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Goin’ Japanesque!

Anime “Drifters”: Battle Royal of Japanese Samurai and Heroes of the World

It’s a common situation seen in a story that figures from the past revive in modern times and provoke uproars without understanding the circumstances surrounding them.

“Drifters”, which I am introducing this time, adds another twist to such a setting. This anime sends heroes from the past not to modern times but to an alien fantasy world inhabited by dragons and orcs and depicts what happens there.



Toyohisa Shimazu is a samurai during the Sengoku period and was retreating in the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the legendary battle that divided Japan into two.

In order to protect his allies from enemy pursuers’ attacks, Toyohisa is fighting at the end of the line, but gets separated from his allies in a melee.

When he is wandering alone, he meets a strange man called “Murasaki”, and he ends up getting transferred to an alien world.

Like Toyohisa himself, many heroes and great men have been summoned to the alien world from around the globe regardless of time or nation.

And those heroes have started a war, dividing camps between “Drifters” who support humans and the trashes called “Ends” that support demi-humans who are trying to annihilate mankind.



A total of 12 episodes were aired in Japan between October and December, 2016.

The anime was produced from the manga story by mangaka Kota Hirano.

The 12 episodes of the anime correspond to the early part of the original manga and they depict appearance of the major characters.

The second season has not been released yet and its production is planned to start later.

The work shows extraordinary enthusiasm of the production group and for example words of the people in the alien world are spoken in their own language and its translation into Japanese appears in the subtitle and on the supplementary sound channel of TV.

Flashy action scenes depicted in the original story are also faithfully reproduced in the anime.

Even gruesome depiction of deaths in battle is also reproduced, which you may want to watch out for if you are sensitive to such material.

The story summons great men and warriors across the world to the alien world; however, due to the limitation in the number of episodes, characters tend to be selected more from Japanese history.

Yet the anime includes the mysterious Russian healer Rasputin and the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova who lived through the end of the Russian Empire, and Butch Cassidy, the leader of the Wild Bunch gang and his partner Sundance Kid, both famous in the American Old West.

From the Hundred Years’ War in medieval France, Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais are summoned.

Furthermore adding the genius tactician Hannibal Barca and Scipio Africanus from ancient Rome, a wide variety of people divide into friends and foes, and fierce battles unfold.

Several other historical figures appear in the anime, however due to the constraint on the number of episodes, their involvement stops at showing their faces and introducing themselves.

The story is not just serious; it mixes comical scenes resulting from miscommunication among the characters and their anachronism as they come from different ages and countries.

And the story develops not in our familiar modern world but in an alien world resembling European Middle Ages and it allows the viewers to imagine and experience vicariously situations of the characters that are thrown into an unknown world.

The anime work was reproduced faithfully to the original and those who have already read the manga won’t likely find problems watching it.

However, as the anime series ends after only 12 episodes without much progress in the storyline, those who don’t know the original story might get the impression that it is half-produced.

As the production of the second season is being planned for such those who were left unsatisfied, let’s look forward to its release!

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Berial the Demon

About the author

It has been over 40 years of reading manga in the deep world of manga. Japan’s manga has an endlessly wide variety of genres. I will be recommending special manga for you to read from such infinite amount of works.

View all articles by Berial the Demon