Final entry of 2021’s list thing I tend to do. Splitting this up into January was probably a good idea in the long run, but oh boy it made this past 30-something days feel long. On the bright side though, I have a really great series to talk about today.
You might notice that I’m doing this one a bit later this year. Well, part of the reason for that is the damn way anime season run. The past couple of years I wrote one of these lists, I ended up feeling weird about putting shows on from the Autumn season when they were only half over.
So this time, I decided to at least wait for that last Autumn season to be finally over so I had a better sense of my feelings on those shows. That, plus I ended up really packing my schedule full at the back end of the year and decided to watch a lot of shows right at the end.
Here, we are, number one. Finally:
#1: Odd Taxi
Originally aired 6th April to 29th June | 13 Episodes | Original production from OLM and P.I.C.S. | mystery, drama, thriller, detective
A Mystery, a Thriller, a Drama. And so many other things.
You’d never know what Odd Taxi really was unless you actually jump in and give it a go. It’s such a different kind of series than you might assume at a simple glance, but there is so much depth and quality of storytelling buried in there that the few people I have recommended it to have all given me weird looks and all I can say in response is “trust me”.
On the surface, Odd Taxi looks like a cute series about anthropomorphic animals living in a modern day Tokyo just going about their lives and having cute adventures. But looks can be deceiving, which is very much the point of this series once you get down to it.
While it stars Hiroshi Odokawa as the grumpy, middle aged walrus taxi driver, the show is more of an ensemble piece, jumping between different characters all with their own needs and wants of varying degrees of importance in the grand scheme of thing. In the beginning, none of these characters seem connected, but as the series goes on, their stories begin to weave in and out of one another.
Silly background elements and characters who seem like total idiots end up having dramatic impacts on later story events, out of nowhere. Honestly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many effective plants and payoffs used in an anime series such as this. Things I thought were there for a joke end up being super vital plot points in the later parts of the series.
Which is when you really know what kind of series this is. Despite its looks, Odd Taxi is a hard boiled detective story, one in which the unlikely hero finds himself unravelling a mystery that’s being forced upon him by corrupt cops, petty criminals and with the murder of a young, upcoming idol at the centre of it.
I’m not going to out and out spoil how the series ends, but it really does come out of nowhere. I loved Odd Taxi. It feels like one of those rare, complete stories that I don’t feel like we get enough out of anime these days. At least when it comes to the stuff I’m exposed to. So of course, with it being a perfect one and done story, it’s getting a second series.
Despite it’s initial appearance. Odd Taxi is the ultimate example of not judging a book by its cover. It’s an amazing, moody, funny, tense and pretty dramatic story, one that is written incredibly tightly with very little fat to pad it out. If you haven’t seen this one, search it out, it’s very good.