REVIEW: ODDTAXI is a Grown Up Zootopia You Can’t Miss

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ODDTAXI

Odd Taxi, stylized as ODDTAXI, is a spring 2021 anime that has largely flown under the radar. Produced by OLM and P.I.C.S, ODDTAXI aired for 13 episodes in its first season, and it is unknown if the show will come back for a second season. While it might not be talked about as much as shows like My Hero Academia or The World Ends With You, it absolutely deserves a seat at the table.

ODDTAXI is a story that can only be described as Zootopia meets Twin Peaks. The show is set in what appears to be modern-day Japan, but there is a neat twist. Every character is an animal. Instead of treating the anthropomorphic nature of the characters as a gag, the fact that the characters are animals is hardly mentioned at all in the series. The show remains incredibly grounded and dark from start to finish.

The show mainly follows the main character Hiroshi Odokawa, a seemingly normal taxi driver. From the beginning, though, it’s obvious that there is more than meets the eye for each character introduced. The story’s writing is absolutely brilliant, and small details that may seem unimportant in an earlier episode often play an important role later. My only complaint here would be that some plotlines seem a bit scattered at the start, but when they all come together in the end, it makes it more than worth your while. A casual viewer may be a little confused after the first two episodes, but I promise everything ends up explained as the show goes on.

One of the things that really sets ODDTAXI apart for me is the design and art used in the show. Instead of going for over-the-top animations, many scenes have more blurred backgrounds that almost have a watercolor aesthetic. I felt like I was watching peak 90s anime, and I mean that in the best way possible. The artistic choices in the show also help enhance the mystery, with each location having its own distinct feel to it.

While the setting is incredible, the characters truly make the world feel alive. Odokawa is a walrus and often acts slow and meandering like one would expect a walrus to act. His best friend Eiji Kakihana is a white gibbon (a type of monkey) who couldn’t be more different. There is also Odokawa’s love interest, Miho Shirakawa the alpaca, whose kind and soft nature works well with Odokawa’s bristly demeanor.

Even the show’s villains are incredibly well fleshed out. Dobu is a baboon gangster who develops a complicated relationship with Odokawa. There were times I even felt sympathy for him. The absolute best character, however, is Yano, the rapping porcupine. Yes, you read that right. Rapping. Porcupine. All of his dialogue is spoken in rhymes, with hip-hop music backing him up. It’s honestly incredible.

Speaking of music, ODDTAXI doesn’t vary it up too much with the music, but it doesn’t need to. The OP is a groovy, laid-back tune that I currently have set as my ringtone. The ED completely flips the script and is meant to call back to the in-show idol group Mystery Kiss, with a very upbeat feel to it. The backing tracks throughout the show don’t really stick out, but considering how well-done the writing is, I hardly even had time to notice the music.

With all that said, ODDTAXI is not a show without its flaws. One of the bigger frustrations is that episodes will focus on different characters instead of just continuing directly on from each other. It’s not something that can be too terribly distracting when binge-watching, but when you’re watching the show weekly, and a character doesn’t show up for two or three weeks, it can be a little difficult to remember all the little things. There are also a few smaller threads that tend to get ignored or forgotten, which is not ideal for a show all about the mystery of even the littlest of things. Nothing major is missing or ignored, but I would’ve liked to see some of the smaller storylines fleshed out a bit more. There is a big reveal in the last episode that I didn’t love, but I can’t give away any more without spoiling the show. The end was a bit cliche, but overall the journey was worth it.

At the end of the day, ODDTAXI is a show about ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary. They may look like animals, but the situations the characters get caught up in feel as human as can be. Some smaller storylines may be overlooked, and the ending is imperfect, but the overarching story is so well-done that it’s easy to forget those smaller things even existed. ODDTAXI may be one of the most underrated shows of the spring 2021 anime season, but it is arguably the best.

ODDTAXI is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

ODDTAXI
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

At the end of the day, ODDTAXI is a show about ordinary people caught up in the extraordinary. They may look like animals, but the situations the characters get caught up in feel as human as can be. Some smaller storylines may be overlooked, and the ending is imperfect, but the overarching story is so well-done that it’s easy to forget those smaller things even existed. ODDTAXI may be one of the most underrated shows of the spring 2021 anime season, but it is arguably the best.