Drifters was an unexpected surprise for me because I have never read the manga. Knowing the creator of Hellsing is behind it led me to believe it would be both bloody and potentially contain nazi zombies, but in the world of Drifters that wouldn’t be too hard. In the first episode of Hirano’s new work we learn some pretty fun things right away: It’s very safe to assume that every person in the world of Drifters that we know from history died to get there. Does their story just require them to be famous, or to have died in battle? Yoichi’s legend speaks of him living a pretty long time, but that’s making a lot of assumptions so let me introduce you to the first episode and its protagonist: Shimazu Toyohisa is a figure who died in the Kyushu campaign after fighting to allow his uncle to escape to Satsuma, the home of the Shimazu clan. This was during the Sengoku period and was part of the campaigns in which finally united Japan under the banner of the Tokugawa Shogunate. This is a big freakin deal but Toyohisa is a fairly small figure in the large aspect of things this follows.
I think it was a good choice to use a genuinely existing character whose importance was real but also very under described. It is more difficult to find Japanese history references in America but despite my background in asian history Toyohisa seems more like a good choice in allowing the reader/watcher to be enlightened and informed of more important figures who came before him. That being said in episode 1 we met so many freakin’ important figures in history that I’d almost be surprised if we didn’t see one of the ones who disappeared from our vision reappear sometime in the future. But lets discuss the real important issue here: Oda freakin Nobunaga. Not knowing that name is like not knowing anything about Japan, so let me just say they made Oda Nobunaga into a ginormous badass. On top of it all though, is the history and violence.
Anime doesn’t normally know exposition methods that don’t make me yawn and they typically don’t make me want to research but the way these characters talk to each other makes me want to buy some history books. I loved hearing them argue about the semantics of rural towns and I love that even though those things should not be able to co exist in an anime that starts by cutting people in half and showering the viewer with a blood soaked screen but this is a special talent that only Hirano has. What he once did in Hellsing he now does even better and I was losing my mind most of the time. Drifters even allows you the chance to bask in Hirano’s art style at its best. The animation studio has clearly invested in this show and given how famous the artist behind it is and how strong the source material seems, I dont blame them. I was sucked in from the beginning to the end.
Now. . . all I can add is I’m definitely watching it. After 3 viewings I’m still in awe of what I saw. I love this already and I’m down for the long haul. I want to know the mystery, the history, and. . .something that rhymes with the other two while also simply meaning ‘that freakin’ art yo’.
Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed