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Bizenghast Volume 1: v. 1 [Paperback]

M. Alice LeGrow
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Aug 2005 Bizenghast (Book 1)
When a young girl moves to the forgotten town of Bizenghast, she uncovers a terrifying collection of lost souls that lead her to the brink of insanity. One thing becomes painfully clear: The residents of Bizenghast are just dying to come home.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tokyopop (16 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595327436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595327437
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 12.7 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 576,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Original 19 May 2008
I loved this, me and my sister love manga like fruits basket, Kare First love to name a couple.

It's the most original manga I have ever read, the drawings are amazing and the story itself hooks you right from the first page. It's about two people; Dinah and Vincent.

They live in an old gothic town called Bizenghast where there are lots of secrets. Dinah is a young girl who thinks she can see ghosts that haunt her in her home and in the spooky ruined town she lives in.

Her best friend Vincent is the only person that can help her. They sneak out one day and find an abandoned graveyard that seems to appear and dissapear, they decide to check it out, tresspassing into an old mausoleum they find themselves contraced by the spirits of the mausoleum to help souls that are either too unhappy, confused or angry to pass on.

They have to free every spirit trapped to earn freedom. This takes them into the worlds o the spirits with vivid illustrations and great storytelling. Every world they enter is the lost souls reality and things can somtimes get messy, involving them, they have to find a way out and help the soul every night before dawn.

I'm not brilliant at describing things, but this is definatley not something to miss. There aren't many reviews on this site about manga, but if you're going to read any manga I suggest you start here, you won't regret it, I didn't.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 22 Sep 2007
M. Alice LeGrow's greatly anticipated managa Bizenghast is a fantastic series and well worth reading wether you are new to the manga world or are just starting out as it were (there's no going back let me tell you;]).This mildly gothic managa written in the english style, meaning that you start at front like books here rather than the back,has fantasticly unique artwork and even more so plot.The plot itself centres around a girl and her friend who must free a spirit a night at the mausoleum after falling under a curse. There there are all sorts of evils,within the spirit world and at the crypt itself.There's some really creepy plots in here too.I suggest you buy this and the sequel as soon as possible as you'll be hooked.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizenghast Vol 1 8 April 2006
I think what drew me to this in the bookstore was that the art style is a bit different from all other manga I've seen. And, as I read through the book, I found that the whole story was very different. There's a gothically magical, haunting feel to the story and the artwork that dragged me right into Dinah's twisted world. Definitely worth a read (and a re-read, and another, and yet another...) and I can't wait for more!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Burton-esque 9 May 2006
Written by one of Tokyopop's rising star contest finalists, M. Alice LeGrow, this is a fantastic debut. I really enjoyed the artwork, it was a joy to look at, very easy on the eye. The story may be a bit slow moving but it does keep you intrigued enough to want to buy the second volume!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splended 7 Oct 2005
By Lanie - Published on Amazon.com
For a first shot out of the gate this is pretty astounding.

The art is definitly drool-worthy, some of the illustrations are remenicent of the works I've seen from the golden age of illustration. The eyes reminded me a little of the ones in "Alichino" which is a nice change, because I'm a little sick of the typical glassy eye that plagues manga. The costumes, and architecture are so lovely that I can't imagine how much time they must have taken to draw. I do agree that there are a few pages in the book that need a bit of brushing up, especially in the front of the book where the Aunt and the Doc are talking.

I really had no problem following the story at all, actually it's a fairly easy read and so far the story is pretty concise. Dinah is certainly a character I can sympathise with because of all the tragedies she has and is facing. At first she struck me as simpering and whiny..but I can already see the first stages of Dinah growing into a stronger and more interesting character. Vincent is just so loveable though, you can't help but like him,

One person mentioned that this would be better labeled as a Graphic Novel than a manga which I disagree with. Manga is what you make of it, and it's refeshing to see a change in the "big eyes, small mouth, girls drooling over boy, watch out for my change sequence" stuff that has been churned out lately. The sudden changes in Dinah and Vincent where they are drawn in a more simplistic, almost chibi style are not uncommon to gothic (although I wouldn't label Bizenghast as gothic) manga. Check out Kaori Yuki's "Angel Sanctuary", a sometimes very dark manga that does the same thing.

Overall I think it's worth the $9.99 sticker price, and I'm looking forward to the future volumes!

I think Miss LeGrow will just keep improving.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm not sure how I feel about this yet . . . 18 Aug 2005
By Heather - Published on Amazon.com
I'll probably end up reading the second volume just to confirm my love or hate of this manga. The story itself is an interesting concept and the art is gorgeous (mostly on the cover, chapter pages, and in some cases the background) but in general the characters seem to be drawn with less care than other manga. As for the personalities of the characters, Dinah struck me as a spoiled, stupid little girl who can't do anything for herself except dress up in fashionable gothic Lolita outfits. She relied on her friend Vincent to do everything for her and she actually didn't do much in this volume (it's almost as if Vincent, and not Dinah, was the main character and might I mention that he was entirely loveable). She redeemed herself somewhat in the final pages of this volume but who knows what the next book will bring? Hopefully a continuation of this intriguing story and a way to make me love the main character better.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty decent book 3 Jan 2006
By Michelle - Published on Amazon.com
Bizenghast, I'd say, is a pretty decent book, and I think M. Legrow did a great job with it. The art in this book is gorgeous, especially on the costumes and architecture, and the plot during the first volume is very interesting.

I admit, I didn't fully understand some parts of the book right away, as they were a little confusing. There is a somewhat lengthy explanation towards the end, but it's told in a humorous manner, which thankfully keeps it from being irritating or boring. The basic story was, for the most part, simple to follow, with perhaps a few exceptions here and there.

The art, as I mentioned earlier, was excellent--except for some of the characters. In some panels, the characters look very sloppily drawn and even slightly out of proportion. I guess I can sort of overlook this due to the wonderful costume and architecture design, but it tended to be a little annoying to see the characters look messily thrown together in some scenes. It was a little surprising, actually, because the building designs and the chapter pages were so intricate and detailed, yet, the characters occasionally looked like basic sketches.

Overall, I think this book was a good one and am looking forward to volume two. I'd say to anyone who hasn't bought or read this book yet to skim through it at the book store first and see if it looks like a good read. Although I find it to be off to a nice start, there's definitely room for improvement.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK 18 Jan 2006
By Children's library worker - Published on Amazon.com
Bizenghast tells the tale of a teen named Dinah who is able to see ghosts. Her aunt (her parents are dead) thinks she has a mental disorder. Dinah's friend Vincent helps her complete her tasks of setting the souls trapped in a mausoleum free.

I was not overly impressed with this story. As previous reviewers have stated, the storyline seems to jump around and does not flow smoothly. The artwork is pretty good and LeGrow has created a character who has her own style, which is a plus in my opinion, but unfortunately that alone cannot pull the story together.

I enjoyed Courtney Crumrin's adventures much more than Dinah's but i'd still read volume 2 of Bizenghast to find out the outcome of Dinah's (and Vincent's) quest.

If you want to read a goth comic with humor and a strong storyline, I recommend Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Start... 31 Aug 2005
By Poker Alice - Published on Amazon.com
I found the first novel of Bizenghast to be a high-quality read, overall; the art had a unique feel to it (the costumes and backgrounds were gorgeous), the plot was well-executed (excluding a necessary chunk of exposition at the end), and the premise is intriguing. The tone varies from disturbingly eerie to darkly humorous, and often falls somewhere in between.

The town of Bizenghast (from which the book gets its title) is a mysterious, dilapidated ghost-town, where the two main characters, Dinah and Vincent, reside. While some might feel Bizenghast's rather mystifying beginning to be frustrating, I appreciated the immersive feel of being on the same level the characters, understanding-wise. Also, the small newspaper clippings preceding each chapter offer small insights to the town's history that has leaves one trying to fit the pieces together. Even the somewhat cumbersome chunk of exposition at the book's end did not grate on my nerves too badly, largely due to the comical delivery and sporadic behavior of the character relating the information.

The storyline of this book is what appeals greatest to me, personally. The premise is original, and by the end of the second chapter, I was hooked in earnest. At first, I feared that the excursions into the mausoleum would be repetitive, but as I read through each section my fears were assuaged. Each piece of the plot has a different feel to it, and the suspense was always fresh in my mind. Speaking of which, the horror and suspense in Bizenghast are omnipresent and wonderfully immersive.

Bizenghast's art is, in my humble opinion, breathtaking. The sheer amount of detail in the various settings and in Vincent's and Dinah's outfits is staggering. Even though the two main characters were wearing Gothic, old-fashioned clothes the majority of the time, I hardly noticed due to how well they matched the plot. Also, the characters are drawn in a distinctive style, and thankfully without that overdone `Oh-I-Wish-I-Was-Japanese' vibe that often plagues American manga artists. LeGrow's art doesn't try to be anything but what it is, and it is remarkable. The one complaint I have with it is that occasionally Dinah and Vincent appear to be drawn a bit carelessly.

Despite my general enjoyment of this manga, I did have a few problems with it. The main character Dinah seems weak and vacillating, but I can forgive this as it's only the first novel and there's plenty of room left for further character development. I have a harder time forgiving her foil Vincent's action-hero dynamic; it seems like he was just waiting around for some huge adventure to happen. The interaction between these two characters confused me as well; are they dating, or just friends? Also, the unhealthiness of the relationship troubled me some; Vincent is both Dinah's dependant and enabler, and might be keeping her from further development as a character. I hope to have these concerns alleviated in the next two novels. Another problem, described in brief above, is that in some panels Dinah and Vincent are drawn rather sloppily. Also, as the art and much of the humor are geared towards Americans, it may not appeal to hardcore Otakus seeking a more authentic style. As previously mentioned, there is a piece of exposition at the end that might annoy some nitpicky readers.

On the whole, I greatly enjoyed the first volume of Bizenghast. It suffers from problems in characterization and pacing, but they were made forgivable by the book's gripping plot and originality. I would recommend it to anyone looking to break out of the usual, cookie-cutter fantasy plots with an innovative new read.
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