Tentacle-Free Anime: "Redline" (2009) Review
- by Kazekun, 2 January 2013
Happy 2013! We told you we got some brand new stuff planned for this year. Trash Mutant will keep expanding and reaching the corners of popculture that we haven't touched on before. Like anime. And we got just the man to help us with that. Enter Mr. Kaze, the 4th Trash Mutant (let's have a round of applause, y'all). We think it's a good idea to start the year with the first installment of the brand new feature he will be writing, called Tentacle-Free Anime, and a review of "Redline".
What does 7 years of hand-drawn animation, eyegasming visuals, pumping feel great music, boobs, aliens and racing all have in common?
The most dangerous race in the galaxy and the best damn no-holds barred movie to come from Japan in the last decade.
Is there really anything else that needs to be said? There is? Well okay, here we go.
A film by Studio Madhouse, directed by Takeshi Koike, Redline is one of those movies that generally goes under the radar of many fans. There really wasn’t a lot of marketing for it telling you this thing existed, it just kind of came out and if you happened upon seeing it, then you laid witnessed to a mesmerizing game changer for the industry.
Seriously, this movie sets the bar for animation and it does it in perfect style. Notice I said style, as there are some flaws to the story but I will get to that in a moment. The animation for this took 7 years to create because everything in it is 100% hand drawn. That may not sound impressive at first, until you consider that animation these days, whether it is Japan or America or anywhere else, is mainly created with computers. Add in the sheer amount of detail that goes into this movie, from a drop of sweat to finer details on the cars used in each race, and you can see all the hard work that went into it.
It is pure ecstasy for your eyes and that is no exaggeration. The soundtrack is also a joy to listen to and never offends the movie by being overbearing or beating into your head in moments that don’t need music (or even sound) at all. It knows when to shut up, and I like that. The beats are a mix of hip hop and techno and can only make you feel pumped for the action. It really is a perfect blend.
The cast in this movie are an eccentric bunch, and pay homage to many different tropes of popular culture. Our main character, Sweet JP is an homage to the cool guy, who always drove the nice car in every 80’s film that ever existed, and you just liked no matter if he was a douche or not (thankfully, JP is actually a pretty swell guy). He gives off this image right down to his pompadour hairdo. There is also homage to 50’s-60’s Batman and Robin but turned a bit more edgy, and the "tough cop with no other reason for living but to be a badass on a bike", so a Judge Dredd-like character.
No one in this movie is unlikeable, which is very rare to see in a story. The racers don’t have any other agendas but to race and to win because it is their passion, it's what they love. Even the bad guys are eccentric enough to have personality, but never get on your nerves. Even the most annoying characters have some charm to them that keep you from outright hating them, but that might just be me. I’m not a cynic, so it’s hard for me to outright hate characters all the time.
Now the story isn’t anything groundbreaking - in a lot of ways it’s pretty cliché. Underdog wants to be in the big race, he gets in the big race and then proceeds to show everyone why he deserves to be #1 more than anyone else. Even the ending leads a lot to be desired, as the movie ends very abruptly without giving any character proper closure. It is sort of annoying, but when you get right down to it, it’s the whole journey before the ending that is worth it.
The production team put more into the animation and the music for a better viewing experience in my opinion, but they never once did a terrible job with the story. It’s just meant to be a big fun romp of a movie that gets you feeling like a racing fan all over again, or a racing fan for the first time.
You don’t have to be a racing fan to enjoy this, though. You just have to be a fan of entertainment in general and, if anything ,watch it just to experience the eyegasm and eargasm that is this film. And if you liked Hot Wheels at all as a kid, you’re going to love this flat out, as the cars in this movie really evoke that same alien, outrageous feel of the less-than-realistic Hot Wheels cars.
And yes, this movie has boobs in it in one scene. If you like that sort of stuff.
Final Verdict: Go see this movie. 3.5 out of 5
Did you like the first installment of Tentacle-Free Anime, Trash Mutant readers? Did you see "Redline"? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments section!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.