You have never seen an anime like this before.
Redline is an experience.
The story is about some punk-ass racing driver JP. He’s gotten himself into some match-fixing scandals but, due to some unforeseeable coincidences, he wound up qualifying for Redline, the worlds biggest racing event. The only rule is your vehicle must use wheels. Plus, to make things interesting, they decided to hold the race on Roboplanet, home to a warring civilisation who vow to kill any racers who dare enter their planet. Why hold the race there? So the TV ratings for the galaxy airing of Redline shoot through the roof and so the animators have plenty of opportunities to animate pretty explosions.
Not that any of this really matters. The plot is a tedious frivolity that’s just there to justify the crazy sequences they put these characters through. You couldn’t even hear the exposition and explanatory dialogue over the explosions, revving engines and thumping soundtrack, to the point that subtitles would often appear on the screen when I couldn’t hear anyone actually saying anything. The real sign of this is the final scene, which I won’t spoil, but acts as a sign by the creators that you weren’t meant to be taking this seriously in any way, shape or form. It’s such a brilliantly corny way to end the movie that you can’t help but applaud the audacity of it all.
Redline is all about the visual experience. As little importance as they might have had, it’s really a shame I had to pay some degree of attention to the subtitles because I probably missed so many little details. Each scene is full of little eyecatches to compliment the overall picture. From the Redline champion Ironhead, a 3 metre tall fella with a head of, surprise surprise, iron, stroking his teeny tiny dog during an interview, or the hero in JP’s dream snogging two girls at once, the movie is full of these little amusing details that act as winks to the audience. I’d almost say it didn’t have enough of these, which is kinda like saying Death Note needed more Latin chanting, but I could have done with a few less explosions and a few more cars flying through the air with their windscreen wipers on. There’s only so many ways you can make an explosion look interesting. I’m pretty sure Redline used up every single method, and made up a few of it’s own, but the eccentricities with animating other incidents is what made me love this movie.
Redline is aiming to have as much fun as possible. That’s how the brain behind the series works and drives what the movie does next. Compare this to Panty and Stocking for a second. P&S uses the audacity of it’s animation techniques to provoke shocked responses of “OMG did they just do that!?!”. Redline uses it’s animation for the power of fun. You can tell how much the creators enjoyed working on this. If anything, it looks like they might have had too much fun and were forced to cut out parts of the movie to make it more manageable. There certainly appeared to be a chunk of the final race missing as it leaped from midway point to the finish line. All things considered, they probably made the right choice if they cut out some scenes from there. The movie was just the right length, anymore might have killed the fun just that little bit, but it did leave the final race feeling a little bit disjointed.
Ultimately, because of the disregard for narrative, the movie doesn’t hold much weight. Hence I don’t think it will make quite the splash some of the early reviews predicted it would make. But Redline is such an incredibly fun film that I find it hard to see how people won’t get sucked in by it’s atmosphere and intentions, grinning like a maniac right the way through the film. Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?