The concept of creating a movie that recaps an anime is quite common, but more often than not, those recaps feel hastily thrown together with nothing new. Odd Taxi: In the Woods changes up that recipe by changing the way the story is approached in the first place. Produced by OLM and P.I.C.S., the movie is an adaptation of the story told in the Odd Taxi anime and is directed by Baku Kinoshita and written by Kazuya Kinomoto.
Odd Taxi: In the Woods follows the story of Hiroshi Odokawa (Natsuki Hanae), a walrus taxi driver in an anthropomorphic world whose simple life is completely flipped upside down once a girl who had been reported missing is traced back to him. The story features a plethora of interesting characters that Odokawa interacts with as he gets sucked into one of my favorite slow-build crime dramas of all time. However, the thing that makes Odd Taxi: In the Woods so compelling is how the story is told from the perspective of the different characters. The account of the “incident,” as it is called, is approached in interview sessions with the various characters, so different situations are shown from specific perspectives instead of from a neutral narrator.
The thing I love so much about this approach from Odd Taxi: In the Woods is that it manages to keep the story feeling fresh despite not actually changing or adding anything of significance to the storyline. For fans of the anime, the idea of seeing the viewpoints of some of their favorite characters (or least favorite) is a really unique way to re-tell a crime drama. And for those who have not seen the show yet, it provides a way to introduce characters in a short period without being overwhelming. In addition, it has quite a documentary feel to it, like the incident was a real occurrence, and it is now being revisited through real-life interviews with those present. This allows key story points to be told in a more condensed way while retaining most of the suspense that made the original series so appealing.
Since the movie only has two hours to tell the story, the feeling of being strung along for weeks that the anime gave is not possible here with Odd Taxi: In the Woods. I was initially worried the change of pace would not work as well, but I was pleasantly surprised about how the shift in storytelling format actually reflected the pacing of the anime. Even when some of the more minor character interactions are lost due to time, the character development still feels great, and the more emotional beats still really hit home. We even get a little taste of what happens to the characters after the show, although none of it is shocking. Still, I appreciated getting a glimpse at some more specific insight from the side characters, and the decision to re-tell the story that way was an excellent one.
Similar to the anime, Odd Taxi: In the Woods is a beautiful-looking movie from start to finish. The character designs for each of the characters help flush out their personalities in ways both subtle and not. The little things like facial animations during character interactions help further improve the story’s quality, and the different locations’ visual appeal also helps give more weight to some of the scenes, especially in Odokawa’s taxi. The visual appeal of the series is still powerful in Odd Taxi: In the Woods, which is good news for fans of the anime and welcome news to newcomers to the franchise.
Odd Taxi: In the Woods is an excellent recap film that does more than simply re-tell a story. It works perfectly as either an introductory piece for anyone who wants to watch the series without committing to the total episode count or as a complimentary piece for those who have already seen the show but want to revisit the world of Odd Taxi. The pacing inevitably takes some hits, but the format helps reduce the impact of condensing the story. Odd Taxi: In the Woods is well worth the watch for anyone interested in a suspenseful crime drama.
Odd Taxi: In the Woods is out now on Crunchyroll.
Odd Taxi: In the Woods
Odd Taxi: In the Woods is an excellent recap film that does more than just simply re-tell a story. It works perfectly as either an introductory piece for anyone who wants to watch the series without committing to the full episode count or as a complimentary piece for those who have already seen the show but want to revisit the world of Odd Taxi. The pacing inevitably takes some hits, but the format helps reduce the impact that condensing the story has. Odd Taxi: In the Woods is well worth the watch for anyone interested in a suspenseful crime drama.