I ran across a manga called Drifters a few years ago, and was intrigued by what was going on. I didn’t even know that it was written, and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. Hirano previous created the Hellsing series, which lasted for ten volumes, and was adapted to an animated television series and ten original video animations called Hellsing Ultimate. Hellsing has probably been his most know manga, and brought some great action scenes and amazing artwork. I still have yet to read his other works, but I’ll get to that down the line.
It’s been awhile since I read Drifters, and it was a breath of fresh air to reread the series. Drifters ” follows Shimazu Toyohisa during the Battle of Sekigahara, where he kills General Ii Naomasa, but is critically injured during the fight. Before succumbing to his wounds, he is transported to another world, and becomes part of a team filled with different figures from history called Drifters. A few of the Drifters consist of Oda Nobunaga, Nasu no Yoichi, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Drifters team up with magicians called The Octobrist Organization to face the Ends, lead by the mysterious Black King, and his monstrous army of not just orcs, goblins, and dragons, but his own team of historical figures called Offscourings.
The character interactions are amazing, as the various Drifters meet each other, as well as the magical creatures of the world. Seeing how they adapt to their new environment, and handle the dark moments that happen in the story. I love the comedic moments that happen, especially between Hannibal Barca, and Scipio Africanus, as the two old men argue over who won The Battle of Cannae. Hirano adds that little bit of history to give some levity to the story, and it makes me want to learn the history of these characters. Some of the strategies from their previous lives, actually make it into the plot at key moments, and gives us a sense of how formidable these characters were. Political conflicts and ideologies do rise within the story, and makes the story that much more to enjoy.
The art is astounding and captures the visceral nature, Hirano is known for. Massive battles, sieges, and dragons being shot down by a Zero Fighter plane, is just a few things that happen during the manga. The action is glorious, and makes you appreciate the quality of it all. The art does get cartoony when the comedy portions enter the story, and make the characters chibi like, which blends rather well into what is going on in the story. It takes away some of the dark moments that happen, and adds a bit of fun to the plot. Hirano also brings in his signature warped looking eye, and the curved faces, when the characters appear menacing during a battle or talking. If you have read Hellsing, you know what I’m talking about.
Well, these are just some thoughts on why you should check out Drifters, and hope you check out the manga. There’s currently five volumes out right now, and Dark Horse has actually translated the manga. Also, don’t forget to catch the recently released Drifters anime that is out right now. It’s awesome seeing it being adapted to animation, but I would love to see more chapters come out for it.