Monday, March 27, 2017

Series Review: Bizenghast - The Manga

 

        Bizenghast is an interesting manga. First, because it's not strictly speaking actually a manga - it is written by an American-educated and German-raised author, and is not set in Japan or feature Japanese characters, yet it was featured in Tokyopop magazine and is presented in manga format. Second, M. Alice LeGow, the author is a Cosplayer, and the first couple of issues of the story seem more an exercise in creative (and exceedingly frilly) costume design than in actual storytelling. 
     In fact, there is bonus content in a few issues in which the author actually models costumes she created for herself based on those worn by her main character Dianah. Because the costuming and story telling is initially so strange it is difficult to tell what time period the story is set in. At times it seems very Victorian, at other times more modern, but never quite set in the present time. 
     Eventually the story settles itself down and you figure out the basics: Dinah is an orphan. Her parents have been killed in a car accident, and Dinah, who was the only survivor is now living in a decaying old mansion with her aunt, who believes Dinah is mentally ill. One day, while running away from potentially being put in an asylum, Dinah and her friend Vincent stumble upon an old graveyard, and accidentally enter into a sinister contract: Dinah must figure out a way to tame and release the restless spirits who reside in the mausoleum - one per night for 40 nights - until they are all at peace (or in hell, in some cases) or else she will be absorbed into the mausoleum herself. 
    The first several issues of the series focus only on Dinah and Vincent's quest to release the spirits, though eventually they do get some help from Edaniel (a supremely goofy cat-looking jokester who adds a lot of humor to the story) and his brother Edrear, mausoleum employees and guides. About halfway through the story though, it takes a darker turn when the spirits become darker and harder to tame and people start dropping dead.
     Overall, I can't say I was a huge fan of the series. There is entirely too much fluff for my taste, and wen the good stuff starts happening it is wrapped up MUCH too quickly in only the final 2 volumes. My favorite character by far was Edaniel. mostly because he reminds me of my cat Hades. 

Final review: Somewhere between 2.5 and 3 bookmarks, so I will give it the benefit of the doubt and call it 3.

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