This is my first adventure into reviewing Manga and Graphic Novels. I am choosing to review 2 volumes today, since Manga typically tends to be a fairly fast and easy read.
Bizenghast, Volume 1 (Bizenghast #1)
By M. Alice LeGrow
Genre: Gothic Manga
When a young girl moves to the forgotten town of Bizenghast, she uncovers a terrifying collection of lost souls that leads her to the brink of insanity. One thing that becomes painfully clear: The residences of Bizenghast are just dying to come home. Marty Legrow has crafted an unforgettable Gothic drama that will leave readers haunted long after the last page is turned.
Bizenghast was nowhere on my radar. I actually read quite a large amount of manga at times, but this was an unfamiliar title when I stumbled upon it. Needless to say that with my tendency to enjoy the darker side of things, I was grabbed by the synopsis.
I feel the blurb is pretty straightforward. After Dinah’s parent’s die in a questionable car accident, her aunt inherits her along with some property in Bizenghast, a very odd and somewhat abandoned town. Unfortunately, the lost souls wandering the estate are driving Dinah into madness. She is left with little more than her friend Vincent for comfort.
Dinah and Vincent happen to stumble upon the hidden Mausoleum while out one day. It is here that she suddenly finds herself locked into a contract and charged with releasing the trapped spirits contained within.
The concept is agreeable for fans of darker, gothic tales. There is an added element of riddles involved with each spirit’s release that I found entertaining and there are hints of familiar fairy tales. The back stories provided are fun, but not necessarily outstanding.
My favorite aspect of Bizenghast with this first encounter would be the artwork.
I believe this collection completed in 2012 and has been released as a single volume since. While I was not swept away, I will continue for a while to see how this progresses.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Bizenghast, Volume 2 (Bizenghast #2)
by M. Alice LeGrow
Genre: Manga Gothic
Armed with the first of the four tower guards, Dinah and Vincent set out to solve the rest of the Mausoleum’s riddles, which prove more difficult as the journey progresses. But is Edaniel a help or a hindrance? Between traveling through Bizenghast’s early past to rid the woods of a festering plague-carrier, attempting to cheat the Mausoleum out of its contract, and dealing with the vicious ghosts of bratty children, the pair will have to find their own hidden strengths before reaching their next goal, and the mysterious second tower guard, Edrear.
Volume 2 literally picks up where we left off with Dinah and Vincent. They have now met a tower guard and continue with their efforts to solve the riddles hidden within the Mausoleum. The adventure is becoming more challenging, and Dinah is now at risk of being sent to an institution due to the increasing effect of Bizenghast’s ghastly residents on her mental health.
I felt that this edition had a much more steady pace and took delight in the events that were unfolding with greater appreciation. The riddles continue, with more depth and the weird factor has been ramped up. There is also a small amount of humor thrown in with the addition of the tower guard, which has increased my curiosity. I am looking forward to the introduction of the remaining three.
Again, the artwork is impressive at times. There is an amount of detail in some scenes that you do not always encounter in manga. I do not want to over share, but the gothic style is appealing.
I feel that this would make an excellent anime series. Yet, I have found no information that this ever happened. There was mention of a Kickstarter fund at one point, but it seems to end there. I will continue for now to see how this series fares.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for copies in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.