I have been looking for ages for a manga which has suspense, deception, intrigue, femme fatale, gentlemen thief and secret agent theme like Mission Impossible, Thomas Crown Affair or Arsene Lupin story. Those theme I find it in Kaito Le Vin manga created by Agi Tadashi and Shuu Akimoto, who also creator of Drop of God manga series. This manga has a lot of potential to becomes great series due it’s suspense situation, simultaneous storyline and improvisation plan execution.
Kaito Le Vin’s story is about a thief group who specialize in wine burglar. Nevertheless, their target was always a rare wine which lost or stolen in past then change hand from one person into other. Their mission is to return the wine bottle into the right owner who request them.
The story start when an old man visit a wine bar in some kind European country. He was asked by bartender what kind of wine he want to enjoy in this establishment and he replied that his kind wine wasn’t available in this bar yet. This conversation is a trigger make other customer to want hear his explanation and act like some secret code that he is potential client for Kaito Le Vin’s group.
Meanwhile, reader is introduced to Kaito Le Vin’s member one by one as the storyline continue. The first person is Mouton who specialize in master disguise, able to impersonate someone connected to the target or even the antagonist character himself. He is able to impersonate other person perfectly in term body language, face and voice. Mouton’s role is similar to Martin Landau from Mission Impossible series where he often infiltrate target facilities by impersonate a person using latex face disguise and false voice.
Next, Princess Margaux is the only female member in the Kaito Le Vin group. She has an aristocrat background. She acted as femme fatale or woman in distress role in order to distract or corrupt antagonist character’s attention so other team member can catch and secure the target. She often describes as sexy, wealthy and attractive person that can draw everyone directly or indirectly into her. Margaux is looks like Catherine Banning from Thomas Crown Affair, where she uses her sexiness to catch Thomas Crown’s attention and reveals where he hides his stolen collection.
It makes me curious, why she join Kaito Le Vin group as thief meanwhile she has aristocrat and wealthy life? Perhaps, reader can see her background story arch in further story. I have feeling she is same kind as Thomas Crown who boring her wealthy life and stage a burglar operation just for fun.
On other hand, Latour is information or technology specialist who specialize for forgery or hacking or provides cool equipments for team member to complete their mission. He is acted as support character who help facilities other member to snatch and secure target and bring out it from danger location in sophisticate manner. Latour’s position is much similar to Barnard “Barney” Collier from Mission Impossible series.
Finally, Lafite is main character in Kaito Le Vin manga series. He is describes as handsome, cool, attractive, easy going and well manner person who lead Kaito Le Vin’s group in the field. He often describes as Margaux’s lover or companion when doing their mission and it looks like they are in relationship in their real life too. Lafite is looks like a portray of Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible Movie or Arsene Lupin in Lupin series. In addition, he is care, loyal and faithful lead his team in the field to complete their mission in any cost.
Kaito Le Vin group always listen what and why they must steal certain wine from the client before accept the request. This time, the client is a former astronaut who demand his stolen wine from his flight to outer space returned to him as his last memento for people who devote their life in astronaut work. The team accepted the request due the wine is rarest among rare wine as it ever experienced zero gravity in flight shuttle and survive.
In beginning of the mission, Margaux and Lafite is acted as couple who attend night ship cruise for wine event sponsored by a business tycoon. For this mission, Margaux is introduce herself as Catherine De Cazes, daughter of Cazes family, who has noble influence in the world.
Unfortunately, I almost forgot to introduced the last person in Kaito Le Vin group. He is Haut Brion, a bartender and a coordinator who monitoring Kaito Le Vin’s member in the field and help coordinate their action simultaneously in the field. His position looks similar to James “Jim” Phelps from Mission Impossible series, where he acted as captain of team. Together, Mouton, Margaux, Latour, Lafite and Haut Brion as Kaito Le Vin group steal precious wine and bring it to the right owner.
The mission is starting according to plan. Each member successful infiltrate the target place, as guest, chef and entertainer. Although, there some bit incident where Latour was stopped by a guard for carry a large trolley. He manages to convince the guard that it’s an oven for bake bread for customers. The guard almost suspicious but he lets Latour clear it with the oven for some left over bread.
The target is describes as “Cosmic Wine” one of only two bottles in the entire world as a wine which experiences zero gravity and safely return to earth in flight shuttle. This cosmic wine is being held inside cage with automatic alarm and guard by number of security guards.
This security tight situation due Troussier, owner of the cosmic wine received a threat letter from Le Vin, Wine Burglar, who state they will steal the wine. He is antagonist character in this story arch.
Meanwhile, beside him there a man called Rahman who describes as a buyer who buy the cosmic wine from Troussier. Troussier uses this event to increase his fame in wine business world.
Meanwhile, Lady Catherine aka Margaux, is enters spotlight by introduce herself to Troussier. He welcomes her and flatter her as noble beautiful woman is same rare as bottle of wine today. The flattering words was accepted by Catherine.
Catherine next move was to introduced herself to Rahman as sexy and beautiful lady who ever competed with Rahman in some wine auction in past. She manages catch Rahman’s attention and win his amused by her femme fatal skill to make Rahman obey her request. This scene makes other Rahman’s woman companions furious to her.
In Rahman’s room suite, Catherine is following Haut Brion’s instruction to try drugged Rahman by put some sleeping drug into his wine glass. The act almost foiled when Rahman too fast ask what kind of Catherine want to drink with him. She successful manage to pour sleeping drug into Rahman’s glass by pretend to give him a napkin for make easy to open a bottle of Champagne.
There some slight complication in Catherine effort to drug Rahman. He want to swap his champagne glass with Catherine’s glass in last minute, while it already drugged by sleeping drug. There no other choice except for Catherine to drink the sleeping drug champagne glass in front Rahman to avoid his suspicious. Haut Brion was very worried watch this situation.
Fortunately, Catherine suddenly kiss Rahman in passionate way and forced him to swallow the drug champagne from her mouth to him. The plan is work perfectly as Rahman slowly begin sleep due the drug.
Meanhile, Mouton who impersonate Rahman enters the room. He perfectly disguise as Rahman makes Catherine feel gross after she complete her task. Catherine and Mouton in Rahman’s disguise leave the real Rahman sleeping in room for next stage of the mission. Haut Brion contact Lafite to confirm his preparation at same time.
Lafite is act as mysterious card dealer who attract audiences by his card skill and invites guest to enter his card game. Ladies attracted by his cool and good looking appearance as card dealer while man want to try his card game. This scene is act as signal for next stage of Kaito Le Vin’s operation.
All member of Kaito Le Vin group are in position and according to their role plan while they have obstacle to distract Troussier and security guards away from some time from wine cage so Latour and Mouton can snatch and secure target without anyone know it.
Catherine join in card game as part of the plan and accept by Lafite as card dealer and they play it with some other guests who can play the game. He able to attract other guests to watch the game by make it’s interesting and showing his card skill to audiences.
The card game continue under amusement of guests as Lafite lets his deck players win against dealer on purpose. He want to create an impression his game is a juggle trick besides casual card game at same time. He let his attendant deck win for royal flush against him to amuse audiences who watch his card game finally catch attention everyone in the scene away from target’s cage.
Unfortunately, one of guards who is a woman not distract by the card game and remain alert continue watch the target’s cage. This situation make everything into stalemate and Haut Brion must find other way to secure target. In addition, Troussier coincidently interested to Latour’s bread decoration and ask him some of bread of it. Fortunately, Latour keeps calm and serves the bread while preserving his cover.
Trouble continue arise for Kaitou Le Vin’s group as Troussier spot fake Rahman (aka Mouton) and ask question related to Rahman’s wine preferences. Fortunately, Haut Brion provide correct answer to Latour before suspicious arouse. Nevertheless, the team need fast solution for escape this stalemate situation.
Finally, Haut Brion find a solution for the team to catch and secure target without make guard’s suspicious. It was his guest’s words related there two different wines that can complement each other like shining knight rescue a princess who in danger. Haut Brion quickly relay his summary idea to team in the field.
As Haut Brion explaining his last plan into the team, everyone move into each position and standby for plan execution. The plan is named “Cuvee Alexandrine” plan based on type of Champagne with same name from Chardonnay, French. The Champagne is well known as one of top of French Champagne and described as best drink companion for seafood dinner.
As part of the plan, Catherine will pretend to play billiard. Her appearance draws almost man guests attention and she approaching and fixing her billiard stick to start the play. Meanwhile, other members standby in their position waiting and ready for signal from Haut Brion.
Catherine suddenly experienced an incident where her gown suddenly ripped while play billiard. Her scream create confusion and attract attention of all guest as her top part of gown torn by accident and reveal her naked body. This scene is sure catch all man’s attention.
Fortunately, the mask card dealer (aka Lafite) cover Catherine body with table cloth in brilliant movement and protect her like a shining knight rescue a princess in distress. This action attract attention all guest and guards, particularly, the last female guard who attracted by Lafite good looking appearance and let off her attention for some time. Its enough to provide time for other Kaitou Le Vin member to snatch the target.
All member of Kaitou Le Vin group disappear from the party place after secure the target and replace it with fake one. Everything is back into normal as nothing happened, except, the wine in display is fake. The thievery process isn’t discovered until the antagonist characters, Troussier and Rahman, try to open the cage which protect the wine. The result is amused and hilarious.
Meanwhile, all Kaitou Le Vin members regroup at front part of ship and make their escape by inflatable boat with the real wine in their possession. As last touch, Latour will leave as last person as he planning to leave some sign relate to their thievery message.
The message is in form of cake imitation with Kaitou Le Vin signature which discovered by guards and cooks in kitchen. The group already left the ship by the time when guards discovered the cake message.
Later, the Kaitou Le Vin’s team celebrate their success with the client by open and drink the space wine together. The wine itself described as like a universe in night sky as the story closed. Nice but a well done ending.
In Summary, Kaitou Le Vin is great and well tailored story with great art as a manga series. The plot story can be reuse for other arch story in different situation without make it boring for reader. Its similar to Mission Impossible series plot where audiences can enjoy the television series show without slightly boring for years, even it’s other adaptation later.
Nevertheless, there some elements I wish to see in further story of Kaitou Le Vin. Such as, it often in gentlemen thief story there a detective or law enforcement officer who task for capture him or them in various occasion, for instance, inspector or commissar Guillaume Berlat from Arsene Lupin. Futuristic or custom gadget like sleeping drug pen or voice imitator or smoke decoder designed by Barnard “Barney” Collier from Mission Impossible series. My ambitiousness thinking is there a copycat thief or rival team who want same target at same time.
As you can see this is a great and potential series. Au revoir.
This manga is good when read while listen to this music.