Drifters is always an interesting look on the world because it combines two ideas that are time tested and beloved: fantasy worlds and the collaboration of historical figures to be cool. The latter tends to play on our love for time travel and changing history while also just allowing important figures to engage one another and interact. Add on that fantasy worlds grow more and more relevant in pop culture and Drifters is a mixture for a perfect hit, and in many ways Drifters does deliver on the things it promises to be. We do in fact get some really cool fight scenes between the Ends and the Drifters, but I find this episode really embodies a problem this series has.
A lot of this episode is preparation. What these episodes do is provide a lot of cool insight on the nature of how the manga artist thought these characters would interact and how they probably would have. Nobunaga is genuinely entranced by the nature of machine guns and anyone from an era before them would likely share in that. However the other work by this author is Hellsing and I feel like I need to bring up what that does differently in order to better establish what rubs me the wrong way. For starters: the very serious main characters don’t usually get childish backgrounds and cartoonish figures of themselves to argue with one another.
We are seeing some of the greatest warriors and strategists in all of history, yet all they do half the time when they’re on their own is bicker in silly ways about silly things. It’s not that the show is bad, as someone who deeply enjoys history and learning about the nature of war when all these things (including dragons!) come together I can say I am usually interested. Yet I don’t feel like things would ever be so simple or childish, and I’m much more interested with Nobunaga is spending time explaining things than when he is bickering about the semantics of history.
That being said, even the characters this episode want to know why Nobunaga doesn’t just lead and it’s a valid question. He has a good answer but still, he is essentially the show stopper and the one who had the most recorded history anyway. I find it amusing that the people of the future don’t know the nature of making gun powder but because of who he is and the earlier era he is from he is heavily acquainted with the substance he needs! It’s refreshing. It’s also hilarious seeing early era humans who have no idea how it works to be in a fantasy world encourage elves and dwarves to work together. If it wasn’t for the complex sentience of demi humans I would accuse this world of being too predictable!
I’m enjoying Drifters after this episode but I can definitely see a pattern: it’s very underwhelming. Without the banter between characters in their non serious chibi-fied forms you often see the recurring issue of . . . well, they don’t really have many serious discussions outside of killing. It’s like Abe says, nothing is really keeping the Drifters together like the Ends so they could all just have a serious spazz attack at any moment. Because the show addresses it I hope that means they will have an answer, but for now I am unimpressed by how little I feel connected to the characters outside of “oooh, who are they going to blow up next?”
But lets be honest. We all want to watch them blow more people up. With dragons. Dragons and planes riding on top of horses made of the bones of their enemies. And really, what are the chances Drifters won’t deliver on that?