It's odd, yeah. It's a deadpan noir-ish mystery with murder, gangsters and characters who make head-bangingly bad decisions. It's often uncomfortable to watch. It's also a cartoon where everyone's a talking animal.
Our hero is a taxi-driving walrus. His doctor is a gorilla. The nurse who's interested in him is an alpaca. The cast also includes a third-rate stand-up comedy duo (inaccurately called "homo sapiens"), two meerkat cops, a dwarf hippopotamus who's pathetically obsessed with social media, a skunk mega-fan of an idol group and of course that idol group themselves.
Underneath all that, though, is a clever, intricate multi-layered mystery that's answering huge questions almost right until the final moment. It's a dirty, dangerous story. Plans will go wrong. Gangsters will get their hooks into people. This show has passionate fans who think it's one of the best shows of the year, if not possibly the decade... but, at the same time, it didn't attract a wide audience. It got massive critical acclaim, but hardly anyone watched it. It's one of the least-watched shows to have made the "top 50 animes" list of MyAnimeList.
My theory is that that's because some of the characters' stupid decisions are hard work to watch. Usually avoiding names, for spoiler reasons:
1. There's a man who's been lying spectacularly about himself online to attract girls. He says he's a millionaire. He's really a janitor. On meeting a girl who believes all this, he starts borrowing money from gangsters to keep up the lie. He hopes to marry the girl. Presumably he's hoping that those gangsters are Santa in disguise and that "loan" means "free gift".
2. Ep.4 is twenty-four depressingly unbroken minutes to make you think, "Piss off you twat."
3. Kabasawa. Words fail me.
4. On winning a billion yen in a lottery, put it in your bank account. Immediately. Do not carry the winning lottery ticket around in your pocket, planning not to cash it until a special day. Do not then tell the world about this on Twitter.
Oh, and Yano's incessant rapping can piss off too.
It's gripping, though. The world would be more peaceful and drama more boring if no one ever made bad decisions. These people also often learn their lessons, even if this unfortunately comes after they've been tied up and tortured. Or perhaps after they've cut someone up, wrapped them in a tarpaulin and disposed of them with brieze blocks. (Might doing that have been a mistake? Hmmm, let me think.) Incidentally, I note that "DON'T BE AN IDIOT ONLINE" is the common lesson of all four of those numbered bullet points above.
Sometimes, it's funny. (Imai's positivity in his last scene made me laugh, for instance.) Sometimes, it's just a study of surprisingly ordinary but complicated conversations. Sometimes, it's a train wreck waiting to happen as you watch these people doing things you know will fail. The cast is large and rich, as its web of often unexpected relationships. The gangsters are more intelligent than you'd expect, with Dobu in particular threatening my suspension of disbelief with his talents as an analyst and therapist. Sometimes it's charming and relaxing, but at other times it's very dark indeed.
The following year, the series got a film. I'll report back.