** IMPORTANT NOTE: This volume skips roughly 5 volumes forward from the end of volume 4. The series builds gradually and is best read in order, but at this point there will be no more volumes translated, so I recommend going ahead and reading this after finishing #1-4. **
** Because of the time jump not only will this review contain no spoilers for New World, I will also avoid taking about anything in this volume that spoils events in the skipped volumes, although I will mention which Apostle they are on for time reference. **
Shizuku's journey through the world of wine and the contest to identify more wines described by his late father than rival Issei continues. Volume 4 ended with the identification of the Second Apostle, and we have now moved forward to the Seventh. Without getting into story details, New World was tough for me to read at first only because the series grows so well from chapter to chapter skipping over 100 was very disorienting and I felt like I was missing out on a lot of nuance. That being said, if you're not worrying too much about what was missed or long running developments and thread the tale in this volume does stand alone fairly well. The detail and care given both to art, wine and character elements is as impressive as always.
Unfortunately the series has essentially been cancelled, as apparently sales for 1-4 haven't been good enough for them to continue publishing the series at this time. The publisher had gone on record before starting the series that they would publish as much as they could, but no matter how the series did they would translate/publish the stories about California wines at some point (assuming, I guess, that's what American readers would be most interesting in). This appears to be a combination of them making good on that promise and hoping that it will increase appeal and generate enough interest and additional sales to enable them to continue publishing the series in the future. Personally I would have preferred one more volume in order, but I can see why they and the original Japanese authors focused on CA when trying to get people in the U.S. excited about the series and it is nice to see them follow through on a promise. I'm hoping things will change and they'll eventually be able to take another chance with this, but for now these five volumes are all we're getting. :(
While jumping so far ahead in a layered, gradually building story is rather frustrating and takes some depth away from this volume, it is none-the-less up to the usual quality standards of the series and presents a engaging back and forth view of Issei and Shizuku's search for the Seventh Apostle.
New World is a worthy addition to Agi's epic and I highly encourage anyone who's interested in the series to pick it up, both to experience the last bit of Drops of God we'll get for a while and because any chance of future releases will depend greatly on the continuing sales of available volumes.