Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Drops of God: Volume 1

by Tadashi Agi (story) and Shu Okimoto (art), 424 pages

Ever since he was a child, Shizuku's famous wine-critic father Kanzaki drilled him in the ways of wine.  And in protest, the young man has never actually imbibed a drop of the stuff, going instead into sales (of beer, no less!).  But when Kanzaki unexpectedly dies, Shizuku finds that he's still not off the hook.  At the reading of the will, it is revealed that his father has left him with one final test.  If Shizuku wants to claim his inheritance (chiefly his father's huge, priceless wine collection), he must first find the thirteen unnamed wines described in great poetic detail in the will.  He also learns that his father formally adopted another young man shortly before his death.  A young man who happens to be a very ambitious and talented up-and-coming wine critic.  And a young man to whom Shizuku will lose everything if he doesn't beat him to the finish line.

Huh.  This is quite fun, actually.  If you like Oishinbo (a crazily-informative, long-running manga about Japanese food and beverage that also has a plot of sorts and leaves you hankering for real sushi or noodles or sake), you will enjoy this series.  It makes you want to visit the Big Brown Derby (that's the International Wine Center, for those of you with more class than I  *hee*) and stare at the pretty bottles, speculating about the romantic stories behind their tasty contents.  Shizuku's brain has been hard-wired for wine comprehension by his clever father, but he couldn't care less about the stuff (or the inheritance, though having to fight a stranger for it does hurt his pride a bit)...until he finally takes a sip of a truly good wine and learns its story.  Now he has to find them all--more for himself and his understanding of his father than for the material wealth in question.  And how will the search affect his cold-hearted competition?  I wonder if his daddy didn't do them both a favor by throwing them at each other's throats like that....  I look forward to more!  (And I wish I had an "in" with a sommelier who'd give me free samples...lucky Shizuku....  *sigh*)

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