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Drifters (ドリフターズ Dorifutazu?) is a science fiction, alternate history Japanese manga written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. After Hellsing it is his newest work. It started serialization in Shōnen Gahosha's magazine, Young King Ours on April 30, 2009[1], and is licensed by Dark Horse Comics[2].

Plot

Shimazu Toyohisa, whilst involved at the Battle of Sekigahara, manages to mortally wound Ii Naomasa, but is critically wounded in the process. As he walks from the field broken and bleeding, Toyohisa finds himself transported to a corridor of doors, where a bespectacled man at a desk waits for him. This man, Murasaki, sends Toyohisa into the nearest door where he wakes up in another world. There, Toyohisa meets other great warriors like him who have been transported as well, to be part of a group known as "Drifters". This world contains both native humans and a number of fantastical races, including elves, dwarves, and hobbits. However, the world is at war, with the humans waging a losing war against another group of great warriors, the "Offscourings", who wish to take over the world and kill all of the Drifters. Under the Offscourings' command are many terrible creatures, including dragons, which they use to destroy everything in their wake. At the start of the series, the Offscourings' army has control of the northern part of the continent, and are currently trying to invade the south through a pivotal fortress at the northernmost tip of a nation called Carneades. Meanwhile, the "Octobrist Organization", a group of human magicians native to this world, attempt to bring together the many individual Drifters to save their world from the brutal Offscourings.

Characters

Drifters

Shimazu Toyohisa (島津 豊久?) 
The protagonist. Historically he died in 1600. When he first arrived in the world, he was critically injured, only to be brought to the hideout of Nobunaga and Yoichi by some young "elves". Of the three Drifters in the group, Toyohisa is the most willing to help the elves, first by attacking the humans massacring them and then by convincing them to kill the leader of those humans. He uses a long sword and is seen carrying a short sword as well. He's also shown carrying a rifle, which he only uses when his swords are infeasible.
Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長?) 
A famous warlord who conquered most of Japan during Sengoku period. Historically he is known for being the daimyo who took the first step of unification of the Japan, and the first Japanese military commander to utilize arquebuses in battles. Perhaps because of this, as a Drifter he uses an arquebus in battle. He died twenty years before Toyohisa (1582). As a Drifter, he has only aged six months since arriving in the new world.
Nasu no Yoichi (那須与一?) 
A very effeminate man of nineteen. Although he died many years before Nobunaga and Toyohisa, Yoichi is the youngest in the group. His historical death date is unclear, yet some records indicate that he either died in August 8 in 1189 or in October of 1190. Historically he is known as a powerful warrior who served Minamoto no Yoshitsune during the Genpei War, and he also appears in the Tale of the Heike. However, Nobunaga notes that Yoichi is very different from historical accounts. Yoichi acts as the group's archer, killing fleeing enemies.
Hannibal 
A famous Carthiginian military commander, who died in either 183 or 181 BC. Now a Drifter and elderly, he is seen arguing with Scipio Africanus over the latter's "plagiarism" of Cannae at the Battle of Zama. After nearly being killed by the Black King's army, Hannibal insists that victory is still possible.
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus 
Hannibal's Roman adversary during the Second Punic War, who is believed to have died around 183 BC. As a Drifter, he is as old as Hannibal, who he is seen constantly arguing with, claiming that "a winner takes all" since he won at Zama. Nevertheless, Scipio respects Hannibal greatly, saying he is worth a million men, because though a million men would not budge Rome, Hannibal nearly tore it down.
The Wild Bunch 
Transported from the Wild West, the outlaws now fight against the Black King and his armies. They carry a large amount of firearms including machine guns and pistols.
Naoshi Kanno (菅野直) 
During a battle with the Black King, with the Drifters' side under attack by dragons, World War II fighter pilot Naoshi Kanno is transported into the world in his plane. He decides to attack the dragons when their attacks remind him of the US bombing of Tokyo.

Offscourings

The Black King

The apparent leader of the Offscourings. His actual identity is currently unknown, but his flag bears the Fleur-de-lis, hinting at European nobility. He uses his power to heal his injured nonhuman soldiers, and he claims to wish to save all nonhumans and destroy all humans in the new world.

Hijikata Toshizō (土方 歳三?)

The former vice-commander of the Shinsengumi who died fighting in the name of the Tokugawa Bakufu during the Boshin War. He now fights for the Black King, and appears to have the ability to use smoke in order to manifest ghostly images of his comrades/subordinates and uses them to cut apart his enemies.

Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)

The hero of the Hundred Years War between France and England. Joan is now an Offscouring in the service of the Black King. Apparently driven insane after being burned at the stake (her Christian crosses now upside down), Joan desires nothing more than to see the world burn. In this world she has manifested the ability to manipulate fire.

Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova (Template:Lang-rus)

The youngest daughter of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II. Anastasia and her family were shot by a Bolshevik firing squad when Anastasia was seventeen. Now she holds the supernatural ability to create blizzards.

Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源 義経?)

While he fights for the Offscourings, Minamoto is allowed by the Black King to fight when he wants to and against whom. Although he was Yoichi's leader in the past, it is unknown what their dynamic will be like in this world.

Grigori Rasputin (Template:Lang-rus)

A famous Russian mystic who once held a great influence over the Russian Imperial Court because of his ability to supposedly heal the Romanov's hemophiliac heir, Alexei. He now serves the Black King.

The Octobrist Organization

Olmine/Shem
A magician of the Octobrists. She was charged with watching Toyohisa's group of Drifters. She seems to be quite incompetent at reconnaissance, and is terrified of the Drifters she must follow. After she is discovered and kidnapped by Toyohisa's group, she tells them the story of the Drifters and Offscourings.

Others

Murasaki (紫) 
A Caucasian, bespectacled man who constantly wears a suit. He is apparently the one responsible for the appearance of the Drifters, using them as a means to right the wrong of the Offscourings' conquest of the magical world. He is often seen sitting in the middle of the door corridor, smoking, and reading a newspaper that gives news of the events relating to the Drifters. In the corridor he is associated with and accompanied by light.
Easy 
A woman with long-black hair. Apparently at odds with Murasaki, she is responsible for the Offscourings, an opposing force similar in origin to the Drifters. In the corridor she is associated with and accompanied by darkness.

Organizations

Drifters 
Many heroes and great warriors from different eras and cultures seem to have been brought to this new world by Murasaki, where they are meant to fight the Offscourings. A common element to the Drifters is that although they are driven by violence, victory, and conquest, they are not cruel; they love to fight and win, but do not care about hurting innocents.
Offscourings 
The opposing force in this world, the Offscourings are, like the Drifters, mainly composed of powerful historical figures who died under unorthodox and often violent circumstances. Unlike the Drifters, however, the Offscourings are humans that have forsaken their humanity, and are thus capable of using supernatural powers. Now, Offscourings are driven completely by an intense hate for everything. They seem to have been brought into the new world by Easy, who is at odds with Murasaki.
The Octobrist Organization 
A group of humans, known as magicians, native to the world whose duty is to observe and gather Drifters together to fight the Offscourings. Unlike many humans in this world, Octobrists do not subjugate the demihumans.

Chapters

Many of the chapters are references to song titles.

<tr style="border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF"><th style="width: 4%;">No.</th><th style="width: 48%;">Japanese release date</th><th style="width: 48%;">Japanese ISBN</th></tr> <tr style="text-align: center;"><td id="vol1">1</td></td><td> July 7, 2010[3]</td><td>ISBN 978-4-08-877725-2</td></tr><tr style="vertical-align: top; border-bottom: 3px solid #CCF;"><td colspan="3">

</td></tr> </table>

Chapters not yet in graphic novel format

References

  1. "Hellsing Creator Hirano's New Manga Will Be Drifters". Anime News Network. 2009-03-30. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  2. "Dark Horse Adds Bloodline Battlefront, Drifters, Shinjuku Azul". Anime News Network. 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  3. Script error

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