Redline (2009 film)

Redline (Japanese: レッドライン, Hepburn: Reddo rain, stylized as REDLINE) is a 2009 Japanese animated science fiction film produced by Madhouse and directed by Takeshi Koike in his directorial debut. The film stars Takuya Kimura, Yū Aoi, Tatsuya Gashūin, Yoshinori Okada, Kanji Tsuda, Yoshiyuki Morishita, Akemi, Takeshi Aono, Kōsei Hirota, Unshō Ishizuka, Kenta Miyake, Kōji Ishii, Chō, Kenyu Horiuchi, Tadanobu Asano, and its screenplay was written by Katsuhito Ishii, Yōji Enokido and Yoshiki Sakurai, based on an original story by Ishii. The film is set in the distant future, where a man known as JP takes on great risks for the chance of winning the titular underground race.

Redline (2009 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTakeshi Koike
Screenplay by
Story byKatsuhito Ishii
Produced by
  • Kentarō Yoshida
  • Yukiko Koike
CinematographyRyu Takizawa
Edited by
  • Satoshi Terauchi
  • Naoki Kawanishi
Music byJames Shimoji
Distributed byTohokushinsha Film
Release date
  • August 14, 2009 (2009-08-14) (Locarno)
  • October 9, 2010 (2010-10-09) (Japan)
Running time
102 minutes[1]

The film was in production for a total of seven years and utilized a total of over 100,000 hand-drawn frames. It had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival on August 14, 2009 and was theatrically released on October 9, 2010 in Japan, by Tohokushinsha Film. Despite the positive critical response, with particular praise for its animation, Redline didn't have a successful run at the box office, but saw greater success following its home release and has since been recognized as a cult film.[2][3]


On the planet Dorothy, "Sweet" JP races in the Yellowline car race, the galaxy's famous final elimination race, despite two interplanetary wars, to the most popular race in the galaxy, the Redline. The crowd is watching the race on an outdoor giant monitor screen in the desert town of The Water Stop. JP's alien mobster mechanic, Frisbee, is watching the televised race with a mafia boss who constantly massages his gums with cocaine. The gambling boss is concerned that JP might attempt to win the fixed race but Frisbee reassures him that JP needs bail bond funds from the pay-off. JP attempts to win anyway while Frisbee resorts to using a remote detonator transmitter hidden in the palm of his hand, which the mob boss doesn't notice, causing JP's TransAM20000 to explode thereby making the 'Crab Sonoshee Sea' hovercraft, piloted by female racer Sonoshee "Cherry Boy Hunter" McLaren, the final winner.

While recuperating from the explosion in a planet Dorothy hospital, Frisbee tells JP he's off the hook with his bondsman. JP initially turns down the money but a crowd of reporters storms the hospital room where JP learns that he has been voted by popular demand for the Redline following the dropout of two qualifiers due to the revelation of the race's location as being on Roboworld—a planet dominated by militant zealot cyborgs whose President has threatened on interstellar television to hang all involved with the Redline mothership if it appears out of hyperspace over their planet. The broadcast (sent over the race's thousands of satellites) also exposes the secret weapons Roboworld has built-up against treaties.

Inside DEST Tower on Roboworld, the President asks Secretary of Defense Titan for a report about ships landing on Roboworld's moon, EUЯPSS (pronounced Europass) - a de-militarized zone that Roboworld signed away to refugees in the M-3 Nebula Federation, making it off limits to Roboworld's troops. The President obtains a verbal oath from Colonel Volton to fight to the death to protect Roboworld and the M-3 Nebula.

While the racers are staying on EUЯPSS before REDLINE under constant media coverage, Frisbee's alien junk dealer, Old Man Mole, wants to put weapons on the restored TransAM, which JP refuses despite his competitors being armed. Old Man Mole also protests the presence of Frisbee on their team and his insistence on using a rare uncontrollable hyper-powered engine, but eventually gives in to JP's convincing.

JP finds Sonoshee in the slow hours of the Oasis Restaurant on the moon. Shinkai, formerly of the Roboworld army, shows up at the Oasis when racer Little Deyzuna, a recently AWOL subordinate of Col. Volton, attacks Shinkai's partner, Trava. The Redline favorite, Machinehead, a tall menacing but ultimately well-mannered cyborg, appears, and is attacked by a sobbing Little Deyzuna, who is retrieved by Col. Volton. Machinehead confronts Volton for being in the de-militarized zone. Volton reminds the racer any Redline event will be repelled by the army and police before leaving the damaged restaurant.

Fireworks celebrations and bookmaker agent desks break out on Roboworld despite the threats from the military, and are raided by deadly android police robots. Miners on Roboworld use their power suits to sabotage the military base's power station while the Race Commission, which promotes gambling, hires Earth-native racing partners Lynchman and Johnny Boya to sabotage the Orbital Disintegration Cannon, which Secretary Titan plans to use to destroy the Redline mothership the instant it comes out of hyperspace.

While in hyperspace, the Princess from the planet Supergrass marks the race course on the military base with a pair of scout vessels, with the starting line to the north at the Knock-out Tower and the finish line to the south, east of DEST Tower. Unaware of the sabotage against the Orbital Disintegration Cannon, the President realizes the racers are on the planet after the cannon fails, and sends his troops en masse at the racers. The President becomes increasingly desperate as the racers evade them and approach the mine-laden Zone XXXXXXX (pronounced, "Seven-Ex"), lair of a secret illegal biological weapon named 'Funky Boy', who awakens from its stasis as the racers and the rebellious miners converge on it. With the several hundred foot tall Funky Boy awakening and subsequent destruction of the base coinciding with the orbital cannon coming back online, the President orders Funky Boy fired upon. The explosion takes out most of the Roboworld troops while JP pushes to right his overturned car off its side. Sonoshee, her vehicle totaled, agrees to ride with him to the finish line as Funky Boy regenerates. Funky Boy is taken out by Col. Volton, who had to dangerously merge physically with another bioweapon to do so.

Frisbee watches the race on several televisions parked atop a mesa in the mob boss's giant Cadillac hovercraft, where he revives the same deal as Yellowline. Frisbee however, refuses to detonate the explosive charge this time, wanting to see his friend win 'the big one' just one time. He is attacked by mobsters for his decision but is saved by Old Man Mole - who discovered Frisbee's sabotage - and shoots and kills the mob boss and his lackeys with a double barrel flechette firing shotgun.

As the race nears the finish line, Machinehead and JP race to the southern line boosted by their rare Steamlight boosters. As they come to a desperate neck-and-neck finish, a drunken Old Man Mole accidentally detonates Frisbee's remote detonator, propelling JP and Sonoshee towards the finish line, thrown from their vehicle. The boost is enough and JP wins by the length of his long duck tail pompadour.

As the racers rest at the end of the race amidst the ruins of Roboworld, JP and Sonoshee float back down to the ground kissing and thus declaring their love for each other. Machinehead (who vowed to win but comes in second) sees the romance and his rage turns to laughter, happy with the outcome anyway. The other racers, who all survived as well, laugh with him as they are also happy with the outcome.


Character Cast
Japanese English dub[4]
Joshua Punkhead "J.P." Takuya Kimura (木村 拓哉, Kimura Takuya) Patrick Seitz
Sonoshee McLaren Yū Aoi (蒼井 優, Aoi Yū) Michelle Ruff
Frisbee Tadanobu Asano (浅野 忠信, Asano Tadanobu) Liam O'Brien
Boiboi Akane Sakai (阪井 あかね, Sakai Akane) Lauren Landa
Bosbos AKEMI (小林 明美, Kobayashi Akemi) Laura Post
Inuki Boss Chō (チョー) Alfred Thor
Gori-Rider Daisuke Gouri (郷里 大輔, Gōri Daisuke) George C. Cole
Todoroki Ikki Todoroki (轟木 一騎, Todoroki Ikki) Cutter Garcia
Miki Shunichiro Miki (三木 俊一郎, Miki Shunichiro) Sam Riegel
Trava Kanji Tsuda (津田 寛治, Tsuda Kanji) Joey Morris
Shinkai Yoshiyuki Morishita (森下 能幸, Morishita Yoshiyuki) Tony Oliver
Secretary of Defense Titan Kenyu Horiuchi (堀内 賢雄, Horiuchi Ken'yū) Doug Erholtz
Colonel Volton Unshō Ishizuka (石塚 運昇, Ishizuka Unshō) Jamieson Price
Roboworld President Kōsei Hirota (廣田 行生, Hirota Kōsei) David Lodge
Machine Head Kōji Ishii (石井 康嗣, Ishii Kōji) Michael McConnohie
Old Man Mole Takeshi Aono (青野 武, Aono Takeshi) Steve Kramer
Lynchman Tatsuya Gashuin (我修院 達也, Gashūin Tatsuya) John White
Johnny Boya Yoshinori Okada (岡田 義徳, Okada Yoshinori) David Roach
Little Deyzuna Kenta Miyake (三宅 健太, Miyake Kenta) Derek Stephen Prince

Development and releaseEdit

In 2003, prior to Redline's production and release, a prelude anime OVA entitled Trava: Fist Planet was released, featuring two characters (Trava and Shinkai) who would reappear as key characters in Redline.

Redline was produced by Madhouse[5] and directed by Takeshi Koike, who also wrote the storyboard and served as unit director and animation director. The film's producers were Yukiko Koike and Kentarō Yoshida. Masahiro Fukushima served as executive producer. The task of writing the script was shared by Yoji Enokido, Katsuhito Ishii, and Yoshiki Sakurai. The film's character designs, original and otherwise, were done by Katsuhito Ishii, who also served as one of the film's sound directors, the other being Youji Shimizu. The film's music was composed by James Shimoji.[6]

According to Tim Maughan of Anime News Network, Redline was released several years later than originally planned. Its development took seven years and used 100,000 hand-made drawings,[7] which Maughan notes is all the more unusual as it is Koike's directorial debut.[6]

Redline was initially meant to premiere at the 2009 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and follow Summer Wars, Mai Mai Miracle, and Yona Yona Penguin as the fourth and final feature film Madhouse planned to release between summer 2009 and spring 2010.[8] Instead, it premiered during the Locarno International Film Festival in August of the same year.[9][10] Several more advance screenings were done at international film festivals during 2010.[11] In May, Redline was shown during the Sci-Fi-London 9.[12][13] In June, it participated in Annecy 2010 in the category "Feature Films out of competition".[14] During September, it was shown in Australia and New Zealand as part of Reel Anime 2010.[15] Redline was shown in Austin, Texas on September 23,[11] and in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 15 as part of the Scotland Loves Anime film festival.[16] At the 2010 Nantes Utopiales Sci-Fi festival, the film received the special mention of jury and public.

The film opened in Japan on October 9, 2010. Coinciding with this, the film was shown in a San Francisco-based Viz Cinema theater from October 8–14, 2010. Distribution in North America is handled by Manga Entertainment.[5] It was the last product released through the American division of Manga before going dormant.


An official soundtrack to the film by James Shimoji (ジェイムス下地) was released under GBC label on October 6, 2010[17] and contains 42 tracks.[18] It ranked 207th on Oricon's album chart.[19]

Track listing: Redline Original Soundtrack
1."Yellow Line"6:59
3."Redline Title"0:48
4."Boy's Memory"0:54
5."Winner March"0:43
6."Roboworld TV"0:34
7."TV Show"2:27
10."Mogura Oyaji"2:20
12."And It's So Beautiful (feat. Kitty Brown)"4:49
14."Machine Head"1:02
15."Capture Operation"2:18
16."Let Me Love You (feat. Veronica Torraca-Bragdon)"2:25
17."Get The Stones (feat. Andrew O. Jones)"3:23
18."Crab Sonoshee"1:36
19."彼のシフトはブンブンブン (feat. Super Boins)"3:47
20."Lynch Man & Johnny Boya"1:16
21."Redline News"0:22
23."Miki & Todoroki"0:23
24."Put-up Guy"0:41
25."Red Angels"0:48
26."Three-point Decomposition Cannon"0:53
28."Chatter Void"1:05
29."Volton Unit"2:06
30."Vertical Drop"1:40
31."Moniter Room"1:06
32."Sand Biker"1:28
33."Spinning Car"1:52
37."Flying Finger"0:23
38."Funky Boy"1:41
40."Exceed Limit"1:32
41."Dead Heat"1:02
42."Redline Day (feat. Rob Laufer)"4:52


Tim Maughan of Anime News Network describes the film as "something very special, very different, and insanely exhilarating." In particular he praises the film's director, saying that "Koike has managed to make all this chaos believable." He goes on to say that "Redline is animation not only at its best, but also largely animation for animation's sake." Although Maughan says some may dislike its techno soundtrack and "minimal plot," he calls Redline "the most insanely exciting, visually exhilarating anime film you've seen in decades."[6]

Thomas Zoth of comments that while the film does not provide "a deep plot or unique premise," it still "demands to be seen." He said that if Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was "an assault on the senses ... Redline is a declaration of war." Zoth went on to praise the film for its "imaginative creatures and clever designs", to compare Koike's work to that of Quentin Tarantino, and to compliment the film for its "soundtrack, with its memorable high-energy tracks that greatly complement the chaos onscreen." He concludes by saying that if "the life of the industry has been drained and replaced with rote, cookiecutter shows-by-committee, Redline shows a path out."[20]

Nicolas Penedo of the French magazine Animeland describes it as the "Paris-Dakar revisited à la Ōban Star-Racers",[21] a remake of Hanna-Barbera Wacky Races with arts inspired from Jack Kirby comics and know-how, rhythm and energy inherent of the best Japanese anime movies.[22] The reviewer praises the animation quality as breathtaking,[23] and declares that Takeshi Koike made an homage to comics and films of the 70s and 80s.[23] On the negative, he notes the lack of scenario stating "Don't hope to find any scenario in Redline".[23]

Kwenton Bellette and Peter Martin reviewed Redline for Twitch Film. Bellette describes it as a "truly out of this world experience", "Speed Racer on crack" and praised the supporting characters for being memorable and the background galaxy made of different races and creeds to be very solid.[24] Martin expresses that "it feels like every centimeter of every frame is filled with some kind of kinetic color or action or bit of business, making it an experience that is sure to overload the senses" and asserts that writer Katsuhito Ishii succeeds at making a feature-length anime as insane as his film Funky Forest.[25]

Jon Liang of UK Anime Network comments that "A sense of the cool and outrageous is seeped into every pore of the design, ... exaggerated is an understatement here", and notes that the film's "cinema-quality smooth animation" makes "even the most alien of things move naturally and the sense of speed that is often achieved is frequently mind-blowing." He remarks that "the visuals and over-the-top action will most likely overload sensitive brain cells," but concludes by calling Redline "an incredibly exciting cinematic experience that doesn't take itself at all seriously."[26]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Redline". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  2. ^ Kurten, Guillermo (February 12, 2020). "10 Reasons Why Redline Is A Must-Watch Anime Movie". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  3. ^ Schley, Matt (January 21, 2021). "Race back to anime's halcyon days with 'Redline'". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  4. ^ "Redline". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Redline Opens in California, Japan in Same October Weekend". Anime News Network. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Maughan, Tim (May 19, 2010). "Redline – Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  7. ^ "Crew: Subbed Redline to Open Throughout U.S. in 2011". Anime News Network. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  8. ^ "Koike, Madhouse's Redline Pulled from Annecy Fest Slate". Anime News Network. May 20, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  9. ^ "Redline". Locarno International Film Festival. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Kelts, Roland (August 7, 2009). "Anime with Texas roots to debut in Switzerland". The Daily Yomiuri. Yomiuri Group. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Redline's N. American Debut at Austin's Fantastic Fest". Anime News Network. August 27, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  12. ^ "Manga All-nighter". festivalBiz Group. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  13. ^ "UK Anime All-Nighter at Sci-Fi-London Film Festival 2010". Anime News Network. April 19, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  14. ^ "Film index: Redline". Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  15. ^ "RedLine". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "Redline". August 11, 2010. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  17. ^ "REDLINEオリジナルサウンドトラック/ ジェイムス下地" (in Japanese). Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  18. ^ REDLINEオリジナルサウンドトラック (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  19. ^ "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved October 24, 2010.
  20. ^ Zoth, Thomas (September 24, 2010). "Redline Movie Review: Madhouse takes racing to the next level". Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  21. ^ Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010. le Paris-Dakar est revisité façon Ôban Star-Racers!
  22. ^ Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010. remake des Fous du volants, ce vieux dessin animé d'HANA & BARBERA, mais matiné d'un graphisme inspiré des comics book de Jack Kirby, le tout avec un savoir faire, un rythme et une énergie propres au meilleurs films d'animation nippons!
  23. ^ a b c Penedo, Nicolas (July–August 2010). "Redline Les fous du volants". Animeland (in French) (163). ISSN 1148-0807. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  24. ^ Bellette, Kwenton (September 16, 2010). "Reel Anime 2010: Red Line". Twitch Film. Retrieved September 26, 2010.
  25. ^ Martin, Peter (September 24, 2010). "Fantastic Fest 2010: Redline Review". Twitch Film. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
  26. ^ Liang, Jon. "Anime Review: Redline". UK Anime Network. Etharius. Retrieved September 26, 2010.

External linksEdit