If I had one way to sum up Drifters’ latest episode it would be this: wow. Fighting from start to end, we got everything from flaming swords to extreme acrobatics, mindset differences and tactical displays. What a difference a lack of comedy makes.
Without a doubt the highlight rests with the twin fights of Joan d’Arc/Toyohisa and Gilles de Rais/Yoichi. Besides the sheer fun of it all, both fights also showcased the strength of the Ends, particularly their magic. We knew all about Joan’s love of fire, but Gilles de Rais is the literal killing machine, seemingly invulnerable to death until shredded by Gatling fire. Magic definitely appears to be the “physical” factor separating Ends and Drifters, as no Drifter (except newly revealed Abe no Seimei) has yet shown magic potential. I’m finding this dichotomy quite interesting, as it nicely illustrates how the Ends are effectively inhuman. For the Ends magic is the manifestation of their rage, a permanent reminder of why they detest the world. The Drifters on the other hand lack magic because they have not lost their societal ties, there is no grudge to nurture, no revenge to seek. Olminu’s statement about Drifters and Ends having the same mindset is thus only half true, both may employ the same “barbarism”, but do so for different reasons. While the Ends seek simple destruction, the Drifters emphasize construction (i.e. Nobunaga’s state building or Toyohisa’s fatherly approval). It’s basically a two sided coin.
Another striking bit for me this week was the differences between Drifters. One question largely unanswered in Drifters is how Drifters/Ends from different eras interact with one another. We have explored this a bit with Nobunaga, Toyohisa, and Yoichi already, but all had the benefit of coming from a relatively unchanging society. Joan was probably Toyohisa’s first encounter with a European—and a woman at that—so it was quite interesting (and amusing) seeing both flinging insults and Toyohisa questioning her reason for fighting. Particularly intriguing was how Toyohisa picked up on Joan’s lack of combat experience through her actions (especially her use of magic). This highlights a key difference between medieval Western and Japanese warfare: knights often recklessly ran off ahead (and alone) into the enemy, while samurai waited (typically) for the daimyo’s command. Joan ironically represented the worst excesses of knightly honour, flinging herself at Toyohisa in the belief her power would give her victory (as it very nearly did), while Toyohisa carefully planned out his strategy to ensure his success. It’s fascinating seeing this type of fight play out here considering the rarity of such battles in history, especially how well both Joan and Toyohisa showcased their respective society’s approach to war. Given Joan survived the fight, I’m eagerly anticipating the second round encounter.
Next Time: The Gang is all here
With the End meeting out of the way, it looks like we finally have the Drifters come together as Butch Cassidy/Kid and crew make their appearance. How the introductions will go is anyone’s guess, but I’m expecting lots of fireworks, bickering, and plenty Olminu name calling. After all, if Scipio and Hannibal tagged along too, Nobunaga just acquired some serious competition.
Really surprised the Octobrists are headed by Abe no Seimei. It does explain his supposed magic prowess though, given that Seimei was an exorcist in real life.
Gilles de Rais might be the only End who is not actually crazy. His back story implies he chose his fate rather than succumbing to tragic circumstance. Hilariously ironic, given his actual history.
Might be me seeing things, but it appears Joan’s fire is restricted to paths drawn by her sword/daggers. Potential limitation to her power maybe.