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  • Adaptation Displacement: The song "Might is Right but Tight" featured in Guilty Gear Isuka is more memorably featured in I Wanna Be the Guy rather than Isuka itself, due to the fact that this song is used every time you die in the game.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Are Dizzy's accidental slips on occasion... actually accidental or intended to catch foes off-guard? She's a Half-Human Hybrid, has both demonic and angelic elements, either peaceful or destructive. Either way she's very, very vulnerable.
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    • Thanks to Slayer's story in Accent Core + and his advice to Venom on not getting too attached to Millia, more than a few fans have latched onto the idea that Venom is bisexual or only gay for Zato, interpreting his attachment as harboring a love-hate complex for Millia instead of vengeance/jealousy taken to the point of obsession.
    • It is unclear if That Man knowingly triggered the events of the series. Either he is not allowing the world to get worse until his goals are achieved or attempting to atone for the creation of the Gears while working with sociopaths like I-No out of necessity. Either way, his goals are completely shrouded in mystery. Xrd Revelator clears up some points, but it remain unclear if he's doing it out of a sense of obligation to Sol, Aria, and The Original rather than to simply satisfy his own ego. Strive complicates the matter further with the reveal that The Original/Happy Chaos also acted under the moniker of "That Man", making it unclear just how responsible Asuka!That Man actually is for certain events.
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  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Let's just say that the Axl/I-no pairing is really popular. Which is a lot more interesting once you know just who I-no really is...
  • Author's Saving Throw: The lobby system is considered to be the Scrappy Mechanic of Strive. That said, not only did you get an option to bypass it in the open beta (it puts your avatar out there while you play training mode), they delayed the game for a couple months to fix up the lobby system, and the stability of the already incredible netcode.
  • Awesome Music: This doesn't need explaining. It even has its own page.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Notice how many times Bridget and Dizzy are mentioned?
  • Bizarro Episode: Rev 2's After-Story C, in which King Daryl invites Zappa and the rest of the paranormal research team to discuss a record-setting giant pudding that had been toppled. It's portrayed just like a murder mystery story, and is completely unrelated to the main plot. In the end, those who had tasted the pudding turn into rockets and take off into the sky. The end.
  • Broken Base:
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    • A growing trend among parts of the fanbase that first cropped up after Xrd, and really took off after Strive, is the sentiment that the series is losing its distinct heavy metal edge with each new entry, be it in the story, character designs, stages, the UI or even the music in some cases. Though other fans argue that the series still has its identity intact.
    • Yellow Roman Cancel mechanic in Xrd is seen by some as 'too cheap' in favor of the attacking player due to the fact that it briefly slows down the opponent regardless of where it is activated, and that it 'eats' any input during said freeze duration, obliterating neutral play in the process. Adjustments to Roman Cancel in Strive seem to be a step taken against this issue.
  • Cargo Ship: The in-game galleries have some... interesting pictures of I-No and her guitar.
    • That's nothing. One of her intros shows I-No leaning over her guitar, proceeding to slowly run her tongue up its neck. As she finishes and breaks away, I-No remains there for a few seconds with her head thrown back, her back arched, and her legs clenched together, appearing to have very much savored the taste of her guitar and a strand of saliva clearly visible.
    • A.B.A and Paracelsus are canon, subverted in a sense that Paracelsus is a living being despite being a giant key. She also spends her Accent Core Plus story working for the P.W.A.B. with the promise that they'll provide a human body for Paracelsus to inhabit. She ends up succeeding in one ending. In the other, his consciousness gets transferred into... a Robo-Ky head.
      • Weirdly subverted in that Paracelsus thinks A.B.A. is a nice girl, but would prefer to remain friends.
  • Complete Monster: The narcissistic, psychotic, and sadistic Geena leaves her mark despite her short tenure in the interquel manga Xtra. Geena is a member of the Post-War Administration Bureau tasked with retrieving the War Relic "Zessen" from the Japanese colony. She narrowly kills its keeper, Mizuha's grandfather, in front of her and is only stopped by a recently awakened Tyr, who managed to destroy her arm. After that failure, she is now only concerned getting revenge on them for getting in her way. She later confronts them, sadistically shooting the young Tyr and leaving him to bleed out. When Axl Low intercepted her, she blows off part of a building to crush an innocent little girl and shoots him In the Back when he's distracted. After assimilating with the Gear Mothership, Geena announces her intention of annihilating "this rotten world" and every human in it as a weapon should.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • Zappa, whenever he's possessed by ghosts, is considered one of the creepiest fighters in the game due to his body bending backwards. But the ghosts he's able to summon, such as the sword, the dog, and Raoh, are seen as very cool-looking, with Zappa being seen as one of the more unique fighters.
    • Faust, thanks to his tall and lanky design and coming from out of nowhere for intros and attacks. The fact that, after The Missing Link where he was Dr. Baldhead, he is undeniably one of the good guys makes him more endearing. His STRIVE appearance makes him look even more horrifying despite his wish to help others.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Elphelt using her Magnum Wedding on Ky, Dizzy or Slayer, who all beg her not to (especially Ky and Dizzy) since they're already married, sits somewhere between uncomfortable and hilarious.
    • Faust's wheelchair super in Strive when used on Ramlethal. Yes, a wheelchair to the shins hurts no matter who it's used on, and it elicits some very humorous reactions, but the leg that Faust hits when he rams it into Ramlethal just so happens to be the one that's wrapped in bandages.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Dizzy, as she got in the way of the popular Sol/Ky pairing as of Overture.
    • Jam Kuradoberi gets hate from both the Sol/Ky and Ky/Dizzy shippers because of her flirting with Ky. Canonically, she has no chance in winning, though.
    • Ky, too, as he is accused of stealing Dizzy away from Testament. He also recieves his share of hate from Dizzy fans who didn't want her to have a canon love interest.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: I-No. See Evil Is Sexy.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Robo-Ky. Despite being being a Ky's evil robot twin, wearing the same clothes and even copying some of his moveset, Robo-Ky earned a distinct, separate identity and a lot of love.
    • Bridget, thanks to Memetic Mutation. Also in a character poll for Arc Systems Works 25th Anniversary, Bridget was first out of all Guilty Gear characters, and is still the most popular character in Japan according to character polls for Strive.
    • Within minutes of seeing footage of him, fans immediately proclaimed their adoration of Xrd story NPC Leo Whitefang. He was confirmed as DLC. Cue fandom exploding. He grew to great importance in the main story, and returned for -STRIVE- as part of the default roster.
    • And with the coming of Xrd's Story Mode, President Gabriel turned into one of these, gaining a surprising amount of popularity after fans finally got to see his combat prowess.
    • Let us not forget that Dizzy would've never have broken out if the fans haven't fallen in love with her since her days of Guilty Gear X.
    • While moderately popular in previous installments, Baiken received a massive surge in popularity after her return in Xrd: Rev 2. She’s one of the most played characters both online and in arcades (mostly by new players), as well as gained tons of fan art. It probably helps that she had a noticeable redesign that drew a lot of newer fans to her.
    • Goldlewis Dickinson quickly became a fan favorite in Strive, being a Rated M for Manly badass who wields a freaking armored coffin as a ball and chain, and considered one of the more memorable characters in the game despite not being playable until the first DLC.
  • Even Better Sequel: While the quality of any individual entry is up for debate, there are a few that have really stood out as improvements.
    • XX from X was a real standout. While X itself improved on Missing Link in a large number of ways, it was both an early PS2 game, was still one of ArcSys's early fighting game efforts, their first one in 640x480, and it was a bit barebones as a release. XX featured a much larger roster for more depth of gameplay and accommodating more playstyles, even better music, a number of further mechanical improvements to gameplay, better balance, and a story that could actually be followed. XX is the game most older FGC players will first think of when thinking of Guilty Gear, and it was the game that really defined GG in the zeitgeist, both in and out of Japan. Overall, the final update on the game, Accent Core Plus R still remains popular even to this day, even more so than the later entries.
    • Xrd -REVELATOR- to -SIGN-. Sign was a near-revolutionary update to the way ArcSys made fighting games, and is an excellent game in its own right, but it still had some rough areas due to being the first iteration of the game with this technology. Revelator made a number of small and large improvements to the mechanics, introduced several absolute fan-favorites back to the playable roster, introduced a few other characters with very unique mechanics, advanced the GG story in a neat way, and has been specifically noted for having one of the best & most comprehensive tutorial and training modes in the entire genre, from fun minigames to teach movement all the way up to giving advice and setups for specific character matchups.
  • Evil Is Cool: Most of the villains embody this:
    • Zato-ONE was the first one, being this handsome, awesome-looking assassin with his own evil, even awesomer-looking Guardian Entity. Subverted with Xrd onwards, where he's more of a neutral party, and eventually a straight up good guy.
    • I-No, with her sadistic personality, attractive figure and musical powers. Becomes this in spades after ascending to Godhood in STRIVE and taking on all the relevant players at once with little sweat.
    • Happy Chaos in STRIVE is not only a Magnificent Bastard, but also a very damn entertaining one at that.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • If we're being technical, in Accent Core Plus, we see both Anji and A.B.A as temporary Punch Clock Villains, while Baiken gives in to her bloodlust in one ending and turns into a disreputable serial killer. If we're being really technical, the Bad Future caused by I-No's meddling and Ky's death during the Battle of Rome has a "good girl gone bad" example in Dizzy.
    • With the sheer explosion of fan art and more than a few fans proclaiming her to be their waifu not long after her unveiling, one can safely assume Ramlethal Valentine of Xrd counts as well.
    • Speaking of Valentines, the Valentine we see in Overture would also the fit the bill as she's a clone of Aria, Sol's Lost Lenore. As we know for sure now that Justice is Aria as of Xrd Revelator, you're basically getting a glimpse at what Justice looked like underneath that armor. Which means that, depending on how you interpret things, Justice herself may retroactively qualify.
  • Fountain of Memes: Goldlewis Dickinson, the first DLC character revealed in Strive, instantly became a meme-producing machine even before his playable debut, thanks to his memorable appearance, Awesome Mccoolname and sheer American-ness.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In Xrd -SIGN-, Elphelt's antics in trying to get married to pretty much anyone is funny at first but becomes a little less funny when in Story mode when she explains that she is unable to feel love, despite being able to feel other emotions, implying this behavior is some sort of desperate way to find love and escape her fate as a Valentine.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • In the original games, Sol had a powerful combo that has been given the Fan Nickname of "the Dust Loop." It involved comboing certain moves together in such a way that the opponent would be locked in the corner. This is promptly followed by, as the name implies, a seemingly infinite loop with his Air Dust, resulting in a ridiculous number of hits, ending in a Volcanic Viper combo when they started to slip out of the loop. This was eventually toned down in later games and removed completely in Accent Core, though unfortunately, it came back in Accent Core Plus, but only for Order-Sol's EX Mode, which is based off of his GG1 incarnation but with added Reload stats.
      • Guess what? The Dust Loop is back in full force in Xrd—as a matter of fact, it was shown off in the first trailer.
    • It's probably not intended for Sol in the first Guilty Gear to Dragon Install 9 times in a row and one shot Final Boss in single-player mode (granted that was TAS play but still)
    • Eddie. The top tier in the first edition of GGXX was called "Eddie tier" for a reason.
    • Justice. As she is only in the console versions and is horribly unbalanced, she is banned from ALL tournaments along with Kliff and sometimes Robo-Ky. In an effort to revert this, however, Justice and Kliff are now properly balanced for the first time in the series in the Accent Core Plus R update. To wit: Justice can no longer dash in any capacity and can only double jump along with Michael Sword now being only one hit, although she gets a new Dragon Install-style Overdrive (Omega Shift) that powers her back up to her old self.
    • Zappa's Confusion Fu. Getting Raoh out is tough to do, but Zappa with Raoh is arguably the strongest character in the game, boasting superior strength, speed, and reach, and possessing a very powerful Overdrive.
      • Raoh is mostly there as a punishment for letting Zappa runs his game too much, as he is prone to harassment because of expanded hurtbox. But his regular summons in XXAC+R on the other hand come with their own nastiness. From Dog summon having actual infinite blockstring, Ghosts for suffocating space control and floating Sword that lets you do high/low mix-up from fullscreen. Did we mention that those 3 summons are all disjointed, meaning universal defense mechanic like Burst or Dead Angle don't always work against Zappa? Nowadays (2020) Zappa is regarded as top-tier alongside Testament within western player community, despite RNG factor and steep learning curve associated with it.
    • In the first Guilty Gear, pick Millia, let her health drop below 50%, and spam her Iron Maiden Overdrive nonstop. The opponent has very little chance of getting close to you.
    • Ky in Slash, who was considered de facto top tier due to the biggest contender being the buff to his Stun Edges providing notable frame advantage on block, allowing him to apply ridiculous and easy-to-pull-off pressure like no other.
  • Genius Bonus: Besides the immense number of musical shout outs this series has to its name, the mechanics of phenomena like magic and harmonic resonance between Gears may seem familiar to anyone versed in music theory. It's be expected of a top-notch musician (and rock aficionado) like Ishiwatari.
  • Genius Programming: The Netcode in Strive, even by the standards of Rollback (which is already considered the standard for good fighting game netcode) is considered to be incredible, and the current high standard for fighting game netcode. Surprising for a company in a country where arcades are still standard, and admirable.
  • Good Bad Bugs: In launch version of Strive, playing Faust Mirror Match may crash the game if RNG ever gets too trigger happy and summons too many meteors.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the first 2014 flashback in Xrd story mode, Frederick and Aria are chatting about being birds freely flying through the sky, after which Frederic jokingly suggests imagining becoming a roach, who has no natural predators, no concern for socio-political bullshit and is very hard to kill. Gears fit those criteria too well.
    • Japan is destroyed in the backstory of GG (and by destroyed we mean it's a hole in the ocean). It wasn't clear exactly what had happened until Xrd, though, and the 2011 earthquake/tsunami/possible threat of nuclear meltdown and mass radiation poisoning events that hit Japan felt a little on the nose...
    • Daisuke's quote that "Fighting games are too simplified and should be more complex" ended up aging pretty badly with him now having seemingly done a 180 in this attitude with -Strive-.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Before the release of XX and the official debut of Robo-Ky, there was some speculation about Ky being a Gear, based on how GG Mode in X altered his posture and voice to appear glitchy. Then Xrd came along, in which it's implied that he has become at least part-Gear after conceiving Sin...
    • The original Guilty Gear beta for the PS1 was supposed to have utilized pre-rendered 3D models for its characters before Team Neo Blood decided to go with hand-drawn sprites. Fast forward 16 years later, and Xrd was revealed to be a 2½D game that uses special techniques to make its character models simulate 2D hand-drawn art.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Champion Revali mocks Link by saying he "doesn't care for blonde-haired sacred knights with holy blades". Cut to several years later, where Revali's voice actor Sean Chiplock ended up becoming the new dub voice actor for Ky in Strive.
  • Iron Woobie: Axl Low is a charming, funny and positive British guy who was ripped from his time and everyone he knows and cares about by the forces of cosmic beings from another timeline to be a pawn in their conflicts. He wants none of it and just wants to be with his girlfriend Megumi, and seeks out anyone who may know how he can get back home. And then he finds this person, who tells him he's really just a sentient bundle of magical energy, and his girlfriend has probably been wiped from existence along with his timeline because of his own actions. And not only that; when he finally does get a chance to go home, it comes with the Sadistic Choice of abandoning his new friends to their fate. Ultimately, he chooses to use his powers to help Sol Badguy over taking the chance to see Megumi again, because he would never forgive himself if he ever left his friends to their luck when he could've helped them.
  • Jerkass Woobie: While Zato was an assassin and a really vain and selfish one at that before his death, the drama CDs did show he actually cared for his underlings and especially Millia (even if he eventually got a bit strange with that), making the knowledge that he's eventually consumed, driven insane, and killed by his shadow a bit hard to take. Even Eddie, the shadow in question who goes out of his way to taunt the people who cared about Zato and spend every game attacking the rest of the cast, constantly shows that he's desperate for a host because he's afraid of death and taunts those people in order to be remembered.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
  • Les Yay:
    Millia: "Have I chosen the Yuri route?"
    • Nearly every single one of May's win quotes against a female opponent throughout the series involves her overtly commenting on how attractive they are, then backpedaling and telling them to stay away from her captain. She says it's about evaluating their worthiness for Johnny, but it's not exactly hard to instead read her as a closeted lesbian who's trying to convince herself that's she's only attracted to her male captain.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Bara Genre fans just looove Sol. His more cartoonishly muscular build in Xrd was very warmly received.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Ky's apparent death in Xrd's Story Mode is shocking for about the 3 seconds it takes you to realize that there is no way they'd permanently kill off one of the series' poster-boys in such a mundane way.
    • People were a bit more shocked and uncertain about Ramlethal being apparently blown to hamburger during Xrd Revelator's story mode, as it was conceivable ArcSys might just bump her off to make the stakes higher, but many were also not surprised she was revealed to be fine in the finale.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The mysterious "That Man", also known as the Gearmaker and by his real name, Asuka R. Kreutz shows a great deal of power as Sol Badguy and Baiken unsuccessfully attempt to strike him down for his deeds. In Anji's ending he invites him to his side and later in XX Accent Core Plus hires him to track down and punish one of his Co-Dragons I-No for all the trouble she's stirring up. He knows that Sol's ability to use Dragon Install could very well one day help to save mankind from a possible future threat. Despite his horrible deeds, That Man is truly remorseful for what he's done and genuinely believes he is doing what is best for mankind, something ultimately confirmed in the Xrd games where it is revealed he is one of the creators of Gears. Manipulating the fighters by forcing them to fight, destroying things around them to make them get stronger and encouraging them to use the Gears to destroy threats to humanity, That Man remains one of Guilty Gear's most brilliant and inscrutable characters.
  • Memetic Badass: Slayer. This is the guy who regularly takes characters like Sol to the cleaners while extensively holding back to be a good sport. Even then is he capable of feats like punching you halfway to the Andromeda Galaxy. None of this accounts for the fact that he has none of the weaknesses vampires are traditionally known for. Really, Slayer's badassery isn't so much memetic as it is canon.
  • Memetic Loser: As of the Strive beta, Chipp. Oh, poor Chipp. Despite being historically viable in past entries, if tricky to use because of his low defense, his Strive incarnation has him losing his teleports while keeping his notoriously low defense. He was already on the butt end of many comeback videos even before Xrd. But the problem only exacerbated in Strive because everybody in the cast is doing higher damage across the board especially the series' resident power grappler Potemkin. As a result, he's frequently become a subject of mockery and it's often joked that he can make anyone look overpowered just by fighting against him.
  • Memetic Molesters:
  • Memetic Mutation: Now has its own page.
  • Mind Game Ship: Millia and Zato's relationship. Did they really love each other but were only separated by different views or was it all a horribly screwed manipulative one-sided obsession?
  • Misaimed Fandom: Bridget was considered a LGTBQ icon, even though he identifies as male with no indication of his orientation. Venom, on the other hand is a tasteful representation of a homosexual character... when he doesn't want to kill Millia.
  • Moe:
    • May is considered to be one of the cutest characters in the cast due to her being one of the nicer fighters and having many cute sea animals to fight with her, especially in Strive. Her victory pose with her friend, April, is also considered to be really sweet.
    • Dizzy, despite her status as the Final Boss of X, is considered very cute by many fans, thanks to her shy personality and the fact that she truly doesn't want to hurt people.
    • Even with the knowledge that Bridget is a boy, he is still considered adorable by many fans thanks to his cute appearance, friendly personality, and his attacks with his yo-yo and teddy bear.
    • Elphelt, thanks to her first outing in Xrd having her in pink and white, fitting her wedding themed appearance, her Instant Kill, which involves making the opponent fall in love with her and gain heart eyes, and for her friendship with her sister, Ramlethal.
  • Narm:
    • All the way back in 2000, GGX's animated intro was providing buckets of narm. The translation is... questionable, the dubbing is rather emblematic of the low end of that era (with perhaps the greatest "triumph" being Justice's death quote to Ky, during the "Baiken's childhood Gear attack" cut, being delivered by a gravelly-voiced Texan man), the animation is a little bit all over the place, the jump cuts are a bit confusing and are trying to operate on Rule of Cool... it is very much an artifact of a much younger ArcSys that didn't have everything together yet, but damn if it isn't still cool as hell and unintentionally funny as hell.note 
    • In Xrd -Revelator-, The Reveal of That Man as Sol's best friend Asuka R. Kreutz is undermined by his rather ridiculous, cat-like Unusual Ears and weird wing eyepatch.
    • Axl Low's best moment in the whole game, when he uses his Time Master powers to help Sol despite knowing that he'll never be able to return home in -Revelator-'s Story Mode, is completely ruined by the stupidly overblown delivery of his lines by his seiyuu. He's supposed to sound like he's struggling hard to do what he must do (and with VERY good reasons), but he sounds ridiculously high-pitched...
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The entire franchise is never gonna live down introducing Bridget.
    • The fandom's not gonna let Johnny live down his accidental flirting with Bridget any time soon.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Bedman's victory animation in Xrd consists of him speaking with a blank white background, interspersed by TV static and constantly changing camera angles and zoom, before cutting to black when he's done. Pretty unsettling.
    • For that matter, Bedman himself qualifies. A boy constantly asleep while his horrific hospital bed does the fighting for him. And when he does speak, he speaks in a rapid monotone voice that gives the impression of something very wrong with him. Even the other characters are terrified of him.
  • Periphery Demographic: Some fans don't even care about the games themselves; They just love Daisuke's music. It gets to the point of jokes about how Daisuke's every new album comes with a free game.
  • Polished Port:
    • The PC port of Xrd is generally well done, and pretty well optimized.
    • The Steam port of Accent Core +R was not popular until late 2020 when rollback netcode was patched in to vastly improve the online experience. The developers have even continued to work on the game with bugfixes and extra features like replay takeover.
    • Strive is the best on PC it seems, because on top of working and running well, it has less input delay than the console versions (as opposed to four frames for the PS4 version, and around eight for the PS5 version, the PC version has around only one). It doesn't have the Tron Costumes unless you use a mod, but that's minor in comparison.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • Not a disaster, but the PC version of Guilty Gear X2 #Reload is very... lacking. Configuring the keyboard/gamepad is a nightmare and it's clear that this is a PlayStation port because no one even bothered to change the names of the buttons; they're still labeled Triangle, Circle, etc. Hell, there isn't even a "quit" button that actually quits the game; you'll only return to the start menu. To quit you have to use Alt+F4. In short, no one put much effort into this port.
    • The GBA version of GGX responses are so slow that even initiating Instant Kills are impossible. Additonally, due to size limitations, all of the music has been compressed horribly (particularly egregious considering that Guilty Gear is known for its rockin' soundtrack). The AI also presents absolutely no challenge, even on the highest difficulty.
    • On launch, the PS5 version of -STRIVE- had around eight frames of input delay, as opposed to the PS4's four-ish, and the PC version's of almost none. To put things into perspective as to how bad this is, all fighting games worth their salt aim for a smooth 60 frames-per-second to maximize player control, and some even have inputs down to a single frame in some cases (a second's second, basically). The PS5 version reportedly had the most delay out of all of the entire genre.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The matches in The Missing Link can be less than ten seconds long, thanks to the local finishing move system: you can perform these on any round and, if everything goes horribly fine, end the game on the first round. Some practice is required to master the finishers on your own, although the CPU opponents (especially Justice) don't seem to have much problems pulling those off. No wonder it was nerfed by the time the sequel came out.
    • Isuka is one of the very, very few fighting games to include the "Turn" button in place of autoturning. Well, its existence could be proven by the fact that a lot of special moves need you to wiggle the directional pad a lot just to perform those on a certain opponent... but in practice, not only did it turn out to be highly inconvenient during the ridiculously fast-paced matches of the arcade mode (where the CPU opponents, again, barely have any problem with turning themselves in the right direction), it also becomes a completely tedious Damn You, Muscle Memory! fuel whenever you have a mere one-on-one match. Many fans felt that this feature crippled an otherwise decent spin-off title.
    • You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who likes Danger Time in Xrd as a mechanic. At random instances when players clash, the screen announces that Danger Time is starting, and for a brief period in time all combo starting hits during the period are Fatal Counters, allowing for devastating combos. Not only is this completely random and essentially a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment if nothing happens, it interrupts the gameplay significantly and if anyone gets hit during this time window, it can mean death in cases where it wouldn't have happened.
    • While a lot of things were divisive during the Guilty Gear -STRIVE- beta, the online lobby system was universally despised by players. Instead of a more traditional matchmaking service or any of the kind of 3D lobby systems the series has used in the past, the game instead used a sprite based 2D lobby system which lead to a host of headaches for players. In order to start a match with another player, one has to whip out their weapon and then meet another player who also have theirs out. Problem is that, due to the 2D structure, sprites and players can overlap making it nigh impossible to challenge a specific player, especially if there is a lot of de-syncing going on. The way the ladder system worked didn't help matters as a player could get booted to a higher tiered lobby if they won with no way of going back to challenge the same player again. Add in various other smaller functional and artistic issues to it all and it is no surprise it was so derided. And unfortunately, despite the massive amount of derision it got, the system was kept in the final game with only token changes to make it marginally less frustrating. It is telling that pretty much every review out there docks points from their final score cause of it.
    • The Fishing mechanic would normally be an exciting way to unlock stuff in the game, being a Gatcha system that gives a new bit of anticipation to unlocking music and such you'd want. Unfortunately, along with there not being a way to specifically buy what you want, the lion's share of what you fish up are customization pieces for your avatar, meaning avatar items can keep you from fishing up a specific music track you want, among other things. Made worse in -STRIVE- where the game is incredibly stingy with the acquisition of the money required to engage in the minigame; In Xrd and Revelator, you can play Arcade mode with all characters any number of times and get in-game currency win or lose, but -STRIVE- only pays you once for completing a character's Arcade mode.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Guilty Gear: The Missing Link is very janky compared to later games, with extremely easy infinites existing for almost every character, and the ability to attempt Instant Kills any number of times per round meant matches could quickly degrade into coin flips. But the series had to start somewhere, and it's worth respecting it for starting the hardcore, metal fighting game we all know and love, and being the starting point for the Animesque Air Dasher-styled fighting game subgenre.
  • Self-Fanservice: If you ever stumble across fan art of Justice in her human form, depicting her with the same curvy figure as her daughter, do not be surprised. Granted, the character might actually look like this without her armor (see also: Valentine), but there was no real way of knowing until the end of Rev 2, wherein she was finally restored to her original appearance as Aria.
  • Sequel Displacement: The original game, The Missing Link, became this in regards to it's two sequels X and XX. Much like the original Street Fighter, while it introduced the lore, characters and basic gameplay mechanics, it was the sequels that better refined everything along with the actual look that codified the series.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Where to start?!:
    • Sol/Ky is the most popular m/m ship and probable the most popular ship period, due to their Foe Yay and interesting shared backstories. The fans were and still are pretty jumpy regarding any "interference". And many were not happy with Ky falling for Sol's daughter Dizzy in the end.
    • Dizzy/Testament and Ky/Jam fans were very, very angry when not only Ky/Dizzy became the Official Couple for her, but Testament all but disappeared from the plot and Jam didn't appear until Xrd REVELATOR.
  • Signature Song: Of the many this series has, some of the more prominent ones include "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)", "Blue Water Blue Sky", "Suck a Sage", "Still in the Dark", and "Noontide".
  • So Bad, It's Good:
    • The Guilty Gear XX N.Y/L.A vocals. The singing isn't inherently terrible, but the lyrics for most of the cast's theme songs are wildly out of character and often don't even relate to the subject at all, barring the lyrics to "Awe of She," which is about getting away from the fighting. "Awe of She" is, of course, the theme of Dizzy.
    • And, of course, the voice acting for the animated Guilty Gear X trailer.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Guilty Gear Strive is this to fellow Grand Finale, Blazblue Centralfiction. Both are fighting games that act as the Grand Finale to the story of each series' protagonist, but whereas Centralfiction is 2D & sprite based, has a much bigger roster, adds onto gameplay complexity from previous games, is much more Japanese in nature, has no dub, has a Visual Novel story mode with gameplay interspersed in, and has a Bittersweet Ending that involves the protagonist sacrificing himself for the greater good, Strive is 2.5D with 3D models, has a smaller roster that involves veterans, fan favorites, and a pair of newcomers, streamlines the gameplay to bring in new fans, has more Western influence (to the point where the United States is the main setting of Strive), has an English Dub, has a story mode that's basically a five hour anime with no gameplay, and has a happier ending, with the protagonist faking his death to live the rest of his days with the woman he loves.
  • Squick:
    • In-universe, many characters have this reaction to Raven's bizarre mannerisms and sadomasochistic tendencies.
    • Dizzy and Ky's relationship may become this upon learning that Dizzy was only 3 years old when they first married. Ky himself is understandably horrified. note 
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Given Ishiwatari's musical influences, it's no surprise.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: May's whole deal.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Many fans unanimously praised the series' triumphant return with Guilty Gear -STRIVE-. Then the first gameplay footage, as well as notes regarding the gameplay itself, surfaced. Needless to say, many people were not pleased with the way the user interface looked, and even more were incensed by the massive amount of gameplay changes. These issues got further exacerbated once the beta released when more people got first hand experience with the game, one of the more infamous examples of this being the lobby (which some thought was an April Fool's joke when it was first revealed), which was near universally despised as well as raising further issues with the gameplay and the game's artistic direction.
  • That One Boss:
    • When the A.I. controls I-No as a boss, she has the Megalomania attack, one version of which fills the screen with projectiles. If ONE so much as hits you, the rest become Homing Projectiles so you're good as dead. (And she can't be damaged while doing so.) Has reduced many inexperienced players to controller-chewing rage. ASW has probably noticed this, as Megalomania is I-No's Instant Kill in Xrd and a weaker version is her super in Strive.
    • Justice in the first game was worse. You know Imperial Ray, that super she has that fires a laser in a circular path across the screen? In the first game, she has it as a normal attack. What's more, Gamma Ray doesn't have nearly as much windup time in that game, allowing her to easily hit you with it several times in a match and most of the time it can dizzy you. And, of course, if none of that gets you, she's also got the Destroy attack feature to abuse.
    • To even get to fight Justice, you first have to defeat Testament. He is himself a That One Boss, as his Trap Master mechanic borders on Everything Trying to Kill You.
    • Players finally get to face That Man as a boss in Overture and it's about as ridiculous as you'd expect, even with Sol in his Gear form at your disposal. Imagine a Bullet Hell boss with an extremely durable barrier and high resistance to your strongest attacks and specials who is best approached at only the most specific of intervals. The mission briefing even tells you that you're in for a tough fight if you can't get your timing down pat. What's worse: they were holding back the entire time.
    • While nowhere near as nightmarish as I-No or Justice, Ramlethal from Xrd when she is fought at the end of arcade mode, is difficult due to her extreme aggressiveness, her constantly rising tension, her improved specials, and her Overdrives which cannot be stopped once triggered and do insane chip damage. She also cannot be hurt or Instant Killed when she is using her Overdrives.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Overture, along with the shift to a mix of Dynasty Warriors-style Hack and Slash and an RTS. None of the original cast return save for Sol, Ky, and Dizzy (the latter in a cameo; That Man and Raven are also present and serve as bosses) and the series' trademark, its rock music, is (mostly) traded in for orchestral pieces. Not helping matters was that it was only ported to Xbox 360 (although Overture was quietly ported to Steam), halving its audience.
    • Potemkin's new look in Xrd has pretty much divided fans between those who don't mind it and those who invoke this trope.
    • Xrd's changes to the story mode. Specifically making it basically a long visual novel like BlazBlue (particularly "True Ending" in its Story Mode), but removing all fights. Some don't mind and appreciate the story being separate for those who only care for the fighting. Others really miss the story mode from the old games with the branching paths and occasional fights. Either way, at least there are no fights that are simply there to fill the quota.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The long-awaited confrontation between Sol and That Man ends up being resolved rather anticlimactically in Strive, despite over two decades of build up. The fight, if you can even call it that, consists of nothing more than Asuka erasing Sol's Gear modifications, turning him mostly human again just for the sake of giving him back a normal life. It might be justified due to Sol having little reason to blame Asuka for the whole Gear fiasco that originated the series' Myth Arc by that point, but it's still a jarring example of subverted expectations.
    • Strive's story mode is heavily focused on ending Sol's story arc, to the detriment of most of the cast. Only I-No, Ky, Axl, Nagoriyuki, Jack-O', Happy Chaos, and Goldlewis (the latter three not even playable in the base roster) do anything significant. Giovanna, despite being a newcomer, is more a glorified chauffeur, and May, Faust, and Ramlethal don't even show up in the story proper, only in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. This is especially egregious with Faust because the game otherwise provides no explanation as to his drastically different demeanor and appearance.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Several of the course of the series and it's various iterations:
    • High tier examples:
      • Millia. In the first Guilty Gear. Next to the Final Boss Justice, she was by far the cheapest character in the game, capable of throwing direction-changing projectiles and keeping you at hair's length. And her Iron Maiden super involved firing a myriad of slow-moving, large, homing projectiles that guaranteed you could never get anywhere close to her. And if her health dropped below 50%, she could spam that move forever. It was very difficult to get close to her, and there she was even more dangerous. Thankfully, she's never come close to that level of cheese since then, as she no longer has the old super and her projectiles work much differently now. Plus, her Iron Maiden is now a completely different move that's now her Instant Kill instead. Millia in X was still a top pick in tournaments.
      • X also had Johnny, who could possibly setup Mist Finer unblockables with free Bacchus Sighs all day. Jam, Dizzy and Sol were close second and nearly everyone else was overshadowed; though Anji in particular had a notable loop.
      • XX had Slayer and his extremely dominating-back-dash-cancels which were guaranteed whiff-poke/punish for free damage across the board no thanks to his poking range and/or Dandy Step followups, making it dangerous to press buttons against him in the neutral game; he also had his extremely broken command grab loop that sent someone into an endless stagger. The latter was no doubt fixed in later iterations of XX, but vanilla Accent Core allowed his standing HS to be abused in juggle for quite a while if your opponent didn't have burst (it caused ground bounce on air hit instead of ground slide). Accent Core + R onwards is usually the most balanced version of him with an improved neutral game but neutered overall damage. However, he's still normally considered a Skill Gate Character due to how easy it can be to just mash out of his effective range with lows, quick moves and/or reversals; as well as punishing his normally-safe tools severely with expert instant-blocking.
      • In #Reload, Zato-1/Eddie occupied "Eddie Tier" for a reason. It proved very easy for him to get his opponent into a situation where he could simply trap them in the corner and give them an unblockable series of hits that stripped away a lot of their life... and left them in the corner, where could do it all over again. After a series of tweaks, Xrd largely returns him to his #Reload status, with good Zato players able to solo entire teams of well-played opposition by themselves. Slayer as aforementioned still had this stats as a notable high-tier, despite being nerfed.
      • In Slash, Ky was pretty much considered much better than anyone else in the cast due to some changes that indirectly favor him, some small buffs (such as more frame advantage on a Stun Edge), an FRC-glitch that involves his Stun Edge Charge Attack and the fact that he was already a simple character to use; this overall rocketed him to the top tier. Sol, Faust, Testament, Potemkin and Anji came in close second though the game had arguably a very broad mid-tier (the aforementioned Eddie was C tier while Sol was arguably the closest to Ky no thanks to his new Clean Hit mechanic); but the lowest end of the stick had to be given to Order-Sol despite his hype, Zappa, Dizzy and especially Robo-Ky (who was mid-to-high-tier in #Reload), who was considered a joke character at best; the lower tier had to work a lot harder than the rest in order to stand at chance. Zato was also notably nerfed in this entry.
      • Accent Core had Eddie, Testament and Slayer dominate the top tiers due to massive buffs to all three characters.
      • Potemkin also got a lot of heat in Accent Core for being a pain to fight. While his weaknesses were clear (poor mobility, slow moves, and weak to mixups), his strengths were very overwhelming that it didn't matter. He could score a knockdown from everywhere thanks to Slidehead and combo off the knockdown with an OTG combo. Heat Knuckle knocked down at the perfect spot for Potemkin to launch his deadly mixup game and built him a lot of extra meter for good measure. And of course his damage output was insane (depending on meter and the situation). While he got some of his more egregious tools reigned in for Accent Core +R (no more OTG combos off Slidehead, no more wall bounce on dead angle, tension building off Heat Knuckle was slightly reduced), Potemkin was still considered to be a top tier threat. It also helped two of his worst matchups, Testament and Eddie, were slightly nerfed going into +R.
      • Elphelt. Valentine. one of the new characters added for Xrd. She is considered by many to be one of the cheapest characters to fight. She has extremely good moves to cover her approach on the opponent, and once she locks you down in the corner she can pretty much make it almost impossible for you to block. Add in the fact that she can do a lot of damage with those setups, and you have one of the most hated characters to ever grace the competitive scene.
      • Sin was at one point considered one of the most cheap characters to play as in Xrd because of his absurdly high damage output using his specials, and the only thing holding him back (his food meter) was easily mitigated by keeping his opponent at a long enough range away using his pokes and safely eat; he could even Yellow Roman Cancel his hunger animation! Thankfully, right after EVO 2016 (where a Sin player won, coincidentally), his damage output was nerfed and he's considered a lot more fair now.
      • Nowadays in Rev 2, we have Johnny in the top tiers who happens to have very little bad matchups, while being able to convert many of his buttons into anything worthwhile at any spot in his physical attacking range (despite the fact that he's still very difficult to use and still has notable weaknesses). The low end instead has characters like Answer and Baiken, both whom also suffered from the most recent patch in terms of having a few specific vital aspects of them needlesly nerfed.
      • Strive has Sol on the high end, having amazing buttons (especially his Far Slash), tons of damage, the most combo versatility of any character, and so on. There's a reason why a common joke is that Strive Sol is a playable boss character. He was eventually nerfed several times into a more acceptable state, but his high damage and great buttons allow him to remain a threat at all levels of play.
      • Nagoryuki from Strive is an example of what happens when you take out core game mechanics for one character, but give them too much in other areas to compensate. Nago can't air dash, has slow Slash and Heavy Slash normals, and his superjump is very slow. In exchange, he has exceptionally high damage potential. He has long-range normals that are safe on block, his command dash compensates for his speed, and can infinitely chain his specials together, which is a rare character mechanic in fighting games to begin with. His only limitation is that using specials fills up a blood gauge that, when topped out, stuns him and drains 50% of his health. Among a myriad of other traits, Nagoryuki is a fiercely terrifying opponent that dominates the game at higher levels of play, with a toolkit that can end a single round off of one or two decent reads.
    • Low tier examples:
      • Xrd had Potemkin, while top tier scrappy in Accent Core, Arcsys might have went a bit overboard with the nerfs. Many of his strong points were nerfed or just removed outright, and thanks to the high speed and mixup heavy nature of Xrd Potemkin often found himself being zoned out or rushed down majority of the time. While far from unusable, he was considered to be one of the weaker (if not weakest) characters in all of Xrd and it's various iterations.
      • Strive Faust, as of the first release, is considered the worst character in the game. Some reasons include low damage, losing a lot of his tools from previous games, his Scarecrow special being very reactable, massive amounts of meter reliance, a low damage Super that doesn't break the wall, other characters being plain old better, and so on. There's a reason why he was given the derisive nickname of "Laust" by some players. He has been continually buffed over the course of Strive's lifetime, with changes to his item throw, his super now giving wallbreak, and overall changes to his buttons in particular giving him a much better neutral. It is now commonly agreed that he's pretty solid, if still retaining a lot of weaknesses.
      • Goldlewis in Strive quickly became this once players found out how weak his kit was when he arrived. Many were disappointed that such an interesting concept for a character was actually arguably the worst in the game.
    • Examples of both
      • Ramlethal unfortunately has had this both ways. When Xrd was first released she was vastly overpowered for people who could master her Difficult, but Awesome moveset, able to easily deplete the opponent's life bar in a combo string. However some updates seriously nerfed her to the point where one needs to have that mastery to even do any significant damage, which for some players essentially crippled her competitive viability.
      • +R's iteration of Justice is widely agreed to be a character that is either incredibly annoying to fight or a complete joke. This is due to the fact that Justice is arguably the most matchup-dependent character in the game, as she either steamrolls her opponent or gets run down herself. Part of this comes from the fact that her mobility is bad (to the point of outright not being able to dash forward), but the majority of it comes from her Nuke zoning. Justice can send out slow-moving but high damage projectiles called "Nukes", which travel across the screen very slowly. The key to this is that Justice can send out up to four projectiles at once, covering four different angles. If you're diligent about putting out nukes, it can be impossible for certain characters to get close to her. On the other hand, if your opponent has a good way of getting past the nukes, say via teleportation or some other gap-closing move, then her entire gameplan falls apart. Justice isn't bad at close range, but she's a lot worse than most characters, meaning one good read is all it takes for Justice to lose the round in these scenarios.
  • Toy Ship: Bridget and May (kinda subverted courtesy of May being 22).
  • Ugly Cute: Eddie's design in Strive is considered to be this, with his facial expressions being adorably goofy.
  • Unexpected Character: Answer, Chipp's assistant from his Xrd Sign arcade opening, was given no hints that he would be a playable character. Despite this, he was revealed to be one of the final playable characters in Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, the other being Baiken.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Justice. Due to the odd... protrusion from the crotch of her armor, many were surprised, back in the day, to find out she was female (and Dizzy's mother, no less!). This was not helped by Inconsistent Dubbing in the early days; the English release for GG1 used male pronouns for her, and in the (in)famous GGX animated intro, her GG1 death line to Ky in his route (sourced from Atlus's English release), played over footage of a Gear attack, is voiced by a gravelly Texan man.
    • As of late Ky as well; his face is drawn to look more feminine and he grows a ponytail, making him qualify as Bridget's older sister.
  • Vindicated by History: The franchise was always a Cult Classic among Cult Classics at best, not exactly having all that great sales. That said, with Dragon Ball Fighterz and Guilty Gear Strive selling like hotcakes, and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R having Rollback Netcode patched in, people have been going back to earlier titles in the series, and they've gained a whole new lease on life.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Guilty Gear Xrd runs on the Unreal Engine, an engine known for 30 FPS "realistic" games when used for console games. They made it work at 60 FPS with a more stylized look reminiscent of past GG games, the 3D models lacking tween animations making them appear to move more like 2D sprites. This allows the game to look and move like a 2D sprite-based fighter while also allowing for dynamic camera angles for certain moves that other 2D games can't accomplish. Needless to say, it looks amazing, even at ludicrously high resolutions on PC.
  • Wheelchair Woobie: Marina from Lightning the Argent, the novel set shortly before the events of GGX. A cripple who was taken in by a priest as an infant, it's later revealed that she was separated from her sister Solaria, who was instead experimented on by the Blackard Company and transformed into a Command-Type Gear—a fate that Marina would've shared had she not ended up being whisked away to safety. Later on, she accidentally drinks Vitae, an alleged miracle drug that ends up curing her disability and allowing Marina to walk. The catch? Vitae is manufactured using Gear cells. Gear cells that react violently to Solaria's songs, causing Marina's legs to explode into sentient, singing, snake-like tentacles with a woman's face that try to devour her. Ky has to hack off her legs in order to prevent Marina's mutated body parts from eating her (something that many other villagers were not fortunate enough to avoid), and it takes a timely invention from Faust to fully treat and save her life, though Marina ends up back in the wheelchair. Things do look up for her at the close of the story, as she is reunited with Solaria and the two are placed under the watchful eye of Ky and the rest of the IPF, but damn.
  • Win Back the Crowd: People were initially skeptical about the changes in Strive. That said, after the beta period in late February 2021, people were more happy with the general product (except for the lobby system, of course).
  • Woolseyism: Xrd's English translations for lines from Slayer's haiku are pretty creative and funny.
  • The Woobie:
    • A.B.A. Poor kid just wants a friend.
    • Dizzy in GGX. She was driven away from her village when she began to grow wings and a tail, separated from her beloved foster parents and was forced to live in a cave. Though, as humans were abusing her. She does her best to defend herself without hurting anyone seriously. She ran to the grove and lived there alone. She wanted friends. In the drama CDs, she was able to make friends with a blind girl named Josephine; however, when her eyes got healed she was horrified to see Dizzy and called her a monster. Things went From Bad to Worse again when the UN issued a very huge bounty on her causing almost every member of the Guilty Gear X cast to hunt her down. What's her reaction?
      Stay away! I don't want to hurt anyone!
    • Testament. In the drama CDs, we learned that he was once a very kind young man who just wanted to make his father proud. Sadly, his desperation pushed him to undergo Gear conversion and that resulted into his loss of humanity. He hated and killed a lot of humans and even contributed to his father's demise. This is even sadder when you learn that Testament actually loved children and had taken in orphans in the past. He continues on atoning for his mistakes.
    • Elphelt Valentine. Not only is she a White Sheep concerning the Valentines but she is the only one who was born with emotions. This causes her to become very distressed and trying to find a way out of being a pawn of the Universal Will. Which she unfortunately fails to do so at the end of the Story Mode, regaining memories that force her into a Face–Heel Turn and attempts to self-destruct as one final act of desperation, and while Sol, Sin, and Ramlethal manage to calm her out of it, she is still taken away by the Universal Will. And if her appearance in -Revelator- is any indication, it will only get worse for her. It did in fact get worse for her before it got better; Ariel basically stuck Elphelt into Justice's forehead to serve as a catalyst for Ariel's new "humanity", and spends most of -Revelator-'s Story Mode being terrorized by Ariel. Elphelt was made to witness Ramlethal's (apparent) death, and almost had to watch Sol and Aria get blasted off the face of the Earth.
    • Sol was forcibly transformed into a Gear by the game's Big Bad, and has since spent the past two centuries trying to hunt him down and get revenge on him - Sol is immortal and very difficult to kill, and it's implied that he has very little reason to live outside his vendetta. He's also wracked by guilt seeing as how his Gear creations went on to rampage across the world and kill millions, and he was responsible for the death of his lover, Aria, who said Big Bad more recently resurrected as a Gear and sent after Sol as, essentially, a giant middle finger to him. Then Xrd comes along and reveals that the Big Bad—whose real name is Asuka—actually wasn't intentionally at fault for much of the above (instead being forced to make the most of a situation gone horribly wrong due to forces outside of his power), harbored no ill will towards Sol and had the best of intentions for Aria, going so far as to use both magic and Gear technology to cure her of her disease and restore her to her former self after her stint as Justice...all so she and Sol could live a long and happy life together. Sol was understandably pissed that Asuka had told him none of this all the while he was on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    • Zappa seems designed to fit this trope to a T. A completely average young man plagued by a rare magical ability to channel ghosts, who then proceed to take over his body and wreak havoc. The numerous injuries he obtains across his story mode and utter terrified confusion he expresses towards his circumstances makes it very difficult not to feel sympathy for him.
    • I-No. Created as a Pure Magic Being Mind Hive by humanity due to their collective wishes for a brighter future, she was forced to have her humanity taken from her in order to stabilize her existence by her creator, the Original, who fused it with himself. Then she was rejected by the Backyard and cast out into the world by the Universal Will, who sealed away her fused human half with the Original inside the Backyard. Discovering her powers to manipulate causality, she tried to use them to benefit mankind. Unfortunately, because of her unstable existence, she ended up creating and destroying multiple different timelines, all while experiencing countless amounts of tragedies because of her actions, when all she wanted to do was help people. It became too much for her, almost driving her mad, so she hid her pain behind a Jade-Colored Glasses mindset, projecting her despair onto others by manipulating and using them to cause trouble, because she thought it was all she was good for. Her desperation for someone, anyone, to acknowledge that she existed and did one good thing in her life that helped them reaches its climax in Strive story. By the end, you will be crying for her.

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