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Notables: Animation - Hoods Entertainment
By all rights, samurai warrior Shimazu Toyohisa should be dead, after being impaled on the field of the famous battle of Sekigahara in the year 1600. But, after a strange visit to a place lined with odd doors and presided by a strange bureaucrat, he finds himself in some alternate reality. He also finds that he's not the only samurai there, and that he's now what's known as a 'Drifter'.

12 episodes
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:3268#628]
(All episodes watched):

Well, this Toyohisa guy initially rubbed me the wrong way. He struck me as too much of a showoff, not cool at all, and basically such a fantastic swordsman that I could not suspend disbelief enough to take his skill seriously. Basically, so deadly that the laws of physics and reality itself seem out of whack in this show. And he just shrugs off injuries which would kill you or me instantly. But after the very violent battle scene at the beginning, a fairly intriguing premise is set up: he has been shuffled off to some alternate reality where a couple of elves find him, still badly injured. All sorts of questions leap to mind: who was that guy sitting at a desk, who never said a word, who apparently decided Toyohisa's fate? Where is he now? What are 'drifters'? Why do they threaten to 'destroy the world'? There was no guarantee that the answers would be all that good, but I was intrigued enough to watch more of this show. I had expected a sci-fi or supernatural twist to this show, but it looks like fantasy/magic will be the way it goes. Not nearly enough had been revealed at this point to determine if Drifters would be worth watching to the end.

After three episodes, I found myself confused. Still no explanation (or hint that there ever would be an explanation) regarding how humans wind up in this alternate world, just plenty of violence and a bewildering political situation as a battle between Drifters and Ends (whatever exactly those are) rages. Some organization is trying to recruit Drifters and use them to fight the Ends (if I understand correctly). My guess was that the Ends are just pure evil, like the forces of Sauron in LOTR, so any sort of Drifter would become a good guy by fighting them even if they are basically anti-heroes themselves. Or maybe Drifters and Ends are basically the same thing, namely skilled warriors that have been drafted into fighting in a war, just by two different factions. With time, the message became to not worry about how this had all gotten started, and instead just enjoy it as it worked out. The Elves had clearly been terribly mistreated, and leading them in an uprising was exciting and seemed right. The attempts at humor (like old-man Hannibal pissing himself) were pretty weak, but I remained curious about how famous human generals might just turn around a seemingly hopeless war in a Middle Earth-like domain. Episode four was more fun as we get some clarification of just what's going on and a plan begins to come together among the three main characters (on a sidenote, apparently the one with the bow is a man--I had been sure he was a woman). The jokes were better, too. I'm glad I hadn't given up on Drifters earlier. Perhaps it's hard to 'get' jokes and keep track of the plot until the basic premise of the story is made clear; better late than never.

The question of what the deal was with that guy at the desk had been largely shunted aside, and I felt that it wouldn't be surprising if it went unanswered even at the end of the series. But that was OK since we have a second overarching question (what will the Elf uprising accomplish?) that held our attention for the time being. As episode twelve approached, I couldn't help feeling that Drifters must be a two-season show, because countless questions remained unanswered even as time was rapidly running out. Surely the WWII pilot and admiral have to reappear at some point since the trouble was taken to introduce them earlier. This is indeed only the first of two or more seasons of this anime. The way this first season ended could have been better; another major End leader is defeated, but not decisively. We still know little about the Black King and the confusion is frustrating. There was no real cliffhanger, just a lull in the action. I would have a hard time summarizing exactly what happened up to this point, because stuff which confuses me doesn't stick in my memory. But the basics are clear, the show was reasonably fun, and I wouldn't mind watching season two of Drifters.

Last updated Friday, March 03 2017. Created Friday, October 21 2016.

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