciting, visually exhilarating anime film you've seen in decades."[4]

Thomas Zoth of Mania.com comments that while the film does not provide "a deep plot or unique premise," it still "demands to be seen." He said that if Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was "an assault on the senses ... Redline is a declaration of war." Zoth went on to praise the film for its "imaginative creatures and clever designs", to compare Koike's work to that of Quentin Tarantino, and to compliment the film for its "soundtrack, with its memorable high-energy tracks that greatly complement the chaos onscreen." He concludes by saying that if "the life of the industry has been drained and replaced with rote, cookiecutter shows-by-committee, Redline shows a path out."[17]

Nicolas Penedo of the French magazine Animeland describes it as the "Paris-Dakar revisited à la Ōban Star-Racers",[18] a remake of Hanna-Barbera Wacky Races with arts inspired from Jack Kirby comics and know-how, rhythm and energy inherent of the best Japanese anime movies.[19] The reviewer praises the animation quality as breathtaking,[20] and declares that Takeshi Koike made an homage to comics and films of the 70s and 80s.[20] On the negative, he notes the lack of scenario stating "Don't hope to find any scenario in Redline".[20][clarification needed]

Kwenton Bellette and Peter Martin reviewed Redline for Twitch Film. Bellette describes it as a "truly out of this world experience", "Speed Racer on crack" and praised the supporting characters for being memorable and the background galaxy made of different races and creeds to be very solid.[21] Martin expresses that "it feels like every centimeter of every frame is filled with some kind of kinetic color or action or bit of business, making it an experience that is sure to overload the senses" and asserts that writer Katsuhito Ishii succeeds at making a feature-length anime as insane as his film Funky Forest.[22]

Jon Liang of UK Anime Network comments that "A sense of the cool and outrageous is seeped into every pore of the design, ... exaggerated is an understatement here", and notes that the film's "cinema-quality smooth animation" makes "even the most alien of things move naturally and the sense of speed that is often achieved is frequently mind-blowing." He remarks that "the visuals and over-the-top action will most likely overload sensitive brain cells," but concludes by calling Redline "an incredibly exciting cinematic experience that doesn't take itself at all seriously."[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kelts, Roland (7 August 2009). "Anime with Texas roots to debut in Switzerland". The Daily Yomiuri. Yomiuri Group. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "English-language promotional film poster for Redline", Leeds International Film Festival Free Guide (24th ed.) (published October 2010), 2010 
  3. ^ a b "Redline Opens in California, Japan in Same October Weekend". Anime News Network. September 22, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Maughan, Tim (May 19, 2010). "Redline – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Crew: Subbed Redline to Open Throughout U.S. in 2011". Anime News Network. October 6, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Koike, Madhouse's Redline Pulled from Annecy Fest Slate". Anime News Network. May 20, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Redline". Locarno International Film Festival. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Redline's N. American Debut at Austin's Fantastic Fest". Anime News Network. August 27, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Manga All-nighter". festivalBiz Group. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ "UK Anime All-Nighter at Sci-Fi-London Film Festival 2010". Anime News Network. April 19, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Film index: Redline". Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  12. ^ "RedLine". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Redline". lovesanimation.com. August 11, 2010. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  14. ^ "REDLINEオリジナルサウンドトラック/ ジェイムス下地" (in Japanese). good-beat.com. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  15. ^ REDLINEオリジナルサウンドトラック (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved Oct 24, 2010. 
  17. ^ Zoth, Thomas (September 24, 2010). "Redline Movie Review: Madhouse takes racing to the next level". Mania.com. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  18. ^ Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010. le Paris-Dakar est revisité façon Ôban Star-Racers! 
  19. ^ Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010. remake des Fous du volants, ce vieux dessin animé d'HANA & BARBERA, mais matiné d'un graphisme inspiré des comics book de Jack Kirby, le tout avec un savoir faire, un rythme et une énergie propres au meilleurs films d'animation nippons! 
  20. ^ a b c Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010. 
  21. ^ Bellette, Kwenton (September 16, 2010). "Reel Anime 2010: Red Line". Twitch Film. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 
  22. ^ Martin, Peter (September 24, 2010). "Fantastic Fest 2010: Redline Review". Twitch Film. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  23. ^ Liang, Jon. "Anime Review: Redline". UK Anime Network. Etharius. Retrieved September 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]