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Les Gouttes de Dieu (神の雫 Kami no Shizuku?, lit. The Drops of God) is a popular Japanese manga comics series about wine. It is created and written by Tadashi Agi, a pseudonym employed by creative team of sister and brother Yuko and Shin Kibayashi,[1][2] with artwork by Shu Okimoto. All the wines that appear in the comic are authentic.

The series was first published in November 2004 in Weekly Morning magazine in Japan, and still runs to date. It is also published in Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Since April 2008, volumes have also been published in France by Glénat. As of December 2007 the series had registered sales of more than 500,000 copies.[1]

A television adaptation, also titled Kami no Shizuku, was broadcast by Nippon Television in January 2009.

Plot

Kanzaki Shizuku (神咲 雫), is the son of a recently deceased, world renowned wine critic Kanzaki Yutaka (神咲 豐多香) who owns a vast wine collection. In order to take ownership of his legacy, he must find 13 wines, known as the "Twelve Apostles" and the "Les Gouttes de Dieu" that his father described in his will. He has a competitor called Toomine Issei (遠峰 一青), a renowned young wine critic, who is his father's adopted son.

Shizuku has never drunk or has any previous knowledge about wines, but with strong senses of taste and smell, plus knowledge gained from his time with his father, and with support from his friends and colleagues like sommelier trainee Shinohara Miyabi (紫野原みやび), Shizuku submerges himself in the world of wine and tries to solve the mysteries of the 13 wines and defeat Toomine Issei.

The "Twelve Apostles" and "Les Gouttes de Dieu"

To win each round of the competition of 13 mystery wines, Shizuku and Issei has to present a correct choice of wine and a valid manifestation of his candidate, which matches with Yutaka's description of the wine in his will. The judge is Yutaka's friend Robert Doi (土肥 ロベール). So far, identities of seven apostles have been disclosed.

Shizuku's choice Issei's choice References
First Apostle 2001 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses 1999 Georges Roumier Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Amoureuses [3][4]
Second Apostle 2000 Château Palmer 1999 Château Palmer [5]
Third Apostlea 2000 Santa Duc Gigondas 2001 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape [6]
Rematchb 2000 Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo 2000 Pégaü Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo [7]
Fourth Apostle 1992 Château Lafleur 1994 Château Lafleur [8]
Fifth Apostle 2000 Marc Colin Montrachet 2000 Michel Colin-Deléger Chevalier-Montrachet [9][10]
Sixth Apostle 2001 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis 2001 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falleto [11][12]
Seventh Apostle 2003 Glaetzer Amon-Ra Shiraz Barossa Valley 2003 Sine Qua Non The Inaugural (Eleven Confessions) Syrah Central Coast AVA

Template:Colorbox Green background means the competitor won the round and picked the correct wine.
^a Both choices were judged to be incorrect, therefore a rematch was held.
^b Though they chosed the same wine, as Issei refused to manifest his wine, he was judged to lose this round of competition.

Impact

The Japanese importer Enoteca has stated that the comic character has begun to influence its stock ordering decisions.[2] The sale of fine wines in South Korea has increased significantly as a result of the popularity of the comic,[13] with the sale of wine rising from less than a third of the market to around 70 per cent of alcohol sales.[14]

After an issue with a mention of lesser known producer Château Mont-Pérat came out, a Taiwanese importer sold 50 cases of Mont-Pérat in two days. Sales of Umberto Cosmo's Colli di Conegliano Rosso also leaped 30% after being mentioned in the Manga series.[1][15] All Nippon Airways reported it had to recraft the in-flight wine lists to accommodate the increased interest.[2]

A 2007 Reuters feature asserted that "wine industry experts believe part of the manga's appeal is that it teaches readers enough about wine to understand the drink and impress their friends, but does so in an entertaining way".[16] In the July 2009 Decanter publication of "The Power List" ranking of the wine industry's individuals of influence, Shin and Yuko Kibayashi placed at number 50, citing that the work was "arguably the most influential wine publication for the past 20 years".[17][18]

References

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Footnotes
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Woodard, Richard, Decanter.com (December 12, 2007). "Manga comics ignite interest in wine". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Lewis, Leo, The Times (September 11, 2008). "Cartoon wine critic Shizuku Kanzaki boosts Japanese sales". 
  3. Script error
  4. Script error
  5. Script error
  6. Script error
  7. Script error
  8. Script error
  9. Script error
  10. Script error
  11. Script error
  12. Script error
  13. The Korea Times Lifestyles: Wines to Become More Popular
  14. Salter, Jessica, The Daily Telegraph (September 11, 2008). "Cartoon character from Kami no Shizuku drives up wine sales in Japan". 
  15. Hughes, Felicity, The Japan Times (April 11, 2008). A manga drunk on French wine
  16. Hardach, Sophie, Reuters.com (June 4, 2007). Taste of heaven: Manga spreads 'Drops of God' in Asia
  17. Decanter (July 2009). "The Power List", p.40
  18. Lechmere, Adam, Decanter.com (June 1, 2009). "Power List 2009: Parker Gives Way to Constellation". 

External links

ko:신의 물방울vi:Les Gouttes de Dieu

zh:神之雫

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