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Deconstructed Character Archetype / Western Animation

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  • American Dragon: Jake Long: Jake Long deconstructs Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World and Disappointing Older Sibling. Jake is The Chosen One, the Dragon Guardian of an unseen magical realm constantly threatened by those that wish to do it harm. This means he is tasked with fighting the supernatural hating Huntsclan and keeping his dragon powers in top form. This causes him to have serious trouble at balancing his schoolwork, his social life, and his duties. His little sister Haley, who often mocks him for his goof-ups, gets an opportunity to be an American Dragon in the penultimate episode and is reduced to a scattered mess within a week because of how stressful it is. She realises just how tough her brother has it thanks to this.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • The episode "What You Want" deconstructs Tucker's Green-Eyed Monster status. Due to Danny's ghost powers and crimefighting cutting in on their activities, Tucker begins to get jealous and wishes that he had ghost powers as well. His wish is granted by the evil ghost genie Desiree, and he quickly starts to abuse his powers, doing harmless pranks at first, but quickly moving on to more illegal things like changing his grades. Also, Desiree tells Danny that Tucker's jealousy and rage will corrupt him into a ghost under her control. Danny manages to save Tucker by using his parents' new invention to separate Tucker's ghost half from his body. It takes coming face-to-face with the monster his jealousy created to allow Tucker to move past it.
    • Vlad Plasmius is a deconstruction of The Resenter, Green-Eyed Monster, and Broken Ace. At first glance, Vlad seems to be a man who has it all: He's wealthy, smart, famous, managed to be mayor of Amity Park, and he even has ghost powers. With such a successful life, you'd think he'd be satisfied, right? Unfortunately, despite having everything, Vlad is completely obsessed with the fact that the accident that gave him his powers cost him his chance to win Maddie's hand in marriage. To that end, he spends the series attempting to kill Jack and take Maddie. Maddie eventually sees what a creep he is underneath it all and Jack ultimately abandons him in space when he finally realizes what a monster he is, showing how resentment and jealousy can destroy one's life. By contrast, his Bad Future self, who lost his powers during Dark Danny's creation, eventually comes to realize what a fool he was.
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  • DuckTales (2017): Gladstone Gander deconstructs Born Lucky. Gladstone relies on his supernatural good luck for everything. Not only has this left him extremely smug and incredibly lazy, but he has no aspirations or life skills to speak of. As a result, he has no friends and most of his family doesn't want anything to do with him. At the end of Gladstone's debut episode, Webby even points out that in the grand scheme of things, Gladstone wasn't really that lucky after all.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • Asami Sato of the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter and Romantic Runner-Up. In the former's case, being vehemently and actively against her father still makes her guilty by association whether it's being arrested by Tarrlok or Future Industries having a tainted reputation that almost ruined it, requiring years of effort to restore it's good name by herself. In the latter's case, being repeatedly ignored and disrespected by her boyfriend adds salt to the wound of the former to the extent of a rebound out of loneliness and desperation that's both embarrassing and leaves her jilted again. It's only be time and effort ironically with her former romantic rival that she catches a break.
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    • Bolin of the usual comic relief Idiot Hero. Contrary to Mako, being shielded from a Crapsack World not only leaves him feeling insecure in the presence of his brother, but also immature and Super Gullible that makes him a sucker for any sweet-talking villain, which eventually stops being cute and gets called out on in Book 4 and has to actively work to redeem himself and finally grow up.
    • Mako of the usual Pretty Boy lead especially in a Wish Fulfillment-loaded Betty and Veronica Love Triangle. In Book 1, he's introduced as both handsome and competent in deftly taking down an entire team by himself and spends most of the season being fawned over by two attractive yet contrasting women and ultimately ends up with the heroine with whom he's had a purely Belligerent Sexual Tension-type dynamic. It's not until Book 2 when the deconstruction hits that he and Korra don't really work well together, and that same dynamic leads to him breaking up with Korra, rebounding to Asami then back with Korra under confused circumstances, ultimately ending with him single, embarrassed and looking like a jerk to most of the cast.
    • Baatar Jr. of Generation Xerox. He debuted in "The Metal Clan" just like the rest of his immediate family (and fiancé,) but whereas his siblings have Meaningful Names and Character Establishing Moments not only is he introduced simply as a Satellite Character to his father, only referred to as "my oldest" by Su-Yin, but he doesn't even talk as he's AWOL to the fight between Lin and Su in "Old Wounds" despite everyone else in the family being there and generally seems the absolute least like Toph overall. Turns out, he's had a chip on his shoulder all along exactly because he's seen as a mere clone of his father and being with Kuvira lets him be his own man. He's practically a background extra raging against the author for being so unremarkable.
  • The Little Mermaid: Zeus, Sebastian's childhood rival provides a painful deconstruction of The Ace and Always Someone Better. He was always Sebastian's better in everything he tried, which caused Sebastian to feel inferior and nearly leave Atlantica in shame. However, Zeus reveals he deeply envies Sebastian's ability to make friends because he's not better than others in everything since Zeus himself was always so good at whatever he tried that others he tried to befriend would end up competing against him, losing, and end up shunning and hating him, leaving Zeus lonely, miserable, and friendless.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • It deconstructs Purity Sue with Olga Pataki, Helga's sister. In order to keep your "pretty, intelligent, sweet, absolutely beloved young girl" image, you're likely to end up as a perfectionist, weepy, perpetually smily, dangerously out-of-reality mess who will break down to melodramatic levels the very moment something doesn't seem to fit in such a bubble of perfection, while being almost completely unable to connect with people far more "flawed" than yourself.
    • It also gives us Helga Pataki herself as a deconstruction of the Tsundere trope. She's got a relationship with Arnold that looks on the surface like the typical foundations of a Slap-Slap-Kiss romance, but as we delve a bit farther into her family life we see that, along with her traumatized Purity Sue sister, she has an abusive Jerkass dad and a Lady Drunk mother, neither of which can provide much support in her daily life - if she's lucky. Looking at the show with slightly more jaded eyes, her volatile relationship with Arnold and her few friends become an increasingly obvious cry for help and an awkwardness with dealing with people nonviolently.
  • Miraculous Ladybug Chloé Bourgeois is a deconstruct of the Alpha Bitch and Spoiled Brat. Chloé Bourgeois is the rich, beautiful daughter of the Mayor of Paris. Because of her father's authority, she can get away with almost anything. However, unlike most examples of the Alpha Bitch, she's definitely not popular and pretty much everyone at school hates her. She alienates herself from her classmates with her bossy attitude, bullying nature, and how she gets away with it. Unlike the regular Alpha Bitch, who has her own Girl Posse or group of cool friends, she only has two friends, one of whom she treats as a personal slave. The other is only friends with her because of a mix of pity and the fact she was one of his few childhood friends growing up. The only reason she has any power at all in school is because of her father. Another reason why Chloé is unpopular is her immaturity; being used to getting everything she wants when she wants it, and having her father clean up her messes with no consequences, Chloé has no impulse control at all. Even when it's in her best interest to be a little nice, like to get her classmates to like her or to stop people from being akumatized, she can't stop being cruel for not getting her way.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is fond of deconstructing common cartoon character archetypes:
    • Twilight Sparkle resembles a common Smart Girl protagonist, but her intellect and no-nonsense behaviour are exaggerated to the point of being a Super OCD perfectionist prone to mental breakdowns over the smallest slight, meaning she is just as often reliant on her friends' support as being the Only Sane Man to arguments.
    • Rainbow Dash, at first, is the typical blustery tomboy show-off stock for girl's shows. In several episodes though, she's shown to be crippled by fear of failure when stress gets to her, isn't as confident as she projects, and is embarassed for liking nerdy and/or girly things because of her image. A major factor in her Character Development over the seasons is her getting over these problems and mellowing out as a result.
    • Pinkie Pie deconstructs the Plucky Comic Relief by often taking her comedy to genuinely obnoxious and even hurtful levels, and because she is intensely emotionally dependent on people liking her, especially her friends. Any comedian will tell you how dangerously addictive making others laugh can be.
    • The episode "Too Many Pinkie Pies" also deconstructs Pinkie's Fun Personified Genki Girl nature. In order to have more time for fun with her friends, she clones herself. Unfortunately the clones are Flanderised versions of her, with none of her tact or compassion for her friends. The army of clones have no other goal than mindless fun and end up causing havoc and destruction. It shows that a one-dimensional Genki Girl or Fun Personified character would be horrible to deal with in real life, if they don't have the good sense and compassion to counter balance some of their wackier traits.
    • Discord deconstructs the Token Evil Teammate. Though he was a former villain who underwent a Heel–Face Turn, he only went so far as becoming a Wild Card and never actually became good. He was friends with only one of the Mane Six, the others still didn't like him, and he preferred to Troll and annoy them instead of actually helping them when they sought him out in a crisis (though his trickery does indirectly help Twilight). In the Season 4 finale, with Discord trusted to capture the new villain Tirek, Tirek instead manipulates him into helping him take over Equestria. Celestia even lampshades they trusted Discord too much and overestimated what The Power of Friendship meant to him. It is further deconstructed on Discord's side as well by showing the difficulties in being on a team where you're still suspected ends up damaging the progress made. While Fluttershy is genuinely friends with him, the others don't care too much for him. He does try and help, but being a Spirit of Chaos means being a Trickster Mentor is how he does it (and a later episode does show that not being chaotic would eventually kill him.) Tirek is able to manipulate him in the first place because he acts affable, considerate, and friendly with Discord while even asking what Discord wants. So while Celestia says they trusted him too much and overestimated what friendship meant to him, the others outside of Fluttershy did not give much of an attempt to be friends with Discord in the first place and thus Discord fell for Tirek's flattery since he acted more like a friend to him than anyone outside of Fluttershy and even then, seemed more understanding. The trope then gets reconstructed as Discord is hit with multiple My God, What Have I Done? moments as Tirek goes on a rampage, and ultimately realizes he does value friendship with the ponies, and makes a heartfelt apology to them.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes both deconstructs and parodies the Evil Twin/Super-Powered Evil Side archetype in the episode T.K.O. for drama and laughs, respectively. Turbo actually isn't treated like a threat that needs to be dealt with and isn't taken very seriously when he acts emo and edgy. He's basically treated like a little kid in a sour mood. It isn't until he starts destroying the plaza that the others start to take action. While chasing Enid, the two have the usual exchange: "This isn't you! You're better than this!" Stock Phrases for a "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight right? Well, T.K.O. replies that her words only make him stronger. Turns out he isn't bluffing. Turbo literally gets his strength from anger. The heroes' attempts to "snap him out of it" only piss him off further and thus make him more powerful. He doesn't cap, either. It culminates to Turbo being able to create a Battle Aura wide enough to cover a huge chunk of the plaza and powerful enough to bring everyone to their knees, most notably Carol and Gar.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Professor Mystery from 'Lost in Danville' merrily takes apart the 'mysterious villain' archetype. He repeatedly insists that 'mystery is his allure' and refuses to disclose information regarding his plans, devices or backstory. Instead of making him intriguing, this attitude makes him look pathetic. Doofenschmirtz cannot take him seriously or feel threatened by his 'true-purpose-shrouded-in-mystery-inator' since he has no idea what he's trying to do, and his relationship with his Arch-Enemy has suffered the equivalent of a communication breakdown that causes Peter the Panda to cheat on him by thwarting Doofenschmirtz.
  • Recess: The tropes of The Ace, Marty Stu and the Always Someone Better are viciously deconstructed in Here Comes Mr. Perfect with new kid Jared Smith. Jared's depicted as being smarter than Gretchen, more athletic than Vince, been around more than Gus, stronger than Spinelli, a better planner than TJ, more poetic than Mikey, and even mentors teachers on how to teach with virtually no effort. He then proceeds to show up every notable kid in school in every one of their interests, which leads to all the kids deciding to shun him with a lockout. However Jared himself is an amicable kid who simply wants to have friends and tries to stay out of the limelight unless asked. Frustrated, Jared proceeds to start Shaming the Mob for shunning him, explaining his history of bullying in over 38 schools for doing the same at previous schools, and expresses he can't limit himself for the sake of others and can't help his natural aptitude despite how miserable it makes him.
    Jared Smith: All I wanted was to be friends with you guys. I never wanted to show anybody up! I didn't tell Ms. Grotke I knew the right answer to Gretchen's problem, or challenge Vince to a foot race, or Spinelli to arm wrestling. You guys challenged me! I mean what do you want me to do? Pretend I'm no good?...Well I can't do that! Don't you see? I can't stop being good at stuff anymore than Gretchen can stop being smart, or Vince can stop being fast, or Mikey can stop being a sweet-souled giant. I'd trade places with any of you guys any day! You think it's easy being Mr. Perfect? You think it's easy being locked out? ...A lot of people say no matter how good you get there's always someone out there who's better than you? Well for me it's different. There might not be anybody better, but there's always somebody happier!
  • Samurai Jack:
    • Jack himself offers several deconstructions.
      • Jack is a deconstruction of the Determinator. Ever since he was flung into the far future by Aku, Jack has made it his sworn mission to return to the past and undo Aku's tyranny before it ever began. Season 5, however, brutally demonstrates what happens when someone attempts the same goal for 50 years with zero success. With the loss of his sword and the destruction of all known time portals, Jack had fallen into a deep depression, reducing him to a shell simply going through the motions while being plagued by nightmares and hallucinations about his guilt. Also, as Inner Jack shows, he has contemplated suicide at some points. This all comes to a head in "Episode XCVI", where Jack believes he had caused some children to be killed. This finally pushes Jack over the edge and he follows The Omen to a place to commit seppuku. However, it is reconstructed in the next episode when Ashi reminds him of all the good he had done during his quest. Knowing his actions inspired hope, and most importantly, that the children he attempted to save in the previous episode were still alive, ultimately gives Jack the strength to fight back against the Omen and regain his Heroic Resolve.
      • Jack also deconstructs Chronic Hero Syndrome and Honor Before Reason. While Jack's desire to do good is admirable, part of the reason he hasn't been able to succeed in his quest to return to the past is because he always puts the needs of others before his own, even when it's not pragmatic. Also, because he's so well known for his heroic acts, the villains have managed to turn his desire to save others against him. The Ultra Robots went on a killing spree, slaughtering village after village knowing it would lure Jack to them. Scaramouche decimated a village to draw Jack to him, and the Dominator kidnapped a village full of children and used special microchips to sic them on Jack, knowing he would Never Hurt an Innocent. His hallucinations even call him out on this when Jack constantly insists on rescuing Ashi (pre Heel–Face Turn), even though Ashi hates Jack and only wants to kill him.
      • Jack also deconstructs The Berserker and Unstoppable Rage. While he normally has a handle on his temper, there are instances where he is prone to losing himself to his rage only for it to backfire spectacularly. In "Jack Vs Mad Jack", after a rough day of relentless attacks by bounty hunters, Jack's anger becomes more than he can contain and Aku takes advantage of this by creating Mad Jack, a manifestation of all of Jack's negative emotions. After a long battle, Jack manages to defeat Mad Jack by simply calming down. Season 5, however, shows that just because you overcome your anger once doesn't mean you won't succumb to it again next time something deeply upsets you. Aku destroying the final time portal in front of him was more than enough for Jack to lose himself to his rage once again, causing him to slay three innocent goats corrupted by Aku's magic. Because Jack lost control of his anger and tainted the blade with innocent blood, Jack rendered himself spiritually unworthy to wield the sword, causing it to abandon him and leave the mortal plane. It takes Jack realizing this and overcoming his anger again before he can reclaim his sword.
    • Aku offers several deconstructions of his own.
      • Aku is a deconstruction on what it means to be Made of Evil and a Card-Carrying Villain. As part of a malevolent monster that just wanted to destroy the universe, Aku has relatively simple desires, and is very well-known as a back-stabber. This has shown to actually hurt his chances at killing Jack in the long run, as he simply can't stop being evil because it's in his very nature to be evil. This is partially the reason why his attempt to win over children through fairy tales failed as the children are fully aware of his reputation as an evil tyrant and know someone like him can never be a hero (not helped by the fact that his grasp on the concept of morality is limited at best). One time he actually did try living up to his end of the bargain, and even then, he subconsciously back-stabbed the one he was dealing with, thus showing the folly of being only evil.
      • Aku also deconstructs the Arch-Enemy trope. After sending Jack to the future in a last-ditch effort to save himself, Aku has spent most of the series trying various schemes to destroy him to no avail and realized that it was quickly turning into a stalemate between the two. To that end, Aku decided to simply destroy all the time portals and let old age do the rest. However, an unforeseen side effect of the time magic caused Jack's aging process to stop, making him biologically immortal - meaning that Aku has essentially trapped himself in an eternal stalemate with Jack, much to his dismay. Too bad he didn't know Jack lost his sword shortly after, as Aku not only spent decades in a completely avoidable depression when he could have killed the unarmed Jack easily, but Jack's already regained the sword by the time Aku finds out it was even gone.
      • Episode XCVI of Season 5 deconstructs Aku's Invincible Villain status. The main reason why Aku was so successful in dominating the world was the fact that he can't be harmed by anything that isn't Jack's sword. When an army led by the Scotsman launches an attack on his lair, Aku uses the attack as a means to break himself out of his depression... and defeats them all so easily that he can't enjoy it.
    • The Daughters of Aku are a deconstruction of the Laser Guided Tyke Bomb and The Social Darwinist trope. Much like Jack was trained from childhood for the sole purpose of slaying Aku, the Daughters have been trained from birth with the sole purpose of killing Jack. However, the third episode shows the flaws in such training. Jack trained by touring the world, allowing him to learn different cultures and lifestyles as well as learn different fighting styles, allowing him to be the World's Best Warrior while still being a grounded and stable individual. By contrast, the Daughters were kept isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, thus they know nothing of the outside world or anything that isn't related to killing Jack. Also, being raised to be Social Darwinists and being discouraged from aiding one another ultimately becomes their undoing as Jack is able to easily whittle their numbers down.
  • The Teen Titans Very Special Episode "Troq" deconstructs the Noble Bigot with Val-Yor. He is genuinely heroic, badass, and friendly with the Titans, except he's horribly racist to Starfire, something the other Titans demand he apologize for once they find out. One would think Starfire saving him and the day would turn him around, it turns out racism is not that easily overcome. All it did was make him think Starfire was "one of the good ones", causing the Titans to lose any remaining respect for him. Val-Yor showed that no amount of nobleness would make bigotry acceptable.
  • Total Drama: Courtney is a deconstruct of the Go-Getter Girl and Determinator. Courtney is defined by her strong-willed ambition and her determination to win every challenge she's in, making her one of Total Drama's top competitors. However, while she sells herself as The Ace in terms of intelligence and athleticism, she is severely lacking in people skills. She alienates her teammates with her bossy attitude and seems to have little understanding of personal relationships, constantly expecting others to comply with her demands and getting upset when they don't. She has also betrayed or abandoned her friends and/or boyfriends multiple times, as well as endangered her fellow contestants, for personal gain. Her single-minded ambition costs her nearly every friendship and romantic relationship she has over the course of the series.
  • Many of the characters in The Simpsons started life as deconstructions of sitcom character archetypes. Homer Simpson, the quick-to-anger Bumbling Dad protagonist, is portrayed as an abusive drunk, his Closer to Earth wife Marge is often just one step away from a divorce, his Bad Boss Mr. Burns is a morally bankrupt industrialist who gets away with being such a jerkass because he owns half the town, his unemployed comedy sidekick Barney is a shiftless drunk, his Bratty Half-Pint troublemaker son Bart is a delinquent who's failing his classes, his busybody neighbor Ned Flanders is a Christian fundamentalist who's always butting in because he's trying to "save" him, etc. Given the show's length, many of these deconstructions have become archetypes in their own right.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil
    • The Butterfly family is a deconstructed of The High Queen. The Butterfly queens were originally depicted as benevolent heroes who saved their people from extinction by eradicating the barbaric monsters with their magic. But as the series progressed, some of the Queens' actions became more and more villainous and xenophobic, casting the queens in a morally dubious light. Reconstructed with other queens who genuinely were The High Queen such as Comet.
    • The Monsters are a deconstruction of Always Chaotic Evil. They were initially depicted as nonhuman barbarians who lived for violence and death, opposed by the benevolent and orderly Butterfly queens. It was eventually discovered that the monsters only acted the way they did because first the mewmans forcibly took their land, then cruelly oppressed/killed them, then sanitized their own actions to make themselves look good. In reality, the monsters either fought in self-defense, retaliation or for outright revenge for what the mewmans have done to them.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Garnet ends up being the deconstruction of The Ace and The Leader. She secretly struggles to stay in control and stay strong because she knows the impact it has on those she leads, but the pressure of leadership and being strong weighs on her and sufficient emotional trauma can tear her apart, especially since she is a fusion. After the events of Cry For Help, where Pearl abused fusion for her own selfish reasons (to feel better about her lack of strength,) Garnet is at her breaking point. As such that in the next episode, Keystone Motel, she takes an opportunity to accompany Greg and Steven to the next state on an errand, not just to get away from Pearl, but also because as leader, she feels she cannot afford to show weakness to the Gems (though this has their own consequences when she does finally split, with Ruby and Sapphire's argument pushing Steven to his own emotional breaking point and Greg having to do damage control the whole time.)
    • Rose Quartz is a MASSIVE deconstruction of the Big Good. At the start of the series, she was remembered as this flawless, saintly Messianic Archetype that won a great rebellion against an oppressive regime and could do no wrong. However, this eroded her son Steven's self esteem as he felt he could never live up to her legacy. Also, one of the main themes of the series is that everybody has flaws and shortcomings, and Rose is not exempt from that rule. Throughout the series, Steven and the audience discover that Rose made a lot of mistakes and committed a lot of morally questionable acts, and that her rebellion against Homeworld was not only was a Pyrrhic Victory at best, but also caused untold amounts of suffering and death on both sides of the war. This all peaks in "A Single Pale Rose", with The Reveal that 'Rose Quartz' was actually Pink Diamond who was Playing Both Sides. Pink Diamond originally came up with the Rose Quartz persona so she could interact with her subjects on the same level as them, but her time as Rose had her fall in love with the organic life on Earth and realized that none of it would survive the colonization. However, the other Diamonds wouldn't listen to Pink and they eventually made her a Puppet King, so she decided to take on the Rose Quartz persona to save the planet. This ultimately culminates in the war and Pink and Pearl (who turns out to have belonged to Pink Diamond) faking the former's assassination so Homeworld would give up. They did succeed in ending the colony, but it caused the other Dimonds to grieve over their 'sister' and they unleashed the Corruption beam to take revenge on Pink's supposed killers. Rose/Pink truly did believe in creating a place for gems that was free from Homeworld oppression and didn't want anyone to suffer because of her actions, but her naivete still resulted in catastrophe. On the other hand, it also points out the near-impossibility of being a Messianic Archetype since Pink/Rose still has her own wants, desires and limitations. By the time she started her rebellion, she exhausted every other venue of diplomacy toward Yellow and Blue. This also leads her to be a deconstruction an aspect of the Fantastic Caste System; yes she may have been a Diamond, but she was the youngest one, meaning that she is not taken seriously by the other Diamonds and disregard her thoughts and words as naivete. Her rebellion was the only real choice she had left.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • Brock Samson, the Venture family bodyguard, provides a deconstruction of the One-Man Army trope. Brock is one of the biggest badasses in the series, regularly killing The Monarch's henchmen in droves, usually in a brutal fashion to boot. He enters this territory at the end of Season 3, when a lifetime of killing people and witnessing truly bizarre things working for the OSI/Venture family leads to him having a bit of a breakdown and quitting. Of course, he gets over it by Season 4.
    • Phantom Limb is a deconstruction of the Wicked Cultured Man of Wealth and Taste Villain. He comes across as charming, handsome and Faux Affably Evil. He is educated, well-spoken, has a taste for foreign and exotic food, has refined and excellent taste in decor and is a competent villain, capable of earning Brock Samson's respect. As time goes on however, he is shown to actually be a foppish, narcissistic Wicked Pretentious Big Bad Wannabe who struggles to function as an effective villain when he is no longer backed by the Guild.


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