Have you ever wondered what it would be like to throw historical figures into a fantasy based world? Well, now its a reality! Drifters blends Japanese, European and American historical figures with creatures of fantasy in a non-stop, blood soaked, action thriller. If I don’t have your attention yet, I don’t know what will. Lets dive right in!
Drifters mainly centers around 3 Japanese historical figures. Shimazu Toyohisa, Oda Nobunaga, and Nasu no Yoichi are plucked from their time at the brink of death and transported to a new world filled with mysterious creatures. The 3 Japanese warriors share their experiences and learn that they all encountered a man in a strange hallway before waking up in this new strange land. Toyohisa is last to arrive and is instructed that Drifters are beings from other periods in time who have been brought to save this new world. The Drifters are aided by an organization called the Octoberists. The Octoberists aim to rid the world of the Ends. The Ends are an insidious group Hellbent on destroying the entire world. Toyohisa quickly becomes the beacon of hope for the common folk and seeks to rectify the injustices forced upon them.
Toyohisa and the fellow drifters help to liberate an elven camp from the oppressive rule of a human militia. The timid elves soon grow in confidence and strength with the help of the Drifters. After working together to liberate their camp, they aim to retrieve the elven women who were taken by the militia. After infiltrating their oppressor’s home base, they learn the horrors that have befallen upon their women. Toyohisa proclaims the actions of the militia as a forfeiture of their lives. The elves take revenge upon the vile men and wish to continue in their journey with the Drifters to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.
Nobunaga’s obsession with manufacturing firearms leads their ragtag army to liberate the dwarves. The elves and dwarves have been lifelong enemies, but the elven people wish to set this ancient feud aside in order to generate a formidable force. The Drifters and elves successfully aid the dwarves who in turn help replicate the guns for Nobunaga, as well as raise their axes for the fight against the Ends. The Ends are a group of Europe’s most formidable minds led by the Black King. I’ll leave his identity out of the review, but you’ll know who he is by like episode 3 even though you never see his face. The entire arc culminates in an epic battle between the armies of the Drifters and the Ends. While the Drifters consists of the heroic time travelers, Octoberists, elves and dwarves, their rivals include kobolds, goblins, the “evil” time traveling Ends and freaking DRAGONS!
There are so many characters in this series that I honestly can’t name them all. What I do know however is that this series perfectly blends history and fantasy for an exhilarating and gore filled thrill ride. The characters are engaging and multidimensional. The concept behind the series is so interesting and fresh. The animation rivals any other series I have ever seen. This is the ONLY time that I have witnessed a series blend 2D and 3D animation successfully. The fight sequences are hauntingly beautiful. The voice actors are absolutely outstanding. Even though the series is dark and filled with gore, there is a perfect amount of humor to keep the series somehow light and fun.
The music score for the series is unbelievable. I could not force myself to skip the intro song even a single time during my binge session. The dialogue is surprisingly deep and thought provoking. There were multiple times where I was blown away by the gravity of some lines. Even though the series revolves around violence, not a single drop of unwarranted blood is shed by Toyohisa. Even though some of the characters lacked development, Toyohisa stands out as an absolute beast of a character.
Honestly, my only real complaints about this series is that it was unclear at times and the finale felt incomplete. There is never any explanation about the people pulling the strings behind either group. The main antagonist, the Black King, never engages a single hero. I understand that this arc is just supposed to be the first installment, but there was just something lacking from the finale to really bookend the arc. That being said, I loved Drifters. The animation and concept alone would’ve been enough to earn my praise, but this anime deserves all the attention it receives. Do yourself a favor and watch it, you will not be disappointed. Now here’s hoping that season 2 comes out soon!
The Blu-ray and DVD combo pack comes with all 12 episodes on both formats. Audio can be enjoyed in both English and Japanese. Extras include episode commentaries for both episodes 1 and 10 by the voice cast. These commentaries are hilarious and worth watching. Other extras include inside looks into the episodes, promo videos, trailers and textless opening and closing songs. The box set can be purchased from the Funimation store right HERE! Drifters is currently at a discounted price at Funimation’s online shop so hurry and get it cheap while you can! Seriously go buy it… its amazing.
Note: Mithical Entertainment received a free copy of Drifters in return for an honest review.
- Incredible Animation
- Thought provoking dialogue
- Perfect union of history and fantasy
- Interesting twists on historical figures
- Good humor
- Confusing storyline at times
- Late introductions key characters
- Overarching villain never clarified
- Finale lacked resolution