Friday, January 24, 2014

Anime Review No. 72-Redline

The Need for Speed

"Redline" (2009 movie)

Director-Takeshi Koike, Studio-Madhouse, Writers: Yoji Enokido, Katsuhito Ishii and Yoshiki Sakurai

Nice, minimalist design for title card 
Well, its time for my first anime movie review in quite some time I suppose. Considering my last anime movie review was over Gall Force: Eternal Story, way back last summer, is quite something. What better way then to review Redline. My buddy Foggle from Animation Revelation encouraged me to check this out, and at first I was hesitant since it seemed to me to be another over-hyped movie that end up disappointing me more then not. However, once I watched it, my tune got changed real quick. I have seen it twice online (subbed and dubbed) before finally coming across at the local MovieStop for about 10$.

First best moment of the movie 
And no, Redline isn't just the name of the titular race in the movie. For those not in the now,
the definition is (from 2. To reach the maximum engine speed at which an engine is designed to be safely operated. In other words, it is the breaking point for any engine-based vehicle.

It starts off with a Yellow-Line race in the far future which our main dude, JP, participating in. He is the dare-devil racer who likes taking things to the limit, lives for the immediate thrill. The opening race really sets the tone of the movie right off the bat: Fast, quick, energetic. The soundtrack pops without a pause for breath or respite. Characters get the bare minimum of depth; but then again that's only because we (the audience) simply have to bask in the spectacle of the event. It is akin to watching wrestling or other event television-one might be slightly interested in the world or characters but its the event(s) that grip us. There are also a few characters introduced as well, including Frisbee: his manager who may or may not be screwing him over behind his back and works for the mob to get JP into races and Sonohee: requisite female racer/potential love interest.

Hmm....something about JP reminds me of some recent character...
Plot: He nearly wins the Yellow Line race before getting sabotaged by a bomb planted by his manager, Frisbee, meaning Sonohee wins it. During his recovery in the hospital, he finds out that he will end up in the Redline race, the famous underground race of the galaxy. However, it is to be taking place on Robo-World, which the locals of that aren't particularly pleased. Of course, he has to go and get his ride repaired. Along the way, when he isn't dealing with other racers or the Robo-World army. he discovers that when racing, its the ride that excites the most more then the finish line, though crossing it is so satisfying. And that's as far as I am going, as this movie is an experience everyone should go out and enjoy.

And you thought that skipping stones was hard as hell...
Simply put, this is a racing movie (Fast and Furious comes to mind) done in space, a rather fun and exciting space adventure. Nothing more, nothing less. It is pumped into action from the opening shot and never, ever lets up. It is also well aware of what it is, in on its own joke.

Bahahahaha....oh how can one take this guy seriously?!
Animation: phenomenal! This movie took 7 years of production and well worth the wait it would seem. Quick, kinetic, rather fluid animation throughout, without a bad shot in the entire film. 100,000 hand drawings were used in the production of this film, and it surely shows that traditional animation still has a place in the modern age of mostly/all CGI and digital productions. Seriously wish I could have found this on Bluray, but even on DVD it looks excellent.

Voice Acting: Very good in both language tracks, if I am being completely honest. Though, the English dub barely outdoes the original Japanese. Of course, that has little to do with the direction/writing (Madoka and SAO's dub director Alex von David handles this)and more to do with the voice actors/actresses themselves. It is like a who's who of the LA/West Coast Dub Scene, including Pat Seitz, Michelle Ruff, Liam O'Brien, and several others, along with some surprises as well. For instance, there is a bit part played none other then Spike Spencer that for me was a highlight.

Yes, Spike Spencer as the bug-eyed commentator....I'm in heaven 
If you do get this on DVD/Bluray, be sure to watch "The Quick Guide to Redline" which is essentially a brief look into the movie and supplying some details. Basically, it helps to explain some of the more inexplicable elements of the movie. In addition, it gives some information regarding the staff, with some short interview snippets thrown in for good measure. It very nice seeing these people at work, pouring their heart and soul into this project. It is certainly something to be admired. I do like how the director at one point says the main reason for this project, to push animation to the limits, for it to reach its own 'redline'. In the end, that is what Redline: an experience that pushes Japanese animation to an ultimate limit, one that probably will never be replicated. Why? Well, that is due to the fact that the box of comfort that digital productions bring is much easier to do, in addition to being cheaper. Granted, I would not expect TV series to do this long span production so then we get only a few TV shows of anime each season. Movies like these are good only once in a while, so as to not wear off the novelty.

True that indeed, Director-san ^_^
So, yeah Redline gets a recommendation for me. It is great for what it is: Slick, simple entertaining fun! I would say get it on DVD or Bluray, but if you can't; don't worry, it is available from Manga Entertainment on Youtube (Redline YT Link), free viewing! Seriously, Go watch it!

Anyway, what's next on the platter? Well, sometimes the constructed box of anime productions can lead to some interesting experiments in of themselves. And it being February, it means looking at relationships as I have done the past 2 Februaries.

'Til next time, dear readers.....

1 comment:

OverlordG said...

Redline is an animated comic book about intergalactic death races brought to life on the big screen with as much flash, flair, freakishness, hardcore adrenaline rushes that would make normal humans’ brains explode in seconds, some hot chicks, lots of Star Wars and F-Zero inspired characters/aliens and lots of action with Michael Bay quality explosions. It’s a blast to watch and I’ve become manlier after watching it for some reason.