Redline: the biggest and most deadly racing tournament in the universe. Only held once every five years, everyone wants to stake their claim to fame – including JP, a reckless daredevil driver oblivious to speed limits with his ultra-customized car. Meanwhile, organized crime and militaristic governments want to leverage the race to their own ends. Amongst the other elite rival drivers in the tournament, JP falls for the alluring Sonoshee – but will she prove his undoing, or can a high-speed romance survive a mass destruction race?
As of a fan of auto racing (it is right up there with anime and video games for me) watching Redline is a no brainer. It is no surprise to hear that it got a lot of praise all over the internet. So is the show worth all of the hype it gets, or does it just blow up on the starting line? The short answer to this question is yes it is worth all the hype it gets. Of course, the short answer is not going to work here so let me get to the longer reason why this is awesome.
What makes Redline so great is that has such broad range appeal to all types of anime fans. From the hardest of hardcore, to the newest fans just getting into anime there is something for just about every type of fan to like in Redline. Even those not into anime would be able to enjoy what Redline brings to the table. There is no otaku pandering, no “check list” material, and no meta references that you have to be some super anime fan to understand. It is just over the top excitement when the racing happens and it would not be as enjoyable any other way.
That is not to say that Redline is not without its faults. If you are looking for something that has a long navel gazing looking at the psyche of people who drive racecars then look somewhere else. This is not some super character study or deconstruction of the street racing. This is mostly a focus on the racing and as such, there is not much in terms of character development. We do learn about some of the backstory about JP like why he got into racing some of his troubled past. We also get to know Sonoshee and some of her backstory during the film. Though considering the pace that the film has spending a lot of time on character development could have potentially messed the pacing as a whole.
Art and Animation
Created by Madhouse the movie looks like nothing else out there that has come before it. The character designs are unique and it shows a lot of western influence not that it is a bad thing to have. The colors are bright when the need to be and the colors are dull when they need to be as well. The racing animation is in one word awesome. The animation is fluid and outright amazing looking considering that CG was not used at any part of the film this is impressive in its own right. None of the races loses their pop and they are exciting from start to finish.
In a surprising sense, there is a little bit of fanservice present here, but none of it really takes away from any of the scenes that it is present it. This is how you put fanserivce in a film and not have it take away from the scenes present. The character designs are unique and have a Western flair added to them. There is no moe, and the characters are easily recognizable from one another.
Music and Audio
The music in Redline is a mix of different styles of music most of it being techno which depending on how you feel techno music. If you enjoy techno music, it will be pleasing to your ears. Well if you do not care for it, then you will probably not want enjoy it.
Bang Zoom produced the English dub for Redline and it does not sound that bad. Anybody who is used to listening English dubs that come out of Bang Zoom should be able to recognize many of the voices actors and actresses used in the dub. Patrick Seitz gives JP his voice for the English dub and does a comparable job to his Japanese counterpart Takuya Kimura (who is a member of SMAP). Michelle Ruff also does a great job with her role as Sonoshee and it about on par with her Japanese counterpart Yuu Aoi. Both the English and Japanese dubs are great so listening to either is not going to make your ears bleed.
Redline is something that EVERY anime fan should watch at least once in their lifetime. If you had to describe Redline to someone who does not watch, anime the easiest way to describe this movie would be “Think of Wacky Races but on tons of crack and turn it up to eleven”. Sure, it may not be the deepest film out there, but with a film like this who cares if it is deep or not. It is visual candy at its finest and such a thrill to watch.
Pros: Great English and Japanese dub, visually excellent, all around amazing
Cons: Not that deep of a film, not much in the character development department
The DVD version is also available