Neko Taxi
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Neko Taxi

Japanese television is just weird sometimes. Maybe no worse than American TV, but I get the sense that even if I understood the language, I still would find it odd.

Sometimes I stumble across a golden nugget that transcends language. It happened this morning.

Neko Taxi.

The central characters are a sad, pudgy, middle-aged taxi driver and his feline (neko) co-pilot. He treats his cat like a queen, sleeping on the couch next to her bed and tending to midnight feedings.

During the workday, the cat rides in the passenger seat alongside him. A young businesswoman, late for a meeting across town, enters the cab. She talks on her cell phone, rudely directing the driver to the location.

She’s startled when Taxi Cat crawls into the backseat and sits beside her, but after a few seconds, her icy exterior defrosts and she picks up the cat. Scenes cut in and out as the ride progresses, all along the young woman petting and snuggling with Taxi Cat.

Of course, we need a conflict. The young woman begins to sneeze and her eyes water. She can’t breathe. She’s allergic to Taxi Cat! The driver rushes her to the hospital. She misses her meeting, but doesn’t seem to mind. Her cold heart has been thawed in the Neko Taxi.

All along, the taxi driver narrates the show. It seems to take itself seriously as the dialog is somber. Hopefully, the translation is as ironic as the premise of the show itself.

As the closing credits roll, the driver pulls under a tree for lunch. He pulls out two bento boxes; one for himself and one for Taxi Cat. They finish lunch and Taxi Cat crawls on his chest as they nap the afternoon away.

Fade to black. Fin.

 

 

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