Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bizenghast (One and Two)...random thoughts



Let me say right up front here that I feel sort of foolish even attempting to babble about these books. This was my first foray into the world of Manga, so I really have no base for comparison. Please forgive me if I sound like an idiot.

First of all, a bit about the story...

Dinah loses her parents in an auto accident as a young girl. She is sent off to live with her aunt in the unsettling little town of Bizenghast. Dinah's aunt, while not cruel, never intended to have children and frankly, doesn't seem to know what to do with Dinah. Especially since Dinah isn't quite well. They live on the grounds of the old St. Lyman's School, which was a reform school of sorts. Except for the main house, the school burned to the ground years ago under mysterious circumstances.

I'm not exactly sure how old Dinah is now, though I'm guessing in her teen years. Dinah would be completely alone were it not for her best friend Vincent. One night, as they were taking a shortcut through the woods, they stumble upon a graveyard. Dinah meets the spider-like creature, Bali-Lali, and finds herself saddled with a mission she never wanted. She is to free the tortured souls of the forty who "live" there. So every night, Dinah must return, solve a riddle, and discover a way to free another soul. To fail is to die herself.

So, what did I think of these books...

Well, first of all I was entranced by the artwork! It's beautiful, haunting, sometimes downright scary. Truly lovely.

Secondly, while I enjoyed the story itself, it felt very disjointed to me. Never so much that I didn't understand what was going on, but occasionally frustrating nonetheless. I was sometimes bothered by how much I was left to fill in on my own, if that makes sense. As I said, I am a total neophyte in the world of Manga, so I have no idea if this is the way Manga is intended to be, or if it is simply the way this series is written. But all that said, I obviously liked the first book enough to immediately pick up the second and read it as well.

Will I continue on from here? Probably, if the library has the next ones. Otherwise, who knows where the Manga Challenge will lead me next...

7 comments:

Chris said...

I've seen these many times and have been intrigued by the covers, but I've yet to pick one up. I may do that now. It sounds really cool! And no, most manga is not disjointed like that :p There is quite a bit of bad manga out there though that is! I recommend CLAMP if you want some top notch manga! But not Angelic Layer...that's their worst!

Debi said...

Chris,
I was really wondering what to try next. Annie loves Manga, but some of what she reads just doesn't interest me. She's recommended CLAMP for me as well, so I think that may be the direction I want to go. Thanks!

Carl V. said...

I've experienced some Manga that is exactly as you describe these. Disjointed and filled with gaps. Some American comics are the same way. But there are others in both manga and American comics that flow smoothly and make perfect sense structurally.

Rhinoa said...

I really like the Bizenghast series, the artwork is stunning and it's so dark and gothic. I hope you do decide to carry on with them. If you are looking for something new to try I highly recommend Death Note which is much more cohesive.

Nymeth said...

I don't know anything about Manga either (yet!), but the artwork alone makes me want to give this series a try.

Melody said...

I almost pick these mangas up the other day I visited the bookstores!

Well, like Chris said, most manga is not disjointed and like everything else, there's always some bad mix in between... I'm hoping the next manga will be better!

Trish said...

I've never ventured into the world of Manga (although I keep reading about it in Kafka on the Shore--will I *ever* be done with that book??). I notice in your comment to Chris that Annie reads a little bit of manga--did she recommend this series to you? I wouldn't even know where to start!