After two episodes of chaotic bloodletting, Drifters finally slows down for a bit of foreshadowing and development. Although arguably a more “boring” week, there were some interesting bits amid the half-baked comedy. The problem with languages was actually answered, with magic crests/talismans serving as universal translators (interesting to note that one exists for every language the Drifters use), while the idea that Ends are differentiated only from Drifters by their opinion on humanity was verified. Seems Ends loathe the world (i.e. our world) and wish annihilation on mankind. This culminates with yet more hints dropped about the Black King, probably the biggest elephant in the room. It’s like Drifters wasn’t content with the blatant symbolism previously, because the King’s personal aspects were even more in our face this time around. Beyond the additional focus on those distinctive hand wounds, the King is shown possessing potent healing abilities and a grudge against mankind for refusing his salvation. When that attempt fell through (probably the point where he was brought to this world), the Black King decided demihumans needed saving more than a hypocritical mankind. All we are really missing now is the ubiquitous water to wine magic and then you can stick a fork in this one and call it done: the guy is Jesus without a doubt, born anew with some seriously twisted objectives.
Probably the more intriguing bit though has to be politics where we finally receive some welcome information. The Black King functions like some twisted aberration of Orc and Nightwalker, bringing the demihumans together up north to destroy mankind (complete with Eye of Sauron reference). Humanity, however, seems fractured among different powers (i.e. those Carneades wall watchers), with the largest being the xenophobic, imperialist Orte Empire. Elves apparently weren’t the only victims of Orte expansion, with Dwarves and Hobbits (we really are going full Tolkien) also sources of plentiful slave labour. Even without the Drifters spicing things up, the battle lines here are fairly obvious, with man and beast literally fighting for their very existence. Interesting to note furthermore that the Ends apparently have been around a long time, and only under the Black King have united into a true danger. Really begs the question who else has yet to be revealed.
The Drifters of course throw a hefty wrench into this simplistic story, especially Nobunaga’s state building. This scene put a good grin on my face, more so than the village brawl or even the Northern Wall attack. There’s just something about naked political ambition and a true understanding of it that really grabs my attention. Although sticking Toyohisa in the leader spot was hilarious (and succinctly foreshadowed mind you), Nobunaga’s claim to command from the behind the scenes was the crowning highlight, especially his allusion to the position’s power over the public leader. This is how I always pictured Nobunaga, not the headstrong fighter from, say, Nobunaga the Fool, but the crafty, devious statesman willing to convince, coerce, and outright kill to get what he wanted. No better example than that speech (through Toyohisa once again) to the Elves, where Elven pride and honour were easily manipulated into rage and rebellion. The whole thing becomes particularly great (and funny) when noting how the old geezer makes no bones about casually dropping all of these factual nuggets in the open for all to see. Move over Toyohisa, Nobunaga’s the star of this show. Well, at least until we return to the bloodletting next week.
Drifters’ humour is definitely subjective, but parts of it here worked for me. Laughed especially hard at Yoichi’s language learning pains and Nobunaga’s labelling of Olminu as the Boob Goddess. Perverted old men and big breasted women, it’s two tropes for the price of one.
The Octobrist job description screams medieval UN to me, complete with begging for cash and scrounging for troops from states that could care less. Pretty much how the modern version works 😛
As expected, this guy is Rasputin. If he isn’t exceptionally skilled in magic as well I’ll be quite surprised.