Drifters Episode 3 was a natural step forward for the series. Our main characters have been introduced, the setting has been at least partially established and the plot has motivation to move forward with Toyohisa leading a new group of followers in the form of Elves that have been wronged. So what do we need? A villain of course! (Well one for the protagonists. We met Easy in episode two but she’s fighting with Murasaki.)
The Black King and his “Ends” made a hell of a debut this week. While we don’t know much about the Black King, there are some small details to be found and others we can try to deduce. We know he speaks the language of the Drifters and the Ends, as well as being extremely likely in speaking the language of the world they now reside in. Difficult for a king to not speak the language of his subjects and unite them after all. I assume that he is an End himself, as Easy is the one sending the Ends to their world. I would expect the King to have been mentioned by either Easy or Murasaki if he was interacting with them himself.
All of the Drifters and Ends are famous people from our world, with the Ends being people that left our world in particularly horrible ways. So who could the Black King be? I can’t say. However, I’d argue we have at least some evidence to show that he too endured suffering in our world. That evidence being the scars we see covering his arms for a brief moment. That makes me believe his was either cut with a blade many times or was subject to lashes. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
The other Ends took a more center stage role this week with each showing abilities related either to their deaths or some aspect we can relate to them from their history. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and has become a human flamethrower with pyromania at almost a cliche level. Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, Grand Duchess of Russia and daughter of the country’s last Tsar, has the ability to freeze everything around her and Russia isn’t known as the warmest place in the world. Hijikata Toshizo was the Vice Commander of the Shinsengumi, a group of Samurai who resisted the Japanese Imperial Family’s return to power, and was known to be a gifted swordsman. I’m interested to see more of these supernatural abilities be revealed as we meet more Ends.
Drifters Episode 3 didn’t focus on Toyohisa’s group much, instead shifted the segments revolving around Drifters on a new group. We met Hannibal Barca and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, two renown generals who faced each other in the Second Punic War on the sides of Carthage and Rome respectively.
Next, we met Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Harry Longabaugh), American criminals known for being part of the Wild Bunch with Butch as the groups leader. If you don’t know them, Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch pulled off more successful train robberies than any other gang in history. Both men were said to have died in a shoot out after being driven from the United States. While unfortunate in world, it blessed them with the luxury of each other’s company in Drifters.
Finally, we actually saw what it looks like when a Drifter is sent to the new world with Naoshi Kanno’s entry into the world. Naoshi Kanno was known as a Japanese Ace fighter pilot in World War II that died in the final months of the war in the Pacific. Naoshi and the Wild Bunch are interesting in that they brought such large parts of our world with them when compared to Drifters like Toyohisa who only brought his swords. This makes me wonder if the Drifters are able to bring equipment from our world as their gift versus the Ends being given supernatural abilities. But again, we’ll have to wait and see with that theory.
On a less character specific note, the action in this episode was fantastic! Seeing the Black King beginning his war against man by destroying the wall to the kingdoms of man was epic. A unified army of different subhumans and monsters proved to be more than enough to topple Carneades with a gifted tactician leading them. The deploying of the Ends to the field wasn’t necessary but likely saved the King many of his subjects in the end.
While I really enjoyed the large scale battles, I was even more captivated by those we saw on the smaller scale. The Ends abilities were all fun to see and while I won’t say they were the best effects I’ve ever seen, I will argue that they fit the animation style quite well. The scenes that truly stood out to me were those involving Naoshi’s air combat and the escape led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Gatling gun in the cart was totally badass and Naoshi wasting some dragons was right on that level. I learned from Gate that seeing modern weaponry turned on people using Medieval weapons is fun to watch and that certainly held true here.
Drifters Episode 3 was an organic next step for the series. When you’ve got someone to cheer for, the natural next step is to introduce the antagonist they have to overcome. Drifters did this in a big way and did it well. My only concern is that the villain’s concern seem so basic at the time, though that might be an unfair criticism when it’s the first episode they’ve taken a major role in. Drifters has maintained it’s appeal in this early part of the season and I’m interested to see where the series goes from here.Tweet