Robert’s Rules of the New Fall Anime

September 29th, 2021

Why are people already putting up Christmas lights?

Welcome to an unusual fall season. Only one idol show, about a half dozen mecha shows, and of course, still way too goddamned many shows about being reincarnated into another world with the power of a god. Tis a season particularly full of the post-apocalyptic, lest anybody forget the nightmarish dystopia that a neverending pandemic has forced us into. As usual, these are only the new shows/franchise for the season. There's yet another Lupin and something like the sixth Muv Luv of the last five years as well that I will likely prod, and multiple PriPara and otherwise that I won't, but if you're reading throwback blogs from 2008 about Japanese animation, you don't need my terrible opinion on the existence of things that get new iterations every other year.

Obligatory School Activity Dramas

Blue Period
https://blue-period.jp/
Studio: Seven Arcs
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 1st

Show Premise: 
Teenagers paint paintings.

Random Thoughts:
Another show that had an early pre-air, so speculation here is somewhat perfunctory. It was Every School Activity Club Show Ever, fine arts version. Dude sees a painting, is transfixed, and transported into painting-land, feeling alive for the first time. He, uh… has a trans frenemy? Is that sufficiently artsy for art cred? Given that it's anime, not really. And like most, it doesn't really have any passion or engagement with painting. It's just The Activity. Maybe that's better if it doesn't get drowned in explaining the rules or factoids, but then you have to focus on things like the dialogue and writing, and… ew.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Rennaissance art is best through anthropomorphic reptiles.

Selection Project
http://pjselection.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 1st

Show Premise: 
Teenagers do American Japanese Idol.

Random Thoughts:
Like the above, the first episode of this already aired, and it was done in the style of an episode of a reality show where the main character got axed in the first round and ended with her sobbing in the street. Granted, that's not how these idol things usually go, but nothing about the twenty minutes to that point was different in any real way, and even when idol shows appear to go off the rails, like that one that had a talking wall that gave strange instructions and seemed to be indoctrinating them into Scientology, it always ends with the lesson that being an idol is the best thing ever, and I have every bit of faith that's where this one is going too. Please, no more idol shows.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

I was a famous idol once.

Pride of Orange
https://puraore.com/
Studio: C2C
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 6th

Show Premise: 
Girls play hockey.

Random Thoughts:
As mobile games must be made to cover every sport from baseball to track, so too must we eventually have some trashy gacha for hockey. Heck, they advertise it as “written by the same person as Sport Climbing Girls!” Frankly, it's probably a miracle they aren't animal girls themed around various arctic creatures, but that's probably coming next year. It has girls. They exist. They will try their best. I write that series of sentences every season, and yet, there are always more. I miss when they were all strange gender crossed alternate history warlords.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Coming soon: RC car racing gacha girls.

Visual Prison
https://visualprison.com/
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 8th

Show Premise: 
Vampires are glam rockers.

Random Thoughts:
Another original, again, for a very loose definition of the word, and the promos don't elucidate much, being entirely glam rockers/vampires (how do you tell the difference?) fawning over a twink with heterochromia, mostly showing off their presumably vampire tattoos. Or maybe that does elucidate quite a bit. Probably enough to accurately give the vibe of the show. What do you want from me? It's a bunch of dudes in make up posing and staring dramatically into each other's eyes. Glam rocker or vampire, I don't think there's much of a difference.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Don't drink the cocktails.

For One Season Only, Anime is Giant Robots Again

Megaton Musashi
http://www.megaton-musashi.jp/
Studio: Oriental Lights and Magic
Genre: Action
Premieres October 1st

Show Premise: 
Teenagers pilot giant robots to fight aliens.

Random Thoughts:
This is advertising a Level-5 action RPG coming out in November, so there's not much existing material to really look at, though as a big budget game, there is quite a lot of promotional… everything, for both the game and the show, though they kind of blend together. It's not blazing any new ground in the premise, and the CGI mechs look like the same you'd find anywhere. That said, they're just taking the staff and studio from Yo-Kai Watch and slapping it on this, so it may very well skew quite childish with no greater depth than "Yay robots! Buy a Nintendo Switch!"

Preseason Swing Rating: 
  
These robots seem squat and mechanically unsound.

Muteking The Dancing Hero
https://muteking.jp/
Studio: Tatsunoko Production
Genre: Bad CGI
Premieres October 2nd

Show Premise: 
Teenager is recruited by space police to dance battle aliens.

Random Thoughts:
Remember Tatsunoko was doing tons of re-imaginings of their old franchises like Casshern, Gachaman, Yatterman, etc? This is another one of those, so while it certainly appears to skew youngward, it's hard to say for certain, though the staff does suggest it will not be a show fraught with depth confronting the darker aspects of the human experience. Unfortunately, the whole superhero/dance battle side is straight to janky CGI. Not even dance battle CGI, or fighting using dance moves. Just… CGI dudes solo dancing on stage. Come on, man. At least throw some capoeira in there.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Oom bop oom bop oom bop oom bop.

Border Mechs
https://www.kyoukai-senki.net/
Studio: Sunrise Beyond
Genre: Action
Premieres October 4th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers pilot giant robots to liberate Japan.

Random Thoughts:
Not Sunrise, Sunrise Beyond, aka the dessiccated corpse of Xebec, before you think that this will have Sunrise's production strength behind it. Not that Xebec was necessarily awful, or inexperienced with mecha, but they weren't aces at it either. Unlike other ostensible mecha show this season, this one does remember to show the giant robots, but it doesn't get any further than that. As in it just shows them standing around or hefting a beam sword. Aaaand that's the sum total of what we have to go off of. Has giant robots! Also has magical pets? Uh, okay. If you say so.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Giant robots run on Tamagotchi AI.

Sacks and Guns!
http://sakugan-anime.com/
Studio: Satelight
Genre: Action
Premieres October 7th

Show Premise: 
Dad and daughter pilot a mech to fight monsters in a waste pit.

Random Thoughts:
Apparently now going by “Sakugan” which means “jackhammer” or “drill,” as a pun, though I'm not sure what the sacks or guns were in the first place, and a show titled “Jackhammer!” seems a bit… uh… Anyway, the first episode premiered many moons back. It was a decent start, but definitely had a lot of tonal chaos and wasn't so big on the mech fighting or giant monsters. Having killed off half the first episode's cast may solve those issues by making it more focused going forward and putting the family relationship at the front, or it may continue being chaos. It's an original, but Satelight's a strong studio and has done lots of stuff like this before.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
   
Sugary sweet and full of things that want to kill you.

Rumble Garanndoll
https://denchi-project.com/
Studio: Lerche
Genre: Action?
Premieres October 11th

Show Premise: 
Parallel Japan invades Japan with giant robots.

Random Thoughts:
It's a totally originally show and the promos are just head shots of excited teenagers and portals erupting in the middle of cities. The mention of giant robots makes me assume that there will be giant robots, but I've been fooled before. There aren't any in the promos, let alone robots punching things or even explosions. There is a dude in a cape, the strange declaration “OTAKU IS NOT DEAD,” and one of the girls is an idol, because of course she is, so maybe it's just about teenagers fighting back against the oppressor by being obnoxiously into idols. That would not surprise me in the slightest.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Possibly just a mutant.

Modern Day Supernatural Highschool

The Girl Who Can See
https://mierukochan.jp/
Studio: Passione
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 3rd

Show Premise: 
A girl suddenly becomes able to see the supernatural.

Random Thoughts:
Another one of those exceeding low key Book of Friends-like dramas that were all the rage years back with a more groteseque horror bend. None of the stories rise to any great narrative level. For example, she's trying to find someone to adopt a cat and has to choose between a handsome guy surrounded by mutilated cat ghouls, or a punk surrounded by angelic nuzzling cat spirits. Now, granted, some twenty chapters later, it expands that and creates a full story out of it with a little more nuance, but that it takes that long is a bit of an indictment in and of itself, especially while it's happy to do a half-dozen chapters in a row where a monster is squatting in a locker or in the bath and she tries to ignore it and… that's an entire twenty page 'story.'

Preseason Swing Rating: 

But can she see what makes a great lobster thermidor?

The Moon, Laika, and Nosferatu
https://tsuki-laika-nosferatu.com/
Studio: Arvo Animation
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 3rd

Show Premise: 
Space flight is determined to be too dangerous for humans, so they partner with vampires to send one to the moon.

Random Thoughts:
Why not send a vampire to the moon. This isn't any kind of thriller, action piece, or even heavy drama. The biggest conflict is that the government is a bit racist and doesn't want vampires getting the credit for being the first astronaut. What a world, where sexism doesn't exist, but a global conspiracy hiding the existence of teenage vampire astronauts due to vampire racism does. The promos are kind of comically over-dramatic, but Arvo has been quite terrible so far (We Never Learn, Monster Girl Doctor). I don't know that a light romantic drama about vampire astronauts is something anybody is dying for regardless.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Aren't space vampires how you get Venom?

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
https://sankakumado-anime.com/
Studio: Zero-G
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 3rd

Show Premise: 
Teenagers hunt ghosts.

Random Thoughts:
This is not subtle in the… uh… sexually charged exorcism schtick between the main characters. That gimmick seems to be most of the selling point too. Hell, the first 'story' is just “hey, there's a ghost in the corner. Now stand there while I sexually describe reaching inside you and how much it is like orgasming. Close your eyes and give in to the climax.” Again, not at all subtle. Nor are the promos, which are pretty much all dudes grabbing each other's faces. Uh… moving right along.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Contains significant ball play.

The Quick Dying Vampire
https://sugushinu-anime.jp/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Comedy
Premieres October 4th

Show Premise: 
A hapless vampire hunter teams up with a vampire who dies from a stiff breeze.

Random Thoughts:
Ostensibly a gag comedy, but every gag is “Ahaha! This will kill you! Oh no! It killed me!” It eventually moves on to hunting other monsters, but the pattern and joke remains the same. The first PV hides the gag entirely, seemingly playing it as a supernatural action show completely straight… then the second PV is nearly two minutes straight of screaming. I feel like I may have already had my fill to be honest. Weirder, this director usually does heavy drama stuff (eg Rainbow, Kiba) and the writing adapting it primarily on bad light novels. I think Madhouse may have slapped random people on it.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Monsters hunting monsters is so played out.

Platinum End
https://anime-platinumend.com/
Studio: Signal.MD
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 7th

Show Premise: 
Suicidal teenagers are paired with angels in a tournament to become God.

Random Thoughts:
I, uh… hrm. This is a goofy Jump soap drama thing by the same dudes as Death Note but with angels instead of demons, and arrows instead of books. As in he shoots his aunt with a love arrow to make her confess to killing his parents, so she immediately pins him and tries to have sex with him, but he says he hates her, so she instead grabs a kitchen knife and puts it through her throat in a giant bloody geyser. But to get the full experience, you need to mawk at the camera with a ridiculously over-exaggerated reaction to every one of those things. Signal.MD is Production IG's low budget studio, which probably isn't a great sign, since I'm pretty sure half the 'charm' of Death Note was the over the top goofy hyper-dynamic writing and whatnot, but I didn't care for that either. It's all so… goofy.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Portrait of author's brainstorming process.

Teenagers Versus the Post Apocalypse

takt op.Destiny
https://anime.takt-op.jp/
Studio: Madhouse
Genre: Action
Premieres October 5th

Show Premise: 
Magical teenagers fight anti-music monsters.

Random Thoughts:
Thankfully, this is more bending to classical music and themes than idols, but it is both original so that very well may be a complete lie, and being made to pitch a cellphone game that is a very unabashed Princess Connect clone. In any case, magical teenagers fight cartoonish CGI monsters isn't much of an eye-catching pitch nor really tell you what the tone of the show is going to be. It's certainly not overly serious or going for a gruesome excessively dramatic angle though. The promos do show some animation, but this director has been hugely unimpressive when given action shows in the past (Vivid, Granblue).

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
I am the music man. I bring the music, man.

World's End Harem
https://end-harem-anime.com/
Studio: Studio Gokumi
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 8th

Show Premise: 
A disease wipes out almost all men around the world.

Random Thoughts:
Despite this being the setup of a zillion T&A comedy harems, this is a T&A drama. A Jump T&A drama. And it is every bit as misogynistic as you'd expect, with the antagonists being literal feminist Nazis who engineered a secret global conspiracy to wipe out all men. But out eunch protagonist only has eyes for his one true love, no matter how many naked women rub their genitals on or around him as he tries to get to the bottom of this conspiracy and/or struggle with indiscriminate boners. The manga also opens with a full page of naked breasts. The expectations, they do not run high.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The sexual drive of a Nintendo teenager.

Build Divide #000000 Code: Black
https://anime.build-divide.com/
Studio: Lidenfilms
Genre: Selling Gambling to Minors
Premieres October 9th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers play a card game.

Random Thoughts:
A wish granting card game. Because apparently Wixoss is apparently such hot stuff that we need to get in on that. It's unlikely to be a good sign when the promo sets aside a segment to explain how many cards are allowed to be used in a deck when you play. When you have so little to talk about that you're just reading off the rules, something has gone severely wrong. And not in the fun way that the goofy costumes would suggest.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Nice fashion sense, poindexter.

Deep Insanity: The Lost Child
https://www.jp.square-enix.com/deepinsanity/anime
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Action
Premieres October 12th

Show Premise: 
Post-apocalyptic teenagers fight monsters.

Random Thoughts:
Part of a new media franchise with a gacha game, a manga, and the anime, each telling different stories in the setting, so I guess technically original? As original as things like Scarlet Nexus. The promos aren't impressive, and while this does appear to be Silver Link's A team, their stock has fallen drastically in recent years, and the whole staff coming over from Our Last Crusade does not fill me with optimism. It, uh… takes place in the arctic? That's all I've got.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Still unlikely to contain narwhals.

No Fantasy, Only Reincarnation Into RPGs

The Evolution Fruit: Conquering Life Unknowingly
https://www.shinkanomi-anime.com/
Studio: feel
Genre: Comedy
Premieres October 4th

Show Premise: 
Teenager is sent to RPG fantasy world where he immediately becomes a demigod by eating a random fruit.

Random Thoughts:
And of course he also picks up a slave wife harem. The main gag is that he gets to manipulate people's stats and is extremely overpowered, ground definitely not trodden to death both ironically, unironically, and post-irony ironically. And he was fat, but upon eating the magic fruit, became handsome and desired by all. But also, it has scantily dressed women, screaming, and scantily dressed women screaming. The main girl is also a gorilla. So there's gorilla screaming too.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Reject Darwinism, become Moai.

Banished from the Heroes' Party, I Decided to Live a Quiet Life in the Countryside
https://shinnonakama.com/
Studio: WolfsBane
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 6th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Its gag is that the protagonist's special power is “has a high level,” and the world is such a ridiculously corny RPG that monsters automatically scale. Ha. Ha. Ha. What an absurd situation. So comical. We are all laughing. So now he runs a pharmacy. Yes, another pharmacy. For the second season in a row. It is, of course, a harem light novel whose wikipedia page is about 75% explanations of the world's mechanics, and the first episode was 95% internal narration about how much ennui he feels about being too cool for school. At least nobody's reincarnated, but that's the sum total of the positive things I have to say about this.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

As if the best part of Final Fantasy was chocobo raising.

The World's Greatest Assassin Gets Reincarnated in Another World as an Aristocrat
https://ansatsu-kizoku.jp/
Studio: Silver Link
Genre: Boooooooobs
Premieres October 6th

Show Premise: 
See title.

Random Thoughts:
Of course this is a trashy harem light novel. What else could it be? And lest you have any hopes at all, this is by the same clown as Redo of Healer, that unabashed trashy literal revenge porn from a couple seasons back. Yes, this is of course a setting where polygamy is not only encouraged, but the rightful way for the rightful nobles. This is also basically the same staff as The Misfit of Demon Academy, so… yeah. Expect that. Yet again, again, again. Especially because the promos are barely animated and terrible.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

The world's muddiest puppy gets defenestrated into a bubble bath.

The Faraway Paladin
https://farawaypaladin.com/
Studio: Children's Playground Entertainment
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 9th

Show Premise: 
Dude is reincarnated in a fantasy world. Becomes a paladin.

Random Thoughts:
Boy, if you're advertising a show about fantasy adventure that has someone literally named Blood the War Ogre, you might want to find a spot somewhere in your promos to show something other than sunrises and people walking. The light novels are pretty well regarded, but the promos had a couple half-assed CGI monsters taking lackadaisical swings, and that was it for fantasy, action, or paladins, and the first episode had even less than that. This studio (Hatena Illusion, Tsuki Uta) has been bottom of the barrel as far production quality goes, and the director specializes in trashy gacha adaptations about girls existing (High School Fleet, Katana Maidens, Opening Act). These do not seem like promising signs.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

Gore the Tussel Bugbear.

Ranking of Kings
https://osama-ranking.com/
Studio: Studio Wit
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 14th

Show Premise: 
A deaf, weak child prince exists in fantasy land.

Random Thoughts:
A weird one to try to explain because it's not really character or story driven. The style is very childish, but it's mainly concerned with the court intrigue happening around the prince, not the prince himself doing anything, who's more of a prop than anything else. That may be for the better because it has a very low and exaggerated view of deaf people. The prince is not just deaf, but dimwitted as well, and yet his deafness gives him super powers, because reading lips gives you the natural instincts and agility to be able to dodge snakes and expert sword fighters. It also loves to go “Oho, the queen is super conniving and evil! But wait, she's just embarrassed to show she cares. OR IS SHE!?” It's the noitaminA thing for the season, so that's already a strike against it, though the promos show quite a bit of effort put in. It is Wit though, and they're a studio that always frontloads the effort before a massive dropoff.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

More a grab bag of groceries than a well-formulated meal.

Shipping Where Shipping Doesn't Really Belong

Komi Can't Communicate
https://komisan-official.com/
Studio: Oriental Lights and Magic
Genre: Comedy
Premieres October 6th

Show Premise: 
Teenagers without social skills try to make friends.

Random Thoughts:
This is one of those things where everybody has a transparent schtick, usually given by their pun names. The titular character being a mute who “can't communicate,” because she gives off an evil aura and then they put up a chibi version of her with huge eyes as the punchline each and every time. It is not nuanced humor, unless your idea of nuance is someone named Abe L. Body who is an athlete. Not even the kind of social commentary or dark humor of Zetsubou Sensei either. Just pun names and O.O faces.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

So this is how Carmen Sandiego's crew got their start.

Taishou Maiden Fairy Tale
https://taisho-otome.com/
Studio: SynergySP
Genre: Drama
Premieres October 8th

Show Premise: 
Dude is exiled to the countryside by his family after an injury, along with a slave girl to take care of him.

Random Thoughts:
Yet another Jump thing. A 'historically accurate' romcom, but I have a hard time getting behind the ennui of a depressed noble being healed by the carefree joie de vivre of his child slave wife. No matter how cutesy or saccharine you try to make it, you're still romanticizing the aristocracy owning a 14 year old with the intent to have sex with it. It's bad enough when it's just a random girl who drops out of the sky to be the arbitrary live-in girlfriend but at least nobody owned the other persion. Well, half the time at least. I see you squatting there like a toad, Chobits and all your offshoots. I forget my point. Less glorifying slavery please, Japan.

Preseason Swing Rating: 
 
The moth of judgement is not pleased.

My Senior is Annoying
https://senpaiga-uzai-anime.com/
Studio: Dogakobo
Genre: Comedy
Premieres October 9th

Show Premise: 
Futaba is very short. Her senior at work is a tall oaf. RomCom ensues.

Random Thoughts:
The manga is harmless enough, but it's all of the 3-4 page variety that goes “dude walks in → comments on current situation → dudette overracts → dudette blushes and internally explains that she has a crush on him.” It has its formula and very little dissuades it from the course it has set out. Maybe it'll be cute enough. I have enjoyed things like Place to Place in the past, but the promos do focus on the overreaction and screaming, and P2P still had at least some kind of narrative structure which the source here completely lacks. Maybe it'll be cute enough, but the director's got a buttload of heavy lifting to do.

Preseason Swing Rating: 

My ocean arachnids have too many legs.

Wrapup:

Given how awful last season ended up being, I have to imagine that this season will be better. I must imagine, but I cannot guarantee. Still, there's quite a lot of mecha, and while that's not usually my bag, it's a far cry better than there being a lot of creepy high school dramas or creepy idol fellating things. That should be taken as a win, even as the goddamned reincarnation/RPG tropes continue to utterly devour all fantasy settings. C'est la vie.

Posted in Season Preview | 10 Comments »

10 Shouts From the Peanut Gallery

  • kenuran says:

    Hoping this season has more shows for me to actually keep up with. Really am tired of these “another world” stories that has basically overrun the fantasy genre. I hate them more than idol shows actually.

    So out of curiosity, the new Melty Blood remake is out today. You gotta get it?

    • Aroduc says:

      I haven't really liked what I've seen of it, and none of my mains, staples of the franchise (Len, Akiha, Nero), are in it, further dulling any excitement. I could play Ciel and Hisui, but eh. Even above and beyond cutting the playables from about 90 to 14, I really dislike how much pointless noise there is, audio and visual. Characters literally interrupt and talk over themselves constantly because for some reason, every attack and impact needs to play a voice line, and every special, every clash, every shield has both screen covering sparks and massive cut-ins for some reason. It just looks messy and obnoxious and is a cacophony to listen to.

      • kenuran says:

        I can understand that stance. Over time in Japanese made 2D fighting games since Guilty Gear XX theres has had more superfluous dialogue for every action a character does. It used to be spaced out when a character said something during an action such as small lines said for special moves and grunts and exert sounds for every other time they attacked with a normal or got hit. Nowadays every character will say entire sentences when they air recover, land a combo or even just block something. It gets very grating over time.

        So how about the Tsukihime remake? Have you looked at that or just not interested?

        • Aroduc says:

          I'm not interested, to be honest, though I've kind of fallen off of visual novels (even the gameplay ones) mostly in the last year or two just overall.

          I find it a little creepy too. It's one thing to remaster a movie, a show, or a game, bringing them up to modern systems and smoothing out some of the rough edges due to technical limitations or just horrible outdated design, but a full rewrite? It feels a lot less like making the original accessible and more like George Lucas's kind of post-hoc meddling and attempted erasure, and it being by the original author doesn't excuse that. If Francis Ford Coppola announced he was doing a shot for shot remake of the Godfather so it could be in HD with an extra thirty minutes on… I don't know… Kay as Taylor Swift and elaborating her backstory, you'd think he had lost his mind.

  • The Phantom says:

    If they are going to animate that trashy world end harem, I guess they have nothing else to animate worthwhile, I had seen that Komi girl before, thought it was a mascot or something, the quasi isekai of the Pharmacist is likely the worst show of the season.

  • NeclordX says:

    Mecha are back into the menu, yay! I guess thats at least an slight improvement together with the postapocalypse fantasy thingies.

    Its not perfect, but ey, better 2 mecha shows 2 postapocalypse shows and 3 isekai than 7 isekai…right?

    Also, what is with the unusual amount of vampire shows? Well, vampires uses to be very common but its been a while since I saw so much together.

  • LUNI_TUNZ says:

    That classical music monster show looks interesting, but main girl looks like Siesta from The Detective is Already Dead, and I’m getting PTSD, after that abomination.

  • J Greely says:

    The only thing I’m really looking forward to didn’t even make your list: Restaurant To Another World 2.

    -j

  • Anonymous says:

    I read Platinum End, (to a point) in the end all “plot” dies and everything turns into an ethical dilemma, Mc has no answer so it turns out the antagonist was just using it as as smoke screen.

    World’s End Harem
    its rare when someone can make nudity boring.

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