JP: Someone's havin' doubts, huh? Hell, I'm just trying to this thing interesting. You can't write me off like that. You're just a voice, pal! YOU DON'T KNOW A DAMN THING ABOUT RACING!
Set in the far future, REDLINE is about the galaxy's biggest and deadliest illegal road race, only held every five years at a secret location not unveiled until practically the last minute. Naturally, everyone wants to take part, but to do so they have to qualify in one of the Yellowline races first. One such racer, 'Sweet JP', almost achieves it. Unfortunately, his prized yellow machine TRANSAM 20000 suddenly "malfunctions" just short of the finish line.Waking up in hospital with an arm and a leg in casts and his dreams in tatters, JP is shocked to find he has in fact made the grade. It turns out the venue has been announced— and it's the fascistic, authoritarian military superpower state of Roboworld, who aren't exactly pleased about their world being used as an impromptu racetrack and make it perfectly clear that they intend to stop the racers with extreme prejudice before the starting flag has even been dropped. As a result, two racers have already dropped out, and JP (through a popularity contest) is voted in.Produced by Madhouse Studios, the directorial debut feature of Takeshi Koike and released in 2010 after spending half a decade in development, REDLINE is a racer movie unlike anything seen before and potentially one of the most daring and important anime movies of the decade. Visually, it's easy to see that Koike is a huge fan of western graphic art, and has been influenced as much by French comic artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud, the US animated film Heavy Metal, cult UK sci-fi comic 2000 AD, and even the Star Wars movies as much as he has by the likes of Katsuhiro Otomo, Hiroyuki Imaishi or Leiji Matsumoto. Not that REDLINE feels or looks like a mash-up of different styles – somewhere in the visual chaos it unrelentingly throws at its audience it becomes something that is far more than the mere sum of parts, a unique piece of animation that at times doesn't even feel like anime in the traditional sense.Check out the totally sweet trailer. As of late December 2011 it has been released on Bluray and DVD in the US and UK. It was dubbed and released under Manga Entertainment, which is streaming the movie in high definition here.
Action Girl: Arguably Sonoshee, although her action is limited to driving, as is nearly everyone else's. But for comparison, when faced with a missile bearing down on her, she pops open her cockpit, draws a gun, and pops the sucker right out of the air.
All Work vs. All Play: Sonoshee and JP as revealed in a flashback. Incidentally, rather than jeering with all the other onlookers at her as she tried to get her car out of a ditch on her own while proclaiming that she'd compete in the Redline race, JP admired Sonoshee's determination and so as a result took up racing professionally.
Almost Kiss: Two. One when JP and Sonoshee are talking about steamlight and are interrupted by another racer. The second one is interesting as it's involuntary: when Machinehead uses his steamlight nitro boost in the final stretch, Sonoshee does the same in JP's car and the extreme speed forces their faces together, though they don't lock lips.
Amphibious Automobile: Sonoshee's Crab Sonoshee, which has the advantage of driving on water due to her anti-gravity engine.
Anime Catholicism: Trava crosses himself in a Catholic fashion before starting the Redline race as well as Old Man Mole after he slays the Mafia don Inuki and his goons.
Anti-Climax: Just before the Redline starts, the president of Roboworld orders the planet's Kill Sat to be fired on the dropship. Nothing happens, as two of the racers had sabotaged it beforehand.
Awesome, but Impractical: According to Old Man Mole, the TRZ Airmaster engines have a lot of power, but are very unstable. They hook it up anyway.
Captain Crash: Any vehicle with wheels on it that JP sets foot in will end up becoming a smashed wreck, although it's never intentional.
Chekhov's Gun: Sonoshee's steamlight pendant, and the detonator on JP's car, though not in the way you'd expect— instead of being used to kill off JP's chances of winning, it was used to gain even more speed.
Dark and Troubled Past: JP. While working off his and Frisbee's debt to the mafia, he had been caught red-handed once in fixing one of the races, which led to him spending some time in the prison. Sonoshee learns about this when watching the news report on TV.
Determined Expression: JP during Yellowline, complete with a closeup of his nose bleeding from the excessive speed.
Dirty Cop: The racer "Dirty Policeman Hamashi Frini, AKA Gori Rider" was caught on camera beating up his opponents (Miki and Todoroki to be precise), and having an affair with a Fair Cop. When asked about it by reporters, he attacked them too.
Disqualification Induced Victory: JP loses the qualification round for the titular Red Line race. However, when multiple qualifiers back out (due to the race being set on a Death World), JP qualifies due to popular vote.
The Boincar is a pink dragster styled to look like a woman lying on her back with her legs in the air. Make of it what you will.
The President of Roboworld makes grandiose statements about "ensuring justice" and "being a symbol of humanity that exists for peace". They also build an alarming number of weapons of mass destruction. Hmm.
Doing It for the Art: This is animation for the sake of animation. It took 7 consecutive years to make the damn movie, after all.
The Dragon: Volton is actually this to the Roboworld President, being in control of nearly all military operations against the Redline racers.
Everybody Lives: All the Redline racers manage to make it through the death trap race. In fact, the only casualties in the whole movie are Big Deyzuna and a bunch of Roboworld mooks that get vaporized by Funky Boy.
Evil Brit: Secretary Titan, who lets out a rather phlegmatic air compared to the rest of the Roboworld officers.
Expy: Most of the other racers and characters are imported from previous Takeshi Koike / Katsuhito Ishii productions (e.g. Miki and Todoroki are from The Mole Brothers, and Trava and Shinkai were from a four part series called Trava: Fist Planet)
Foreshadowing: Sonoshee's talk about the steamlight on her pendant - "They say if you pop it in your tank, it releases 100 times more energy than gold nitro". This is what JP ends up using to get a final boost near the end of the Redline.
Gainax Ending: JP and Sonoshee race Machinehead at incredible speeds, with JP winning by the tuffs of his hair (literally) and the movie ends with JP and Sonoshee kissing while floating in blue fire. Oh, and the final second of the movie is just LOVE with curly letters.
Gender-Blender Name: Mr. Minerva Hanness, former Redline champion and current Redline news anchor.
When Volton is just about fed up with his special forces getting owned by the racers, he orders the mobilization of the planet's entire military force.
The Superboins break their 'no magic' promise when Roboworld's troops corner them.
Colonel Volton transforms himself into an Eldritch Abomination in order to fight evenly with Funky Boy.
Gorn: There isn't much blood in this movie (It's a racing movie. Why would it need blood?) but they have enough blood for several movies of this type during Old Man Mole's Big Damn Heroes moment with the screwdriver shotgun.
Graceful Loser: Everyone who didn't make it to the finish line, for a refreshing change. The entire race comes off as a badassery competition, and part of it is this trope. Everyone seems to be just honored to be present when JP and Sonoshee ride the shockwave of their own damned exploding engine over the Redline. Machinehead pops not one but two Steamlights, and still shows an amazed pride at the event.
Which is kind of a mood backlash given that he was talking trash to them just a moment earlier, but it's implied that Sonoshee is his daughter/junk dealer, gave her a Steamlight, meeting her for dinner). Perhaps he was trying to motivate them both, and saw winning the Redline as a Rite of Passage for her, and proof of JP's suitability for him.
None of the other racers save JP, Sonoshee, and Tetsujin entertain any chance of winning first place at the final stretch of the race, but keep going full throttle anyways purely to get first-class, front-row seats to see how the race ends.
Ham-to-Ham Combat: The racer's taunts and dialogue between each other during Redline are downright silly. Here's an example:
Trava:You think you're going to take me out that easy, you scumbag!
Deyzuna:I've been waiting a long time for this... TRAVA!
Trava:Come and get it, DEYZUNA!
Deyzuna:MY RIDE IS GOING TO WHIP YOUR SORRY ASS!
Trava:IN YOUR DREAMS YOU SLIMY PIECE OF SHIT!
Shinkai:COME AND GET ME YOU PUSSY!
Hood Ornament Hottie: When they're not racing, Bosbos and Boiboi pose and preen so much that it's almost ridiculous.
Improbable Hairstyle: JP's epic pompadour; how he keeps it that way without product is a mystery. It's even the reason he won, because it was the first part of him to cross the finish line.
Oddly enough, he is shown combing it in the first 15 minutes to keep it out of his eyes. Still a mystery how it stays up though.
Incendiary Exponent: In a movie this awesome, you knew it would happen. But JP and Sonoshee manage to achieve it by having Frisbee and the Old Man detonate their engine remotely, which somehow leads to them going even faster, and being little more than strapped to a hunk of metal propelled by a continuous explosion.
Incoming Ham: JP has one particular moment of ham when he announces his intent to drive in the Redline.
JP: "here, give me that *grabs the closest video camera and points the lense at him* ROBOWORLD! HERE I COME!!"
And Psychoman, the racer from early on in the Yellow Line who takes pressing a button up to Invader Zim levels of ham. He yells 'TAKE THIS!' so loud spittle flies out his mouth, and pushes the button so hard the glass over it shatters.
In-Series Nickname: All the racers have one. For instance, "Sweet JP" is a snarky epithet hurled at him by the others because he’s too fair-minded to use landmines, rocket-propelled grenades or tactical nukes just to win a race. Shonoshee's epithet of "Cherry Boy Hunter" comes from her percieved lack of interest in the opposite sex.
Kill Sat: Roboworld has one, and they use it twice: the first attempt, targeting the Supergrass ship carrying the REDLINE racers, fails thanks to Lynchman and Johnny-Boya sabotaging the cannons. The second attempt manages to destroy Funky Boy; however, it regenerates.
Leitmotif: Most characters have them, though the notably reoccurring ones are Machinehead's, Lynchman and Johnny Boya's, and the Super Boins'.
Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: ALL of the racers (well, except Gori Rider). On the track, they're perfectly willing to blast each other with Sidewinder missiles, but off it, "We're all racers, we're here to show off how badass we are, not slaughter each other like those fuddy-duddy Roboworlders." Machinehead shows up while Little Deyzuna is picking a fight with Trava, and the mere presence of a seven-foot tall cyborg distracts the Roboworlder enough for the racer to wander off. He then gets in Machinehead's face, but the big man merely says "Fine. I'll walk around you." Heh. Manly men are Redliners, even when they're sexy girls.
Ludicrous Speed: The entire goddamn movie. Even more so when Nitro/Steamlight is used by having time slow down and the cars/drivers stretching before launching away. Near the finish line, JP (while using the Steamlight boost plus the explosive under his wheels) sees the finish line in extremely slow motion.
Made of Iron: Everyone qualifies for just surviving in their cars, but JP and Sonoshee deserve props for the former surviving at least 4 car crashes (One was at 300 km/h. JP was miraculously unharmed.) that we know of over the course of the movie, 3 without any sort of bodily harm, and Sonoshee being in his car in the final crash, both of them with no noticeable harm. Oh, and they were both on fire at the time.
Also, Tetsujin. He swallowed not one, but TWO steamlights and survived.
As the power up music got good during the final stretch, it suddenly stops and cuts to the remnants of the Roboworld army commenting on how they can't catch the Redliners. It then resumes with omnious music instead.
Ms. Fanservice: Bosbos and Boiboi. Sonoshee races in at a solid second place.
Multicoloured Hair: Sonoshee has green and pink hair. and Bosbos' hair is green and yellow
Naked in Mink: The "SUPERBOINS", Bosbos and Boiboi, are dressed like this during a televised interview.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The reason why the Roboworld government doesn't want the race to happen on their planet aside from having all their illegal arms building programs and labratories exposed is because they're afraid the commotion caused by the racers will wake up a Cthulhu-esquebio-weapon that they've created in said illegal research program. Guess what happens.(its Gori Rider's fault!!)
Nitro Boost: Several different types, with varying colors, strength — and, of course, amount of damage to the car using it. JP uses "Gold Nitro", little capsules of awesomesauce he drops right into the transmission through a dash-mounted valve. Above everything else is the legendary "Steamlight", which appears to be collapsed antimatter stored in beautiful little sapphires. Sonoshee wears one as a necklace and drops it into JP's tank so they can match Machinehead in the final stretch.
No Kill Like Overkill: Roboworld's solution against the Redline racers entering their atmosphere? One Kill Sat. And that's without considering that it was very easily sabotaged and vandalised by two of said racers beforehand.
Out-of-Genre Experience: Going in expecting a Widget Series about futuristic illegal street racing is all well and good, and gets you most of what you'd expect. But then, during the final act, Funky Boy escapes containment and goes on a rampage, and now the race suddenly has a Kaiju movie going on in the background.
Refuge in Audacity: The Redline Mothership; with its loli princess at the helm, it just warps wherever the fuck it wants and makes a race track. How to achieve this? Well, first you go to your standard heavily defended fascist state and:
Declare you're going to have an illegal road race on their home planet.
Evade their point defenses and paint a pink finish line on their headquarters.
Teleport the whole ship underground, lift it up under their headquarters, and make the spine of the ship the final stretch.
Revenge Before Reason: Little Deyzuna is so set on making Trava and Shinkai pay for 'abandoning' him that he ends up going AWOL and joining the race.
Rule of Cool: From the absurdly stylish car designs, to the sheer amount of action happening throughout the story, as well as ""SEVEN HANDDRAWN YEARS!"" on a meta scale, this movie supremely lives on this trope.
Rule of Fun: This ends up being the reason why Machinehead and JP/Sonoshee end up pushing for the finish line using their steamlights. Machinehead ends up using his just to "make the race more interesting".
Scenery Porn: To quote Anonymous: "Every single frame is a goddamn wallpaper!"
Schizo Tech: Apparently V8s and chopper style bikes will remain popular in the future.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Frisbee eventually becomes this when he sees just how close JP is to winning Redline, alongside a combination of guilt for nearly trashing JP's hopes and dreams twice and Inuki trying to alter the deal by having the Transam 'malfunction' before it reached first place.
"He's so close... I want to see him win, I want to see him win for once in his life!!"
Stealth Pun: The movie's title refers to the maximum engine speed at which an internal combustion engine or traction motor and its components are designed to operate without causing damage to the components themselves or other parts of the engine. It can also refer to the director's full embrace on the line quality of animation in this movie, since everything rendered in it is derived from a solid black line!
Surrounded by Idiots: Colonel Volton starts feeling this way when his own personal forces get their asses handed by the racers and when his three direct subordinates, especiallyLittle Deyzuna and Dr. Sabose, stray from their objective.
Technology Porn: The amount of details in each racer car, ship and other vehicles is absolutely ridiculous.
Too Dumb to Live: The workers that sabotage the power station think it's a good idea to wake up Funky Boy, an extremely powerful bioweapon, hopeing it'll help the Redline racers in the fight against Volton.
Transforming Mecha: The Superboins' pink racer "Boincar", as well as Roboworld's fighter aircraft.
Transhuman: Old-fashioned humans are in the minority. Roboworld is full of cyborgs, and there are people with dog heads, or extra arms, and all sorts of nonhuman attributes, but it's not explained if they're transhumans or aliens.
Reigning Redline Champion Machinehead and the denizens of Roboworld plug themselves into and literally become part of their vehicles.
Sonoshee's hovercraft racer uses a chopper style motorcycle handlebar setup for steering.
Miki goes into his part of the "bike" sideways.
While in car mode it's controlled conventionally, the Superboins' car is piloted with magic when it's in robot mode.
Up to Eleven: Absolutely everything and everybody in the film.
Vehicular Combat: When the Yellowline race is riddled with racers firing missiles at each other, you know it fits the trope. Taken to the next level in the Redline race, where the racers are practically fighting an all-out war against a planetary military superpower.
There's all this dramatic build up for Funky Boy, but as soon as Volton turns himself into a monster and fights him head on, they both vanish from the plot and never return.
There was also a build-up for Miki and Todoroki seeking revenge on the Gori Rider, but that actually never comes up during the race.
Willfully Weak: During their interview the Superboins Bosbos and Boiboi make it known that they won't be using magic out of respect for the other racers. Once it becomes apparent just what sort of hell Roboworld's got prepared for them, though, all bets are off.
Work Off the Debt: A much darker version. JP's friend Frisbee took out a loan from some mafia types to pay for an engine for JP to use in an upcoming race on the proviso that he won, unfortunately JP lost; as a result both Frisbee and JP had to work the debt off by fixing races (JP would hang back in last place until the final lap, shoot up to pole postion and then lose, though JP never exactly tried to follow the last part of the deal, causing Frisbee to make him lose by sabotaging his car). Worse still Frisbee got caught redhanded race fixing and JP served time for it (taking the fall for Frisbee) prior to the movie beginning.
You Gotta Have Colorful Hair: Boiboi has pink hair and Bosbos has green hair with yellow highlights. Trava has blue hair, though he's not exactly human. Sonoshee has green and pink hair, and JP's hair can be seen as a shade of blue in some scenes.