「俺軍 暁の出撃」 (Ore-gun akatsuki no shutsugeki)
“Army of Ours—Sortie at Dawn”

Have to hand it to Drifters, the show seemingly knows nothing about slowing down. After last week’s village massacre, we are now treated to an alternate battle of Minas Tirith, complete with nazguls dragons, orcs, and calls for an end to mankind. Makes it all the more funny amid the fire and devastation that this city is actually a great wall and our Ming Carneades defenders are basically Saracens. All in all another glorious and over the top rampage this week. Basically a bloody song of ice and fire.

At its core though, this episode was all about the characters. A new slew of rapturous personalities entered the playing field, with the Ends finally introduced. We have Hijikata Toshizou, Shinsengumi vice-commander killed in the name of the Tokugawa, a thoroughly insane Jeanne d’Arc, and a cold, gloomy Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, daughter of Russia’s last Tsar. The Ends retain the high strung, badass personalities, but what’s striking about them is their magic. Toshizou apparently can summon ghosts to do his bidding, while Jeanne is endowed with some fitting pyrotechnics. Anastasia likewise has a thing for blizzards, because it just wouldn’t be Russian otherwise. These powers are an interesting difference from the Drifters, who (so far) lack any magical prowess and get by on sheer talent and fortitude alone.

Although you could hazard a guess pointless sacrifice or murder determines an End from a Drifter, the pilot Naoshi Kanno puts an end (heh) to that hypothesis. If anything, both Drifters and Ends likely enter this world the same (if through different people), and through their choices determine which camp they fall into. Thus Kanno, who turns on the Ends’ dragons because they vividly remind him of American firebombing runs, Toyohisa who defends the elves against coldblooded murder, and Minamoto no Yoshitsune who supposedly sticks with the group entertaining him the most. Drifters’ conflict is therefore not one of good vs. evil, but an attritional slugfest dependent on recruiting the majority of our real life transplants—it’s who can sway the best and brightest of our morally grey cast onto their side. This basal theme provides Drifters a thin, but strong layer of depth underneath that gung-ho, adventurist story, giving the mind something to chew on while the eyes feast on the scenery. It’s the sort of thing I was hoping Drifters would steer into (rather than purely staying with the pulpy action), making me very excited for what things lie in store later in the show.

Of course I cannot get away from this theme without touching on the Black King. Personally I’m betting he’s Jesus. Not only is the guy cloaked in white, but there are some distinctive wounds on his hands, and he has a thing for onions (staple food in the Levant). Furthermore there’s that dragonfly staff, which very likely is a reference to resurrection and redemption (think Albrecht Duerer’s The Holy Family with the Dragonfly). Considering Hirano’s penchant for twisted Christian references (a la Hellsing), such a use of Jesus wouldn’t be all that surprising. Obviously this isn’t enough to truly identify the Black King, but I can think of little else such hints point towards. Without a doubt though this guy right here is the true baddie of the show and one we will be seeing more of very soon. It’s going to be a riot once the Drifters finally meet him and the rest of the Ends. Consider this show picked up for coverage.

Random Tidbits

If your Wild West knowledge is lacking, these two are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from the Wild Bunch. Also calling it, this guy is definitely Rasputin.

Good to note that Scipio Africanus led the forces of the Roman Republic, not the Roman Empire. That empire was conceived some ~200 years after him.

Cannot be the only one who thought of GATE when Kanno made his appearance. Would be really interesting if technology vs. magic becomes another theme of Drifters.


  1. Jesus as the Black King? Bold move. Kinda obvious that we were being led along there, what with one with such a title still sporting a white cloak. Could’ve done with a little more suspense there.


    Also, technically Joan of Arc is said to have never actually fought on the battlefield, so seeing her suddenly being a badass sword swinging pyromaniac is a bit of a stretch, but hey, insanity does crazy s*** to people. If I’d lost all my hair like that, I’d probably want to crack a few skulls too.

    My quips aside, badassery all around. Diz gon b gud. 😀

    Ryan Ashfyre
  2. That was one hell intense episode, so much killing, so much action. Drifters continue to be one of the bloodiest shows of this fall and it’s really entertaining. As you mentioned, I like it that it isn’t really good vs. evil conflict, bur rather two sides opposing each other, bringing the historical characters back to life (from all the possible times as it seems) and trying to get what they want. These three episodes felt like a one big prologue, to let the viewers know what they are going for with this show, and I am definitely going for it.

    Also, Black King being Jesus? This sounds too irrational, even ridiculous, but I guess after what we have just seen, Drifters doesn’t seem to have boundaries in that case. And that’s great about it.

  3. Enjoyed it. Wonder when the Wild Bunch shot up their ammo previously.

    The fort people took combat not seriously enough. Their was no moat dry or otherwise, and before the moat a series of traps and barriers, see typical Roman defenses which would inflict significant harm on charging enemy. NO oil ready. If there is any clue that their is dragons in that world you would have covered roofs I believe called Hoarding to protect people on the wall along with lots of ballista to shoot them down. The fort had no gatehouses of note. I am not saying that it was unbelievable just normal incompetence. Romans would have their nasty automatic arrow throwers on the walls plus mass arrow firing racks behind the walls along with catapults and others some of the same.

  4. Interesting they put the firebombing in the story. Outside of Japan people normally only aware of the Atomic bombings, in part because of Japanese often only focus on that to outsiders. The US had actually discovered two weapons of mass destruction during WWII, everyone knows the atomic bombs but few know that the second one, how to create a firestorm. The US actually set up fake target Japanese towns to get the technique down. Significantly more Japanese died from firestorm attacks than the atomic attacks. The greatest number of people ever killed in one bombing attacks was Tokyo where 100,000 to 140,000 died that day. Firestorms are so hot often people are cremated into ash and thus nothing found. Drestin in Germany was also a deliberate firestorm attack. Causlulty wise firestorms kill most of the people that would die in a atomic attack with radiation deaths the only difference and radiation thirty percent or less. (modern nucular bombs less radiation percentage as the reaction is better done so less radioactive material is used.)
    So when the time to use atomic bombs came up the US had long crossed it’s moral event horizon the only choice was firestorm or atomic the idea of leaving the cities alone never came up. The US was preparing large amounts of chemical weapons for the taking of Tokyo.

    Deaths from atomic attacks listed higher than Tokyo but only by counting radiation deaths many which took decades to end maybe in cancer.

    Wish I could better determine Japanese planes by look. The end of war Japanese fighters could match or beat anything anyone else had.
    Wonder what to do with the pilot without a ground crew and supplies to put his plane back in the air. Fighting B-29’s kills you sooner or later lucky German pilots who only had to face B-17’s 😉 do to decision to only send the 29’s to Pacific where their extra range was needed.

    Irony of war B-17 crews found being attacked terrifying while the pilots attacking the 17’s found that terrifying.

    1. I’m not that surprised by the firebombing inclusion, that bit of air war history has come into focus a lot in recent historiography, besides the personal interest Japan (and Germany) has in it. Firebombing is a vicious form of attack though, my great uncle flew in the Dresden attack, and that was the only point of the war which made him physically sick.

  5. I don’t know anything about Hijikata or Anastasia but from Joan of Arc it seems like the Ends are versions of their historical selves twisted by how they died. So if you have Joan as a pyromaniac with the ability to burn everyone to death it would make sense that an End version of Jesus, having died for humanity’s sins, would now want them to die for being so sinful.

    Even more evidence is the Black King’s mention of the “Inexorable Tribulation”. In several bible passages Jesus warns his followers of a “great tribulation”, a period of hardships, disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering, which will wipe out more than 75% of all life on the earth before the Second Coming takes place.

    1. I’m assuming so as well. Hijikata was basically slaughtered at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, while Anastasia was executed by the Communists days before the Czech Legion rolled into town. The Ends likely want revenge for their misfortunes, which probably is the thing truly separating them from the Drifters.

      1. I remember one theory was that Ends died in despair and gave up their humanity while Drifters died true to themselves and remained human throughout. Still it is a good dichotomy of characters with very different mentalities. It seems that some Drifters have a certain “will to power” that many Ends lack.

  6. Now that was a bloody exciting episode! I loved it really much. I had a gleeful smile on my face throughout, it’s like it’s so interesting to see these kinds of scenarios play out and then seeing that dude on the Gatling just mowing down the monsters was like a “YAAAAAAAHHHHHHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” moment y’know?

    Man, I can’t get enough I just can’t get enough… I wonder who from history gets to turn up next? The possibilities are endless… It’d be mighty disappointing though if we don’t get to see Napoleon, Otto, Clausewitz, Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Richard, Gustavus, William, Washington, Atilla, Genghis, Al Capone, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Wellington, Sherman, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh the possibilities are endless!

    Nishizawa Mihashi
    1. Cassidy or Sundance mentioned that they are almost out of ammo for teh Gatling, not surprising considering rate of fire…
      but, since they all carry blackpowder weapons, there should be nothing too much for the Oktobrist alchemics to create with little instruction…


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