Who killed Yuki Mitsuya? Wait, don’t jump to conclusions, I’m doing a Twin Peaks analogy. We don’t even know for sure if Yuki Mitsuya is dead. There’s this idol group you see, Mystery Kiss, and the singers always wear masks but one of them kinda looks like Yuki. I think? Anyways, Dobu, this small-time gangster is looking for her right now so everything might get cleared p soon. I mean if the police don’t catch him first but can you really trust those guys. It seems she took a ride in a cab a bit before she disappeared. That’s a solid lead. And now everyone wants to talk to that cab driver. But Odokawa doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He’s not really a people person. He just wants to get this whole thing over with so he can go back to being left alone! But why is he talking to something in his closet…
I did my best, to sum up, ODDTAXI. It’s one of those topsy turvy twisty mysteries that throw all sorts of spanners in the works so it doesn’t really lend itself well to being summarized. All these people’s lives are intertwining and at the center of it all is a grumpy cab driver and a missing girl. Huh, look at that, I guess I could summarize it!
The production of ODDTAXI is more striking than it is impressive. The designs and art style have been thought out and mesh very well with the narrative. The score is pretty great too and the voice cast does a decent job. They have good chemistry together.
However, it’s not like there are any jaw-dropping action scenes or inspired camera work. I’m not saying the studios couldn’t have delivered that. It’s more that ODDTAXI isn’t really the type of anime in which breathtaking animation is required or even works all that well. In the last few episodes, the action ramps up and there could have been a bit more production punch there, but by then the audience is so used to the particular and distinctive style of ODDTAXI, that I think it would have clashed.
Story & Characters
The first thing I thought of when watching this show is, “ohhh anime Twin Peaks, I’m gonna love this.” And I should, on paper, it’s all I want. It might be a bit more western in influence than I usually watch, however, that makes it only more interesting. But somehow, I just couldn’t get into it. I have absolutely no idea why.
The characters are all decent and for the most part, developed. Because it’s a mystery and the type that leads you to suspect everyone at some point, there is a certain vague quality to the characters. You have to believe that there’s something big you don’t know about them. That they could kidnap or murder someone. Because of that, there’s always something a little unresolved about everyone in the cast. But that’s by design and I would argue a strength of the series. It’s well done, I did suspect everyone at some point.
The dialogue is also great. There’s a cadence to it. The characters will often just go off on seemingly irrelevant mundane conversation but little oddities in the discussion here and there will make you wonder if there’s not something more going on.
And yet… it honestly took me forever to get into it. I liked the first few episodes then my attention wavered and I really didn’t properly get into the story until a few episodes from the end. I read a tweet telling me that I absolutely had to watch it until the very end and I was dubious for a long time. I mean, even when I got into it, I was just a bit more interested. It didn’t take away from the fact that I had to really hype myself up to watch another episode several times.
Let me tell you this now, you have to watch until the very last minute. So much is revealed in that last episode that recontextualizes everything. I hate to say it, but they were right. It certainly left me with a considerably more favourable view of ODDTAXI. And I have to stress once again, that I know that it was a good anime, I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it was timing. Maybe I’ll watch it again in a few years and think it’s brilliant. And maybe not.
I try not to reduce anime to their last few minutes of air time. I don’t think that’s a very accurate way to gauge the experience of watching it. I try to wait a bit before reviewing shows so that I don’t just go off the last thing I saw and have a better ensemble view.
But in the case of ODDTAXI, the last few minutes make the anime. Once again, it’s by design. Everything in the season has been driving us toward these series of revelations and it challenges the viewers both on a narrative and metanarrative level. That’s super cool. Not to mention that the very ending is somewhat unresolved and potentially not very good for our protagonist. That’s also kind of cool and plays with our last minute expectations.
I’m having a tough time here, does it show? It’s a strange situation. I’m wondering if I’m trying to convince myself or if I’m telling it like it is. I also still can’t put my finger on why I had so much trouble getting into it. We all know I can muster up a ton of excitement for way worse anime.
You know what, maybe I’ll read the manga and see if it was something in the adaptation that rubbed me the wrong way…
You might like this anime if:
You liked Twin Peaks. How many people still remember that show I wonder. Even I only saw it once it became available on streaming and only because someone else told me to. Twin Peaks is great.
My favourite character:
It’s actually Imai. he was a nice gentle foil to all the nastiness.
- Every time the radio mentions the Homo Sapiens – take a sip
- Every time anyone takes a picture – take a sip
- Every time there’s a mention of being loved by your parents – hmmmm
- Every time anyone is having a drink/is drunk – join them
- Every time we see an eraser – take a sip
- Every time we see a Mystery Kiss band poster – cheer
- Every time Odokawa is annoyed – what else is new
- Every time you wonder about that closet – take a sip
- Every time Dobu shows up – be nervous
- Every time we see only one of the twin cops – take a sip
- Every time Odokawa recognizes someone – also hmmmmm
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.