Far-future SF motor sports. Feature film. Kawajiri Yoshiaki is credited with 1st key animation.
A corrupt human race-car driver with a souped-up 20th-century sedan unexpectedly qualifies for an illegal pentannual competition where there are no rules. As usual, the mafia is rigging it and the drivers are all trying to kill each other. This year, the race is set on an advanced militaristic planet whose leader does not want the attention, but its workers do.
It works wonders on a big screen, mainly because of the effort put into it. The fluidity of the animation, the consistency of the antirealism, and the excellent variety of design and detail, are great. Sound is also good. The sexism, the half-assedness of the love story, and the ultimate failure to tie things together are bad. I wanted to know what happened to Funky Boy and the workers. It’s also unfortunate that the presence of Trava and Shinkai is allowed to add to the chaos of the plot, as this undermines a much-hyped feature of the film as touted by Tim Maughan and other critics: that it needs no introduction, and is therefore capable of serving as a new Akira (1988). It has less substance, and is very likely more confusing, than Akira or Ghost in the Shell (1995), but the visuals are top notch and it is probably useful in the role.