Based on the namesake manga series written by Tadashi Agi (a pseudonym used by the team of sister and brother Yuko and Shin Kibayashi) and illustrated by Shu Okimoto, ‘Drops of God’ is an Apple TV+ (US and international) series about wines, oenology (also enology), wine industry and the surrounding culture. The series begins with the death of one of the greatest sommeliers in the world, Alexandre Léger, who left behind a $7 million house in Tokyo and a $148 million wine collection. When his daughter, Camille Léger (Fleur Geffrier), a 20-something Parisian woman, arrives in Tokyo, she discovers that her father devised an elaborate competition between her and his protégé Issei Tomine (Tomohisa Yamashita) to decide who would inherit his legacy.
Camille and Issei are plagued by their issues that serve as hindrances to their success in this competition. While Camille has a violent reaction every time she drinks any alcohol, Issei’s extremely wealthy Japanese family finds it humiliating that the sole successor of their fortune is competing for a Westerner’s legacy. If you are wondering about the inspiration behind the show’s unconventional title, we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
What Does the Title of Drops of God Stand for?
According to series creator Quoc Dang Tran (‘Marianne‘), ‘Drops of God’ is about “a battle between the two of them – the biological daughter [Camille] versus the spiritual son [Issei]. There will be three challenges, three tests, all related to wine tasting, and the winner takes it all. They will only have a few weeks to prepare for the tests. The only problem is Camille knows nothing about wine. This is the whole story, this is ‘Drops of God,’ and we are very proud of the project.”
As mentioned above, the multinational and multilingual series is based on a manga originally published from 2004 to 2014. Its sequel, ‘Marriage: The Drops of God Final Arc,’ was serialized from 2015 to 2020. During the adaptation process, Tran and his team introduced several changes to the narrative, characters, and setting. One of the most obvious changes is that Camille is a young Japanese man named Shizuku Kanzaki in the manga. There, Shizuku and Issei must participate in a challenge to identify correctly 13 different wines and describe them just as Shizuku’s father would have. The first 12 wines are referred to as the “Twelve Apostles.” The 13th and final wine is called the “Drops of God” (“Kami no Shizuku” in Japanese and “Les Gouttes de Dieu” in French).
So, the series may have only three challenges instead of 12 of the manga, but it’s safe to assume that the phrase “Drops of God” refers to the particular year and make of a wine. Despite the association with the Messiah and his apostles, there is most likely nothing supernatural about it. The original manga is renowned for its authenticity and adherence to reality when it comes to dealing with the primary subject matter. The series sought to replicate that in the production, hiring expert consultants as advisors and to teach their actors.
The sequel manga series, ‘Marriage: The Drops of God Final Arc,’ is about pairing food and wine, with Shizuku and Issei searching for the eponymous “Drops of God” in the background. Perhaps, the said wine will also be introduced in a similar context in the show. In a 2020 interview with Wine Spectator, Shin Kibayashi stated, “The main characters of this series are not the two brothers, but actually the wines. That’s how we wanted to make the series. As we continued to explore, the fans started to catch on. And it started a phenomenon that we never expected. It was a nice surprise.”
Yuko Kibayashi echoed her brother, “… It’s all because we made a manga with wine as the main character. And its own charm speaks for itself through its history, human relationships and culture. In our series, we use this word “tenchijin” [the elements that create wine: heaven/vintage, earth/terroir and man]. We were gambling on if the readers would grasp the depth of wine through the imagery of this word, or not. In fact they did, not just fans in Japan, but by fans all over the world.”