Drifters is one of those shows where the protagonist suddenly finds himself in a different world. “Oh boy, not another one.” you might cry out, but Drifters adds in a twist. The protagonist is a historical figure thrust into the new world at the moment of his historical death. That, and he’s not alone in this venture.
You’d think that I picked up Drifters simply because “historical figures” due to my interest in history, but that is not the case. In actuality I picked up Drifters because I was looking for a garbage show to watch. I mean, the first description I saw of the show told me that Shimazu Toyohisa gets plucked from the battle of Sekigahara and tossed into another world where he meets Oda Nobunaga, and must fight against Jeanne of Arc and.. others, I simply just laughed. This premise reminded me of another anime which… well I couldn’t finish the first episode. With a premise like that, paired with a unique art style and well, this could have been all sorts of strange, weird, and horrendous. So with that in mind I queued it up, expecting nothing more than refuse. That’s exactly what I got, a lot of refuse. No really.
Drifters was actually a very pleasant surprise, compared to what I was expecting. It follows Toyohisa, Nobunaga, and Yoichi, three warriors from different times who meet in the new fantasy world and… go to war. I mean what else would you expect? They end up in Fantasy land with Elves, Dwarves, and Dragons and such, not to mention Toyohisa just wants everyone’s heads. This is made apparent to us in the first few episodes of the show, as it shows his last stand before he gets whisked away to Fantasy Land. As you can imagine, Drifters is a rather dark anime that isn’t afraid to show the horrors of war. Drifters is quite aware of this fact, and tries to lighten up the mood with some silly scenes with the characters that end up looking like the below picture. Depending on your preferences, this could be appreciated, or an annoyance. Either way, it’s there.
Now here’s the same characters, in a menacing light.
Quite the contrast isn’t it?
Moving on, the story feels familiar and yet with the moral grey the show presents it does end up feeling fresh, as a lot of stories these days seem to have clear cut black and white. The story takes a turn from what what you may expect, but fortunately enough it doesn’t feel like it’s a sudden change of ideas, but rather something that was indeed planned from the start. To sum it up we go from the Drifters liberating the oppressed Elven race from an Empire, to taking on an army of monsters and dragons who want nothing less than the extermination of the human race. That’s basically the gist of it but there is more to it. After all I did mention that Toyohisa has to fight against Joan of Arc earlier, but I won’t spoil what that’s all about.
The characters are historical figures, and as such are perfect portrayals of them… just kidding. I actually won’t bother getting into that sort of conversation as I am not knowledgeable enough to do so. All I will say on that is that I do enjoy Nobunaga’s portrayal, besides his… silly moments. Our main trio, while I find are interesting, I didn’t find them the deepest of characters, they were interesting, and likable enough for me to enjoy them. Yoichi sadly gets the least development. RIP sweet prince, maybe we’ll get more of you in the second season. Yes, this is on of those shows that promised/confirmed a second season at the end.
Drifters is a dark, and rather brutal show, with some comic relief in between to lighten it up, for better or for worse. We get plenty of action (and blood), while also seeing the preparations and strategies for battle laid out before hand. It has quite a few references to historical events and people that may increase your enjoyment if you have knowledge of them. If you are not aware of the references it’ll either fly over your head, or leave you confused and maybe even diminish your enjoyment of the series. So with that said, Drifters is a rather hard show to recommend due to it’s themes and general nature. If you like what you’ve read here, give the first 2 episodes a go and see what you think. Also of note, if you’re a fan of Hellsing, then you should defenitly give this a go as it’s by Kouta Hirano, the guy behind Hellsing.