A new season, a new batch of anime to consume. I can’t necessarily speak for everyone, but Drifters has been far and away my most anticipated show this season. I first heard that they were doing a Drifters anime at AnimeExpo this year and was so very hyped. I’ve read the volumes that have come out in the US (three as of this posting), I found the subject matter to be very interesting, and I really enjoyed the Hellsing manga and later adaptations of it. So, with that said, let’s get to the Drifters Episode 1 Review!
First of all, as I previously mentioned, I have read the manga for a fairly good portion of the series. So that was lurking in my mind as I went into the series. One of the first things that I was struck with about the show is just how well it keeps the very unique and stylized designs of the manga. Kohta Hirano has a very distinct way of drawing faces, eyes, bodies, etc. The series does an excellent job of not only keeping that consistent in some of the still shots, but also making them work while in motion. It really does feel like some of these sequences have jumped right out of the manga and into motion and color, including the super-deformed segments. This series feels a lot closer to the original art and design of the creator than the original Hellsing anime did. Given, that was a long time ago, but it’s still excellent to see that come to life.
On a related note, the animation itself is very fluid and dynamic. The shaky-cam-ish intro stood out as a bit hard to follow, but that was a very brief section of Toyohisa running with some soldiers and once things picked up in earnest, it was never really hard to figure out what was going on. The color palate the show has chosen, where pretty much everything is somewhat washed out, works very well. The colors help to enhance the original art and character designs. Too dark and it’d have become impossible to see anything. Too vibrant and sharp and it ruins the mood. I really feel like it hit the nail on the head for the proper balance. The comedy segments and the change in art style worked quite well as a break in the otherwise very serious mood of the story.
Story and character-wise, I already knew what was coming, so I can’t say that anything terribly surprised me. I think the pacing did a good job of establishing just who Toyohisa is, how he acts, and gives enough to be curious about him and want to see what will happen to him in this strange new world. We haven’t had a chance to see much of Nobunaga or Yoichi yet, but they turned up pretty close to the end, so there’ll be time for them. The voice actors were good across the board. I’m not really a good judge of Japanese voice actors, but nothing stood out as particularly bad or took me out of the series. I will say I did particularly like the performance around Nobunaga asking after his son’s fate. I think that did an excellent job of starting to establish a part of the character that might not be seen quite so often.
All in all, Drifters Episode 1 lived up to my expectations and I can’t wait for next week to come to watch more!