Following a decade-long translation project, the binge-worthy Japanese comic series The Drops of God will be available in its entirety for English-speaking audiences. The final batch of volumes from the 44-volume epic written by sister-brother team Yuko and Shin Kibayashi (who often go by the collective Tadashi Agi) and illustrated by Shu Okimoto, were published by Kodansha and Amazon digital comics platform ComiXology, making the wine-fueled adventure free online to Prime and Kindle Unlimited members. The first 33 volumes are available now, and the remaining 11 will go on sale May 18.
"There’s a kind of iceberg effect that exists with manga in English, where much of what gets translated and brought over, though some of the most popular stories being published today, do not represent the whole of the manga," Kodansha USA CEO Alvin Lu told Wine Spectator via email. "The release of the entire Drops of God series in English is both an amazing and important accomplishment for us and manga in general, and we’re thrilled for the opportunity to have worked with ComiXology to fully translate and share this truly unique series worldwide."
The series follows Shizuku Kanzaki, who is summoned home one day to discover that his estranged father, a famous wine critic, has died. But he soon finds that claiming his inheritance will not be so simple as signing on a line: His father has devised an elaborate game in which he must identify and describe 12 top wines around the world—against a competitor, a brash young wine virtuoso the elder Kanzaki adopted. The bottles, called "Apostles," are all real wines, including bottles from esteemed producers like (spoiler alert) Georges Roumier, Sine Qua Non and Château d'Yquem.
In these last 11 volumes, readers will get to follow along through labyrinths in Burgundy and Alsatian wine competitions on the chase to find the last three "Apostles," one of which is compared to "a sunset over Granada's Alhambra palace."
Lu says most of the bottles featured in Drops of God are "a bit out of my price range," (tell us about it) but he has enjoyed a few bottles of the Château Mont-Pérat featured in Volume 1.
Tadashi Agi have already released and completed Marriage, a sequel to Drops of God that focuses on wine and food pairings. But American audiences and wine lovers will have to wait on a translation.
"There’s a kind of magic to manga, where it can bring new life to almost any kind of subject matter," Lu said. "Manga can open up these ideas in a way that’s both accessible and entertaining, and we hope these stories can open up the world of wine to manga fans in a way that helps them start their own wine aficionado journey."
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