WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Odd Taxi, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Odd Taxi is quietly gaining attention within the anime community as a very well-written and tonally unique mystery thriller. But those that only watch the anime are actually missing a major part of the fun: the various extratextual materials that help audiences piece together the series' mystery, almost like a scavenger hunt. Let's gather what we've found online so far, and what to look for when trying to solve the puzzle that is Odd Taxi.
Odd Taxi's Twitter Accounts Are 'Real'
Many viewers rejoiced when they discovered that the Twitter post from Episode 1 is actually a real tweet. But many missed the fact that the account, held by the young hippopotamus Taichi Kabasawa, also provides clues to future plots. Taichi’s Twitter account was set up on September 1, 2020, and for one month straight, he posted random tweets in the hope of going viral. But one tweet from October 10, 2020 -- the one that went viral in Episode 1 -- only became popular because he accidentally filmed the criminal Dobu, leading him on a path of no return.
In Episode 2, we find out that after his tweet went viral, Taichi stopped getting further attention online. In an effort to go viral again, he started to actively follow criminal activities. On October 20, he uploaded a video to “YooTube,” in which he made a declaration to the criminals, vowing to catch them red-handed. On October 23, he uploaded another video that captured a gunshot incident, and the video went very viral, gaining over 10 million views in less than a week.
His last tweet was on November 7, 2020, in which he admitted defeat and closed his YooTube account. We know from Episode 3 that Dobu is an active member of the yakuza, so it’s very likely that Taichi captured incriminating evidence and was threatened by the yakuza, forcing him to delete the videos.
Taichi’s tweets provide a timeline for what will happen in Odd Taxi. Before his viral video, he posted a picture of Odokawa’s taxi, saying that he is still collecting information on criminals. This means that Odokawa probably has something to do with the viral video and the gunshot.
The tweets also give credence to the theory that Odd Taxi takes place in the real world with real people, because almost all the photos Taichi posts are from real places, which means that he lives in the real world. The animal-looking people in the anime is likely a result of Odokawa’s mental condition, caused by an accident in his youth, something that was alluded to in Episode 1 and 2.
The Music Video Is Really On YouTube
Another piece of evidence that shows the anime actually takes place in the real human world is that the music video for its OP is available on YouTube as an "official" music video.
The music video shows the hip-hop duo that sings the OP, SKIRT and PUNPEE, riding on Odokawa’s taxi. As they drive through Tokyo, they see various characters from the anime in human form. The manzai duo “Homosapiens,” voiced by real-life comedians Yuusuke and Atsuhiro Tsuda, even appear in the music video as themselves. The voice actress of the alpaca nurse Shirakawa, Riho Iida, also show up right after. SKIRT and PUNPEE voice another comedic duo in the anime called “Bonnou Illuminations,” appearing as a panda and a cheetah, respectively.
Since the music video is filmed from SKIRT and PUNPEE’s perspective, and they don’t have Odokawa’s mental condition, they see everyone in human form instead of animals. The one time that the perspective shifts is when the duo falls asleep and Odokawa looks in the rear-view mirror, in which he sees two animals in the backseat, the clearest indication of Odokawa’s condition.
The Podcast Mini Drama
The most important information provided by the anime is a weekly podcast by a giraffe named Nagashima, an uncredited character according to Odd Taxi’s official website. Nagashima’s podcast consists of eavesdropping recordings he accidentally discovered through a device called “Concert Watch.” The microphones are planted in a number of pens that various characters carry around, though it is still unclear who gave out the pens. These orange pens do appear in the anime once in a while, so viewers should watch out for them to see who will be eavesdropped on next.
The most information-packed Episode is 2.5, which focuses on the idol group “Mystery Kiss,” and their backstage conversations about hidden secrets. In an effort to become closer as a group, the poodle Rui Nikaidо suggests that they each anonymously write down three secrets: one lie, one small secret and one large secret and share them amongst the group, so that they each have something on the others that’s hard to reveal publically, effectively making them accomplices.
The secrets they share are quite astonishing. They include plastic surgery, gossiping about teammates online, getting sugar daddies, trading sexual favors, murder, marriage, dating a comedian, prostitution, and even disposal of a body. Obviously, some things in here are not like the others, but since there should be three lies, it’s up to the viewers to distinguish between truths and falsehoods. There are a lot of other scattered clues throughout the anime that can viewers help deduce which secrets belong to whom. Perhaps the most helpful is the relationship map posted on Odd Taxi's official website, though the map is very spoilery.
Unfortunately, there are no English subtitles that accompany the mini dramas. You can use Google Translate to read the comments and get some ideas about each episode's hidden content in the meantime.