Odd Taxi is a mystery series and I would say a surprise hit for the spring season. When observing the promotional picture of this anime one could easily be mistaken that this series was catered for kids seeing as the show is filled with anthropomorphic animals. Not only that but the studio OLM most extensive works include the Pokémon franchise. However, if one were to take even a cursory glance at any single episode you will quickly discover it is anything but a simple child’s story.
Odd Taxi starts simply enough as we follow our main protagonist Hiroshi Odokawa who is a taxi driver who carts people around town. What is notable in this series is that any character or event always has a purpose. Every dialogue you hear, every object you see has meaning and often what is said or done has future implications later on in the series.
It pays to keep attention as doing so will allow you to gain the most out of Odd Taxi. You see Odd Taxi deploys the Chekhov’s gun trope extensively. Anything you see or hear no matter how small or innocuous has a future impact and if the series pays any undue attention to any one thing, then you need to make a mental note of it. It WILL come back later to haunt you! This point is key because while the series starts with relatively simple passages as it explores individual character arcs and their expositions it is not long before those stories begin to converge. It is these links and the numerous foreshadowing events that make the stories not only captivating but also allows this series to be watched again.
As we progress through the plot, we find that more of these individual character stories begin to intertwine. This dynamic is great because it serves a dual purpose; not only does it develop and enhance the main overarching plotline but we also learn more about the individual characters and their motivations adding a lot of substance to the various cast members.
The links, the chance occurrences all leads to a crescendo where it all comes together and what we get are multiple climatic scenes with major events happening not just in episode 12 (which could have been an ending in and of itself) but the even more dramatic plot twist in the season finale that was simply stunning… Stunning in a good way and in fact I would consider the ending to be one of the strongest points of Odd Taxi.
Character development as hinted before is good across the board and whilst the characters may not experience a whole lot of growth (there is some though) what we do get is a series that goes out of its way to delve into the minds and motivations of everyone in the entire cast; both main and even secondary characters get significant screen time to develop. And whilst we may not necessarily agree with what the characters do, we understand why they do it. Nothing is left unexplained.
In terms of animation and other technical aspects of Odd Taxi the overall direction and animation is strong and good. Quality is consistent and the only thing I would say is some of the character representation did seem a bit funky right at the end. I suppose it maybe a deliberate artistic direction taken or it could be I was simply used to what I saw before. The opening and ending tracks are good and another thing worth mentioning is the song for the idol singers was pretty catchy and it was enjoyable to hear them sing even when the same songs were shown multiple times in the show.
Overall, I would say this series scores very highly both in plot and character development. Whilst most characters are not super developed what makes Odd Taxi stand out is that the entire cast is given a good amount of screen time to develop. It is strength in numbers. The interwoven nature of the storyline is done with finesse with no clear plot holes and the story is well paced never feeling like the series dragged at any particular point.
Saying that, there was some events and connections that left me feeling incredulous as while one miracle can be excused there was a string of events that me think no way. Then again with further thought it made me think the prevailing theme of Odd Taxi was the idea of synchronicity; that is the idea of a list of chance events that all lead to an occurrence of deep meaningful impact. And that is what Odd Taxi is really about, the idea of synchronicity. It is a great series and is something I could recommend to most anime viewers no matter what your experience or your genres you prefer.
Story 8.5 – Odd Taxi starts simply enough but the plot quickly develops significantly when various sub-stories are introduced and then developed. What is more, all these side-stories have relevance to the overall main plot. All those tangents come together in dramatic fashion in the penultimate and final episodes of the series.
Characters 8.5 – Another strong point. Odd Taxi does well here due to the fact that nearly every member of the entire cast gaining significant screen time. As a result, we get an intimate understanding of all our characters motivations and individual psyches.
Animation 7 – Consistently good standard maintained. It is not outstanding but the opening and ending tracks are good.
Overall 8.5 – This series has numerous twists and turns delivering a consistent quality that never stagnates. There is always something to keep us entertained. Odd Taxi can be watched in either a marathon style or in bite sized chunks making it ideal if you have a busy schedule and cannot watch many episodes in a day. A series I would recommend and one of the best shows in the spring 2021 anime season.