3S review no.43 (short, simple and spicy/sweet/salty)
This show my friends is hands down the anime of the season, most likely the anime of the year and probably one of the best shows of the decade. Now, you might think that I overreact, but what I think is that you underreact, this show is criminally underrated, criminally underwatched and it’s lack of success is exactly why the majority of the shows that we get are the same old horrible isekai, the same old boring true and tested shonen and same old insutling harem romances and comedies. The community’s inability to appreciate the greatness of this show and spread the word around really saddens and depresses me. But it is what it is I guess.
I am not gonna talk about specific parts of the story since it would be a crime to ruin it for anyone. It’s about a taxi driver that gets involved into some weird incidents, criminal or not. It has a film noir kinda feeling, a Cohen brother’s kinda feeling with a touch of zootopia. A lot of random events and characters intertwined with each other, lots of loose ends that eventually are tied up together. We get amazing story telling where the narration point of view keeps changing but in the end everything makes sense at some point. We get great imagery through specific objects, some of them are pretty obvious, others are more cryptic but they are all there for you observe, speculate and discover this great story as it unfolds. Only complains one can have about the story is that it started out a bit slowly and sometimes the pace is a bit slow, or slower than it should to be precise, like it might have been perfect if it was lets say one episode less, like 2-4 minutes per episode (depending the episode) could have been spared, and some people might not like some details about the end of the show, but these aren’t enough to change the fact that you get a great story, with spectacular storytelling.
There is something else great about it besides the story, that is something that you rarely ever meet in anime, this show has amazing writing. And I mean just that, the lines in this show are amazing, only very few words are wasted, not a single dialogue is boring or indifferent, some of them are truly amazing, there are hints hidden in the lines, there is a constant subtle theme of dark humor, some lines makes you really think, some others make you burst out a laugh, truly wonderful writing. You see while this show presents a great story with twists and turns, with intertwined events, it still manages to touch and comment on modern subjects with its own charm, without being didactic or direct about it. Subjects like the social media status of our age, like the online gatcha mobile games addiction (which might be barely existent over here in my part of the world but it’s a major problem in Asia), idols, co-dependence relationships, corrupted police, the pursuit of popularity, wealth or the acceptance of the depressing life and the stoic approach that comes with it.
Show has a large and great cast of characters. They all feel unique, they all represent something and they are all important for the story, No clowns here simply for comedic purposes, not thots for fan service and no extras to fill the airing time. Everyone has his own reasons for doing what they do, while the show is story driven, they feel like real characters acting in very believable manner and not like plot puppets dancing on strings. They are all a likeable bunch, can definitely sympathize them and most likely empathize with a couple of things. The star of the show, Odokawa is just great (I am bit too subjective here cause he reminds me of myself), he is depressed, stoic, sarcastic, judgemental about the stupidity that surrounds him, quick witted to always have the perfect answer back and really really unlucky getting dragged in every improbable event without being his fault, even if you try you can’t get a reaction out of him, he also has a very good memory, and that memory of his does play a major part in the story and the whole thing is very methodically, cleverly and indirectly set up. Every other character gets his chance to shine as we see the story through many of them as I said before) and they rarely disappoint, like when the mob boss appears he is spittin fuckin fire I tell ya or the whole Shirakawa’s capoeira bit, (everytime it happened) almost made me spill my drink. Ofc there are some small hiccups here and there, for example while Dobu appears to be bright at first, some times he gets dumbed down for plot reasons, the little romance that exists is not really that justified and some turns that the characters take are not as well build up as the rest of them, they do seem a bit extreme, but still it’s nothing worrisome and it’s mostly the show’s fault for setting the bar that high!
Animation while its obvious that in terms of quality is not great, budget was tight, in terms of aesthetics they did made the best out of that tight budget. Backgrounds are in a watercolor style, its really cheap but it works fine. What doesn’t work is the taxi, I mean it’s such a vital part of the show that the could have used better cgi. Then the driving scenes and car chases could have been way better and more exciting. Character design is great and fits the characters to a T. Overall the shows subpar animation I believe played a major role in its depressing popularity, and goes to show how much people are darwn into good animation, even if what hides behind the amazing animation is mediocrity. So even though the animation quality is not there, it serves it purpose, it has its charm and it 100% not a reason for you to not watch this amazing show.
Sound is nice but it is not amazing. It fits the tone of the series, but when I think about the possibilities of what great music could have been made to match the story it saddens me. Imagine some amazing jazz playing over the taxi’s night strolls. Ah.. but it is what it is, it Is good and it fits. That’s enough. Opening and ending are nice, kinda goofy but they work. Voice acting is very very good. From major to minor characters everyone does a great job, some of them do an extraordinary job like Odokawa’s, Kakihana’s or Yanp’s voice actor to name a few, you get a bunch of recognizable and amazing voices overall (even jiraya sensei’s godly voice shows up at some point).
So, is it worth a watch? YES. 100% YES. Forget genre, forget popularity forget success, forget production values and studios, If there is one show that you watch this season, it is definitely this one, if you watch just one show this year, it’s most likely this one. Amazing story, great characters, great writing, great story telling, it’s a trip, now stop reading and go watch the show, cause if you don’t, then you are definitely missing out.\
Dumroll please… it only took 43 tries after I started writing reviews about modern shows, but finally we got ourselves a spicy one! Not only that but it’s the first one to surpass the 7/10 mark! Oh man what a time to be alive right? By the way it’s not that I am too harsh and I haven’t watched other shows that are 7+, but I have only started writing reviews recently so I am not gonna go back and write a review about NGE or Nausica for example, most of what can be said about them has already been said and the few that I can say and will be original, no one is gonna bother to read, even for RE zero I wrote a review (a very good one I believe) but no one is gonna bother reading it because I was so late at the party, and writing reviews that no one will ever read is kinda sad and defeats the purpose.