License request day: I’ll take the usual

It probably won’t come as any surprise to you that I was a weird kid. One of the many, many ways I was weird had to do with beverages. Virtually anything one could imbibe just tasted better to me if it was served in a glass from my parents’ cocktail set, and it would taste better still if it was garnished in some way, preferably with a maraschino cherry. This applied to everything from soda (in the evenings, obviously, or as an after-school libation) to juice in the morning.

It’s not like I’ve turned into a huge drunk or anything. As I age I find that my tolerance is waning for such things, so I tend to drink for the taste of things. I don’t really get cocktail culture, and I die inside when I look at a restaurant’s “martini menu” and see ingredients best confined to the candy counter and not the bar. (I blame Sandra Lee. I could endorse a “Cocktail Time” segment in just about any cooking program, but not when it involves so much white chocolate liqueur, or any at all.)

But mixology does have its allure for me. As a result, today’s license request is served up by a handsome fellow in a vest with a shaker at the ready: Bartender, originally published by Shueisha in Super Jump, written by Araki Joh (which just sounds like a name you’d hear in a lounge, doesn’t it?) and illustrated by Kenji Nagatomo.

Bartender is about a guy who works in a tucked-away watering hole in the Ginza, mixing life-changing cocktails for a long line of customers from all walks of life. With his gift for mixology and the apocryphal wisdom of the booze peddler, Sasakura makes everything better through liquor. That, my friends, is a beautiful, uplifting message for a comic. Okay, maybe not, but it sounds like a lot of fun. It’s possible that 15 volumes of cocktails might be too much for the average reader, but we can all throw up over that bridge’s railing when we come to it, right?

Joh followed Bartender with Sommelier in Business Jump, so libations are clearly something of a fixation for the author. Sommelier sounds kind of like the wine snob’s 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 time.

9 Responses to License request day: I’ll take the usual

  1. DerikB says:

    I would buy that!

  2. Judi says:

    If Yakitate!!Japan could be licensed, why not Bartender? I feel that we are “barking at the moon”, but glad you made request. Also, could you add “Addicted to Curry” to requests for me?:D

  3. Johanna says:

    What a great suggestion! And a terrific idea for telling all kinds of stories — talk to the bartender! I would love to see this.

  4. davidpwelsh says:

    Judi, I may actually steal “Barking at the Moon” for the title of this column, if it’s all right with you.

  5. Judi says:

    Glad you like. =D

  6. […] David Welsh bellies up to the bar and asks that someone please license Bartender. […]

  7. dxInt says:

    I would love a Bartender license. Have you seen the anime? Its downtempo presentation and general style is relaxing and entertaining, while still being poignant at times.

    I do think it would be a much harder sell than Yakitate Japan for two reasons:

    1.) Yakitate Japan is a manga about bread, but it surrendered wholly to the trappings of a typical shonen jump manga, right down to the tournament sagas and training montages. Bartender is all seinen, and far less frenetic.

    2.) Bartender is a comic about alcohol. With nothing really comparable in US comics, it might raise some eyebrows among people who are aware of manga only peripherally.

    That said, it would be interesting to see how such a comic would be marketed and labeled in the US. Does it get an adults-only rating, despite the fact that it’s completely tame and far less gratuitous than Naruto or One Piece? Is there a way to print it so that it will conceptually get lumped with other books for a similar audience (I’m thinking of the way french comics are sold in the US: hardcover, minimal art on the cover, etc)? Would major bookstores stock it?

    Still, I completely love the idea.

  8. […] food without drink, one must wonder? That’s why I’ve asked for someone to license Araki Joh’s BARTENDER. And since there can never be enough Tezuka in English, I’ll renew my call for a licensed […]

  9. miz says:

    I know it is a year late, but definitely wouldn’t mind seeing this series licensed. I actually like it more than God of Wine.

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