OP: 「ODD TAXI」byスカートとPUNPEE (Skirt to PUNPEE)
「エキセントリックドライバー 」 (Ekisentorikkudoraibā)
“The Eccentric Driver ”
A body wrapped up in a tarp, bricks hanging from its side, descending to the bottom of a seemingly endless void, the stage is set, the knife is cast, and a murder mystery has been set afoot.
Odokawa’s (Hanae Natsuki) job is to drive a privately owned taxi. His conversations with his passengers are what drives the story forwards, the connections Odokawa has to the people around him, and how those connections affect the ones that don’t seem to be wanted found out. An unseen person hides in his closet, not by his choice, but theirs. He tells them they are free to go, but they don’t show any indication of wanting to leave. Why? Because they want to hide. But from whom?
Odokawa seems like an unreliable narrator, having suffered trauma as a child, he now protects the veil over his eyes, by giving everyone anthropomorphic animal bodies and faces. Of course this is not yet known, as it is only speculation. Subtle hints that might point in that direction. But Odokawa is the weird type, and more and more of his personality is slowly shown throughout the episode. The ice breaks.
Odokawa listens to the radio, and an idol comes on named Reina (Kagura Chika) a bunny, the hosts read a hate letter before the song plays, all of this reeks to be bumping with the uncertain rhythm of high speed urban culture. Both taxi and metro, two forms of public transport, are a hodgepodge for people to mix in. First a 22-year-old university student named Kabasawa (Takashi) enters the fray, an aloof hippo no less. Then a nurse named Shirakawa (Iida Riho) a 28-year-old alpaca, both seemingly unimportant, but at the same time play a larger role in an unseen dance between the outside of Odokawa’s taxi and the inside of the city itself.
Crime and violence all mix between the daily life of these characters, each connected by threads they do not yet see. Dobu (Hamada Kenji) walks these streets, a monkey, he has secrets he’d rather keep in the dark. His first appearance on the show almost hinders on causality, the strings of singularities pulling at each other.
Yet those same strings are the ones that pull Odokawa in the right direction, he meets with a doctor, Gouriki (Kimura Ryouhei), working at a small health clinic. Odokawa has a friendly conversation, as he jokingly makes Gouriki waste time by occupying him in the mundane. Mentioning Bruce Springsteen several times, that name just rolls off their tongues.
Diamond Ani (Kousei) suddenly shows up, demanding to investigate Odokawa’s taxi, no search warrant or anything, He has no choice but to submit and ask questions – but quickly get shut down. Clearly suspicious. Ani takes the SD card from Odokawa’s camera, no motive, just pure hunches it seems. Right there and then, I knew Aniki was abusing his power. 2 weeks worth of footage, “she’ll be there”, the puzzle comes together, but is not yet complete. In the final scene, revealing why Aniki needed the SD card so much in the first place.
Diamond Ani just rubbed me the wrong way. Will he get away with it, or will Ani be punished for working under the law? This show has definitely garnered my attention. I like how it mixes new millennial sensitivities with the ever present concrete of the urban Tokyo jungle. It shows reality for what it is (as far as its setting allows), and doesn’t hinder from trying to show us a more mature story that involves characters of older ages. How will things develop? Who works for who, and who holds the hands of control?
Let’s keep watching to find out!
ED: 「シュガーレス・キッス」 (Sugarless Kiss) by (Mimori Suzuko)