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Last checked: May 22, 2015
Bizenghast is a debut gothic graphic novel series written and illustrated by M. Alice LeGrow. The first seven volumes were published by Tokyopop, with the final volume released in late April 2012. After placing in Tokyopop's Rising Stars of Manga competition with her short story "Nikolai", LeGrow successfully pitched the series to Tokyopop's editors. She worked on the series from 2004 to 2011. Set in the haunted New England town of Bizenghast, the story follows Dinah, an orphaned teenager who is tasked with returning each night to an ancient mausoleum to free the ghosts within the building.
Several adaptations of Bizenghast have been released, including a novel by Shawn Thorgersen, animated episodes, and a tabletop roleplaying game. Critics praised Bizenghast for the gothic atmosphere and art, but noted the traditional elements and varying quality of the series.
Set in the fictional New England town of the same name, Bizenghast focuses on fifteen-year-old Dinah Wherever. Her parents' car crash leaves her orphaned at a young age and as a result, she moves in with her aunt. Dinah can see the ghosts which haunt her aunt's house, which was a hospital and later a boarding school; however her aunt and doctor believe that she suffers from schizophrenia. One day, she and her only friend, Vincent Monroe, sneak out of her aunt's house to search for materials for his garden. They stumble across an ancient mausoleum and after Dinah reads aloud from a plaque, she discovers that her name is written on a contract which binds her to return to the mausoleum every night to free the ghosts. If she succeeds, she will win her freedom and a reward. If she fails, she will die and stay in the mausoleum as a corpse.