I’ve always wondered about what would happen when a mainstream manga title that covers a topic near and dear to many people comes overseas and is released in English to the masses. Well, it seems that speculation will be answered in the near future!
Last week, I read news about a popular manga in Japan called Kami no Shizuku or Drops of God being picked up by Vertical, a company who has been releasing Osamu Tezuka’s work along with other titles like Chi’s Sweet Home and Twin Spica.
Drops of God follows the tale of a young man “whose father, a famous Japanese wine critic, passes away. When he visits his father’s estate to lay claim to his inheritance, he learns that his father adopted another man and that the two must compete to identify 13 wines in order to earn the inheritance: a vast fortune in the form of a wine collection.”
The title is drawn in a more realistic manner with more adult protagonists and of course, deals with wine which is a topic many know about or aspire to learn about. Already, there have been accolades and coverage on Drops of God from winning awards in French wine magazine La Revue du vin de France and being featured in the New York Times Dining and Wine section.
All those aside, I have to wonder – will the average person be willing to pick up a comic book even though it’s about wine? Will libraries stock it on their shelves and correctly label it as an adult manga and not a young adult series? Will Vertical have to clout to get the series out there and in the hands of those other than manga fans?
When Viz published Oishinbo; a manga covering Japanese food; I jumped all over it but Viz stopped the series at seven volumes. Other cooking but teen fare manga Yakitate!! Japan will have it’s last volume released this April. Those two, though both cooking mangas, aimed for different audiences and different age groups. It’s always been a risk for publishers to print for older audiences but I’m hoping for the best with the release of Drops of God.
Each volume released in English will be equivalent to two volumes of their Japanese counterpart. The MSRP will be $14.95 USD and at a hefty 400 pages per volume. If Chi’s Sweet Home is anything to go by, the Drops of God volumes will be flipped and be readable on a left to right reading pattern. For me, it is always a good thing to expand manga audiences, have more genres for all tastes, and as someone who’s not a teenager anymore, I would like to see titles catering to older audiences. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things pan out because Drops of God may change the manga industry and I think that will be a very good thing.