「田中革命」 (Tanaka Kakumei)
What a great episode this was! If you remember from last week, there was a little unbeknownst scene that didn’t make a lot of sense. This week we got an explanation and the context surrounding this seemingly one-time accidental character. This whole episode surrounds that said role.
How deep does madness go?
Tanaka (Saitou Soma) is a normal office worker, serving under a certain game company, his main job is to play free 2 play games, in hopes of scouting out the competition. During his childhood, one of his teachers regulated bento boxes so that everyone had a fair chance and there was no competition. This is what started his dive into madness.
Kids being youngsters, started collecting erasers and showing their superiority through them. Tanaka feels special, because of his Dodo stationary. Even though his classmates show off better erasers that he could never afford. It leads him down a rabbit hole where he spends 100,000 yen (roughly around 900 USD) on a special eraser that never comes. He got scammed.
At his job he discovers a free 2 play farming game, he spends ungodly amounts of time playing it, pouring his emotions into this diversion. His disturbances are buried so deep, that he doesn’t even realize he’s projecting his problems, pushing them down through this game. The trauma he suffered as a child leads him down a rabbit hole that eventually drives him into a delusion.
In that same madness, he places the blame on Odokawa because as he speeds down the alleyway. Tanaka loses his balance and accidentally throws his phone down into a sewer making him lose all of his data. And because he never backed up his game. He loses the precious Dodo that he’s been farming for almost four years. In an instant, he expends all sanity and is only able to redirect his anger on Odokawa.
The psychology of Tanaka.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this new episode, it seemed like the show was going to deviate into a new storyline, but I was pleasantly surprised that it is connected to the general plotline of the show. I wasn’t expecting it to have any relevance, and Tanaka’s descent into aberration is rather justified, that is in my humble opinion.
It’s hard having a mad character in a show, especially anime. Having them be frenzied out the gate always feels a little bit like a cop-out, it’s their backstory and the event of the circumstances that push them into such a state. It makes us empathize with them and see them as human. Having them do bad things just because they’re irate is acceptable, but making us feel for the bad guy is what elevates the writing. Characters in Odd Taxi have their moral compass and do things differently from one another. And that’s what gives flare to the show. Everyone feels alive, and the justification it leads for Tanaka is especially profound.
What’s more, the show follows the number one rule to make someone likable: Giving them a pet. The little bird Tanaka acquired during his childhood fills this exact role. Then when he’s robbed of all willpower thanks to Odokawas reckless driving, he comes home to see the bird has also been lifted from him. It’s an event that pulls at his sanity even more. His life stands in shambles, he has nothing left. He has no one, not even himself. As very quickly he transforms into something that not even he can recognize anymore.
It’s a heavy episode for sure, but one that I feel necessary going forward. Usually, by the fourth episode, an anime shows its wings and prepares you for what’s to come. The conversation about this show has always been that it’s going to turn dark. Both here within the writers of RandomC and the anime community as a whole. And that’s exactly what happened, this episode showed a little bit of the iceberg that we’re going to be exploring in future episodes.
One more thing.
That creepy smile and tiny pupils were a perfect addition to the final moments of the episode. Odd Taxi seems like an underrated gem right now, but I urge you to watch it if you can. Things are only going to get more satisfying from here on out, and if what we saw today is any indication, it seems like the plot will have some cobwebs to untangle.
See you next week!