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From left to right: Kimishita, Kazama, Ooshiba, Tsukushi, Usui, Mizuki, Inohara, and Haibara.

Tsukushi Tsukamoto is a shy first-year high school student who has no particular special talents or traits. On his first day of school he is asked by a classmate, Jin Kazama, to play a football game with him as he's down one person. This gets Tsukushi interested in this sport. Tsukushi is a beginner at football but decides to join his school's team, along with Kazama. Despite his lack of experience he is determined to play the best he can.

DAYS is a manga about a high school football team. An animated adaptation was produced by MAPPA for the Summer 2016 season.


DAYS contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The anime cut out many a one-off joke from the manga. Especially Kazama's weird antics had to suffer.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Many many.
    • Tsukushi went from dark brown/black hair and brown eyes in the manga to black hair and blue eyes in the anime.
    • Kazama's eye color changed from blue to brown.
    • Kimishita went from black hair and gray eyes to brown hair and green eyes.
    • Ooshiba changed from bright red hair and brown eyes to auburn hair and blue-greenish eyes (depending on the scene and lighting).
    • Ubukata's hair was grayish in the manga. In the anime it's a shade of pink.
    • Hayase, a brunette in the manga, became a redhead in the anime.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime gives several Seiseki regulars small speaking appearances before their former introductions where they were just there in the manga, most prominently Kimishita and Ooshiba picking a fight while watching the first-years play and later practicing one on one and fighting over who gets the ball after Kimishita scores a goal.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Sayuri refers to Tsukushi as "Tsuku-chan".
    • Kazama instantly begins calling Sayuri "Sayurin".
  • All Just a Dream: The second ED turns out to be a dream of Tsukushi's.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of bonus facts about the characters can be found in their character sheets.
  • Always Someone Better: Seiseki to the underdog teams who go up against them, and Ryouzan to Seiseki.
  • Animation Bump: Episode 1 has much better animation than the rest of the series.
  • Anti-Climax: The match against Yuigahama. They're set up as serious opponents who share a history with Kazama, but Seiseki easily crushes them 4-0. (Tropes Are Not Bad, because this match was never about winning so much as about reconciliation, and finishing it quickly allows the series to focus on more serious opponents faster.)
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Kai's description of Ichiboshi's Aiba. "In his six years of elementary school he scored a hundred goals, in his time in middle school he shook of seven guys, his staple food is parfait, he has a personal pitch at the hill behind his house..."
  • Art Evolution: Just compare the art from the early chapters to the current style. Everyone looks much less baby-faced than they used to, and Yasuda's way of drawing faces and hair has changed visibly.
  • Audience Surrogate: Tsukushi in the early chapters, and later on the job gets taken up by Ubukata. Both are new to soccer and the team and slowly find their way into it along with the reader, coming to understand it and, in Ubukata's case, root for them and try to help them get stronger from the outside.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The first color page for the chapter, where the tone leans more towards high school rom-com before the series focuses on football for rest of the series.
    • Kimishita and Ooshiba seem fond of this In-Universe, acting like they're about to do something unusually friendly to the other and then switching out at the last second, occasionally fooling even the other.
  • Battlecry: "Seiseki! Fight!"
  • Beach Episode: The first OVA has Seiseki and later Saku High training at the beach. Seiseki being Seiseki, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Betty and Veronica: Seemingly set up this way with Tsukushi as the Archie, Sayuri as the Betty and Ubukata as the Veronica, but quickly discarded. Tsukushi and Sayuri are Like Brother and Sister while Ubukata is at least heavily implied to have her own Love Interest in Hoshina and Tsukushi has never shown romantic interest in either of them, meaning there's no love triangle in the first place.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Several of the Seiseki upperclassmen play this role to the first-years. Mizuki and Usui both take Tsukushi under their wings at some point, Usui mentors almost everyone to some degree, and later on Ooshiba of all people starts playing this role towards Tsukushi.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • Tsukushi is basically a younger, less Book Dumb version of Mizuki and heavily implied to follow in his footsteps.
    • Seiseki and Ichiboshi as teams have a lot of parallels. Especially notable with Usui and Kamimura, the respective Team Moms of their teams, with both of them being friendly, mild-mannered, collected third-years who get along on the spot.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three "arrows" of Seiseki. Kazama (blonde), Mizuki (brunette), and Ooshiba (redhead).
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Seiseki's soccer club in general, their training regime enable dedicated beginners like Tsukushi & Mizuki to be able to compete alongside teammates who has years of experience and their playing style are balanced in all areas that leans offensive, but as their coach noted, they don't have a lot of football variants
    • Yuigahama's playing style to centered around counter attacking. it enables them to reach nationals despite their shot count in their final prelims at 2. Seiseki's solution? Sub in a dedicated rebound hunter in Tsukushi, and their defense utterly crumbled
  • Breather Episode: The summer festival and study chapters between the Saku High match and the training camp, and the victory party after the Touin match and the school festival between the winter tournament prelims and nationals.
  • Brick Joke: In the halftime break of the Saku High match, Tsukushi notices Kazama looking a little gloomy and tries to cheer him up with a silly pose he calls "Wringing a dustcloth!" It works; cue Kazama showing him how to do the pose properly. Fast forward to Kazama getting subbed in close to the end of the Touin match, when Seiseki is troubled and in a tight spot... and the first thing Kazama does is twist Tsukushi in that same pose he did back then to cheer up his team. "Wringing a dustcloth, Tsukushi version!" Again, it works like a charm.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Just look at the image above.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: All the characters have their own unique designs, facial features and visual quirks. The only characters who can sometimes accidentally look alike are Indou and Haibara in the manga, but that's mostly due to bad perspective or a mild case of art failure since their faces and hairstyles look far from the same.
  • Central Theme: A recurring message in the story is how finding the right people to belong with can bring out the best in a person and change them completely.
  • Characterization Marches On: Several examples, especially within Seiseki.
    • Kimishita is introduced as a scary delinquent-type character with a heart of gold. He eventually morphs into a hardworking, perpetually stressed and embarrassed nerd without the delinquent mannerisms from the early chapters.
    • Before his proper introduction Usui is shown blushing at Mizuki's childishness, something that goes entirely against his established personality.
    • Kimishita and Ooshiba's relationship also gets this treatment, with them first being introduced as hating and avoiding each other, then gradually morphing into Vitriolic Best Buds who have known each other since seventh grade and trust each other unconditionally, despite their bickering.
  • Cherry Blossoms: They abound in the first episode of the anime, with Kazama first spotting Tsukushi at Seiseki's entrance ceremony as he pushes his mother's wheelchair to a good spot to take a picture.
  • Childhood Friends: Sayuri and Tsukushi are childhood friends, though Tsukushi thinks of her more like a Cool Big Sis. Kurusu, Nitobe and Shiratori are also implied to be this, having played together at least since middle school and started at the same time.
  • Cliffhanger: One of the most frequent ways to end chapters, episodes, or volumes, especially during matches.
  • Combat Commentator: The audience, rival players, rival players in the audience, people on the benches... in short, anyone who's not currently doing a play on the pitch will be pulled around to narrate what's going on in a match at some point.
  • Comic Trio: Ooshiba, Mizuki and Kimishita sometimes lapse into this dynamic, with Ooshiba doing something stupid, Mizuki liking the idea and following suit, and Kimishita being left to wonder what he ever did to deserve them both.
  • Cool-Kid-and-Loser Friendship: Kazama (talented, outgoing, popular Cool Kid) and Tsukushi (shy, nervous, emotional, less-than-athletic Loser). They're completely inseparable and also turn out to be much the same. Kazama was only a cool kid on the surface before meeting Tsukushi, having been ostracized by his middle school team and almost driven out of soccer entirely, so meeting each other was arguably what turned them into a cool-kid-and-loser friendship in the first place.
  • Conspicuous CG: Often seen in shots of the whole field, with many players moving at once. The way they move is notably different from the way they usually do.
  • Crippling the Competition: Several teams try to use this on Seiseki, Hokutou in particular. It does NOT sit well with Mizuki.
  • Crowd Chant: In the anime. "Seiseki! Seiseki!"
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When they are at their best condition and against teams that are considered subpar, Seiseki can deal this towards them. One notable instance comes from their first Nationals match against Yuigahama, where they score a 4-0 in 9 chapters, despite being the arc about Kazama.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Seen in several matches, but most prominently the training camp match against Seikan. After Seiseki wins, many Seikan players compliment the skills of the Seiseki players they were up against, even if they talked trash about them before.
    • Also seen in the match against Yuigahama, which ends with Kazama and his former teammates making up and shaking hands after Seiseki defeats them.
  • Description Cut:
    • When Indou takes Tsukushi to a futsal match at the mall, the latter's teammates explain to him how scary Indou is... while the very same Indou is seen goofing off with the ball and imitating a seal in the background.
    • "We've got Kazama Jin, bringing speed and skill from the right." Cue a shot of Kazama sleeping.
    • Before the Seiseki vs Ichiboshi game: "The tension has got to be through the roof!" Cut to both teams befriending each other on the warmup pitch.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The first ending song is sung by the voice actors of Tsukushi, Kazama, Mizuki, Kimishita and Ooshiba.
  • Down to the Last Play:
    • Subverted in the Saku High match. It's set up to look like a last-minute goal from Tsukushi, but he misses and Seiseki loses.
    • Played straight in Seiseki vs. Seikan, which actually does end with a last-minute goal from Tsukushi.
    • Played straight again in the Keiou match, with Kimishita making the last free kick at the last second.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Seiseki in the match against Keiou. While the powerhouse Seiseki could usually beat an underdog team like them with ease, they're not at their strongest because Kazama and Ooshiba are both injured and Mizuki's out after two yellow cards, meaning none of the three arrows can play.
  • Dumb Jock: The first-years (minus Kazama and Tsukushi), Ooshiba, and Mizuki, as revealed during a team study session.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Seiseki regulars show up in shots of the whole team long before they get proper introductions or speaking roles. Expanded in the anime.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Even apart from the visual age-up everyone got thanks to Art Evolution there are some differences in the early character designs, such as Haibara's hair being longer and less wavy, Ooshiba being slimmer and less muscular, and Kimishita always wearing a necklace that later disappears as his delinquent persona morphs into the smart grumpy workaholic one he's known for today.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • An early chapter has Usui blushing with second-hand embarrassment at Mizuki and Indou's staring contest.
    • Kimishita refers to Ooshiba as "Shiba" before their fight in the Saku High halftime break. Fixed in the anime.
    • Kimishita is often depicted chewing gum in early chapters. He later drops the habit completely.
    • The very first chapter has Tsukushi visiting Sayuri, who is already in Seiseki at this point, at work. Later on we find out that Seiseki has a ban on part-time jobs.
  • Easily Distracted Referee: Apparently prominent in early matches, if the refs aren't all just biased. The opposing teams pull a lot of fouls and rough plays on Seiseki that should earn them yellow or red cards and get away with it.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Tsukushi knocks over his chair when asked to introduce himself to his class and has trouble getting a word out, blushing bright red.
    • Kazama gets one in the manga, where he rescues Tsukushi from bullies by making a Bruce Lee imitation, complimenting him, and giving him girls' panties to blow his nose when he starts crying.
    • Subverted with Mizuki. He's introduced as a quiet, responsible-seeming person and doesn't get his proper Establishing Character Moment until later, when Tsukushi asks him to teach him how to shoot properly and he turns out to be a giant Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Kimishita and Ooshiba are first shown picking a fight during the training camp.
  • First-Name Basis: Kazama starts referring to Tsukushi by his first name after their first football match. Tsukushi still calls him by his surname.
    • Kimishita calls Ooshiba by his first name Kiichi. Considering their relationship this is kinda weird.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Especially notable with Seiseki and Ichiboshi. The two teams strongly parallel each other in terms of character constellations (although not necessarily personalities), and the players with similar roles on their respective teams are all shown hitting it off. The only ones who don't get along (at least on Nakazawa's side) are the coaches.
  • Good Parents: Heartwarmingly abundant in the series. Tsukushi's mother is a main example, being a very loving and caring mom who's the reason why her son is so kind and caring himself, but the Spin-Off also qualifies Kimishita's father as a good, doting parent.
  • Good Versus Good: Most of the matches are portrayed this way, with the rival teams being portrayed sympathetically and given a valid reason to want to win.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Ubukata in the manga, whose hair is depicted as ranging between grayish dirty blonde and outright silver depending on the illustration, presumably supposed to represent the former. And Hayase in the anime, who has cherry-red hair to represent a more realistic shade.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Characters almost always have the same hairstyle as their current one in flashbacks, even if it's usually a bit shorter in the past. The only exception is Kazama, who had a bob haircut up until middle school.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The most prominent example are Tsukushi and Kazama, who form a strong friendship in the first few chapter and are inseparable from then on. There's also Haibara and Inohara, Mizuki and Kasahara (and later Usui), Hayase and Kokubo, and Satou and Ooshiba, and those are just the pairs in Seiseki.
  • Huddle Power: Nearly every team before a match, especially Seiseki.
  • Huddle Shot: Seiseki gets one before the Inter-High qualifier finals against Saku High, with Mizuki giving a surprisingly rousing speech.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: The team has no qualms about teasing and laughing at Tsukushi or even insulting him, but God help any outsider who tries to do the same thing.
  • Image Song: Tsukushi, Kazama, Mizuki, Kimishita and Ooshiba have one each.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: Some characters' long hair (which never gets tied up during practice or matches) qualifies, given that it's not exactly practical while playing a sport. Kazama and Kimishita are the main examples, but Nitobe, Himura and many others count too.
  • Improbable Sports Skills: Downplayed. All the skills portrayed are achievable in real life, if extremely unlikely for high schoolers to have (justified in that most of the players displaying them have pro contracts though).
  • Indy Ploy: Ichiboshi is this weaponized by an entire team. All of them are off doing their own thing, making stuff up on the spot and not adhering to a strategy, but somehow it works.
  • Inner Monologue: Pretty much all moments of important character development are told this way.
  • Like an Old Married Couple:
    • The most prominent example are Indou and Narukami. They're inseparable, on first-name basis, live together, play soccer together, and are bickering 24/7.
    • Kimishita and Ooshiba also end up falling into this dynamic as their relationship shifts from Sitcom Arch-Nemesis to Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Left Hanging: The anime, essentially. The series ends with a cliffhanger right before the beginning of the Touin match and the promise of a sequel. A sequel does come after a full year, but it's a three-episode OVA series and a limited edition accessible only to a select few, meaning that the series was left hanging for the overwhelming majority of the fanbase.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: There's the Seiseki soccer club, which consists of 57 players alone, coaches, managers, parents, friends, and of course other teams. And the cast just keeps on growing with every match.
  • Lovable Jock: Given the genre, it's natural that the series is full of them.
  • Miracle Rally: Seiseki's comeback in the match against Ryouzan, with them being 0-3 behind by the halftime break and managing to catch up again in the second half.
  • Moe Couplet: Shy, awkward, hardworking Tsukushi and talented, popular, outgoing but secretly disillusioned Kazama. They only bring out the best in each other, make each other see soccer and the world in a new light, give each other a purpose, and flat-out adore each other.
  • Mukokuseki: Downplayed. While most characters have black or brown hair, there's still examples like Kazama (apparently naturally blond without an explanation) or Ooshiba (apparently a natural redhead).
  • Mysterious Past: Most of the main characters' backstories are portrayed patchily at best, particularly Kazama's, where many questions are still left unanswered even though he's the deuteragonist. Most of the answers are only provided for in the Gaiden Spin-Off.
  • Nice Mean And Inbetween: Seiseki's three arrows – Kazama (friendly and outgoing), Ooshiba (arrogant and rude), and Mizuki (nice but blunt and hard to figure out), respectively.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing: Highly likely, as Word of God admitted that he has a lot of trouble trying to write romance into this manga. There's plenty of Ship Tease though.
  • Odd Friendship: The series has loads of them.
    • Mizuki and Usui fall into this category, with Mizuki being simple-minded and straightforward but clueless and bad with words while Usui is more sly and has all the people and life skills.
    • Short, cheerful, energetic Haibara and tall, quiet, intimidating but soft-hearted Inohara.
    • Likewise, Haibara and Kimishita (of all people) qualify too.
  • Off-Model: The anime has its fair share, especially in wide shots. Some characters are also drawn inconsistently (most noticeable with Kimishita's hair, whose length and volume seems to change from scene to scene).
  • Older Than They Look: Tsukushi is a bit young looking and short (156 cm.) for his age. It's especially noticeable when compared to the rest of his team.
    • Played for Laughs with him and Narukami later. They're both almost not allowed into their teams' changing rooms because security mistakes them for kids at first.
  • One-Gender School: Keiou. They're quite jealous of Seiseki for having a beautiful female manager.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Played with. Seiseki is this to many other teams, being a big powerhouse with half a century's tradition and a bunch of very talented and intimidating players. The protagonists themselves are mostly oblivious to that at first though.
  • Parental Abandonment: More frequent than you'd expect. Tsukushi's father died when he was little, Kimishita doesn't have a mother and her fate is never explored (although the character guidebook implies she's still alive), Kazama's mother left him when he was a child, and whether or not he has a father is still a mystery, and then there's Indou and Narukami, who were both orphaned at a young age.
  • Personality Blood Types:
    • Tsukushi is a type A and and fits the stereotypes. He's quiet, loyal, a perfectionist, etc.
    • Kazama is a type B and matches certain traits such as being active and passionate.
  • Power Trio: The three arrows of Seiseki are the embodiment of this.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Seiseki to a degree, but the biggest example is Keiou.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Cheery, outgoing Kazama is the Red to shy, quiet Tsukushi's Blue.
    • Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero Ooshiba is the Red to The Smart Guy Kimishita's Blue.
    • Inohara is the Blue to Haibara's Red.
    • Some of the sibling pairs qualify too, most prominently Ooshiba and Mikoto, as well as Kazama and Yuki.
  • Rotating Protagonist: While Tsukushi is technically the main protagonist, his relative lack of skill means that he spends a lot of time out of focus, especially during matches, while his teammates pass the role back and forth between them depending on whose character arc it is.
  • Running Gag:
    • Tsukushi almost scoring a goal and failing at the last moment.
    • Kazama sleeping in the weirdest places, at the weirdest times.
    • Mizuki getting lost.
  • Sequel Hook: There's one at the end of episode 24, teasing Seiseki's game against Touin.
  • Serious Business: Soccer, obviously. Justified in that many of the players will or at least want to go pro and have to take it seriously as their future career.
  • Shout-Out: After the first nationals match Ooshiba says that Mizuki used his Sharingan to score most of the goals. Kimishita lampshades the reference.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Several examples throughout the series.
    • Kimishita and Ooshiba appear to be the most prominent one, although they're later revealed to be Vitriolic Best Buds.
    • Kazama and Ubukata start out this way before eventually starting to get along.
    • Mizuki and Indou. Even though Indou tries to bond with Mizuki a lot, the two of them can't stay in one room for long without picking a fight.
    • Himura hates Kazama's guts for no logical reason. How much Kazama reciprocates the hatred is unclear.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Very far on the idealistic end of the scale. Unskilled nobodies like Tsukushi or first-year Mizuki can become outstanding soccer players just with lots of hard work, former loners and outcasts find a place to belong with their soccer teams, people who lost their purpose find it again, and people who used to be on awful terms confront each other and make up.
  • Spin-Off: The series has one in the shape of DAYS Gaiden, which contains several characters' backstories or side stories from their lives.
  • Spoiler Opening: The second OP goes as far as to spoil Tsukushi scoring a goal against Seikan, among other things.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Seiseki and Ichiboshi both hold their strategy sessions without their coaches and are about to walk out on the pitch by the time they arrive before their match.
  • Switching P.O.V.: While Tsukushi's point of view is the main one, the narrative often jumps back and forth between different characters, especially during matches.
  • Those Two Guys: Seiseki has Satou and Suzuki, as well as Hayase and Kokubo to some degree.
  • ˇThree Amigos!: Tsukushi, Kazama and Ubukata develop this dynamic over time.
  • Tournament Arc: The Inter-High qualifiers to some extent, but even more so, the qualifiers for nationals in fall and nationals in winter.
  • Training from Hell: The first-years are put through this, having to run laps after laps and even penalty laps if one of them isn't fast enough. Later on Tsukushi also puts himself through a training from hell, running as much as everyone would have had to run combined.
  • True Companions: Almost all teams are shown having close bonds, both on and off the pitch.
  • Underdogs Never Lose:
    • Played straight in Seiseki vs. Sakuragi. While Seiseki is a powerhouse with a fifty-year tradition, Saku High only rose to fame in the past two years and is still a fairly new team. They defeat Seiseki.
    • Played all over the place in the Seiseki vs. Keiou match. Technically, Keiou are the underdogs – they used to be a school without a soccer club and only formed it a year ago, being mostly a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. However, in this match, Seiseki is the underdog team, being at a disadvantage because Kazama and Ooshiba are injured and Mizuki can't play after two yellow cards, leaving all three arrows out, and later on Nitobe gets a red card, leaving only ten players on the field. Seiseki wins.
    • Averted in Seiseki vs. Yuigahama, with the latter being the underdog and losing 0-4.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Keiou makes that mistake with Seiseki because all three of their regular forwards can't play for one reason or another. They quickly learn their lesson.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Hokutou engages in this during their match against Seiseki. They essentially get away with it, presumably because it can be passed off as clumsiness because of the conditions. Their methods cause Mizuki to accrue a second yellow (thus missing the next match) because he had to save Kimishita from getting a deliberate kick in the head but they still lose the match.
  • The 'Verse: The series takes place in the same universe as Furimukuna Kimi Wa, an earlier series by Yasuda that centered on the first year of Saku High's current third-years, especially Indou and Narukami.
  • Victory by Endurance: Seiseki manages to turn this into a strategy, making their opponents run a lot and making them exhaust themselves on purpose whereas Seiseki is sufficiently well-trained to hold out until the end of the match.
  • Webcomic Time: Especially prominent during matches, which take place over about an hour and a half but are published over the course of several months, or sometimes half a year. Seiseki's match against Ryouzan is particularly noteworthy, as it took more than a year to finish the match.
  • White and Grey Morality: The few matches that aren't outright Good Versus Good. Some of the rival teams antagonize Seiseki to rile them up or make harsh remarks about them behind their backs, but even they are still portrayed as mostly good (if sometimes strange) people.
  • Who Needs Overtime?: The match against Keiou, which ends with Kimishita deciding the match at the literal last minute. Justified in that they didn't have the capacity to keep playing into overtime and needed to decide it quickly.
    • Averted in the match against Ryouzan, which does go into overtime.
  • Worthy Opponent: A given, considering the genre.
    • Indou and Mizuki view each other this way and look forward to facing off, even if they don't get along well otherwise.
    • Kazama and Himura even outright state that they see each other as the only first-years worth competing with.
    • Seiseki and Seikan as whole teams, at least after Seikan loses to Seiseki.
    • Kimishita starts respecting Keiou after their match and gets angry when their supporters start talking trash about them for losing.
  • Women Are Wiser: If anyone from the soccer teams has a sister, you can bet she's much more well-adjusted and reasonable, not to mention mature than he is, regardless of her age. And then of course there's Ubukata.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Almost completely averted, except for Ubukata (especially in the anime, which makes her hair pink), as well as Usui (silver-haired ranging from gray to almost blue). An explanation for these odd colors is never given.

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