Ok, yes, I'm definitely in the minority here, but I REALLY didn't enjoy this anime. I should've seen the signs when it looked like a serious show, but had a 'comedy'-tag - a combination that almost never works – but here we are.
For now, I'll start with the things I liked about this anime... if only because getting through those is a LOT quicker, lol.

First off, I have to admit, Drifters occasionally had some pretty decent and interesting strategies & tactics in its battles. For example in one instance towards the middle, Nobunaga ordered the elves that they were trying to save to dump the corpses they had from the fight before into their well and then run before the incoming troops of their enemy arrived. In case you don't know much about war-tactics: Throwing corpses into a well poisons the water inside, obviously making it undrinkable. This means that troops who want to use the village to refill their supplies and occupy the place can't do so, as the sole source of water is completely unusable. It's a standard tactic, aye, but I was still impressed to see it in use, as it showed that whoever made the manga this is based on had at least a basic understanding of war-tactics.
Additionally, I think that the action-scenes themselves were pretty well handled. They weren't as flashy and clever as JoJo's nor were they as exciting as Rakudai Kishi's, but they were definitely better than the action-scenes in the majority of action anime I've seen. There was just something about the MC slicing up multiple bad guys that was actually somewhat fun to watch.

Speaking of 'fun to watch', another thing I actually liked about this show was that it featured an actual Gatling Gun. Yes, I know, that's a weird thing to be excited about, but Mini-guns (and their ancestors, the Gatling Guns) are amongst the very few guns I actually like and they are almost never get featured in anything, so not only seeing the original GG, but also having it presented rather historically accurate was quite something for me. A very personal point, yes, but I think it still counts.
The last thing I actually liked about this show was its Opening. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this show had one of the coolest openings of the last year. I actually went out of my way to search for the opening on YT to listen to it occasionally, because it's really that good.

But that's where the pleasantries end. If you think that this sounds like a pretty interesting anime based on what you've read so far, don't worry, that's gonna change in just a minute.
Let's start with the thing I hated the most about this anime: Its absolutely godawful attempts at Comedy. I'm fking serious. I don't think I've ever seen an anime where literally every single joke bombed completely. Every single time this anime felt like it was getting too decent, it decided to go into a completely terrible alternative art-style and make some of the characters perform the most tedious boke/tsukkommi routines I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing. Not to mention that even IF the jokes had been successful, they STILL would've been out of place, as there's very few ways to NOT make jokes seem OOP within a serious war setting. I honestly have NO idea why Drifters didn't just stay serious the entire time, as those were the times where this anime was actually bearable... most of the time.

The next thing I want to talk about is the Art-style of this show. And I know, I've already said how horrible the 'joke-art-style' looked, but the one for the serious parts was actually also not something I enjoyed. Yes, it was unique and probably took a lot of effort, but that still doesn't change the fact that I thought that it looked... sub-par. Maybe it's because I'm a spoiled KyoAni fanboy, but I really could not get myself to accept the art in this anime. I've HEARD that it looks a lot like Hellsing Ultimate (which I can neither confirm nor debunk, as I haven't watched HU), so I suppose if you've liked the art in Hellsing, then you can completely ignore what I just said, lol.
Next up is the character development in this anime... or rather the lack there of. Seriously, the only one with any personality in that bunch seemed to be Nobunaga himself and Saint-Germi. The rest of them seemed to either be one-dimensional warmongers (like the MC himself) or completely lacked any personality or presence whatsoever (like Yoichi Suketaka Nasu, who was part of the main cast... and completely and utterly personality-less.) Probably the most vexing example of a lack of character development was with what might possibly be the main villain: 'The Black King.' (one of those titles right out of the 'generic villain name'-book). He was shown multiple times over the course of season one, yet I have no fking idea what he's supposed to be like.

Which leads us straight into the next point of criticism: the fact that the villain of the series was never characterized whatsoever. It is no secret that it's tough to hate a villain that you've never even seen do anything bad and of whom you've only seen a couple glimpses, which is why the most interesting villains are the ones that have a lot of presence like Yoshikage Kira (JoJo) or Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2). Hence it was rather confusing to see that the main villain of this series (who I THINK is the Black King... he's the only one who even came close to being one at least) was content with just sitting off-screen for the majority of the show, quietly minding his own business and who only did anything at the very end of season one... and even then, he didn't show up himself , but instead he sent an army of foot soldiers to deal with the army of the protagonists. IMO, that guy was one of the biggest failures of an antagonist I've ever seen, rivaling even the teacher from Boku dake ga inai machi.

This lack of character development COULD'VE been fixed, had they just not thrown in some characters for one, maybe two episodes before never bringing them up again. Seriously, just take a look at the 'characters' page of this anime for yourself. It should be obvious that with such a huge cast, it's impossible to characterize each and every one of them to a satisfying extend, so why did they insist on introducing such a pile of them. For some of them, I don't even know what their role was supposed to be, because they were introduced as if they were gonna be important, literally did one thing and then fked off into nothingness. Prime example: Zero-pilot Kanno Naoshi. He SEEMED like he could've been a really interesting addition to the party, not only because he came from a much more modern era than the rest of the cast but also because he was one of the few people that actually had a character. Which is why his share of screentime still baffles me: he appeared, shot down a dragon, crashed with his plane... and literally the only time he appeared after that was a couple episodes later where he was shown having started living inside of the crashed plane. That was it. I'm still not sure whether he was supposed to be a more important character who just got cut or not.

The next thing on the chopping block is the cliffhanger ending that this anime had. Because of my attempt to keep things spoiler-free, I'm not gonna go too in-depth, but here's what I will say: the first season of this anime basically ended with the protagonists and their army getting ready to defeat the Black King, but before literally anything of the sorts actually happened. I hate cliffhanger endings just as much as the next guy, so I am obviously pissed when an anime uses its main antagonist as the sequel-hook. However, seeing as how a 2nd season got confirmed right as the first one ended, I am willing to not see that point as harsh as I would normally.

Next up, we've got the point where I almost dropped the anime outright. In episode 4, the protagonist's group, supported by the male elves they freed, march towards the castle in which the local bad guy had... basically kidnapped the female population of the elven village. They find out that the women had been locked into the castle's tower, and upon arriving there, they see that the guards of the castle had been repeatedly raping the elven women. Pretty much the ONLY reason why I didn't just drop the entire anime at that point (as my very personal opinion is that rape is the one thing that should never be happening) was because I was hoping that the guards would all be killed in the most visceral ways possible in the next episode (which only sorta happened). And before anyone jumps at me to say that 'it was obvious' and that 'it was a means of making you hate the bad guys', I would like to point towards an anime that handled a very similar situation (man kidnaps the female population of a settlement and locks them into the giant place he lives in) very differently and a lot 'better': Hitsugi no Chaika. In that show, it basically played out like this: the antagonist of that arc was a man whose 'hobby' was to slice up women and he was using the women he kidnapped as his 'test subjects'. It was a set-up that was still really effective at making you hate that guy, but it completely avoided making me hate the anime itself. So there you go, there was definitely an alternative way to handle the situation.

Last up, there are two things I want to talk about about the archery in this anime. I am aware that these are, once again, points that might be completely irrelevant to you, but I still consider them important enough to include.
Firstly: Fire arrows. Jesus fking Christ, when are people finally going to stop using fire arrows in their works if they have NO idea how they work?? If I got 5 cents every time somebody used them completely unrealistically, I could run my own 'Say NO to fire arrows' ad-campaign. In Drifters in particular, the fact that they were used this weirdly is even more interesting, as this anime tried to be realistic in its usage of weaponry.
The first time fire arrows showed up in this anime, I was actually somewhat impressed to see that they were used in one of the only two situations where people DID actually use them in the middle ages: during a siege. Sure, the effectiveness of those arrows was still ridiculous (real fire arrows had a chance of ~2% to set something aflame, here it seemed more like 98%), but it was something at least. However, the second time they were used it was back to good ol' 'this is NOT how they work. This is not how ANYTHING works'. For some stupid reason, the makers of this thought that it was a reasonable idea to have people use fire arrows... during a horse chase. Which would've worked, were it not for two simple things... a) No and b) NO!... but seriously, that part was fking stupid. There was no way for the horse-riders to set their arrows on fire, which means that there was no way to even HAVE fire arrows in that situation... and using them while riding a horse also seems like the best way to get yourself killed, so yeah. Stupid on every single level, which, sadly, seems to be the norm for fire arrows in anything from anime to movies to games. (for further knowledge about fire arrows, watch this 'ere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTd_0FRAwOQ )

And secondly... Why in the name of god did the professional archer in this anime hold his bow sideways on multiple occasions?? Doing so is pretty much the most sure-fire way to show your enemy that you have NO idea what the fk you're doing, as you pretty much sacrifice a large portion of your range and power for nothing. Every time the archer-guy held his bow that way, I started to think whether I should laugh or cry about that... and settled for being pissed off.

All in all: this anime was, all things considered, pretty fking bad in my opinion. My advice would be to just watch the Opening ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZnxv95EZGs ) until you're sick of it (which might take a while, as it's really good) and just give the anime itself a miss. You'll do yourself a favor.

36 /100
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