Odd Taxi’s first episode begins a strangely intriguing mystery

Odd Taxi Episode 1 reveals a very strange anime, but don’t be fooled by its simplistic visuals. A provocative mystery lurks beneath the surface.

Warning: the following contains spoilers for Odd Taxi episode 1, “The Eccentric Driver.” now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Among the 50 new anime coming out this spring, Strange taxi it is one of the strangest. It is an original anime that takes place in modern Japan with anthropomorphic animals. The protagonist is a middle-aged taxi driver, there are no superpowers involved or any special world-building element other than anthropomorphism. But Strange taxi it has some well-written dialogue and an intriguing premise. While it is a slow burn, there are many details lurking below the surface that add to an interesting mystery.

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According to the plot synopsis, Strange taxi It is about a walrus taxi driver named Odokawa who picks up several strange customers. Through his conversations with them, he begins to piece together a mystery about a missing girl. The mystery unfolds through various radio and television broadcasts that casually interweave throughout the episode. What complicates matters is that we see Odokawa alone in his apartment, saying to a closet door ajar: “You are not tied up … you are free to run away at any time.” Do you speak to yourself as a metaphor for being trapped in life? Or could it be that the missing girl has been with Odokawa all this time?

Also, Odokawa seems strangely familiar with a policeman stopping him to stop traffic. Odokawa knows that the officer is friends with a fugitive baboon named Dobu, something that not even the policeman’s own brother knows. That same officer later confiscates the SD card from the taxi’s recording device, claiming it captured footage of the missing girl, but then hands it over to Dobu at the end of the episode, hinting at possible corruption or even criminal collusion behind the scenes.

There are many subtle clues throughout the episode that may lead to something bigger. Although the visual style seems simple, many frames contain information that will be important for later. The same goes for the prosaic conversations Odokawa has with various people, so viewers will need to pay attention to detail, as these events could end up connected to a greater mystery.

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Even when the conversations are unrelated to the plot, they are still the best part of the episode. The dialogue is naturally written and offers some sharp commentary on contemporary social issues, like the idea of ​​going viral, online hoaxes, and the hypocrisy of generation gaps.

Conversations work particularly well in building Odokawa’s character. They show that while he has a cynical view of almost everything, he is not by nature selfish or cruel. He is so direct with his opinions that he often offends others, but he is distant enough that he does not care what other people think. With just one episode, Odokawa is already one of the most ingrained middle-aged characters in anime since Space brothers.

The tone of Strange taxi It is similar to a film noir, which fits well with the crime / mystery aspect of the story. The series is dark, slow-paced, conversational, and has a sense of deep cynicism uncommon in anime. Odokawa especially embodies the protagonist of film noir. He is a loner, he has insomnia, he is disappointed and sarcastic, but he is also very perceptive and seems to know more than he lets on.

Time Strange taxi It can be ignored by many due to its simplistic appearance and its seemingly mundane storyline, its unique characters and its intriguing plot deserve the attention of the viewers. It also has a great mix of upbeat idol music and a stylish hip-hop opening. This is an impressive directorial debut for Baku Kinoshita, who dares to present a bizarre, atmospheric, and understated dramatic anime in such a competitive market.

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