License Request Day: Kami no Shizuku

I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR the other day and was surprised to hear that sales of French wine (and consumption in French households) are experiencing a steep decline. Now, my tastes (and budget) run more to inexpensive Italian table whites and reds from California, but I like the idea of French wine and I dislike the idea of it being in peril. So I’ll devote this week’s license request to a particular comic that has a history of boosting wine sales.

dropsofgod1The manga in question is Kami no Shizuku (“The Drops of God”), written by Tadashi Agi (the pseudonym for wine-loving siblings Yuko and Shin Kibayashi) and illustrated by Shu Okimoto and originally published by Kodansha in its Morning magazine. Like the marvelous Oishinbo, it’s about a guy with a strong palate and daddy issues. To inherit his father’s wine collection, novice oenophile Kanzaki Shizuku must track down 13 exquisite wines before his rival can.

Reuters’ Sophie Hardach describes it as “’The Da Vinci Code’ set in a Tokyo bar.” And while comparisons to a Dan Brown novel aren’t automatically encouraging, the idea of a mystery centered around wine seems intuitively entertaining. (Side note: why didn’t the Vatican ever condemn Brown’s books because they’re awful?) Hardach goes on to describe the manga’s economic impact:

“‘The minute it was translated into Korean, we had calls from three importers,’ said Basaline Granger Despagne, whose family has grown wine near France’s Dordogne river for 250 years. Their Chateau Mont Perat 2001 Bordeaux appears early on in the manga.

“‘When it was translated into Chinese, people called us from Taiwan saying, “I bought some Mont Perat and sold 50 cases in two days because of the manga”,’ she said in a phone interview.”

dropscoverThe book has been covered in The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and Decanter. It’s being published in French as Les Gouttes de Dieu by Glénat (who also publishes its spin-off another wine manga, Sommelier). Ed Chavez (who knows from eduholic manga) was kind enough to send me a couple of volumes in Japanese, which was just enough to make me really want to see it in English.

And yes, the fact that so many volumes are available in French and the wine industry is still in trouble doesn’t support my argument that publication in English could give French wine a boost. But I will make any argument, however specious, that serves my own ends.

(Updated to note that I’ve no idea what I was thinking with that first image and link, but both have been fixed thanks to the aforementioned Mr. Chavez. Thanks, Ed!)


9 Responses to License Request Day: Kami no Shizuku

  1. Sebastian says:

    I’m reading the French edition, and it’s not bad. It can be a little over-the-top shonen-style ridiculous in its depictions of what certain wines taste like, though. And it also isn’t shy to lay on the drama for its subplots.

    Personally, I liked “Sommelier” (which isn’t a spin-off, but a totally different manga about wine from a different team of creators) better because it’s more Seinen than Shonen (while “KnS” is just the other way around). I’d really love to see the spin-off/sequel of that series, “Sommelière”, getting published somewhere.

  2. David Welsh says:

    Sommelier does sound great, but the idea of over-the-top shonen styling being applied to a story about vintage wines? Sounds kind of crazy awesome to me. The less intuitive the subject is for that approach, the more I tend to like the results.

  3. […] this week’s new manga. David Welsh also checks out the week’s bounty, and he puts in a request as well that some foresighted publisher license the wine manga Kami no Shizuku (Drops of the […]

  4. […] Manga | I agree with David Welsh: Someone in North America should license the wine manga Kami no Shizuku (”The Drops of God”). [Precocious Curmudgeon] […]

  5. thirstygirl says:

    I’ve been watching the jdrama version of this and wishing the manga was licensed. Yes it does feature INSANE shonen-style metaphorical battles, a la Sushi Oji or Yakitate! Japan but surely that’s a selling point for more people than just me?

  6. Simon Jones says:

    I would imagine selling a Japanese manga about wine to the French is sort of like explaining the motifs in MacBeth to Shakespeare. How the book does in France may not be a good barometer for its performance in less wine-fluent countries like the US.

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t want critics to have yet one more thing (alcoholism) to blame on manga… =p

  7. […] just in North-east Asia, there is a wealth of commentary on it, so for interested readers I suggest this post at the manga blog Precocious Curmudgeon for the best summary, with many links to longer news […]

  8. […] equivalent of Black Jack, which could be all kinds of awesome, but I feel like I should only have one wine manga in the hopper at a […]

  9. […] the unlicensed front, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Drops of God, written by Tadashi Agi, illustrated by Shu Okimoto, serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Morning, and […]

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