Redline Viewing Notes: 5th Time’s the Charm?
I still haven’t gotten a really good setup for screencapping images from the blu-ray, so a visual analysis of Redline will have to wait until another time. But I watched it again, and took detailed notes. These are not organized thoughts yet, but they may help to flesh out other theories later.
The movie begins with the text about how wheels are being abandoned for the “air cars,” but a few crazy fools still embrace racing with tires. Nicholas Zabaly over at Keyframe Anime brought up the interesting idea that this is not unlike Madhouse themselves. In an age where people are abandoning hand-drawn animation for CGI, here are a bunch of crazy fools who spent 7 years and 100,000 pictures to create this animated film.
The opening narration reveals a lot of information. There have been two interplanetary wars. The racing circuit starts with 2358 teams initially! The Blue Line is the race just before the Yellow Line, and already with the blue line, only 1 remaining slot is open for the Redline. The winner will take that slot.
The racers are Sonoshee McLaren, named after the famous McLaren racing family. Next, we have Captain-2 Block, a previous Redline champ in his Captain-the-Classic. From Supergrass, but presumably not a member of the Royal Family, we have Deguon in her Firebird. Lynchman and Johnnyboya’s archenemies, Psychoman and Lotton ride in their Psychorod. There’s Count Markdie and Spark in their Snakehead which is quickly dispatched by a missile. Finally, there’s Planet Dorothy’s own Bons in his Bons Missile. As Anime Kritik notes, he’s from his own Madhouse series, Hal and Bons, similar to the Trava series.
Brian Smith has found that a Redline artbook identifies the stylish man in the purple suit is identified as “NICE GUY”. This doesn’t mean he’s not also Inuki, but it may reinforce the idea that they’re just doppelgangers representing conflicting ideals of competitive sport. The two women at the back of the car have gold and silver hair – the same as the colors of metals for 1st and 2nd place, or is it the two colors of nitro, gold and platinum?
The venue is announced on Roboworld, and two racers resign: Kurukuru-Daza and Shoto-o-jin. I remember Kurukuru being identified as a former solider in the subs I watched at Fantastic Fest, but I don’t see that year. Anyway, he doesn’t want to dodge bullets, whether he did in the past or not. Shoto-o-jin quits because Roboworld is a client of whatever his Kingdom produces.
In the conveniently titled “Roboworld Propaganda”, the president addresses the people of the M3 nebula. It is the M3 nebula federation with which they have signed a peace treaty, banning bio-weapons and declaring the satellite planet of Europass to be a demilitarized zone.
Who is the bizarre squiggly family? It has to be a reference to something, surely, as no other art in Redline has this same look.
The president and his cabinet reside in Dest Tower on Roboworld. Could this be a reference to Destination, since this tower is where the Redline finish line will be? Or Destiny, perhaps? The smug, always content secretary who I theorized might be aiding the guerrillas is named secretary Titan, and he seems to hold the whiny, drug-addicted president in contempt.
Europass is covered in slums, and Mogura complains about how nobody there has any idea of customer service. It’s a “hive of scum and villainy” much like Mos Eisely in Star Wars, and it’s very much like the cantina scene. Unlike the bloodless prequels, the cantina scene is so famous and beloved in Star Wars because it shows us that aliens are weird! There’s value in peace and understanding, but it’s so much more exciting to be confused and bewildered by alien customs. From the living currency of Europass to the hoverbike, JP is introduced to a new world of experiences.
When Sonoshee tells her life story, we’re introduced to the first of the 7s that appear throughout the story. Sonoshee was given the steamlight on her 7th birthday. At the conclusion of the restaurant scene, JP has 7 guns pointed at him.
I find Little Deyzuna’s super-powered crying hilarious, and the face-off between Machinehead and Deyzuna is especially hilarious. I’d love to do a frame by frame of the repeated kicks to the head.
I heard Colonel Volton described as an “evil captain America” and he does look the part. His helmet is also shaped like JP’s hair, a good and an evil ducktail. I’m curious what JP’s riposte was going to be about why it was good 7 guns were pointed at him.
The scene between when he’s knocked out and when JP drvies Sonoshee home is a big mystery to me. What happened then? If Machinehead is Sonoshee’s father, did they have a talk? Did Machinehead leave immediately afterwards? JP was blacked out, and it is his story, so we may never know.
In the flashback, young JP has no ducktail, as he has not yet been inspired by Sonoshee’s tenacity. Also worth noting is that she has naturally green hair. Is the pink hair part of the natural Oceanic-race maturation, or is it a very complex dye-job?
I forget who made the comment, but JP’s superpower is that he can survive any crash and he can light a match on any surface.
Sonoshee, Trava, and JP are the only ones racing out in the desert. The other teams are rich or famous enough to be able to afford private tracks.
Roboworld’s “coolies” or immigrant workers appear to work in Steamlight mines.
The man at the underground casino claims that Gori-Rider always comes in 5th. Is this a pun? Go-ri rider? Get it?
Perhaps the most controversial scene is where Sonoshee watches TV topless. It’s somewhat of an odd joke, as Sonoshee notes how the TV is showing her butt, and then she sits down with no top. I timed it, and the nudity lasts only 5 to 6 seconds. It’s hard to believe that this will keep so many people from seeing Redline.
According to the TV, Machinehead won the 4th Redline 20 years ago. Does this mean it’s the 24th Redline this time? You’ll notice you’ll see him become more and more machine-like in the clips. Near the beginning, his head is almost human-shaped.
I’ll cop to being a Superboins fan. They’re absolutely ridiculous, but I always saw them as a tribute to Go Nagai, with his love for magical girls and breasts. They’re like twin Cutey Honeys who pilot Aphrodite A on a planet ruled over by Sailor Moon. They’re actually members of the Royal Family, which is why they have magical powers, although they have promised to seal those off for the race. The current Supergrass princess is the last heir to the magical powers. What crisis has befallen Supergrass?
From Alsatia you have the Mad Brothers, Lynchman and Johnnyboya, who are like (as the Dynamite in the Brain podcast also says) Beavis and Butthead as Batman and Robin. They’re marketing their number 7 best fighting collection, although it features some kind of evil sailor rather than their foe, Psychoman.
JP survived a 300 mph crash, making me wonder if he isn’t a cyborg. He’s listed as human (presumably), but he seems awfully indestructible.
We learn Miki and Todoroki were supposed to be at the Yellow Line, but Gori Rider beat them up and probably detained them. They almost missed their chance at the Redline, except they were voted in as replacements with JP. I’d be pissed at Gori Rider, too.
Mogura sees explosions across Roboworld, and wonders if it’s a pre-race party. Under that martial law? Unlikely! It must be some kind of guerrilla uprising, as we soon see the miners attack the power station. Titan figures out what’s going on awfully quick. He has an earpiece, but again his smug attitude makes me suspicious.
Another favorite scene is seeing Lynchman and Johnnyboya stretch before their attack, which is never shown.
When JP crashes (again – is JP actually a good driver, or just lucky?) and lands in the field of flowers, he looks up at a rainbow in the sky and his eyes flash with fire. More cyborg evidence? Or perhaps some other mystical race to explain his pointy ears?
The scout ships from Supergrass are heart-shaped. They’re never shown from the angle to reveal that they’re hearts, but they are, making Supergrass completely magical girl themed. It seems like the entire planet is populated by women, as well.
Always keep your eyes on Shinkai when he’s on the screen. He moves like crazy.
Machinehead hooks into his car much as Volton’s troops do. Is his lost humanity making him like the people of Roboworld?
The announcers for Redline are “Rattle King” Void Do and previous Redline champion Minerva Harness.
Sonoshee seems to get attacked far more than JP ever does, and her wits on her toes is just impressive to see. It’s hard not to think that Sonoshee is a better racer than JP.
The Superboins’ whiny cries of “iyaaaaaa” every time they get picked on is totally hilarious to me.
Had Roboworld just let the race go without any fanfare or fighting, would the television ratings be so high?
Funky boy is sleeping in zone 7X, with the number 7 again making an appearance. Sonoshee’s shirt lists the numbers 78, which apparently have some significance in Trava as well.
Besides Little Deyzuna, Big Deyzuna is the one who looks like a cyclops, and Dr. Sabose is the man with the moustache and monocle. When Little Deyzuna decides to join the race, he’s actually listed in the news as a contestant: look for it!
How did the guerrillas know that funky boy would attack Roboworld’s troops and not the racers? Was Titan working with them to make sure Funky Boy would malfunction?
Lynchman attacks a robot, runs across the minefield, and gets shot several times, unscathed. OVA spin-off when?
Funny and ironic that Gori-Rider, the cop, stumbles into the illegal bioweapon facility.
Right before Funky Boy screams and attacks, his little eye opens. I find his little eye and teeth terribly amusing, and kind of cute, unlike the gross giant baby from the end of Akira.
When Sabose gives the situation report after Funky Boy is vaporized, is that his EYE on the dashboard?
Sonoshee helps JP quite a bit, grabbing the wheel, pushing the pedal, and even throwing the Steamlight in. JP looks utterly horrified when she burns off the steamlight.
Near the end, after the car explodes, when JP cries “Sonoshee” two blue flames appear. When Sonoshee cries “JP” two more blue flames appear. Are these blue flames related to the flames in JP’s eyes? Do these just represent passion, or is there something more?
I try to avoid Freudian interpretations, but it’s hard to not get a sexual vibe from the ending. Supergrass is all women, and Roboworld (as a searcher on this blog suggested to me) is all men. Of all the team racers, only JP & Sonoshee are mixed gender. Everyone else is two men or two women. Is this the proper mix of magic and technology? When they cross the finish line, nobody’s mad. Everyone’s sweaty, smiling, and happy (and in the Superboins’ and Supergrass audience’s case, partially undressed), basking in the afterglow.
The ending has its fair share of criticism for being too abrupt, but everything important has been wrapped up. Why slow down the pace and tie up little loose ends when you can leave in a triumphant high?
If you want answers to questions about what happens next, buy Redline when it’s out in your territory. A sequel will give you more adventures than a 5 minute denouement ever could.
More on the way, once I get the books, documentaries, and screenshots I need to dig further.