From Vertical, Inc. the publisher behind manga such as “Twin Spica”, “Peepo Choo” and “7 Billion Needles” comes the third volume of the wine filled series from Tadashi Agi and Shu Okimoto, “The Drops of God”.
The story of “The Drops of God” follows Shizuku Kanzaki, the son of a famed wine critic and has a refined palate for wine despite never having had the drink who works at a beer company that recently created a wine division. After receiving news that his father, Yutaka Kanzaki has passed away Shizuku learns that in order to inherit his father’s prized wine collection he must find thirteen wines that his father describes in his will. To add to the challenge Shizuku must find the wines before Issei Tomine, a famous wine critic and adopted son of Yutaka who also stands to inherit the collection if he finds them first.
Volume three of the series starts off with Shizuku and his good friend and coworker Miyabi Shinohara meeting with Kaori Mizusawa, a woman who lost all of her memories prior to waking up in a hospital bed. The only memory that Kaori does have is that of a scent of a specific wine, but she can’t remember what it is called so she asks Shizuku to help her by finding the right wine, which may hold the secret to unlocking her memories but her husband seems intent on not letting that happen.
Shizuku agrees to help believing that the wine could be one of the “Twelve Apostles”, one of the wines that he must find as part of his father’s wishes. He is right in his assumption that the wine is connected to his task and Issei and Shizuku face off to compare which of the two has found the first of the thirteen wines.
After the showdown Shizuku and Miyabi are drawn into a tough situation when a man from Miyabi’s past arrives at Taiyo Beer and makes a request of the newly formed wine division that offends the group to the point of them issuing a challenge. Shizuku and the rest of the wine division must find five “lesser” brands that can match the “Big Five chateaux” or risk losing Miyabi as a coworker.
What makes “The Drops of God” an interesting series is that while the main focus is the wine it still tells stories that are both dramatic and entertaining as the character’s lives are all impacted by their experiences with the wine. While teaching readers about the different types of wines it avoids feeling slow by giving readers something else to focus on, keeping the story fresh and interesting.
Visually the manga has a great look; the characters are all beautifully drawn and in a way the manga resembles the artwork of a series like “Death Note”. One of the most interesting things to see is the change from an office or restaurant to a vast forest or castle when Shizuku is engulfed in the different types of wine, each with their own unique scenery and all are highly detailed. The translations all have a good flow and read very well while fitting nicely in each panel without the text having to be reduced in size.
All-in-all “The Drops of God” is an interesting manga series that has a focus on a topic that I’m completely unfamiliar with as someone who has never had a drink of alcohol, nor will I ever. That said the series is still entertaining whether you choose to read it as a way of learning about the many wine of the world or just for a dramatic story with interesting characters. The way that Shizuku describes each wine is poetic and almost as entertaining to read as the dramatic struggle that Kaori and her husband face in trying to decide if it is worth the risk to try and recover her lost memories in volume three.
Though it sounds like it could appeal only to a specific audience it actually can be enjoyed by many different manga fans and is worth looking into. If you’re looking for a great slice of life series or if you’ve always wanted to learn about wine then “The Drops of God” is a series that you should definitely consider reading.
4.5 Out of 5
Drops of God Vol. 3
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
Story by: Tadashi Agi
Art by: Shu Okimoto
Number of Pages: 400
Release Date: March 27th, 2012
(A review copy of “The Drops of God” was provided by Vertical, Inc. To learn more about the series you can visit the Official Site.)