ODDTAXI Review: Playing With The Right Characters
It may look like the anime version of Bojack Horseman, but it's not close to that. It doesn't tackle one's mental health and the issues of depression and anxiety. However, this does have the same deepness as Bojack Horseman. Like its wide array of characters, ODDTAXI might have been one of the most beautiful anime driven by a wild selection of casts incredibly woven into the story like a puzzle piece to be solved.
This anime may not have the same amount of characters similar to those big-shot animes like Naruto, Bleach, or One Piece, but it does the same care.
ODDTAXI is probably one of the most unusual anime formats because watching the 13 episodes felt complete already. However, to best view this anime, it's appropriate to watch it and, at the same time, follow the chronological progression of its audio drama that weaves the story a bit more.
It is best viewed in this exact order:
Anime Episode 01
Audio Drama 1.3
Anime Episode 02
Anime Episode 03
Anime Episode 04
Anime Episode 05
Audio Drama 2.5
Audio Drama 3.5
Anime Episode 06
Audio Drama 4.6
Audio Drama 5.6
Audio Drama 6.7
Audio Drama 7.8
Anime Episode 07
Audio Drama 8.8
Anime Episode 08
Anime Episode 09
Audio Drama 9.9
Anime Episode 10
Audio Drama 10.10
Audio Drama 11.10
Audio Drama 12.11
Anime Episode 11
Anime Episode 12
Audio Drama 13.13
Anime Episode 13
Set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, a 41-year-old walrus taxi driver named Hiroshi Odokawa ventures his everyday life picking passengers around Tokyo. He is asocial after being abandoned by his parents as a young boy. However, he has bits of conversation with his passengers as they take them to their destinations. The story revolves around a city-wide case of a missing girl and how his conversations with his passengers weave a plotline of clues that eventually intersect him to the police and the yakuza.
The audio drama focuses on the perspective of another character, Satoshi Nagashima, who accidentally listens to wiretap conversations and begins broadcasting them in his podcast. His podcast ranges from normal conversations by the characters until it gets darker when it becomes involved with the missing girl case.
The anime's premise is simple as it moves around the case of a missing girl and the suspect at large. However, through character connections, we carefully interweave them into the issue and the growth of Odokawa's character.
Let's try checking all characters involved.
Hiroshi Odokawa (Walrus) - The story's main character. He is a taxi driver who stumbles upon almost every character in the series. He lives alone in his home but always talks to someone locked in one of the rooms. The first passenger he encountered in the series is a Hippo named Kabasawa, who took a selfie with him that went viral because it accidentally captured the criminal named Dobu. Thus beginning his quest as his peaceful life intervenes with other characters.
Miho Shirakawa (Alpaca) - A female alpaca who works as a nurse and assistant to Dr. Gouriki, Odokawa's primary physician. She has a very cheerful personality but hides the truth about selling the clinic's drugs to the black market with Dobu to pay off her debt. She becomes close to Odokawa and is among the first to trust him. She studied capoeira as a hobby.
Dr. Ayumu Gouriki (Gorilla) - A doctor and friend of Odokawa. He runs his clinic along with Shirakawa. He is a very kind man and understands Odokawa very well. He becomes interested in his patient's story when he begins to uncover more of his history.
Eiji Kakihana (Gibbon) - Odokawa's drinking buddy. He is a janitor who loves to spend time disguised as a rich person on dating apps to pick up women. One day, his luck ran out after getting involved in badger games and being scammed by Shiho Ichimura, which led him to get involved with the yakuza.
Rui Nikaido (Toy Poodle) - The leader and singer of the idol group Mystery Kiss. She is the first one to notice their group is failing. She is always tied to the demands of their management and always follows the orders of his manager, Yamamoto. She also has a secret relationship with Baba, one of the standup comedians.
Shiho Ichimura (Calico Cat) - a backup member of Mystery Kiss. Her manager forces her to scam money from rich men through badger games. One of her victims was Eiji Kakihana.
Yuki Mitsuya (Black Cat) - a backup member of Mystery Kiss. Due to her talent and skill, she was supposed to replace Rui as the leader until she went missing. Their manager decided to replace her during Mystery Kiss' debut.
Kenshiro Daimon (Meerkat) - a cop and the older twin brother of Koshiro. He is a corrupt cop who relies on bribes and fools his younger brother because he serves as a model to him. He gets involved with Dobu and his plans.
Koshiro Daimon (Meerkat) - a cop and the younger twin brother of Kenshiro. Unlike his older brother, he has a sense of justice but naively follows him because he idolizes him.
Taichi Kabasawa (Hippo) - a college student addicted to social media. He will do everything to capture a video that will go viral on the internet and make him famous. However, after capturing what he thought would shoot him up with viewers, he becomes entangled with several criminal organizations.
Dobu (Baboon) - a criminal gangster who works under the yakuza along with his rival Yano. He suspects that Odokawa is involved with the missing girl case. He also works with Shirakawa to sell off her medicines on the black market.
Shun Imai (Skunk) - an avid fan of Mystery Kiss. He attends their concert and also buys their merchandise. He works part-time at a cabaret club and always buys lottery tickets. He became the target of the yakuza when he posted online that he had won the lottery.
Fuyuki Yamamoto (Fox) - the stingy manager of Mystery Kiss. He is also interested in the missing girl case and has been in cahoots with the members to do things outside their performances to scam money.
Hajime Tanaka (Puma) - a video game developer who became addicted to a mobile gacha game to compensate for his foolishness as a child. He goes on a revenge spree and vows to kill Odokawa when he accidentally knocks his phone after swerving his taxi.
Haruhito Yano (Porcupine) - Dobu's rival. He is one of the members of the Yakuza syndicate. He works in cahoots with Rui Nikaido and soon targets Shun Imai after knowing he won the jackpot prize in the lottery. He speaks in rhymes like he is doing hip-hop.
Taeko Harada (Kangaroo) - a female izakaya owner who runs the bar where Odokawa and the others drink.
Kensuke Shibagaki (Boar) - one half of the comedy duo, Homosapiens. He works at a cabaret club if he is not doing standup comedian acts. He quarreled with his partner because he thought their jokes were not funny anymore.
Atsuya Baba (Horse) - one half of the comedy duo, Homosapiens. He frequently does guest appearances on TV but thinks that his partner is the funnier one of them. He and Rui Nikaido have a secret relationship.
Satoshi Nagashima (Giraffe) - a high-school student who avidly follows Homosapiens. He runs a podcast channel that accidentally tapped into an unknown frequency, letting him listen to the other characters. At first, he thought it was fun but realized he became too close to danger as the suspect realized someone was listening to their conversations.
The story is simple. There is a taxi driver, a missing girl case, a mysterious ballpoint pen, and a suspect at large. In this web of characters, one is a spider that seemingly weaves all of them.
ODDTAXI may have been one of the oddest animes ever created, but it certainly is good at presenting characters within its mystery genre. It makes you think that everyone is a suspect. It will keep you guessing until the end.
A perfect 5 out of 5 stars.