Drifters

April 30, 2017

Initially I was going to give Drifters the skip seeing that this is an alternate history or that kind of sort (no, it wasn’t about that old American doo-wop group). But then my guts start tingling like a spider sense so I went back to read again the synopsis. After gathering a few more information about it, I’m glad my guts were right because it does sound interesting because how badass can you get when you have a bunch of famous real characters from history converging in an alternate world to fight for the survival or destruction of that world! Wow. That has got to be very cool. Even better, it isn’t anything like Nobunaga The Fool despite the same concept of bringing together a bunch of famous historical personalities. So if you want to see a death battle between Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar, this series is somewhat it. Okay, Napoleon and Julius Caesar didn’t really appear here but you catch my drift (pun intended). Even if this isn’t meant to be historical accurate and only uses personalities from history, but I guess it beats using the same ol’ formula of gender bender Nobunaga. Yeah… By the way, he is in here. As a man. Phew!

Episode 1
Toyohisa Shimazu is cutting through the enemies in the bloody Battle of Sekigahara. When his uncle wants them to retreat back to Satsuma, Toyohisa wants to stay back and but time for him to escape because as long as he returns to Satsuma, they will win this battle. Toyohisa and his side fight off the advancing Ii clan. It seemed like Toyohisa is reckless as he gets pierced by all the guards in his bid to reach the boss, Naomasa. But he has a trick up his sleeve as he pulls out a gun and fires at him. With Naomasa down, the enemy retreats. However Toyohisa is not happy because he wants to take his head back. As he limps away, he suddenly finds himself in a strange endless white room with many strange doors and a strange man, Murasaki who looks like a typical government officer. When Murasaki writes a note, Toyohisa gets absorbed into a door. It is a strange fantasy world but Toyohisa thinks he is in hell since before him are 2 elves. Recognizing his weird language, they realize he is a Drifter. They take him to an abandoned castle where a couple of Drifters are taking refuge and quickly leave as they fear their master might find out they come into contact with them. Toyohisa wakes up and quickly draws his sword at the guy before him. He cannot believe this dude is Nobunaga Oda. He is already dead for 18 years (Nobunaga feels it has only been months here). Either he is a ghost or a lunatic pretending to be him. Making it even more unbelievable is the other guy, Yoichi Suketaka Nasu who is supposed to be dead for 400 years during the Genpei War! Yoichi stops their bickering and makes them pluck bird feathers?! They get to know each other and the only similarity is that they met a strange guy in a strange room with doors before coming here. Of course Toyohisa being the ‘youngest’, they haven’t heard of his name or clan whatsoever. Nobunaga is shocked to hear in his time how his clan and country has fallen into civil war. All his family members are dead or became unknowns. Even his son as he learns has died during the battle. A sad and bitter pill to swallow. He feels everything he did for 50 years was in vain. Spying on them is Olminu who works under the head of Octobrist, Abe No Haruakira. He feels the need to do something or else the world will be destroyed.

Episode 2
Another of Haruakira’s subordinate is keeping a close eye on another couple of Drifters. Old men fighting in the desert over stolen tactics? Scipio Africanus versus Hannibal Barca. Which old dude will win the knockout punch? Toyohisa and co wake up in the middle of the night. They smell fire. A village beyond the forest is being burnt down. After Nobunaga explains the elves live there, Toyohisa immediately bolts ahead. The 2 elves that saved him are about to be cut into half but here comes Toyohisa slicing them instead. Noticing the enemy is well equipped, they cannot be bandits but soldiers of a lord’s force. They decide to claim the village. All the elves are rounded up by Aram and his knights. He is accusing them of entering the forest and associating with Drifters, which is a serious crime for them. He reminds them the administration of Drifters fall under those magicians in Octobrist. The elves argue the unreasonable demand of staying out of the forest because that is where they gather fire wood and hunt. Aram tells them to blame their ancestors for losing the war. One day all demihumans like them will be wiped out. Then he kills half of them! A soldier reports the wheat field is on fire. Aram is worried since this is where his tax money comes from. This fire was set by Nobunaga in his bid to capture this village. Toyohisa jumps in and decapitates all the soldiers before facing off with Aram who is cocky he will kill this bastard. Toyohisa is enraged seeing slaughtered bodies of elves, he is going to take more than his head. He will take his life. Toyohisa throws his sword at him as distraction and then goes up close to him to grapple him to the ground. He takes his hilt and pounds on his head mercilessly. After a while he stops. He gives a sword to an elf and tells him to kill Aram. Take revenge! At first they are hesitant but with hatred burning inside, all of them pick up the weapons and stab Aram to death. Feel good, right? All the fleeing soldiers are killed off by Yoichi. The elves now bow down to their new master and saviour, Toyohisa. Meanwhile Murasaki is being confronted by Easy who mocks him no matter how many Drifters he send, they cannot beat her Ends. He doesn’t give a f*ck about her so she ups the ante by starting the invasion.

Episode 3
Haruakira and his Octobrist are helping to keep guard on the city’s wall defence. However the guards are confident the walls have never been broken through. Haruakira knows they will lose at this rate so he seeks permission to let Scipio and Hannibal take command. Of course they won’t allow it and making it worse, Hannibal’s bladder problems has him wetting his pants. They laugh at the old man but Scipio stands up for him. Though, they might not understand what he is talking. When magic stops working, Haruakira realizes the Black King, the leader of Ends and his army are here. Hordes of monster soldiers and dragon reinforcements too. How you all gonna fight that?! But it looks like the Black King also has a few historical figures on his side. Toshizou Hijikata, Joan d’Arc, Gilles de Rais and Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova. However Kurou Hougan Yoshitsune is the unpredictable one. Despite being on the Black King’s side, he is neither a Drifter nor End. He will take whichever side that interests him. The invasion begins and in no time the walls fall. Not laughing this time, aren’t we? Haruakira thinks the city cannot be saved but must let the Drifters escape. Suddenly a door appears from the sky and out comes from it is a Zero fighter plane piloted by Captain Naoshi Kanno. This guy is in a bad mood and perhaps going to lose and now he is in an unknown land with flying dragons? But when he sees the city burning down and the people being slaughtered, it reminds him of his own similar circumstances. He now knows who the enemy is. Haruakira takes the old guys to meet up with the other Drifters, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. He seeks for advice if they can win and since Hannibal says the chances aren’t zero, Haruakira gets his confidence back that if they team up with those Japanese Drifters, they can still win this. They escape the burning city with the cowboys giving them the ride of their lives. Their sharp shooting skills can take out the infantry but what about the dragons? Naoshi is gunning them down like nobody’s business. Haruaki is glad he is a Drifter. After the city has fallen, the Black King orders his army to find and exterminate all Drifters in his bid to eliminate mankind. Meanwhile Olminu is being discovered by Toyohisa and co. She fears they will kill her so she explains everything. People like them from another world are called Drifters and are being monitored and gathered by Octobrist to fight against Ends. However the trio don’t care and are not interested at all.

Episode 4
Olminu continues her explanation. She doesn’t think they are Ends because these heartless people are inhumane and only seek the destruction of mankind. Nobunaga asks if Octobrist has any army but it seems they are borrowing them from lords and kings. That is why they need Drifters to tip the balance. Nobunaga laughs at this approach because in feudalism, which lord will give up his entire army to others. He proposes that Octobrist not be the head but instead they will be leaders in their campaign conquest in which Octobrist will play a supporting role. Oh, Toyohisa will be their leader. Why him? Because he saved the elves, right? Grigori Rasputin reports the casualties to the Black King. He will heal his brethren who are injured. He explains he once tried to save mankind but they rejected him. Now he has no choice but to save demihumans and annihilate humans. The elves are discussing their next course of action because they know their master will not stand for this. Olminu has a charm that would have them speak fluently in their language. Poor Yoichi. He tried so hard to learn their language… Olminu explains elves were defeated by humans 40 years ago and were subjugated to become as serfs. Nobunaga wants Toyohisa to rally them. Will they continue to live in humiliation of their ancestors and children? They don’t want to be slaves anymore so it is decided that they’ll take back their land. Toyohisa thinks Nobunaga is letting him take command because he is substituting him as his dead son. He tells him he is not his son. He died. Heart breaking for an old man but he hits back at Toyohisa that he isn’t his dad too because he must have died a long time ago. Then they start arguing and fighting before the elves break them up because the troops are closing in. Olminu adds that this land once belonged to the elves. The human kingdom of Orte has also been expanding its territories by subjugating other demihumans throughout the years. Nobunaga knows that Orte will send its troop to slaughter everyone as lesson and warning to others. What is Toyohisa planning to do? They’ll let them in alright. When the troops arrive, they find no one around. It seems they are hiding in the forest and Toyohisa can’t wait to kill them all tonight.

Episode 5
The village’s wells are filled with faeces and there is no drinking water. The elves are crafting bows and arrows since they have a natural talent as archers. The dead soldiers were decapitated. Although their heads were given a proper burial, their bodies are tossed in a pit filled with more faeces and urine. To them it is the same thing as being buried but only making the process faster. Toyohisa rallies the elves to fight back and then storm the enemy base to take back their women who have been held captive. Nobunaga notices Toyohisa’s flare as a warlord instead of a ruler because he impels people to fight. The night siege on the village begins. The guards are taken by surprise. While Toyohisa singlehandedly slices them, Nobunaga guides the elves as they quickly create a mini barricade. They then lace their arrows with faeces and fire. It seems the medical advances of this world is primitive because they don’t have any proper disinfection for tetanus. Nobunaga observes the poor skills and low morale of these third rate soldiers. They don’t have to kill all of them. Just kill 10% or 20% and they will lose morale and scatter. After Toyohisa takes the head of the commander, the troops flee. The elves rejoice in their victory but Toyohisa says it is not over yet till they storm their main base. But Nobunaga chides him he doesn’t even have a plan for that. The fleeing soldiers fall into pits filled with spikes and faeces. If they don’t, Yoichi and the other elves will take them out. This tactic seems to be very familiar to Yoshitsune who once told Yoichi there is no fairness in wars. The commanders at the main base are worried that the soldiers have not returned. They fear an uprising and this would lead to other demihumans taking action. They may need to destroy a few villages to show who is boss and at worse, hang the women. They are delighted when the troops return. However Nobunaga and the elves are disguised in their armour and they have already entered in. Toyohisa leads the elves to the tower where the elven women are held. Some soldiers throw down their weapons and surrender. Toyohisa tells the elves not to kill such because it will be a disgrace. Whether you kill an enemy depends on their actions. When they enter the tower, they see all the elven women being tortured and raped. No more Mr Nice Guy for Toyohisa. All of them will die. I guess surrendering now isn’t an option, huh?

Episode 6
As Nobunaga ransacks the place, he finds a large portrait. Olminu explains this is the father of Orte who founded the kingdom 60 years ago. Doesn’t he look like Adolf Hitler? Out of nowhere he rallied humans to fight. But after Orte was founded he committed suicide. The reason remains unknown. When Nobunaga learns Toyohisa has rounded up the soldiers and are about to give orders to the elves to kill them all, he knocks him out real hard. Then Nobunaga gives the order himself to execute them. It seems he doesn’t want Toyohisa to do such twisted jobs. That’s a job for him. The elves kill everyone except for one guy who kept claiming he is a newbie who just got transferred here and did not sleep with any women. They feel killing him would make them no different. When the elven females return to their respective village, Nobunaga also sent a propaganda memo there to make them rise up and revolt. The domino effect has the elves slowly breaking away from Orte’s subjugation. The Orte council is discussing their next action when this gay guy, Count Saint-Germi barges in to give his opinion. He owns a quarter of Orte and it is believed the kingdom could not have existed had he not ‘betrayed’. He tells everyone their supply route has already been cut as their fleet has been seized and sunk by Shylock Co of the Gu Binnen Guild. This guy gets his war tactics from a Drifter, a Japanese naval admiral Tamon Yamaguchi. Saint-Germi also knows that the elves have revolt and this would lead to other demihumans doing the same. He realizes this kingdom is doomed. He decides to go contact the elves. Nobunaga is mad that Toyohisa decided a village head council system for the elves when he could be king for them. His reason is that he knows one day the elves will turn against them. But Nobunaga vows not to stop until he achieves his dream of making Toyohisa as king. Nobunaga has the elves gather more faeces to make bombs. They must be thinking this guy loves sh*t. As elves cannot replicate making guns, the only race who can do it as expert blacksmiths are dwarves. That night, the Drifters have an eerie feeling that something is coming after them. They know it isn’t Orte and something more powerful. It’s Joan and Gilles.

Episode 7
Joan and Gilles burn down trees and kill some elves in a bid to lure out the Drifters. It’s time for an epic fight between Drifters and Ends. Toyohisa takes on Joan while Yoichi faces off with Gilles. Nobunaga and the elves hide in the forest and easily take care of the cavalry with simple traps and high grounds. Olminu uses her ground wall to save Toyohisa from Joan’s flames. She is shocked that he kneels and gives her a proper gratitude because there might not be a next time. Mistaking Joan to be a man, Toyohisa returns to fight her. He can tell that she is showing off her flame magic like as though she wants the world to know she can do this. This means she is a rookie in fighting and it will be easy for him to kill her. Joan is puzzled that Toyohisa trapped himself around her flames. When Toyohisa gives the signal, Olminu uses her ground wall spell to propel him towards her. Olminu is confused because this life risking ways just to take the enemy’s head is what Ends are. Toyohisa pushes Joan into the well. It seems water is what she was seeking. She was burnt at the stake as a witch despite fighting for her people and country. When the people abandoned her, Easy popped up to save her. When Toyohisa realizes Joan is a woman, he loses his motivation to cut her head. He tells her to go home and do women-like things. He can’t be satisfied with this and might have to take Gilles’ head. This makes her upset but he doesn’t care or even heard about France or Christ and knocks her out. Yoichi is baffled despite shooting multiple times into Gilles’ vital points, he cannot die! Even taking out his eyes, Gilles is still moving! When Yoichi gets in a bind, Nobunaga can’t let him die and orders the elves to fire all they’ve got. No effect on that monster! At the right moment, Haruakira’s cavalry arrive as Butch fires his rounds into Gilles. Even being shot to pieces he is still moving! When Gilles realizes Joan has gone, he tells us his reason of unfinished journey. The Maiden couldn’t go to heaven and thus he decided to defile himself to go to hell and join her. However he ended up in this world with her. But now she is no longer the Maiden and will definitely go to hell, Gilles disintegrate himself to reach hell first. Phew. End of the monster. Haruakira introduces himself to Nobunaga as the man who hates Ends who should not exist in this world and tasked with supporting Drifters.

Episode 8
Yoichi hears Yoshitsune mocking him for the way he fights. Yoichi will not follow his orders anymore so Yoshitsune tells him to do as he please. The next time they meet will be more interesting. When Haruakira learns Toyohisa didn’t kill Joan, he isn’t happy. Joan has escaped. Toyohisa’s policy will not have him take the head of a woman. Haruakira argues gender is irrelevant as he is part of Ends but Toyohisa screws his rules. He follows his own rules as they are humans. They will not be pawns to be manipulated by Murasaki. When Nobunaga sees Hannibal, he is in a state of dementia and quickly deteriorating. During the run from the Black King’s army, Scipio fell off. They couldn’t go back to find him because of the relentless attack. Don’t worry, that guy is still alive as he is trekking through the dense forest till he sees a crashed Zero plane. Naoshi has tamed all those demihuman dogs under his command. Nobody beats this guy’s anger. Both humans butt heads but when Naoshi learns he is from Rome, they quickly become friends. Because the Axis tripartite pact. But he changes his mind and beats him up. Italy sucks, right? Nobunaga is fascinated with bullets as Butch explains this to him. However their guns are now useless since they have ran out of them. Nobunaga believes such weaponry can change the tide of the battle and do mass annihilation. He claims he can make those black powder needed for bullets. He has Olminu get sulphur from those sh*t. Yeah, it stinks. Now he needs the dwarves’ blacksmithing skills. Haruakira notes Nobunaga is a dangerous man. Ends might have the same goal of world destruction but Drifters have different goals. This makes them unpredictable. He believes Orte’s founder was also a Drifter. He tried to unite mankind but it ended up with a large endless war erupting.

Nobunaga continues explaining his plan to liberate those oppressed under Orte and forming an alliance to take Orte down. They will unite all tribes and establish a multi-racial federation where each race has the right to self-govern although they will keep the military power and Toyohisa as the commander. Although this will lead to military rule, it is way better than Orte or being destroyed by Ends. But why make Toyohisa the king? Nobunaga feels he doesn’t have what it takes for it. He thought profits and fear would be the controlling factor but the hearts of men don’t work like that. When he was betrayed, the first person he suspected was his son. Yet he died. Therefore Toyohisa who doesn’t care about gain or loss, fear or intimidation is the right person for the job. Since he is a fool, he needs an assistant, which is where Nobunaga comes in. Toyohisa tests Hannibal’s senile by feigning an attack. His eyes are still sharp and Toyohisa likes it. They become great buddies. Toyohisa tells the elves he is going to liberate the dwarves. They are not happy because both races hate each other and never got along. Toyohisa’s answer is that only those who wants to fight should join him. He is just going out conquering. The elves realize in the previous war had they thrown away their silly grudges and worked together, they wouldn’t have become slaves. They decide to support Toyohisa and avoid repeating the mistakes their previous generation did. Haruakira and the cowboys decide to return to HQ to look for Scipio and investigate more about Ends. Kid lets Nobunaga keep his pistol and the gatling gun.

Episode 9
Gadolka is where the dwarves are held and the biggest armoury of Orte. If this falls, Orte is done for. Gadolka is under sieged with our Drifters and elves throwing bombs made out of sulphur and sh*t to scatter and confuse the enemy. But those are the small fries. The ones with heavy armours and weapons start streaming out. Surely they’re not going to fight them head on. Toyohisa cues Olminu to use her stone walls to trap them. Then the rest throw the bombs inside. No escape! Boom! Game over. But when the bridge to the main town closes, Nobunaga views this as a problem. Till Hannibal gives some hand signal that he suddenly knows what to do. With Olminu’s stone walls and Yoichi’s sharp archery skills, they create giant steps on the walls to climb up and over. They enter the building to free the dwarves. The elves see the devastated tortured state they are in. The elves felt lucky that their race was only made into serfs. The dwarves pleads for freedom and if they do so they can help fight. Toyohisa likes the dwarves’ spirit but seeing how malnourished they are, he stops the battle and has everyone cook and eat! Gather all the pots and any meat you can find! Slaughter the horses too! While the dwarves are eating, Toyohisa goes to warn the remaining soldiers holing up in the castle. He tells them to run now and he promise he won’t chase and kill them. Because if they don’t, the dwarves will come after them. Because there is not enough food and they’ll eat them! The soldiers agree to surrender. Toyohisa wants to know who the lord of this place is. The commander steps up. Toyohisa wants him to wait and prepare a ritual for him to disembowel his stomach. This is the only honourable thing to do after you lose. However he is scared and won’t do it. Toyohisa doesn’t see him fit as a leader and decapitates him immediately! The other soldiers run as Toyohisa tells Yoichi not to go after them. For now, let’s get back to eating. Meanwhile, an Octobrist and Doug spy along the northern walls. They see a huge dragon cavalry and the huge bronze dragon, one of the 6 great dragons who might have joined forces with the Black King. Even more shocking when they see the monsters doing farming. They note Haruakira was right. The Black King doesn’t wish for the world’s end but to become a saviour to the monsters who will take the place of humans.

Episode 10
The bronze dragon is going to eat the Black King for not knowing his place. However the Black King casts a curse on him that melts his skin! He gives the beast a chance to join his alliance. Fearful of his life, the bronze dragon agrees. Rasputin and Hijikata are discussing the Black King’s amazing resurrection power and even on inanimate objects like crops. So why make his troops do agriculture instead of creating eternal food for them? It’s because he is not God and doesn’t have eternal life. As per his request, Rasputin has done organizing a new symbol for their new religion and language (Roman alphabets?). The Black King plans to unite all races under one new religion and language and forge their own civilization in this world. Saint-Germi and his subordinates, Allister and Fulame arrive at the elves’ base. Mills (the ex-tax accountant for elven colonies) tells the elves to hide the young boys but the young girls are okay! Imagine Saint-Germi’s disappointment when he doesn’t find his paradise of young elven boys around. Mills tells him about Toyohisa and the rest going to free the dwarves and make firearms. The more the dwarves eat, the more buffed they become. Nobunaga shows the musket for them to make but they can’t understand why the need for such complex equipment if a bow and arrow is just as effective. Nobunaga is lost for words so Toyohisa explains about its roar and battle cry as well as how easy it is to train peasants to kill veteran soldiers. Joan has woke up back at the base and Anastasia is by her side. After learning Gilles is dead, she is filled with rage and wants revenge on that samurai but Anastasia declines her because she underestimated them. She will have to wait for another chance for her desire to come to pass.

The beast soldiers are tying down the bronze dragon who is pleading to the Black King to stop all this. However he tells him if he cannot walk beside them, he is just mere meat. It seems the Black King’s life is slowly chipping away. The dwarves amazingly recreate another musket. Nobunaga asks how many they can make at full force, he is amazed they can make about 10 in a day. One day! Suddenly Saint-Germi comes in. Too late Olminu trying to warn them this tranny is here. Saint-Germi considers himself a Drifter and even the father of Orte too (confirmed as Hitler). That’s because Hitler formed an efficient bureaucratic government, eliminated nepotism, centralized wealth and unified the people. Otherwise how could they have fought against other races? How do you think that is not an incredible work? Because Saint-Germi knows about them all, Nobunaga notes he is dangerous and cannot let their guard down. Saint-Germi is here to see if they are worthy to join forces with. In fact his subordinates are already testing out Toyohisa. I’m not sure why, but they were going great guns against Toyohisa until they saw Hannibal in which they fall weak on their knees. Do they have old men fetish? Clearly defeated. Saint-Germi introduces himself as a traitor as he plans to sell off Orte to them. Because when a country falls, it must fall in a proper way. He doesn’t like the idea of other countries invading Orte and then forcing them to surrender. So what must the Drifters do? Destroy Orte effectively with one blow while it still holds power.

Episode 11
Saint-Germi seems to be from many years in the future as he knows all about their history and outcome. When he offers to tell Toyohisa on what happened at Sekigahara, Toyohisa cuts him off and shocks him he already knows what happened. Nobunaga believes they can trust this tranny because they betray for profit instead of sentimental grudges. The gang now ride into Verlina, Orte’s capital. Saint-Germi summons the council members and tells them they are going to close down Orte. They will turn over a new leaf and work under their new leader, Toyohisa. Some object to it but some agree. But when one who agree doesn’t want a Drifter as a head, it is clear he is being manipulated by Rasputin. He explains the Black King has sent troops to take over Verlina. But the moment they barge into the room, Toyohisa decapitates them all! He ignores Rasputin and beats up the council being manipulated by him! Then he says their intention from the beginning is to fight and no conquering is done without shedding blood. This pisses off Rasputin as he ends his communication and discusses with Hijikata about the crazy Drifters. But the Black King interjects. If they cannot capture Verlina, change their plan. Aim for destruction instead of usurpation. Their objective is maximum chaos. His aim is to stop Drifters from taking the state but if it falls into their hands, cripple it. Nobunaga is upset that Saint-Germi’s best soldiers are only about 500 men. Topless muscular gay men!!! With the dwarves completing the guns, they are handed to them as they will play the musketeer role whom Nobunaga will lead. Yoichi will lead the elves in the archer division while Toyohisa will lead the dwarves to be foot soldiers. Their mission: Annihilate everyone! EVERYONE! When the Black King’s army arrives, Nobunaga starts with his musketeers firing. As this is the first time gun is used, its devastating effect and sound causes everyone to be in shock and awe. Nobunaga dislikes the slow reloading times but can’t rush his men. Yoichi’s side rain arrows down. After the second volley from the musketeers, the fear starts to sink into the enemy. Unable to move, this is where Toyohisa’s side comes in to hack all of them.

Episode 12
With chaos everywhere, Hijikata makes some changes to his plans and is going in himself. He then faces off with Toyohisa and it seems Hijikata has a deep grudge against the Shimazu clan. From Yoichi’s aerial watch, Nobunaga is worried that the enemies are dispersing in smaller units and setting fire randomly. He is in a dilemma to do the same to his troops because this would mean weakening his musketeers’ firepower and their lack of experience in the battlefield means nobody is qualified to lead smaller groups. However when Hannibal starts talking about crushing the grapes as he scatters and stomps them, this gives Nobunaga an idea. He realizes the enemy’s goal has not changed and wants everyone to regroup. He is glad Toyohisa is keeping Hijikata company because this means the enemy leader isn’t focusing on commanding his troops. Saint-Germi feels odd because it feels as though Ends’ goal is to conquer this state instead of annihilation. Could the Black King be somebody he knows? Hijikata is upset that Toyohisa is fooling around while fighting. Hey, there are no rules in war, right? Hijikata sends his Shinsengumi spirits to attack him but he slices them all. They can regenerate, though. As their swords finally clash, Toyohisa’s sword breaks. When the enemy troops enter the capitol building, this is part of Nobunaga’s plan to trap them and burn them all inside. It works like a charm since everywhere is laced with bombs. Those who try and escape will be met with point blank shots from the musketeers. Hijikata is further infuriated that Toyohisa is smiling despite taking damage. He is truly mad. It is this attitude why his Shinsengumi died and he hates the Shimazu clan for it. Even more infuriating is when Toyohisa mentions if he dies in this battle, his death will lay the future foundation for Nobunaga to pave way for victory. More madness when the dwarves come back him up with their gunfire. Toyohisa even stands in their line of fire! While Hijikata is in shock, Toyohisa runs up close to him and beats him up. This is when the Black King relays a message to him to withdraw. Hijikata insists he can still fight and has not lost but the Black King say because he has not lost, it is his victory. There is no victory beyond this. Now it descends into a punching brawl so a dragon trooper has to whisk Hijikata away, leaving both men somewhat disappointed and satisfied. Toyohisa collapses after it is over. Rasputin seeks the Black King’s forgiveness for this failure but he isn’t perturbed as he views this probing mission to be a success and were able to cripple Verlina. The Black King then speaks to Mitsuhide Akechi who in no doubt will join his force if he gets to kill Nobunaga.

History Revision
One quick sentence. This needs to have another season! Fast! I know it is announced right at the very end of the final episode but I can’t really wait for the next season to come! I NEED IT NOW!!! It’s only right since Toyohisa didn’t finish his fight with Hijikata. And what does it mean the second season will come in 20XX?! F*ck this teaser! Don’t tell me it’s 2099! I don’t have a time travelling machine! Heck, they’ve already got a decent preview of the next episode like always, as though they have already made the damn thing! Ah, I get it. They just want to choke us off after getting us addicted and feel the withdrawal symptoms. Oh well, I guess I have to be patient like everybody else. Yeah, we have to be thankful with hundreds and thousands of human years of history that enabled the creative stories involving the greatest historical personalities.

The story and plot are quite interesting to follow. Even if you aren’t a history fan, the mere mashing up of a few historical figures in an unknown world would still be an appealing idea worth checking out. After all, this series isn’t supposed to be taken too seriously itself either (because history is so boring that it turns almost everyone off, right?). So in between serious discussions and grim and sombre scenes, suddenly they crack into a joke or two. This is evident when you see the change in animation style. Uh huh. Characters go all chibi and funny especially Nobunaga whose hair seems to be spreading out like Medusa. After the jokes are done, it is back to all that seriousness again. Hence there is some kind of good balance between the action, drama and comical parts and the reason why the series captivated my attention from start to finish. But to some, the sudden insertion of comical parts may ruin the serious tone of the series. I’m fine with that. Hey, are you supposed to take this series seriously? Even Toyohisa doesn’t take his life too seriously.

But one of my greatest dilemmas for this series is the characters. While it is great to see a number of historical characters, deep down inside my greedy heart I was disappointed that I wanted to see more of them! And this is even myself complaining that there is lack of screen time and focus from some of the other characters such as Butch, Kid, Naoshi and Tamon! They make short appearances and then are somewhat forgotten because of how short this series is. Although they are shown in the ending credits montage, it doesn’t really amount to anything much. Just to let you know the producers haven’t forgotten about them. Thus if I were to get my wish to have more Drifters and Ends into the fray, this would have further dilute the importance of these people at least as far as this season is concerned. Thus such characters serve more as an introduction as we build up to later stories and perhaps more could appear along the way. But for now I have to contend with the ‘few’ here. Of course I can take heart that this is just the first season and with another one coming, I hope they will introduce more then.

A big chunk of this season focuses on Toyohisa and his Drifters group. Toyohisa is likeable as a main character despite his barbaric brutality is because of his no nonsense nature. In that sense he is honest and does not beat around the bush. He lives and upholds truly to his warrior code and way of life. He does not care about power, position and materialistic stuffs and does it because he wants to. To put it as Nobunaga describes him, he doesn’t read the situation or rather he doesn’t want to. If I was in this world, I would definitely want to follow him and make him my leader. He might be mad when he is fighting but if that is his way to keep things positive and realistic, so be it. Though, you might have to get used to his crazy fetish of cutting off enemy heads as trophy. It’s like his clan’s crazy sign of manliness. Nobunaga is also quite likeable because of his smooth and sarcastic talking. Many of his narrations about Toyohisa, the situation and everything else are interesting to hear and could draw inspiration. If Toyohisa is the brawns, Nobunaga is definitely the brains and he uses it to the utmost advantage. Among the main trio, Yoichi doesn’t seem to be that prominent. For now he is a great archer and is mostly relegated to roles (in battle) of finishing off remaining enemies that flee the battlefield. Of course with his relationship with Yoshitsune, it seems there are some potentials there but not in this season.

Sadly, the Octobrist feels forgotten towards the end of the series. I know they’ve gone off to do other important things behind the scenes but I thought they would play a main role as a force against Ends. That’s why I thought this series was too short to tell everything and give everyone their worth of screen time. And because the lack of female characters (at least from the Drifters’ side), the reason why we have busty Olminu as a supporting side character working with them. If she was living in today’s reality of political correctness, she would have sued Nobunaga for his constant harassment of mispronouncing her name all the time by adding tits and boobs to her name. So much so she just gave up retorting and correcting him. No, not a sign she has relented and accepted her new nickname! And there are times where Nobunaga casually gropes her boobs. Hey, he is the shogun and does anything he wants with his women! Speaking of Olminu, I think she is really the only real woman in the Drifters’ side. Because Yoichi looks effeminate and Saint-Germi and his subordinates as just too tranny. Scipio and Hannibal are like the odd married couple always arguing among each other (and sometimes backing up each other) but to see old men argue isn’t as much fun…

As interesting the Drifters are, those in Ends under the Black King are interesting too. While we may not know a whole lot of them and just part of the story, it is intriguing to see what the Black King really wants. Is it really to destroy humanity and unite the other races? What are his powers because if he is so damn powerful like God (which he isn’t), why can’t he just straight away kill all the Drifters instead of making slow progressions with his plans with Ends? Thus there is this mysterious side to him and Ends that I feel we have yet to see. Although Drifters are painted as the good guys, perhaps when we learn more about Ends, the lines will be blurred. It would be the biggest twist when we are no longer sure if we are to support Drifters or Ends.

The biggest mystery and puzzle to everything that has happened is of course the eternal rivalry between Murasaki and Easy. What are they doing this far and for what ends? It might sound serious when they throw in historical personalities to fight for the fate for the world but it call all turn out to be just a silly petty reason because someone at the other’s dessert. Yeah… Ultimate insult? Because for now it seems like Easy is the one trying to throw her weight around with her arrogance, egotism and supposed superiority but usually Murasaki would just play cool and ignore her, attending to his whatever desk job. Then it begs the question if this Drifters vs Ends are just one of the many challenges by them? Because there are so many doors and my conspiracy theory tells me that there might be many other similar worlds drenched in such battle royale setting.

One thing that puzzled me was the original language that the denizens of this world is speaking. For sure it wasn’t Japanese. I am not sure if this is merely gibberish or a new language concocted. The latter is more reasonable as I could hear some sort of structure in their sentences. But to actually create a new language just for this series? Doesn’t seem economical from my point of view. Trying to search online (with my lazy Google searching) didn’t yield any results. Because in some instances when Scipio and Hannibal start speaking in Latin, there will be a note on the screen to say so. But when the denizens speak it, surely it would not make sense that they are talking in Latin, right? Of course with the magic talisman, convenience of speaking our favourite Japanese is soon favoured with everybody and this language is close to forgotten.

The draw of this series is definitely its action parts. They are fast paced, they are gory, they are bloody and definitely not for the faint hearted. Very brutal. Ultra violent. It makes you want to play Mortal Kombat and perform a fatality on every win! So when you see a barbaric Toyohisa jump to action and start slaying and decapitating his enemies, be prepared to see blood shed like waterfall as well as limbs and heads flying more furious than a beat ‘em up video games. Nobunaga’s experience in war tactics also makes the battles entertaining to watch. So it isn’t all just mindless hack and slash from Toyohisa but some brains and planning from the devilish unifier of Japan himself. Though, I can’t say much about Yoichi’s archery because he is such a sharp shooter that every hit counts and we don’t really get to see everything as it happens so fast.

The art and drawing is a mix. Due to the brutality of scenes, sometimes they look gorgeous and fantastic while at other times they are just plain. Oh, some scenes are pretty dark so it is hard to see things. Then there is the comical parts which suddenly turns everyone into marshmallow stick people or chibi mode so if you’re not used to the flow of the series already, the very sudden difference in artwork can be jarring. But generally the characters have this realistic but unique look to them. Then there are times when the characters go into their evil scheming mode (especially Nobunaga). Their face will be all black except their white teeth and eyes. Personally, it makes them look like monsters. Even more so sometimes when their facial features go a bit off and this makes them look like demons/monsters too.

Now, I thought this series was done by the people who did Shingeki No Kyojin. Because some of the art and animation resembles very closely to the surrealism of that series. But Drifters is actually made by Hoods Drifters Studio. While this is technically the first anime made by them under this name, they did a few other series under the name Hoods Entertainment such as Seikon No Qwaser, Nazo No Kanojo X, Blazblue Alter Memory, Fantasista Doll and Kanojo Ga Flag Wo Oraretara. Another reason why I thought of Shingeki No Kyojin was because of Toyohisa’s uniform design that bears a close similarity. Doesn’t he look like a grownup and crazy version of Eren?

The voice acting is perfect. They do a good job in giving their character some convincing depths. There are quite a handful of recognizable seiyuus. Yuuichi Nakamura as Toyohisa is in familiar waters as a character full of angst but with some sort of accent. Then there are Tomokazu Sugita as Saint-Germi, Takahiro Sakurai as Haruakira, Daisuke Ono as Butch, Hiroki Yasumoto as Hijikata, Akira Ishida as Yoshitsune and Sho Hayami as Mitsuhide. For the rest, they are Naoya Uchida as Nobunaga (Endou in Kaiji), Mitsuki Saiga as Yoichi (Phantom in MAR), Shiho Kokido as Olminu (Miki in Sekkou Boys), Yutaka Aoyama as Hannibal (Yamada in To Be Hero), Hiroshi Yanaka as Scipio (Nobuhide in Nobunaga The Fool), Wataru Takagi as Kid (Genta in Detective Conan), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Naoshi (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Taiten Kusunoki as the Black King (Rock Bison in Tiger & Bunny), Masahiko Tanaka as Rasputin (Gojirou in Coppelion), Junko Minagawa as Joan (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Junko Kitanishi as Anastasia (Shouko in Kuragehime), Kenji Nomura as Gilles (Largo in Senjou No Valkyria), Mitsuru Yamamoto as Murasaki (Ayame in Fruits Basket) and Kanae Itou as Easy (Ohana in Hanasaku Iroha). There are a lot more seiyuus to this but they are mainly as minor roles like the soldiers.

The rock based opening theme, Gospel Of The Throttle (Kyouhon Remix version) by Minutes Til Midnight is a suitable piece for this blood and gory series. Maon Kurosaki does the ending theme, Vermillion, another rock outfit which is of course befitting to the genre of this series. The ending theme for the final episode, Rurou No Zakura by Yasushi Ishii is more of a slow rock. There are also a few cool rock BGM pieces especially during the action scenes.

Overall, I am quite impressed with this series and I am pretty sure that personally I can call this an epic series though it may fall a bit tad short of being a masterpiece. Well, it is good to know that there are still a handful of good animes in between while I wait for the next epic season of Shingeki No Kyojin to come about. Hint, hint. Please no more delays, please? History could have been more interesting if it was this messed up but it is thanks to what really happened in history that allowed us to create such a messed up story. Here’s hoping Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar join in the fray next season.