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Animation and Anime

"Appleseed: Ex Machina" Director Shinji Aramaki to Helm New "Starship Troopers" Anime

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Column by Scott Green


Sony Pictures has launched a promo site for Starship Troopers: Invasion, an anime sequel to the Paul Verhoeven adaptation of Robert Heinlein's militaristic mecha versus bug aliens novel.  Mech designer (Megazone 23, Robotech component Mospeada, Transformers precursor Micro Change) Shinji Aramaki will put on his director's cap, as he has done did in several previous anime productions conceived for international audiences, including the 2004 CG Appleseed, its 2007 follow-up Appleseed Ex Machina and Halo Legends.


Flint Dille (Tranformers, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay) will script the movie with Joseph Chou (Appleseed Ex Machina) producing.  Star of the Verhoeven movie Casper Van Diem is an executive producer.  Sony is planning a Summer 2012 release. 


A distant Federation outpost Fort Casey comes under attack by bugs. The team on the fast attack ship Alesia is assigned to help the Starship John A. Warden stationed in Fort Casey evacuate along with the survivors and bring military intelligence safely back to Earth. Carl Jenkins, now ministry of Paranormal Warfare, takes the starship on a clandestine mission before its rendezvous with the Alesia and goes missing in the nebula. Now, the battle-hardened troopers are charged with a rescue mission that may lead to a much more sinister consequence than they ever could have imagined....



Starship Troopers was previously adapted into a 1988, six episode OVA directed by Tetsuro Amino (Macross 7), and the original novel, particularly the cover illustration of the local edition, are credited as being an influencial factor in the development of the mecha anime tradition.



Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 12, 2011, 10:19 p.m. CST

    Man, I haven't seen that EMOTION logo in a while

    by ewokstew

    Hope this turns out okay. I really liked Ex-Machina but the HALO stuff left a lot to be desired. even Aramaki's segment.

  • Still looking for that "true" sequel to the first film. Hopefully, this will take itself more seriously too.

  • Oct. 12, 2011, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Appleseed: Ex Machina was awesome eye candy

    by Fievel

    Looking forward to this!

  • Oct. 12, 2011, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Ahhh, Verhoeven's Starship Troopers

    by lochkray

    One of the most undervalued properties in Hollywood, in terms of potential, IMHO. Glad to see that it is continuing on in some fashion. It's a shame that not enough people "got" the first movie. It was brilliant. I remember walking out of the theatre, and lots of people saying that it sucked. I couldn't believe it. Maybe if you were a fan of the novel, I could see disapointment, but otherwise I thought it was great. But the concept/style just never came together for mainstream audiences. Sigh. There was the Roughnecks cartoon, and that was great, but it got the axe. The two direct-to-video live action sequels wandered from mildly interesting to outright awful. What a shame.

  • Oct. 12, 2011, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Star Ship Trooper SFX > AVATAR SFX true story

    by cgih8r

    I know I'm a CGI hater but I didn't become a hater until some time shortly after Starship Troopers when the technology started becoming abused, half-assed and uninspired. This film still looks great and the storytelling is top notch in how it establishes the characters and develops them through the story. As gory as the movie is it has alot of heart on a level you don't see much of anymore. It's still one of my favorite popcorn flicks and it sits right between Robocop & Aliens in my favorites collection.

  • Oct. 12, 2011, 11:54 p.m. CST

    I didn't think the 3rd film was that bad.

    by obi_juan

    Heard enough bad things about the 2nd that I never watched it. Great CGI in the first movie. Amazing how long ago that was. It seems like the CGI in that is a lot better than many more recent things.

  • Oct. 12, 2011, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Now this is Cool News.

    by The Outlander

    I always had a soft spot for the computer animated Roughnecks (Starship Trooper Chronicles) and I'm a big fan of Appleseed (2004) not so much Appleseed Ex Machina (2007).

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 12:03 a.m. CST

    More of the Verhoeven-verse Starship Troopers?

    by lv_426

    Now, I love the first Starship Troopers film. The sequels were okay, nothing of the level of action and satire that Verhoeven seems to be one of the only filmmakers who can pull off that kind of fusion in film. I haven't seen the Roughnecks animated series, so I can't comment on that. So while I am a fan of the Verhoeven film, I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed that this anime won't be a brand new adaptation. Anime seems a great medium too, as designing new bugs, tech, and environments wouldn't cost such a ludicrous amount like a live action Hollywood film would. Hopefully they'll at least feature some sort of the power armor that the Mobile Infantry uses in the novel. Maybe in this version of the Starship Troopers universe the power armored troopers can be some sort of special forces or special ops dept.?

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 12:04 a.m. CST

    The direct to DVD sequels are fucking awful.

    by Rhuragh

    It's clear that Ed Neumeier has no fucking clue why the first film is so great. The satire is completely lost on him. The hilarious part is that Neumeier wrote the first film too. It's clear that the satiric take on the material came completely from Verhoeven (not that we didn't already know that). There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to continue the story set forth in Verhoeven's film. Anyone actually interested in the characters or the world portrayed in Verhoeven's film (in any sort of positive sense) is just a fucking closet fascist.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 1:08 a.m. CST

    sony stop driving verhoeven's troopers into the ground

    by skiff

    Make a real film or stop. Troopers in up there with ID4 starwars and startrek it is a great sci fi film. the first sequel was a joke the second was better but no where near the quality of the first. If verhoeven made the next one i'll be there day one.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Starship Troopers was classic Verhoeven

    by Phategod2

    no one did political-hollywood-sci-fi-satire like Mr. Verhoeven SST and Robocop are my two favorite satires of all time. I wish he would comeback and show em how its done.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 1:35 a.m. CST

    Man, that is a DeepStar-Six looking image right there

    by zillabeast

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 2:40 a.m. CST

    How did I never hear anout the Starship Troopers anime before?

    by Playkins

    Damn, and that's my favorite book. I think I lost some geek cred on that one.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 3:24 a.m. CST

    I really wished they finished the original CG series...

    by Prof. Pop-Cult

    It was uneven in terms of animation quality (multiple animation houses were hired to do episodes), but they never finished the series, which had a long-running arc across what was supposed to have been 40 episodes. They fell just 4 episodes short!

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 5:55 a.m. CST

    Verhoeven + Neumeir dark comedy / political satire or GTFO

    by NeonFrisbee

    The only ST sequel I'd ever want to see is one made by these guys. Otherwise, forget it.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 7:13 a.m. CST

    The anime artist cannot draw the cartoon...

    by Alientoast

    ...if you disable his hand! MEDIC!!!! The 1st SST was probably one of my all-time favorite movies. As has been said the 2 sequels kinda sucked, although part 3 did have some inspired moments that prevented it from being a total suckpile compared to part 2 (The Federation deciding to use religion as a tool of control for their own means, "Peace Terrorists", etc)

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Ahhh...the good old days...

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    ...when Verhoven was a god to me. Yes, 'Troopers' was silly fun, but man, is this movie gorgeous or what?! (My friends and I used to call this 'Young Fascists in Space') Plus, you have an awesome supporting cast: Dean Norris, Michael Ironside, and the 'Greatest Living Actor of Our Generation' (tm), Clancy Brown! A 19 year old Denise Richards, and her amazing ta-tas! (I remember vividly when she first appeared on screen, in a tight yellow tee - a collective groan of lust went up from the mostly male audience). Good times... I passed on the 2nd sequel, and recently tried to watch 'Marauder': what a 'SciFy' like piece of crap. Bad CGI - cheesy sets (Trench warfare? Really? We can't tell you're on a soundstage? Or is it someone's backyard?). Ugh. Had to turn it off halfway thru. The 'Roughnecks' series was good, if uneven. I watched the entire run on DVD. Only real disappointment was that they didn't finish the story. This could be good, but I'd rather they revisited this with a true sequel that made sense (like air and armor support for ground troops that appear to be fighting an interstellar was with nothing but assault rifles). Bring back the crazy Dutchman - Neumeier doesn't seem to get it unless Verhoven is standing behind him. At least Van Diem is involved - it's probably the only work he still gets.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Verhoeven is a hack

    by The StarWolf

    When asked why he didn't have the iconic armour from the novel, he replied "who would want to see one guy wrapped in around just beating up bugs for a kilometer around?" Two words Mr. Verhoeven: IRON MAN. He should be embarrassed when a second-rate anime team managed to do a much better job of conveying the look and feel of the novel than his big budget Hollywood production ever did.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    fuck Verhoeven

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil


  • noticed Star Trek 2009 wasnt unlike Troopers in some of the designs, FX and even the story (especially Kirks story) i remember when i saw SST in 97 thinking if they ever did a star trek remake then the Rico guy would be great as a young Kirk

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 7:59 a.m. CST

    =Star Ship Trooper SFX > AVATAR SFX true story=

    by KilliK


  • The Verhoeven/Neumeier commentary on the ST DVD is fucking HILARIOUS.

  • Yeah, I'ma go with anti-facist over pro-facist EVERY FUCKING TIME, especially if it's as hilariously done as Verhoeven does it.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Only thing Verhoeven got right....

    by Ninja Nerd

    ...was the bugs. Everything else was crapola. He wasn't going for satire or some artistic interpretation of the source material...he didn't read the damn book! The CG series was closer and frankly a better effort.

  • Seriously, I'm asking?

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 11:48 a.m. CST

    NeonFrisbee: you must be a 15 year old leftist

    by Monroville

    You DO understand that the Heinlein STARSHIP TROOPERS was not, nor ever, an endorsement of fascism so much as it was a means of explaining to civilians during the Korean (and soon to emerge Vietnam) War just what the military was all about? Even I "got it" in the opening sequence where the soldiers are being loaded into "bullet-like encasings" into a gigantic shotgun and shot down towards the enemy planet as literally live ammunition. Not to mention, you never noticed that throughout the book, you have people explain military procedure (such as when the cadet talks back, forcing the commanding officer to start an inquiry. The officer literally explains to the cadet that if he just "shut up", he would have been honorably discharged or given a punishment and sent back to duty. Because he continued to make a big deal about it, the officer had no choice but to open an investigation, as there were other officers present). ________________ You see folks, Heinlein did what a lot of writers do: they use the far future or the far past as a smoke screen to hide what is in essence a diatribe on their world view. LORD OF THE RINGS is a commentary on everything Tolkein learned from childhood to adulthood: the hobbits both represented a happy childhood, as well as how he figured the rest of the world saw British people; Rohan and Gondor are fronts for the Greeks and Romans, the last bastions of human (ie European) civilization; Morder is representative of the middle eastern - african - asian cultures that he viewed as a threat to the civilized world (Mordor = Moors, not to mention: have you ever noticed how all the villains are black or ethnic?); Saruman represents the universal traitor, those who for whatever reason stand opposed to you on your own side (every good tale needs a Judas, or Lando, or Cypher). That is not to mention the various other historical elements tossed in (the fellowship representing the "children's crusade") as well as entertainment references (the gates of Mordor and the gates of the wicked witch of the west in WIZARD OF OZ, among other WOZ references). DUNE is another example: the Atreides represent the British and the French; the Harkonen the industrial and polluting Germans and Russains; the Freman represent the American Colonies - Arabic people - Native Americans, with Paul being Lawrence of Arabia. Even in the film, the Weirding modules (which Frank Herbert helped Lynch with the concept) were about showing a device that gave literal physical force to words and movement, which ties in to Herbert's commentary on modern politics and the power of words, as well as the critique of how powerful people will say one thing but think something else. That's how they do it, and for this simply reason: so they won't get lynched. One could determine that Tolkein was a bigot, and that Herbert was a political paranoid. They and their books are a "bit" more complicated than that, and they were smart enough to understand that (1) if you're going to preach, keep it interesting, and (2) do it in such a way that people have to dig a little for the real message. Heinlein's STARSHIP TROOPERS really isn't that hard to figure out once you think about the time it was written in and what was going on in the real world. If he wrote the same story, but altered to be in Korea, people would not have focused on the ideas so much as the surface elements. By putting it into a numberless future, with a completely alien enemy, people have no political attachment and read the book for the ideas within while being entertained by something that has yet to happen.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Neonfrisbee - What Monroville said ...

    by The StarWolf

    Fascism is a central government which dictates every aspect of peoples lives. Heinlein on the other hand has always been a big fan of the concept of *personal responsibility*, something which crops up time and again in TROOPERS. Verhoeven did such a pathetic job of conveying this that the family sued to have Heinlein's name removed from the project. Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Um, monroville

    by Mattman

    Heinlein's novel is widely regarded as pro-fascist. It constantly points out why our system is failed and will fail, and offers what Heinlein seems to consider a superior solution. He openly mocks our belief that we can vote for whatever we want without first earning our right to vote.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Mattman: you know, I have a post explaining it pretty clearly

    by Monroville

    A lot of critics have called it pro-fascist... but what does that mean? Are they of the left-leaning variety simply making a judgement on the face value of the book, simply because the primary characters are soldiers who DON'T feel guilty about being soldiers? Or the fact that (per Starwolf's point) the book is a constant preacher on personal responsibility and thinking your actions through? I do not recall one "Ra-Ra" moment in the book, where something is purely for the emotional enjoyment of destroying property or the enemy. In fact, if you ever read the book, Johnny Rico's teacher has no arm and maybe even missing a leg. When the man is recruiting soldiers, he presents himself without an arm and leg. Yet there is a point where Johnny and his friend see the teacher leaving school after his shift and he has a perfect bio-mechanical arm (not ALIENesque, but to the degree you would not know it was fake). Johnny asks him point-blank: if you had a prosthetic, why not wear it in class and during recruitment? And this is where Heinlein the author uses the teacher as his mouth piece: the teacher essentially states that he doesn't want some rash to make a rash decision... he wants people to SEE not just simply his sacrifice, but that if you join the military (to get citizenship and thus the right to vote), you can get hurt. If the book was pro-fascism, why be honest about things like being maimed in combat, or the possibility of dying or feeling pain? Heinlein mocked the lack of responsibility most Americans/humans had shown in his lifetime (and continue to still do), and the sad fact that people seem to always want but never earn. He mocked those who felt entitled to any form of power (be it wealth or simply the ability to vote) without having earned it through developing it through work and education. Keep in mind that while one had to join the military to get the right to vote, one did not have to STAY in the military for life to keep on voting. All they had to do was serve their term and citizenship was theirs.. the point being: one has to know true self-sacrifice (to the point of even sacrificing one's life) to have the power to shape the future of an entire country. What is so sad is that Heinlein pretty much has characters SAY these things outright.. there is no Stanley Kubrick cryptic visual metaphors to dig through... it's all there spelled out, and people still can't figure it out. It's similar to Christianity in a way: to be a true christian, all Jesus said was "to treat others like yourself"... that's it. Essentially "eye for an eye" inverted (which itself is just a more personal Fulciesque way of saying "cause and effect", yet another tenant that the left completely misses). "Eye for an eye" is literally "the punishment fits the crime". The problem is not that eyeballs are ripped out; it is that it is reactionary. You have to wait for someone to do something good or bad in order to respond likewise. Jesus simply said: "You already know what is good and evil, so why wait? Be proactive." It was only after the Romans could not burn and torture Christianity away that the realized the only way to destroy them was to institutionalize/romanize them. As a result, the one rule became thousands, doctrines and details were added, multiple splits on technical details on HOW to believe in Jesus occured and we have what we have now. Heinlein spells his philosophy out for you in fairly clear detail: not once does he dictate that some higher authority should rule without responsibility or judgement from the people... in fact, he states that the government IS the people, and that politicians are a reflection of the people. If you hate corrupt politicians getting away with corrupt behavior... well, who put them there? All you have to do is read the book.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    No discussion of Verhoeven's Starship Troopers...

    by Rhuragh complete without this link:

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Pretty warped view of Christianity you got there monroville

    by Johnno

    What I write next has nothing to do with Starship Troopers, but for your own good I can't let it slide... "to treat others like yourself"... is certainly NOT 'all' Christ said though it can be considered a vague total assessment at the heart of His teachings and the means of salvation, but there's far mroe to it than simply that as it involves what would be considered 'right treatment' and as his audience asked, "who is my neighbour?"... Otherwise just taking teh sentence at vague face value is one of those typical stupidly reductionist views people take to avoid all the other complex things Christ taught, not to mention all those things that are oh so inconvenient for those folks out there who would like to ignore Christian morality and personal responsibility, thus by diluting Christianity they figure they have created an excuse to continue sinning and breaking moral laws. An 'eye for an eye' philosophy is still a just one and perfectly fitting where divine justice is concerned. Thing is people apply that hypocritically. Christ did not do away with the need for just recompensation. He insisted upon practicing forgiveness and mercy and doing this unto others. The point being that it's all well and good to demand justice from someone who wronged you, but realize that you yourself have also wronged many and sinned, thus it is fitting for others to take vengence upon you and especially for God to punish you in kind for the moral laws you've broken. But if you extend mercy to those who wrong you, then likewise others ought to be merciful to you, and God will also. A person who treats others with mercy and forgiveness also deserves mercy and forgiveness. Hence 'an eye for an eye.' And 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone' and the Lord alone can rightly declare that 'vengeance is Mine.' Christianity and Roman Catholicism is a complex religion with complex dictates and complex doctrines and complex structures because the universe and the world and people and cultures and life itself are complex things that are constantly changing, and Christianity is the truthful reality of the entire world and universe that all mankind is morally obligated to study and conform to if they wish to get along on Earth and secure heaven when they die. The idea that it was 'just some simple thing' that became complex due to some Roman Religious State conspiracy is bullshit. The only people guillable enough to believe that are those who wish to avoid the complex state of affairs that is reality and simplify everything to some easy digestable morsel that they don't have to spend too much time intellectually involved in, which only leads to more problems down the road, error and contradiction. No personal offense intended directly at you. But it'd be better if you took time out to look at these things in greater scope. It's uncomfortable and requires effort, but that's just how it is when you deal with the real world. Back on topic I didn't dig the original Appleseed. Loved the CG remake, didn't dig Ex Machina. Haven't bothered watching the XIII series, but I lo forward to Aramaki's take on the ol' Goof Troopers.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Book vs Movie

    by loki51

    Read the book over 40 years ago and it was one of my favorites. Heinlein wrote an interesting story with a large amount of history/political questions embedded to try to get people to think about some important issues. He was ex-navy so he had some military background and scientific background so it was not a fluff or fantasy piece. Won't comment on the politics of the book (monroeville already did an excellent post) just read the book and make up your own mind. The movie was a massive letdown for me considering the source material. For quit a while I just considered it crap and tried not to remember it. I have slowly mellowed and now look on it as a slightly enjoyable gorefest comedy. Seeing the little marines all charging in a clump (all but shouting hup hup hup) and then retreating always cracks me up. Then watching the "bugs" fart and knock down a starship (YTF)! Even Monty Python didn't come up with anything that absurd. To enjoy this movie you have to all but totally shut down any thinking part of your brain, with the notable exception of the enlistment ads/commercials/news spots. These are for the most part clear and heavy handed satire of the book. I would still like to see a good adaption of the book, but I think they have soiled the material too much to have anyone be able to do a good clean re-boot.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Cool news!

    by UltraTron

    Casper Van Dien handed me a signed copy of troopers when I left the cinerama dome opening night. Still got it right here. I did a double take.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Yeah well the original translation of the bible speaks of

    by UltraTron

    Nephalim. These are half demon and half humans. I'm pretty sure that some of you are not completely human so I'm gonna say it's true.

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 8:06 p.m. CST

    Well, I loved the Appleseed movies...

    by catlettuce4

    And Verhoeven is great, I liked his Starship Troopers back in the day. But I would really much rather see a NEW take on that universe by the force behind the Appleseed films than another sequel/spinoff of the Verhoeven version. That was ages ago... does it really have such a following that we can never let it go?

  • Oct. 13, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    By the way

    by catlettuce4

    Verhoeven did not write the Starship Troopers screenplay (or adapt the book, if you prefer), and the real reason there were no suits was because of budget limitations (at the time there was talk of having them if the film did big box office and got a theatrical sequel, but it didn't.) I'm sure Verhoeven did what he could considering what he was given to work with, and considering his is the opposite of a "hack". A hack is someone like Brett Ratner, who adds nothing of himself or his vision to a movie. Not Verhoeven's best film, certainly, but the fact that it was not like the book is hardly a problem you can blame on him alone. It no doubt would have been much worse and perhaps unwatchable without his involvement.

  • Oct. 14, 2011, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Catlettuce4 - Non sequitur

    by The StarWolf

    If he knew going in he wouldn't be able to do it right, why do it at all? This is the same sort of nonsense which saw Hollywood try to remake FAWLTY TOWERS, arguably one of, if not THE best comedy series EVER, while utterly failing to see what had made the original such a wild success. When they presented John Cleese (who'd come up with and starred in the original) with the script for the pilot, he was aghast and explained to them all the ways they'd got it wrong. Hollywood's petulant reply was that they didn't have the benefit of the BBC and Britain's TV system to allow for such ... blah blah blah. To which Cleese countered with "Then why do it?" They couldn't answer and the show - the painfully unfunny PAYNE - died after about two episodes.

  • Oct. 14, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Monroville - And even more so ...

    by The StarWolf

    Because critics of the novel forget that, while the story centers on Johny's military career, it does state specifically that this wasn't the only way to earn one's voting franchise. There were other options within the civil service than just the armed forces. It just happened that - as the plot required him to be in the army - Johny had a crush on a girl who joined up to be a pilot and he decided to go along in the hopes of being in the same unit. Not even close but by then he had other things to think about anyway.

  • Oct. 14, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Well ultratron...

    by Johnno

    That isn't so, it's a mythical conception. The sons of God and the Sons of Men don't refer to angelic beings and human beings. They refer to two separate groups of men, those who follow God and thus belong to Him in a sense as adopted sons, and those who don't and follow their own interests (that of Men who want nothing to do with God). One day the sons of God (descendants of the good guys) saw the daughters of Men (descendants of the bad guys). And lust led them astray. They essentially abandoned their place amongst the Sons of God to join the Sons of Men for sex. They thus became 'fallen ones' (Nephilim) and had children who were raised after a bad example, and these became 'giants (in a historic sense)/men of well renown.' Essentially they became well known guys/leaders for some reason or another, most likely for bad reasons. For the record, angels are purely spiritual beings who don't possess physical bodies nor gender and don't have a desire or sexual feelings towards human women. I guess one could argue that the Sons of God who fell became possessed by some of the many fallen angels to make them lose their status by inciting them to lust and that there were some 'residual' effects from being posessed? But that's purely speculative though not impossible to conceive... The story does mirror the Fall of Satan and the rebellious Angels, and this pattern is seen repeated very often where temptation leads to rebellion/abandonment of status and then a fall from grace. Anyway, the more you know...

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Wow, spammers are back

    by orcus

  • Oct. 17, 2011, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Ok, the spammer is back

    by orcus

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