Odd Taxi

Odd Taxi

Odd Taxi anime series cover art
Odd Taxi

Hiroshi Odokawa the Taxi Driver

Odd Taxi (オッドタクシー) is an original mystery series about a taxi driver who gets caught up in Tokyo’s underworld. Yakuza, corrupt cops, and even a deranged salaryman are after Odokawa. But, what did Odokawa witness that set all this in motion?

At the start of the series, we’re given two pieces of information. The first is that a high school-aged girl has gone missing. And the second is that Odokawa is hiding and talking to something in the closet of his apartment. And it doesn’t take long for Odokawa to become a prime suspect in the case.

It’s said that the missing girl got in a taxi on the night she disappeared. Could it have been Odokawa’s? And if so, did the camera in his taxi record what happened to the girl? That’s what everyone wants to know.

Taichi Kabasawa asking Odokawa for a picture from the anime series Odd Taxi
Taichi Kabasawa asking Odokawa for a picture

So, that’s the basic premise of Odd Taxi. There are a lot of people who want to know what, if anything, Odokawa’s taxi cam recorded. And they’re willing to blackmail, threaten, and bribe him to get what they want. But, there are also a lot of people on Odokawa’s side.

Odokawa has his friends, Kakihana, Goriki, and Miho. And he also has the passengers he’s forged relationships with, such as Imai and Kabasawa. The series is really all about interpersonal relationships. How do the characters know each other? And how do their relationships affect the story as it progresses?

Well, almost all of the character relationships matter. There are two characters, Shibagaki and Baba, who I could have done without. They’re a comedy duo who I didn’t feel added much to the series. Despite their connections to other characters, they didn’t have an impact on the story. What was the point of including them?

Everything Comes Together

The best thing about Odd Taxi is how everything comes together. All the characters and various plot lines in the story are connected. I know I just said that Shibagaki and Baba didn’t have much of a point. But, even they have connections to important characters and events.

So, let’s go over (spoil) some of the big connections that made the series so good. Well, other than the ones that come at the very end of the series. I’m going to discuss the end of Odd Taxi in the next section of this review.

Now, one of the major dynamics in the series is the Odokawa-Dobu-Kabasawa triangle. Odokawa is the main character, obviously. Dobu is a yakuza member who wants Odokawa’s taxi cam recording. And Kabasawa is one of Odokawa’s passengers who wants to take down Dobu. But, things aren’t quite that simple.

Dobu in Odokawa's Taxi from the anime series Odd Taxi
Dobu in Odokawa’s Taxi

Kabasawa wants to take down Dobu because he thinks it will make him go viral again. And the reason he went “viral” in the first place is thanks to Odokawa. But, Odokawa is also working with (and being blackmailed by) Dobu. So, there’s an interesting dynamic between these three throughout the series.

Things only get more complicated from there, though. There’s a whole web of relationships surrounding Odokawa and Mystery Kiss. Mystery Kiss is an idol group Odokawa has driven around before. He’s also driven their #1 fan. And one of his best friends is attempting to date one of the Mystery Kiss members.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Mystery Kiss’s manager is one of the people who want the recording from Odokawa’s taxi. And he works for Yano, a yakuza rival of Dobu. Also, both Dobu and Yano work for Kuroda, who’s friends with Donraku, the father of the missing girl.

Left Without a Satisfying Conclusion

I don’t think Odd Taxi had a good ending. But, to explain why, I need to spoil it. There’s your warning.

At some point in the second half of the series, we learn that the missing girl is dead. Her name is Yuki Mitsuya, and she was an original member of Mystery Kiss. We also learn that Rui Nikaidou, the center of Mystery Kiss planned to murder Yuki.

However, when Rui shows up to do the deed, she finds Yuki already dead. She, along with her manager and Yano, then dispose of the body. How does Odokawa fit into all this? He gave Yuki her final ride to the place where she died. So, his camera recording is evidence of her murder.

But, it’s not until the very end of the series that we learn what actually happened to Yuki.

Fuyuki Yamamoto and Shiho Ichimura riding in Odokawa's taxi from the anime series Odd Taxi
Fuyuki Yamamoto and Shiho Ichimura riding in Odokawa’s taxi

It turns out that Yuki’s replacement, Sakura Wadagaki, killed her. So, what’s wrong with this ending? Well, it happens abruptly. As I said, this reveal comes at the very end of the series. And it’s also revealed that Sakura is something of an idol serial killer.

There was all this buildup of the mystery of what happened to Yuki throughout the series. I expected the conclusion to be a bit more thought out. Instead, it felt rushed. And, the final scene of the series is Sakura getting into Odokawa’s taxi to silence him. We don’t get to see what happens next.

Or, we wouldn’t have gotten to if not for the movie (which I didn’t watch). I was actually going to watch it until I saw what other people were saying about it. It’s a 2-hour recap movie with 8 minutes of new content that, apparently, results in a worse ending.

Odokawa’s Brain

There’s one more thing I need to spoil. Despite how they look, none of the characters in the series are actually animals. They only appear that way because we’re seeing the world through Odokawa’s eyes. And when he was younger, he suffered a brain injury that made everyone appear this way to him — even himself.

This was an interesting twist. But, it wasn’t one I hadn’t seen coming. I assumed this was the case from very early on in the series. There were plenty of hints toward this being the case. And the aforementioned comedy duo is one of them.

Despite being a warthog and horse, Shibagaki and Baba’s comedy name is “Homosapiens.” Homosapiens as in humans. So maybe that was the point of including them. They were hinting at the truth of the series the whole time.

Dr. Goriki and Miho Shirakawa as humans from the anime series Odd Taxi
Dr. Goriki and Miho Shirakawa as humans

But, there were more hints than that. Other characters seemed a little confused by some of the things Odokawa said. For example, there was a scene when Odokawa referred to Shiho of Mystery Kiss as a calico cat. Her manager didn’t understand what Odokawa meant by this or what it had to do with whether or not he’d met her before.

Another hint was the existence of the zoo mobile game. It’s a gacha game about collecting animals and growing your zoo. Think Zoo Tycoon, but with gacha. That’s kind of a weird concept for a game in a world where everyone is an animal.

And, finally, Odokawa’s condition reveals the last mystery of the series. What or who was Odokawa talking to in his apartment? It was a black cat. But, because of Odokawa’s condition, he couldn’t tell if it was an actual cat or a person he viewed as a cat.

Conclusion

I ended up giving Odd Taxi an 8/10. It was a very good series. I enjoyed how the mystery of the missing girl developed. And I liked seeing how all the characters were related. Even the reveal about Odokawa’s brain was good. But, I wasn’t a fan of the actual ending.

With the right ending, it could have been a 10. With even a decent ending, it would have been a 9. Unfortunately, we got a bad ending.

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