Title: Kami no Shizuku
Genres: Seinen, Drama, Mystery, Slice of Life
Author: Kibayashi Shin a.k.a. Agi Tadashi, Amagi Seimaru, Ando Yuma, Aoki Yuuya, Arimori Jyoji, Igano Hiroaki, S.K., and Kibayashi
Artist: Okimoto Shu
Publication: Kodansha; serialized in Morning
Start Date: 2004
End Date: Ongoing
Number of chapters at review: 19
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 19
The world of wine is just as exquisite and perplexing as it tastes. A blend of myriad of flavors that's bottled up for years. In such a world, from the least to the greatest, it comprises of connoisseurs; people who are dedicated to the world of wine. Kanzaki Shizuku, who is the son of the famous wine connoisseur, Kanzaki Yutaka, has a distaste for wine. When Kanzaki Yutaka passes away, a parting message, in the form of wine, was given to Kanzaki Shizuku. After tasting and comprehending the message, Kanzaki Shizuke is thrust into the world of wine.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The realism in the art is fantastic. I especially like the detail to the wine labels. It's interesting to note that not much attention is given to the background but only to the characters. By doing it this way, the reader is unconsciously paying more attention to the characters of the manga. As much as I love amazing art work such as those of Tenjou Tenge famed Oh! Great, such artwork detracts from the quality of the story. When such a thing happens, the presentation of a story is marred with eye candy. The most important thing to any narrative is the story that is being conveyed.
Personally, Okimoto Shu, though being an artist instead, presented Kibayashi Shin's story quite well. Okimoto Shu is a very talented artist that I'm sure Kibayashi Shin appreciates very much - hopefully.
Straight forward plot: an underdog versus a genius. Well, to be specific, an underdog who is the son of a world renown wine connoisseur versus a famed genius. The intertwining of intricacy of wine with the story has given it so much more depth. In addition, the battles are staged with using one's senses to describe the taste of wine. (Somehow, when I wrote that sentence, I'm reminded of the absurdity of Yakitate Japan!)
The training that each main lead has experienced or is going through is quite unique for a better lack of terminology. It goes to show that the elite in any field spent a considerable amount of time polishing their craft or art. I recall reading an article of the difference between professional orchestra players versus music teachers. This difference usually results in how many hours are logged over a certain period of time. The hours logged in by those who play in orchestras versus music teachers are considerably vast.
Even though the length of training might be pivotal, one must also consider how a person train which is especially crucial. How Kanzaki Shizuku described how his father trained him sounded absurd, but it made him a formidable rival to Tomine Issei. Of course, Tomine Issei's training is also absurd. The length of time spent training might be spent in vain if the training was not effective. Effective training, even if a little time is spent doing so, makes a world of difference.
Moving along, the inclusion of extra characters to further the wonder of wine was delightfully interesting. Of course, I do wonder if the author might over play such fantastic wonder.
I'm unsure as what the theme is. The starkest thing that stands out is the love of a parent for a child and how that appreciation is only truly understood by the child once that parent has gone the way of the world. For Kanzaki Shizuku, he never really comprehended what his father, Kanzaki Yutaka, did for him. As a father, Kanzaki Yutaka, prepared his son for the future even if his own son came to detest the father. I strongly believe that parents are there to prepare their children to become independent when that reach adulthood. Of course, there are parents, out of fear of failure on the child's part, hold back their own children.
Yet, Kami no Shizuku seems much more complex than just a relationship between a parent and child. As I stated above, there is an uncertainty within me as to what Kami no Shizuku is really about other than delving into the world of wine. Maybe it's about triggers to the human psyche that provoke emotional reactions. It's said that upon hearing music or eating something, memories of the distant past, once forgotten, might vividly surface. But, it's very complex to try and explain it, so I'll stop here.
Kami no Shizuku reminded me of the reason why I love reading manga so much. The appeal that anything could be told in such a fascinating way. Manga as an artistic medium which combines story-telling with illustration is a powerful form of artistic expression. What Kibayashi Shin and Okimoto Shu did here was similar to what Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata did with Hikaru no Go. (Well, I hope that Kami no Shizuku don't create more wine
drunkardsenthusiasts as what Hikaru no Go did to go (joke).)
Kibayashi Shin and Okimoto Shu basically presented wine in a very interesting light which is that the world of wine has an artistic depth that is connected to the spiritual and emotional aspect of humanity. Basically, wine caters to the artistic and creative nature of mankind. Because of that depth, one could only appreciate wine by delving deeper into. But most people lack that sophistication and thus why wine connoisseurs exist. This concept exist for all fields such as classical art, musical art or any type of artistic expression.
Just to note, in every human culture, man have created numerous fermented drinks. From what I understood, wine has virtually been a part of society since the beginning of mankind.
Of my own personal opinion, Kami no Shizuku has expressed such appreciation for wine quite well. In addition, I know not of any other manga with similar theme. If the reader knows of any other that is strictly similar, please feel free to point it out to me.
Never would I thought that wine could be used to express human emotions. With that, I don't know whether it's purely fictional or not. As said in the manga: there is a fine line between genius and madness. Human emotions are just as complex as the taste of wine but not as delicious.
That is what made Kami no Shizuku appealing. It was an appeal to the artistic nature and complex depth of humanity. From the fruits of our very own hands, we could convey powerful emotions which, otherwise, couldn't be conveyed audibly. Though, is the world of wine that amazing? I suppose there are only things that those on the inside could see and a limit to how much the spectators on the outside could gleen.
I would recommend Kami no Shizuku.
Last edited by segua; March 03, 2010 at 12:22 AM.