Reviews of “Trava: Fist Planet” (2003) and related work

“Trava: Fist Planet” (2003Moving picture, 52 minutes)

A veteran and his quasi-crustacean mechanic buddy take risky exploration work to earn what they need to enter a big race.

Soft SF space adventure. Annoyingly limited animation and slapstick physics, but it has some very good designs and cool, free-flowing dialogue.

moving picture Japanese production animation fiction

Redline (2009Moving picture, 102 minutes)

Kawajiri Yoshiaki (key animator).

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 whose workers do.

SF motor sports. Feature film. A product of real effort. 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 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 originality but is probably useful in the role.

moving picture sequel Japanese production animation fiction