Red Line is the anime-maniac’s dream movie. Produced by the legendary Mad House Productions, directed by Takeshi Koike, starring Smap’s Takuya Kimura and the super-cute Yu Aoi, and written by the awesome Katsuhito Ishii, the film has a great pedigree to live up to and whether or not you think the film’s narrative fills the enormous shoes it has been given, its style is undeniable, as are its maniac race sequences.
But for a film centered around racing, futuristic, inter-galactic racing no less, there are surprising few races to enjoy. In fact, the slap in the face opening sequence and the lengthy finale are the only real races in the entire movie, the fatty flesh of the movie is all character development and getting to grips with the film’s odd universe; neither of which are handled with much finesse and you wouldn’t be blamed for being either bored, or confused at points.
The film’s main problem is that too much has been crammed into a neat 90-minute package. Each of the ten racing teams are given a very brief introduction, in the style of a news bulletin, but their names and backstories whizz by at such break-neck speed, whilst watching the confusing races, you will find it difficult to remember their names, let alone care about their reason for racing.
Add to all of this, an odd subplot of the race being held on a forbidden military planet, Robo-World and things can get a little muddled. Not only do many of the racers hate each other, they all have an army of cyborgs hunting for their blood, in an attempt to stop the race and save having their military secrets broadcast to an intergalactic audience of racing fans.
But for all of its flaws in regards to pacing, the film is undeniably fun. The animation is quirky and each of the species are unique but realistic enough to co-exist with one another. The cars have as much personality as the racers, each with their own style, strengths and flaws, so the spectacle of the film alone makes it worth a watch.
If you aren’t a fan of anime however, this won’t win you over. Tropes that others find endearing will no doubt grate on you, as colorful hair, eccentric voice acting and gigantic cartoon breasts litter the screen. If you do like the crazier side of Japanese animation however, this film is definitely for you.