Shimazu Toyohisa, whilst involved at the Battle of Sekigahara, manages to mortally wound Ii Naomasa, but is critically wounded in the process. As he walks from the field broken and bleeding, Toyohisa finds himself transported to a corridor of doors, where a bespectacled man at a desk waits for him. This man, Murasaki, sends Toyohisa into the nearest door where he wakes up in another world. There, Toyohisa meets other great warriors like him who have been transported as well, to be part of a group known as "Drifters."
This is just a preview! (So take the rating with a grain of salt, as this is ment to just leave you with a good first impression. A first course if you will, that might get you hungry enough to watch the main course in action.)
Did you enjoy Hellsing Ultimate? Do you like loads of blood? Are you interested in freakishly awesome characters, that don't need 20 episodes in order to become badass? Well then what are you waiting for, "Drifters" already has 6 episodes out!
The anime is about historical characters or figures that participate in a bloody game of killing and survival, by getting sent to another world for mysterious reasons after they die in real life.
Our main character is the badass known as Toyohisa Shimazu, a japanese samurai. Upon losing his life in battle and clinging into the last remains of his life-force, is sent to a corridor which sends him into a new world, where he will face battles that he has never ever experienced before. ENJOY!!
Just know that if you have watched "Hellsing Ultimate", you are probably gonna enjoy this, it's similair in style and story. Crazy good animation, awesome soundtrack and great brutal characters. What more does one need from an anime? I promise that you are gonna get hooked, and pray to god that every episode comes out on time. Invest some of your time in it, because this might just be the best anime of this season!read more
Regardless of animation, story, setting or even genre, what truly separates an ok anime from a great one is having interesting character, and Drifters has been quite a let down.
Before diving a bit onto the review, let's explain the premise: in a fantasy-style world (think Dungeons & Dragons or Lord of the Rings), a war between humans - the current rulers of the world - and the "Ends" - who want to destroy everything - is happening. Two mysterious characters are bringing "Heroes" of our world in order to tip the war one way or the other. These "Heroes" are called Drifters, and, as expected, are the focus of the show. They are also very dull and one dimensional.
Most of these Drifters are warriors or soldiers, so you'd expect them to have a penchant for killing. Yet you'd also expect them to have some personality. So far, every single one is pretty much a can't-spell-slaughter-without-laughter psychopath, with few or no redeeming characteristics other than their fighting ability. Roughly 70% of all speech coming from a Drifter is one of the following (or a variation of it):
- Manical laughter
- "I'm going to kill you"
- "WTF is happening?"
And then there are the poorly executed jokes and (un)funny faces. These not only fall completely flat, but also feel completely out of place.
At the least the animation is as good as expected. If you saw the trailers, you've probably seen that this anime is pure eye-candy, and I'm glad to say that it looks even better in motion. The art style is simply beautiful, with bold colors and thick contours making even the busiest action scenes understandable yet also eye-watering gorgeous.
The sound design, however, is only passable. Voices are forgettable (just like the character themselves), ambient sound lacks impact and the music is completely unremarkable. It does its job, but fails to hype us for all the fighting.
The story has potential - racial conflicts, power dynamics and historical figures could lead to very interesting progression and outcomes - but with such flat characters, I'm not keeping my hopes up.
Also, since this is first and foremost an action anime, it's fair to include battles and fights on the review. So far (episode 4), they have been completely one-sided. It's feels like a Dynasty Warriors game, with each Drifter effortlessly slaughtering mooks by the dozens. Hopefully battles between Drifters themselves will be more interesting.
Overall, I'd say that Drifters is worth watching mostly for its art and animation, and busy action scenes. Just don't expect good writing - this is a feast for your eyes only.
==== Reviewer notes:
This review is mostly a "first impressions" up to episode 4 rather than a complete review. Although Drifters hasn't impressed me, I plan to keep watching it until its conclusion. Once there, I'll update the review and let you if Drifters redeems itself. read more
That could be all I need to write since, as far as I've seen, the show has lived up to that thesis grandly.
But lets talk about it a little more just for giggles.
This show was a bit of a wildcard for me personally, given that I haven't read the manga or seen either of the directors crowning achievements (Hellsing and the latest iteration of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), but after the synopsis piqued my interest, and the Promotional Video's came out, I was sold. Further Drifters is being produced by a studio that has not been responsible for any... respectable, none the less epic or badass shows that I am aware of. Wile avoiding either spoiling anything important or going over things you should already know (from reading the MAL synopsis), I will share my thoughts.
For Animation -
Drifters does not disappoint in most areas, and definitely not its main animation style and fight scenes. For the most part it has managed to keep CG at a minimum, avoiding the usage of hideous clones or terrible blends of hand-drawn and computer-assisted animation in favor of a uniquely beautiful style that you must see to appreciate (and yes, you do get used to it after the first few seconds). The only blow against this otherwise stellar track record is its usage of "Chibi" or an almost cutesy style during purely comedic moments. I believe that this contrasts rather sharply with the extremely epic and, for the most part, serious feel of the show, however; like the overall animation style, you do get used to it.
For sound -
This is one area are where the overwhelmingly positive influence of Hellsing (so I hear, no pun intended) comes in very clearly. In a word, it rocks. After the first episode finished, and I heard the opening for the first time, in addition to several other background tunes that were especially good, I had no doubt that I was in good hands with regard to the sound department.
It should come as no surprise that it was only a week later that I learned that the song I had heard was not the opening - it was the ending, and I had been fooled by how epic it was into thinking it was the opening. I later found out the opening was done by an American band from Detroit; it's only gotten better from there.
For story -
The story of this show is fairly straight forward; a vast array of differing people from all across history and the world (but mostly Japan), are summoned into a parallel universe at the moment of their deaths. Here they must fight likewise summoned enemies to save the world from destruction. This simplicity may bother you, but at the same time the show really doesn't try to sell itself as anything more, intellectually, than a truly epic "battle in a brand new world war". Almost like a weirder Lord of the Rings. If you're looking for intellectual stimulation, you may be disappointed (so far.)
For Characters -
Most of the characters that have been introduced so far are interesting in their own ways, even if they are a bit flat at first, but they do not fail to intrigue and amuse, particularly as personalities from wildly different eras and cultures clash. I hope that as the series progresses we will get more character depth, but know that with the size of the cast they are juggling and the type of show this is (read epic badass gore-fest with a side of comedy and awesome), this area may be somewhat limited.
Final verdict -
I love the show so far, and eagerly await the airing of each episode. Even if only as a adrenaline-spiked thunderously epic bloodbath, Drifters is immensely entertaining and extremely funny, mostly through how seriously its characters take themselves, even when they're in ridiculous situations, but there are a few gut-busting things to look forward too - such as the (rumored) toppling of the fourth reich as founded by the now-drifter Adolf Hitler (that one almost killed me)
If this show were to burn however it would be for one of two reasons:
On the one hand, it could be dragged down by an accumulation of weirdness (see Hitler and his EXTREMELY gay nobles), along with the slapstick Chibi scenes, but I don't think that's terribly likely.
The other danger however I cannot speak of directly, since I promised not to spoil anything, but I will say simply that it pertains to the true identity of "the Black King", and may end up trashing everything if my suspicion is true and they try to give it any more than passing significance. Message me if you have my same suspicions please; I want to know if I'm not just crazy...
Tl;dr: If you like action anime, or/and if you really liked Hellsing Ultimate or/and Jojo's Bizzare Adventure, go watch Drifters.
The full preview is down below. I assume you've read the basic synopsis on the MAL page. If you haven't, the basic premise of the show is that different historical figures (mostly warriors/generals/soldiers) are transported to a medieval fantasy-esque land with creatures like elves and dragons where they embroil themselves in a local conflict.
Drifters is based on a manga written by Kouta Hirono, the creator of the Hellsing series. Its director is Kenichi Suzuki, the man responsible for directing anime such as Jojo's Bizzare Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, and also one episode of Hellsing Ultimate. So based on these names it was assumed that we would be getting a solid anime. And so far, that has been true. Drifters has a lot of stylized, 'colorful' action reminiscent of Hellsing Ultimate, but with more flair. The production quality is clearly high. If you only really want some entertaining action, then Drifters will serve you just fine. Most of the music and art really complement the action in Drifters, especially the opening, which for lack of a better phrase, is just really damn cool.
If you care for more than just the action though, then there is a chance you might not be satisfied.
Moving on to the story, characters, and writing; in this anime, the characters are simply tools for displaying the aforementioned action. I do not expect any meaningful character development. There is not much depth to them; they are one dimensional so far and I expect them to remain that way (EDIT: This has changed as of episode 5. We have somewhat better characterization of some characters now).
It is a similar case for the story. It is interesting and compelling, but like a lot of action anime, it is really just a vehicle for the action (nothing wrong with that). At least it seems that way so far, though I wouldn't be surprised if we got a better story than I expect.
Regarding the writing, there are some issues. Drifters has these 'comedy' scenes, like in Hellsing Ultimate, where the art style switches to a more comedic style and the characters try to be funny. These scenes are much more numerous than they were in Hellsing Ultimate (you can count on them being in every episode, and they are even in the opening), and they are very jarring in the anime.
For example, we have a scene in the first episode where the main characters are talking about the death of the son of one of the main characters, and we move on to a comedy scene right after that. It wouldn't be that bad if those scenes were actually funny, but they're not. They are either slapstick comedy, or humor that caters to people with a knowledge of Japanese history. And it isn't even the side characters taking part in those scenes, it is the badass main characters who were probably cutting down swathes of enemy soldiers moments before, so the scenes don't really fit the image you have of them from the action scenes.
Furthermore, Drifters takes the '"rule of cool" approach, with giving no explanation yet for why Drifters, who are essentially famous figures from history, usually warriors/soldiers or generals, have supernatural levels of strength/skill far exceeding that of any human in peak physical condition.
To conclude, if you want an entertaining action anime, watch Drifters. Just don't expect anything more for now. read more
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