I’m not that into anime. I’m not against it, but I’ve never been one to research and look into the milestones of Japanese animation outside of Hayao Miyazaki films. Estevan came to me a couple of days ago to recommend this film called “Redline” to review for our next article together on Drawn Words, so I went out and picked it up.
And I got the wrong Redline. Apparently there’s a 2007 movie of the same title starring Eddie Griffin that wasn’t what Estevan was talking about at all. So after I exchanged my copy of Redline with the movie Estevan initially wanted me to see, I strapped myself to a couch and got comfortable to watch this animated Japanese film about racing cars. And for 102 full minutes, I was blown away…visually, at least.
This film was put together by Madhouse studios (Trigun, Claymore, most all Marvel anime series) and directed by Takeshi Koike (Animatrix, Afro Samurai: The Pilot), with screenplay provided by writers who’ve worked on very unconventional projects prior, Takuya Kimura, Yū Aoi, and Tadanobu Asano. The combination of very creative people with absurd ideas created Redline, an animated racing movie that took over seven years to create and featured 100,000 hand-made drawings.
Redline follows a driver named “Sweet JP,” who competes in very dangerous races full of obstacles, guns, missiles, and ridiculously fast cars that drive at breakneck speeds. “Redline,” is the name of the event he’s been chosen to compete in, racing against other insanely amusing characters with equally ludicrous cars. Honestly, if you’re watching Redline, you’re not watching for the story, but rather the animation itself.
To say the absolute least about Redline would be to call it simply beautiful, but there’s much more dedication and appreciation behind this creation. As I’ve stated before, this movie is seven years in development and featured an amazing amount of drawings, so the efforts put into this movie were tremendous, and it shows in a colossal way. Each minute of Redline has something spectacular to gaze over, showcasing some of the most astonishing visuals I’ve ever seen in an animated movie, Japanese or not.
Unfortunately, as beautiful as the movie is, the story isn’t so strong. Surely the visual aspect of the film makes up for the storyline since the film is heavily action-packed, relying solely on how it conveys its absurd races for entertainment. The entire event is televised throughout the galaxy, so the competition is a widely respected in the movie, while also still giving off the urban feel of a Fast and the Furious flick spliced with bits of Mario Kart/Whacky Racers. This allows Redline to become a parody of racing in the media, Japanese culture and other anime series, and most of all, itself.
While the story may not be up to par with its animation, Redline still makes for an enjoyable film. I’ve seen some of the most clever and original character designs and vehicle creations in Redline than I have any other piece of media before, and have strong feelings I’ll stand by this statement for a while. I don’t doubt anyone will have fun while watching this visually stunning animation thrill ride, as it’s the most cracked out version of any racing competition to date. I highly recommend checking out Redline for a fast paced and breathtaking animated experience.
Written by Kevin Cortez
Illustrations by Estevan Sanchez