Beauty, Brains and Brawn

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/beauty_brains_brawn_02_9796.png
Left: The one who fires off glorious magic spells.
Center: The one who builds the best gadgets.
Right: The one who punches things real hard.

"Blossom, commander and the leader
Bubbles, she is the joy and the laughter
Buttercup, she is the toughest fighter"
Ending theme, The Powerpuff Girls

A group dynamic trope, a type of female Power Trio where one is smart, one is tough, and one is conventionally pretty, popular or feminine.

Often, to give "Beauty" a useful skill, she also acts as the Team Mom, The Kirk, or the mediator when the other two get into their frequent fights. In other cases, she is the one who is socially adept and empathetic, while "Brains" has technical skills but is sometimes nerdy or socially awkward.

The personalities might also be what the Freudian Trio used to be described as:
  • brawn — body or the impulsive, pleasure-seeking one
  • brain — mind or the academic, reasonable one
  • beauty — heart or the one who ties them together, as the calming, healing influence

In other words, the Brawn represents the Id, the Brain represents the Superego, and the Beauty represents the Ego.

Often Color-Coded for Your Convenience as the Brainy Brunette, the Fiery Redhead and the beautiful but Dumb Blonde (keeping with giving them a skill, sometimes they can also be an example of Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold). Contrast though as the Blonde, Brunette, Redhead tend to be portrayed as flaws while Beauty, Brains and Brawn are good.

See also: The Hecate Sisters, The Three Faces of Eve, and Four-Girl Ensemble.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

  • Sailor Moon:
    • The six Inner Senshi
      • Usagi/Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa/Chibi-Moon - Beauty; a mother and daughter duo who love each other very much, like any other mother and daughter.
      • Rei/Sailor Mars and Makoto/Sailor Jupiter - Brawn; one is a shrine maiden with anger issues, the other is an athletic tomboy.
      • Ami/Sailor Mercury and Minako/Sailor Venus - Brains; one is a technological genius, the other has years of experience as another superhero named Sailor V.
    • The Outer Senshi
      • Michiru/Sailor Neptune - Beauty; the Elegant Classical Musician
      • Setsuna/Sailor Pluto - Brains; Orchestrates the rise of the Silver Millennium with the Time Gate.
      • Haruka/Sailor Uranus - Brawn; she's mannish, can pass for a guy and uses a sword.
    • The Sailor Starlights
      • Yaten/Star Healer - Beauty; delicate and fashionable like a model.
      • Taiki/Star Maker - Brains; literature-loving intellectual with excellent grades.
      • Seiya/Star Fighter - Brawn; star school football player with a quick temper.

  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • The beginning of the series gives a strong impression of having this ensemble, but it breaks down quickly.
      • Beauty: Madoka, The Chick and by far the least combat-capable of the group. Until she becomes a god, and erases all witches from existence.
      • Brains: Mami, Team Mom, constructs muskets out of ribbons and has years of experience fighting witches. The World's Expert on Getting Killed.
      • Brawn: Sayaka, card-carrying tomboy, the most determined to beat up baddies. Goes on a rampage over lovesickness and self-hate, becomes a witch.
    • In the original timeline, things are shuffled around:
      • Beauty: Mami, who does little direct fighting, and mostly supports the others.
      • Brains: Homura, the dorky and awkward one, beats a witch with a homemade pipe bomb.
      • Brawn: Madoka, the most aggressive, outgoing, and confident of the three.
    • Rebellion organizes the five characters into groups:
      • Beauty: Madoka+Homura. Madoka boosts Mami's attack power and Homura does defensive time-freezing for the whole team. Nagisa takes over this role in the climactic battle.
      • Brains: Mami, leader and somewhat literal orchestrator.
      • Brawn: Sayaka+Kyouko, the dedicated Bash Sisters, both as tomboyish as ever.

  • Ranma ˝: When you boil them down to the characteristics most people associate them with, the Tendo sisters fit.

  • 7 Seeds- the three young women in Team Spring

  • Mai-HiME - the three main characters
    • Beauty: Mai (The most maternal of they three as she looks after Mikoto, and takes care of her sickly brother, Takumi)
    • Brains: Natsuki (The most rational of the three and a bit of a loner)
    • Brawn: Mikoto (Despite being childlike she is incredible powerful and wields a large claymore.)
  • Hanamaru Kindergarten - the three main girls

  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, the first three Mew Mews are examples.
    • Beauty: Minto Aizawa, the affluent ballerina whose beauty amongst the Mew Mews is rivaled only by a later addition to the team, her idol Zakuro.
    • Brains: Retasu Midorikawa, the shy bookworm whose interest in books proves vital to victory against one chimera anima.
    • Brawn: Ichigo Momomiya, easily the most passionate of the initial trio, if just as feminine as the other two, and will spring into action the minute anything or anyone she loves gets threatened, even standing up to her own father when he's curb-stomping Masaya at kendo.

  • Ojamajo Doremi, the original trio.
    • Beauty: Doremi, the clumsy, boy-crazy ditz.
    • Brains: Hazuki, shy, one of the smartest students in her class.
    • Brawn: Aiko, a tomboy who excels in everything related to sports.

  • Jewelpet
    • The main Jewelpets:
      • Beauty: Garnet, always concerned with beauty and fashion, an expert in love.
      • Brains: Sapphie, very intelligent, studious and tech savvy.
      • Brawn: Ruby, a ditzy, Hot-Blooded rabbit with crazy powerful magic ability.
    • The main humans from Jewelpet (2009):
      • Beauty: Rinko, a shy girl who's frequently the voice of reason.
      • Brains: Aoi, the cultured one.
      • Brawn: Minami, a Passionate Sports Girl who sometimes uses her skills to fight off bad guys.
    • The main humans from Jewelpet Twinkle:
      • Beauty: Miria, a Genki Girl and wannabe idol singer.
      • Brains: Sara, a Teen Genius scientist.
      • Brawn: Akari, due to her magical power.
    • The main humans from Jewelpet Sunshine
      • Beauty: Kanon, an arrogant, posh Alpha Bitch.
      • Brains: Hinata, not specially intelligent, but is the most rational and has common sense.
      • Brawn: Shouko, a tomboyish delinquent who likes her knuckle sandwiches.

  • Problem Children Are Coming from Another World, Aren't They?:
    • Kurousagi uses her god-granted lightning strikes and thus is brawn.
    • Kudou Asuka is beauty, with strong charisma and a "command" ability.
    • Kasukabe You is brains, signified by her copy ability and being able to speak many languages, including a sizable amount of animal ones.

  • Axis Powers Hetalia Rare Male Example with the titular Axis.
    • Beauty - Italy, being a cute, ditzy Bishōnen.
    • Brains - Japan, the stoic strategist.
    • Brawn - Germany, the tall, strong and tough-as-nails leader.

    Comic Books 

  • Josie and the Pussycats - the Rock Trio
    • Josie - Brains (the most level headed of the group and The Leader)
    • Melody - Beauty (She's not bright and the prettiest of the three. She's largely unaware of all the attention she gets)
    • Valerie - Brawn (She's the tomboy of the trio who usually protects the others from unwanted male attention)

    Fan Works 
  • Sapphire Eleanor Rose Suzette De Mont Vs Canon - the three female members of the MSEA we see the most of.
    • October: Brains; she's The Leader of the MSEA and generally makes all the decisions
    • Aphrodite: Beauty; she's a lovely young thing who's not much into physical combat—instead, she's a Cute Witch
    • Charlie: Brawn; she carries a BFG and is always eager to do the dirty work
  • Horseshoes and Hand Grenades has different ones. For example:
    • Kamen Rider Club Girls (Horseshoes and Hand Grenades)
      • Tomoko-Beauty (for having the Psychic Powers in the group)
      • Yuki-Brains (Having the most knowledge of space)
      • Miu and Erin-Brawn (Miu being the one making plans and piloting the Power Dizer. Erin for being the Aquarius Zodiarts and the healer)
    • Cosmic Hunting Dogs (Month of Sundays)
      • Mari-Beauty (The healer with a boyfriend who wants to see people smile)
      • Jun-Brains (She's the most observant of the group and questions many of their actions.)
      • Rumi-Brawn (Usually the one charging onto the field with a vaulting pole in hand)

    Film 

  • The Sound of Music: The three oldest Von Trapp daughters

  • Despicable Me- Gru's adopted daughters:
    • Margo - Brains; oldest sister, the most intelligent, mature and sarcastic.
    • Edith - Brawn; mischievous tomboy, with rebellious attitude & fond of destruction.
    • Agnes - Beauty; youngest of the trio, the most joyful and tender of the family.

  • Bachelorette:
    • Reagen - Brains, the Ivy league graduate who is so capable it's scary
    • Gena - Brawn, The Lad-ette.
    • Katie - Beauty, the ditzy Fashionista.

  • The Duff: Basically how Bianca and her friends are described in the beginning.
    • Jess - Beauty, "the kind one" and The Fashionista.
    • Casey - Brawn, "the tough one" and very athletic Spicy Latina.
    • Bianca - Brains, a geeky honor student.

    Literature 

  • Avalon: Web of Magic
    • Kara - Beauty; she's so focused on looking good and otherwise girly Adrianne calls her 'Barbie'. Her original function was to power up the others, not mediate. That was Emily's job.
    • Emily - Brains; she's the one with The Plan to protect the forest or thwart the Evil Plan.
    • Adrianne - Brawn; a tomboy and so action forward Kara calls her 'Xena'.

  • The Prophecy of the Stones
    • Jade - Brawn, the hot tempered duelist.
    • Opal - Brain, level headed and well read.
    • Ember - Beauty, sweet and kind reminder that Heart Is an Awesome Power

  • In Circle of Magic, the three main female characters could fit into it, while their foster brother Briar fits a little bit into all three (being handsome, tough and clever in a street-smart sort of way).
    • Sandry: Beauty (thread based magic, clothes designer and politician)
    • Tris: Brains (weather based magic, book worm)
    • Daja: Brawn (metal work/fire based magic, smithy).

  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, Laura, Lucy, and Shelby embody this.

  • Implied in Plato's The Republic, which includes three castes, in which men and women are included equally
    • Guardian women - concerned with Forms and philosophical, brains
    • Auxillary women - concerned with physically guarding the city, do gymnastic, and look up to men, brawn
    • Money-making/common women (and probably how he saw most Athenian women of his day) - concerned with the appearances of things, not how they really are, beauty.

  • The Stark women of A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Catelyn - Brains. Provides counsel to Robb during his rebellion.
    • Sansa - Beauty, which is admired by numerous characters.
    • Arya - Brawn. She's a rebellious tomboy who practices fencing

  • The Anatole Kuragin's gang in Warand Peace.
    • Anatole is Beauty, being a physically attractive Casanova.
    • Sociopathic chessmaster Dolokhov is Brains, making most of Anatole's dirty plans.
    • Pierre is Brawn, as he is a huge brute with Super Strength.

  • The Big Bad Ensemble sisters of Wings of Fire are this.

  • Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis of Goddess Girls are this.

    • Aphrodite - Goddess of Beauty (Beauty)
    • Athena - Goddess of Wisdom (Brains)
    • Artemis - Goddess of the Hunt (Brawn)

    Live-Action TV 

  • The Big Bang Theory (As of Season 4)
    • Bernadette - Beauty; cute, lovable and pretty.
    • Amy - Brains; stoic Brainy Brunette, TV Genius.
    • Penny - Brawn; strong, capable of handling herself on a physical level.

  • Friends
    • Rachel - Beauty; attractive, trendy, fashionable.
    • Monica - Brains; level-headed, the one with most common sense.
    • Phoebe - Brawn; the badass who lived on the street, implied to be a capable fighter.

  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (seasons 5-7)
    • Morgan - Beauty; shallow, attractive and popular.
    • Sabrina - Brains; book smart, aspiring journalist.
    • Roxie - Brawn; very strong and tough.

  • Sam & Cat
    • Cat - Beauty; wide-eyed, adorable and stunning.
    • Dice - Brains; always looking to make a deal.
    • Sam - Brawn; once punched her way out of a closet that was nailed shut.

  • Teen Wolf
    • Beauty - Erica, the Femme Fatale who's not ashamed to use her looks and sexuality to get stuff done
    • Brains - Lydia, the brilliant and sarcastic Teen Genius.
    • Brawn - Allison, the Action Girl who's a skilled archer who won't hesitate to kick your ass.

  • Arrow
    • Beauty: Thea (From a billionaire socialite family and runs a night club)
    • Brains: Felicity (Genius hacker and case of Nerds Are Sexy)
    • Brawn: Sara/Laurel (The resident Action Girl)

  • Orphan Black
    • The main three clones.
      • Beauty - Alison, a neat and uptight soccer mom.
      • Brains - Cosima, a nerdy science student.
      • Brawn - Sarah, a tough, abrasive former hustler.
    • The three main prominent additional Clone Club members.
    • It could be argued that the original three main male characters as Rare Male Examples.
      • Beauty - Felix, cultured and artistic Camp Gay (bordering on Brains for being a con-artist).
      • Brains - Art, a brilliant and Genre Savvy detective (bordering on Brawn for theoretically also being combat proficient, being a veteran cop and all).
      • Brawn - Paul, supposedly ex-military and has the most action scenes (bordering on Beauty for being the show's resident Mr. Fanservice).

  • Downton Abbey has the Crawley sisters.
    • Beauty - Mary The Charmer, though she later regrets having nothing else to offer.
    • Brawn - Sybil learns to work. Her personality also hardens.
    • Brains - Edith becomes a master organiser since she's not as pretty as pretty or strong as her sisters.

  • Charmed the original trio:

  • Survivor used a mixed-gender example, as it themed the Cagayan and Kaôh Rōng seasons after the dynamic; each with a tribe of strong people, a tribe of smart people, and a tribe of pretty people. "Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty" was even a tagline for the seasons. A straighter example would be in Kaoh Rong, with the trio of Cydney, Aubry, and Michele:
    • Beauty - Michele Fitzgerald, a pretty bartender from the Beauty Tribe
    • Brains - Aubry Bracco, a smart social media marketer from the Brains Tribe
    • Brawn - Cydney Gillon, a beefy body builder from the Brawn Tribe

  • Charlie's Angels, particularly in the first season
    • Sabrina - Brains; usually acted as leader, put the clues together, and solved the crime.
    • Jill - Brawn; Somewhat surprisingly since the opening showed Kelly doing Judo, it was Jill who was portrayed as the athlete of the three.
    • Kelly - Beauty; Insomuch as they were all pretty much this, she was portrayed as the classic beauty.

  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • Gina - Beauty. She's the most feminine and cares a great deal about her looks.
    • Amy - Brains. She's highly intelligent and is enthusiastically nerdy about police work.
    • Rosa - Brawn. She's an intimidating badass who is the quickest to resort to violence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Legends Of The Wulin: In the Tale of the Three Maidens' Answers, three concubines search for ways to preserve their value to the king. The first makes herself a wise and reliable advisor to the king (Brains), the second developed techniques for preserving and enhancing her beauty (Beauty, obvi), and the third joined the Wulin and became a powerful warrior (Brawn). The book mentions that how it turned out for each of them depends on the point the storyteller wishes to make.

    Theater 
  • The Mrs Hawking play series:
    • Nathaniel - Beauty. Uses his charm and good looks to act as faceman.
    • Mrs. Hawking - Brains. The mastermind of the operation.
    • Mary - Brawn. Does the hard physical work as well as swings a fireplace poker as her weapon of choice.

    Video Games 

  • Ace Attorney: Generally gender subverted in the Wright Anything Agency, but still counts:
    • Phoenix - Brains. He is the most experienced of the three, and thinks before he acts.
    • Apollo - Brawn. He's impulsive, and somewhat driven by emotion at times.
    • Athena - Beauty. She's the Genki Girl of the team, and somewhat of a Stepford Smiler.

  • Final Fantasy VII
    • Aeris - Beauty. She's the most outwardly feminine, and functions as The Chick.
    • Tifa - Brawn. Female martial artist, very quick and strong.
    • Yuffie - Brains. Agile, sneaky and eventually revealed as quite manipulative.

  • Pokémon Red and Blue - The female gym leaders
    • Erika - Beauty. She isn't called "the nature-loving princess" for nothing.
    • Sabrina - Brains. The master of psychic Pokémon literally uses her noggin to communicate with her Pokémon in combat against trainers who come by.
    • Misty - Brawn. Not only is she explicitly called a tomboy on the signpost outside of her gym, she uses powerful Pokémon that can easily thrash your Pokémon if you're not prepared.

  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl - The lake guardians
    • Mesprit - Beauty. In-universe, they are known as the representation of emotion.
    • Uxie - Brains. The representation of knowledge.
    • Azelf - Brawn. Represents willpower, and also the one with the highest attack stat in the trio and the most offensive moves.

  • Fire Emblem 6 - The Pegasus Knight sisters

  • Fire Emblem 7 - The other Peg Knight sisters
    • Florina - Beauty (youngest sister, and Naďve Newcomer)
    • Fiora - Brains (elder sister, commander of a whole Pegasi squad)
    • Farina - Brawn (middle sister, left home to fight and earn a lot of cash)

  • Project Justice - Seijyun Girls High School
    • Akira - Brains; the transfer student who's been through a similar situation before
    • Yurika - Beauty; the incredibly girly Elegant Gothic Lolita that fights with music
    • Zaki - Brawn; the deliquent gang leader who's experienced with local gang conflicts

  • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
    • Etna - Brawn; the aggressive one.
    • Flonne - Beauty; a pretty teaching about love.
    • Jennifer - Brains; she's a scientist

  • Super Smash Bros..
    • Peach - Beauty; she fights with traditionally feminine "weapons" (such as a Frying Pan of Doom), daintily floats, and has a non-damaging final smash.
    • Zelda - Brains; most of her special moves are based on magical/psychic powers and in her source material she represents wisdom.
    • Samus - Brawn; she generally fights in heavy armor and her special moves are an arsenal of weapons, and is also the one who is always an Action Girl in her source material.

  • BlazBlue:
    • Noel Vermilion - Beauty. Although all three of them are certainly good-looking, Noel probably embodies this aspect the most, being the most outwardly feminine, with girly interests and an endearing Moe demeanour. She's also the one who is played for Fanservice the most.
    • Tsubaki Yayoi - Brains. Back in the Academy days, Tsubaki got the highest academic scores and acted as the brains of the trio. Her fighting style seems to make use of graceful attacks and Ars Magus, emphasizing her intellect.
    • Makoto Nanaya - Brawn. Being a Beastkin, Makoto is extremely physically strong by human standards. Her fighting style also emphasizes this; twin-tonfas and punches as opposed to Noel's Bolverk and Tsubaki's Izayoi.

  • Super Street Fighter IV

  • In Persona 4, if you discount Mission Control Rise, (who would otherwise be a secondary Beauty), then you get:
    • Chie: Brawn (Tomboyish Kick Chick)
    • Yukiko: Beauty (feminine, elegant, in charge of healing magic)
    • Naoto: Brains (the most intelligent of the group, but also incredibly shy)

  • Persona 3's female cast is a little debatable (again, discounting Fuuka, the Mission Control character and Metis, since she's an extension of Aigis anyway, and also fills the same role):
    • Aigis: Definitely the Brawn, being a superpowered Robot Girl (and one of two characters who only has physical-type offensive skills.)
    • Yukari: Could be the Beauty, due to being the healer of the group, and because her trying to go back to the fight against Nyx again to try and save the Protagonist in The Answer causes the group to splinter.
    • Mitsuru: The Brains, being the smartest of the group, but also shares the Beauty role with Yukari, being an Ojou and Team Mom.

  • Metal Gear Solid
    • Mei Ling - Beauty (Snake's Radio Support and among the cutest girls of the series.)
    • Meryl Silverburgh - Brawn (One of Snake's more sensitive comrades and rookie soldier at the time.)
    • Naomi Hunter - Brains (A secretive support of Snake, who turns out to be a lot more manipulative than the cast thought.)

  • Undertale:
    • Toriel - Beauty (The kind, motherly one and the most conventionally feminine of the three)
    • Alphys - Brains (The geeky inventor who serves as Mission Control during the latter half of the game)
    • Undyne - Brawn (The captain of the royal guard who suplexes huge boulders just because she can)

    Webcomics 
  • Angel Moxie: As seen in the page image.
    • Riley - The one who builds the best gadgets.
    • Tristan - The one who punches things real hard.
    • Alex - The one who fires off glorious magic spells.

  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Nanase - Brawn (she can bench press 200 lbs when she has access to her magic and 160 lbs otherwise)
    • Grace - Brains (she learns very quickly, can store a lot of info in her short term memory, has above average long term memory and is a math tutor)
    • Ellen - Beauty (her appearance is based on the Female Variant 5 form as applied to Elliot which was designed with attractiveness in mind)

  • Drowtales
    • Zala'ess Vel'Sharen - Beauty (she's used her beauty to seduce men and has dozens of children and is the most likely to flaunt her physical assets, also the clan diplomat)
    • Sarv'swati Vel'Sharen - Brawn (leader of the Sharen army and a formidable fighter in her own right)
    • Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen - Brains (mastermind behind the conspiracy that killed her mother, as well as The Chessmaster who's manipulated her other sisters into fighting each other)

    Western Animation 
  • Totally Spies!
    • Sam - Brains. A straight-A student, unofficial leader of the team, and comes up with the most strategies for fighting the bad guys and when the girls have to escape near-death situations.
    • Alex - Brawn. A bit of a tomboy who's the most athletic of the the team and loves sports.
    • Clover - Beauty. A Valley Girl who is easily the most boy crazy of the group. The show also gave a pragmatic reason to have a Beauty, since she is good with disguises (though this becomes a moot point in later seasons where the girls just use holograms.)

  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Blossom - Brains; "commander and leader"
    • Bubbles - Beauty; "the joy and the laughter"
    • Buttercup - Brawn; "the toughest fighter"

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks - The Chipettes
    • Brittany - Beauty (the prettiest one of the group, and the oldest of the group)
    • Jeannette - Brains (the most mature and by far the most intelligent of the group)
    • Eleanor- Brawn (surprisingly athletic given her weight)

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Cutie Mark Crusaders
    • Sweetie Belle - Beauty. She takes after her sister in fashion and has a stunning singing voice.
    • Apple Bloom - Brains. Her cutie mark is implied to involve carpentry and she devises many of their plans.
    • Scootaloo - Brawns. A skateboarder that idolizes Rainbow Dash.

  • Danny Phantom - Danny's Crushes
    • Sam: Brains; she is often the Only Sane Woman in the group of friends.
    • Valerie: Brawn; she has a side job as a ghost hunter.
    • Paulina: Beauty; she's the girl who seems to really only be considered "popular" because of her looks.

  • Doug - the main three females
    • Patti: Brains
    • Bebe: Beauty
    • Connie: Brawn (as seen in "Doug Throws a Party")

  • X-Men: Evolution
    • Kitty Pryde: Beauty; the most girly of the X-men.
    • Jean Grey: Brains; honor student in this verse.
    • Rogue: Brawn; Touch of Death by skin contact works wonders in a fist fight.

  • Teen Titans
    • Starfire: Beauty; bright and bubbly personality. More than one episode focused on her appearance or relationship issues.
    • Raven: Brains; often reading and has the magical know-how.
    • Terra: Brawn; gritty, hands-on and hard hitting because of her super power.

  • Lady Lovely Locks
    • Lady: Beauty (Seen by many as the most gorgeous person in the whole land)
    • Maiden Fair Hair: Brains (Wise beyond her years)
    • Maiden Curly Crown: Brawn (possibly the most athletic of the three main girls)

  • The Loud House
    • The eldest girls: Lori (beauty), Leni (brains), Luna (brawn)
    • The middle girls: Luan (beauty), Lucy (brains), Lynn (brawn)
    • The youngest girls: Lola (beauty), Lisa (brains), Lana (brawn)

  • Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels
    • Taffy: brains (difacto leader, who comes up with brilliant ideas)
    • Didi: brawn (perfectly athletic, with an attitude to match)
    • Brenda: beauty (let's just say she's kinda wussy compared to the others)


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