Volume: Blu-ray Disc
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
Genre(s): racing, futuristic
Age Rating: TV MA (sexual imagery)
Runtime: 102 minutes total
Release Date: 01/17/2012
Imagine a world where street-style racing, set up on the fly and oftentimes illegally, is a perfectly normal aspect of society and an often encouraged means of popular entertainment. Now imagine that those races were presented on a far off alien hellhole and the racers themselves were a hodgepodge of insane speed junkies armed to the teeth and hair trigger psyches.
Got it in your head? Good, because that's the setup for Redline, a new anime feature film from the fine folks at MADHOUSE Studios. Set in the far future, a series of races are the default means for the masses to get their speed fix, as well as a fairly lucrative port for gambling and the mob. The pinnacle of these races is the titular Redline, held every five years and announced at practically the last minute.
Heartbroken, JP is only hours later surprised to learn he is indeed going to race in Redline due to the racers ahead of him dropping out.
The reason for this is the last minute announcement of the race's location, RoboWorld, which is ruled by a tyrannical government who proclaims that they will kill any racers who land on their planet.
JP is unwilling to give up a chance to pursue his dream, and decides to give it his all.
Along the way, he'll come up against the other racers who are just as crazy as he is, willing to face death itself to get the prestigious title of Redline champion. Among them are love interest Shanoshee, the winner of the Yellowline race, and Machinehead, an aptly named racer who has been Redline champion several times over. Oh, and he also has to dodge the RoboWorld forces hell-bent on blowing his car to pieces, and an out of control bioweapon.
For its technical aspects, this film is absolutely gorgeous. The color palette is vibrant and overly saturated with a gooey richness not usually found in anime today. In Redline, every frame of action is rendered with incredible clarity, especially on the Blu-ray version. Seriously, if you've been holding out on an upgrade, this is a very good reason to shell out that moolah.
Come on, how can you be surprised? It's MADHOUSE, and they've never been known to pull their punches. And considering this film took seven whole years to finally produce, it better look as good as it does.
The visuals is complemented by the sound, which bring out that ball-busting roar of engine and steel that any good racing film should have. The whole experience really makes you feel like you're blazing through the dark exteriors of RoboWorld, screaming at hundreds of miles per hour. And speaking of audio, the English voice-over cast is awesome as always, with the highly underrated Patrick Seitz leading the cast as JP and the always wonderful Michelle Ruff as Shanoshee.
But other than that hiccup, this is still a great buy for any anime fan, or for those who simply can't wait for another Fast and Furious to come out. Grab the Blu-ray if you can, but above all else just grab it. It's not to be missed.