Ten years ago, there was this lovely little anime called D.Gray-Man, the series ran for about two years before it ended. Rather than take the route of making it's own ending that alters points from the manga as some animes of the past have done, it instead ended on a rather cliffhanging moment which begged to have a sequel. At the end of D.Gray-Man (2006-2008) we had the Exorcists defeat the Level 4 Akuma, but even with that victory under their belt much was left to be desired. The Millennium Earl was still running amok, almost all the Noah were shown to be alive and ... well, meanwhile the Black Order had taken a devastating blow, losing many of the exorcists and scientists working alongside them. Now, presently, we have D.Gray-Man Hallow, which starts approximately where the previous anime ended and continues following the manga so we can finally see what happened to our heroes.
The first four or so episodes of this were not to my liking. Almost entirely because the series was so rushed. There's a few small arcs within the story in the first couple episodes and there were so many details cut out I was beginning to believe that the entire show would be this cut and quick. I got the impression that the showrunners wanted to power through the arcs leading up to the main Alma Karma arc, and it shows. Characters and plot points prior to Alma were practically tossed to the side. And while the Alma arc was truly a great arc with many incredibly interesting plot twists and character developments, the events leading up to it are no less important. Characters such as Timothy were, in my opinion, just tossed aside as minor details in the anime when in reality they had an entire arc dedicated to their development with (most likely) the intention of being more important later on. These first few episodes are, without a doubt, the weak link of the entire show.
However, as the series progresses and we find ourselves in the main arc of the series, that is when things became much more intriguing for me. As I said before, the Alma Karma arc is really packed full of information and the show begins to take it's time and savor the moments within this arc. Alma himself is a bit of a spoiler, so there is little I can say about him without revealing important details, but it is an arc that many fans were looking forward to since it directly ties into Kanda Yu's backstory, a tale which had not been told in the 2006 D.Gray-Man series. All of the other main characters, such as Lenalee and Lavi, had their backstories told in order to give the audience a better understanding of them as characters. Kanda was given no such luxury, until now at least. His childhood is without a doubt one of the most interesting, and it was a treat to see it animated even a decade after the original series aired.
Another notable point that needs to be discussed is the art. Since it is 8 years after D.Gray-Man, there is a bit of difference in the art. Not just a bit, actually... a huge difference. There are times when I found myself loving the art and times I just kind of “ehh??” The art is /much/ more vibrant and colourful than the original, bordering on a pastel colour scheme. It is truly up to the watcher whether this is a positive or negative. Certain battles between characters really stood out to me, notably during the Alma arc, and I can appreciate the show for making the style quite a contrast from the original. However, there are also times when a more subtle and even more 'dull' appearance would have worked in the show's favor. During the more somber and mournful moments, I almost would have preferred the 2006 art style when the art was /literally/ darker. This isn't to say that the art is bad, not at all, it's just a matter of preference.
Sound: 7 / 8
There was an entire new cast of voices brought in for the series. At first I was hesitant because I'm the kind of person who doesn't like change. But very quickly the talent of the new voice actors came through and brought the characters to life beautifully. There was some incredible raw power and emotion coming through the screen; evidently the voice actors gave it their all and I couldn't ask for more.
Interestingly enough, there were several songs in the series that were the same (though mildly different) from the original. Perhaps it was my imagination, but there were multiple times I thought “hey I know that song” but remade and updated to fit the new series. A small detail that I thought was clever since it shows that there are ties to the original more than just using the same characters.
Kanda, Alma, and Allen are all given very interesting story arcs in this series. Unfortunately, I felt that there were several other characters who deserved just as much attention but their stories were cut for some reason. Characters such as Link and the 3rd Exorcists had some history that we got a sneak peak into but deserved to have more time put into establishing them as more than just background noise. Same goes for Timothy, a new exorcist introduced very early in Hallow. His entire story was cut tremendously so that only a few episodes were dedicated to it when in reality I believe he deserved more screentime.
Simultaneously, the introduction of several new Noah's felt a bit messy at times. Very little time was given toward introducing them; however this is not necessarily the fault of the show as much as it is the fault of the manga; I can only assume that more information about them will be given later on in the story but for this series, many of them were only given 1 line at the most. My hope is that more time will be given to the minor characters in the future, because in this series it was lacking on the 'character' front.
As I said before, once the Alma arc hit things started to look up. I found myself much more engaged in what was happening on screen. Allen's development and conflict with the Fourteenth, as well as the tension that builds within the Black Order kept me on the edge of my seat. The stakes are higher than they have ever been. So many things that we had hoped to see 10 years ago in D.Gray-Man are finally happening; all the characters we know and love make appearances and give us a satisfying yet short arc to tide us over until the new season comes out (whenever that may be). I certainly think that returning fans will find enjoyment in this new season despite its differences to the original.
The series has some problems, I think the pacing could have been better and there are times the art felt like a bit too much, but it is a great ride. I enjoyed watching it, I enjoyed seeing these characters again after so many years and I can only hope that we will get another season in the near future that follows the manga's storyline in the way this one has. If you like D.Gray-Man, I'd say check this season out.
Aug 10, 2016
The amount of advertising and hype leading up to this film rivals that of Strong World. Since Oda gave his stamp of approval (as well as being the executive producer) the fans had high expectations for Film: Gold.
The Straw Hat pirates visit a large ship / city on the ocean known as Gran Tesoro but things take a turn when one of the members of the crew is captured and set to be executed.
The story, while interesting, felt like it was lacking at times. Certain parts felt rather rushed while others seemed as if they were dragging on. The first 30 minutes ... or so were probably my least favourite of the movie. The scenery of Gran Tesoro is beautiful but the number of times the camera pans around buildings and streets starts to feel like an extended 3D tour of the city rather than relate to the plot.
Starting about 30 minutes in is when the story actually takes off and for the most part it's well written. If you know One Piece, you know what to expect. The plot doesn't deviate from the standard One Piece storytelling or take any major risks. I see this as both a plus and a minus. It's /good/ that the writers of the movie didn't try anything new or crazy that might conflict with the overall story and characters of One Piece, but the /bad/ is that the film is very predictable because it follows an extremely familiar story structure.
There were also a few times that things felt out of place. For example, about an hour into the movie there is a sequence when the Straw Hats are breaking up into teams (as they often do) and the whole thing felt like a video game cut scene. While it was artsy and cool to look at, the whole thing was a bit random to me.
Speaking of breaking into teams; one of the best highlights of this movie for me was Luffy and Franky teaming up. Off the top of my head I can't recall that happening recently, but it worked really well for the film. Had a few good laughs in the scenes with the two of them.
Truly the last half of this film is what brought this movie from 'ok' to 'good' in my honest opinion. I personally didn't much care for the first few parts with seemingly random car chases and gambling, but once Luffy and the Straw Hats face off Tesoro the first time is when things start to get interesting, and then later when splitting into teams is when everything gets exciting.
As it is with most One Piece movies, especially in recent years, the art is spectacular. Lots of effort put into the visuals, the sets, and even the clothes... the Straw Hats make at least 3 major wardrobe changes in this film!
The animation is much smoother and more detailed than what we see in the anime, and during the fight sequences is when the animation really shines. For example, we haven't seen Gear Fourth used in a film with a high budget up until this point, and (though it was short lived) it looked great.
Like I mentioned before, the scenes at the start with them going through the city and all the pan shots felt weird, but that's really the only downside to the art that I could see.
The voice acting was just as good as I wanted it to be; there was heart and effort in their deliveries and I couldn't have asked for more. What should be talked about as well as the voice acting is the soundtrack.
The music in this was phenomenal! One of the best soundtracks I've heard in a One Piece film. A few of the songs in particular stood out to me, some of the darker scenes were made all the more chilling with the music that accompanied it.
Same goes for the more exciting or high energy scenes, the upbeat music was very well timed with the comedy. I would watch this film again just for the sake of this soundtrack.
Our main cast is all present for this movie. Currently in the manga / anime the Straw Hats have split up and it's been a long while since they were all together. So it was refreshing to see everyone.
Not every character gets a shining moment though. Some of the Straw Hats just stood there for the majority of the film. Even characters like Sanji only got a few good kicks in for his final fight and that might be disappointing to many fans.
I'll avoid spoilers, however as a side note, there are characters who I wish had gotten more screen time and I also wish some of the new characters that were introduced had more time to be developed as well. Since it is a movie it's limited in what it can deliver because of time, but I think they could have afforded to give these new characters a few extra minutes.
Tesoro was a great villain with an intriguing past. I wasn't expecting to learn much about his history but we do get a crash course on his childhood / young adult life and the story did well to make him more than a one-dimensional villain. Perhaps not to the point that you sympathize with him much since there were few redeeming qualities about him, but it is nice when the writers put effort into making a character more than just a raging psychopath with no motivation. I wish we could have seen more of his history, but either way I was satisfied with what I received.
There were several laugh-out-loud funny moments in this film. While not all around comedy gold, there were a few distinct parts where I just folded laughing.
As previously mentioned, the art is great and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how nicely the fights were animated. If anything, the fights in the movie alone are worth the price of admission. There was enough action and adventure throughout the run-time and I walked out feeling satisfied.
When comparing it to other One Piece films, I'd say I enjoyed it more than Film Z, but overall I'd say it is not as entertaining as Strong World.
If you like One Piece, go see this. If you don't like One Piece, I doubt this will be the movie to change your mind. It still has all the typical and at times “cliche” One Piece moments, and follows the same structure we've seen with many villains and storylines in the original series, but even so it's a fun ride.
While this is not the best One Piece film in my opinion, it still ranks high on the list and is certainly worth watching.
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Jun 28, 2016
This One Piece special was a mistake. I could probably just end my review right there but allow me elaborate. And strap in because I have a lot to say about this poor excuse of a Special.
Foxy is one of those “villains” in One Piece that I wish I could forget ever existed. Despite that, I was willing to give this special a chance because the synopsis caught my attention. I went into this film-length special with the understanding that it was going to be a rematch between Luffy and Foxy, the twist being that this time there would be no devil fruit powers ... involved due to the fact that the island they are grounded on nullifies their powers. Never has a synopsis been so misleading because this was the complete opposite of a battle between Straw Hat Pirates and the Foxy Pirates. You can throw in the word “spoiler” here because technically I'm revealing details about the special that are not specified in the synopsis or the trailer, but really these are things that should have been specified anyway.
Story: 5 (Mediocre)
This hour and 45 minutes of feces is actually about Luffy and Foxy teaming up in order to defeat a bigger badder guy so that they can save their friends. Oh, you might think that Nami or Chopper got kidnapped but no, instead, two of our strongest characters – Zoro and Sanji – spend the majority of this movie waiting around helplessly in a cage for their knight in shining armor to come rescue them because they ate some miraculously unheard of mushroom that conveniently turns them into wimps. Yeah you heard me right.
My biggest problem with the story was the lack of understanding regarding Devil Fruit powers. Much of this “story” revolves around the use of devil fruit abilities and highlighting the fact that seawater is their kryptonite. As we know, somebody who has a devil fruit ability can no longer swim, but more than that they become weak when in contact with seawater. This concept has been shown multiple times within the original One Piece story. The people in charge of this movie evidently don't understand this because there are several occurrences that just do not add up. There is a particular plant within the movie that grows via seawater, and when touched by the plant, devil fruit users are shown to become weak. The fog that comes over the island is “seawater fog” which makes our devil fruit users weak as well and we see them struggling just to stay standing (as a side note: seawater fog? Really?). However, in this same film where those sorts of events happen, we see Luffy multiple times standing knee-deep in seawater and showing no reaction to it at all. Small details like this drove me insane. If they are affected by the seawater plant and the seawater fog to the extent that they are suffering because of them, then standing in a big pond of seawater should make them weak too. But even without these inconsistencies, the story is still extremely weak.
This story was /not/ about Luffy and Foxy having a rematch. It was also not about an island that nullifies Devil Fruit Powers. It's about Luffy and Foxy teaming up to save some people and end up on an island that is essentially one big slab of anti-devil-fruit-user-material.
Art: 6 (Fair)
The art in this special was ok. Nothing spectacular. Didn't seem to have a big budget like Strong World, but since it's not actually a theater released film (thank god) I can't expect too high of quality. It would have been nice to see some variation in art style though. If this special had been cut up into 25 minute segments, it would have easily made a 4 episode filler. And everything about this screams filler even though it /wasn't in the show/.
One of the best parts of One Piece OVA's, Specials, and Films is that we usually get to see some difference in art that we wouldn't see within the show. For example, Strong World – one of if not the most popular One Piece film – had unique art because of how spectacularly detailed it was. Even something like One Piece Mugiwara Chase, which was only 30 minutes, was unique because the entire thing was done as a 3D film. That's the sort of variation I am talking about. One Piece Adventure of Nebulandia gave zero effort to be creative or interesting in comparison to the source material.
Sound: 7 (Good)
Sound and music were fine. Same One Piece music you've heard a hundred times before. Same voice actors you've heard before. Moving on.
Character: 3 (Poor)
We all know the Straw Hat crew. They have their usual roles in the story. Yadda yadda. This film did a piss-poor job of keeping the characters within their roles.
One of the reasons I hated the 5th movie of One Piece (Norowareta Seiken) was because of how ridiculously and insultingly out of character Zoro was. When you take a character that has already been developed within the show and has set rules, so to speak, regarding their personality, it's stupid and unprofessional to just change those aspects in order to conveniently fit the plot. I mention that because in this special, as I said earlier, Zoro and Sanji spend the majority of the film literally cowering in fear behind the bars of a cage. And sure, the plot might have said that these magical mushrooms make them lose the will to fight or some other BS reason, but it's not reason enough to make the two beast characters alongside Luffy act like complete and total morons for the sake of an idiotic plot. It would have made MORE sense for characters who have an obvious weakness to get kidnapped and then have the crew go after them. The whole reason these magic mushrooms were created was just to conveniently push Zoro and Sanji out of the way because they're too overpowered and would probably wrap up the entire thing within a few minutes.
Rather than create special lifeforce-sucking mushrooms, why not just create a person with a devil fruit power who can cause the same effect. At the very least that would fit better than just “hey we discovered a mushroom recently, so recently in fact that nobody knows what it is”.
Point being, Zoro and Sanji were pathetic in this special and it's something that irritated me to no end.
Besides the straw hat crew and the Foxy crew we have a few new people. Including a completely, absolutely, 100% not suspicious crew member of Foxy's who turns on him within the first 20 minutes. Whoa, who could have seen THAT coming? Every character was insultingly predictable.
The villain in this is laughably terrible. Every 5 minutes he would say something along the lines of “I knew this would happen so I prepared THIS in advance!!” He was quite literally 12 steps ahead of them at all times, so prepared for any situation that I wanted to smash my head into my desk every time he had a new trick up his sleeve.
The only reason I didn't give Character less than this score is because Nami actually had some really awesome moments in this special. It's been a long while since she had some legitimately cool fight scenes and I enjoyed seeing that.
Enjoyment: 2 (Dreadful)
Did I enjoy this even a little bit? Well, sure there were a few brief moments here and there that I thought “hey that was kinda cool” but overall no. I hated this. This is the kind of movie where I pause it every 10 minutes because I'm so bored and frustrated with it. This film-length special was an absolute chore to watch. I would rather watch every single Naruto filler back to back than watch this garbage again. I DO like seeing the Straw Hats thrown into new situations that force them to act outside the box, and I think that's what this special was attempting to do. But in the end it was a complete mess.
Overall: 3 (Poor)
As a One Piece fan I was blown away by how moronic this special was. How out of character it felt. How /boring/ it was.
It's been almost 2 years since I last wrote a review for anything on MAL. Somehow, this One Piece special made me so mad I dug myself out of my grave and wrote this just to have the satisfaction of ripping it apart.
Never in a million years will I ever recommend this special to anybody.
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Sep 25, 2014
With modern mermaid stories and tales such as The Little Mermaid or other Disney and cartoon adaptations involving mermaids, they're seen as these beautiful ocean goddesses with the voices of angels and hearts full of love, when in reality old mermaid lore often depicts them as devils of the sea who cause mayhem and bring death to those who dare approach them. It is very refreshing to see a show where mermaids are not, in fact, approachable and kind-hearted women, but instead are something that deserve to be warned against and left alone.
Story: 6 - 7
Mermaid flesh, if eaten, is said to give you ... immortality and eternal youth. As you can imagine, almost everyone in the world is out to capture a mermaid and eat it for the sake of living forever. Yuta, our main protagonist, is someone who unknowingly ate mermaid flesh 500 years ago, and is now on a quest to find a mermaid because he wishes to find a “cure” that will turn him mortal again. At the very beginning of the show, Yuta comes across a clan of elderly women who are keeping a young lady, Mana, captive with the intent of turning her immortal. Yuta rescues her, but not before she is turned immortal, and now the two of them are traveling together to find a cure for their 'curse.'
I was unsure if I would enjoy the story, but actually found myself drawn to the characters and the plot very quickly. It's an interesting premise and has a great set up; unfortunately, the problem I had was that the show is very short and therefore we are not given as much time to explore what more this fantasy world has to offer. Yuta and Mana come across many new people who I felt could have had their stories expanded upon or explored in more depth, but each was brought in and often was gone by the end of the episode. However, even with that unfortunate draw back, the plot is engaging and interesting.
The character designs in this are ones I rarely come across; because they look very normal. For the most part, the characters have normal skin tones and normal hair, which, in this case, means that they have relatively similar looking black hair. In most animes, to distinguish main characters from others, we all are too familiar with the bright pink or blue hair colours that are unrealistic in many ways. This show, however, does not do that and I suppose it is up to the viewer whether that is a positive or a negative aspect of the art. I, personally, loved it. I loved that many of them had average hair styles and normal skin tones and very average clothing; none of them are remarkably drop-dead gorgeous or have any distinguishing physical traits. To me, the fact that they were so unoriginal made them, in some ways, seem more human, and I suppose it is up to you whether that is good or bad. The reason I give the art a 6 is because the animation is not the most graceful or impressive. It is by no means bad, but while watching it I was never blown away by the movement from frame to frame. Likewise, the art itself in terms of colouring and shading was very average. This in no way takes away from the plot or enjoyment of watching, but I don't think I should say the art is good when realistically it is not on par with many other higher budget animes and studios.
Yamadera Koichi voices our main character Yuta. He is a talented voice actor with a long history of well known or, at the very least, recognizable roles. Since I have heard him in a variety of other roles, I know what he is capable of; and while he did a good job in this, I wasn't truly amazed by his performance. I don't know if this is entirely his fault, or if this just wasn't a role he got emotionally invested in, but the reluctance to take that extra step and express deep emotions could be easily heard throughout the show. During times of high distress, his voice never reached that point of hysteria or alarm that the character himself was clearly showing on his face. The best way I can describe it is that there was a disconnection between Yamadera and Yuta for reasons I have no idea. He was not bad, but it certainly wasn't his best performance.
Takayama Minami is our other main voice actress playing the role of Mana. She is one of those voice actresses whose most well known roles are often the voices of young men, and these are the roles I know her from. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I could feel more energy and effort coming from Takayama than I did with Yamadera. Mana's lines were not the best, but Takayama definitely put forth the effort and I admire that.
The music included in the show is in no way revolutionary or one that I would buy the soundtrack of, it did its part of playing music in the background but at no point did I think that the music was bringing more to the scene.
Yuta and Mana, as I've mentioned, are the main protagonists in this anime, and they were both interesting and enjoyable characters to follow the plot with; however, my biggest gripe is that we did not see enough of them.
Yuta is over 500 years old, but in certain episodes where we got a flashback of his time during those 500 years, there was never enough depth to really understand his character. In one particular episode, we even discover that he was married at one point, but we know next to nothing about this part of his life. One of the biggest conflicts that we frequently see immortals face in fantasy or sci-fi shows is that they will inevitably outlive their loved ones. It would have been fascinating to see how these relationships (or loss of them) affected Yuta in his long life. But, like I said, we only got very small glimpses. There was so much untapped potential there and I wish we had gotten more time to explore it.
Mana is a whole different story. She is not that old, and seems to take the 'being immortal' thing very well. We don't have a very good understanding of her, or ever really find out much more than the most basic of her personality. She is a strong, determined woman but other than that we don't have much to go on. I would be interested in seeing, in more depth, her reactions to the world. She isn't familiar with a lot of it after being kept against her will for so many years, so that is another point I would have enjoyed seeing but unfortunately did not.
If the show was longer, I imagine we would be able to explore their characters more, but unfortunately we didn't have that much time.
Despite it's flaws, I enjoyed watching this show. There were several elements that I found intriguing and creative. Absolutely the story could have been better written and had a more structured progression and better flow, but the ideas that fueled the story is what kept me entertained. Even the episodes that felt a little redundant after a while had some backstory and originality with each new character or plotline that was introduced.
Overall: 6 - 7
This is not a show I imagine you would become absolutely invested in nor would you have it end up on your 'favourites' list, but if you are looking for a relatively short anime to watch in your spare time, I'd recommend this one. It was not groundbreaking, but it was definitely better and more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
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Sep 2, 2014
Following the events of Marineford, Luffy is in the midst of training with Rayleigh when a pirate by the name of Burndy World arises after escaping from Impel Down. With the intent of kidnapping one of the seven warlords, World ends up taking Boa Hancock's sisters as hostage. Luffy and Hancock team up to take down Burndy World and save Hancock's sisters.
From the original synopsis, I was under the impression that this would be a movie depicting Boa as a damsel in distress for Luffy to come and rescue from the hands of an evil pirate. I was so pleased that this was ... not the case. In fact, quite contrarily, Luffy and Boa made a great team going up against the bad guys.
If I am completely honest, the beginning of this movie did not sit well with me. The first fifteen minutes are almost entirely of flashbacks, and while I understand that it is necessary to show the events that occurred prior to this film, it was both rushed and simultaneously felt too slow. Going through Ace's death felt like I was fast-fowarding through a tape, because it was very quick scene after scene with not much transition between them. Then we go through a sequence of showing each of the Straw Hat Pirates that ultimately took up more time than I would have liked.
Following this, the build up to the actual events felt slow and altogether boring to me. I was thinking that this was going to be a flop of a movie, but about midway through the plot begans to pick up. And WOW did it pick up. The entire film went from being so-so to straight up amazing.
It's better that I don't talk about the plot any more so as not to give away spoilers. There is a lot that happens and it's well worth watching for yourself.
It's not uncommon for One Piece movies to try different art styles. This one reminded me a bit of the 6th One Piece “Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island” movie, but not quite as flat. In this, there was great detail when needed, and even dabbled a bit with 3D and computer looking effects. It took me a few minutes to adjust to the new style, but once I became familiar with it I was able to sit back and enjoy it for what it was.
The movement in this movie was phenomenal. It always felt like there was something going on, even when characters were merely talking to each other. Anywhere from hair to clothes to their bodies in mid-fight, it was great to see the effort put into making the simple lines on a screen come to life.
All of the voice actors did a great job and played their roles perfectly. As always, I can count on the cast to act their hearts out and bring powerful emotion to the characters. And in this movie, which actually dealt quite a bit with deeper emotions, the voice actors really impressed me.
The reason why I give sound a 7, however, is because the music used within the movie was not new and did not give much to the scene in the ways that I would want. The music, especially during a final battle, should not just be background noise, it should amplify and add a whole new layer to the scene. The music sort of faded into the background, and, I noticed, was just the same music that we have heard a hundred times in the show before. I would have loved to hear entire new compositions made for this movie, but sadly I was not given that.
Here's where the movie truly did an outstanding job.
We all know Luffy's character; we know he is a goof and sometimes an idiot, but we also know that he is loyal to his friends and he cares about others. In the show, we never did see the events that took place right after Ace's death or see how that might affect him. This film touched on that aspect in several instances, and it's evident that Ace's death is a burden that still weighs him down. I liked seeing that because it is not something we often see in his character. It is a main impact in Luffy's life to know that despite his efforts he was unable to save his brother. However, we don't really see that impact upon him because the show skipped over 2 years entirely, during which we can assume Luffy was given the time to accept, or at the least come to terms with, his brother's passing. In this film, Ace's death is still fresh in his mind, and Luffy is struggling with it periodically for the duration of the movie, especially when it is brought up by others. This point of the plot didn't overtake the rest of the events, but I really enjoyed seeing how it was an addition to the story and an addition to Luffy's character.
Boa Hancock is as wonderful as ever. She practically has a split personality, just like in the show, where she is either the pirate empress who uses her beauty and strength to kill her foes, or she is a lovesick puppy who is obsessed with Luffy. She was an enjoyable addition to the movie and I loved seeing her.
Those were the two main characters of the movie, but we had a myriad of others, and surprisingly all of whom I really enjoyed.
The main villains of this movie were Burndy World and his companions. I never thought I would be so invested in the back-stories of these villains, but I truly was. Their history was compelling and interesting and the character development seen between them is fascinating. I cared more about the villains than I ever thought I would. Of all the bad guys we've seen throughout the One Piece movies, I would say these are the most interesting ones, or at the very least, the ones I cared the most about.
There was so much to love about this movie. So many characters showed up that added new layers to an already well written film. The fighting was exciting, I was on the edge of my seat for the duration of each battle. There was a great build up to each fight, a great build up with each character, and much more.
There were flaws of course, no movie is perfect. And like I mentioned before, the first half was a bit of a let down for me, but the second half made up for it and practically made me forget any doubts I had to begin with.
Next to Strong World, I would say this is one of the best One Piece movies we've had. Absolutely worth watching. If you enjoyed the Marineford arc, watch this movie. And if you didn't enjoy the Marineford arc, you would probably still like this movie if nothing else than just to watch Luffy and Boa kick ass and take down some bad guys.
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Apr 12, 2014
The Straw-Hat Pirates' beloved ship “Going Merry” is given a recreated animation, condensing the story arc from the anime into an hour and 45 minutes. I was unsure how they would go about doing this, because how can one tell the story of Merry's life without just rerunning the entire show? Merry was first introduced in episode 17, and remained a constant companion and friend to the Straw Hats until episode 312. Rather than rehash everything in the show, Episode of Merry does a brief run-through of their time with Merry through the first several seasons, and this part only takes up the very beginning ... of the movie; then, the remainder of the film is focused on the Enies Lobby arc, where we will eventually say goodbye to Merry.
The Enies Lobby arc is focused on Robin for the main part, with Merry also playing a key role.
For those who have watched the show, you know that Merry had been falling apart for quite a while, and this causes an unfortunate dispute between the members of the crew when they are trying to figure out what the next plan of action is. All of this was wonderful and tugged at my heartstrings, reminding me of how emotional it had been to watch the first time.
However, at a point in the movie, I had completely forgotten that Merry was supposed to be the focus of the movie because all I was watching was the Straw Hats fighting to save Robin from the CP9. They skip over all of the CP9 fights except for Luffy's, but even his fight with Blueno was shortened considerably.
Then, we have the final epic battle between Luffy and Lucci, and following this sequence we swing the story back toward Merry, and this then takes up the rest of the movie.
Before all of the One Piece fans hate me for giving it a lower score, please read what I have to say and just know that I absolutely love One Piece.
Story: 6 (Fair)
The Enies Lobby arc was one of my all time favourites to watch in One Piece. I loved the premise, the conflicts, and the emotions that came along with it. The show had a nice balance of loss and gain; what with the crew's minor falling-out, the loss of a dear friend, but also the gain of an old and new friend. It was all very memorable.
My issue with this movie's story is that it's too fast. Just as a reminder, the Enies Lobby arc (plus the Water 7 arc when the CP9 first arrived) was over 80 episodes long, and probably totaled to at /least/ 30 hours of material. Even when skipping over several details, that is a lot of information to cover, and cannot possibly be done in an hour and 45 minutes. So, what the writers (or, re-writers) of this movie did was cut out what they felt was unnecessary, and kept the most enjoyable or memorable parts. The problem is, some of the most memorable parts are /not/ related to Merry. Sure, Luffy kicking Blueno's ass was great, and was mostly known for being the start of Luffy's attack “Gear Second,” but the only reason they included Blueno's fight was because of the Gear Second (which would then be used later) and because people love that fight. Was it pertinent to Merry's story? Not directly. And therefore could have been taken out.
There are parts in this arc that would have been more relevant to Merry, but were left out entirely for reasons I don't know, and instead were focused on Robin. I know that Robin's part in the movie could not be avoided, but there would have been better ways to go about it. Realistically, they should have called this “One Piece – Episode of Robin and Merry.”
Art: 8 (Very Good)
One of the big attractions of these One Piece films that remake old arcs is the art. With new, upgraded resources the artists can remake the story with much higher quality, and more use of shades and highlights. Does it look cool? Absolutely. When watching the original and comparing it to the movie, most of the fights take place during the day, however the show has much more vibrant colours. There is nothing wrong with that of course, it is just how it is. The movie on the other hand gives it a slightly more muted colour. Part of me definitely likes seeing the darker shades, it's just a colouring style I enjoy.
The colours I'm fine with, what I was /not/ fine with was the way certain scenes were re-drawn. One Piece is known for being very expressive, and anyone who watches the show can attest to that statement; eyes and mouths can expand or shape in any way possible (or impossible), and this is used especially frequently during emotional or intense scenes. The re-drawings in the movie felt like a toned down version of what was expressed in the show.
One of the positives of the art is the movement. It is obvious that a lot of effort was put into making certain scenes look amazing, with smooth animation that was very fun to watch.
Sound: 8 (Very Good)
It's the same voice actors and the same lines in many parts. Some scenes were (vocally) delivered differently than the original, and it's not that it was bad, but I am more used to hearing the original so it felt slightly odd to hear. I won't count that against the sound score much, because that is mainly a personal preference of mine, and not something that can be avoided when re-recording the lines.
I'm not sure if this bothered anybody else, but sometimes the music didn't feel right. Songs were played at times when they shouldn't have been played or didn't play when they should. For example, in the show, Robin announces to Luffy that he should go and leave her to die; following this scene, the rest of the crew approaches and a song beings to play, it's a fairly up-beat and triumphant tune that works with the scene perfectly. In the movie, Robin is giving the same speech, and /while/ she is talking, this triumphant music is playing instead of waiting for the approach of the crew. It doesn't seem right to play the music that practically embodies confidence and hope while a person is announcing they wish they were never born.
Despite my complaints, the sound, for the majority, was good. All of the voice actors are talented and amazing.
Character: 5 (Mediocre)
Because certain scenes were cut, there were so many characters that were given no time to develop at all. In fact, I cannot even begin to list the number of characters that didn't get to deliver one single line but were placed in the scene for the sake of keeping it the same as the original. Had I not watched the show, there are times while watching this movie that I would have been completely lost. Characters just show up without introduction and suddenly vanish without an explanation. Who are these people? Why are they doing this? Well, those of us that watch the show (or read the manga) will know the answer to these questions, but nobody else would. Just because the fans know the story well enough doesn't give the movie's creators a free pass. From an outsider's standpoint, the characterization is just sloppy and disorganized, because, like I said, they attempted to cram too many episodes into one movie.
Enjoyment: 6 (Fair)
The pacing was off, going fast in some parts and slower in others, and that was something I was noticing frequently. The show often tends to drag on longer than necessary, but I much prefer that over rushing through scenes like it's a race.
Being the shonen-anime fan that I am, the fights were appealing to watch for the most part. Luffy vs Lucci will always be one of the greatest fights for me, but even those scenes had flaws which brought the enjoyment bar down for me.
I did enjoy seeing a movie that was (partially) dedicated to Merry and her importance to the crew. Merry has been and will always be an important chapter in the Straw Hats' lives.
Overall: 6 (Fair)
If the movie had actually focused entirely on Merry, I am almost certain I would have enjoyed it more, because in my opinion, Merry's story and Robin's story are separate things that intertwined perfectly in the show, but ended up feeling like two separate movies all together in this. If you cut out all of the scenes that meshed the two stories together, then there is no bridge between plot A and plot B. Because of that, I was not able to enjoy the movie as much as I hoped I would. There is simply too much condensed into too small of a time frame.
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Apr 27, 2012
Naruto is framed for a crime he didn't commit and is sent to a cruel, evil prison out in the middle of nowhere. What could this prison possibly want from Naruto? Here's a hint, the bad guys all call Naruto “Jinchuriki”, that shouldn't be too much of a shock considering most of the plots revolving around Naruto have to do with Kyuubi in some way.
Story: 6 (Fair)
Creative plot? Not particularly.
If you've seen any of Naruto or Naruto Shippuuden (or any of the movies) you know how these things end up. I of course won't 'spoil' anything about the movie, however there really ... isn't much to spoil anyway.
Naruto is brought to this prison, and when I say in the middle of nowhere I mean out in the middle of the ocean on an island, completely cut off from the rest of the world. The leader of the prison seems to be very interested in Naruto, and I mentioned it before; it's because he's a Jinchuriki.
Even in movies such as this, I'm always waiting for the big moment! A moment where I will be shocked and excited! But really, in this movie there were times that something very 'plot twisting' would be revealed, and I would think to myself “Oh, was that supposed to be a secret?” I honestly thought it was just common knowledge.
The reason I didn't really love the plot to this was because it wasn't what I was hoping for. From the trailer, it gave the impression that this would be a very dark, mysterious film! Wasn't quite the same. Darker than some of the plots in Naruto, sure, but we've seen better. Not much mystery either.
I would say the entire plot was 20% action and then 80% talking. The final battle of the movie was pretty exciting though, just something to look forward to!
Art: 6 (Fair)
Not quite to the level of being 'good'.
I personally enjoyed the darker setting (literally darker), a lot of it took place inside of this prison with no lights except for the torch lights. Which added a nice touch for the so called Blood-Prison. There were times that the art look fantastic! The setting would be perfect, nicely detailed background and the characters blended in with it well. However, there were also times that I really felt like the art reached an entire new level of awkward. The characters would occasionally move very oddly, as though all their bones had been replaced with cartilage or they were being held up by strings like a puppet. The bodies just moved in weird ways sometimes.
Majority of the art was just your average cel-shading / anime style shading. Nothing too spectacular or breathtaking.
Sound: 7 (Good)
One thing the anime Naruto does have going for it is the voice acting.
Say what you want, but I think Takeuchi Junko does a fantastic job as Naruto, she has a great range of emotions and really captures moments beautifully!
Now there's two new characters that appear in this movie that played main roles.
First being Mui, our (supposed) antagonist of the movie played by Terasoma Masaki. He's been in a handful of shows, but doesn't often play main characters. He has a nice deep voice. One of the things that bothered me was the lack of emotion expressed for the majority of the movie, though that was a problem with the character and not the voice actor himself.
Our other voice actor to look at is Sonozaki Mie, playing the role of Ryuuzetsu. Although she is also a fairly unknown voice actor, she does a pretty good job as Ryuuzetsu. But like Mui, Ryuuzetsu doesn't have much time to shine, at least for the most part of the movie. There are a few rare moments (more toward the end) that she gets to show off her talent of voice acting, but just her average talking was well balanced and wasn't at all annoying to listen to! I can't always say that for the girl characters in anime...
Lastly the music! From my experience with Naruto movies, the music had never really stood out to me. Just felt more like background noise, nothing to add on to the scene. I can happily say that this movie did in fact have some nice music that went perfectly with the scenes. During a final battle you want the music to be exciting and intense! The songs used during the last battle were the ones that stood out the most to me, they really added on to the scene nicely!
Character: 7 (Good)
I'd go anywhere between 6 and 7 on character. There are times when I feel like a character progressed or revealed something interesting about themselves which made me like them more or at least became more interested in them.
Naruto – We all know him and his character. A fairly happy guy, stays strong and optimistic most of the time and is all in all a great Shounen character. In this movie, Naruto was forced to act without the use of his Chakra (or at least a very small amount of it) which is quite a change from the other movies or the show. For him, when in doubt he creates about 5000 versions of himself. With the majority of his Chakra taken away, he can hardly maintain the use of one “shadow clone”. That's one of the things I enjoyed seeing in this movie, watching Naruto take action without his usual tricks.
Mui – You know...I'd love to say he was a good movie villain, but when you think about it, he's just like any other bad-guy... just lacks a bit on the crazy evil side. Nothing flashy or unique about him. His goals and plans are no different than the ones we've seen in previous Naruto arcs. Not to mention, he's kind of a jackass in ways that other villains weren't. For example, taking the time to beat the snot out of Naruto and several other prisoners when they can't even use their full strength since their strength has been taken away from them. That just seems low, even for an evil guy. But some things are revealed later about his 'true intentions' and even then, it's not that unique.
Ryuuzetsu – She was actually a much better character than I expected her to be. She stays beside Naruto for the majority of the movie, helping him out in any way she can, and surprisingly she wasn't a damsel in distress! A girl that can fight and doesn't cry over every little thing? Hell yes I want her in the movie!
Enjoyment & Overall: 7 (Good)
Even though parts of the movie were slow, it was definitely a step-up from the last Naruto movie! Better characters, better plot and better fighting than the 4th movie.
Was it everything I wanted it to be? No, I was really hoping for a more intense movie. But all together it was a decent movie.
If you're a Naruto fan, I'd recommend this movie to you. If not, then I doubt you would even consider watching it in the first place. But if by chance you haven't seen Naruto and just want to watch this movie for fun, I'd say that's most likely a bad idea, I can't guarantee you would enjoy it.
I'm glad I took the time to watch it though, I hope that if you watch this movie you will enjoy it as well.
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Aug 24, 2011
I'll admit, I had a blast watching this movie! It has a lot of cool fights and an interesting plot. The plot isn't all that unique though, that's the only part that is disappointing. If you've seen the anime Bleach, then you know how their 'arcs' go. Bleach tends to do the whole "someone gets kidnapped, Ichigo has to go fight a ton of people and then save them! The end." That's exactly what happens in this movie too.
It starts off with a somewhat of a flashback to when Ichigo fought Ulquiorra back in Hueco Mundo when he turned into a crazed hollow. That caught ... my attention because I honestly loved that fight, it was very exciting! Then after that we go to Karakura Town where Ichigo is living his regular teenage life, and you can all guess what happens after that. Some bad guys from hell show up and kidnap Yuzu, Ichigo's sister.
Now, with the help of Kokuto, a new character that shows up out of the blue, Ichigo and his friends will go down to hell to save Yuzu!
Okay, I love Bleach. Even if it's a repeditive show with random (sometimes pointless) fights, it's still fun to watch! And that's really all this movie is about. So if you like watching the fights in Bleach and don't care a whole lot about a really unique story, then this movie is perfect!
The reason I give story a 7 is because, like I mentioned, it's the exact same as every other Bleach arc or movie. But what I DID love most about this movie is that Ichigo's Hollow has a main part, we don't actually see "Hichigo" (as some people call him), but we do see Ichigo's hollow mask show up often and see him do some of his hollow transformations.
His hollow side shows up quite often in this movie because they are going to hell, and because of that, Ichigo is starting to 'lose control' of his hollow powers in a way. All of his friends are concerned obviously, but Ichigo just wants to save Yuzu, because that's the kind of guy he is.
The downside to this movie really is that everything goes way too fast. Within about the first 10 minutes of the movie, Yuzu has been kidnapped and taken to hell and Kokuto is introduced. The explanations are very short and not very informative, to the point that I was wondering if they just cut out half of whatever the characters said to fit it into a movie.
I would have expected a story like this to have taken up 30 Bleach episodes at least, but it is of course crammed into an hour and 30 minutes.
The art in this movie is actually really nicely done! The battles have a lot of movement, and that along with the beautifully detailed backgrounds is like eye-candy for the audience! Because of the fact that they are fighting in "Hell", the background is quite different than any other place they've been. I mean, we've all seen the Bleach cast fight in Soul Society and Karakura multiple times! So to see them in a very unfamiliar place is quite awesome!
The bad guys might not look that attractive (actually I take that back, they're just ugly as hell), but it does seem like the artists took the time to do all the shading and colours very nicely, which is something I really enjoyed. But seriously, I do think they tried their best to make the ugliest characters we've ever seen. (The minute those guys took off their robes to reveal what they looked like, I think I screamed a bit)
A new soundtrack was made for this movie specifically. I got this soundtrack long before I watched this movie because the songs are seriously epic! I still love listening to it, all of the songs are dark, and intense, almost in a creepy way. Rather than just music playing, there's some chanting and singing along with it that really sounds like an incantation most of the time. But either way, it really adds to the movie's 'creepiness'.
Anyone who watches Bleach will know what the characters sound like.
Ichigo's voice actor Morita Masakazu is great at what he does! He's the perfect voice for Ichigo, I really don't have anything bad to say about him! He sounds very natural when he talks, and always has the exact emotion that is needed for the scene, which usually involves yelling and shouting.
Rukia and Renji are the same as Ichigo's VA, they know how to sound great and really bring the character to life!
I mentioned before that there is a new character named Kokuto, who is voiced by Nakai Kazuya, who happens to be one of my favorite voice actors! He has an incredible voice that is perfect for a 'cool' and 'badass' character, which Kokuto definitely fits that description. I'm really glad that they picked him for Kokuto's character because he is perfect for the role!
And lastly we have the new character Shuren, I haven't mentioned him yet, but he sits around for most of the movie and lets the other guys do all the fighting, but does eventually join in for a little while. Shuren is voiced by Furuya Toru who has done several main voice roles, but still isn't a very popular voice actor. He really does Shuren's voice well, he has the sort of 'bad guy voice' that we all can recognize. The only thing about him is that nothing really stands out about his voice among other people. Some voice actors have a way of changing their tone, rolling their tongue, or yelling in a way that makes us know exactly who they are (think if Ikkaku or Kenpachi, you can recognize their voice almost immediately). This guy doesn't really have that, but even so he is still a good voice for Shuren!
Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, Chad, and Ishida are all characters we're familiar with. Nothing about this movie really changes how we see them. You know exactly how they're going to act or fight in a dangerous situation. So I guess that part of the movie was what made everything pretty predictable.
But since there are new characters introduced, why don't we talk about them a bit?
For one, Kokuto. I'll admit, I like him. He shows up and is willing to help Ichigo's group, and has the attitude of "I make my own rules. I don't choose sides, I'm on my own side". Which reminds me a lot of Ichigo's character, maybe that's why they get along pretty quickly...almost too quickly.
I think the writers really forced Kokuto's character in some parts, and made it so that we really don't have time to get to know him. He's just there helping the group, and that's about it for the majority of the movie. What I do like is that he isn't the most predictable guy, sometimes things he does or says will catch you off guard! That makes the plot a bit more interesting than before!
Then we have Shuren again. Unlike Kokuto, I really knew exactly what he was going to do throughout the entire movie. That doesn't make him a lame character, but I think the writers could have done better with him.
Like I said in the beginning, I had a blast watching this movie! Even though I really should, I never get sick of watching Ichigo kick ass! I would say this is my favorite of the Bleach movies. It had some great character development (even though it was really rushed) and it had some great fights that kept my eyes glued to the screen!
I also just loved having Kokuto in this movie, he was definitely the best addition to this movie, I'm sure you will all like having him in it too!
If you haven't watched or read Bleach, I'm not sure if this movie will make a ton of sense. There are several things that happen that link to the original story. But even if you haven't seen Bleach, I think you might still enjoy this movie if you like Shounen animes with lots of battles! I enjoyed watching it a lot and would even be willing to watch it again! All in all, it's a great movie!
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Aug 14, 2011
I am a huge fan of One Piece, and I know for a fact that many people also love it! But something I really hate is when a bad movie is created using "One Piece" as the title. That's exactly what happened here with "One Piece: Norowareta Seiken".
This movie doesn't even compare to the awesomeness that One Piece offers. I'm guessing that whoever wrote the script for this didn't really have "One Piece" in mind. They very well could have just written a script and thrown the cast of One Piece into the roles.
It's necessary to be harsh with this movie because it ... is by far one of the worst One Piece movies, and anyone who loves the show shouldn't waste their time to watch this movie.
Story / Character: 5
Basically, the summary of this movie is that The Straw Hats go to some random island to look for a sword and then Zoro betrays his friends to go meet with his old companion and fights against the crew. Okay, already you know that this is ridiculous.
How many of you have seen One Piece? If you're willing to watch this movie, I'm guessing you have. And you should then realize that this is crazy because even though Zoro comes across as a scary, mean swordsman most of the time, he does care deeply for his 'Nakama' and would never betray them, even if it were to help an old friend.
That's mainly what made me angry while watching this. Seeing the characters personalities and values changed just for the convenience of the movie was a terrible idea.
Even Luffy seemed a bit off while he was on screen. Luffy may be reckless and doesn't think things through, but he's not a complete moron. The writer of this movie didn't seem to understand that fact.
Of course, in this movie we have a new character. That's right, Zoro's friend known as 'Saga'. Now how can I put this? Well first of all, I hate him. It doesn't matter how 'justified' his actions were; as an audience, I didn't feel any compassion for him.
Sometimes in shows we end up feeling sad for a bad guy because you realize that he was just trying to do the right thing! It makes us think to ourselves "wow, maybe he is really a nice guy that just went about doing what he thought was right", or something along those lines. Trust me, you won't feel any of that while watching this movie. It's really pretty impossible to be immersed into such a shallow character such as Saga.
Now, even though the story is horrific, the art is actually quite good! The characters have the same general 'One Piece' look to them, and then the backgrounds are quite beautifully detailed. It seems as though some computer animation was used throughout the movie as well, there are times when the camera shot moves around and looks almost 3D.
The fighting is also very well done. We see some pretty intense fighting shots, angles and colours during the movie. So in a way, the art reminded me of the original show, which is sad that the story couldn't be as good as the art was.
If you've seen One Piece, you know what the characters sound like. You will also know that the voice actors always give 110% no matter what! Their voices are part of what make the show amazing! The way they can sound so emotional, sarcastic or angry is just incredible.
As mentioned before, we have a new character in this movie. Saga. His voice actor, Nakamura Shidou, is not very well known, the only role he's done that is worth mentioning is Ryuk from Death Note. I think there may be a reason that he hasn't gotten a lot of voice acting roles, it's not that he's bad, but his voice only works for certain characters. And Saga isn't one of them. He sounds quite out of place and out of character.
Alright, so I'll be fair. I didn't love this movie obviously, but I didn't feel the need to fall asleep while watching it either. Being a Shounen anime movie, it focuses on fighting a lot, which is something most of us can enjoy even if the story is terrible. And since the fights were good, I was able to keep my eyes on the screen and watch the movie all the way through.
I also love Zoro, he's a great character, so it was nice to see him get the spotlight for a movie.
I certainly don't plan on watching it again. I've seen fanfics that have better story and character than this movie did (which is really saying something)!
If you like One Piece, feel free to watch this movie. But I'm warning you now that it isn't the One Piece that we all love dearly. It's an insult to One Piece and Oda himself to make a movie that messes with the original story and the original characters.
One Piece Norowareta Seiken (The Curse of the Sacred Sword) is definitely my least favorite One Piece movie. I definitely wouldn't recommend it.
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Aug 13, 2011
After seeing the preview for this movie, I was eager to watch it! The summary says it all, the movie is basically a re-make of the show's "Drum Island arc" (episodes 78 - 91) where Chopper joins the Straw Hat Pirates.
In the original arc, we have only 5 of the main characters (Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Sanji and Usopp), and in this movie the creators advertised the fact that Franky and Robin would be in it, which most people will know that they don't join the Straw Hats until much later. I thought that would very interesting to see how the changes would be now ... that those two were included!
So of course I did watch the movie...and for all that excitement, the movie was not what I was expecting at all. Franky and Robin were indeed in the movie...but really didn't do much at all, in fact they are not even 'Main' characters in the movie. It felt as though they didn't exist at all throughout the whole thing.
If you have watched One Piece, then there really isn't much to see here. To be brief, it's episodes 78 - 91 just crammed into 2 hours with Franky and Robin standing in the background.
That doesn't mean it was bad at all. In fact, I did enjoy watching it, but there really wasn't anything new. Except for the very end.
So, do you all remember that 'evil guy' named Wapol from the anime? Well, turns out he has a brother named Mushul, who does have a role in this movie. And that's where the difference happens.
Rather than just fight Wapol, Luffy has to defeat Mushul. Which is actually a rather epic fight (even though it's not very long).
The art was decent enough. It reminded me of the 6th One Piece movie (Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island). It doesn't have all of the "cell shading" (general anime shading) that we are used to, and the movements seem a bit less smooth than what is common. But as just about everyone knows, One Piece has unique art, and that never has stood in the way of a great story!
But since this movie wasn't completely up to my expectations, I'm going to say that it deserves an 8.
I do love Chopper's story and even if I have seen episodes 78 - 91, I still liked watching it once more. You don't have to have seen all of One Piece to understand what is happening, it's a great movie that I think anyone could enjoy!
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