Previously on Drifters
We’re all told to eat our vegetables as kids, and we begrudgingly do so even though we’d rather be stuffing our greedy faces with candy. While last episode wasn’t cauliflower, it wasn’t exactly gummy worms either. The premiere didn’t wow me, but I saw enough to know there was promise with Drifters. What I didn’t expect was that it would start paying off the next episode. Drifters rebounds when Toyohisa pays the elf bros back for saving him, setting a war in motion.
The Devils You Know
The Octobrist Organization, led by the young Grand Master, have said the Drifters will be the end of everything, but it sounds like the South Park’s Underpants Gnomes scheme until they begin to dig a little deeper. Each of these Drifters are warriors whose sole purpose is to conquer territories. As the “protectors” of these lands, they are in direct opposition, but they aren’t angels either. Following the elf brothers saving Toyohisa, they raid the town as punishment. It doesn’t matter that the elves need to go in the forest to hunt and get firewood, they aren’t allowed in the forest either, so half of them have to die. Octobrist has no love for elves, dwarves, hobbits (is that legal?), and other demihumans. Their ancestors won the war, and it’s just a slow boogie to extinguishing the others.
The Devils You Don’t Know
Our heroes can only be loosely called that. Toyohisa leaps into action after realizing it was his saviors’ village on fire, while Yoichi and Nobunaga were content to ignore it. It seems they follow mostly out of curiosity, but conquerors gotta conqueror whether they realize it or not. While Toyohisa cuts his way through the Octobrist, Yoichi and Nobunaga hang back when Nobunaga realizes who they’re fighting. Already knowing the villagers are suffering heavy casualties, he sets fire to their crops. If you take people’s dignity and food, they will cling to whatever is closest. In those flames, he looks like the devil he sounds like, talking about the best way to steal a country. However, physically at 50, he’s not only Yoichi’s lesser physically, but also mentally. Like the archer he is, Yoichi keeps a distance yet he is always watching and picking his spots. Physically 19 years old, he has been around for over 400 years and isn’t afraid to taunt it. His help with Toyohisa and Nobunga’s plans are purely out of boredom and it’s not hard to see something brewing behind that smile. On the other hand, 30 year old Toyohisa is the wildcard.
Toyohisa’s mission begins in the name of justice for the brothers, but by the end, those waters get pretty muddy. Along the way, Toyo leaves a bloody river between the decapitations and chopped limbs he’s passing out like candy. Surprisingly, the fights stay relatively realistic. Giant leaps aside the swordplay was grounded with only the gore exaggerated.
Shooting out of the flames and decimating any soldier he can get his hands on, Toyohisa looks like a devil also. In the village, the scene is played as heroic and a fun time until Toyo gets his hands on the commander. Using an old anti-armor technique, Toyo sacrifices his sword to land a chokehold takedown before bashing the commanders face in with his sheath. The music stops with the first hit, replaced by the stunned silence and wet thuds. It’s a jarring moment, in stark contrast to the revenge-romp vibe that preceded it. The flying teeth and chunks of flesh was an especially nice touch. The savagery of it earns awe with more respect from the other two Drifters. The true weight of the scene comes when Toyo stops short of killing him, offering the honors and his sword to an elder of the village. Though there is a language barrier, the remaining villagers all take his lead and kill the commander.
Yoichi and Nobu take it as Toyohisa arming what will become his army, gaining even more respect, but it’s not how it plays out on screen until their last scene. The villagers gather around the devil who saved them and his friends (who only arrive after the fighting) as they sit over the elves in a makeshift throne. In that moment, Toyo’s lip stiffens like a would-be emperor. It doesn’t seem he intentionally made the move to takeover, especially since the other two acted on their own, but it does lend credence to the Grand Master’s view. They don’t seem to be able to help themselves, they just might be wired to do one thing, right or wrong. And if that’s the case, how far is Toyohisa willing to go now that he has a taste of the power on his own?
Itchy Twitter Fingers
Word travels fast in whatever the afterlife area is. No sooner than the man at the desk, Murasaki, reads about Toyo’s takeover, the hallway darkens with a mixture of deep voiced creepy moans and laughs. Easy, his true adversary has arrived, and she’s the reason he sends the Drifters out. Why exactly we still don’t know, but he’s clad in white and the good guy because he’s only trying to right wrongs. However, Easy wants her way so her “Ends” will be taking out his Drifters. Meanwhile, when Grand Master learns of Occupy Toyohisa, he gathers his magicians and troops for war.
What a difference an episode makes. I don’t mean to say I thought this show was going to be a floating turd, but I wasn’t expecting anything on the levels they’re striving for. Now you have my attention. Nobunaga and Yoichi are definitely characters to watch. They’re morality is so flexible, I would almost bet on them turning on Toyohisa at some point. The question of what Toyohisa truly is intrigues me more. He’s not the clean cut hero he appears to be, yet I’m unsure if he knows what he’s doing or not. For now, it seems he ran out without a plan and is just going with it, making it easier for the other two to turn on a man without a plan. In the meantime, I hope we get answers to what the players on the top are doing. Easy and Murasaki seem to be godlike figures, but where Ends and Octobrist fit in is still a mystery. But, as if they heard my plea, there was only one comedic bit this episode, and it didn’t go on for too long. Thanks!