Jun
02
2021
0

Odd Taxi ‒ Episode 9

How would you rate episode 9 of
ODDTAXI ?

Greetings, fellow denizens of the interwebs! It is I, Taichi Kabasawa, your humble protagonist, and I’m here to grace you with all of my deep thoughts about this ninth action-packed episode of the weekly animated serial known as Odd Taxi. As you surely know by now, this anime is a lightly fictionalized adaptation of my own misadventures from last autumn, first chronicled by yours truly on my Twitter here (on hiatus atm, for hopefully obvious reasons, but feel free to give ‘er a follow anyways). Don’t worry – I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the ending! But since Steve is otherwise indisposed right now, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to provide my one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes perspective, as only I, Taichi Kabasawa, can.

Although I’m the star of the show, I suppose it’s only right I give due credit to the side characters featured in this installment. That wily taxi driver Odokawa concocts quite the scheme, exploiting his Kakihana rescue mission as an opportunity to remove Dobu from the picture. He even roped me into the mess! The thanks I get for helping him go viral, sheesh. Anyway, this is exciting, because we finally see the series begin to knock over its intricate menagerie of domino blocks, which collide violently with car chases, gunfights, and wrestling matches on the pier. That said, action is, unfortunately, not this production’s strongest suit. The character art is always clean, and the conversations are full of natural kinetic energy, but the animation just doesn’t quite have the chops to do these more dynamic scenes justice. The car chase suffers the most, with the floaty 3D vehicles distracting from what should be a knuckle-whitening encounter with Death incarnate. I believe my story deserves nothing less than the full Hollywood treatment, pyrotechnics and all, but I’m still working with my agent on a treatment. For now, thankfully, the quality of the writing is enough to make the danger feel propelling and palpable.

Now onto the good part: my story begins…oh you want a little more on Kakihana and Odokawa? Fiiine. I only heard about this stuff second-hand, mind you, but even I have to admit I felt my heart swell a bit at the sight of their reunion here. Check out the acerbic way Odokawa teases a laugh out of Kakihana; he knows exactly how to cheer him up. That’s a genuine friendship right there. Still, the nice thing about Odd Taxi is how nasty it can get. Kakihana’s dramatic gesture, throwing away the ring and symbolizing his rebirth, would be a powerful moment in your average show. Here, it gets immediately undercut by him wading pathetically into the water to find it again. Cruel, but true to the story’s black comedy. And it also saves Odd Taxi from the kind of unrealistic schmaltz that could undermine its sense of grit. All of the hope in the world doesn’t pay back a lick when it comes to debt. Online fanclubs with paid memberships, though—that’s where the real money is.

Meanwhile, the inconsistencies in Odokawa’s odd backstory finally start to crumble under examination. There were plenty of red flags in past episodes, but they tended to get swept underneath the deluge of other characters and twists. And I’m not one to criticize a fellow professional, but how is Goriki only just now looking into his unstable patient’s past records and caregivers? It’s not like there are anonymous benefactors throwing huge wads of cash at every orphan on the street. Something is up! If this were an episode of House, this shady stuff is the first thing they would’ve investigated. Heck, they would’ve broken into Odokawa’s apartment and solved the big mystery of the missing girl already. Goriki is a nice enough guy, but he’s really gotta work on his doctoring skills.

Okay, now can I get to my part? Thank you. Ahem, my story began all the way back in the premiere, when I was but a meek Twitter user trying to brighten everyone’s timelines with my positive-minded—yet ever so slightly askew—observations on everyday life. Fast forward to this episode, and I’d finally become the e-celeb I’d always dreamed of. I had it all. Fame, fortune, a girl by my side, and most importantly, the assurance that my posts were making this world a better place. Except, I’m sorry to tell you dear readers, that wasn’t the whole truth. Yes, I had planted my flag at the peak of the proverbial posting mountain, and yes, I was living off the very lucrative proceeds from my adoring subscribers, but I still felt hollow inside. It wasn’t just that the haters were getting under my skin. Deep down, I knew that I wasn’t the hero of justice everyone believed me to be. It never had to be about Dobu. It never had to be about stopping the man with the skull mask. I just wanted the attention.

You see, online fame is a really strange thing full of unintuitive contradictions. It’s a place of unparalleled intimacy, yet also an exhibition of the widest gulfs that have ever existed between two people. Never before in history would a guy like me be able to broadcast my most mundane thoughts instantaneously to hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people, each with their own history and interiority. Who can even comprehend that? Whatever forces conspired to shape what we call humans, I don’t think they ever took this possibility into account. Instant gratification waltzing hand-in-hand with instant abuse. Feelings without thoughts. Thoughts without feelings. It’s intoxicating. It’s depersonalizing. We actively seek out validation from people we’ll never meet. We recoil from attacks orchestrated by people who don’t know us. We don’t know how to tell what’s true and what’s not, because the internet flattens everything, like a giant hydraulic press compressing the sun into a blinding-white disc of searing plasma, screaming so hard that no sound comes out. It’s all real. None of it is real. It makes us miserable, and we can’t pull ourselves away from it. Maybe humans were destined to create social media, and maybe we’re destined to be undone by it.

Sorry for the word dump there! I’ve had a lot of these musings swirling around in this big head of mine, and I haven’t had anywhere to put them ever since Dobu threw my phone into the harbor. I don’t blame him, though. I mean, yes, he’s a hardened criminal who stole my car, commandeered my house, and forced me to stop posting, but really I brought all of that down upon myself. I might’ve actually apprehended Dobu if I hadn’t paused to livestream my victory and gloat about it, but ironically, I wouldn’t have gotten involved in this situation at all if not for my vanity. Dobu helped me realize that. He has a surprisingly thoughtful and sensitive side hidden beneath that scary mug of his! I don’t think he meant to help me either; that’s just the kind of person he is. He made me want to do better. To be better. Not hanging onto the superficial whims of countless faceless strangers, but finding and forging a few bonds that actually mean something, both to me and to my eventual friends.

In other words, I genuinely apologize for letting that whole “internet vigilante” thing spiral out of control. There’s more to life than posting. I almost died before I learned that lesson, but hopefully my story helps some of you out there learn it a bit less violently. Also, in retrospect, I do have to give myself some credit for not going as far off the deep end as I could have. Sure, I was a pathetic tryhard with a pathological need for validation, but Dobu’s still a pretty bad dude! And given that he’s in cahoots with the police, a little vigilantism seems like a perfectly reasonable response, if you ask me. It’s not like I was corralling my followers to harass video game journalists over my own misunderstanding of basic media literacy. I’m not a complete monster.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank ANN for giving me the opportunity to say my piece here. And for all you Kabasawa-fanatics out there, I reassure you, my story doesn’t end here. There’s no Odd Taxi without yours truly. I just thought this was a good place to set the record straight and prove to everyone that people can change for the better. I’m a new, reformed man, and I’m here to prove that anyone can be a hero—but, like, in a much healthier way this time. I promise.

Rating: Kabasawa/Kabasawa

P.S. Dear Twitter management, now that I have a published article on an accredited news site, which verifies both my identity and my change of heart, please restore access to my account @kbsw_t. I know I ruffled some feathers, and I know I lost my two-factor authentication, but as I’ve explained to you multiple times over email, a dangerous gang member chucked my phone into the harbor. Considering that the events of this episode corroborate my account, I’m sure you’ll agree I can hardly be held responsible for everything. I’m just trying to make amends. So please give me my account back. Please.


Odd Taxi is currently streaming on
Crunchyroll.

I’m Taichi Kabasawa. You know me by now, and you should have already clicked the link in the article, but just in case, here’s my Twitter account yet again. It’s inactive at the moment, but the posts will return! Oh I guess you can follow Steve on Twitter too if you want.




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