Drink in the flavor of the New World!
Story: Tadashi Agi
Art: Shu Okimoto
Translation: Vertical, Inc
What They Say:
Zooming ahead to a story arc that presents New World wines, this special volume of The Drops of God features scenes set in Napa Valley and labels from outside the traditional European production centers.
In the New World arc, the focus shifts from the European wines found in most Tokyo wine bars to the wine cellars of Napa Valley and the wine makers of Australia. The next apostle is destined to change the perspective of wine drinkers everywhere as it brings hope to the future of wine. Shizuku takes off for a trip across the Pacific to Chile before heading out to Oz in search of a sensational Shiraz while Issei and his new drinking partner find the naunaces of Syrah in Northern California.
After some discussion with their friends and family, both Shizuku and Issei are summoned to the reading for the description of the Seventh Apostle. Though Issei’s mother seems to pick up on the wine immediately, Shizuku and Issei are both left stumped. However, upon consulting with their respective groups, both come to the conclusion that it must be a New World wine, a wine from outside the countries with winemaking traditions. Invigorated, Issei decides to head off to Napa Valley in the United States. There, he rides a train with Loulan while sampling and discussing American wines. However, their happy bonding experience comes to a close when they are kidnapped at gunpoint. The kidnappers want Issei’s help in order to rig a blind wine auction, with his opinion being used to inflate the price of a poor wine. With Loulan being held hostage he’s left with little choice, and decides to participate. However, thanks to Issei’s pride and Loulan’s bravery and cunning, Issei is able to con the conmen and come out of the situation with a rare wine for a great price.
Back in Japan, Shizuku and company do a wine tasting of New World wines from various countries in order to narrow down the origin of the Apostle. In the end, they narrow it down to either the US or Australia, but since there’s only time to visit one before the deadline, Shizuku decides to go with Australia. There, he and Miyabi meet up with Nadia Simon of Taiyo Beer’s Australia branch, and are treated to some rather unique Australian cuisine, such as kangaroo meat. However, their dining experience is interrupted when Nadia’s father barges in and declares that he sees the Japanese as his enemy due to how they treat the environment. He also mysteriously reveals that he once knew someone else named Kanzaki. After he leaves, Nadia explains that he runs an eco-village named Emerald Forest, and he hates Japan because their industry has led to the deforestation of Australia. While mulling over Nadia and her father’s words later that night, Shizuku and Miyabi overhear some thugs discussing a plan to burn down Emerald Forest for their own personal gain. They hurry off, and thanks to Shizuku’s sense of smell are able to avert the forest fire. With Shizuku having proven himself, Nadia’s father finally reveals that he did meet Shizuku’s father once before, giving our young hero a possible hint towards the Apostle in the process.
Meanwhile, Issei follows his lead to a famous wine critic who lost his sense of taste and smell. Ever since he has been creating a film using footage he himself shot, one that Issei decides to watch in the hope of finding a hint as to the Apostle’s identity.
With their vastly differing processes, only one will be able to arrive at the correct answer, so who will be the one to discover the true identity of the Apostle?
As someone who isn’t much on drinking and is picking up the series for the first time with this volume, this book made for a rather unusual read. However, even though it can take a bit to get used to all the different characters and motives, the book holds up fine even as a standalone, so I’d imagine it wouldn’t prove a problem for prior readers even with the skipped chapters. Meanwhile, the imagery does a fantastic job of bringing each individual wine to life, even for someone who doesn’t drink. It’s not hard to see how this series could have the power to prompt people to go out and try new wines and experiences, as it can be downright tantalizing at times. Fortunately, though, the series does try to mix things up, and provides some action and intrigue that extends beyond wine-tasting, allowing for some refreshing variety. It’s certainly a unique series and book, and for those looking for something a little different, it’s sure to make for a rather entertaining and fascinating read.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Vertical
Release Date: October 30th, 2012