Odd Taxi: In the Woods condenses the story of one of the best anime of the decade into an easily digestible feature format, while providing some answers and a satisfying closure

Odd Taxi: In the Woods Review

Odd Taxi: In the Woods is now streaming on Crunchyroll.

Odd Taxi was one of the best anime of 2021, and maybe even the past decade. Now, a year later, Odd Taxi: In the Woods provides a surprisingly well-made film version of the award-winning anime. More than just a compilation, this is a reconstruction of the story, providing satisfying answers to the mystery thanks to a new prologue, while streamlining the story to make it more easily digestible for newcomers. Of course, bringing a 13-episode series down to a two-hour film means losing some of the best character interactions (you shall be missed, Bruce Springsteen joke). Still, there are plenty of great conversations, banter, and jokes that paint a picture of a lived-in world with countless stories, all while delivering a fascinating and thrilling mystery. The result is the best anime movie the Coen brothers didn't direct.
Set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, we follow Odokawa, a taxi driver who happens to be a walrus. He was abandoned by his parents as a kid, and prefers to keep to himself, but still listens attentively to the many oddball passengers that enter his taxi every night, finding out about weird, mundane, dramatic, funny stories, all while getting inadvertently involved in a mystery concerning a missing girl.
The Top 25 Greatest Anime Characters of All TimeHere are our picks for the top 25 anime characters of all time! <br><br>

And in case you were wondering, these are ground rules on how we landed on this selection. Each character has been selected for their lasting impact, their place in anime history, and, of course, how much we love them here at IGN. Picking only 25 was one of the hardest tasks we've undertaken, but that's the kind of sacrifice we make for you (plenty of favorites just missed this list, from Shotaro Kaneda to Char Aznable to Alucard). Our anime experts put their heads together and made the hard choices so that we could celebrate the best of the best!<b>25. Astro Boy (Astro Boy)</b><br><br>

One of the oldest anime characters in existence, Astro Boy first appeared on television screens in 1963, helping to usher in the phenomenon now known worldwide as anime. Created by Osamu Tezuka, the
Astro Boy's design is quite childish, and there's no question that he has appeal with kids. But beyond those long lashes and that cute smile is a character who portrayed stories for Japanese children who had seen war (even Astro's "father" Dr. Tenma goes insane from the grief of losing his son). Astro, a boy who was both more than human and less than human, guided kids through complex morality tales where the characters had complicated motivations, social problems didn't always have easy solutions, and people had the capacity to perform both great acts of kindness and of evil. " src="/uploads/2022/09/12/odd-taxi-in-the-woods-condenses-the-story-of-one-of-the-best-anime-of-the-decade-into-an-easily-digestible-feature-format-while-providing-some-answers-and-a-satisfying-closure-1.jpg" class="jsx-2920405963 progressive-image image jsx-294430442 rounded expand loading"/><b>24. Vash the Stampede (Trigun)</b><br><br>

Ever the reluctant fighter, Vash was a living contradiction. He's gifted with superhuman fighting abilities, but also a superhuman capacity for compassion and kindness. He's a character who suffered countless scars and wounds to his own body to protect others, even the very villains he was trying to stop, and his vow to never take a life provides plenty of drama in Trigun as his enemies use his virtue against him.<br><br>

Vash is called <b>23. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass)</b><br><br>

Lelouch was one of the best examples of a hero gone astray. As often happens in dramatic stories, his good intentions paved a road to a dark place. The words
But at least he did it all with a sense of dramatic flair! His alter ego Zero, complete with mysterious helmet and flowing cape, was an iconic tool to secure a place in the psyche of both his enemies and his followers. But it wasn't just a costume; slowly Zero becomes a persona for Lelouch until eventually the hopeful boy he was starts to fade away. In the end, Lelouch's plans are successful, though not in the way anyone ever expected. " src="/uploads/2022/09/12/odd-taxi-in-the-woods-condenses-the-story-of-one-of-the-best-anime-of-the-decade-into-an-easily-digestible-feature-format-while-providing-some-answers-and-a-satisfying-closure-3.jpg" class="jsx-2920405963 progressive-image image jsx-294430442 rounded expand loading"/><b>22. Light Yagami (Death Note)</b><br><br>

Diabolical, calculating, and determined to remake the world in his own image, Light Yagami was the force that drove Death Note and made it a phenomenon. The manga was incredibly addictive; it was absolute can't-put-it-down material (largely due to author Tsugumi Ohba's masterful use of cliffhangers). The story heavily relied upon Light's cleverness, and the layers upon layers that comprised his plans. Light started out as a good kid, doing well in school and heading to a bright career in police work like his father. But when he gets possession of the Death Note, he begins a remarkable transformation into a disturbing mastermind who becomes judge, jury, and executioner for the entire world.<br><br>

But Light's character remains complicated throughout the story. His ultimate goal is to make the world a happier, safer place; a noble goal but perhaps misguided. His idealism and nobility still shine through when he doesn't have the Death Note. When he temporarily relinquishes ownership of the Death Note to throw L off his trail, Light loses all memory of it and he reverts to his normal personality. His sense of morality returns and he shows more compassion for those around him. He even refuses to use Misa Amane to get information out of her when L asks him to. These qualities help to create a complex character who ends up being a detestable villain, yet you still kind of root for him to come out of this story as a winner. Light's progression through the series is marked by his brilliance. He's got a mind that would make Machiavelli jealous, and the power of the Death Note adds a callousness that makes him free to use people in whatever way necessary to accomplish his goals. It's highly entertaining to see his intricate plans play out. But Light's ego is just as big as his brain, and that arrogance ultimately leads to his tragic downfall.
<b>21. Dio Brando (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure)</b><br><br>

The arch-nemesis of the Joestar family and the first of two JoJo's entries onto our list, Dio Brando is a delectably detestable villain. Raised by an abusive father, at an early age Dio dedicated himself to destroying the Joestar family after being taken in as an orphan. From tormenting the family to torturing their pets, Dio's evil only grew once he found the Stone Mask, a relic which turned those who wore it into vampires -- a fate he would later meet himself. At one point Dio even used it to create an undead army of followers including diabolical figures like Jack the Ripper, showing just how evil he really was. One of anime's greatest antagonists, Dio also later became a Stand user, adding to his terrifying and terrible powerset.
The best way to describe Odd Taxi is that it's as if Satoshi Kon and the Coen brothers watched Zootopia one night and decided to make their own anime version of it. The characters are all animals, but that doesn't really play into the story (so there is no bizarre racism metaphor here) involving a series of small choices made by not-so-smart players that escalate out of proportion. More significantly, this is an adult drama featuring characters with day-to-day adult problems, something that's becoming increasingly rare in an industry seemingly solely focused on action shows featuring superpowered high schoolers.
With no mentions of entrance exams or teenage crushes, what we get instead are nuanced conversations about the obsession with internet fame, parasocial relationships, the dangers of the gacha gaming industry, exploitations of the idol industry, and much, much more. Odd Taxi feels like a living world where at any point you know there are hundreds of stories happening; it's just that we're only seeing these ones. Like the best Coen brothers movies, the joy of the film is following side characters and seeing how their stories evolve and interconnect with others as the story goes on. There is a gangster who only talks in rhymes, a college student who becomes an overnight success as a vigilante, a nurse who practices capoeira (this, oddly enough, becomes relevant), a comedy duo trying to make it big, and plenty of other characters. That all these actually connect to our walrus taxi driver is a testament to the writing of both the show and the editing of the film, because it all feels cohesive.
As a movie, Odd Taxi: In the Woods does a commendable job unwinding a complex web of interconnected stories into an easy-to-follow two-hour narrative. Sure, fans of the original anime may mourn the loss of some great banter (again, go watch that Bruce Springsteen clip), but the movie still maintains enough of the smaller character moments that made the show so special. What is most different about In the Woods is its approach to the central mystery of the show. Where the original was more of a Fargo-like web of accidents and mistakes escalating until they implode, the movie is re-edited to be more of a true-crime documentary, with after-the-fact interviews with the major players recounting the events of the show, and providing commentary on them. The result is a movie that doesn't spoil the surprises, but also doesn't spend weeks teasing the eventual meeting of these seemingly disparate stories. We know everything will matter, we just don't know how, and that is part of the fun.
In the Woods manages to make the epic, interconnected, funny, thrilling story more streamlined by focusing on its central mystery.
Newcomers may enjoy the movie more than those who are already fans, as it tells the more straightforward version of the story and lets you enjoy the mystery while still getting a sense of the cool sidequests in the background, and if you want more of the character beats, you can always go back to see the original. As for established fans, the new interview scenes that accompany each piece of footage from the show provide a good coda on how every character feels about the events of the show and their involvement, while a brand new epilogue provides some answers and closure.
Where most compilation movies serve as a simple recap of events before the next chapter of the story, a few manage to grab the essence of the story and repackage it in a way that can stand alone. In that regard, Odd Taxi: In the Woods may stand with the likes of the Mobile Suit Gundam trilogy as a compilation movie that maintains what made the original great, while working wonderfully as a first exposure to this story.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Rafael Motamayor

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