One of the main complaints I read about last week’s episode of Drifters was that nothing actually happened. Guy fought in a battle, went to a place, sat around a castle and that was the episode. Episode 2 is nothing like this at all.
Developing the world and the story
As is author Kouta Hirano’s writing style, this episode shows all the main characters are anti-heroes to some extent. Toyohisa beats soldiers begging for their lives, Nobunaga burns a farmers crops in order to bring them under his control, and Nasu shoots down fleeing soldiers.
The world also doesn’t seem to be sunshine and rainbows either. In the vein of Dragon Age, the world of mythical beasts is one of repression and racial prejudice. Humanity had repressed the demihuman species after a war which the demihumans lost. with the humans looking forward to the day they are the only race left.
We are also introduced to the Octobrist, the organisation tasked with dealing with Drifters. They’re led by a man who looks like young Walter from Hellsing.
Impressions from this episode of Drifters
I don’t think the Octobrist are that evil, despite the creepy lighting and so far secretive nature. From what they know, the Drifters show up, fight each other, conquer territory, speak a language they don’t understand and proceed to do many violent deeds. They’re acting like we would if that happened here, with caution.
They watch and observe, and if it seems like the fights about to get out of hand, they stop them. And as far as they know, if they don’t stop them, a group of warriors who wouldn’t look out of place serving Sauron will destroy the world.
And, as an added plus, we get to hear the opening theme for the series: [Gospel Of The Throttle Remix Ver.] by Minutes Til Midnight (I wasn’t able to find the remix, so this will have to do for now). The opening itself is stylish in its presentation. It cuts between still shots in the series art style, a lot of them graphic and full of detail. The other style is a crude artstyle with motion to it, and the basic shaders we were all taught to draw in art class.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the crude art style. Why? Because it has a World War II old fighter plane shooting down a dragon. It just looks so awesome to me.
Another plus to the crude style is that the generic enemies shown sing certain parts of the song! It’s the most basic part, where the singer goes ‘Nana’ but every time I rewatch the opening I always find it hilarious.
The racial themes of Drifters
From this episode of Drifters, I feel one of the major themes the series will play with is racial prejudice. The commander of the soldiers is blond haired, blue eyed and clad all in white. He speaks down to the ‘demihuman’ races, speaking with great enthusiasm for the day when they will become extinct. With these words, he orders his soldiers to kill 50% of the elves.
Using fantasy races as a symbol of racism in our modern world is a common trope. But given the time when it’s released, the scenes feels like it’s a direct response to the racial prejudice happening around the world right now.
Toyohisa isn’t having any of that. Instead of killing the commander, Toyohisa disarms him and beats him into submission using the sheath of his sword. While the beaten and bloodied commander crawls away, Toyohisa gives the elder of the elves his sword and orders him to kill the commander. The elder starts confused and scared of his order, he soon grasps the hilt, the other elves pick up the swords, spears and farming tools laying around and kill the commander.
Nobunaga points out that the elves can’t understand Toyohisa’s words, but they can understand what he is saying. The creators may be trying to tell us that fighting racism is not something that can end because of a language or cultural barrier.
We fight racism when we take whatever we can, whether that be a crafted blade or a crude garden hoe and fight against it.
I’m getting definite Hellsing vibes from this, as you would expect. The animation copies that of Hellsing Ultimate, but the music harkens back to the original 1998 Hellsing anime. Smooth, clean beats, but with a touch of urgency to them. The kind of music I enjoy in my spare time. Just like last week, I’m enjoying Drifters, especially with the new narrative development.