Spring 2021’s Odd Taxi (ODDTAXI) is a strange, but intriguing mystery anime that centers on Hiroshi Odokawa — a 41-year-old taxi driver (voiced by Natsuki Hanae, playing against his usual type in a big way) who seems to know much more about a recent missing person case than he should. His friends, the police, and even the yakuza are desperate to learn what he’s hiding; could he be the mastermind behind the girl’s disappearance, or is he just a regular joe being unfairly profiled because he happens to be acquainted with some shady people? Let’s explore the evidence so far and try to pick apart Odokawa’s intentions.
Seeing the World Through a Different Lens
The world of Odd Taxi is populated by humanoid animals... or is it? This has been on viewers’ minds since the anime debuted, but recent episodes have made it increasingly clear that this series takes place in the real world and Odokawa just sees everyone as an animal for some reason. Non-anthropomorphic animals exist, other characters act confused when Odokawa mentions their species, and the enigmatic taxi driver can identify people from behind or with masks on as long as he has “formed a distinct enough impression of them”.
This tracks with the design differences between main and background characters: though it could be chalked up to the usual animation practice of putting the lion’s share of effort into the aesthetics of the main cast, anyone with a speaking role is much more likely to be a visually distinct animal instead of a generic cat or fox or something. The visual effect persists even when Odokawa isn’t onscreen or hasn’t interacted with the characters in question, but it’s likely that this is just to preserve the mystery. Are the yakuza interested in him because he can accurately point out anyone he knows without even having to see their face?
How Does Okokawa Know the Missing Girl?
Near the end of the first episode, Odokawa seems to be talking to someone hidden in his apartment’s closet. The Daimon police officer brothers believe this to be the missing girl everyone is looking for, since Odokawa was the last person to be seen with her. She also supposedly appears on his taxi’s dash cam recordings, which the police and yakuza try to blackmail or bribe him for, to no avail. There are also several mysterious items floating around, such as the “lucky pen” that keeps changing hands and the one-of-a-kind Donraku eraser that Shirakawa gives to Odokawa. Could they be related to the missing girl as well?
If we had to guess based on available evidence, we’d say that Odokawa is a regular person who got caught up in something much larger than himself. The missing girl could be connected to the yakuza through family relations or the idol group Mystery Kiss, and she confided in Odokawa during a taxi ride that she wanted to escape that life. Odokawa might’ve hid her in his apartment for a while, but Dobu or one of the other yakuza thugs found her and dumped her body in the sea (as shown in the flashback to the body bag sinking through water). That means that he’s not really talking to anyone in his closet at the end of the first episode, but is instead reminiscing about when the missing girl hid there. The lucky pen is either a sentimental possession of hers or it’s a disguised camera that Odokawa is using to discreetly record his passengers so that the dash cam data doesn’t actually reveal anything, even if it’s taken from him. Time will tell if any of these predictions are true, but we hope that at least some of them are!
Odd Taxi still has a few episodes left to pull out some major reveals, so we could be completely off base here. Still, do you agree with our predictions? What do you think Odokawa is hiding? Why do you think everyone appears as an animal? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!