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Stock Ninja Weaponry

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Matt: Sais are cool, Chris. Iím just going to say it: Raphael had the coolest weapon. Thatís right. COOLER THAN NUNCHUCKS.
Chris: Wow. Whatís it like to be so objectively, demonstrably wrong?
Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Ninja are cool, which is why fiction writers love them. They're masters of stealth and deception and use exotic moves and techniques to trick their opponents. Part of their coolness tends to come from their unique weaponry; seeing a certain weapon in the hands of a warrior usually gives away his identity as a ninja, which would have been counter-productive to their covert activities in real life, but works well for Highly-Visible Ninja because the audience has to know that they're a ninja. Some of these weapons really were used by ninja, others weren't but are erroneously attributed to them, and many are Shrouded in Myth. In the hands of fictional ninja it is common to see Implausible Fencing Powers and Improbable Use of a Weapon. Some weapons associated with Ninja in popular culture are:

  • Katana: A ninja's favored weapon, because Katanas Are Just Better. It was sometimes carried in the back.
  • Shinobigatana or Ninjato: A special ninja sword, similar to a short, straight-bladed katana and often depicted being held in Reverse Grip. Some Edo-period illustrations of short, straight-bladed swords have been identified, suggesting that the sword itself was not just a modern invention, but contrary to fiction they were never called ninjato, nor were they used exclusively by ninja. Sometimes wakizashi or tanto (shortswords and daggers) are used instead. More outlandish depictions of ninja may portray this as any kind of sword, even if it's distinctly non-Japanese in origin/design, like a sword taller than a grown man and wider than his torso.
  • Kunai: Pointed gardening spades used as daggers for stabbing or throwing. They're often depicted being thrown en masse or used for a Knife Outline. Their utilitarian purpose supposedly made them good weapons for ninja in disguise. Most works depict kunai as a diamond-shaped blade with a ring pommel.
  • Shuriken: Probably the most popular and recognizable weapon attributed to the ninja, these are usually concealable throwing blades that take various shapes such as stars or darts. In real life they were unlikely to kill outright, and were used more like hobbling or distracting weapons. Most people don't know that they actually have their own history apart from the ninja, who may have utilized shuriken but were neither the inventors nor the exclusive users of such hidden blades. Like the above mentioned kunai, you might see fictional ninja throwing a lot of them at once. A ninja who's a show-off might use the Fuuma Shuriken, which is a shuriken of extra-large proportions.
  • Kama and Kusarigama: The kama is a small one-handed agricultural scythe that can be wielded singly or in pairs, and the kusarigama is a version attached to a small weight on the end of a chain that can be used for tangling or as an Epic Flail. Less realistic examples might show the ninja swinging the scythe around by the chain. Variations include the Okinawan kusarigama, which has sickles on both ends.
  • Nunchaku: Basically two short sticks connected by a rope or chain, this is actually an Okinawan weapon that ninja didn't use in real life. It got put in the hands of ninja because of the Interchangeable Asian Cultures trope, and for Rule of Cool.
  • Claws and Blades: Both of the Wolverine Claws and Blade Below the Shoulder variation are sometime seen. In Real Life, ninja did use hand claws called Nekode or Shuko and foot claws called Ashiko, but mainly only for climbing.
  • Makibishi: Caltrops, small devices with spikes all over, so that when they're dropped one spike is always pointing up. Often used to hobble a pursuing foe, since either a human or a horse can be seriously injured by stepping on one. Like LEGO blocks in the dark taken up to eleven.
  • Nageteppo: Low-tech bombs including flashbangs, smoke grenades, and plain old lethal explosives. Expect lots of Grenade Tag, Grenade Spam, and dramatic Taking You with Me moments.
  • Sai: A short, tapered metal baton with two forward-curved prongs for a handguard. Despite its silhouette it is not a dagger and has no edges, but is used for parrying, bludgeoning, and thrusting with the usually blunt tip. This version of the weapon comes from Southeast Asia and spread to Okinawa, so ninja didn't actually use it in that form; instead the Japanese used a derivant called the jitte, which has only one prong. Ninja using the Okinawan sai is also a common artistic license.
  • Naginata: A pole weapon with a curved, sword-like blade on the end of a shaft. A traditional samurai weapon that ninja may also be depicted using. Other kinds of Japanese pole weapons such as the yari (spear) may be substituted, whether bladed or not.
  • Senbon: Needles, some of them long, while others were small enough to be carried in the mouth and then shot using the tongue as a blowpipe. Often Poisoned Weapons.
  • Manrikigusari or Kusari Fundo: Chains with heavy weights to the ends, used to disarm people or entangle and trap them.
  • Tonfa: Another Okinawan weapon that later became associated with ninjas, likely due to being a peasant weapon designed for simplicity and concealability.
  • Hidden Weapons: Any of the above weapons may be concealed on the ninja's person rather than being openly wielded, whether by it simply being designed to be held within the ninja's otherwise unassuming clothes yet still within easy reach, being literally incorporated into their clothing, or any other possible form of weapon concealment.

Compare Stock Wushu Weapons, their wuxia counterpart.

For more info, see Wikipedia's page on it.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Basilisk many characters employ kunai daggers and tanto. We also have Gennosuke and Tenzen (katana), Nenki (a long nunchaku that can turn back into a pole), Jubei (an Aikuchi dagger hidden in his esophagus), Koshiro (two kama) and also Danjo Koga (needles).
  • Sui Feng from Bleach is basically a Ninja, and at least once she use a volley of kunai in order to pin Ukitake to a tree (It Makes Sense in Context). Furthermore her Zanpakuto takes the form of a wakizashi when sealed, and a Blade Below the Shoulder weapon when released.
  • In Blood Reign: Curse of the Yoma, ninja protagonist Hikage uses a very short Wolverine Claws type of weapon on one hand and some unusually potent Nageteppo explosives (he easily blew up a possessed tree with one of his grenades).
  • Brave10 covers almost all the bases. There's ninjato, kunai, kusarigama, suntetsu and many more iconic ninja weapons alongside some more unconventional choices. There is a decisive lack of shurikens, however.
  • The one-shot villain Murasaki from Dragon Ball claims to be a Ninja. His weapons include a ninja sword and various knives amongst other things.
  • Recca Hanabishi in Flame of Recca, being a ninja Fanboy, collects a bunch of ninja weapons and uses his dad's firecracker balls as either weapon or substitute for smokebomb. He's also known for using makibishi on his attackers. This gets dropped very fast as Recca's real power is Playing with Fire.
  • The Tamagakushi Ryuu from Gamaran employ shuriken, kunai and shortswords in battle.
  • There's a two-part Lupin III: Part II episode where our heroes are challenged by a group of four ninjas and a kunoichi actually a Creepy Crossdresser who take a great pride in using old-school weapons, including swords, daggers and kusarigama. They also add axes and bows to the lot.
  • Mazinger Z: Blazas S1 and S2, two robotical ninjas showed up in episode 46 used shuriken and kunai.
  • Naruto has used almost all the above mentioned, being a series about ninjas, examples include: Kunai and Shuriken are used as the default weapon for many Ninjas, the ANBU use Ninjato, Sasuke has his Fuuma Shuriken and Gai can use Nunchaku in battle. Hanzo and Madara Uchiha both used Kusarigama.
  • Hattori and Shinzō of Ninja Hattori both carry a sword and shuriken.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: In episode 18, during Honey and Chika's first fight, Chika appears to hit Honey with his staff and send him flying. However, a slo-mo of the attack shows that Honey blocked the strike, leapt backwards, and threw kunai at Chika's feet, pinning the cuffs of his pants to the floor.
  • Tsubaki from Soul Eater isn't just proficent with "ninja" weapons; she transforms into them (more specifically she has smoke bomb, kusarigama, tanto, giant shuriken and katana forms). Her partner BlackStar wields her. Interestingly Black Star's mentor Sid (despite being ninja themed) averts this trope by specialising in knives (his partner takes the form of a modern, Western survival knife).
  • Kotaro Fuuma from Yaiba use a lot of ninja weapons, including a Shinobigatana, kunai, shuriken and even a Kusarigama. Later, Ishikawa Goemon is shown using kunai, smoke bombs and sai.

    Comic Books 
  • Angry Birds Comics: Game Play: The chest the birds find in Sakura Ninja is filled with these.
  • Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow, and many other Ninjas in G.I. Joe used this a lot, but usually alongside modern weapons like submachineguns and grenades.
  • The titular Shi, having a half-Japanese heritage and being trained by her Warrior Monk grandfather for years, uses various Japanese weapons like a couple of katanas, sais, shurikens and a naginata, her weapon.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • The titular characters are armed with ninja weapons — swords for Leonardo, sais for Raphael, nunchucks for Michaelangelo, and a bo staff for Donatello.
    • In the first issue of the original comic, the Turtles are outmatched by Shredder when fighting him individually, so they switch tactics and start pelting him with shurikens and throwing darts. He's not critically hurt by the ones that he doesn't block, but the pain and frustration from this tactic cause him to lose his temper and attack rashly, leaving him open for Leonardo to run him through.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film Ninja the main villain Masazuka is after the Yaroi Bitsu, a chest containing the weaponry of the ninja who started the dojo he was banished from.
  • The Postman Fights Back: The main villain is revealed to have been trained in the art of ninjutsu, and have his own ninja suit packed with a large variety of ninja weapons including smoke bombs, a concealed hook, a flail which acts as Razor Floss and a wrist magnet to grab and relieve his opponents of whatever weapons they're using.
  • Revenge Of The Ninja has both the hero (played by Sho Kosugi) and the main villain being ninja, and the final battle have them dueling with all their weapons. A total of approximately 14 different ninja weapons are employed for the finale, including shurikens, katana, grappling hooks, twin scythes, and the like.

  • In Blood Sword, the firs book Battlepits of Krarth could have you fighting some assassins that may use throwing stars on you. Despite their appearance these guys aren't ninjas or their fantasy-world equivalent (Blood Sword is an offshoot of the Dragon Warrior rpg books and ninjas are called the sulsa - which in real-life are the Korean equivalent)
  • In Deathtrap Dungeon, one of your deadliest enemies is a ninja who ambushes you with a thrown shuriken. If you defeat him and are unarmed, your character will take his sword and a knife.
  • In Legend of the Shadow Warriors, one of the Shadow Warriors uses shurikens made of Cruel Metal which burrow through its victims' flesh.
  • In the final book of the Sagard the Barbarian series from Gary Gygax, if you've been nice to a dervish he'll give you a pouch with some throwing stars that can hit for impressive damage.
  • Way of the Tiger has the your protagonist Avenger carrying a garrote, some shurikens and poison needles if he has the appropriate skill.

  • Ripple in Magical Girl Raising Project is a ninja magical girl, so her transformation comes with a katana and a limitless supply of kunai and shuriken.
  • In one of the men's adventure Phoenix Force novels, the friendly neighborhood ninja gets caught up in some trouble involving the Yakuza which the Phoenix Force help him out with. The friendly ninja carries a tanto knife and some metsubushi blinding powder grenades.
  • In the Raven series by Robert Holdstock, the titular Barbarian Hero carries some throwing stars. She's been known to throw them with so much force that they've sheared off the hand of her bitterest foe Donwayne the Weaponmaster.
  • In James Clavell's Shogun the shinobi aiming at Mariko's life are described wielding poison-covered shurikens, swords and "scythe-like knives connected to long weighted chains" (aka: Kusarigama).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rather bizarrely, when Benjen Stark finally reappears in Season 6 of Game of Thrones he wields a kusari-gama against a pack of undead wights, with the added ability to set the weighted end on fire. Uncommonly for the weapon, he wields it from horseback.
  • Hailing from Kamen Rider Fourze, the Dustards, which are formed from the Horoscopes. Since these guys are based on ninja, they have a ninjato, smoke bombs, regular bombs, and shurikens.
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: Shuriken show up, wielded by all of the rangers. Most are of them are small. Each ranger has unique shuriken which resemble their ranger symbol. NinjaRed also has a Fuuma Shuriken, with his first Humongous Mecha wielding a bigger version that it rolls at enemies to kill them. The rangers also use Caltrops on a few occasions. Each of them has a wakizashi in Ranger form, and finally NinjaRed's second personal Humongous Mecha, God Saruder, wields a pair of ninjato.
  • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger: Shuriken show up as part of the Hurricaneger's Transformation Trinkets, with the ninjato being used once again as the sidearms of the heroes, only these ninjato, the Hayatemaru, can combine with their sheaths for a rifle mode. The Gouraiger's sidearms, the Ikazuchimaru, can take the form of Fuuma shurikens, but that's not the only forms the Ikazuchimaru can use.
  • Shuriken Sentai Ninninger: Shuriken are the most prominent ninja weapons used by the Ninningers, going so far as to have a shuriken change into a bow, a claw, and a blade. Ninjato are also used, mainly for the team to transform and use their ninjutsu by placing a shuriken in them, then spin the shuriken to activate said jutsu. A few of the Ninningers' mecha, mainly Nagi's Dumpmaru and Kasumi's Byunmaru, use shuriken and makibishi as well.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons Oriental Adventures supplement (1985) gave the following as ninja weapons. Some are already in the trope description and are not repeated here.
    • Kawanaga. A length of rope with a grappling hook at one end and a hook on the other. Used for climbing walls and in combat to damage or entangle an opponent. The Other Wiki has this as Kaginawa.
    • Kumade. A long wooden shaft with a rake head at one end. Used to climb walls or attack others in combat.
    • Kyoketsu-shogi (AKA Kyoketsuogi). Similar to the Kawanaga, but with an sharp hooked blade at one end and a heavy iron ring at the other. Can be swung to strike with the blade or ring, to entangle an opponent or be thrown like a bola. According to The Other Wiki it's spelled Kyoketsu-shoge.
    • Eggshell grenades. Filled with fine pepper, thrown into an opponent's face to blind them.
    • Mitsubishi. A small box containing powder with a hole on one end and a blowing tube on the other, used to administer a cloud of poison or irritating material to an opponent's face at close range.
    • Needle. Held in the mouth and either spat at or blown at (using the tongue as a blowpipe) an opponent at close range.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, all of these weapons are statted and in theory available for use; however, it would be dishonorable for a samurai to use one (with the exception of the wakizashi, of course.)
    • In addition, many of the typical ninja weapons are also considered, to put it bluntly, crappy. The ninjato shatters if it inflicts too much damage, and other ninja weapons are far inferior to the equipment other samurai could use.
      • This is actually part of a ninja's training. The last year before their gempukku, ninja candidates run around in typical ninja garb, as popular culture defines it - black pajamas and mask - and wielding typical ninja weapons like ninjato and blowdarts. These are the distractions for the actual ninjas. Once you've spent a year "running the gauntlet" with the worst equipment possible, you're ready to do it right, and are allowed to use proper weapons.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, the rat-like Skaven have Clan Eshin assassins and gutter runners who can use warpstone shurikens and fighting claws.

  • In the Tamagotchi toys and franchise, Gozarutchi the ninja Tamagotchi is often seen in his official sprites and artwork holding a shuriken/ninja star. In episode 25a of the anime, he gives Memetchi his favorite ninja star as a farewell gift.

    Video Games 
  • In The Adventures of Willy Beamish of all people the terribly stereotypical Japanese tourists will give you a smoke bomb and a shuriken as a gift. It's later revealed that they actually are ninja in disguise.
  • Akane The Kunochi has the aforementioned character use kunais as her weapons against the villainess Hiromi's forces. Hiromi's ninjas also use kunais.
  • In Batman Begins, Batman starts out with shuriken during the training level and then upgrades to Batarangs. He also uses smokescreens and flash-bang grenades.
  • Despicable Bear: The Katana and the Shuriken are available for use.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons Online, the Ninja Spy's stock includes Ki Manipulation, shortsword prowess, a flash bang that stuns and blinds, shuriken, poisons, invisibility, assassination moves, and stealth.
  • The title character of Ghostrunner not only fights with a katana, he also sometimes gains shurikens to throw at enemies and door-opening buttons.
  • An especially nasty shuriken is the "Flay" magical item in Legacy of Kain - Blood Omen. These are wraith-forged throwing stars that will skin a weak or badly weakened enemy.
  • Mark of the Ninja features both kunai-like bamboo darts (used primarily for things like destroying lights and disabling security systems) and special darts dipped in a powerful hallucinogen to instantly terrify anyone struck with them. There are also caltrops, firecrackers and smoke bombs alongside more exotic tools and weapons like mines that impale anyone who walks on them with spikes, flesh-eating insects, fungal spores that instantly kill enemies and infest their bodies to kill the next guard who examines them, and a cardboard box.
  • Mini Ninjas, all the heroic playable ninjas use typical weapons: Hiro wields a katana, Suzume has a flute which can act as a bludgeon and a blowpipe, Shun has a bow, Tora a set of claws and Kunoichi wields a naginata, while everyone can employ various bombs, makibishi and shuriken. The only exception is Futo, who's too clumsy, large and fat for any standard weapon, so he has to rely on a wooden hammer.
  • The ninja specter Scorpion of Mortal Kombat fame uses a ninjato and kunai attached either to a rope or a chain.
  • Saizo Kirigakure from Ninja Battle Heroes wields ninja stars and a katana.
  • Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, whose massive arsenal includes some ninja-related weapons. Ditto for the other playable ninja characters (Ayane, Momiji and Kasumi) to different degrees.
  • The Ninja Kids plays this straight.
    • Hanzo wields a katana.
    • Sasuke uses a kusarigama.
    • Akane has infinite shuriken he can throw.
    • Genta wields a sansetsukon, a three-section staff.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness have the titular hero battling the forces of evil using every ninja weapon available as powerups, including the katana, sai, nagitana, smoke bombs, and an infinite amount of throwing knives.
  • In Nioh, ninja characters such as Hattori Hanzō and Okatsu mostly use shortswords, daggers, shurikens and smoke bombs, while ninja enemies are usually armed with either longswords or dual swords or kusarigama. Subverted with William, who can learn Ninjutsu but he's free to employ any weapon he wishes, such as not only the previously-mentioned trio, but also long spears, axes, two-handed Otachi and dual tonfa.
  • In the Onimusha series, ninja characters like Kaede and Kotaro Fuuma are armed with kunai-like daggers and can use shuriken as distance weapons.
  • Overwatch's three ninja characters use these: Genji has shuriken, a wakizashi, and a katana, Hanzo has a bow, and Kiriko has kunai.
  • Greninja from Pokťmon X and Y learns moves based on these, such as Spikes, Smokescreen, Haze, Night Slash and Water Shuriken.
  • Princess Maker 5: One of the possible weapons from the Souvenir store, a shuriken, called a "Cross throwing knife":
    A knife often used by ninjas
    Attack+8, Congeniality rate+5
    Price: 130000 Yen
  • Red Alert 3: The Empire's ninjas can one-hit-kill infantry with shurikens and katanas, as well as throw a smoke bomb to force enemies to detarget them.
  • In Samurai Shodown both Hanzo and Galford wields Ninjato and can throw shuriken or kunai, while Earthquake uses a massive Kusarigama.
  • In Samurai Warriors Hattori Hanzō wields a Kusarigama in battle. Other ninjas include Kunoichi and Nene (daggers) and Kotaro Fuuma (clawed gauntlets that somehow allow his arms to stretch roughly 3 times their original lenght).
  • In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, protagonist Wolf relies largely on his katana, but he also has a prosthetic arm that can contain all sorts of nifty tools, including the usual suspects like shurikens, firecracker bombs, and an assortment of hidden blades. As far as enemy shinobi go, the Senpou assassins favor knives and poison bombs, the Nightjars use large shurikens and double-bladed kamas, the Lone Shadows wield long ninjatos and kunai, and Lady Butterfly is all about the kunai when not trying to kick your head off. Additionally, though the Owl has a rather un-ninja-like giant sword, he can also toss out shurikens and an assortment of special bombs.
  • Sengoku Basara has the three main ninja (Sasuke, Kasuga and Kotaro) using appropriate ninja weapons, namely Fuuma Shuriken, kunai attached to Razor Wire, and two ninjato.
  • In Shinobido Goh can use a Ninjato and also shuriken, makibishi and smoke bombs.
  • Smite's version of the Shinto moon god Tsukuyomi uses two bladed tonfa, shuriken, caltrops, and a kusarigama.
  • There are several ninja items like kunai or acidic throwing star in SYNTHETIK. The Z1 Sundering Shuriken is one of the best items in the game.
  • Silmarils's 1989 computer game Targhan has the Barbarian Hero able to collect very useful shurikens and throw them at enemies.
  • Tenchu features this a lot, as expected of a series about ninja. Rikimaru's primary weapon is a Ninjato while Ayame dual wields tanto as her weapon. Both also have access to grappling hook, and could be decked with shurikens, senbons, Makibishi, Manrikigusari, smoke bombs, and many more if the player chooses to.
  • Titanfall 2 had two ninja-style weapons available for pilots: A sonic-pulse kunai used as a tactical ability, and incindiary and black-hole shuriken usable in place of grenades.
  • In Warframe, the Tenno - masters of gun and blade - have a wide choice of low-tech ninja weapons to choose from: kunai, shuriken, kamas in both single and dual flavors, nunchaku, claws, naginatas and other forms of spear. The Ash warframe specializes in ninja attacks, possessing smoke bombs, armor-piercing guided kunai, teleportation, and Teleport Spam combined with gratuitous stabbing with his twin Blade Below The Shoulders.
  • Nunchaku is the first melee weapon which can be obtained in Yo! Joe! Beat the Ghosts, and there are shurikens available in some levels.
  • Megaman Zero: The ninja-themed Hidden Phantom of the Four Guardians has a giant Cross Shuriken as trademark weapon. He also uses kunais and explosive makibishis to great effect during his fight with the protagonist.
  • La-Mulana: Protagonist Lemeza Kosugi is like Indiana Jones had majored in ninja arts in addition to archeology. Along with his trusty whip, Lemeza can also wield a katana, toss shurikens (both the traditional and rolling variation), caltrops (ideal to invoke Mercy Invincibility in a pinch) and use a claw to Wall Crawl.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY's Blake Belladonna, fitting her overall Ninja theme, wields the "Variant Ballistic Chain Scythe" Gambol Shroud. It's a ninjato with a pistol in the hilt that can be used as a kusarigama thanks to the length of rope running from the pommel (in this form, the blade flips down to the appropriate angle).

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventure Time episode "Slumber Party Panic" shows Finn and Jake infiltrating Ice King's lair and discovering a text known as the Ninjas of the Ice: The Art of Fridjitzu. From there, the boys were able to conjure many ninja weapons out of ice such as shuriken, kunai, and even caltrops.
  • The Ninjas from Mixels each have a stereotypical weapon, Cobrax has sai, Spinza has katanas, and Mysto has a bo staff. A shop in their district of Mixopolis also shows off shuriken and kunai.
  • The Ninja mask in Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja bestows upon its wearer a Ninja suit with a collection of ninja weapons ranging from ninja swords, sais, rings, a manrikigusari, smokebombs, chain sickle, etc. With a suit like that, plus with some mystical options to boot, Randy's never short on weapons to take down robots and monsters.
  • In a late episode from The Simpsons the Comic Book Guy tries to win back his clients by offering them "Ninja Weapons" to buy. We get glimpses of katana, kusarigama and shuriken among other things.
  • The South Park episode "Good Times With Weapons" sees the boys buy ninja weapons and run amok with them.
  • In addition to their standard weapons, the Ninja Turtles in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) also regularly use shuriken and grappling hooks. Also, Donnie and Mikey have retractable blades in their weapons, so Donnie's staff can convert to a naginata, and Mikey's nunchucks can convert to a kusarigama.


Video Example(s):


Kamen Rider ZX's arsenal

Being a ninja-type rider, ZX has a chain, shuriken and portable bombs that he uses on the Genins.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / StockNinjaWeaponry

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