Monday, April 21, 2008

Manga Monday: Bizenghast

Bizenghast (Volume 1)
M. Alice LeGrow

Bizenghast is a Gothic thriller about a young girl who lost her parents in a car accident and has been sent to live with her aunt, where together they reside in a house renovated from a school for boys, which itself was once a hospital. Since coming to live on the former grounds of St. Lyman's School For Boys in Bizenghast, Dinah has been sickly. On top of that, she is tormented by the ghosts that haunt its corridors, giving her aunt and doctor cause for worry. Her only real friend through all of this is a boy her age, Vincent, who lives in the neighborhood. The two of them sneak out one night and stumble upon a mausoleum, where Dinah unwittingly enters into a contract to help the creatures that live there in their quest to release the spirits locked within its vaults. Under her obligation, she visits the mausoleum every night with Vincent and together they solve one of the riddles (and subsequent puzzleboxes of sorts) and walk through a gateway to a house or forest, where they work to release the trapped spirit from its shackles. Kind of a neat premise. Each chapter seems to center around a sole adventure, and just when it began to feel a little repetitive, a new element was thrown into the mix, a spirit guide named Edaniel, who is a surprisingly really neat character himself: funny, clever and very cheeky. The art is sometimes a little too muddy and unclear, but it's also quite beautiful and ornate at times, fitting for a book of its type. Some of the stories seem a little rushed and perhaps a little fuzzy, but overall, I was very entertained by this book. If it weren't for the introduction of Edaniel toward the end of the volume, I would have said that one book was enough. But as is, I can certainly see myself reading Bizenghast for volumes to come.

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