Dark Horse Manga has announced a new omnibus edition of Kohta Hirano‘s manga Drifters. The new edition will feature 650 pages of story, the first three volumes of the fantasy series from the creator of Hellsing. The omnibus will arrive in stores in January 2024.
Here’s how Dark Horse describes Drifters:
Warriors and warlords from Earth’s history—”Drifters”—are transported to an alien world and employed to help the non-human races defend themselves in a worldwide civil war. Legions of monsters led by the malefic Black King threaten the annihilation of both human and non-human races. Included in the menagerie of fighters from Earth are samurai warrior Shimazu Toyohisa, Joan of Arc, and Hitler! Drifters is a howling tornado of all-out action and staggering imagination.
To get a feel for the real world characters involved in this isekai tale I tried reading about WWII fighter ace Naoshi Kanno, but his Wiki entry seems to have been machine-translated from the original Japanese. If you’ve ever tried that you know it does not always work. Now I’m confused about whether Kanno was a raging bully who knifed a dog to death or a “literary boy” who formed reading circles at school. Both, maybe? Whichever is true, Kanno vanished in August 1945 while dogfighting P-51s escorting a flight of B-24 bombers. Searchers never found the wreckage of his N1K2-J Shiden-Kai fighter or recovered his body.
In the anime version of Drifters, which aired on several local cable channels across Japan from October 2016 to November 2018, Kanno is a violent-tempered ultra-patriot who crash lands his fighter plane in a fantasy world and becomes god of the dog warriors. Then he gets into a fistfight with Scipio Africanus, hero of Rome. Seems they decided to lean into the “bully” characterization.
But it all started with a comic and Kanno and Africanus aren’t the only “Drifters” in Kohta Hirano’s series. Also figuring into the plot are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Africanus’ Second Punic War enemy Hannibal, plus many perennially popular Japanese historical figures such as Oda Nobunaga (he’s in dozens of games, movies and TV dramas, many of which feature time traveling) and master archer Nasu no Yoichi. With this upcoming volume running more than 650 pages there’s plenty of room for all sorts of Drifters to show up.
Dark Horse Manga calls the manga “wild, action-packed,” and if the TV series accurately followed it this is something of an understatement. Look for Drifters Omnibus Volume 1 to arrive in bookstores on Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024, and in comic shops on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024.