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Manga characters are oenophiles


The comics-loving NY Times takes it to a new level, with a story on the wild success of the as-yet untranslated manga THE DROPS OF THE GODS, which is credited with sending certain wine sales in East Asia soaring.

Since coming out of nowhere four years ago, this 20-something Japanese would-be sommelier has quickly become the most influential voice in Asia’s wine markets.

In Tokyo, wine sellers monitor his weekly pronouncements before adjusting their stocks accordingly. In newer markets like Taiwan and urban China, his recommendations are turning the newly affluent into wine converts. And in Seoul, South Koreans now hold forth on “terroir” and how a bottle “marries” with a particular dish without blinking.

Never mind that Shizuku is a comic-book figure, the hero of a manga series, “The Drops of the Gods,” created and written by a middle-aged Japanese sister-and-brother team. Asian readers who have never heard of Robert M. Parker Jr. scrutinize the comic hero’s every sip, learning about wine in words and images that may seem strange to traditionalists.

There’s a big slide show of the manga as well.

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