Spring 2021’s offbeat mystery anime Odd Taxi hasn’t quite amassed the same level of popularity as bigger names like 86 and To Your Eternity, but its brilliantly written and acted story has already cemented its place as a cult classic. Part of what makes it so intriguing to watch is that eagle-eyed viewers can piece together parts of the mystery before they’re revealed, based on everything from offhand comments to recurring props to the various hints strewn throughout the tie-in manga, audio drama, and social media promotions. Now that the series has finished, it’s become abundantly clear that Odd Taxi foreshadowed some of its most important plot twists right from the very start. Let’s take a closer look at what was right in front of our eyes this whole time!
What Do I Look Like to You?
The alternate version of Tokyo that Odd Taxi takes place in feels strange in a way that many viewers noticed early on. Even though every character is an anthropomorphic animal, real animals still exist and nothing about society operates differently. In fact, the only one who seems to notice that everyone is an animal is Odokawa himself, and other characters react with confusion or annoyance whenever he acknowledges it (such as when he calls Shiho a calico cat). Dr. Goriki has been investigating Odokawa’s condition for a long time, so he regularly asks him questions like, “What do I look like to you?” and grills him about how he can pinpoint specific people when their faces are obscured. The only thing keeping fans from committing to this theory while the anime was airing was that the anthropomorphic art style persists even when Odokawa isn’t around.
As the finale reveals, Odokawa does in fact see everyone as animals even though they’re actually human. Even the background line art gets sharper when the veil lifts to indicate that his fuzzy headspace has been cleared. Hints dropped early in the anime are left intentionally vague (although the flashback in the first episode with Odokawa’s mother shows her with a suspiciously human-like silhouette), but the concurrently released manga and the official music video for the opening theme are much less subtle. The first chapter of the manga shows Odokawa’s reflection as unmistakably human, and the music video for “ODDTAXI” only portrays the singers as animals when Odokawa looks at them through his rearview mirror. These brief glimpses at the real world should’ve clued us in to the truth...
The Black Cat
Another persistent mystery in this anime is the identity of the missing Nerima girl (portrayed as an anthropomorphic black cat) and how Odokawa might be connected to her. Apparently, the last place she was seen was in Odokawa’s taxi, taking a ride by herself. Since he talks to someone—or something—in his closet at the end of the first episode, some characters and fans believed that he might have kidnapped her or is harboring her from danger, but in reality, the closet resident is just a real black cat (whose cat food can be blurrily seen in the background occasionally) that Odokawa couldn’t be sure wasn’t the missing girl until his visual agnosia went away. His only connection to the crime was unknowingly ferrying the real perpetrator, runner-up Mystery Kiss auditionee Sakura, to the place where she killed Yuki Mitsuya in a plot to take her place.
Most clues for this twist come from the Mystery Kiss members and their manager, Yamamoto. Shiho and Yuki didn’t originally wear masks when they first debuted and Yuki’s dancing supposedly used to be better early on. Yamamoto is insistent on seizing Odokawa’s dash cam data for “privacy reasons”, although it’s really because he doesn’t want anyone to find out that Yuki was replaced by Sakura. And when Sakura is added to Mystery Kiss’ lineup, she doesn’t seem at all fazed by the morbid scenario she has walked into. In fact, the last episode and the final audio drama reveal her true colors as a cold-blooded killer who won’t hesitate to eliminate anyone who gets in her way. As a loose end, it’s pretty much certain that Odokawa’s days are numbered.
There are a few other foreshadowing moments for more minor twists, like how Shirakawa’s mysteriously paid off student loans link her to Dobu and how Baba and Rui’s increasingly intimate conversations hint that they’re a couple, but did you notice any others? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!