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The Ending Theme (usually written as "ED") is similar to the Opening Theme ("OP"). The major difference is, they aren't really intended to show off or reveal anything about the show (although some may focus on a specific character and show off aspects of their personality similar to an Image Song). Typically, it's like a finale closing number.

They may have a slower or mellower song with a more relaxed pace than the rest of the show. The images may be more static both to fit the ending's tone and to not obscure the list of animation credits.

Conversely the Ending Theme can be more humorous and comedic featuring the characters in much goofier situations than you'd expect from the actual show; Super-Deformed characters and dancing are more likely to be seen in these sorts of endings.

Anime endings usually change more frequently than anime openings (a good rough estimate is every 15-18 episodes).

Anime series are more likely to have separate opening and ending theme songs. Western cartoons usually use an instrumental version of their opening theme for the Ending Theme, although there are a growing number of series that do have separate themes. Meanwhile, shows with a Title-Only Opening will have the ending theme serve as their Theme Tune.

This is a Super-Trope to Solemn Ending Theme. Compare Signing-Off Catchphrase.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • An early example of this is "Shiroi Tennis Court" from Aim for the Ace!. It's a soft and sad love song compared to its brassy opening "Serve, Smash, Volley, Ace wo Nerae" theme.
  • Azumanga Daioh has Raspberry Heaven. In contrast with the peppy, nonsensical, feel-good Soramimi Cake, the ending theme is majestic, heartwarming, somewhat sad song. Still makes no sense, though.
  • The first ending theme for Black Butler was the oddly cheerful pop rock song "I'm Alive". Understandably, this got a little jarring with endings like Grell murdering Madame Red. It was changed to an unnerving yet fitting tune called Lachrymosa.
  • Black Lagoon ends, in most cases, on a despair-tinged string piece that ends with a sudden outbreak of percussion. The majority of the piece stands in stark contrast to the aggressive opening and darkens the end of even the more upbeat episodes. They replace it once in the second season with the even sadder song "The World of Midnight", which also appears in-series to highlight the saddest scenes. The only time the ending isn't depressing is the heart-pumping end of the second season.
  • For a while, Bleach featured, as its ending theme, the bright pop-y, peppy song 'Happy People'.. which often starkly contrasted with the darker events of the actual episode.
    • "If you harm Hinamori... I'll kill you myself..." "HAPPY PEOPLE!"
    • Also of note is the third ending theme, which featured a completely different animation sequence each time it ran (for a total of thirteen!) Each sequence spotlighted the captain and lieutenant of one of the thirteen Court Guardian Squads. Yet more Soundtrack Dissonance resulted: the episode with Aizen's death (which ended with Hinamori discovering his impaled corpse and screaming his name) had Aizen and Hinamori in the spotlight.
  • Blue Drop reverses the formula by making the ending tune a catchy, melodic J-Pop tune, whereas the opening is slow and orchestral.
  • Brigadoon: Marin and Melan has a ridiculously catchy and cute ending theme that tries to dampen the bitter sorrow that some of the cliffhanger episode endings invoke upon the viewer.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura has three EDs: "Groovy", "Honey", and "Fruits Candy". "Honey" is much mellower than the other two. The whiplash between the sad ending of the average season 3 episode and "Fruits Candy" is quite a sight to behold. The episode could end with Sakura crying and then it cuts to "TIP TAP KOI WA ITSUDATTE CANDY".
  • Cowboy Bebop, from the band that brought us the Awesome Music Tank!, also managed to give us the amazing The Real Folk Blues. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, while the intro was purely a big band ensemble, the ending is a slower, mellower blues.
  • Darkstalkers has as the closing credits theme for every incarnation a song called "Trouble Man".
  • Dragon Ball, in spite of being the shonen Trope Codifier for manly elements like Supernatural Martial Arts and muscle men, has always used very romantic ending themes that would be much more likely to be represented by a shojo series. There are countless sentimental examples from every animated installment (such as ''Don't You See!'', ''Lágrima'' and ''Wings of the Heart''), but special mention goes to the first song, ''Romantic Ageru Yo'', which never changed even as the series got darker, and played after startling moments like Krillin's sudden murder or Goku's defeat at the hands of King Piccolo.
  • Dragon Half closes with a nonsense patter song about an omelette, sung to Beethoven's 7th symphony.
  • The Ending Theme of Excel♡Saga features the dog Menchi singing about being eaten, with a woman translating the yaps into Japanese. The final episode's closing reverses the roles, with Menchi translating Japanese into Dog.
  • Hakushon Daimao has an interesting case. Like most anime it had its opening and closing themes, but halfway through the run they switched places (what was originally the opening song became the closing song, and vice versa).
  • There's Haruhi Suzumiya with its famous ending theme "Hare Hare Yukai". The dance has been copied worldwide and later animated in full, and a variation of the song was featured in every character album.
    • Haruhi-chan had different endings. The first one was Nagato's singing in one episode, so when the credits showed, instead of the acual ending theme, Nagato's singing can be heard until she finishes singing. Another difference was that, at the end of a later episode, although the actual ending theme played, Achakura can be heard munching on the cake some more at the start of the credits roll.
  • Heaven's Lost Property goes over the top with different ending songs for each episode. Equally unusually, there's no Stock Footage in any of the endings, each one featuring original animation.
  • One of the more... interesting examples comes from the original anime of Hellsing. The closing theme was a Real Song Theme Tune, called "Shine", which was an '80s power ballad about belief in one's self. The interesting part is it was a song by American '80s hair metal band Mr. Big. Proof that This is Spinal Tap wasn't exaggerating too much about making it big in Japan.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers has in absence of an opening song, an extremely catchy ending theme that all main characters (and some supporting characters) have sung.
  • The anime of The Idolmaster actually subverts this somewhat by changing the ending theme every episode, with each theme being different songs from the games.
  • In keeping with Araki's love of Western music, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure uses various Western songs for the TV series end themes.
    • The first season (Phantom Blood and Battle Tendency) uses "Roundabout" by Yes.
    • Stardust Crusaders uses "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles for the first half and "Last Train Home" by the Pat Metheny Group for the second half.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable uses "I Want You" by Savage Garden.
    • Golden Wind uses "Freek'n You" by Jodeci for its first ED and "Modern Crusaders" by Enigma for its second.
  • In the early episodes of the 1968 Kaibutsu kun series the closing credits was a slightly different rendition of the opening theme song. Half-way through the run the first closing sequence was replaced by "Kaibutsu Ondo", which, oddly enough, didn't actually have any credits (they were moved to the opening); the purpose was to get the kids to sing and dance to the song.
  • The upbeat, Super-Deformed, dancing version is used in the anime version of Kodomo no Jikan.
  • The Ending Theme in Love Hina is noticeably lower-key than the upbeat opening theme (except for the last episode of season one, which ends with the upbeat "Hajimari wa koko kara", a perfect bridge to season two. Of course, the story arc trajectory promised by that song came to a crashing halt with the cancellation of season two...). Love Hina Again continues this, but the theme shifts from focusing on Naru to a Gothic themed Kanako and back again, reflecting the two and their struggle over Keitaro.
  • Lucky Star doesn't use a consistent ending theme for the anime adaptation. For the first half, the end credits simply show a static image of a door while snippets of the characters singing karaoke of songs from various other anime and TV shows can be heard from within. For the second half, this is replaced with Minoru Shiraishi in live action dancing about and doing his own karaoke.
  • The first ending theme of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a chirpy ditty with lyrics containing loads of Ship Tease that plays while a kiddie drawing of Nanoha dances in place. Later seasons use more melancholic songs accompanied by Nanoha looking pensively at the distance, and in the case of the second season ED, with lyrics containing loads of Ship Tease.
  • Maison Ikkoku seemed to adopt endings that fit one of the main characters with the opening fitting the other main lead. Ashita Hareru Ka as the 1st ending theme was particularly moving to me, even before I read the translation.
  • The Meaning of Truth that plays during the final episode of the F-Zero Anime before, during, and after Captain Falcon sacrifices himself to defeat Black Shadow.
  • Midori Days' closing credits were different from the opening contrast to the mellow romantic end song.
  • The two endings for Moriarty the Patriot play with the series' Biblical Motifs as they are named "ALPHA" and "OMEGA."
  • Negima!?, the Alternate Continuity version of Negima! Magister Negi Magi, has two, because it keeps changing around its OP and ED at a speed far exceeding other series.
  • The different versions of the very popular Jazz Standard Fly me to the Moon used for great Soundtrack Dissonance in Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's thematic too, as it takes the entire length of the ED for the song to actually say the words "I love you".
  • Ouran High School Host Club ended on a special form of one of these entitled "Mata Ashita." Most of the characters sang, and the two that didn't had speaking lines during it. This song is effectively this trope, Anime Theme Song, and a Cover Song for all of the characters.
  • Pani Poni Dash! had six ending themes (in a single-series show!), all of them sung by characters on the show. One of them is a slow ditty by Rebecca, the Child Prodigy teacher, while the rest are... well, pretty much what you'd expect from a Quirky Work.
  • Paradise Kiss is a rarity, in that its ED is a popular British song, "Do You Wanna" by Franz Ferdinand. Not only that, but the ED was retained when the series was licensed for distribution in America. Anime with American or British theme songs often have to replace them for distribution outside Japan, due to difficulties in negotiating the rights.
  • The dub of Pokémon: The Series started off by using the Pokerap, which rapped out all the names of Pokémon that existed at the time. Later in the first season, they switched to Pikachu's Jukebox, which had multiple different ending themes, one selected seemingly at random for each episode, some of the songs included "On The Road To Viridian City", "Double Trouble", and "My Best Friends".
  • Every Pretty Cure season usually has 2 ending themes and the ending themes change a few episodes after the Sixth Ranger is added to the team.
  • The ending theme of the OVA Project A-Ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody, "Get a Chance!" by BaBe, is entirely in English, supposedly. There's two versions: the Japanese version isn't on the soundtrack but they have the music video for it after the credits run (and it is HILARIOUSLY farm themed). BeBe is the Japanese band, and they are credited with Caryan for the English version.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica's ending is a little special: the theme in question, Kalafina's awesome "Magia," isn't revealed until episode 3 when the tone of the series got significantly darker. The song itself is also used for Moment of Awesome parts in the anime.
    • The DVD release adds Madoka's Image Song, "Mata Ashita" (See You Tomorrow) as the ending theme for episodes 1 and 2, and Kyoko and Sayaka's Image Song, "And I'm Home" as ending for episode 9, in which Kyoko uses her soul gem in a suicide attack to kill Sayaka's witch form. Also, since episodes 10 and 12 had no opening credits, they use the OP, "Connect", as ED.
    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion uses as ending the song "Kimi no Gin no Niwa" (Your Silver Garden), by, who else, Kalafina.
  • One season of Ranma ˝ ended its episodes with the "Lambada Ranma", which retold the series premise in humorous musical form; the full-length version included vocal cameos from all major characters. One of the Ovas ended with a song called "Red Shoe Sunday", in which Shampoo and Kasumi each musically long for the man of their dreams.
  • Interestingly, The Record of Lodoss War OVA has two different versions of the ending theme - the original, and an English-language version for the dub. It's very well-done at that.
  • Sailor Moon:
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei has way, way, way too many to count here. Some notable examples include the Hellboy homage Omamori, the Beatles like Marionette, the complete Art Shift Koji Romanesque and, of course, the surreal ending theme Zessei Bijin.
  • Seiyu's Life! has a variation. Similar to Lucky Star, the girls sing along to famous anime themes and talk about the events of the episode, which is sandwiched in-between the actual song. It's also set up as them doing their weekly radio show, complete with a Signing-Off Catchphrase.
  • Sgt. Frog has had a variety of closing theme songs. Some notable examples:
    • The first season had "Afro Gunso", some kind of disco funk anthem by the eccentric Japanese performer Dance Man. The closing montage features Keroro donning a huge afro wig and Saturday Night Fever duds, while disco dancing IN SPACE.
    • Following a Festival Episode set during the summer, the ending switched to a Bon Odori-themed ending with the song "Pekopon Shinryaku Ondo" ("Pekopon Invasion Ondo") for a few episodes.
    • A third ending theme featured the members of the Keroro Platoon, each singing a verse to a silly kid's song about how to draw themselves.
    • One ending had the Keroro Platoon sing a goofy show tune about conquering the Earth, while puppet versions of the Keroro Platoon fooled around with a Cartoon Bomb.
  • The anime adaptation of Sister Princess closes each episode with a reflective song called "Tsubasa" ("Wings") which muses on the directions life takes one.
  • All of the endings for the Slayers anime series and movies all share an underlying theme of not giving up and learning from yourself and past mistakes, each with their own lyrics and melodies. The opening sequences usually match the endings (upbeat and triumphant), with the exception being the mellower Slayers Try opening, "Breeze" (and given the comedic nature of the show, transitioning to it from "Breeze" leads to Mood Whiplash in some episodes).
    • Conversely, while the openings and closings of the radio dramas are still upbeat, albeit with less intense instrumentation, many of the songs are about love and romances instead of conquering over something. When you read the lyrics translated, it becomes odd, given the fact that Slayers began with a No Hugging, No Kissing policy.
  • Sonic X had three different ending songs. Run&Gun's "MI-RA-I" and Aya Hiroshige's "Hikaru Michi" are noticeably a lot slower and in case of the latter, sadder, but the third one "T.O.P" by KP was more Hip-Hop-esque.
  • Speed Racer had a jazzier and and slower instrumental version of the intro that played over the credits.
  • The first ending theme of Spice and Wolf's anime adaptation is an utterly silly tune filled with Gratuitous English lyrics that clearly aren't supposed to make any sense whatsoever. This is in contrast to its beautiful, soaringly dramatic opening theme.
  • Stellvia of the Universe has two very different ones, and this isn't a matter of the theme being changed once during the season - the series switches back and forth between them repeatedly. Some episodes use "Kirei na Yozora" for their ED, while others have "The End of The World" (despite titles, the lyrics for both are entirely in Japanese).
  • The second Ending Theme of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is if anything MORE Hot-Blooded than the Opening Theme.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew closes with a cute song about eating dessert (although presumably not the desserts that turned into the main characters at the beginning of the song). There are also dancing cats.

    Asian Animation 
  • Most seasons of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf use the original opening song, "Don't Think I'm Just a Little Goat", as the end credits song. There are exceptions to this, though, such as Flying Island: The Sky Adventure using the theme song for the season Marching to the New Wonderland as its end credits theme.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3-2-1 Contact used the same credits theme from 1983 until its cancellation, even after they rearranged the Opening Theme. The first season had two ending theme variations, one was an instrumental version of the opening theme, the other was an extended version of the trailer/promo theme.
  • Blackadder had a different ending theme for every episode of the second series, featuring lyrics related to the events of the episode.
  • Carol Burnett ended every episode of The Carol Burnett Show by singing the song "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together," then tugging her ear.
  • The ending theme of Chico and the Man was titled "Hard Times in El Barrio."
  • The ending theme to the Degrassi High/Degrassi Junior High series were upbeat and catchy, which didn't jive too well when an episode would end with a morally ambiguous (and in many cases, depressing) final scene.
  • Frasier star Kelsey Grammer sings about "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs" at the end of every episode of that series.
  • Gilligan's Island theme out, all together folks: "So this is the tale of our castaways/They're here for a long, long time..."
  • The Great British Bake Off didn't have a specific ending theme to start with, using either the opening theme again, or another piece from the show's original score. Over time, a piece of incidental music known as "Organic Mix" came to be recognized as the standard ending theme and is now used on almost every episode.
  • The Incredible Hulk (1977) had "The Lonely Man," a wistful soft piano piece that when combined with the iconic imagery at the end of each episode of Banner hitchhiking to the next town, burdened by the Hulk curse, creates the defining imagery of the superhero.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): A shortened version of Daniel Hart's "In Throes of Increasing Wonder" plays during the end credits of the first four episodes (plus episode 7 for the televised broadcast), which is one of the Love Themes for Louis de Pointe du Lac and Lestat de Lioncourt. (For some odd reason, the one for episode 2 has a different key signature — i.e. a different pitch — than the others.) It's notable that this show's 73-second closing theme is much more substantial than its 23-second opening Theme Tune because the former is connected to Season 1's Official Couple and is 50 seconds longer, whereas the latter is the sound of an orchestra tuning up (and therefore not directly linked to the main characters).
  • JAG has a different orchestral end theme for its first season. Later seasons used a version of the opening theme.
  • Variation: With all but two Heisei era Kamen Rider shows lacking ending credits, what are listed as ending songs in the opening are in fact Theme Music Power Ups. Nevertheless, the two Heisei series that do have ending credits (Kuuga and Hibiki) have slow, uplifting themes on them. The 2020 (now in the Reiwa era) series Kamen Rider Saber is the first show since Hibiki to have ending credits and an ending theme, but this time it's a Dancing Theme not unlike Kamen Rider's broadcast partner Super Sentai.
  • Only Fools and Horses used different opening and closing themes, both by series creator/writer John Sullivan.
  • Red Dwarf always had a guitar-rock song with full vocals as its ending theme. The first two series used an over-the-top orchestral instrumental as the opening theme — later series dropped it in favor of an instrumental of the ending theme.
    • The show occasionally replaced this with an episode-specific variation: two examples being an Elvis impersonator singing the theme, and a Hammond Organ version.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise played a particular arrangement of "Archer's Theme" over the end credits of each episode, with the exception of the pilot (which had an instrumental arrangement of the opening theme "Where My Heart Will Take Me".) Funnily enough, "Archer's Theme" was originally intended to be the opening theme, until Executive Meddling ensued.
  • British police show The Sweeney used a slower and mellower version of its opening theme on the end credits, accompanying images of Carter and Regan packing up their stuff and going home for the night.
  • UFO (1970) has a fast-paced opening theme, while the closing theme is an almost-ambient piece of atmospheric electronica.
  • The Wiggles: Over the end credits is words "Goodbye from the Wiggles, it's time to say goodbye to you, goodbye from the Wiggles, it's time to say goodbye" over and over.
  • The end theme for The Wire, entitled "The Fall", is a fitting and downright unsettling track that plays during the credits.
  • The sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati has a closing theme where a rock band plays a catchy tune and sings gibberish; this was intended to be just a test and warm-up for the real lyrics, but the producer liked it so much he used it as-is.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Allegra's Window would use an instrumental version of the song "Wonderful Day" for its ending theme, which ended up as the series' Bootstrapped Theme.
  • Bear in the Big Blue House ends with Bear and Luna singing a song called "The Goodbye Song". On at least one European Playhouse Disney feed in the late 2000s, the two would sing the song before the feed signed off for the night, with clips from other Playhouse Disney shows like Rolie Polie Olie.
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (original version) begins with a tense, atmospheric theme and opening narration, and closes with an upbeat theme tune (both instrumental and vocal versions were used over the course of the series).
  • Fireball XL5 opens with an instrumental theme and closes with the song "Fireball".
  • Joe 90 has a fast synthesizer-based instrumental opening theme. A slower orchestral version is used for the close.
  • Sesame Street:
    • The show originally ended with a jazzy instrumental version of the theme tune. Starting in Season 46, the Muppets sang a new original song, "Smarter, Stronger, Kinder".
    • The Monster Clubhouse skits ended with the monsters singing the word "goodbye" over and over.
    • The Elmo's World skits ended with people singing "the [theme of skit] song", which is just a word representing the skit sung repeatedly to the tune of Jingle Bells and ending with "That's Elmo's World!" to the tune of the Elmo's World theme.
    • The Journey to Ernie skits ended with Big Bird and Ernie singing "We Found Ernie".
  • Stingray (1964) has an all-action opening theme and ends with the romantic ballad "Aqua Marina".
  • Thunderbirds was all set to have a separate, lounge-esque theme with vocals for its closing credits, but it was scrapped weeks before the premiere. (However, "Flying High" - the song in question - is heard very briefly in the episode "Ricochet," and is also included on one of the soundtrack albums.)
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss has "Just Shout Hooray" in its final season.

    Radio 

    Video Games 
  • The ending theme of Alan Wake actually sums up the ending of the game pretty well, if a bit symbolically: "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
  • Backyard Skateboarding has an ending theme called "Skate Rock," performed by the Knights of Rockville.
  • Drawn to Life is composed of mainly instrumental music. The end theme is a full length song WITH VOCALS about the 2 main Raposa, Mari and Jowee, trying to deal with their separation after Jowee decides to join a band of pirates so that he can see the world. It turns out later that he never boarded the ship because he wanted to stay with Mari. It's very surprising, but even cuter.
  • God Hand's ending theme is truly glorious, a Bragging Theme Tune that sounds remarkably similar to the theme from Mazinger Z.
  • Grand Theft Auto V plays a different song from Radio Mirror Park on each of its three endings. Don't Come Close is played on Ending A, Sleepwalking is played on Ending B, and The Set-Up is played on Ending C.
  • Grey Goo (2015) The ending theme is a piece comprised off of the remixed themes of all three factions, and it's awesome "War is Evolving.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series usually does this at the last scene just before the credits.
  • Most video games that feature music over the credits need a lot of it, since it's traditional to put all the developers there. One prime example is the ending track for Knights of the Old Republic, which begins with the traditional John Williams credits theme from the movies. But since that isn't long enough, it moves on to all the major in-game pieces of music, one after the other.
  • Mighty Switch Force 2 has Rescue Girl.
  • The final part of the trilogy, Mother 3, had their ending theme as a combination of the most important songs of the first (The Eight Melodies), second (Smiles and Tears), and last (Mother 3 Love Theme) parts of the series.
  • The video game Ōkami featured a song called Reset as its ending theme.
  • Persona:
  • The video game Portal is one of the few to feature a full vocal theme song, a parody of love songs, in which the game's AI GLaDOS talks about the events within the game before descending into the downright chilling "while you're dying I'll be still alive". Since then, GLaDOS has gotten a credits song in almost every game she appears in. Portal 2 ends with "Want You Gone", a parody of break-up songs sung when GLaDOS has let the player/Chell go into the outside world. And LEGO Dimensions gives the last word to her with the song "You Wouldn't Know", about how she absolutely doesn't miss Chell at all now she's off flying through other dimensions. Really.
    • In a rare case of Western cross-game contamination, "Still Alive" is available to download (for free) on Rock Band.
    • The ending theme to the flash game Super Energy Apocalypse: Recycled, which was inspired by Portal, is a wistful song that deals with a zombie attack.
  • Red Dead Redemption has the slow, somber "Deadman's Gun" by Ashtar Command. It's alarmingly appropriate.
  • Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing has "So Much More..." which even got its own EP from the singer of the song.
  • The ending of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an unique variation: the theme is the same as the opening, except this time, the lyrics to the Ominous Latin Chanting are shown, allowing the player to catch the meaning of it.
  • "Lullaby for You" from The World Ends with You which shows a calm happy setting compared to the frenzied opening theme "Twister."

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Camp Camp uses different, original rap songs for each episode. The first season featured songs from multiple artists, such as Watsky. Starting in the second season, each ending theme has now been performed by local Texas rapper Richie Branson, with some of the lyrics directly referencing the episode's events or characters ("Finally, I Got to Make a Space Kid Song!" being one example). This contrasts with the lighthearted Patter Song opening theme, which emulates your standard campfire song.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Statler: Some of these shows surely know how to make a dramatic exit.
Waldorf: What do you expect? Sentimental songs are a nice way to tell the audience, "Good riddance!"
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

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"America, My F@%ked Home"

Our Cartoon President ends with the cast of characters closing things out.

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