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YMMV / Soulcalibur V

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The game's ambiguously canon light novel appears to do this to Tira... somewhat. Was she making sure Pyrrha stayed alive for all those 17 years due solely to keep her around to manipulate into being Soul Edge's host later in life or was there genuine motivation buried somewhere in there to keep Sophitia's final request that Pyrrha would be taken somewhere safe?
  • Ass Pull:
    • Despite the Time Skip of 17 years, only Mitsurugi (46), Siegfried (40), Hilde (35), and Voldo (67) have aged naturally out of the whole returning cast. The rest of the returning cast are afforded a variety of contrived excuses for the fact that they look exactly the same as they did 17 years previous — Ivy (listed as "stopped aging at 32"), Maxi, Tira, Cervantes, Raphael, and Kilik all have similarly wafty excuses (or no explanation at all) in their bios to explain their youthful inertia (all of these cases have to do with Soul Edge's influence when you look at it).
      • It's widely believed that Cervantes (who was undead prior to SCV) returned to a younger age upon coming back to life. According to Word of God, however, he actually bodyhopped (somehow) to a younger vessel 12 years prior to V... which inexplicably happens to look like his original body in addition to retaining all of the supernatural powers he had while he was a ghost pirate zombie. note 
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    • The fact that Patroklos' personality flips on a dime in the least believable fashion possible for the sake of plot advancement and forced Character Development can be considered this.
    • Story Mode. Chronicle 17. The whole "go back in time to prevent your big mistake" element—never once hinted as an ability of Edge Master's, one that would've been useful at numerous points in the series—is so Deus ex Machina it hurts.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Z.W.E.I. is either an intriguing and badass character and the coolest newcomer, or a bizarre, out-of-place anime dude that doesn't fit the setting and overstayed his welcome.
    • Natsu. A plucky, fun take on the usually "stoic ninja" stereotypes, or an annoyingly tacky Highly Visible Ninja Barbie, pandering to the very worst Mukokuseki pop culture principles. Not to mention that she replaced Taki, a fan-favourite. Her inclusion as the sole representative of the Soul Series in Project X Zone 2, though unexpected note , is widely seen to have been to the girl's benefit; Natsu's short bouts of character focus and good chemistry with the cast allowed her personality to shine through unlike in her debut here, making her a much more endearing character in the procress.
  • Broken Base:
    • Soulcalibur V was already on a crash course for splitting the fanbase in two once more, and then more details were released... and it eventually succeeded in this endeavor (see also: Contested Sequel below). The competitive players loved the changes done to the engine, while fans of the single player modes were disappointed with the slim solo options, not to mention missing/replaced classic characters.
      • Even the new mechanics were not safe from polarizing the fanbase. Many felt that the meter was well-implemented while many others felt that it made Soulcalibur less unique and more generic.
      • The changes to Guard Impacts did not sit well with a lot of older fans. On one hand, they can now repel attacks of any height and are active for a larger number of frames. On the other hand, they now cost meter (25% of the Critical Gauge), can no longer block Unblockable Attacks, and don't provide much of an opportunity for a counterattack due to the recovery frames, while Just Impacts have been abolished completely and the changed input (4A+B+K from 4G/6G) makes it impossible to parry by pressing back + Guard. Some players, particularly those at higher levels of play, will protest that GIs are still as useful as in the last 3-4 games (see Difficult, but Awesome on the main series page for more details), but many others felt the mechanic was nerfed to nigh-uselessness to make way for Just Guard in another Street Fighter III/Garou-influenced decision by Odashima.
      • Among the widely debated issues with Soulcalibur V's questionable roster selection was the inclusion of three sword-and-shield users (Patroklos, Pyrrha, and Pyrrha Omega) and, even worse, the inclusion of three mimic characters (Kilik, Edge Master, and Elysium) whereas previous games only had one at most. This is particularly bad when it comes to discussing Kilik, a popular character in all other contexts who fans were glad to see return in V, as the most he (the male character mimic) gets are a few of his old staff moves when copying Xiba's very dissimilar style (which falls far closer to that of the absent Seong Mi-na). By comparison, Edge Master can copy everyone and Elysium, the female character mimic, has her own Critical Edge.
      • Not the character himself, but it's the inclusion of Ezio Auditore that raised some eyebrows. Some players were finally glad to see a character from another game fit in with the environment of the series (particularly after how the Star Wars characters in the previous entry were often thought to clash with the series' setting and atmosphere), while others thought Project Soul only included him just to help sell a game of dubious quality. Considering Ezio didn't appear in any cutscenes and the arcade endings were removed, Ezio's time to shine was relegated to a trailer. It should be noted, however, that V's story was severely truncated due to Executive Meddling and all guest characters up to that point had little, if any, bearing on the canonical plot, so it's unknown how Ezio would've factored into the intended story (assuming he had a role to play at all).
      • The Devil Jin CAS, big time. While certain fans liked the style's dynamic, bare-knuckle moves (which, when combined with Katsuhiro Harada's appearance as a Quick Battle opponent, made for a nice tribute to the Soul series' former producer as well as Heihachi's own appearance in the PS2 port of SCII), there were those who wondered why there was an otherwise wholly unfitting nod to Tekken in the game as opposed to the extra CAS styles from III, dearly missed veterans who were given the shaft, or even Kilik and Elysium not being mimics judging by their renders and CAS animations.
      • The fanbase was also broken over the matter of the DLC character customization packs on the Cepheus Store. Some loved the steady stream of updates to help the game's longevity and the additional options for customization, while others thought the time devoted to the Cepheus Store would have been better spent on updates such as new characters or stages. Still others thought that the prices were just plain not worth a few pieces of clothes.
  • Casual/Competitive Conflict: V suffered heavily from this. Many non-competitive players hated the game for its story, roster, and overall lack of content. However, many competitive players liked the game because of the new mechanics, faster pace, and improved online netcode.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Hello, Natsu. Due to her speed, combo-friendly nature, and high offensive potential (not unlike Sophitia in IV), this girl showed up a lot in online play.
  • Contested Sequel: The competitive/online crowd highly praised this game for finally focusing on what really matters instead of single-player content, while fans of the single-player and story aspects lambasted it for the same reasons, particularly the lack of story content for everyone who isn't Patroklos or Pyrrha. Opinions on the character roster vary even more wildly.
  • Creator's Pet: Patroklos, who despite his horrendous acts throughout the Soulcalibur V story, was forced upon the player as the new protagonist. Note that this only applies to the Odashima-led incarnation of Project Soul; the Project Soul headed up by Hoshino, and later Okubo, has a clear distaste for Patroklos in line with many fans of the series.
  • Critical Dissonance: Soulcalibur V received generally favorable reviews, whereas fan reception was far more mixed. The rifts created in the fanbase over subjects most reviewers disregarded as trivial matters, perhaps now irreparable (even with the eventual announcement of a sequel), ensured that SCV would sell poorly, falling short of its predecessor's sales by far. Whereas IV easily sold over 2 million, making Greatest Hits/Platinum Hits status, V had barely made it past 1.3 million as of Q3 2015.
  • Death of the Author: Done selectively due to the sloppy handling of the plot. While many story ideas for this game were regarded as having good potential, a number of fans tend to pick and choose elements they like best in regards to their compatibility with where IV left off and outright ignore some of the more controversial narrative decisions by Daishi Odashima (ex. Sophitia's selfless sacrifice to save Pyrrha's life, Taki's "retirement," the complete shelving of most of the previous castpredominantly the women, etc.), assuming they don't pretend the entire game doesn't exist. Soulcalibur VI appears to enforce this from another direction, not only disregarding the 17-year jump by returning to the era of the first Soulcalibur but also seemingly rebooting the timeline in the manner of Mortal Kombat 9. If that wasn't enough, Cassandra's Soul Chronicle in that game has Cassandra meet her older self from the original timeline, whereupon she is told the events of V are a Bad Future that absolutely cannot come to pass in the new canon, providing even more fuel for fans to pretend this entry never existed.
  • Designated Hero: Patroklos Alexander, the protagonist, blindly obeys the orders of the villains despite saying he follows his own fate. He murders an innocent man in cold blood because he thought the man looked like a Malfested, offering no proof to support his accusation (and then smugly admits that there's no way to prove that the man wasn't Malfested). He rejects his sister, Pyrrha (even after she saved his life), which causes her to fall under the control of Soul Edge, and eventually kills her as well at the behest of Soul Calibur, and is spared from the consequences due to an Ass Pull of epic proportions.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ezio Auditore. Bonus points for being the least base-breaking guest character up to that point in series history (and possibly even after), as fans critically approved his fighting game debut.
    • Viola. Despite only having three lines in the story, she had the highest number of votes out of the Soulcalibur V characters in the official 2015 poll. She even almost made it into the Top 20, placing at #21 and beating out series regulars Maxi, Astaroth, and Lizardman. Her unique (if not hard-to-master) fighting style and the intrigue behind her possible connection to Amy likely account for Viola's generally favorable reception in comparison to many of her fellow newcomers. In Soulcalibur VI, Amy's Soul Chronicle heavily implies of her return.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • The game was just swarming with these. Is Raphael the new Nightmare or (at the very least) a new host for Soul Edge? Is Viola an amnesiac Amy? note  That's not even getting into the appearance of Ezio, who, by his series' canon, was dead before the Soul series even began, and the Word of God statement that Ezio is in V due to Animus, implying that either Ezio is some sort of "ghost" or that the game takes place within Animus itself. And let's not even get started on the shipping/ship sinking debates that popped up from the fact that both Xianghua and Hilde are now mothers.
      • On the subject of Soul Edge bodyjacking Raphael as his new host, the idea that Raph himself is a ghost during the events of V is a very popular fan theory. Nothing has been explicitly confirmed, with only ambiguous hints being given in-game. See the main series WMG page for more details.
    • When Alpha Patroklos was leaked, many theorized that Setsuka had trained Patroklos when he was little. Not only does he have their fighting style, but he also speaks Gratuitous Japanese during certain moves. This was later confirmed to be true.
    • The rumor that there would be a Nintendo 3DS version caused some people to think that Link would make a comeback.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Elysium makes for an interesting example, being the Anthropomorphic Personification of Soul Calibur, which was already established to be a Knight Templar in the previous installment. The form this character chooses to take on? Sophitia, only with an angel motif and slightly less clothing.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Soulcalibur V is prone to this, due to the fact that the game quickly became a major case of What Could Have Been; the Story Mode was originally going to be a lot larger than it was but ended up being substantially downsized due to time constraints. Basically, if Namco doesn't release a more complete version of SCV (a very likely possibility given the game's standing in the eyes of most the fandom and VI being a full-on Continuity Reboot that rewinds back to the Soulcalibur era), then fan writers will probably have a field day with this.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Soulcalibur V gave people a major reason to pair Pyrrha/Patroklos, least of which being the focus that is put upon them to the detriment of everyone else's screen time.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The huge flak V received for replacing established characters with more divisive successors was apparent as early as I and II. Back then, a lot of people thought these original replacements (Astaroth for Rock, Yun-seong for Hwang, Maxi for Li Long...) were acceptable, and at least two of whom (Maxi and Astaroth) would go on to become iconic Soul characters and major fan-favorites. In fact, for a brief period, this was in effect; Cassandra was made to be Sophitia's functional replacement and this was reflected in the arcade version of II, with the lore stating that Sophitia retired to raise her family. There was a backlash, and Cassandra would've been a major Replacement Scrappy had Project Soul not acknowledged this and put Sophitia back in the game by the time the home version was released, also ensuring that Cassandra was Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in the process because no one had to lose anything for her. All the while, V replaced series staples with several much-maligned inheritors that were meant to be the new stars of the series, which did not take. At all.
  • Game-Breaker: Ezio's crossbow attacks can be spammed repeatedly at ease by reassigning the corresponding button. The bolts knock down opponents over and over again when they get hit, without being able to get up because by the time they stood up, they immediately get hit by another bolt unless they know how to evade them. This can be abused to defeat most A.I. opponents at ease since they rarely try to evade crossbow bolts.
  • Genius Bonus: "Pavor Nocturnus," Nightmare's theme, is the Latin designation for the sleep disorder known as night terrors, making the song title a clever nod to Nightmare's One-Winged Angel form, which served as the True Final Boss of Tales of Souls in SCIII and, according to the New Legends of Project Soul artbook, is currently aimlessly flying around in Astral Chaos.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Sophitia defeating Cervantes back in Soul Edge seems much more meaningless than it already could've been, considering the former dies for good in the interim between Soulcalibur IV and V while the latter finds himself a newer, younger body.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: In a rather demented demonstration of Les Yay, Tira seems fond of calling Pyrrha "Pretty Pyrrha" ("Pyrrha-chan" in Japanese) and threatens to give her a spanking in her intro quote when fighting her. She also screams out "Feels good!" when KOed by Pyrrha.
  • Jossed: Many assumed that Kilik became evil in V before the game was out. It was later revealed that he devoted himself to training and became a second Edge Master. Otherwise, he is more or less the same Kilik.
  • Memetic Loser: Patroklos, on top of being The Scrappy, is the butt of a lot of jokes about how his mother would whoop his ass if they ever actually met. In fact, when Soulcalibur VI was confirmed to not follow the previous game's Time Skip, there were jokes that Sophitia saw the future and decided not to allow such a monstrosity like Patroklos to happen again. This became Hilarious in Hindsight as of VI, as it turns out someone else besides Zasalamel actually saw the future and is now working to prevent it. That someone is Cassandra, Patroklos' aunt.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moe:
    • Word of God says Pyrrha's timid demeanor was meant to make her more appealing to Japanese audiences.
    • Leixia seems rather moe as well, being a younger but no less bubbly version of her mother Xianghua.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Patroklos crosses it in his Establishing Character Moment (his first scene in the Story Mode, no less) when he sights a homeless man and accuses him of being Malfested. When the man claims his innocence, Patroklos stabs him with his sword while donning a Slasher Smile, and smugly tells the dying man that it's unfortunate that he can't prove it, implying he knew full well the man wasn't Malfested and just killed him for fun. If he didn't cross it then, then he definitely crossed it when he deemed the newly Malfested Pyrrha a lost cause and vowed to kill her the next time he saw her, in spite of Pyrrha being his only surviving relative.
  • Narm:
    • This rather bizarre statement uttered by Tira. It should be noted, however, that this was part of Tira's manipulation of Pyrrha in order to lead her astray.
      Tira: "Normal humans don't go around killing people and burning towns!"
    • In the story's ninth chapter, Viola compares human souls to grapes. It's a sensible metaphor that sounds good on paper yet utterly fails as ominous dialogue.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: A sad case here, as an unfortunate result of time constraints, cut funding, and perceived directorial ineptness. It is one of the most finely tuned titles in the series in terms of Competitive Balance and all pre-release material had the markings for a compelling tale in line with what you'd expect from the previous Soul games. The actual story, a 20-chapter excursion you can breeze through in no time flat, promptly went nowhere with any of this, to the dissatisfaction of many.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: As mentioned elsewhere, Patroklos' goal of reuniting with his sister so he can take her home and live together comes off as obsessive and incestuous, rather than protective and familial. Given that they only meet for the first time during the course of the story, it's obvious this wasn't the intent. But his overbearing personality and single-minded drive to get her back at any cost make him come off as lust-driven. Pyrrha's timid and submissive personality doesn't help matters; rather than a Yamato Nadeshiko as intended, she comes off as a Little Sister Heroine.
  • Replacement Scrappy: A good number of people see a majority of V's cast like this. Since they get almost zero story development due to no story elements in the arcade mode, they are more or less reskins. In fact, out of all the 10+ newcomers added to this roster, only 3 fighters (Z.W.E.I., Viola and Ezio) bore any original fighting styles of their own.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Patroklos is not only the least liked of the V newcomers, but possibly the most hated character in the entire series. What makes it worst is a notable combination of the following tropes: Designated Hero, Spotlight-Stealing Squad, an Establishing Character Moment where he murders an innocent man in cold blood because Patroklos thought he looked Malfested right after saving the town; and the Ass Pull introduction of a new Deus ex Machina ability that Soul Calibur had never used before this game which only served to facilitate his Heel–Face Turn. This ended up being rather hard to digest due to the aforementioned Deus ex Machina elements, so when he finally had a change of heart, people had a hard time accepting it due to how blatantly artificial the development was. These coupled with everyone else being Demoted to Extra and the brief Story Mode don't exactly help Patroklos' case. Here's a glimpse of just how bad Patroklos' reputation is:
      • The official Facebook popularity poll held in May 2015 had him placed at nearly the bottom of the poll, with only 32 votes... out of over 10,000 votes cast in total. He placed #37 out of 45 characters, meaning that the "hero" of V had less votes than characters like Hwang, Lizardman, Rock, Li Long, Algol, and Dampierre and only just ranked above the mimic characters and Leixia, who's more unnoticed than anything due to being a Poor Man's Substitute of Xianghua. Even the staff was impressed.
      • Project Soul later did some revisions to the lore, including tweaking backstory details in various characters' biographies. While most of these changes were minor, Patroklos was completely slammed in his own entry as someone who secretly knew he failed Sophitia's heroic legacy even though his rough personality would prevent him from ever admitting it.
      • He was considered so bad, it caused people to take another look to other hated characters in the franchise and then warm up to them, including Yun-seong and even Rothion, basically making Patroklos the measuring stick of "character badness" (by which these once-reviled characters ended up falling short).
      • As explained in Memetic Loser, with news of the series rebooting itself for Soulcalibur VI, many believe this rewind was enacted not only because the first Soulcalibur is one of the series' hallmarks, but to prevent players from ever having to deal with Patroklos again, as Soulcalibur was (technically) the last game where Sophitia was still single. note  While there are those who hope that Patroklos won't turn out as atrocious as before in the new timeline (which could very well happen since Project Soul is all but guaranteed to ensure that Sophitia doesn't die off this time around), others are wishing for Sophitia to end up marrying someone else so that Patroklos isn't born at all and took Sophitia's official profile listing only her immediate family (and not Rothion) as a sign. That or they hope Sophitia will settle with just one child, since they generally find Pyrrha more acceptable and she is the older sibling out of the two. This came to a head after the release of Cassandra as DLC in VI, whose story revolves around learning from her original self how V is considered a Bad Future and being tasked with preventing it. While the OT Cassandra didn't mention Patroklos' part in it, it's something.
      • To put this all into perspective, the only real praise Patroklos ever gets comes in the playstyle department, him being the series' first male sword-and-shield user (and an admittedly flashy one at that despite being a Jack-of-All-Stats) as well as carrying the torch left by Setsuka (though many would've still preferred having Setsuka actually in the game), and in the music department. There are also a few players who legitimately enjoy his smugness in battle because Pat comes across as a major troll. Beyond that, you'll rarely find people saying anything nice about him, and even fans who don't feel strongly about Patroklos will readily admit that V severely bungled what could've been an interesting Coming-of-Age Story about a revenge-driven boy whose love for his family led him to become easy prey for the machinations of both soul swords.
    • Even with the Replacement Scrappy issue aside, Xiba is not being particularly well-received by the fandom. His backstory is basically nonexistent, his only real character design is being a vague copy of Sun Wukong, and his only personality traits are his constant hunger and being as dumb as a sack of hammers. Even if you like his playstyle, the fact that 99% of his quotes are about how much he wants to go eat will start to grate on you very quickly. That Xiba is Xianghua's child with Kilik as opposed to Leixia is also contentious — while fans of the pairing are happy that, between Xiba's existence and other story materials, it's strongly hinted Kilik and Xianghua continue to hold strong feelings for one another despite the circumstances that split them apart, there is frustration that the son of a very beloved couple has no depth whatsoever beyond his voracious appetite.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The general consensus of V, at least for those who don't outright hate it. It's a passable fighting game with fun, fast-paced gameplay and a good character editor, but it's marred by a severe lack of content, its roster leaving out series staples, and the Story Mode being one of the worst things about the game.
  • Take That, Scrappy!:
    • Long after V was released, Project Soul released a site chronicling character biographies, tweaked a bit that it might look like a minor reboot for the lore. When it comes to Patroklos, however, the bio slams him out, portraying him as someone who utterly failed at Sophitia's heroic lineage, and secretly knows it as well; he just won't admit it out loud.
    • Patroklos only got a measly 32 (62, if combined with Alpha Patroklos) votes on the popularity poll hosted on Facebook and placed nearly at the bottom of the poll. Someone at Namco noted how they were "impressed" that the hero of Soulcalibur V placed that low on the poll, even below characters like Dampierre.
  • That One Achievement: Wind of Battle in V. The player's required to move over 87,600 total meters across the stages in-game. It's made worse than it should be by the limited offline content. It has taken some players YEARS to earn the achievement. This gets even worse when you realize that the number is so ridiculously high simply to play on the company's shorthand numbering. Compare this to the much more manageable "Distance will not Betray" Honor in IV, which only required the player to exceed 10,000 meters in total movement distance.
  • That One Boss: Legendary Souls is essentially a Boss Rush mode where you fight seven of the game's boss characters in succeeding order. However, these bosses have been adjusted to a secret difficulty setting that is way stronger than almost anything you'll see in the other game modes, which means you'll be dealing with opponents who will properly defend against most attacks the player throws out and will take advantage of any mere mistake you make by attacking accordingly (with a mix of fast high and low attacks that is bound to throw off the average player). Anybody who wishes to challenge this mode is essentially required to have analyzed the bosses' attack patterns, have fast reflexes, and know when to attack at all of the right moments if they weren't to resort to simply spamming attacks. Like The Apprentice in IV, completing this mode WILL force you to master your defensive strategies if you haven't already. Many struggle to even conquer the first stage of this mode, and even then, you have six more agonizing battles to strive through, each as equally challenging as the rest, if not worse. Good luck.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The series has been frequently accused of going this route ever since IV, but this is even more prevalent here in V since several characters don't appear in the story (and of the ones that did, few had a significant role) and there are no character-based endings in the Arcade Mode at all.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: In general, the story for V is rampant with this, with many characters not appearing and many more barely making a cameo. Even Viola, who was stated to be very important prior to release, had a total of three lines. The game not mentioning anything about the rivalry between Edge Master and Algol; Maxi training Natsu, Leixia and Xiba while traveling the world; Z.W.E.I. and Viola's backstories (not to mention the latter's supposed connection to Amy); and Ezio's appearance in the Soulcalibur universe only make things worse. It's very telling that, according to Daishi Odashima, the Story Mode of SCV was only one-fourth of the planned size.
  • Too Bleak, Stopped Caring: One of the reasons V and the new direction it intended to take the series in failed, prompting the series to then go straight back to the old setting. It was meant to be a new and fresh start, with a new face that would lead the series forward. However, when that face, Patroklos Alexander, turned out to be the most hated character in the series for being a murderous, revenge-obsessed, arrogant, idiotic, unreasonable and unrepentant Jerkass who's also meant to replace the legitimately pure, virtuous and legitimately likable Sophitia (his mother and one of the icons of the series), it all fell apart from there. Any character and story development was negated by the audience not caring about it, and that was why the vast majority was happy when VI hit the reset button.
  • The Un-Twist: Raphael is, in fact, the new host body for Soul Edge in Soulcalibur V. This is made more clear by the facts that his and Nightmare's bodies are the same size, they share the same voice actors in both English and Japanese, and their faces are identical (though viewing Nightmare's face requires equipping specific items in the character editor. Supplemental material, including an artbook released shortly after Soulcalibur V, do everything but outright state it.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?: While the game managed to avoid falling into the "overly sexualized female characters" debate that is common throughout all games surrounding V (including its direct sequel), quite a number of the designs (both default and alternate) still received mixed reactions, with some of the newcomers being hailed as too "anime-esque"; in particular, many note that Z.W.E.I. looks like he walked straight out of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure (which is only exacerbated by E.I.N. more or less acting as his Stand), whereas Natsu is commonly ridiculed for being a "female Naruto."

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