Striking The Right Note: Drifters

When you know you’ve got a batshit crazy story, how do you go about making an OP that sells it in a way that makes people want to watch it?

By being even more batshit insane.

This weeks OP is from Drifters, the 12 episode, 2016 series from NBC Universal, who’s been getting pretty active in anime of late, between this, The Heroic Legend of Arslan, and a few others. Can’t say I’m sorry, either, as most of the stuff they’ve pitched money behind has been pretty damn watchable.

Drifters is no different, either, despite being utterly insane. Sometimes, crazy just works, I guess.

The story of Drifters follows major historical figures as they are pulled into an alternate fantasy world at the moment of their deaths, to stand against the Ends, mysterious figures bent on wiping out all life to make the world a place for monsters. Which is both a really cool, and completely insane idea all at once.

Figures such as Hannibal of Carthage, Scipio, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid join forces with Naoshi Kanno, Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi, Shimazo Toyohisa, Oda Nobunaga, and Nasu Yoichi, to fight Joan of Arc, Grigori Rasputin, Gilles de Rais, Anastasia Romonova, and freaking Jesus Christ.

With the exception of Christ, these are all real historical figures, and aren’t that far removed from what we know them to actually be like, with a few exceptions. Joan of Arc obviously wasn’t an insane murder happy lunatic, but the reason for her change in attitude is pretty well explained in the show, so I’ll let that slide.

Basically, Drifters is a lunatic thrill ride of epic proportions, as these legendary figures clash for the fate of the world. If that doesn’t make you want to check it out, then all I can say it has Dwarves with shotguns. Dwarves with shotguns, people. I mean, c’mon! That’s the right kinda crazy.

The WW2 era Japanese Zero in a dogfight with dragons didn’t hurt anything, either.

Right out of the gate, the first thing Drifters does right with the OP is in the choice of music. Gospel of the Throttle, from Minutes To Midnight, is the kind of rock and roll power song this sort of a show needs to really set the tone, and boy does it ever. Hands down, this is now a song I must own. It’s just that awesome.

Of course, I still think AC/DC was the height of rock and roll, so I’m probably biased.

The animation for the OP does it a great service, as well, switching from hyper stylized character stills that feel like a bit of motion comic, to rough, sketchy work that puts one in mind of the classic animated film Heavy Metal. It balances the dynamic, larger than life characters with the rough, brutal world they are entering in a neat visual way.

Then, the best part, is having the characters on the screen singing along to the music. Dwarves, Elves, beast people, and monsters, actually singing the song with the OP is such a nutty idea, it works. It brings the whole thing together in weird, funky, crazy way that lets you know, right up front, everyone involved in this knows just how absurd the whole thing is. They are in on the joke, and running with it like Dennis Leary naked and covered in lime jello with a Playboy in each hand.

Some of you won’t get that joke. I don’t think less of you, but I am a bit disappointed in you.

The OP is great, is what I’m saying, and made me want to watch the show. The show itself is batshit crazy, but has a lot going for it, especially if you have any kind of knowledge about historical figures, and military tactics throughout human history.

Check out the OP below, and when you want something really, truly, and I mean utterly different, give Drifters a go. It’s a crazy party, but it sure is worth the ride in thrills alone.

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