Quoc Dang Tran’s adaptation of the manga “Shizuku No Kami,” Drops of God released its final episode this week, and things went as perfectly as you could imagine for the two competitors. Meeting each other for the first time in a competitive circumstance, Camille Leger and Issei Tomine considered each other natural foes because they both competed for Alexandre Leger’s inheritance worth millions. However, over the course of eight episodes, the rivalry turns into something beautiful that needs to be witnessed to be understood. From the get-go, one might’ve found Issei to be unnaturally stoic and somber, but when you think about his upbringing, you understand the reasons behind his pale demeanor. However, the series explores how good company finally changes Issei into a happy and jubilant young man, and here’s how it happens:
A healthy childhood comprises a lot of factors: good education, nutritious and healthy food, a comfortable house to sleep in, and, of course, a loving and accepting environment where the kids truly feel at home. Despite growing up with every lavishness imaginable for a child, Issei Tomine grew up unhappy and upset because his life missed the primary ingredient that leads to a healthy childhood: a family that loves you. Japan is a lot of things: it has the fastest bullet trains, the best-ever technology, and anime! But it’s also highly patriarchal and immensely influenced by the all-encompassing umbrella of “honor.” Almost everything that’s considered normal in Western families is considered uncouth in the highly moralistic families of Japan, more so if the families come from old money. Unfortunately for Issei, the family from his mother’s side was in the famous diamond business, and his grandfather still wielded the baton of power and patriarchy in the house.
Issei never knew what love between parents looked like because his mother, Honoka, treated his father, Hirokazu, as a second-class citizen in the family. Treated more as an afterthought, Issei’s father was frequently mistreated by the curt and rude Honoka, but Issei had been taught never to speak against his elders, as the Japanese teaching goes. Issei did receive guardianship from a famous wine expert who resided in Tokyo, and this French enologist named Alexandre Leger had accepted Issei as his “spiritual son,” and the young man learned all about wine from him. However, even under Alexandre’s tutelage, Issei never knew affection, something he craved for his entire life, but his clenched jaw would never betray it.
After Alexandre left a challenge on his deathbed for his “spiritual son” and his own daughter Camille Leger, Issei quickly started learning how his family really was. Issei’s grandfather threw him out of the family, denying him his inheritance because he’d apparently ‘sullied’ and ‘tarnished’ the Tomine name by taking part in the competition of a Frenchman. Moreover, the one woman every child looks up to for unequivocal support, his mother, chose to side with the geriatric wart of a grandfather. However, what frustrated Issei the most was the silent nature Hirokazu always wore until the young man lost his cool and humiliated Hirokazu to the point that he left home. Soon, Issei learned that the man he’d known as his father all along was not his father, and his wine teacher wasn’t just his teacher but his father. Honoka had gotten pregnant with Alexandre’s child, and to save the family from dishonor, Hirokazu married her and agreed to act as Issei’s father. The shallow pride that the Tomine family championed was so flimsy that a gust of truth would shatter this fragile empire at any time. This explains Honoka’s silence when Issei thundered about his true parentage, and it also explains why Issei walked out on this wretched family.
However, life is known to open a door when it shuts one in your face, and it wasn’t much different for Issei either. An interviewer named Yurika Katase had been excited to get an interview from Issei, but he’d disappointed her by refusing to give a scoop. He later changed his mind in exchange for help. This would be to find his father because Issei had come to realize that the man who fathered him and included him in a wine competition to fight for his legacy could never equal the man who sacrificed his entire prime to nurture a kid that wasn’t even his own. Issei knew that from the family of vampires, it was only his father whom he truly considered a parent because he didn’t care for dishonor. For once, Issei wanted to feel the warm embrace of a hug or a few kind words telling him that he was loved and valued in the family. Issei’s meetings with Yurika got more frequent, and soon they were meeting for more than professional reasons. This was the first step to finding love on strange shores, but it didn’t happen; after spending a lifetime without a person to truly enjoy his presence, he’d found Yurika who prioritized Issei unlike anyone had, ever. Additionally, she was also making arrangements and letting Hirokazu know how much his ‘son’ loved him, despite knowing the truth.
On the competition front, Issei was about to win the competition through a chink in the system, but the reason he struck off the correct answer was that he didn’t want to cheat his sister. Camille Leger, the daughter of Alexandre Leger, had no idea how close her “arrogant” competitor was to her, but she also didn’t know that this Japanese man would rather lose a round than hurt a family member. His own family had disowned him, but that didn’t mean Issei wouldn’t be able to find a family of his own, especially when his half-sister was right there. Issei didn’t say a word about the secret to his competitor, but his concerned eyes didn’t leave her sight the entire bus ride to a vineyard because he’d noticed his sister didn’t feel well.
The night after the final round of the test had been completed, and Issei watched with a smile as Camille, her boyfriend Thomas, his father Philippe, and Alexandre’s lawyer Francois sat around the table and exchanged stories, laughed, and nudged each other playfully. From Issei’s speech about how he’d never seen a dinner like this but had craved it all the more, it was clear just how many emotional knots the young man had had in his chest growing up. Watching people enjoy his cooking, laugh, and let their emotions out was a welcome change from the tight-lip dinners and curt greetings he was used to in the Tomine household. But now he’d no longer have to face such dinners because he’d let Camille know of their relationship. The best part about it all, though, was that it didn’t take Camille too long to accept him as a brother.
With the contest over, Alexandre’s newest clause surprised the siblings, and Camille and Issei would now have to compete to find out what the Drops of God were because the competition was a tie. Camille won, but she made sure Issei wasn’t left out. Meanwhile, Issei traveled to a construction site where Hirokazu was working, and the two men hugged as real fathers and sons would. Before meeting him, though, Issei had let his mother know that with one sign of a pen, he’d inherit half of Alexandre’s property, but doing so would mean he accepted Alexandre as his father. It didn’t matter to him that if he’d made a choice, his grandfather’s reputation would be destroyed, but what did matter was that the man he thought to be his father, Hirokazu, would be insulted. Issei found a father’s love in Hirokazu, miles away from the house he grew up in. Now, together with his newfound family—his father, his half-sister, and the love of his life—Issei needn’t ask for love ever again.