Shimazu and his default facial expression

It is the year 1600, and the Battle of Sekigahara rages on. Shimazu Toyohisa, one of the fiercest warriors of the losing “Western Army,” makes a desperate last stand against the general of the “Eastern Army,” Ii Naomasa. Though severely wounded himself, Shimazu manages to injure Naomasa by using a gun.

As he staggers off the battlefield, Shimazu is transported to a white hallway full of doors. There, he meets a mysterious man who sends him through one of the doors into yet another strange land. He passes out from his wounds and is found by two pointy-eared creatures, who call him a “Drifter” and take him to a castle filled with others like him. Upon waking, he meets the historical warriors Oda Nobunaga and Nasu no Yoichi, who, like him, were transported to this country upon their deaths. They confirm that they also met the strange man, and Nobunaga interrogates Shimazu about the years following his death. Elsewhere, another group of mysterious individuals spies on the Drifters, seemingly upset that another has joined their ranks.

I do wish we’d gotten to see more of this guy. I like his design.

Drifters is based on a fairly long running manga, and the announcement of an anime came with some hype. It seems to be getting mostly positive reviews, which has me wishing I had liked it more than I did. Despite several positives – a solid concept, a dynamic art style, and some excellent music – I found it to be overall very dull. In fact, Drifters has the dubious honor of being the first show I’ve reviewed for this blog to literally make me fall asleep mid episode.

These screencaps cannot convey how awkward the “comedy” scenes were

Part of what made it so boring was that it was rather hard to follow. The episode was split into three parts, with each feeling like it came from a completely different anime. The first part dealt with the Battle of Sekigahara; I found it hard to get into as we were supposed to care about the conflict between two characters we had only just been introduced to. There was little to make Shimazu any more or less sympathetic than the ‘villainous’ Naomasa, except maybe that he yelled slightly less. (Seriously. While I get that battles are chaotic, did they have to have every single line be yelled)? Then there was the almost silent, bizarre scene in the door-filled hallway, followed finally by the meeting between the three Drifters. After the dark/serious tone of the battle and hallway, this scene was…weirdly comedic? Or at least, attempting to be comedic, with Nobunaga and Shimazu exchanging banter about each other’s identities, though I failed to find it funny as it was mostly just more yelling.

Sadly, I found Drifters to be quite a disappointment. It did not at all live up to the hype. Pretty much the only thing I liked about this episode was the intense music. So, out of 5 Dios: