Bizenghast: Falling Into Fear Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Danielle Van Gorder
Review Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Release Date: Thursday, February 01, 2007
Writer/Artist:M. Alice LeGrow
What They Say
Here's your chance to bring home more of Bizenghast's Gothic beauty! Bizenghast: Falling Into Fear, a limited-edition art book, includes art from the Goth-horror manga as well as stunning, brand-new illustrations by M. Alice LeGrow. Packed with stickers, paper dolls, and pinup pages, you can now beautify anything you own. And look out for the next manga volume of Bizenghast this summer, as Dinah and Vincent continue their journey into the heart of darkness to solve the rest of the Mausoleum's riddles...
The packaging on this release is really well done. The cover has a beautiful picture of Dinah in a dress that looks to be inspired by Alice in Wonderland's Queen of Hearts. The book itself is a glossy hardcover, with a front flap that velcros shut. There's a lot of attention to detail.
Inside, the book looks more like a diary or a day planner than an artbook. There's a pocket on the inside of the front cover, contributing to the general day planner feel of the book. The whole thing is spiral bound, with two pages of introduction and general information before the real meat of the book starts. The pinup pages are stored in side-loading plastic sheets, so you can remove or rearrange images without damaging the book. Overall, a very nice release.
There is a brief description on the back of each art piece that covers something about the piece itself - where it originally came from, how it was created, or thoughts on the piece itself. These range from informative to funny, and really add to the value of the book. The font they're in is rather tiny, though, leaving quite a bit of blank page
LeGrow's art is beautiful, and this book really shows it off well. She actually uses a couple of different art styles, ranging from a little bit gothic and a little bit grotesque to detailed work that pays homage to antique woodcuts. Coloring is also done in several different ways, some digitally, and some with watercolor or other media. The detail and perspective in the architectural drawings was probably what impressed me the most, although the incredibly detailed costumes are worth noting as well.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Advertised as twenty pinup pages, what you actually have here are eleven one-page images, five pages of paper dolls and outfits, and two two-page spreads. The paper dolls are a nice touch - there are dolls of the two main characters, Dinah and Vincent, and several outfits to go along with each. The outfits are very detailed, and range in style from lolita to Victorian.
The two-page spreads could have been really striking, but the way they're laid out really detracts from the image. The pictures are cut in half, with one on one page, and the other half on the next page. I flipped the first half of each image around so I could at least see both halves at the same time, but there's still too much separation between them to do the art justice.
Following the art pages, there are ads for the Princess Ai: Roses & Tattoos artbook, the Bizenghast series, and the Princess Ai manga. At the end of the book are twelve sticker sheets - only seven different sets of stickers, though, with the remaining five pages being duplicates.
This is a really beautiful book, but the biggest complaint about it is that it just feels like there isn't enough art or commentary. That being said, it's really a spectacular overall release, and what art there is makes this a very worthwhile addition to the library of any fan of Bizenghast or gothic artwork.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: All
Released By: TOKYOPOP
Orientation: Left to Right