Odd Taxi, Good Find

Monday, September 06, 2021

This pandemic has me bored out of my mind since however long the pandemic has been going on. Most days I am either at work, in school, or both. I still watch anime, and very much so enjoy it but even with as many activities I try to preoccupy myself with, I struggle with trying to occupy the abundance of free time in the day. So, I decided why not blog today? I am trying to wrap my head around the fact that the last time I wrote was about a year ago about Digimon, I honestly did not think it was almost a year ago. Thanks to this pandemic I have completely lost my sense of time, most events I thought were not too long ago, are actually that long ago. Clearly my brain is still processing 2019 and has not caught up to 2021.

If you were to judge a book by its cover, I am willing to bet that most people would avoid Odd Taxi. And you know what? I am guilty as charged, since I avoided the anime based on the visuals. I kept thinking to myself, "do I want to invest my time into watching an anime with a cast of animals?" After years of watching anime, I get proved wrong time and time again since judging and anime based on its cover is sometimes not the best. Yes, the visuals play a part in the enjoyment but ultimately the story is what is important, at least for me. Odd Taxi thoroughly had me engaged from beginning to end and was diametrically opposite of what I initially expected. Spoilers are expected beyond this point.

A story that is like watching a complex puzzle being pieced by piece with each episode is the essence of Odd Taxi. It is a well put together mystery and thriller anime, with a lead character that is special in his own right. It is one of those anime where you have multiple storylines taking place at once, and you really must pay attention while watching the anime to get the full scope of the story. Every small detail you would think that is not signification, has a good chance of being an important key to the plot. The brilliance of Odd Taxi is that the usage of multiple storylines takes the viewer on a multitude of rollercoasters, and all these stories being told wind up being a piece of the one larger story. If you want to see how a murder in an idol group, a kid trying to be internet famous, and civilian being targeted after winning the lottery, infighting in the Yakuza, corruption in law enforcement, and a taxi driver have in common, give Odd Taxi a try.

With all the different stories just previously mentioned, Odd Taxi does touch on a multitude of different themes. In this writeup I will only touch on two of the themes throughout the anime, but if you have seen the anime or if you are thinking of viewing the anime, there are much more themes touched upon than what I will cover. The two main themes I am going to go over are: there is always someone watching you, and desperation.

Our lead of the anime, Hiroshi Odokawa, a 41-year-old taxi driver, I like to view him as the glue that keeps the plot together. Odokawa is the embodiment of the idea that someone is always watching you, and his occupation as a taxi driver plays an important role in that theme. The dashcam in his taxi, his sharp memory, and his ability to be at the right place at the right time is basically a recipe for disaster if you are on the wrong side of history, or a recipe for the perfect storm if you end up crossing paths with him. Perfect example of this is when Odokawa was able to flipflop between working with Dobu and the manager of Mystery Kiss, Yamamoto, over the dashcam footage which contained footage that was key to the murder mystery plot. Odokawa is a good reminder that we all should think twice of what we say or do, since someone you know, or do not know, can use your actions, good or bad, against you on mad day.

The ugly side of desperation is another common theme in Odd Taxi, we see it with Miho with her money problems, Taichi with his thirst for fame, and Kakihana with his desperation for love. Focusing on Taichi for this theme, he is what most of us call a "clout chaser," and if you are still reading this, I know you know someone in at least one of your circles who fits into that mold of a "clout chaser." Taichi has a desire to be internet famous for some reason, a quench to go viral, which I feel a lot of people in real life share the same desires. The thing with Taichi is that he is the poster child of faking it till you make it, literally. The idea of a college student, claiming he is going to go to lengths to catch one of the most notorious Yakuza members in the anime, Dobu, is quite ridiculous. In Taichi's favour his desperation internet fame becomes a reality as his claim to fame is him as a college student on the internet going after a Yakuza member. Obviously Taichi's claim to fame is based on unrealistic lies, and what happens when your lies catch up to you? Well in Tachi's case he gets dragged for filth by Dobu once they encounter one another in real life. Odd Taxi does a phenomenal job of highlighting how desperate people can be, and the lengths people can go to get what they want. I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to watch Dobu take down Tachi, it was glorious.

Expanding of the topic of desperation, Kakihana's story is a prime example of how desperate the heart can be. Kakihana is 41-year-old janitor, a friend to Odokawa, and his spiel is that he yearns to be in a relationship and wants to find a wife. Kakihana ends up finding an extremely young partner on a dating app, but the catch is that the relationship he has forged is all based on lies, with Kakihana pretending he makes an exuberant amount of money and faking his lifestyle. To cut a long story short, his "partner" ends up being an accomplice to the Yakuza, and her intent was to extort money out of Kakihana. Just like Taichi's story earlier, what happens when your lies catch up to you? A hot mess is what happens when your lies catch up to you. Kakihana's story is a bit sad in retrospect, but it is a good reminder that people do stupid stuff when finding love, and when you find yourself doing irrational actions in the name of love, you need to stop, check yourself, and maybe start again from the beginning, without the lies. My heart sank a bit for Kakihana when I saw the episode where he was on the date in a fancy restaurant, and at the end of the episode we see that he took out a one hundred thousand loan to fund his circus of lies.

Writing this blog post, I realize that a good lesson to be learned from watching this anime is to not lie, because if you do consistently lie, those lies will eventually bite you hard in the rear, so do not lie! I want to quickly wrap-up this write up of Odd Taxi with talking about the visuals. Yes, from the outside looking in it is an anime in a world of speaking animals. It can be a turn off for many, but I promise you that after watching the first or second episode, you will be hooked on the story, and the fact that you are watching an anime of speaking animals will not cross your mind. If anything after watching the anime, I can't see Odd Taxi not through the lens of talking animals. The animals that were selected for the characters fit perfectly with the essence some of the characters. Like Taichi being the overweight kid wanting to be an internet sensation as a hippo, to the Yakuza bad boy Dobu as an edgy gorilla; truly fitting animals for their characters I must say.

Anyways, I do not want to go on for any longer. I just wanted to wrap this up with saying that Odd Taxi was amazing, I finished it not too long ago, I was hooked on the story from episode one, and I wish my biases did not get the best of me since I would have watched the anime much sooner. There is so much more to cover about the anime, but again I do not want this post to be way too long. If you have read up to this point, thank you for reading, I do appreciate it. Please leave a comment if you can, I would like to hear what you think about the anime if you have already seen Odd Taxi or if you are planning to view the anime soon! Since I have more free time now a days, I will try my best to write something within the next four months, which is a realistic expectation for me. Once again, thank you for reading, and please sound off in the comments section or tweet me at @animedecoy on Twitter.

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Hello. My name is Victor and welcome to my anime blog where I share my thoughts and opinions on the different anime I watch. Enjoy your stay here and let's talk anime!


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