Redline (2009 film)
Japanese theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Takeshi Koike|
|Story by||Katsuhito Ishii|
|Music by||James Shimoji|
|Distributed by||Tohokushinsha Film|
|Running time||102 minutes|
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. 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.
"Sweet JP" nearly wins the "Yellowline" race but just before the finish line JP's car is sabotaged by an explosive device placed by his friend and mechanic; Frisbee. In the past, Frisbee and JP were sent to prison for fixing races for the mafia and are doing so again so they can keep racing. While recuperating in the hospital and reminiscing over his loss, JP finds out that he was selected for the "Redline," despite not qualifying in the last race, due to popular demand and because two racers withdrew.
The Redline race takes place on Roboworld, a militarized planet ruled by cyborgs. The Roboworld government is violently opposed to the race being held on their planet as they have several ongoing projects that they wish to be kept top-secret. JP and the other racers are transported to a backwater moon near Roboworld to prepare. There he meets Sonoshee the winner of the Yellowline.
Guerilla forces on Roboworld as well as the Bounty Hunter team, sabotage a number of Roboworld's planetary defenses. JP, Sonoshee, and the other racers speed across the planet under heavy attack from the Roboworld military, which have targeted each of the racers with intent to kill. During the race the guerillas unleash a powerful bioweapon named Funky Boy. Funky Boy goes on a rampage, destroying many of the Roboworld units and much of the landscape around them. One of the Roboworld high ranking generals decides to merge with another Bioweapon to fight against Funky Boy while the race continues on.
In Funky Boy's rampage, Sonoshee's car is destroyed, knocking her out in the process. JP however finds her alive and allows her to join him in continuing the race together. Frisbee who was forced to make another deal with the Mafia is almost killed when he refuses to sabotage JP's car again, but is saved by the 4 armed scrounger, who shoots down the mafia and after sits down to watch the rest of the race with Frisbee. The final sprint to the finish shows Machinehead with JP/Sonoshee both fighting for victory. In his haste, Machinehead uses the steamlight; a form of energy that can release an unimaginable amount of power, to give him the edge over the race. Sonoshee quickly reciprocates with her own piece of steamlight, given to her by her father on her seventh birthday. Both racers blaze towards the finishing line with their cars tearing away due to the super-sonic speed.
JP and Sonoshee are neck to neck with Machinehead but unable to get past him. The explosive placed in JP's car by Frisbee earlier on, is activated, the resulting explosion to give what's left of JP's car a boost of speed to pass Machinehead. JP and Sonoshee touch the finishing line less than a fraction of a second before Machinehead and are declared the victors. Audiences throughout the galaxy celebrate JP's amazing victory. The other racers, exhausted and in awe remark about the incredible feat performed by JP. While suspended in weightless motion, JP pulls Sonoshee close and kisses her and the two victors confess their love for each other.
Redline was produced by Madhouse 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.
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, which Maughan notes is all the more unusual as it is Koike's directorial debut.
|Track listing: Redline Original Soundtrack|
|12.||"And It's So Beautiful (feat. Kitty Brown)"|
|16.||"Let Me Love You (feat. Veronica Torraca-Bragdon)"|
|17.||"Get The Stones (feat. Andrew O. Jones)"|
|19.||"彼のシフトはブンブンブン (feat. Super Boins)"|
|20.||"Lynch Man & Johnny Boya"|
|23.||"Miki & Todoroki"|
|26.||"Three-point Decomposition Cannon"|
|42.||"Redline Day (feat. Rob Laufer)"|
Redline was initially meant to premiere at the 2009 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, where it would have competed in the Feature Film category. Instead, it premiered during the Locarno International Film Festival in August of the same year. Several more advance screenings were done at international film festivals during 2010. In May, Redline was shown during the Sci-Fi-London 9. In June, it participated in Annecy 2010 in the category "Feature Films out of competition". During September, it was shown in Australia and New Zealand as part of Reel Anime 2010. Redline was shown in Austin, Texas on September 23, and in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 15 as part of the Scotland Loves Anime film festival. 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.
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."
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."
Nicolas Penedo of the French magazine Animeland describes it as the "Paris-Dakar revisited à la Ōban Star-Racers", 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. The reviewer praises the animation quality as breathtaking, and declares that Takeshi Koike made an homage to comics and films of the 70s and 80s. On the negative, he notes the lack of scenario stating "Don't hope to find any scenario in Redline".[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. 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.
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."
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- 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!"
- Penedo, Nicolas (July/August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
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- Official Japanese Web site (Japanese)
- Redline (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Redline at the Internet Movie Database
- "A Look at Redline with Takeshi Koike" -(ANN)
- "Redline Blu-Ray review" -(ANN)
- The Anime Review