weird taxi was 2021’s sleeper anime hit, telling a complex and quirky mystery that kept viewers guessing every week. It’s now back as a recap movie (mostly), which mostly serves to iron out some of the details of the TV anime’s ending. Is it worth the full price of a movie ticket? Well, maybe not, but it’s a fun way to revisit the show if it ends up airing on Crunchyroll.
the original weird taxi was a meticulously plotted television series, which slowly built up its mystery over the course of its run. Clearly, a film narrative cannot capture the deliberate sense of pacing, nor recreate the atmosphere inside Odokawa’s cab, where the characters have hesitant, rambling, and inadvertently revealing conversations. Nonetheless, by cleverly reframing its narrative around a series of interviews with the supporting cast, Odd Taxi: In the Woods succeeds where most recap films fail: it’s an artistically cohesive film in its own right.
Yes weird taxi was a crime drama, so Odd Taxi: In the Woods evokes the feeling of a true detective documentary. The characters offer their subjective commentary on the events, recontextualizing the accompanying footage from the original television anime. It’s also a deft way to provide a coda to the saga without engaging in a lengthy epilogue sequence. “What are these characters up to now?” is answered in how they behave in interviews: whether they look back on their involvement with shame or confusion, or whether they have reconciled in the meantime. Small details like how the characters are seated or what type of drink they order add to the non-verbal storytelling.
In this format, the film moves along at a good pace, telling an abbreviated version of the story without spoiling the mystery. He makes his intentions clear from the start that it is about finding answers about The Incident (i.e. the climax of the original anime). Instead of teasing viewers for weeks about where all of these seemingly disconnected events will ultimately lead, the film quickly and effectively begins to tie everything together, but not so obviously that all the answers are immediately obvious from the start.
Omissions and shortcuts are not too glaring in this narrative structure. Character interactions inevitably suffered the most, but there are still enough banter that the emotional beats still land. Even returning viewers who are hesitant to revisit a mystery they already know the answers to will likely find something new in the presentation here. Probably the most disorienting part of the movie is the beginning, as it quickly goes through several character perspectives before finally finding its footing. It lasts two hours, but time flies by.
As for the new epilogue, it shows what happens immediately after the final scene of the TV anime. The end credits also show snippets of the characters’ lives afterward. It’s a bit more closure for a series that originally had an open-ended conclusion, but not something a viewer couldn’t have imagined on their own. Those who come into this film expecting surprises will likely be most disappointed.
Ultimately, a recap movie with only a little extra new footage is hard to rate. It’s a perfectly reasonable way to experience the story of weird taxi for the first time, which is the best one can ask for. While it gets the most out of a handful of new designs, it still exists primarily as an alternate revenue stream for fans dedicated to supporting the series. New viewers should always default to the TV anime as the most complete retelling, but by all means, watch this movie if you’re in the mood to rewatch a great series with a fresh perspective.