Originally, I wanted to kop this stainless steel clad aluminium core skillet off Amazon. Then I decided to drop the skillet but pick up a carry on luggage bag from Timbuk2 instead. I figured since I was gonna do that, I might as well lump some books in at the same time. So in went the 2nd and 3rd issues of Lucky Peach as well as the Joe Beef book, a copy of Shizuo Tsuji’s book, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art because I gave my old one to my dad and also a copy of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Whilst I was adding everything in over the course of a month or so of deliberation, Amazon cheekily always has these recommendations and all and one of them was for a manga, The Drops Of God/Les Gouttes de Dieu/Kami no Shizuku. I figured the sub $10 price was worth the gamble and now I’m pretty much hooked.

I’ve always been a sucker for food manga. One of my faves is Yakitate Japan but I also enjoyed a bunch of other stuff like Shota no Sushi and more recently, Oishinbo. Drops Of God intrigued me with the tagline that it caused fluctuations in the prices of the wines that were featured in it. Then I cycled back into my memory recesses and remembered reading about a brother sister combo that wrote a wine manga that was all the rage back in 07/08. I realized then that Drops Of God was the very one and confirmed that on Wikipedia and the rest of the interwebs that says Drops was written by Tadashi Agi, which is a pseudonym for the siblings.

Anyway, the story revolves around a young man whose dad was a famous wine critic and the quest to win the right to his will. Shizuku Kanzaki is tasked to find the 12 apostles as described by his father as well as the one wine that shines above them all. Of course, a protagonist needs his antagonist to keep things interesting so enter Issei Tomine, recently adopted by Shizuku’s father and also in the running for the prize, an awesome collection of fine wines.

What’s cool about the manga is that all the wines are real. Real wines from real vineyards with real people. Also, whilst there’s gonna be obvious attention on the expensive hyped up wines, they also do recommend a whole bunch of cheaper wines as well. The best bit is the education you get reading it. Whilst the main character is the son of a famous wine critic, he wasn’t taught a thing about wine itself. He was however, taught all the skills to appreciate it, like smelling and tasting and how these two sensations interact together and how some things go with others and some don’t and also how to decant wine from a great height, which is like the equivalent of a DBZ fireball in this series. He wasn’t told about any vineyards or types of grapes or terroir or anything at all. So in his quest, he has to learn along the way and the reader gets to do so at the same time. Of course, you’d wish you had the luck to keep running into people who’d drop off random expensive bottles in your face or getting advice from a homeless bum version of Robert Parker Jr.

It’s unrealistic but it’s informative and fun. I did wish I could taste everything they describe because it all sounds awesome. Plus, it’s a Japanese comic. They’re going to weave in heartfelt stories into the main plot that will make you go “awww…” or “woah…”. The English version was recently put into print so you can already kop a few volumes perfectly printed out and translated which is great. Well, 3 volumes anyway. There’s more on the way but this is hardly a finished manga. Even in Japan, they’re only up to 8 apostles. So if you do start, get ready to hit that wall of anticipate.

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