“Every five years, an exhilarating race called Redline is held, and the universe’s most anticipated competition has only one rule: that there are none. Racers are pushed to their absolute limit—a feeling that daredevil driver JP knows all too well. Having just qualified to participate in Redline, he is eager to battle against the other highly skilled drivers, particularly the beautiful rising star and the only other human that qualified, Sonoshee McLaren.
But this year’s Redline may be far more dangerous than usual—it has been announced to take place on the planet Roboworld with its trigger-happy military and criminals who look to turn the race to their own advantage. However, the potential danger doesn’t stop the racers; in fact, it only adds to the thrill. Relying solely on his vehicle’s speed, JP prepares for the event to come, aiming to take first place in the biggest race of his life.” – MAL Synopsis
Redline was a movie that I’ve heard in passing throughout the years whenever the conversation of good anime movies to watch comes up. So on a whim, after seeing a random tweet about it, I decided to give it a shot. It surprised me, to say the least. It’s refreshing to watch something so chaotic and high-energy that doesn’t have the strongest story but all its elements come together to make for a fun watch.
There’s not much to say when it comes to the story of Redline. It’s about a group of contestants taking part in a galactic race on a planet where they aren’t welcome. The mc is a skilled racer that’s been caught up in race-fixing but this one time he wants to win the big race. The most interesting part of the story that caught my eye was the whole dynamic between the organization behind the Redline race. As they seem to have a lot of power behind the scenes. That coupled with the leader of Roboworld strongly and violently opposing the race, due to its intergalactic broadcast and not wanting military secrets leaked. The race is held anyways and the last third of the movie is spent with the racers battling each other and the military to get to the finish line. The more personal story is okay enough, JP and his friends are likable, I just wish their whole backstory and dynamic were fleshed out more and in a better way. It all boils down to, JP wanting to win the Redline. And I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t surprisingly satisfied with that character motivation being as simple as it is. Definitely the weakest part of the movie, it does well enough to keep you engaged for an hour and a half plus.
The cast of characters is pretty fun and dynamic. The mc, Sweet JP, is charismatic and endearing. His English voice actor brings him to life and he feels like the perfect character to lead in a movie like this. His character motivation works for what this movie is but his back story is portrayed by a hand full of flashbacks and some vague daydreams that were sort of confusing, but don’t at all take away from the movie. He’s accompanied by his childhood friends Frisbee and Mogura. Frisbee is an interesting character, and the story of how they got caught up with the mob and fixing races is the backbone of the story and character progression for them during the movie. While Mogura is a mechanic that helps JP and cares for him. Last but not least, we have The Crab Sonoshee. The love interest of the movie, she has a lifelong dream of becoming the winner of the red line to repay her adoptive father. Her determination is strong and her chemistry with JP is a 10/10
One of the most fun parts of the movie was a TV segment introducing some of the racers that haven’t been given a proper introduction up until that point. Along with the two previously mentioned contestants, JP and Sonoshee, we have a corrupt cop that looks like beast from X-men. Two sexy magical twins (who at one point get called pornstars, and that was funny). A pair of crime fighters who look goofier than they do heroic (and also reminded me of Wario and Waluigi lol). And two other duos that I didn’t find of note. But, one of my favorite characters in the movie has to be the previous winner of redline, and the final contestant, Machinehead. He’s modified his body to become one with his car, which leads to some ridiculously awesome moments at the end of the movie during the final stretch. Speaking of cars, I can appreciate how diverse and unique all the contestant’s cars are. JP’s car is like a supped-up version of a real-world Trans-Am, Sonoshee’s car looks like a crab and can drive on water, and Machine head is his car and can modify himself at a whim. The weird diversity adds to the ridiculousness of the premise of the movie.
This movie’s strong suit is its animation and music. Visually it looks like everything has been lifted from a super stylistic graphic novel and animated perfectly. The art style is slick and fluid. This leads to some visually amazing moments, such as the final stretch of the race or the multiple battles that are fought throughout. Something that stood out to me was just how much the colors popped when they wanted them to. The music bangs too and is used perfectly to amp up the more hype moments of the movie. The short and sweet of it is, this movie is visually gorgeous and a treat to the ears.
Overall, Redline is highly entertaining and won’t leave you disappointing by the end of its run time. Only if you come into it with the right expectations. It’s a fun, high-octane, and downright strange movie. Don’t expect the most complex story but something serviceable with cool and interesting characters in a wacky world. Elevated by its art style and animating that syncs well with its musical choices. When you meet Redline at those expectations, then you’re in for a great ride especially when the actions reach their peak and the pedal gets put to the medal!
Redline – 7/10