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Historical Showdown with Historical figures. Pure Awesome

Drifters is a manga written by Hirano Kouta (of Hellsing fame). It tells the story of the world's famous (or infamous) historical figures yanked from their own times (usually on the date they were meant to die) and brought to a fantasy-like dimension to wage war against one another, for reasons yet to be revealed.

The heroes of the story are called Drifters, mainly composed of Shimazu Toyohisa, Oda Nobunaga and Nasu no Yoichi, though others are introduced as the story continues. Their opponents are the Offscourings (or the Ends in the official North American translation), which oddly enough are composed of people who weren't evil in their lifetime (Jeanne d'Arc and Anastasia for example) but nevertheless are cutting a swathe across the fantasy land. And thus the stage is set for one of the oddest wars ever fought.

Recently[when?] picked up by Dark Horse Comics (who also published Hellsing) and available for purchase in North America.

Tropes used in Drifters include:

Nobunaga: "Hello, I am the Devil Lord of the 6th Heaven. I like arson and mass murder. I make toasts with the skulls of the men I kill. I love taking over the country. I love dancing Atsumori."

    • The North American translation has this.

Nobunaga: "You know me. The one they call the devil. My hobbies are burning everything down and killing everyone. Then sipping toasts from the skulls of the vanquished. Great fan of power through the sword. Loved to dance "Atsumori"."

  • Ax Crazy: Several, particularly Jeanne d'Arc
  • Bi the Way: Drifters makes mention of Oda Nobunaga's historical lover, Mori Ranmaru -- namely that Nobunaga's a bit frustrated that he isn't present.
  • Badass Grandpa: Hannibal (no, not that one or that one, the original Hannibal of Carthage)
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Several historical figures thought to have died at a certain time were taken to an alternate dimension by some weird individual who looks like an office worker of the beginning of the 21st century.
  • The Berserker: Toyohisa
  • Berserk Button: Do not let Toyohisa, who is a pretty insane Blood Knight with a penchant for cutting off people's heads to begin with, find you doing something dishonourable, such as raping prisoners. He will exterminate everyone involved without a second thought.

Toyohisa: Upon seeing the men of the castle raping the female elf prisoners No! No! No! I was wrong! The vermins of this castle aren't worth shit! We shall slash them into pieces! We shall hack them down until they become dust!! No soldier in this castle is to remain alive!

    • Don't try to diss the Shimazus as Nobunaga and Yoichi had demonstrated.

Nobunaga: "Oh yes! From way down in Kyushu? Down in the sticks?"
Toyohisa: "I'll kill you!"
Yoichi: " I've heard of the Shimazu clan. They were around even in my time."
(Toyohisa faces Yoichi)
Yoichi: "I remember they lived all the way in Kyushu. Nothing but a bunch of bumpkins. Ha! Ha!"

    • Jeanne seems to get angrier than usual when Toyohisa questions her gender.
      • You should know why she gets so upset if you know your history.
  • Big Ball of Violence: All three main Drifters love to fight. No matter how petty the excuse.
  • Blood Knight: Toyohisa
  • Brick Joke: When Shimazu called the elves brats and it is revealed in later chapters they are both older than him by at least 5 years.
  • Cool Old Guy: Oda
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Kanno Naoishi's entrance.
    • Although in the North American translation, he does not say this.
  • Crapsack World: The protagonists of this story include one of the most feared Samurai of all time, a bloodthirsty maniac with a penchant for collecting the heads of fallen foes, and an archer who gives both of them a run for their money in terms of bloodlust and body count. And they're the heroes!
  • Decapitated Army: Naomasa's men retreat after Toyohisa apparently kill their boss(apparently because history tells Naomasa survived a gunshot he received around the same time, though he eventually died because of it, years later). But by this point all of Toyohisa's men are dead and he is almost there, so victory is meaningless.
  • Dirty Old Man: Why did Oda Nobunaga just grab Olmine's breast while he was yelling at her? Shits and giggles?
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Yoichi, also counts as Dropped a Bridget On Him as Toyohisa and Nobunaga (and most likely the readers) don't realize it till Yoichi says so.
  • Elves Versus Dwarves: Apparently there is some prejudice on the part of the elves against the dwarves.
  • Emotionless Girl: Anastasia
  • Eyepatch of Power: Oda and Hannibal
    • Oda's eyepatch begins covering his right eye. Then in chapter 11, when they jump on Olmine, we see his eyepatch on his left eye. A few chapters afterwards the eyepatch returns to his right eye. Conclusion: Oda Nobunaga doesn't actually need an eyepatch, he just wears one for the badassery bonus.
  • Expy: The Count of Saint Germi looks and acts a lot like pre-takeover Kefka Palazzo.
    • Not to mention he's heading the same way, given he's way smarter than the Orte generals and realizes they're going to lose.
  • Face Heel Turn: All of the Offscourers are people who have turned their backs on the world and humanity. In the cases of Jeanne d'Arc and Anastasia Romanov, it's fairly clear that a Break the Cutie was involved. In fact, the common theme among the Offscourers seems to be that they were murdered. Combine this with the Black King's healing powers and his line about trying to save humanity, and it's possible that the Big Bad might be Jesus.
    • In chapter 20 it's shown he has a scar like from a nail on his palm
    • In the case of Jeanne, getting burned at the stake will do that to ya.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Orte Empire, not really surprising, seeing as it was apparently created by HITLER.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: So far we have elves, goblins, dragons and time traveling wizards fighting or allying with samurai, cowboys, WWII fighter pilots and admirals and punic war heroes.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Implied with Easy, as her door has her name spelled E.A.S.Y., with a partly obscured title, beginning with Eternal.
  • Gatling Good: The Wild Bunch has a big advantage against non-magical monsters due to their BFG.
  • Genre Savvy: Toyohisa, surprisingly realizes that the Drifters propping themselves up as rulers is likely to end really badly (particularly since the Orte Empire they are overthrowing is, like them, human and it's unlikely that the Elves are going to be happy exchanging one set of human rulers for another).
  • Grey and Gray Morality: While the Black King and his armies are genocidal monsters (literally), they're doing it because they believe humanity is the greatest source of evil in the world. The Drifters, on the other hand, want to save humanity, but want to do so by conquering it country by country.
  • The Gunslinger: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
  • Heroic BSOD: Hannibal gets a major one after losing contact with Scipio.
  • Historical Domain Character: Pretty every character in Drifters except for the magicians and the Big Bad.
    • Even the Big Bad Could be, His full appearance has yet to be-revealed only the Cloak
  • Hot-Blooded: Most of the Drifters
  • An Ice Person: Anastasia
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The chapters appear to be named after Japanese music, including Burn my Dread, Ready Steady Go, My Boyfriend Is a Pilot, Men Of Destiny.
  • Impaled With Extreme Prejudice: Toyohisa is impaled by Naomasa's men at the beginnig of the story.
  • Implacable Man: Gilles de Rais.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Yoichi
  • Kick the Dog: Aram, who has been given permission to cut the elves' population in half. Not that he gets very far.
  • La Résistance: The Drifters inspire one among the elves.
  • Large Ham
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: We've gotten, so far, one new major character per chapter on average.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not quite there yet, but Nobunaga seems intent on turning Olmine into this.
  • Mythology Gag: Surprisingly enough, with the real world. When Hitler appeared as a Drifter (or End), he started firing up humans in a local beer hall (sound familiar) and eventually led a march that led to the creation of the Orte Empire. In other words, the Orte Empire was created through a successful Beer Hall Putsch. And for some reason, in spite of succeeding, Hitler still commits suicide.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Gilles de Rais finds this out the hard way when Butch shoots him to pieces.
  • Never Found the Body: Jeanne.
  • Off with His Head: Toyohisa's favorite pastime is collecting heads in battle.
  • Older Than They Look: "I'm 106 years old."
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Black King.
  • Pet the Dog: Toyohisa tells an elf not to kill an unarmed soldier.
  • Playing with Fire: Jeanne d'Arc
  • Replacement Goldfish: Played with in Chapter 13, with Nobunaga hinting that he may see Toyohisa as a replacement for his lost son. He gets shot down pretty quickly by Toyohisa.
  • Rousing Speech: Devised by Oda, delivered by Toyohisa to the elves.
  • Samurai
  • Slasher Smile
  • Sociopathic Hero: I WANT YOUR HEAD!
    • Abe no Seimei, too. Maybe even crossing with Knight Templar when he thinks all Offscourings must die, no matter how tragic their pasts.
  • Sudden Name Change: Naoshi Kanno is Sugano Nao in the North American translation. No word from Dark Horse if this is a mistake from translation or if it's due to something else.
  • Super-Deformed: Whenever something funny/awkward happens.
  • Take Over the World: Currently Oda Nobunaga's plan to fight the Black King is to take over the countries that haven't already been conquered by him.
  • Taking You with Me: Toyohisa don't cares about being impaled by Naomasa's men as long he gets a shot on their leader, since his soldiers are dead and his chances of victory are pretty slim at this point. He succeeds in killing Naomasa, maybe(according to story Naomasa died a delayed death from a bullet, but likely didn't came from Toyohisa's gun).
  • Token Evil Teammate: Oda Nobunaga, of course.
  • Unable to Cry: After learning that his son Nobutada was killed fighting by Toyohisa, Nobunaga looks very sad into the sky and wished that his son should have just escaped.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Played with. The elves' town, the only place they've ever known, ends up destroyed, but it was part of their own tactics.
  • World of Badass: If you didn't guess this already, you're probably not familiar with Mr. Hirano's other work.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A bit of an understatement for Gilles De Rais, who in Real Life was a child serial killer.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl

Toyohisa: "There is no honor in slaying a woman!"