Summary: Every year the most dangerous car race in the galaxy is held, Redline, only open to a select number of racers and held in a new, surprise location each year. This year the setting is Roboworld, whose rulers are not happy at the prospect of the racers coming and possibly discovering their military secrets, and among the racers is driver Sweet JP whose been in and out of jail for helping to fix races in the past. But here he's in it to win it this time, although to do that he'll first have to survive it.
The Good: In short, this movie was just plain fun to watch and really engaging, I wasn't bored for a minute and the movie had my full attention the entire time. It was also paced incredibly well, it perfectly balanced the build-up to the race and the race itself without either part feeling too drawn out or too short. JP and Sonoshee, another racer, were both more fleshed out than I expected and I was rather happy to see that Sonoshee wasn't just a pretty face but had some brains and character, honestly I wasn't expecting that out of any of the characters. It was a thoroughly fun watch which I would recommend to any fan of animation, although I don't think the appeal is wide enough for a non-animation fan to really get into it.
The Bad: I do wish that the setting had been explored a little more (some parts, such as Roboworld, are surprisingly fleshed out so I wish the characters had worked in a sentence or two about some of the other worlds as well) but that’s just a little nit-pick of mine, clearly the film works just fine without that.
The Audio: The music here reminded me quite a bit of the soundtrack for the JRPG The World Ends With You although they appear to have different composers. Actually, it appears that the man who did the music, James Shimoji, hasn't done any other work but I'd be rather interested to hear some more from him, the music had a real style and flair to it and impressively enough managed to not be overwhelmed by the visuals but rather add to them. I watched the Japanese dub since I have heard that the English one is not outstanding and the voices here worked fairly well. Nothing amazing but this wasn't a movie which required the actors to voice a wide range of emotions so this wasn't a problem at all.
The Visuals: The visuals are the biggest draw for this movie by far, I’ve heard that it took a full ten years to animate and there’s not a single piece of CGI used both of which I would believe. The art looks incredibly retro and not quite Japanese or American, while I can think of many Western series that have varied aliens and alien settings there’s just something Japanese about the designs. And, despite the fact that the art looks incredibly retro, there’s never been another movie or show that looks quite like this, certainly none with that art style and fluidity of motion, and it made me feel oddly nostalgic for something that didn’t exist. After seeing this movie I really wanted to check out more films like it but artwise there simply aren’t any other like it, despite the fact it looks like it’s from another era where there should be a dozen similar looking shows, and it’s a strange feeling to find something that seems familiar yet at it’s heart is completely new.
I was hoping I'd enjoy this movie, although not certain I would since I like my stories heavy on the plot, but it was quite fun and I can easily see myself getting a copy of the blu-ray someday and rewatching it.