Seriously go look up Gospel of The Throttle by Minutes to Midnight. Spotify, Youtube, iTunes, whatever the hell you use to listen to music and listen to it. I’ll wait.
So that is the sort of random catchy vibe is precisely what you get in Drifters, a unique blend of genres that leaves us with an alternate history fantasy space-time continuum story with Jesus, Hitler, Caesar, Oda Nobunaga, Joan of Arc, and many other historical figures walking into a bar and having a massive fight in a manner very reminiscent of childhood arguments of who would win in a fight.
The art style is precisely that of Kouta Hirano and lines up with Hellsing where you can clearly see many parallels, especially when only the lit eyes of a character are shown against a blacked out silhouette of the person. Toyohisa is very much like Alucard, as is Oda, and even a busty
police magical girl a la Seras Victoria. As a fan of Kouta Hirano and his team who worked on Hellsing (one of my personal favorite anime of all time), I was needless to say very psyched for this anime when I heard about it. Going in fairly dry, I was regaled by the first episode, showing us samurai Shimazu Toyohisa at the end of the Battle of Sekigahara. Now, I don’t pretend to know Japanese history worth a damn but I do know it was an insane battle that set for the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the last feudal government of Japan.
Japanese history lesson aside, Drifters is the kind of violent and comical animated work that one would come to expect from the creative team behind Hellsing, with more similarities associated with Hellsing Ultimate than the original Hellsing. The serious borderline psychopathic moments of Oda Nobunaga, Nasu No Yoichi, and Toyohisa are offset by comical almost chibi versions arguing. While I would normally find such a drastic change irritating, Kouta Hirano pulls it off giving the right amount of laughter before going hardcore murder death kill mode.
So let’s go over plot. As of the mid-season (episode 6 is the newest) We’ve seen our Drifters (not assholes in this new world) essentially go about being anti-heroes in a very Hellsing reminiscent manner. They decide after seeing the way demihumans such as Elves are treated (essentially as slaves to be beaten and raped and murdered while forced to provide food) and opt to help them out. By conquering the damn kingdom. Oda provides a manipulative tactical overview (teaching large scale political views and hit and run guerrilla style combat tactics), Yoichi provides an almost dehumanized hunter’s point of view (going so far as to literally hunt down and track survivors from ambushes) and Toyohisa is very similar to Alucard in that while he has a nigh literal bloodlust (I have never heard a character demand another person’s head as a trophy so many times) he also pays respect to the defeated and honors combatants surrendering as a target not worth murdering (unless they’re rapists in which case those fethers deserve it). Right now we’ve found that a magical organization known as the Octoberists are gathering Drifters to combat Ends, essentially evil psychotic assholes from our world, including Rasputin, Joan of Arc, Anastasia Romanov, and their leader; the Black King who they heavily imply is Jesus. Yes, Jesus Christ, who now apparently leads an army of demihumans such as goblins, kobolds, and dragons against humanity who rejected him. On that comical note, the human kingdom of Orte was founded by Hitler. Yes, Adolf Hitler, who apparently led an army of humans against oppressive assholes, then subsequently committed suicide after finishing uniting it all.
This entire fantasy world also seems to be a battleground between good and evil entities that place Drifters and Ends into the world. The Drifters being sent by Murasaki who is essentially guy Integra Hellsing and the Ends being sent by Easy, who is essentially just a gothic lolita chick. The Drifters seem to just be impressive individuals with occasionally comical equipment for a fantasy setting “including but not limited to M79 grenade launchers, Gatling guns, Zero fighters, and an Imperial Navy Super Carrier and a shit ton of logical common sense (in all seriousness, they are tactical geniuses who essentially are chess grandmasters to the world’s amateur tic-tac-toe players).” Whereas the Ends just have OP magical powers, Joan of Arc being a fire bender, Anastasia Romanov being Elsa from Frozen, and a myriad of other borderline X-Men style powers. We still have yet to see how things will go down when all the Drivers come together but it’s definitely something that Easy and the Black King want to prevent.
Only time will tell if this amazing anime will keep on amazing or if it will fall short. Even moments like “Shout TORA TORA TORA after a successful surprise attack!” left me laughing at the humorous tone of Drifters. Given Kouta Hirano’s track record I am anticipating to continue being impressed over and over again.