The immensely popular wine-themed Kami no Shizuku (Drops of God) comic series was created by brother and sister Shin and Yuko Kibayashi, under the pseudonym Tadashi Agi, and illustrated by artist Shu Okimoto.
It tells the story of two half-brothers who must compete in a series of blind tastings in order to inherit a vast collection of fine wines – worth £14.2m – from their father.
They taste 13 wines along the way, including classics such as Château Palmer 1999, Château d’Yquem 1976, Michel Colin-Deléger Chevalier-Montrachet 2000 and Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo 2000.
One brother is a trained sommelier, the other – the hero of the piece – a beer-loving rebel with a great sense of taste and smell determined to prove his late father wrong and win the competition.
Drops of God has a cult-like following in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where by 2014 it had a readership of 300 million. Fans of the comic immediately sought out the wines featured on its pages and they sold out in local markets; many make pilgrimages to the wine areas and wineries featured in the graphic novel.
This huge success has led to an English translation of the 44-volume saga with the first eight volumes available now, with the rest to follow across the next year. They are being published by Kodansha Comics alongside Amazon’s digital comics platform ComiXolog.
Drops of God creators Shin and Yuko Kibayashi first fell in love with wine at a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti event where they experienced the Burgundian domaine’s Echezeaux 1985, according to a Bloomberg article.
As well as releasing the comic in English, the pair have also set-up a US-based wine club where members are offered an ‘interactive online wine experience’.
The Drops of Gold Wine Salon is a joint venture with investors including Peter Chiang, whose family owns Napa Valley estate Kanpai Wines. It offers members access to exclusive wines, food and wine tips and lifestyle rewards all through an online portal where they can complete a quiz to help determine which wines they will receive.