Ani-Monday: Redline (Takeshi Koike, 2009)

Rarely ceasing to captivate on account of masterful aesthetic hyperbole, Redline takes its title from the titular twice-a-decade racing event reserved for the galaxy’s elite professionals. When the latest iteration of the Redline sets its sights on the monarchical Roboworld as its next venue, obdurate opposition threatens to upend the proceedings by decidedly (predictably) violent means. With fortunate alternate contestant and purveyor of tall hair “Sweet” JP eyeing the prize following a disappointing outing at the qualifying Yellowline, our man aims to simultaneously beat the odds and court childhood sweetheart Sonoshee – the defending Yellowline champion, no less – whilst dodging military efforts to quell the main event.

Redline epitomizes the age-old “style over substance” argument with its continued handwaving of weighty exposition helping to exploit its agreeably batshit gusto. The film’s style – purposefully bombastic as it is – is so singular in its meticulous attention to visceral integrity that perversity and a lack of thematic oomph suits its ostensible intentions with ease. With enigmatic if predictably viable plot components consisting of “hyper-disintegrator” cannons and a gargantuan (biologically engineered) neon fetus named “Funky Boy,” the film strives to constantly one-up itself because, frankly, it needs to. Something this particularly one-dimensional needs such gradation to survive its duration, and survive Redline certainly does to varying degrees of goofiness.

Putting aside the superficiality that serves as the sole impetus for each and every key player, the rote alluring glory in question pales in comparison to the event those involved (literally) live for. With a latter act that boasts a stunning helping of genre-bending insanity, Redline is a decidedly sparse endeavor made captivating by way of an obvious uniqueness of vision and corresponding technical expertise. Picture an adrenaline junkie’s fever dream laced with sci-fi trappings and stimuli to spare.


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