For as long as I’ve been getting mailed DVDs to review on this site, I haven’t ever been as legitimately excited as I was when a medium-sized manila envelope with REDLINE in it came to my door step. I actually alerted friends about this. It felt like an event. I wanted them to know about it. I wanted them to spread the word about it to their friends, in turn.
Most times, when I’m evaluating what my favorite movies were in a given year, I’ll partition the animated ones into their own list, separate from the regular ones. Not so with REDLINE. Watching it in the theater (only a month or so ago!) was the most exhilarating experience I had at theater for all of 2011. Without question. It reminded just how cool anime can be.
My feelings on the flick haven’t changed since my review, except that they’re underlined, now, with a new frustration over how this hasn’t blown up here in the way it should. I take comfort, though, in the confidence that this is destined to join a cult movie canon that extends beyond the usual boundaries of anime fandom’s niche.
This special features section’s rather lean, with just an extended trailer (circa ’06) and a featurette, a "Quick Guide to REDLINE” - - an EPK which I imagine must have played on Japan’s HBO equivalent. Normally, that would seem rather ho-hum, were it not for the fact that latter has to have the most brilliantly hyperbolic commentary I’ve ever heard on such a promo. I sat up with the same mix of amusement and awe I had watching the feature just listening to this announcer breathlessly shout off copy that translated to proclamations of how Takeshi Koike and Katsuhito Ishii allied to make nothing less than “the ULTIMATE anime film!!!”
"Spawned by an OBSESSION to break to all the rules!!!"
“A movie that defies ALL logic!!!”
There are many other frenzied declarations overlaying the usual soft-spoken crew interviews which, while perhaps not piercing too deeply, do confirm the brazen intentions and staggering commitments behind REDLINE. Koike and Ishii set out to make a picture with the kind of gusto they encountered in anime while growing up (the era that none-too-coincidentally offered crossover hits like AKIRA and GHOST IN THE SHELL) and buck the contemporary default to CG animation by hand-drawing every single element in this picture…
...and damn if they didn’t execute that.
The extended ’06 trailer appraises you not only of the fact that this flick was developed for a unearthly amount of time, but also that it''s the product of such staggering artistic obsession that much of the trailer's impressive, fully-rendered animation didn’t even make the final cut. I'll reiterate that this feels like the rare passion project in animation that somehow, by whatever graces or furies, has the fortune to reach fruition. Each one of the 100,000 hand drawn frames feels like some exotic valuable.
Seriously, buy this now. Have your pals over to watch it. Be the cool friend who introduces everybody to something exotic and mind-blowing. Ride the REDLINE before I have to get any more hyperbolic with my recommendations.