Drifters (manga)

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For other uses, see Drifters (disambiguation).
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Drifters cover released in Japan
Genre Action, Science Fantasy
Written by Kouta Hirano
Published by Shōnen Gahosha
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Young King OURs
Original run April 30, 2009 – present
Volumes 5 (List of volumes)
Original video animation
Studio Hoods Drifters Studio
Released June 6, 2016
Runtime 36 minutes
Anime television series
Directed by Kenichi Suzuki
Written by
Music by
Studio Hoods Drifters Studio
Licensed by
Network Tokyo MX, GYT, KBS Kyoto, MBC, GBS
Original run October 7, 2016scheduled
Episodes 12

Drifters (ドリフターズ Dorifutazu?) is a fantasy, alternate history Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. The manga started serialization in Shōnen Gahosha's magazine, Young King Ours on April 30, 2009.[1] It centers on various historical figures summoned to an unknown world where their skills and techniques are needed by magicians in order to save their world from total destruction. A television anime adaptation will begin airing on October 7, 2016.[2][3]


Shimazu Toyohisa, while 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 wounded 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 world contains both native humans and a number of fantastical races, including elves, dwarves, and hobbits. However, the world is at war, with the humans waging a losing war against another group of great warriors, the "Ends", who wish to take over the world and kill all of the Drifters. Under the Ends' command are many terrible creatures, including giants and dragons, which they use to destroy everything in their wake. At the start of the series, the Ends' army has control of the northern part of the continent, and are currently trying to invade the south through a pivotal fortress at the northernmost tip of a nation called Carneades. Meanwhile, the "Octobrist Organization", a group of human magicians native to this world, attempt to bring together the many individual Drifters to save their world from the brutal Ends.



Some of the Drifters. From left to right, back: Naoshi Kanno, Tamon Yamaguchi, Oda Nobunaga; front: Shimazu Toyohisa, Nasu no Yoichi.

The titular Drifters are heroes, leaders, and great warriors from different eras and cultures that have been brought to an unknown world by Murasaki, where they are meant to fight the Ends. A common element to the Drifters is that although they are driven by violence, victory, and conquest, most of them are not cruel; they love to fight and win, but do not care for the hurting of innocents. Unlike the Ends, the Drifters have no magic abilities unless they were born with them, and therefore must largely rely on their technology and tenacity to survive.

Murasaki (?)
Voiced by: Mitsuru Miyamoto
A bespectacled man who is apparently the one responsible for the appearance of the Drifters, using them as a means to right the wrong of the Ends' conquest of the unknown world and allowing the Drifters to find some form of redemption for the crimes on Earth. He is often seen sitting in the middle of the door corridor, smoking, and reading a newspaper that gives news of the events relating to the Drifters. In the corridor, he is associated with and accompanied by light.
Shimazu Toyohisa (島津 豊久?)
Voiced by: Yūichi Nakamura
The main protagonist. Historically, he died in 1600. When he first arrived in the world, he was critically injured, only to be brought to Nobugana and Yochi's hideout by the young elves, Marsha and Mark. Of the three original Drifters in the group, Toyohisa is the most willing to help the elves, first by attacking the humans massacring them and then by convincing them to kill the leader of those humans. He uses a long sword and is seen carrying a short sword as well. He's also shown carrying a what appears to be a sawed off Tanegashima, which he only uses when his swords are infeasible.
Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長?)
Voiced by: Naoya Uchida
A famous warlord who conquered most of Japan during Sengoku period. He is known for being the daimyo who took the first step of unification of the Japan, and the first Japanese military commander to utilize arquebuses in battles, using one as his main weapon in battle as a Drifter. Historically, he died twenty years before Toyohisa (1582). As a Drifter, he has only aged six months since arriving in the new world.
Nasu no Yoichi (那須 与一?)
Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga
A very effeminate man of nineteen. Although he lived hundreds of years before Nobunaga and Toyohisa, Yoichi is the youngest in the group. His historical death date is unclear, yet some records indicate that he either died on 1189, 1190, or 1232, at up to 64 years old. He is known as a powerful warrior who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune during the Genpei War, and he also appears in The Tale of the Heike. However, Nobunaga notes that Yoichi is very different from historical accounts. Yoichi acts as the group's archer, killing fleeing enemies.
Hannibal Barca (ハンニバル・バルカ?)
Voiced by: Yutaka Aoyama
A famous Carthiginian military commander. Now a Drifter and elderly, he is first seen arguing with Scipio Africanus over the latter's "plagiarism" of Cannae at the Battle of Zama. Despite nearly being killed by the Black King's army, Hannibal still insists that victory is still possible. After being separated from Scipio, Hannibal becomes depressed and senile, but is still able to articulate battle tactics to his fellow Drifters via indirect means.
Scipio Africanus (スキピオ・アフリカヌス?)
Voiced by: Hiroshi Yanaka
Hannibal's Roman adversary during the Second Punic War. As a Drifter, he is as old as Hannibal, who he is seen constantly arguing with, claiming that "a winner takes all" since he won at Zama. Nevertheless, Scipio respects Hannibal greatly, saying he is worth a million men, because though a million men would not budge Rome, Hannibal nearly tore it down.
Butch Cassidy (ブッチ・キャシディ?)
Voiced by: Ono Daisuke
Leader of the Wild Bunch gang. He, along with with Sundance Kid, was transported from Bolivia, and is now fighting against the Black King and his armies. Cassidy favors the use of firearms, particularly a pair of pistols, in battle.
Sundance Kid (サンダンス・キッド?)
Voiced by: Wataru Takagi
A member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. He, along with with Butch, was transported from Bolivia, and is now fighting against the Black King and his armies. Like his leader, Kid favors the use of firearms in battle, such as shotguns and a Gatling gun.
Naoshi Kanno (菅野 直?)
Voiced by: Tatsuhisa Suzuki
During a battle with the Black King, with the Drifters' side under attack by dragons, World War II fighter pilot Naoshi Kanno is transported into the world in his plane. He decides to attack the dragons when their attacks remind him of the US bombing of Tokyo. His plane later crashed and he soon found himself worshiped as a god by natives, only to be found by Scipio, who decides to use his status to unite the various anthropomorphic animal tribes under him to bolster the Drifters' army. He does not initially trust Butch or Sundance Kid, as they are American, but Butch manages to convince him that they are Bolivian instead. He is addressed as Sugano Nao in the Dark Horse translation, an alternate reading of his name.
Tamon Yamaguchi (山口 多聞?)
An admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. He is first mentioned in Chapter 19 directing the destruction of Orte Empire ships via flying griffin forces from the naval fleet he now leads.
Sacred Band of Thebes
A Greek troop made up entirely of pairs of male lovers. They initially worked for the Orte Empire under Count Saint-Germi, but are handed over to Nobunaga after they arrive in Orte. They are armed with Nobunaga's dwarven muskets and decimate the Black King's troops, cutting a path for Toyohisa and the dwarves to reach Hijikata.


Members of the Ends. From left to right: Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais, Hijikata Toshizo, the Black King, Grigori Rasputin (partially unseen, second from left), Anastasia Romanova (partially unseen, first from left).

The opposing force in this world, the Ends are, like the Drifters, mainly composed of powerful historical figures who died under unorthodox and often violent circumstances. Unlike the Drifters, however, the Ends are revered humans that have forsaken their humanity, and are thus capable of using supernatural powers. Most of the Ends are driven completely by an intense hate for humanity for the various betrayals each suffered back on Earth. They seem to have been brought into the new world by EASY, who is at odds with Murasaki.

EASY (イーズィー?)
Voiced by: Kanae Itō
A young woman with long, black hair, and violet eyes. Apparently at odds with Murasaki, she is responsible for the Ends, an opposing force similar in origin to the Drifters. She primarily uses her computer to keep tabs on the battles taking place in the other world. In the corridor, she is associated with and accompanied by darkness.
Th Black King (黒王?)
Voiced by: Taiten Kusunoki
The leader of the Ends. He claims that he once tried to "save" humans, but he has since shifted his agenda towards non-humans after humans "denied" his efforts. His identity has yet to be established, but he is shown to possess healing powers and the ability to multiply any life form he wishes, infinitely producing food or wood. He also has puncture scars in both of his palms. His ultimate goal is to eradicate all humans and create a new civilization of non-humans in a perpetual Dark Age, ensuring that they never advance far enough to become as destructive as humans, creating what the Black King believes will be a utopia. In order to achieve this, the Black King has instructed Rasputin to create a simple alphabet and a syncretic religion to allow the different races of the non-humans to find a common ground.
Hijikata Toshizō (土方 歳三?)
Voiced by: Hiroki Yasumoto
The former vice-commander of the Shinsengumi who died fighting in the name of the Tokugawa Bakufu during the Boshin War. Hijikata has the ability to use smoke to manifest ghostly images of members of the Shinsengumi and uses them to cut apart his enemies. He has become Toyohisa's rival following a battle between the two that ended in a draw.
Jeanne d'Arc (ジャンヌ・ダルク?)
Voiced by: Junko Minagawa[4]
The heroine of the Hundred Years' War between France and England. Jeanne, who was driven insane after being burned at the stake, now desires nothing more than to see the world burn. As an End - with her Christian crosses now upside down - she has manifested the ability to manipulate fire. Surprisingly, she seems to be self-conscious of her (lacking) femininity, though this could be another result of her insanity. In Chapter 24, Jeanne is defeated by Toyohisa in battle; however, she is able to flee the scene alive due to Toyohisa's personal vow to never kill a woman, leading Jeanne to vow revenge.
Gilles de Rais (ジルドレ?)
Voiced by: Kenji Nomura[4]
A French nobleman who was once one of Jeanne's companions-in-arms, but was later executed for multiple cases of alleged murder, sodomy, and heresy. He possessed incredible strength and continued to accompany Jeanne to battle as a spearman. He was defeated by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, whereafter he disintegrated into salt. He is the first Ends to be killed in the series.
Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova (アナスタシア・ニコラエヴァ・ロマノヴァ?) (Анастасия Николаевна Романова)
Voiced by: Junko Kitanishi[4]
The youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. Anastasia and her family were shot by a Bolshevik firing squad when Anastasia was seventeen. She has the supernatural ability to create blizzards. She apparently has some attachment to Jeanne.
Grigori Rasputin (グリゴリー・ラスプーチン?) (Григорий Ефимович Распутин)
Voiced by: Masahiko Tanaka[4]
A famous Russian mystic who once held a great influence over the Russian Imperial Court because of his ability to supposedly heal the Romanov's hemophiliac heir, Alexei. He now serves the Black King as a spymaster for his army.
Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀?)
A former general and samurai who served under Nobunaga before his betrayal in 1582, resulting in the the latter's (historical) death during the Honnō-ji incident. He is eager to kill Nobunaga during the war between the Drifters and the Ends.

Orte Empire[edit]

The Orte Empire is a country that was established by Hitler. It expanded through the conquest of neighboring territories and continued to adhere to Hitler's principles, which involves the persecution of demihumans races. Recently, the Empire was sold to Toyohisa and the Drifters by Count Saint-Germi, as Hitler had bankrupted the empire before his death. Its capital is Berlina.

Adolf Hitler (アドルフ・ヒトラー?)
The infamous Führer and Chancellor of Nazi Germany. Revealed to be a Drifter by Count Saint-Germi, Hitler ended up in the current world fifty years before the current storyline and inspired the local humans through speeches at a tavern to rise up and form the Orte Empire, creating brutal discrimination laws against all non-human species living there at the time. He mysteriously committed suicide soon after; however, his followers continued to revere him as the "Father" of their country long after his death.
Count Saint-Germi (サンジェルミ伯?)
A nobleman and Drifter who owns a quarter of the Orte Empire and was Hitler's closest ally in its formation. It is said that the Empire could not have existed without his "betrayal", and as such, he is free to live as he pleases without criticism from any of his peers. Despite this position, however, he is not loyal to the Empire and later betrays the Empire when he realizes its impending demise. He forms an alliance with the Drifters and their allies to take over the Empire. In spite of the fact he is well over fifty years old, Saint-Germi appears as a youthful drag queen with an effeminate personality. He has knowledge the modern era (due to the fact that he is aware of the existence of firearms and gunpowder), as well as some knowledge with Japanese history.
A former tax collector of the elvish colonies. He now works for the elves as a servant.
A knight of the Orte Empire who was killed by the elves.
An aide to Count Saint-Germi.
An aide to Count Saint-Germi.

The Octobrist Organization[edit]

Members of the Octobrists: Olminu (second from left), Abe no Seimei and Ham.

A group of humans, known as magicians, native to the world whose duty is to observe and gather Drifters together to fight the Ends. Unlike many humans in this world, Octobrists do not subjugate the demihumans. It is led by Abe no Seimei who is a Drifter against the Ends. Known as Oct in the Dark Horse translation.

Abe no Seimei (安倍 晴明?)
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai[4]
Abe no Seimei is a legendary Japanese magician who devoted his life to the extermination of the Ends soon after he first appeared in the new world as a Drifter. He now serves as one of the heads of the Octobrist Organization, an anti-Ends society.
Olminu (オルミーヌ?)
Voiced by: Shiho Kokido[4]
A young magician of the Octobrists, nicknamed "Sem (セム?)". She is charged with watching Toyohisa's group of Drifters. She seems to be quite incompetent at reconnaissance, and is terrified of the Drifters she must follow. After she is discovered and kidnapped by Toyohisa's group, she tells them the story of the Drifters and Ends. She is often used as comic relief, shown in a generally incompetent, powerless, and cowardly way, and is a frequent target of sexual harassment by Nobunaga (who calls her names such as "Olminipples"), but can be helpful due to her skills in sorcery. Olminu can also serve as an spectator to the story, with the narrative enlightening plot elements through her perception.
Kafeto (カフェト?)
Voiced by: Masakazu Nishida
Kafeto, nicknamed "Ham (ハム?)", is an assistant to Abe no Seimei.


Marsha (マーシャ?)
Voiced by: Sayori Ishizuka
One of Shara's brothers that discovers Toyohisa.
Mark (マルク?)
Voiced by: Tomoko Tsuzuki
One of Shara's brothers that discovers Toyohisa.
Shara (シャラ?)
Voiced by: Junji Majima
The older brother of Marsha and Mark, and the son of the village chief. He helps lead the elvish rebellion against the Orte Empire after his father is killed.


Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源 義経?)
Voiced by: Akira Ishida
A general of the Minamoto clan and Nasu no Yoichi's former commander. During the Genpei War, Yoshitsune resorted to dishonorable tactics to achieve victory, something Yoichi despises about him. Likewise, Yoshitsune mocks Yoichi for trying to to follow the code of Bushido once they are transported to the new world to fight. His status as a Drifter or End is unknown, and he often remarks that he will go the side that provides him with the most amusement. It appears he is currently aligned with the Black King's army.
Bronze Dragon
One of the six Great Dragons that govern the winged dragons. Although she objects to the employment of her subjects as the personal "pets" of the Black King, she is soon tortured with his powers and made into a living copper mine.
A spy for the Oct who was later killed by Minamoto no Yoshitsune.



Drifters is serialized in the Shōnen Gahosha Young King Ours magazine and sold under the same publisher in Japan.[5] It is licensed in North America by Dark Horse Comics,[6] in France by Éditions Tonkam,[7] in Germany by Panini Comics,[8] in Italy by J-POP,[9] and in Taiwan by Tong Li Comics.[10]

No. Japan release date Japan ISBN North America release date North America ISBN
1 July 7, 2010[11] ISBN 978-4-08-877725-2 August 24, 2011[12] ISBN 978-1595827692
2 October 13, 2011[13] ISBN 978-4785937140 July 25, 2012[14] ISBN 978-1595829337
3 March 18, 2013[15] ISBN 978-4785950439 March 12, 2014[16] ISBN 978-1616553395
4 October 27, 2014[17] ISBN 978-4785954369
5 June 6, 2016[18] ISBN 978-4785957902
  • 48. "Become the Me that is Anything but Human"
  • 49. "Rewrite"
  • 50. "Bring On A War"
  • 51. "Fake Hooligan"
  • 52. "The Most Awesome Guy In Class"
  • 53. "Hybrid New Mode Theory"
  • 54. "Outlandish Night"
  • 55. "Becoming Insane"
  • 56. "Hunting Hunting"
  • 57. "Work of The War God"
  • 58. "Nowhere to Hide"
  • 59. "Draw a Line"

Chapters not yet in tankōbon format[edit]


A 150-second anime adaptation of Drifters was packaged with the final volume of the Hellsing Ultimate video series in December 2012. The short, produced under the supervision of Ryoji Nakamori, technical director Kazuya Miura, and animation director Masayori Komine, featured the voices of Yūichi Nakamura as Shimazu Toyohisa and Mitsuru Miyamoto as Murasaki, with music composed by Yasushi Ishii.[19]

In the May 2015 issue of Young King OURs it was announced that a "Drifters" anime adaptation is currently in the works.[20] A production site for the anime has been released.[21] It was announced on September 19, 2015 that the anime will be directed by Kenichi Suzuki, produced by NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan, animated by Hoods Drifters Studio, written by Hideyuki Kurata and Yōsuke Kuroda, and will feature character designs by Ryoji Nakamori.[22] Yasushi Ishii and Hayato Matsuo will both compose the music together.[23] Maon Kurosaki will be singing the ending theme, titled "Vermillion", for the series.[24][25]

The 12-episode[26] series will begin airing on October 7, 2016 on Tokyo MX.[27][3] A specially edited version of the first and second episodes with a runtime of 36 minutes was bundled with the manga's fifth volume, and released on June 6, 2016.[28] A special limited-pressing Blu-ray box set is will be released on December 24, 2016. The box set will include all twelve episodes (with added unaired footage), an exclusive box illustrated by Hirano, a 200-page animation sketch collection by chief animation director Ryoji Nakamori, a 52-page booklet, a bonus extras disc, and a two-CD original soundtrack. The bonus extras disc will contain an omake titled "Kokuō-sama O-Ranshin (黒王様御乱心?)", promotional videos, and other materials. Customers who pre-order the box set from participating retailers before November 6, 2016 will receive an exclusive illustration card set. Additionally, the box set will include a form for advance ticket sales for an event that will be held on April 2, 2017, at Maihama Amphitheater in Chiba.[24]

In Japan, the anime will exclusively stream on the AbemaTV service simultaneously as the anime airs on Japanese television, starting on October 7 at 11:00 p.m.[24] The series has been licensed by Funimation for streaming, home video and on-demand distribution.[29]


Drifters has been nominated twice for the annual Manga Taishō Awards, once in the year 2011 and again in the year 2012.[30] The manga was also received well by BAMFAS, saying that the "action paces itself throughout the volume, making sure to include only enough to keep readers moving quickly through the event until the next transition hits."[31]

In a survey by Anime!Anime!, Drifters won 5th place among top 10 manga properties to have an animated adaptation.[32]


  1. ^ "Hellsing Creator Hirano's New Manga Will Be Drifters". Anime News Network. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  2. ^ "Drifters Manga by Hellsing's Hirano Has Anime in the Works". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  3. ^ a b "Kouta Hirano's Drifters TV Anime Premieres October 7". Anime News Network. 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Drifters' New Anime Casts Junko Minagawa, Kenji Nomura, Junko Kitanishi, Masahiko Tanaka". Anime News Network. 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 
  5. ^ アワーズ連載 (in Japanese). Shonen Gahosa. Retrieved 2011-03-25. 
  6. ^ "Dark Horse Adds Bloodline Battlefront, Drifters, Shinjuku Azul". Anime News Network. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  7. ^ "Drifters" (in French). Éditions Tonkam. Archived from the original on November 19, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  8. ^ "DRIFTERS 1 bei PaniniComics.de" (in German). Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Drifters n.1" (in Italian). Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  10. ^ 《漂流武士》平野耕太|書目資料清單|東立出版社 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  11. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ドリフターズ 1巻 (ヤングキングコミックス): 平野 耕太: 本" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Drifters Vol. 1 TPB at TFAW.com". Things From Another World, Inc. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ドリフターズ 2巻 (ヤングキングコミックス): 平野 耕太: 本" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Drifters Vol. 2 TPB at TFAW.com". Things From Another World, Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ドリフターズ 3 (ヤングキングコミックス): 平野 耕太: 本" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Drifters Vol. 3 TPB at TFAW.com". Things From Another World, Inc. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ドリフターズ 第4巻 (ヤングキング・コミックス): 平野耕太: 本". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Amazon.co.jp:ドリフターズ 5巻 (コミック(YKコミッス))" (in Japanese). Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved April 8, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Drifters Anime Short Included in Last Hellsing Ultimate Volume". Anime News Network. 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  20. ^ "Drifters Manga by Hellsing's Hirano Has Anime in the Works". Anime News Network. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  21. ^ アニメ「ドリフターズ」公式サイト (in Japanese). NBC Universe Japan. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-03-27. 
  22. ^ "Drifters Anime's 1st Promo Video Previews Animation, Staff". Anime News Network. 2015-09-19. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  23. ^ "Drifters (TV)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  24. ^ a b c "Drifters TV Anime Reveals Maon Kurosaki's Ending Song, Bonus Short Anime". Anime News Network. 2016-09-11. Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  25. ^ "Drifters TV Anime's Ad Previews Maon Kurosaki's Ending Theme Song". Anime News Network. 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  26. ^ "Funimation: Drifters Anime to Have 12 Episodes". Anime News Network. 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-08-13. 
  27. ^ "Drifters Anime is TV Series Premiering This Year". Anime News Network. 2016-03-26. Retrieved 2016-03-26. 
  28. ^ "Drifters OVA Previewed in Video". Anime News Network. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-04-08. 
  29. ^ "Funimation Licenses Drifters, Show By Rock!! Short!! Anime". Anime News Network. 2016-07-03. Retrieved 2016-07-03. 
  30. ^ "15 titles nominated for 5th Manga Taisho Awards". Anime News Network. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  31. ^ Vee (2011-12-14). "Review – Drifters Volume 1". BAMFAS. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  32. ^ http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/02/20/the-top-10-manga-japanese-people-want-to-see-turned-into-anime/

External links[edit]