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 world dominated by canine humanoids, duck's ass-hairstyle wearing "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 an outdoor giant monitor screen in the desert town of the Water Stop. His mechanic, Joshua "Frisbee" Flathead, 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 anyway while Frisbee resorts to using a remote detonator transmitter hidden in the palm of his hand which the mob boss doesn't notice, causing JP's TransAM20000 to explode and making the 'Crab Sonoshee Sea' hovercraft piloted by female racer Sonoshee "Cherry Boy Hunter" McLaren the winner.

While recuperating from the explosion in a planet Dorothy hospital Frisbee tells JP he's off the hook with his bondsman. JP initially turns down the money but a crowd of reporters storms the hospital room where JP learns that he has been voted by popular demand for the Redline following the dropout of two qualifiers due to the revelation of location being 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, exposing their secretive weapons build-up.

Inside DEST Tower on Roboworld, the President asks Secretary of Defense Titan for a report about ships landing on Roboworld's moon, EUЯPSS (pronounced Europass), a de-militarized zone that Roboworld signed away to refugees in the M-3 Nebula Federation, making it off limits to their world's troops. The President obtains a verbal oath from Colonel Volton to fight to the death to protect Roboworld and the M-3 Nebula.

While the racers stay on Europass before REDLINE under constant media coverage, Frisbee's alien junk dealer, Old Man Mole, wants to put weapons on the restored TransAM to which JP refuses despite his competitors. Old Man Mole also protests the presence of Frisbee on their team and his insistence on using a rare uncontrollable hyper-powered engine, but eventually gives in to JP's convincing.

JP finds Sonoshee McLaren in the slow hours of the Oasis Restaurant. Shinkai, formerly of the Roboworld army, shows up at the Oasis when racer Little Deyzuna, a recently AWOL subordinate of Col. Volton, attacks Shinkai's partner, Trava. The Redline favorite, Machinehead, an impossibly tall cyborg, appears and attacks Little 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 celebrations and bookmaker agent desks break out on Roboworld despite the threats, which are raided by deadly android police robots. Miners on Roboworld use their power 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 with the starting line at the north at the 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 once it fails and sends his troops en masse at the racers. The President becomes increasingly desperate as the racers evade them and approach the mine-laden Zone XXXXXXX (pronounced, Seven X), lair of a secret illegal biological weapon named Funky Boy which awakens from its stasis as the racers and the rebellious miners converge on it. With Funky Boy awakening and subsequent destruction of the base coinciding with the orbital cannon coming back online the President orders Funky Boy fired upon. The explosion takes out most of the racers while JP pushes to rights his car off its side. Sonoshee, her vehicle ruined, agrees to ride with him to the finish line as Funky Boy regenerates but is taken out by Col. Volton, who dangerously merges physically with yet another bioweapon.

Frisbee watches the race on several televisions parked atop a mesa in the mob boss's giant Cadillac hovercraft where he revives the same Yellowline deal. Frisbee however, refuses to detonate his charge this time, wanting to see his friend win 'the big one' for just once. He is attacked by mobsters for his decision but is saved by Old Man Mole who discovered Frisbee's sabotage and shoots and kills the mob boss and his lackeys.

As the race nears the finish line Machinehead and JP race to the southern finish line boosted by their rare Steamlight boosters. As they come to a desperate neck-and-neck finish a drunk Old Man Mole accidentally detonates Frisbee's remote detonator, propelling JP and Sonoshee towards the finish without their vehicle. The boost is enough and JP wins by the length of his long pompadour. As the racers rest at the end of the race amidst the ruins of Roboworld, JP and Sonoshee float back down to the ground declaring their love for each other. The homicidal cyborg, Machinehead, who vowed to win sees the romance and his rage turns to laughter happy with the outcome anyway.

Cast[edit]

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]

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]