Weeb Report: A Review of ODDTAXI

Picture of various characters in ODDTAXI. The main protagonist, Odokawa, pictured in the center. | Source: IGN

An idol pursuing her dreams to achieve stardom, a janitor struggling to find love, a high school boy obsessed with achieving internet virality, a mobile game-addicted office worker, and, of course, our favorite taxi driver walrus, ODDTAXI offers an extremely compelling story with a cast of complex characters whose seemingly disconnected lives slowly begin to cross paths. 

The Spiderweb

ODDTAXI stars Odokawa, a single middle-aged taxi driver in Tokyo living a relatively normal life. As part of his job, he drives around many unique characters around Tokyo whose stories all seem relatively unrelated. However, one night, a girl suddenly goes missing, and Odokawa finds himself embroiled in the search as the mystery behind her disappearance slowly begins to unravel and the stories of his many customers begin to intertwine. 

Odokawa pictured driving in his taxi with customer Miho Shirakawa. | Source: CBR

Dodos and Internet Culture

One of ODDTAXI’s most interesting themes is its exploration of 21st-century life, especially concerning the internet. Let’s take for example the character of Hajime Tanaka, a 24-year-old company employee whose life is consumed by the mobile game Zooden, taking over all aspects of his life as he continuously buys loot boxes to try and unlock the Dodo pet in the game. As he slowly becomes more and more addicted, we see his social and work life begin to deteriorate, his workspace becoming filled with documents to finish, and his room floor littered with half-eaten instant ramen boxes and clothes that haven’t been washed in months. Eventually, one day, as he walks home from work, he finally opens the Dodo. Tears streaming down his face, he raises his arms high above his head cheering with child-like excitement. However, disaster strikes, as our main character, Odokawa, drives around the corner in his taxi, catching Hajime off guard. He quickly jumps to the side with his phone flying off into a roadside gutter filled with water. After retrieving his phone and getting it fixed, he logs back on to Zooden, distraught to find that his Dodo is gone, his game getting reset to a past save file due to the accident. Becoming enraged at the taxi driver who has seemingly ruined all his hard work, he dedicates his life to killing Odokawa, becoming a murderous stalker who adds to Odokawa’s troubles throughout the show. 

Although taken to an obvious, almost-comedic extreme, the story of Hajime Tanaka would not be too unfamiliar to anyone unfortunate enough to have played the kinds of gacha games that litter the app store these days. Nor is the story of Taichi Kabasawa, a 22-year-old college student whose obsession with internet fame ends up getting him into danger with the same gang member that Odokawa ends up involved with. Or the story of Eiji Kakihana, Odokawa’s best friend, and a 41-year-old single struggling janitor who yearns for love, turning to online dating apps where he lies about his occupation and net worth in the hopes of finally getting a taste of what he so desperately desires. However, this only leads to trouble, as he gets catfished by one of the members of the idol group, Mystery Kiss, leading him to financial ruin as he takes out disastrous loans to try and keep up appearances. 

Even under these overly dramatic scenarios, these stories all hit at a central issue within modern internet culture: vanity. If it be Hajime’s obsession with getting the Dodo, Taichi’s endless desire for more followers, or Eiji’s yearning for internet love, as the audience, we come face to face with just how meaningless these goals are. In the face of a society that only gets more connected to technology by the day, ODDTAXI provides a stark reminder of how conceited much of today’s internet culture truly is.  

Hajime Tanaka pointing a gun after becoming a crazed lunatic. | Source: Crunchyroll

Have you ever wanted to be an animal?

An ODDTAXI review certainly couldn’t be complete without talking about its main protagonist Odokawa. With a quiet, but also extremely witty personality, Odokawa appears to be just a normal taxi driver in Tokyo. Moreover, despite appearing apathetic, it quickly becomes clear that Odokawa cares deeply for those around him. We are also told that both of his parents are missing, but other than that, for much of the show his past remains unclear. As the story progresses, we are slowly fed more information which only seems to muddy the waters more. For example, we learn that for no discernible reason, he cannot sleep at night without strong medication. We also see him frequently talk to “something” in the closet of his home that never answers back. Later, we also learn that he has an incredible ability to tell people apart from one another, even in extremely crowded or badly lit photos. 

That keen ability motivates his doctor and friend, Ayumu Gouriki, to look into his past, which eventually reveals the biggest plot twist within the show. We learn that Odokawa’s parents were not actually missing, but died in an accident when Odokawa was still a child. His parents’ marriage was rocky as they argued a lot and his father often got drunk, cheating on his wife with a mistress. This caused a young Odokawa to fall in love with animals. His obsession only continued to grow as his father often dropped him off at the zoo alone when he went to visit his mistress. There, he would sit for hours watching the animals. Eventually, his mother cracked and she drove herself, her husband, and a young Odokawa into the ocean in her car, killing both her and her husband. However, Odokawa survived with only some injuries to the head. Waking up, he began to see people as animals instead of humans, revealing that this whole time, the anthropomorphic animals in the show were just humans that Odokawa had hallucinated as animals due to past trauma. Although in hindsight, the foreshadowing and hints pointing to this possibility were plentiful, in the moment, this was one of the best-executed plot twists I’ve seen in quite some time. It can’t be understated just how shocking the moment was when he finally opened his eyes to see all the characters we’ve grown accustomed to as humans. 

Odokawa pictured left at the doctor’s office. Ayumu Gouriki pictured right as a gorilla and Miho Shirakawa also pictured right as a llama. | Source: IMDb


ODDTAXI is a show that I would usually never watch. At the time, just from reading the synopsis, it didn’t strike me as anything particularly special. It took a number of glowing recommendations from friends for me to finally give it a look, and I’m really glad I did. With superb writing, genius comedy, and meticulously planned storylines, it deserves much more than the small cult following it has on the internet. So if you’re ever looking for an intricate, but also supremely funny show, I couldn’t recommend ODDTAXI enough!

About the Author

Max Chen
Max Chen is a junior at IMSA who lives in 01 D-wing. He is from Champaign and is very excited to serve as a Staff Writer for The Acronym. Outside of writing, he likes to play guitar, tennis, and videogames.

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