Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Is Drops of God THE wine manga?

 I’ve been meaning to read Drops of God for years and I’ve finally started doing that. Actually, I’m halfway through and taking a break.

Drops of God is a Seinen manga (which means it’s aimed at men between the ages of 18 and 40 basically the next step up from Shonen and is, in many ways pretty arbitrary) about wine. And, while the plot is about Shizuki Kanzaki and Issei Tomine in a wine identification contest, a _lot_ of time is spent discussing real wines and vineyards.

Drops of God is epicurean in a way that I don’t feel I’ve seen in a western work. As far as I know, no vineyard sponsored it and it isn’t in the style of a documentary. It is this blend of fiction and actual factual information.

And, for what it’s worth, red wine gives me headaches so a lot of what I’m reading about is purely theoretical for me. (Although I’m sure every member of the cast would tell me I just haven’t had the right red wine)

That said, it’s the fictional stuff that actually drives the story forward. 

While the story frames Shizuki as the hero and Tomine as the antagonist, they are really deuteragonists. More than that, at least in the first half, they seem to be in different genres.

Shizuki feels like a Shonen protagonist who has stumbled into a Sienen work. He is a plucky newcomer to wine but one with an almost supernatural palate. (Justified by his father putting him through an insane regiment as a child) And he some definite moments of being an awkward goof. 

More than that, a lot of his side adventures, involve him helping out other people. In general, there are a lot of altruistic elements to his part of the story.

On the other hand, Tomine feels a lot more like a Sienen protagonist. He is a much more brooding, troubled character. He’s the one who gets the racy sex scenes. His side adventures have more danger but it’s danger that he often brings on himself.

Shizuki’s flaws are those of innocence. Tomine’s flaws are from the loss of innocence. But Drops of God asks for us to be invested in both of them.

I do plan on reading the second half, particularly since I don’t think it’s guaranteed that Shizuki will win. And I’ll learn more about wine I’ll never drink.

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