When Zootopia meets Tarantino

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Witty dialogues, a taxi driving walrus, a dead body in the lake, a hedgehog that raps, a capoeira-kicking llama nurse, and a missing girl; all come together in Odd Taxi, which is without a doubt, one of the most underrated shows to ever reach people’s screens in 2021.

News of Odd Taxi reached my ears through comments of those who did watch the series as it aired. ‘Great, another dark Zootopia, this time about a taxi driver,’ I thought to myself as I clicked on the first episode, curious to know what all the hype was about, and I’m glad that I did. Odd Taxi is good, really good.

Rather than the popular animated kids’ movie, Odd Taxi reminds me more of a Tarantino flick, an observation that many other reviewers have been quick to point out, and it’s not just because of the Pulp Fiction style storytelling either.

There’s the almost rhythmic dialogue, the witty lines, the fast pace, impeccable writing and directing of the entire production, and extreme attention to detail. In fact, most of the entire plot is set up in the first few minutes of the first episode, but it’s revealed in such a subtle way that it completely flies over your head, unless you’re paying extra-close attention to what’s going on.

Sadly, the strongest aspect of Odd Taxi, its story, is the exact part that I can talk about the least. Because the less you know beforehand, the more rewarding the experience is. But what I can talk about is about its world-building.

Odd Taxi is one of the few stories that accurately captures a world where the protagonist(s) live in. The story takes place in a busy city, a web of hundreds and thousands of people that interact and influence each other’s lives. A character’s actions in one episode unknowingly affects another’s and these actions and reactions start to snowball, like a stack of dominoes lined up together, causing a chain reaction until everything falls apart to reveal the big picture, with a surprise twist that was completely unexpected, unless you followed the hints that were discreetly dropped in each episode. Admittedly, I only found out when it was pointed out to me.

There are a few things that might deter a person from sticking to Odd Taxi. Perhaps the art-style isn’t to your liking. If it is just the art that’s the problem, just trust me when I say, keep watching, all shall be revealed.

Others might say they aren’t into animated series, or Japanese anime in general, which are known to be over-the-top, especially the voice acting, and sometimes jarringly so to an uninitiated viewer. Fortunately, Odd Taxi is the least ‘anime’ of anime that I’ve seen in a while. In fact, it could have easily passed off as a television series, but there’s a reason why opting for an animated series was the better creative choice. You’ll understand once the story reaches its resolution.

Until you reach that point, you’ll be treated to an entire cast of likeable characters, great music and animation as well as some of the best dialogues I’ve seen in a long time, not to mention a thrilling mystery that continues to reveal its secret layer by layer, one episode and perspective at a time.

If you haven’t watched Odd Taxi, I highly recommend you do. It is a memorable and incredibly clever show that will surprise you, in more ways than one.

By Shanuka Kadupitiyage