Kouta Hirano, the wild mind behind the ultra-bloody Hellsing series, has brought fans another edge of your seat thrill fest in the form of Drifters! Hirano’s new dark fantasy series sees various heroes and warriors from different time periods summoned to a fantasy world full of elves, dwarves, and dragons. These heroes form the eponymous Drifters, a group of heroes who are tasked with defeating their evil opponents, the Ends.
Sounds familiar? It’s essentially the Fate franchise if it was an isekai infused with Hirano’s signature frenetic violence and containing way more blood. If there is one thing Drifters took inspiration from Fate, it’s recreating real-life people as exaggerated anime versions of themselves.
11 Oda Nobunaga
Of course, if there’s one historical figure expected to appear in an anime, it would be Oda Nobunaga. The famed Japanese daimyo has been revered throughout history for his effective military tactics and ruthless subjugation of Honshu. If it weren’t for his death at the hands of his trainer he would’ve very likely conquered Japan entirely.
In Drifters, Nobunaga is depicted as one of the three main characters and serves as the Drifter’s military strategist. Still as ambitious as ever, Nobunaga has his sights set on building a new empire in this unknown land.
10 Naoshi Kanno
Naoshi Kanno was a Japanese fighter pilot who served his homeland during World War 2. In real life, he went missing in action after his plane was damaged. He was ultimately labeled deceased when no traces of his whereabouts were found.
In Drifters, however, his disappearance is more of a result of being transported to another world via isekai magic. Although he’s no longer in World War 2, it’s doesn’t mean he’s stopped fighting. Only this time he’s battling giant dragons in the skies as the Drifters aerial combatant. Yes, that’s right, he’s fighting dragons in a minuscule fighter plane. That’s outrageously epic!
9 Akechi Mitsuhide
Ever wonder who was responsible for Oda Nobunaga’s death? Well, you’re looking at him right now. Mitsuhide served as one of Nobunaga’s generals during his reign over Japan in the Sengoku Period. Through unknown reasons, Mitsuhide rebelled against his former daimyo. Nobunaga was ultimately defeated.
Ironically, Drifters depicts Mitsuhide on the side of the Ends. Just like his real-life counterpart, Mitsuhide is still driven as ever to kill Nobunaga. In the anime, Mitsuhide hasn’t killed Nobunaga just yet. His eagerness to defeat Nobunaga makes for a clear story element that connects the characters back to their historical roots.
8 Butch Cassidy
Wait a minute, this guy isn’t Japanese!? Yes, the cast for Drifters is a lot more diverse than anyone would expect. During the crazy times of the wild, wild west, Cassidy gained notoriety for being the leader of the appropriately titled gang of outlaws, The Wild Bunch. For over a decade the Wild Bunch orchestrated various bank and train robberies. Cassidy, his partner, and his partner’s girlfriend were killed in a shootout in Bolivia.
Drifters portray Cassidy as a wild risk-taking gunslinger, a personality type befitting of the leader of the Wild Bunch. This adaptation of Cassidy would evoke obvious comparisons to Alucard from the Hellsing franchise.
7 Sundance Kid
Who would Cassidy be without his loyal partner? The Sundance Kid is transported to the unknown fantasy world with his reckless leader. There the duo team up with the other Drifters to defeat the Ends. As to be expected, Sundance Kid specializes in utilizing various firearms including revolvers, shotguns, and rifles.
Personality-wise, Sundance Kid is the exact opposite of Butch Cassidy. Sundance Kid is composed and level-headed, in contrast to the hot-headed Cassidy. In a way, these two are the Drifters equivalent to Hellsing’s Alucard and Walter. Considering Hirano created both series, it’s understandable he would draw inspiration from his previous work into his newest project.
6 Grigori Rasputin
Russia’s mad mystic makes an appearance in Drifters. Only this Rasputin has actual magical powers. In real life, Rasputin was the friend of Emperor Nicholas II. Aware of Rasputin’s unique skills, the emperor appointed him the task of healing his hemophiliac son, Alexei. Rasputin used his friendship with Nicholas II to seep his influence into the Russian empire.
His ambition ultimately resulted in his assassination. In Drifters, it’s clear Rasputin is far from dead, and apparently he shaved his beard. He has the ability to possess others, even if they’re far away. This ability certainly proves useful as the End’s spymaster.
5 Hannibal Barca
Don’t let his age fool you. This old-timer still got some fight left in him. Seen as “the father of strategy”, Hannibal Barca led the Carthaginian Empire through many battles during the Second Punic War. His military strategies were legendary and are what won him more than several battles against the Roman Republic.
Oda Nobunaga became impressed by Hannibal’s brilliant mind and subsequently appointed him as the Drifter’s military advisor. Hannibal’s strategic competency makes him an invaluable asset for the Drifters fight against the Ends.
4 Count Saint-Germi
Historically, Count Saint-Germi was a European philosopher and alchemist. To this day his background and even real name are shrouded in mystery. Heck, his actual age is up for debate. When he was alive Count Saint-Germi would outlandishly tell others he’s over 500 years old. Hirano definitely didn’t leave out his strange personality when he adapted him for Drifters.
Unlike the previous entries, Germi wasn’t summoned to be a part of the Drifters or the Ends. Instead, his affiliations lie with the Orte Organization. An oppressive regime formed by, guess who, the now-deceased Adolf Hitler. Germi sold the organization to the Drifters once he realized it was a lost cause. Germi was also adapted for Netflix’s Castlevania series.
3 Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova
Quite a mouthful of a name isn’t it? In life, Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Nicholas II, whom you may remember as the friend of the previous entry, Grigori Rasputin. So it’s not really a surprise that in Drifters she has a close (professional) partnership with him.
Once arriving in the fantasy world Anastasia learns she can create blizzards deadly enough to kill a person. Her ability serves as a physical and metaphorical extension of her cold-blooded nature. She’s devoid of any emotion or empathy after witnessing the atrocities committed against her family.
2 Gilles de Rais
This is what happened when Caster from Fate/Zero went on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding routine. Gilles de Rais was a French knight who is known throughout history for fighting alongside Joan of Arc in the Hundred Years’ War. He may seem noble and honorable on the outside, but there lies a twisted soul underneath.
Gilles de Rais was convicted of several gruesome crimes and subsequently sentenced to death. He reunites with Joan of Arc in the fantasy world and devotes himself to protect his commander as her spearmen. As like with everyone else, Gilles was granted superhuman attributes which makes him a true threat to the Drifters.
1 Jeanne D’ Arc (Joan of Arc)
Compared to the previous entries, this Joan of Arc is vastly different from the original heroine of France. In stark contrast to her real-life counterpart, Drifters Joan of Arc is a malicious sadist who was driven mad from being burned at the stake. Now she holds an utter disdain for humanity. Her rage is so intense that it manifests into (ironically) scorching flames.
With her flame ability, combat prowess, and unrelenting bloodlust, she is by far one of the End’s most feared members. Joan will not stop until she lays waste to the entire world.
The anime Drifters draws a lot of inspiration from history, and these are 11 historical figures that the series has incorporated into it's story.