Drifters cover released in Japan
|Genre||Action, Science Fantasy|
|Written by||Kouta Hirano|
|Published by||Shōnen Gahosha|
|Magazine||Young King OURs|
|Original run||April 30, 2009 – present|
|Original video animation|
|Studio||Hoods Drifters Studio|
|Released||June 6, 2016|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Kenichi Suzuki|
|Studio||Hoods Drifters Studio|
|Network||Tokyo MX, GYT, KBS, MBC, GBS|
|Original run||October 7, 2016 – present|
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. 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 began airing on October 7, 2016.
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.
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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 and do not tolerate 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 (紫 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 their crimes on Earth. He is 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 Shimazu Toyohisa?)
- Voiced by: Yūichi Nakamura
- The main protagonist and leader of the Drifters. Historically, he died in 1600 during the Battle of Sekigahara. When he first arrived in the new world, he was critically injured, only to be brought to Nobunaga and Yochi's hideout by the young elves, Marsha and Mark. Although impulsive and reckless, Toyohisa possesses a fearless, determined, and chivalrous spirit, assisting the elves and dwarves by liberating them from the Orte Empire. Born and raised in a war-torn era, Toyohisa has a keen sense for battle and tactics, though he remains unaware of these talents himself. 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 Oda Nobunaga?)
- 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. Nobunaga is highly ambitious and cunning, desiring to establish a multiracial federation in the new world with Toyohisa as their leader. Nobunaga acts as the group's military strategist.
- Nasu no Yoichi (那須 与一 Nasu Yoichi?)
- Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga
- A very effeminate man of nineteen. His full name is Nasu Suketaka Yoichi (那須資隆与一?), though he is simply known as Nasu no Yoichi. Although he lived hundreds of years before Nobunaga and Toyohisa, Yoichi is the youngest in the group. Born as the youngest of eleven siblings, Yoichi is a powerful warrior and military commander who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune during the Genpei War. Yoichi's exploits were recorded throughout Japanese history, including in The Tale of the Heike, though 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 Hannibaru Baruka?)
- 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 Sukipio Afurikanusu?)
- 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. Originally traveling with Hannibal and the Wild Bunch gang, he was accidentally separated from them and is currently in the company of Naoshi Kanno and Tamon Yamaguchi.
- Butch Cassidy (ブッチ・キャシディ Butchi Kyashidi?)
- Voiced by: Daisuke Ono
- Leader of the Wild Bunch gang. He, along 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 Sandansu Kiddo?)
- Voiced by: Wataru Takagi
- A member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. He, along 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 Kan'no Naoshi?)
- 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 Yamaguchi Tamon?)
- Voiced by: Yutaka Nakano
- An admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Tamon arrived in the new world along with the Hiryū, and since formed an uneasy alliance with the leaders of a merchant guild, assisting them against the war with the Orte Empire by leading the guild's flying griffin naval forces.
- 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.
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 Easy?)
- 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 laptop to keep tabs on the battles taking place in the other world. In the corridor, she is associated with and accompanied by darkness.
- Black King (黒王 Kuroō?)
- 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 non-human races to find a common ground.
- Hijikata Toshizō (土方 歳三 Hijikata Toshizō?)
- 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 Jan'nu Daruku?)
- Voiced by: Junko Minagawa
- 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 Jirudore?)
- Voiced by: Kenji Nomura
- 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 durability. He continued to accompany Jeanne to battle as a spearman, remaining loyal to her until his death. He was defeated by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, whereafter he disintegrated into salt. An enraged Jeanne swears to avenge Gilles de Rais's death. 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 Anasutashia Nikoraevua Romanovua?) (Анастасия Николаевна Романова)
- Voiced by: Junko Kitanishi
- 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. Anastasia is depicted as an emotionless woman with little interest in the war between the Ends and Drifters. She apparently has some attachment to Jeanne.
- Grigori Rasputin (グリゴリー・ラスプーチン Gurigorī Rasupūchin?) (Григорий Ефимович Распутин)
- Voiced by: Masahiko Tanaka
- 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, and is often seen by Anastasia's side.
- Akechi Mitsuhide (明智 光秀 Akechi Mitsuhide?)
- A former general and samurai who served under Nobunaga before his betrayal in 1582, resulting in 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.
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 Adorufu Hitorā?)
- 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 San Jerumi Haku?)
- Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita
- 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 of the modern era (due to the fact that he is aware of the existence of firearms and gunpowder), as well as some knowledge of Japanese history.
- Mills (ミルズ Miruzu?)
- A former tax collector of the elvish colonies. He now works for the elves as a servant.
- Aram (アラム Aramu?)
- Voiced by: Isshin Chiba
- A cold-blooded knight of the Orte Empire. After being brutally defeated by Toyohisa, he is killed by the elves out of retribution for massacring their people.
The Octobrist Organization
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 Abe Haruaki?)
- Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai
- 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 Orumīnu?)
- Voiced by: Shiho Kokido
- A young magician of the Octobrists, nicknamed "Sem (セム Semu?)". 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 Kafeto?)
- Voiced by: Masakazu Nishida
- Kafeto, nicknamed "Ham (ハム Hamu?)", is an assistant to Abe no Seimei.
- Shara (シャラ Shara?)
- 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 Minamoto Yoshitsune?)
- 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 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. Yoshitsune 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.
- Doug (ダグ Dagu?)
- 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. It is licensed in North America by Dark Horse Comics, in France by Éditions Tonkam, in Germany by Panini Comics, in Italy by J-POP, in Taiwan by Tong Li Comics and in Poland by Japonica Polonica Fantastica.
|No.||Japan release date||Japan ISBN||North America release date||North America ISBN|
|1||July 7, 2010||ISBN 978-4-08-877725-2||August 24, 2011||ISBN 978-1595827692|
|2||October 13, 2011||ISBN 978-4785937140||July 25, 2012||ISBN 978-1595829337|
|3||March 18, 2013||ISBN 978-4785950439||March 12, 2014||ISBN 978-1616553395|
|4||October 27, 2014||ISBN 978-4785954369||—||—|
|5||June 6, 2016||ISBN 978-4785957902||—||—|
Chapters not yet in tankōbon format
- 60. "Stage of the Ground"
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.
In the May 2015 issue of Young King OURs, it was announced that a "Drifters" anime adaptation was in the works. A production site for the anime has been released. 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. Yasushi Ishii and Hayato Matsuo will both compose the music together. The opening theme, "Gospel Of The Throttle 狂奔REMIX ver.", is performed by Minutes til Midnight, while the ending theme, "Vermillion", is performed by Maon Kurosaki.
The 12-episode series began airing on October 7, 2016 on Tokyo MX. 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. A special limited-pressing Blu-ray box set 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 Go-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.
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. The series has been licensed by Funimation for streaming, home video and on-demand distribution. Additionally, Funimation announced they will be streaming Drifters in English beginning on November 6, 2016, at 10:00 p.m. ET. As part of Funimation's partnership with Crunchyroll, Crunchyroll has announced it will also be streaming Drifters as it airs in Japan.
|No.||Official English title[a]
Original Japanese title
|Original air date|
|1||"Fight Song"||October 7, 2016|
|During the Battle of Sekigahara against Ii Naomasa and his army, Shimazu Toyohisa manages to mortally injure Naomasa, but is critically wounded in the process. Naomasa's army is forced to retreat due to Toyohisa's perseverance and resilience. As he walks from the battlefield wounded and bleeding, Toyohisa finds himself transported to a corridor of doors, where a bespectacled man at a desk waits for him. As he is about to attack the bespectacled man, Toyohisa is sucked into one of the doors and dropped into a field, unconscious. Two elven children, speaking in a strange language, find Toyohisa and decide to bring him to a castle ruins, the hideout for two other Drifters. Toyohisa's wounds are stitched up and after waking up from a dream, he meets Oda Nobunaga, a daimyō who was killed eighteen years prior to Toyohisa's involvement in the Battle of Sekigahara, and Nasu Suketaka Yoichi, an effeminate archer who died almost four centuries ago. The trio discuss how they met the same bespectacled man who sent and brought them to the unknown world. Outside of their hideout, a female spy monitors the Drifters and is contacted by a man via a magical crystal ball to check on her status. The man in white decides to meet the Drifters and mobilize their men, known as the Octobrist Organization, to prepare for the upcoming war with the Ends, an opposing force advocating for the destruction of the world.|
|October 14, 2016|
|In a desert wasteland, Hannibal Barca and Scipio Africanus are in the middle of a heated argument while a member from the Octobrist Organization, Ham, observes them from afar. Ham is ordered by the man in white, Abe no Seimei, to bring the Drifters to him in preparations for the war against the Ends. Meanwhile, the elven village located near Toyohisa's group of Drifters is attacked and set on fire by soldiers from the Orte Empire for associating with the Drifters. Alerted by smell of battle, Toyohisa heads to the village to rescue the elves to repay his debt to the young elves, Marsha and Mark, for helping him earlier. Joined by Nobunaga and Yoichi, they easily defeat the elves' human oppressors. Enraged by the carnage and cruelty inflicted upon the elves by the Empire's soldiers, Toyohisa brutally beats Aram, the commander knight charged with massacring the elves, with the sheath of his sword before convincing the elves to kill Aram themselves. In the corridor of doors, the bespectacled man, Murasaki, is visited by his nemesis, EASY, who mocks his efforts to send Drifters to the unknown world to combat her Ends, who have began invading the southern regions of the world.|
|3||"Army of Ours—Sortie at Dawn"
"Ore-gun akatsuki no shutsugeki" (俺軍 暁の出撃)
|October 21, 2016|
|In the Kingdom of Carneades, Seimei and Ham try to convince the commanders of the defensive troops to let Scipio and Hannibal take charge of their army. However, the leaders refuse to give the two Drifters command over their troops, seeing them as nothing more than useless old men. Unable to reason with the Carneades soldiers, Seimei decides to withdraw the Octobrists and the Drifters from the country as the Ends and their army, consisting of dragons, goblins, and other non-human races, begin their attack. The leader of the Ends, the Black King, sends Hijikata Toshizō, Jeanne d'Arc, and Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova into the battlefield, and questions Minamoto no Yoshitsune if his allegiance is with the Drifters or the Ends. Yoshitsune vaguely states he will go the side that interests him the most. World War II fighter pilot Naoshi Kanno descends into the world via a corridor inside his aircraft. Though bewildered by the circumstances, Kanno engages the Black King's dragons, thus indicating himself as a Drifter. With the aid of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, Seimei, Scipio, and Hannibal escape from Carneades to join up with Toyohisa's group of Drifters. They successfully manage to escape while fending off the Black King's soldiers, prompting the Black King to order the Ends to find the Drifters and kill them. Meanwhile, the female spy monitoring Toyohisa's group is discovered by him and his companions. The spy, Olminu, informs the Drifters that they have been brought to the new world to fight against the Ends, though the trio quickly reject the idea, much to her shock.|
- All English titles are taken from Crunchyroll.
Drifters has been nominated twice for the annual Manga Taishō Awards, once in the year 2011 and again in the year 2012. 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."
In a survey by Anime!Anime!, Drifters won 5th place among top 10 manga properties to have an animated adaptation.
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