What’s it about? A walrus named Odokawa is a sarcastic taxi driver who doesn’t get along with anyone. Despite being a loner, everyone seems to know who he is and are actively doing suspicious activities around him. While dealing with his quirky clients, conversations about a missing high school girl always come up, and it seems the indifferent Odokawa might know something about her disappearance.
The popularity of furry shows like Beastars and BNA are at an all time high, which honestly isn’t surprising. There are so many sociopolitical themes that can be explored through anthropomorphic animals, which can make it easier to have conversations about difficult topics that occurred either in the past or present day. As of now, ODDTAXI is sort of interested in talking about that, but it feels more like a low-key mystery that is gradually going to reveal itself in future episodes.
This episode starts off with something ominous being thrown in the water and then transitions to our favorite grumpy walrus, Odokawa, getting ready for his night shift. There isn’t much to be said about this episode except it primarily introduces us to a large array of quirky characters either living out normal lives or are keeping dangerous secrets to themselves. Odokawa himself is indifferent to his surroundings and just wants to get through his shift peacefully, but it seems like he knows about the strange things happening around him—it’s just that he doesn’t care.
Odokawa is very much an enigma, and even the fur people who know him also don’t know how to deal with him. The one thing I know for sure is that he has trouble sleeping at night and tries to listen to rakugo to help him fall asleep. The grumpy walrus definitely knows more than he lets on about the high school girl, but it’s clear he ain’t revealing his secrets this early in the game.
It really seems like the format of this series is going to be passengers talking about their personal issues with Odokawa during their car ride to pass the time while the overarching plot—including the missing high school girl and the mysterious monkey that’s watching Odokawa’s every move—will develop in the background. If that’s the case, then we got a glimpse of how that formula is going to look.
Even though it was a short conversation, the social media-obsessed Taichi brought up an interesting point about how viral content can measure your worth. I’m not sure how deeply passenger conversations are going to be examined on a weekly basis, but for now at least it’ll get some spotlight; the subject of digital relationships and generation gaps (and whether or not that divide is artificial) also come up throughout. It also wasn’t lost on me that some of the content that Taichi mentions goes viral is foreigners’ opinions about gender in Japan. There’s a lot to be said about prioritizing foreigners’ voices rather than actual Japanese voices, but in this case Taichi’s comment just felt weird and I’m wondering what other commentaries will be made about gender in later episodes.
There isn’t much to discuss in terms of the production history except that original manga creator Konomoto Kadzuya is writing the script, and this is Kinoshita Baku’s first time directing an anime series. The fact that there are a lot of newbies involved on the production side makes me slightly worried things are going to become messy, but I’m cautiously optimistic that ODDTAXI is going to be a solid mellow watch.