Anime Vice Yearly Best Of News

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As mentioned in another thread, I'm getting some preliminary work done for the Best of 2012 voting that's going to happen in a few months. The vote counting system is being done via Google Spreadsheets and Forms and at this point it's pretty much an automated process and is near completion. However, there is one thing I wanted to get community feedback on:

Weight System

Here's the way I currently have it setup:

FirstSecondThirdFourthFifth
24151075
  • Last year I got the impression that some were nominating shows but with an attitude of, "well I only saw 5 shows. I thought one was really good and the rest were meh, but there are five slots so I have to fill them all up with something." This year I want to stress that only "Top 5 Quality Content" should make a list and if you can only think of X number of shows that deserve mentioning, only nominate X number of shows.
  • Tying in with that, a one (fifth place) is almost a nothing vote compared to what first place would be, but fifth place isn't and shouldn't be a nothing quality series. I wanted some type of balance where a show that gets a small number of first place votes can't totally monster over a series that has significantly more votes in other ranks, especially when every show nominated should be a beloved series by the voter. First should be powerful, but not dominating... unless there a series gets a lot of them.
  • The higher the lowest score, the more wiggle room there is to make separation between the other ranks while still keeping the ratio of first to last the same.
  • Having said that, first place is first place and while I don't want it to completely obliterate everything else, I did want for it to be a powerful vote. That's why there is separation between first and second and it's why it's 3x the weight of fifth place.

How it all plays out

Having said all of that, this is how it all plays out at the end of the day. I ran the new weights through last years numbers.

Chart Legend

  • Series = the name of the series. They are listed in the order that they won in the 2011 system (Madoka at the top = 1st place with everything beneath it being one position lower in rank). This ranking also correlates with the "2011 Wgt" category.
  • 1sts - 5ths = the total number of votes given in those ranks. Example, Fate/Zero have 5 under 1sts means that it got 5 first place votes.
  • Votes = the total number of votes a series received. Example, Tiger & Bunny has a Total of 5 (1 second place + 2 third places + 2 fourth places = 5 total votes).
  • Wgt Total = weighted total. This is the weighted score using the current system (24,15,10,7,5). It's calculated by multiplying each rank x votes and summing it. Example, Persona 4 has 2 second place votes (2 votes x second place weighted value of 15 = 30) + 2 fifth place votes (2 votes x fifth place value of 5 = 10) which add up to equal a weighted total of totaling to 40 (30+10)
  • 2011 = the weighted total using the 2011 weights (7,6,5,4,3). Example, Guilty Crown for 3 third place votes (3 votes x last year third place weight of 5 = 15) and 1 fifth place vote (1 x last year fifth place weight of 3) which total to 18 (15+3)

Explanations

This is with the weighting listed at the top (24,15,10,7,5). Originally I used a different scale (9,6,5,4,3) and the same thoughts listed immediately underneath the "Weight System" header, but after running real votes through it, certain things stood out as being off base. Looking at last year's weighted totals also showed questionable rankings that I felt needed to be adjusted. Note: the following is purely based off of voting and not the quality of the series...

  • Madoka should monster everything else. It's tied for tied for most first places and it's probably the most well rounded when it comes to the other ranks. Last year's weights made things closer but I didn't feel that actually represented the difference that it should have over the competition.
  • Persona 4 should beat Guilty Crown. Not by a lot, but it got the votes in the spots that counted imo and the math should add up. AnoHana vs Hanasaku should remain a very close match up based off of the votes.
  • Tiger & Bunny vs Beelzebub should show both the power of a first place vote and how a handful of middling votes can neutralize it.
  • I felt that Wandering Son's placement in the prior year showed how in an effort to not make first place votes dominating, I hadn't made them powerful. Something about two first place votes and a third getting beaten by the rankings of the four series above it just didn't feel right.

But, that's just my views on it. I want to make the 2012 votes even better than before and I want and need to hear the communities thoughts on what is probably the most crucial and critical aspect of the whole event. So, what do you all of think of this?

Also, if you want to mess around with it and help me beta test things (I'd be super thankful for this) use these links: View the Titles and Results & Vote for Titles. None of the voting will be counted toward the real Best of 2012 (which will take place in December and January) so feel free to vote as many times as you want and however you want. This is mainly for people to see how the weights impact score and whether or not it seems fair or needs tweaking. It's also for me to see if there are any errors in the spreadsheet and test out things like making sure I get a notice if a user votes for the same series multiple times and other things.

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There are two central themes that surround most shows within the Gundam franchise.  First is a constant but ultimately futile layer of anti-war sentiment.  The second, and more iconic, is the Newtype.  Other Gundam shows have come up with different terms for it like SEED, Innovator, and most recently, X-rounder.  But their purpose as a form of biological evolution in humanity that heightens one's senses have remained the same.  The franchise even built some of it's most iconic weapons systems (Biosensors, Psychoframes, Funnles/Bits/DRAGOON/Fangs) around a Newtype's mental powers.  And last but not least, there's even a long running magazine named after this concept.  This worship of the idea of the Newtype both within the franchise and on a more meta level is what makes one particular event in episode 3 of Gundam Unicorn so profound.
  The OVA introduces new viewers to the concept of newtypes within the first episode.  It was an ideal espoused by the founder of the Zeon Principlaity, of an evolution of man that could learn to communicate perfectly without misunderstanding.  But the impatience of society as well as the realities of the geopolitical situation changed that term into ace pilots that altered the course of wars.  Moblie Suite development had come to revolve around them in various ways and biological research attempted to produce Cyber (artificial) Newtypes.  All of this to win wars.

But what if the military supremacy of a Newtype could be cast down?  A Newtype's greatest weapon as previously stated was their heightened awareness of their surroundings and thus gained the ability to utilize remotely controlled turrets that fly about separate from the mobile suit and fire on the enemy from multiple directions.  The system carried aboard the Unicorn Gundam was the NTD, Newtype Destory System.  It uses the pilot as an organic processing device that converts enemy Newtype mental waves into hostility, and automatically activates upon detecting such hostility,  not only giving the suite a dramatic increase in speed and mobility, but also the ability to essentially hijack an enemy's remote weapons.  

All your funnels are...well, you know the rest.
All your funnels are...well, you know the rest.

The emergence of a technological countermeasure to a biological evolution marks the end of the latter.  Current, the NTD system is difficult to reproduce, but as with all things, mass production is only a matter of time.  What can a Newtype do when the battlefield tech reduces them to simply pilots with faster than usual reaction times yet again? 

Now, I am well aware of the true end of the Universal Century time line, which Gundam Unicorn is merely a part of.  The likes of Gundam F91, Crossbone Gundam, and Victory Gundam gives us a glimpse at events a century down the line where the above predictions do not actually unfold and the Newtype is still a battlefield center piece (especially in Victory).  But the above gives us a glimpse of what is possible, and a potential willingness in the chronology of the franchise, not the Universal Century, to dethrone this long lasting being.

(I should note first this is only half of the thesis as it only addresses the military dominance of the Newtype.  Analyzing the other side of the coin, the hero worship of this being across the franchise as the future of humanity requires a proper exploration of Gundam X, something someone else or me really should do eventually.)
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Broken Blade aims to do one thing extremely well: detailed, gritty, low tech mecha combat.  The golems it depicted punched, kicked, shot physical projectiles, and looked magnificent doing so without resorting to flashes of light.  The final movie of the OVA celebrated this form of combat even more so than all previous episodes, giving us a massive invasion of the capitol, urban (or as urban as it can get) combat, an ingenious use of enemy corpses and terror, and finally a 30 minute long grudge match between the Delphine and Borcuse's Hykelion.
 
What is this, Combattler V?
What is this, Combattler V?
This duel was long and drawn out, pushing each pilot and mecha to their limits, reveling in a crude carnage only seen in the likes of Mazinkaiser SKL out of anything contemporary.  Broken Blade has made a name for itself in detailing battle damage, letting each and every bolt cause a crack on the frame, and this fight was no exception.  Armor was slowly sheared off, shields shattered, swords and axes slowly chipped, cracked and broke.  And at the end, the fight remembers love for super robot shows of old, ditching the more contemporary weapons like blades and guns for a giant indestructible ninja star attached to an equally indestructible rubber band with which Rygart uses for both attack, defense, and mobility.  Is it the best weapon displayed in a mecha show in a long time?  Yeah, probably.

Ultimately, Broken Blade reminds us that mecha is a fantastic action feast for the eyes, and that we all should aspire to death via giant ninja star.
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The more observant of you might notice that this entry is about a month late.  Between working retail during the holiday season and grad school, lets just say I haven't had to much time.  But lets see if we can at least get this project finished, shall we?

There are two major intertwined components of the eleventh episode of Fate/Zero.  The banquet of kings revealed the tragedy of Saber, filled with a propensity for self martrydom that mirrors the personality flaw of a certain silver haired, red robed heroic spirit.  But that is not the part I want to talk about.  Tonight, we celebrate Iskandar for being awesome.  Someone declaring one's ideology is common.  Someone producing undeniable support for one's ideology is not.    

 Gunbuster Pose is the Guile's Theme of Poses
 Gunbuster Pose is the Guile's Theme of Poses
Iskandar believes a king must be one that lives a life that compels worship.  He must be grander than all others, laugh louder, rage harder.  Saber declares them the thoughts of a greedy tyrant.  But tyrant is a word we associate with a king that rules over a populace that despises him.  And what of Iskandar?  His greatest treasure is his bond with his subjects, a bond so strong they continue to pledge their loyalty to him after death.  It is not without irony that the ED theme shows him returning from battle worshipped by the populace while Saber strikes down her own people in a civil war. 

To Iskandar I raise a ladle of wine.  Keep being awesome.
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In this blog that is intended for the project that the Moderators here on AnimeVice are putting together in regards to the upcoming Best of 2011 Feature, my reasonings for my Top-3 anime series that I have selected will follow below:

I. Beelzebub

With a great cast of characters, interesting story/plot, and enjoyable moments, Beelzebub wins my overall top pick of 2011.

Oga and Beel panic as Lord En heats up the room. His wet nurses and Hildagarde try to stop him from unleashing his destructive tears by distracting him.
Oga and Beel panic as Lord En heats up the room. His wet nurses and Hildagarde try to stop him from unleashing his destructive tears by distracting him.

Hands down my favorite show of the past year, Beelzebub won me over with it's characters, humor, fights, and the overall story. Beelzebub follows the life of Oga Tatsumi, a ruthless, brutal teenager who takes great pleasure in getting into fights just for the fun of it. One day, after he wraps up dunking some punks into the river shortly after they lose to him in a fight, Oga notices a strange thing floating down the river and goes to investigate it. When he discovers that it is a body, he pauses to think over what he should do, but before he can finish his thoughts, the body "splits open" and a green haired baby emerges. Unsure as what to make of this situation, Oga makes several attempts to scare the baby, but his scary actions only result in the wide-eyed baby taking more interest in him.

He later finds out from Hildagarde (the cold, indifferent wet nurse who is responsible for the baby) that it is Kaiser de Emperana Beelzebub IV, the child of the powerful Demon King and that he has been "chosen" by it to become it's surrogate father. Not wanting to be burdened with raising the child that will one day be the thing that destroys humanity, Oga decides that if he can find someone else tougher and more evil than he is, perhaps he can hopefully dump off Baby Beel on them.

Thus begins the wild and hectic life of Oga Tatsumi, who not only has split his time so that he can raise the future Demon King along with attending classes at Ishiyama High, but now becomes a target of the powerful TKKH, an alliance of four students and their followers that maintain control at the school and take interest in Oga's rise to power. People should watch this show since it is quite enjoyable in almost every aspect, from the humor to the WTF? moments all the way to the interesting cast of characters that make Beelzebub so interesting.

Pros: Interesting Cast, Great Humor, Interesting Story/Plot, Interesting Concepts, Great Animation

Cons: Some slow (boring) parts, but those are rare and hardly affect the series.

II. Aria the Scarlet Ammo

Due to my love of shows that have great action, enjoyable characters, and interesting concepts, Aria the Scarlet Ammo gets the nod for 2nd Best of 2011.

She may not look like much, but Aria Holmes Kanzaki will kick you ass without hesitation if you incur her wrath.
She may not look like much, but Aria Holmes Kanzaki will kick you ass without hesitation if you incur her wrath.

While in the middle of my viewing of the Skypiea Arc in One Piece, I decided to take a break and look into something that had some action and humor in it. Little did I know that I would find what I was looking for in Aria the Scarlet Ammo (Hidan no Aria), which was recommended to me by a big anime fan on Playfire. The show follows the everyday life of E-Rank Butei High School student Kinji Tohyama, who becomes the latest target of the infamous Butei Killer's wrath when he discovers a speed-engaged bomb underneath his bike and is chased by a segway armed with a Uzi that will shoot him if he tries to escape from his fate. Racing around town, Kinji is eventually saved after the arrival of S-Rank student Aria Holmes Kanzaki, who parachutes down from the skies and takes out the armed segway before helping him escape his explosive bike. From that point onwards, Kinji becomes involved with Aria as she tries to assemble and recruit members to create an group of elite Assault agents for her department that will be the best around. As they take up more assignments, Kinji and Aria find themselves becoming involved in dangerous events until a betrayal

What makes this show fun (in my opinion) is the humor, the characters, and the concept of Kinji's genetically-inherited Hysteria Mode. For those who don't know, it works like this: Whenever Kinji becomes sexually aroused by the females around him, his body enters "Hysteria Mode", in which his strength, speed, and intellect soar to staggering levels in combat. However, once in this mode, he can not attack or harm women directly, but he can restrain them and use indirect methods to attack them. The oddest feature of his Hysteria Mode is that he becomes a true seducer of women with a suave personality whenever he is under it's effects, making him look ultra attractive to the girls around him and doing things that he later regrets doing.

While some might not enjoy this series, I found it to be quite enjoyable and a blast to watch, so that is why it gains my favor for being my 2nd best anime of 2011. I will wrap up the final few episodes by the end of this week so that I can see how it ends.

Pros: Interesting characters, Great Action, Good Humor, Interesting Concepts, Good Story/Plot, Good Animation, and Fanservice (for those who enjoy it)

Cons: Fanservice (for those who don't care much for it), and Confusing Segments (at times)

III. Yumekui Merry

Follow the wild mis-adventures of teenager Yumeji Fujiwara, a boy who can see the arua of dreams that eminate from people and can see when people are going to have a nightmare. He gets knocked down when the mysterious Merry Nightmare, a dream demon who seeks to return to the World of Dreams, falls upon him.

Enter the world of dreams and experience a series that most can enjoy...
Enter the world of dreams and experience a series that most can enjoy...

Now, I know that this series has gotten mixed reviews and thoughts from other people, and I was tempted to put Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? here for third place, but when I looked back at Yumekui Merry, I decided to go with it since I found it to be a great overall series to enjoy (even with it's dull parts). Now, I did not officially "finish" all of the episodes for this series (stopped at Episode 8 due to my watching of Gintama, Beelzebub, and ONE PIECE), but from the eight episodes that I had the chance to watch, I found the tales of both average human Yumeji Fujiwara and the dream demon Merry Nightmare to be one that I enjoyed. I will wrap up the final few episodes by the end of this week so that I can see how it ends.

For those who don't know, Yumekui Merry (also known as Dream Eater Merry) follows the life of teenager Yumeji Fujiwara, who has been able to see the dream auras from other people and be able to know when someone is going to have a nightmare. For the past ten years, he has had this strange ability, but it seems to have come with a odd side effect: his dreams always seems to involve being harassed by a legion of talking cats and their wicked master Chaser John Doe, who seeks to use Yumeji's body as a vessel to posses in order to enter the human world. He is saved from his fate by the arrival of the mysterious Merry Nightmare, a dream demon who has been trapped in the human world for ten years and longs to return to the world of dreams. Being the helpful person that he is, Yumeji decides to help her and so begins their ordeals together as they seek to get Merry back to the dream world and to stop the evil scheme of Pharos Hercules, a powerful dream demons that seek to posses humans so that they can escape to the human world and replace humanity. (However, the anime differs by introducing a different villian by the name of Mystletainn, who uses her powers to force dream demons into human vessels so that later on, she can come back and kill them off, resulting in the loss of all ambition in the vessel)

The whole concepts of dream demons, the world of dreams, and the strange cat-filled dreams that Yumeji keeps finding himself in also made this show stand out for me. This show might not appeal to everyone, but in my personal taste, it made for a good overall watch and that is why I place this series over Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?.

Pros: Interesting Story/Plot (most of the time), Neat Concepts, Good Characters, Good Animation

Cons: The Occasional Confusing Segment or Two, Annoying Parts (every now and then)

(NOW FINISHED!)

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The Universal Century timeline began, in our experience as the audience, with the One Year War, depicted in the original Gundam series.  In a battle between the Earth Federation and Principality of Zeon, the faction that the show designated to us as the enemy was Zeon, and were presented like their super robot enemy contemporaries: comical and cartoonish in nature.  All future shows placed in the middle of this war seemed to work as apologies for this initial depiction.  War in the Pocket, Stardust Memories (it's still pre-Gundam Z), 08th MS Team, and Gundam IGLOO all served to humanize the soldiers of Zeon in one way or another.  The lore's predestination of a Zeonic defeat paints these soldiers doomed by their commanders and by fate and victims of past Federation abuses fighting the good fight while crying "Seig Zeon" with a sense of national pride.
This depiction is what made the battle cry of the final remnants of Zeon forces on the earth's surface so painful.  These were soldiers that were members of the initial invasion forces who was left behind and forgotten and never accepted the peace that was signed oh so far away.  They missed out on Operation Stardust.  They missed out on both Neo Zeon uprisings under the lead of Haman Karn in Gundam ZZ and Char Aznable in Char's Counter Attack.  This attack on Torrington was their last chance for not glory, but vindication and vengence.
  The attack was never going to succeed.  Their ancient mobile suits were never going to stand up against London Bell's crack troops.  Their numbers were never going to hold out against a Federation counter attack.  But it did do what they wanted: get one last punch in.  The chants of Seig Zeon in this case was no longer a chant of national pride.  It was merely a tired symbolic title to serve as cover for a personal vendetta.  Loni's last desperate chant of Seig Zeon was but a ghost compared to the chant that Ghiren inspired so many years ago at the dawn of this long lived conflict, and I can't help but pity them despite being a Feddie at heart.
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So I heard "Best Of" lists were popular this time of the year.  Here's my relatively brief one.  Partly because I don't remember every show I watch over the year, and partly because I don't have time to watch them all at all.  Then again, if a moment wasn't compelling enough to make me watch/remember it, it probably wouldn't make the list anyways.
 
Compared to much of the anime that I consume regularly, Usagi Drop is a very sedated show in both action and drama.  Yet there is a constant level of emotional appeal that makes every episode so enjoyable.  It rests in how honest the characters are, especially Daikichi.  He does not lie to himself about the situation he has set himself in, what he gives up in life by taking in a six year old.  He recognizes the difficulties of child rearing, and learns from figures in his life the potential struggles it causes. 
But neither does he, as the only character whose inner monologue we hear, turn the story into one about his struggles only.  There is a supreme optimism and understanding on his part.  Understanding just what Rin must be going through, and indeed what her mother must have went through to reach her decision, and optimism towards how he can give her a better future.  It is largely enabled by an almost perfect relationship he has with Rin, but you never fault the show for this idealization as Daikichi's own great efforts at making this family structure work garners sympathy and respect.
Usagi Drop, much like Honey and Clover previously, holds a very special spot in my heart because of how it takes advantage of my life experience.  No, I don't have a child, adopted or otherwise.  But I do have people for whom I have sacrificed for.  I also have parents that have sacrificed much for me.  This show is sweet nostalgia for moments in both my childhood and faux-adulthood that I had long forgotten.
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My finals are done, I can sleep in late, and I can now reflect on the shows I watched. In a few days I will be posting up some of my opinions on the anime that came out in 2011 from the years best to what I wasn't expecting. We start with my top 5 animes of 2011

Anime of the 2011

A lot is changing in the anime industry from the large amounts of simulcast to the large licensing deals between publishers. What’s the most apparent are the releases of original show and adoptions of high level material. That's what fills my list of top 5 Animes of the year and helps show the grandness of it all. Keep in mind that this list is purely my own opinion but in a way I recommend these titles as they really do represent the creativity that anime can active. So lets begin.

#5 Stein;Gate

A show that uses the real life event of John Titor and the idea of time travel that soon effects our characters. Despite the slow beginning episodes and the development of the characters, it still holds up with its twist and turns, interesting visual, and the deepness of the characters.

#4 Tiger and Bunny

A refreshing twist on the superhero genera that is filled with a colorful cast of characters, smart use of superhero clichés, and lots of visual flair of animation and CG that makes you question if this was the low budget title of Sunrise this year.

#3 Ano Hana

A very emotional title of friends coming to terms with a death of a childhood friend. While the beginning had some odd humor and a bad first impressions of the characters, but it is the journey to their conclusion is what makes it worthwhile. With visuals that keep Noitamina at top tier and a fitting musical score helps makes the whole experience emotional.

#2 Usagi Drop

One man’s journey of becoming a parent after adopting a little girl. It’s a journey that is full of understanding, intrigue, sacrifices, and heartwarming that only a heartless person would hate. Its sketchbook like visuals and gentle music score help set the clamming experience the show is going for. Despite the controversial manga ending, the anime keeps focus on the pure innocent message of parenthood.

#1 Madoka Magica

The defining anime of this year. A tale full of twist and turns with powerful messages that only the diabolical mind of Gen can come up with. Characters, while not as deep as the other characters from this list, are legitimately develop given the short amount of time and help push forward the story. Visuals of all types from the ranging beauties environments to the bizarre abstract worlds full of imagery and symbolism that SHAFT perfected. It is the show that will change the way we look at Magical girl shows.

Highlights

You can always get another one
You can always get another one
Scarf girl sure is everywhere
Scarf girl sure is everywhere
;_;
;_;
Its these moments that I want to be a parent
Its these moments that I want to be a parent
Gets me every time :D
Gets me every time :D
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion

First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.

Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53

Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.

Beginner's Guide to FLCL

Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.

Ballz Deep

Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!

Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs

Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!

Anime Vice Battle User of July 2014: Low

Congratulations to Low!

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL #1 -- Special Review

What was revealed about this reboot from the Anime Expo screening?

Anime Expo 2014 Recap

Vice Pit sentai squad assemble!

DRAGON BALL :: Should You Watch Dub or Sub?

Episode #11. Retro review. He's bringing THAT question up again?

NARUTO Ch. 683 Review

When things are at their worst, the only place to go is up,....right?

BLEACH Ch. 587 Review

The war has taken an unexpectedly disappointing turn in direction.

SWORD ART ONLINE II #1 -- Special Review

I really, really don't like MMO's gettin' real.

Community Spotlight 7/11/2014

No rest for the wiki editors in a post Anime Expo week.

Anime Vice Battle User of July 2014: Low

Congratulations to Low!

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL #1 -- Special Review

What was revealed about this reboot from the Anime Expo screening?

DRAGON BALL :: Should You Watch Dub or Sub?

Episode #11. Retro review. He's bringing THAT question up again?

ALDNOAH ZERO #1 -- Special Review

An info dump that... still smells good?

BLEACH Ch. 587 Review

The war has taken an unexpectedly disappointing turn in direction.

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE : STARDUST CRUSADERS #10 + 11 -- Double Review!

This one will make you cry the manliest tears!

Anime Expo 2014 Recap

Vice Pit sentai squad assemble!

SWORD ART ONLINE II #1 -- Special Review

I really, really don't like MMO's gettin' real.

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