Drifters starts off by throwing us into the Battle of Sekigahara. As Yoshihiro Shimazu has finally decided to retreat, his nephew Toyohisa declares that he’ll buy his uncle time. Though he has some men with him, Toyohisa essentially takes on the whole battalion by himself and destroys a good chunk of it by himself. However, he does find himself outnumbered at the end and uses a suicide tactic in order to take out Li Naomasa. Wandering back towards his home and at death’s door, Toyohisa finds himself transferred to a completely different world. It’s in this world that he runs into the likes of Nobunaga and Nasu and begins discovering why him and other legendary fighters have ended up here.
Drifters has finally been adapted to an anime and before we get into the 6 anime like it, let’s touch upon the major points of the show. Primarily, it is one gory ride with a lot of bodies getting speared, gutted, bashed, and completely cut in half. It’s a show all about legendary soldiers so you shouldn’t expect any less. The fact that they’re such warriors also plays into the subject of conquest that the show consistently discusses. Finally, it’s all about a fantasy world that’s ripe for exploration.
Similar Anime to Drifters
1. Hellsing Ultimate
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Feb. 2006 – Dec. 2012
The Hellsing Orginzation has been keeping Britain safe for a long time from creatures of the night as well as any harm in general. This is because they have an ultimate weapon on their side. They essentially have the first vampire, whose power goes beyond imagination. It’s thanks to him that Britain has been relatively safe from Nazis and vampires. However, what happens when you put the two together? Will the Hellsing Organization and their pet vampire, Alucard, be able to handle a group of radical Nazi vampires?
Stylistically speaking, no show comes as close to Drifters as Hellsing Ultimate. Both of these shows have some of the most visceral and no-holds-bar action in anime. These are not shows for the lighthearted as limbs get hacked off, faces bashed in, and bodies riddled with bullets. The camera refuses to look away as we witness the dark cruelty of war and the inner bloodlust of men and monsters, if there’s any difference in the first place. However, the visual similarity goes way beyond the amount of gore that each show is willing to show. The way the characters are drawn, their musculature and eyes in particular, are extremely alike, and this style heightens the feeling bloodlust.
2. Berserk (2016)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2016 – Sep. 2016
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Berserk’s newest season follows Guts around after he’s lost his arm, been branded, and picked up the massive sword known as Dragonslayer. In other words, he is the Black Swordsman and he’s out on a mission of revenge. However, there’s a lot of things standing in his way. Being branded has a lot of downsides and one in particular is that he consistently has ghouls chasing after him. He also has demon apostles that he’ll have to go through, and none of those are easy take out. Oh, and for being associated with Griffith’s band in the past, he’s a wanted man. All in all, Guts has a lot of enemies.
Berserk is akin to Drifters for reasons very similar to that of Hellsing Ultimate. To begin, it’s quite the bloody show. Episode by episode, we watch the main hero gut and tear apart just about anyone who gets in his way. That includes people who really aren’t his enemy. He does, however, have a very sound and calm mind when it comes to battle though. These are traits that he shares with a good chunk of the protagonists in Drifters. It’s a characteristic that comes with the territory of being a badass warrior.
3. Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Arslan Senki follows prince Arslan as he leaves the safety of the castle for the battlefield. The goal of his actions are to prove his honor to his future kingdom. However, a trusted officer of his father’s court commits treason and basically causes a coup while decimating practically all forces that are loyal to the true heir. Prince Arlsan is lucky though, as he escapes not only with his life, but one of the most powerful generals of the army. With Daryun by his side, the only question that remains for the forsaken prince is if he can gain enough allies to take back his home.
SANZIGEN and LIDENFILMS’ 2015 anime is a show all about military know how. It covers epic battles, with the focus primarily held by single combatants who have extraordinary fighting abilities. In many ways, it’s essentially a less gory version of Drifters. Now, it might seem like that’s a huge drawback, but the actual action and all the martial organization make it a top adventure/action anime that is consistent with the pacing of Drifters.
Any Anime Like Drifters?
4. Joker Game
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – Jun. 2016
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World tensions are on the rise and Japan has found itself at a disadvantage against most countries; they don’t have a network of spies that compare with any other big player. Thus, Joker Game follows the recruitment, training and following missions of an elite group of Japanese spies. From discovering spies within their own country to infiltrating other countries and discovering national secrets, the anime explores an underworld that few can fully comprehend.
Now, Joker Game doesn’t quite have the bloody intensity of the earlier shows, but the underlying topic of the story is conquest. Admittedly, its manner is not as direct as the others, because it’s not directly dealing with a battlefield. However, it still explores a world that is highly related to war and can have major impacts on the battlefield in depth. In other words, winning and being able to come out on top are still top priorities, and so proper planning is always being displayed. The characters in the show are extremely careful and think ahead, and do their best to manipulate any situation to their advantage. A good chunk of characters in Drifters is like this, with the most notable being Oda Nobunaga.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2015 – Sep. 2015
A massive MMORPG, Yggdrasil, is coming to an end. One of the best players in the game, Mmomonga, decides to make sure that not a second is lost and will be online until the game’s forcibly shutdown. Well, before he knows it, time’s up. However, he’s still in the game. Not only is he still in the game, but he’s stuck and every NPC has taken on a much more realistic persona. Well, with this predicament before him, he decides that he must protect his domain and figure out why he’s been caught within Yggdrasil.
Overlord does have its fair share of action, but that’s not the real similarity between it and Drifters. What sets these shows in the same category is the fact that each deftly explores a fantasy world that is set against the protagonists. That is to say, there are a lot of factors in each show’s respective world that the heroes need to become accustomed with, handle, and, if need be, defeat. In other words, the main cast of each show is trying to find its respective place in this new world
6. Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen - Mirai-hen
(The End of Hope’s Peak Academy – Future Arc)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2016 – Sep. 2016
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Danganronpa 3 follows the events after the Ultimate Despair, when the Future Foundation was created in order to keep humanity from falling into chaos. However, one of the most well-regarded members, Makoto Naegi, is suspected of treason. Now, the entirety of the Future Foundation has gathered to deliver justice upon Naegi. There’s a sudden turn of events though, as Monokuma traps everyone inside and a new game of kill or be killed begins.
Danganronpa 3 and Drifters have two main aspects in common. First off, each show has good heaping of action and aren’t afraid to find interesting ways of killing someone off. The main difference in this area is that one willing shows blood and the other tries to handle it gently. Second, each show builds an incredible amount of tension as we try to figure out what each character is planning. It’s extremely difficult figuring out who’s on whose side and in doing so there is a constant feeling of conflict.
So those are the six shows most similar to Drifters, which are definitely worth your time if you’re enjoying Drifters this fall season. Though each of them have relate in a slightly different manner to Drifters, there is one particular aspect about each and every one of them: conquest. They are all about winning against the odds and have control over the environment no matter what the cost. Now, are there any other shows you feel are similar to that of Drifters?