Odokawa is an odd duck (or rather, walrus) by most any measure. He’ll take an inappropriately long amount of time to think of an answer to a question so as not to give an offending response, and then throw out critical remarks one after another, to both customers while driving his taxi and long-time friends as well. He’s quiet in some moments, and won’t stop talking in others. And though he seems grumpy and unwilling to invest in others’ lives, there’s a tenderness to him, which may be, ironically, what leads him into peril as he becomes involved in the matter of a missing female student and a street thug trying to track her down. Surrounded by a host of eccentric characters, including some with secrets of their own, Odokawa may just have gotten in over his tiny-hat-topped head.
Originals are of course the hardest to judge as one decides which series to try out in advance of an anime season. I’m not familiar with any of the staff for ODDTAXI, but based on the premise and look of the series, I added it to my list of shows to try, and I’m thankful that I did. A throwback to the type of series you might see on American television in the late 90’s to early 00’s, like Duckman or something on Adult Swim, ODDTAXI puts slightly-off looking animal characters into human situations (so much so, in fact, that our own NegativesPrimes feels that the animals may not be animals after all) and features adult banter—not anything sexual or overly full of cursing, but the type of talk that’s not usual for anime. For instance, there’s an entire short scene about Bruce Springsteen’s performance in “We Are the World” and how fun / difficult it is to say his name. Truly, it feels a little Larry David, which also extends to the cast themselves. More “usual” are the characters connected to mysterious elements, like a secretive alpaca nurse and a crooked cop, but the rest of the cast could be lifted from a “show about nothing” as well—a gorilla doctor who is a bit insecure, a (monkey?) janitor who lies about his salary on dating apps, and Odokawa himself, who is dry and hilarious, and it seems misunderstood as well, particularly by his “friends,” who at least seem to care about him. He is a fantastic lead, and the screencap-worthy moments in episode one alone are off the hook, but with a story in tow as well about a missing girl, there’s more here than just the banter, which might have been enough. Instead, the staff gives us something more ambitious. I hope it all holds together, because if so, ODDTAXI will prove to be something quite special indeed.
ODDTAXI can be steamed through Crunchyroll.