Kalafina – Hyakka Ryouran

July 30, 2018 at 3:04 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

hyakkaryouranSINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – Hyakka Ryouran

1. Hyakka Ryouran
2. Kantankatan
3. Tombo
4. Hyakka Ryouran ~instrumental~
5. Kantankatan ~instrumental~
6. Hyakka Ryouran -TV size-

Hyakka Ryouran is the twenty-first single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on August 9, 2017. The single peaked at #5 on the charts and has sold 13,374 copies. The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Katsugeki Touken Ranbu.

Back to the dark magical vibe that ‘consolation’ had! But since Hyakka Ryouran translates to ‘riot of a hundred flames’, I’m not surprised. There is an amazing mixture between the heavy and the lighter elements with the electric guitars and the flute, but everything comes together very well. WAKANA leads with her amazing and even borderline operatic vocals, which gives the song something mysterious and magical.

At first I didn’t know what to think of Kantankatan when I heard the opening, but as soon as the percussion joined in it sort of fell into place. It’s an interesting track since I can’t remember having heard anything like it in Kalafina’s discography before, but this new kind of guitar/percussion/strings ballad is definitely enjoyable. Also, WAKANA really have me goosebumps this time with her amazing voice.

HIKARU leads the way into Tombo, a piano ballad and the slowest of the songs on this single. KEIKO even sings in a high voice, which is probably not her forte but still I like the effort. It’s really a sleeper, this one, and it gets even worse because of a complete silence that lasts a few seconds in the middle of the song. Listen to this one whenever you can’t sleep.

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

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Kalafina – into the world / Märchen

July 30, 2018 at 2:43 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

intotheworldSINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – into the world / Märchen

1. into the world
2. Märchen
3. Haru wo Matsu
4. into the world ~instrumental~
5. Märchen ~Anime Size~

into the world / Märchen is the twentieth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on April 5, 2017. The single peaked at #4 on the charts and has sold 13,846 copies. The song “into the world” was used as the theme for the TV program Rekishi Hiwa Historia, while the song “Märchen” was used as the ending theme for the anime Kubikiri Cycle Aoiro Savant to Zaregototsukai.

into the world has an amazing and airy opening, which is by now quite common in Kalafina songs but I love it still. HIKARU opens the song with her lovely high voice, but what I really love is how WAKANA leads the choruses. It’s very reminiscent of older Kalafina songs, but the chorus melodies are memorable enough for it to stand out. Plus, it’s like their harmonizations have never been better.

For a song of which the title translates to ‘fairytale’, Märchen has a surprisingly dark and mysterious ambience that really kicks ass. The best choice was for HIKARU to sing lead, her voice sounds best on powerful songs like this one. It’s like a mixture between power rock, folk and anison and the flute adds a nice touch to the overall feel.

To bring even more variation to this release, Haru wo Matsu is a soft piano ballad. Basically the entire song is like an hommage to the girls’ lovely voices and it’s a way for them all to shine. Not too much going on, but if you love Kalafina’s vocal talents then this will definitely be good.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Kalafina – blaze

August 27, 2016 at 2:05 PM | Posted in Kalafina, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

blaze_zpsvj1lgvpf

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – blaze

1. blaze
2. Natsu no Asa
3. blaze ~instrumental~
4. Natsu no Asa ~instrumental~
5. blaze ~TV size~

blaze is the nineteenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on August 10, 2016. The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime series Arslan Senki: Fuujin Ranbu.

I’m glad blaze fits right into their latest streak of singles, including One Light and ring your bell. The song immediately opens with some strong vocals and electric guitars, which caught my attention. I must say, I’m starting to like HIKARU’s vocals more because of songs like this one, her voice comes out fierce and solid. KEIKO also deserves some credit for her vocals, she and HIKARU take the lead. WAKANA is there, but barely if you ask me. It’s not as epic as some of Kalafina’s older songs, but it’s definitely their style and the arrangement and background choir are amazing.

A flute and harp open Natsu no Asa and I think I couldn’t be happier. I always love these kind of Kalafina songs because, contrary to the A-side here, this actually is epic as heck. It does remind me a bit of Seventh Heaven and Red Moon songs, but I can’t come up with the names. It’s like a sequel to those songs, that much is true. I think this one balances the single so that we have one pumping fast paced track and a serene piece. I’d like to hear them do this more often!

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

 

Kalafina – far on the water

November 11, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Posted in Kalafina | 1 Comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Kalafina – far on the water

1. into the water
2. monochrome
3. Gogatsu no Mahou
4. ring your bell
5. Usumurasaki
6. identify
7. Hokage
8. One Light
9. Musunde Hiraku
10. heavenly blue
11. Sorairo no Isu
12. believe
13. far on the water

♦ ♦ ♦

far on the water is the fifth studio album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on September 16, 2015. The title track “far on the water” was used as the fourth ending theme for the NHK program Rekishi Hiwa Historia. The album peaked at #2 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 41,372 copies to date.

into the water opens the album and it’s like a welcome to the listener, a welcome to the world of Kalafina’s new album. It’s soft and features beautiful chanting, sound of nature, and some bells. Personally, I prefer ‘al fine’ on Consolation, but this is definitely not bad either.

What I loved on their previous album was the kickass song right after the intro, and monochrome is not in the category ‘kickass tracks’. I must say I’m more used to it by now, but all I could think of when I first heard this song was ‘Hm… interesting”. Perhaps because of the arrangement with both electric guitars and an accordion, which is not very typical. Still interesting, but more on the positive side.

I think I would’ve preferred Gogatsu no Mahou as the second track after into the water, it’s a bit more bombastic from the start. It’s a 6/8 track with percussion, electric guitars and strings, and there’s more pathos. Wakana’s vocals are amazing, as always, but so are the other girls’. For ‘just’ an album track, this is golden.

ring your bell is still quite a complex song because of the melodies (and I just can’t follow), but that’s not a bad thing. Despite not being very catchy (only after a couple of listens), it is breathtaking. I’m glad it’s fast paced and that it features a lot of electric guitars, still it sounds very light. The vocals are perfection here, definitely one of my favorite tracks.

Usumurasaki is a dark and Arabian-influenced track, very different from ring your bell. In a way, it’s even foreboding in a certain way. Those strings make it perfect, and the vocals finish everything off. I think I need multiple listens to really memorize it, but the first impression is very good!

What I love about Kalafina is their diversity, and after some lighter songs and a dark Arabian song, their side focused on rock music comes in with identify. Keiko and Hikaru take the lead wonderfully in this guitar-driven, fast-paced track with more aggressive elements. That electric guitar solo in the bridge was everything.

I don’t like how Hokage just… starts, out of the blue. It’s like they throw in a chorus right away. This is a slow song with piano and strings, and the girls singing in harmony. Wakana takes the lead again, the vocals sound amazing, but with more of a buildup this could’ve worked out better. Now it’s quite boring and ‘just there’.

YESS, One Light! This is definitely one of my new favorites, and I love how Hikaru is the best vocalist in this song (her vocals usually work best for their heavier songs). Together with ring your bell, this is probably the most solid song on the entire album. Classic Kalafina slaying everything, wham!

Like a throwback to ‘Eden’, that’s what Musunde Hiraku sounds like. Again, it’s much lighter than songs like One Light and identify, but still the arrangement kicks you-know-what with a lot of electric guitars and strings. Although I like this song, I’m afraid it gets lost between all the other songs here.

The ‘anime theme song style’ Kalafina sometimes has returns with heavenly blue, and I can tell you it doesn’t sound as ‘heavenly’ as the title suggests (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). It’s the theme song for ALDNOAH.ZERO and again its bursting with energy from electric guitars, strings and percussion. The more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it!

Despite being one of the shortest songs on the album, Sorairo no Isu sounds very magical, reminding me of fairy forests for some strange reason. I love the arrangement with a harp, an acoustic guitar and a soft violin, it makes the song stand out among all the others.

believe was on a single I reviewed almost a year ago (wow…), and I remember loving it. It opens as a winter song, but then it becomes something completely different with that typical Kalafina anime rock quality as I call it. Some parts still remind me a bit of ‘to the beginning’, but this track has a unique quality of its own nonetheless.

The title track closes the album. far on the water has some beautiful melodies than stun me from the beginning, Keiko opens the track so well. Hikaru and Wakana take over pretty soon, though. But I must say, this is a song that has its very own sound and I love it for that. It’s a worthy ending to this album.

I think Wakana must have a sore throat now because I heard more of her than the other girls on this album, but still. At first when I heard monochrome, it kinda caught me off guard and I wasn’t sure whether this album would be as good as their previous albums (looking at the tracklisting). It worked out pretty well in the end, and the Kalafina magic still isn’t lost. The singles were the album’s highlights, but some of the album tracks are also very pleasant to listen to. I don’t think this will ever be as good as ‘Red Moon’, but at least they didn’t disappoint at all! One small detail: where are ‘Kimi no Gin no Niwa’ and ‘Alleluia’???!!

Favorite tracks: Gogatsu no Mahou | ring your bell | One Light | heavenly blue | Sorairo no Isu | believe | far on the water

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarblankstar
4 stars

Kalafina – One Light

November 6, 2015 at 4:59 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – One Light

1. One Light
2. Mahiru
3. Samidare ga Sugita Koro ni
4. One Light ~TV size~

One Light is the eighteenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on August 12, 2o15. The title track was used as the second ending theme for the anime series Arslan Senki. The single has sold 11,708 copies to date.

Wow, One Light sounds amazing, so much like what I know and love from Kalafina. It’s one of their heavier songs and I always love those since they slay everything there ever was. I’m surprised by how good HIKARU sounds, I’m starting to love her voice more and more with every release. Both the verses and the chorus in this song are perfect, and that electric guitar solo in the bridge finished it. Let me adore this, thank you very much ❤

How different Mahiru sounds right after One Light‘s burst of energy, and how different the girls all sound! Both WAKANA and HIKARU have much deeper vocals here, and it’s nice to hear some other influences in their voices for a change. Basically, this song is very serene and calm, led by only a piano, but it’s beautiful. I think I would’ve liked it better as the third song, though.

Since when does Kalafina do regular pop…? Samidare ga Sugita Koro ni literally has nothing of their usual (or should I say unusual) style and it’s such a pity, since their vocal harmonies do not fit the music well if you ask me. Also, there are absolutely no highlights that make it stand out. No, I think this single would’ve worked better with only the first two songs. But, as you can see, it didn’t influence the rating much because the other two songs were more than perfect 😉

OVERALL RATING
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4 stars

Kalafina – ring your bell

May 10, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – ring your bell

1. ring your bell
2. Koibito no Mukashigatari no Yuugure no
3. ring your bell (in the silence)
4. ring your bell ~instrumental~

ring your bell is the seventeenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on May 13, 2015. The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime series Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works] second season.

I’m so glad ring your bell is a fast paced song with a lot of electric guitars in the background, although it also has something soothing because of the lovely strings and WAKANA’s vocals taking center stage. She is and always be my favorite member when it comes to the vocals. I think this is not just another Kalafina song, the first time I heard it it sounded very complex to me because of the melodies. It’s not catchy, but it’s not a bad thing because the overall feel of the song is so good. If this is the A-side that opens the new era, I couldn’t be happier! Magical!

Koibito no Mukashigatari no Yuugure no is one long title, phew. It translates as ‘the dusk of my lover’s past’, so there’s a little mystery for you. HIKARU finally shows up after WAKANA and KEIKO were better audible in the A-side, they sound like a trio again. After a mysterious and echoeing start, the song builds up and after two minutes more electric guitars and a slow beat drop in. It stays on the slower paced side, but it actually serves the whole mystery surrounding the ambience from the beginning. It’s a kickass track nonetheless and I hope it will be featured on their album!

ring your bell (in the silence) is a short orchestral piece, and although it bares similarities to the title track I don’t think it’s really the same song. Nonetheless, it’s breathtaking and a perfect addition to the single, the vocals are superb as well (WAKANA <3)!

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarstar
5 stars

Kalafina – believe

November 19, 2014 at 11:47 AM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – believe

1. believe
2. in every nothing
3. lapis
4. believe ~instrumental~

believe is the sixteenth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on November 19, 2014.The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime series Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works].

believe almost started off as a winter themed song with its soft chimes in the background, until it all starts to take flight and it becomes more of a power song. Some parts reminded me slightly of to the beginning, it has about the same energy and I adored that song so this comparison is a good thing. The best Kalafina songs in my opinion combine two things: harmonic vocalizations and epic guitar driven music. Double check!

How lovely is the beginning of in every nothing, I love the strings combined with a soft swelling percussion in the background. Every once in a while, Kalafina releases an atypical epic track and this must be it for this release, it even has more power than the A-side if you ask me. Loved the electric guitar solo in the middle of the song and WAKANA nailed it with her vocals.

Darn, is that KEIKO opening lapis? She sounds amazing with higher pitched vocals than usual, so different. To balance the single, I already expected this last track to be on the softer side and it definitely is. The focus is entirely on the vocals, softly harmonizing with piano music in the background. Later on, an electric guitar gives a little edge to it, but it all stays in the ballad category. Seventh Heaven, anyone?

OVERALL RATING
starstar
starstarstar
5 stars

Kalafina – After Eden

July 11, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Kalafina – After Eden

1. Eden
2. sandpiper
3. Magia
4. Kugatsu
5. in your eyes
6. destination unknown
7. neverending
8. Koto no wa
9. magnolia
10. Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa
11. Mune no Yukue
12. snow falling
13. symphonia

♦ ♦ ♦

After Eden is the third album by Japanese group Kalafina, released on September 21, 2011. The album peaked at #1 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for eleven weeks selling 34,034 copies.

Eden serves as the perfect opening song for the album since it gives off such a lighthearted and upbeat feeling. I like how HIKARU takes on the verses and hooks while WAKANA sings lead in the chorus, with KEIKO always setting a strong undertone for everything. I guess the overall vibe of the song is so appealing you easily forget it’s almost six minutes in length.

Kalafina always includes a very interesting and ethnic song on their albums, and sandpiper is just that. It reminds me so much of deserts with its use of percussion and the piano, guitar, strings and vocals create great melodies around it eventually. The overall feel of the song stays very mysterious and almost foreboding, I love it.

Magia was the latest B-side before this album was released and it turns out to be one of the strongest tracks on both this album and in their discography. The arrangement is perfect and sandpiper set the tone for this, since this track takes that foreboding quality to the next level. Magia is that kind of aggressive rock song that Kalafina hasn’t done before but it works so well for them, HIKARU carries everything to the fullest.

After three interesting and epic songs, we slow things down with Kugatsu, the first real ballad on the album. It’s like every other Kalafina ballad, but like all the other ballads this one has its own special touch too. Mostly it’s piano and some sparkling effects in the background, but a chorus and flute join in later on to give it more ‘oomph’. I love the vocals in this track, especially WAKANA’s.

Wow, Kalafina goes banghra with in your eyes. It even has some electro effects as well, this song took me so much by surprise. Even though this may be a weird transition from the dreamy world of Kugatsu, this song definitely works in every way. The vocals collaborate amazingly well and the bridge in this song is awesome, it definitely has that Oriental feel. It’s like a throwback to some of the songs on the Red Moon album!

destination unknown is one of the most jaw-dropping Kalafina tracks ever since it’s both rock and veeery fast paced, the percussion is very loud and the electric guitars are all over the place. This track asks for some lower octave vocals, which KEIKO ofcourse delivers perfectly, but even WAKANA hits the right spot. HIKARU adds the energy and spice to the chorus. That bridge, I can’t even.

After that aggressive track, neverending has one of the prettiest openings on the entire album. I just adore that violin solo and the chanting mimicing that same melody further on in the song. This song is a mid-tempo folk song that is another genre topping off the album, I already thought I was missing something. The KEIKO/WAKANA vocals combination works perfectly well again, giving me goosebumps every time. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album, although it’s too short to my liking.

Koto no wa is the song that serves as the interlude track I guess, since it’s so short and simple. It’s like a little music box opening, releasing some of its soft and dreamy content, and then closing again after nearly three minutes. Which go by pretty soon by the way.

Even though ‘adore’ is missing on the album, magnolia comes pretty close to capturing that same danceable electro style on the album. I didn’t expect a song witht this name to sound like this, but anyway. KEIKO does a great job on her solo’s, setting a mysterious tone to it. WAKANA takes over pretty soon, but she is my favorite singer after all. This is not their catchiest dance song to date, but it’ll do.

Next is Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa, their first A-side of the era, and although it’s a huge step back from magnolia to a more mellow sound, it does tend to stay in my head after only a couple of listens. The best thing about this entire song is the vocals and that little flute tune that comes in later in the song. It’s a simple but very effective song, the better ballad that beats Kugatsu by far.

My absolute favorite on this album is Mune no Yukue, KEIKO just opens this in such a beautiful way with her higher vocals. This song does put a little more emphasis on KEIKO and HIKARU for a change, which is great. This song has such an uplifting, hopeful and happy sound with its lyrics ‘Let me flow in the river of the heart‘, I just love that. Yep, nothing but love love love for this song.

Personally, I would’ve picked ‘adore’ over snow falling if we’re talking B-sides anyway, but here we have this B-side of the Magia single. This is probably the Kalafina song that resembles a lullaby most of all, and you could fall asleep easily listening to the soft piano music and legato notes by WAKANA. I don’t like HIKARU’s vocals this time, although the rest of the song is not too bad. Just a little too slow for me.

Closing the album, there is symphonia. It continues the use of long notes that snow falling also had, but this song is much grander and more interesting. KEIKO kicks it off perfectly with the other girls singing beautifully too. Even though this song is very pretty and interesting, it just doesn’t seem to stick with me very long. Too bad since it really has potential, but let’s talk about the overall album to set things right.

So this album is pretty much a collection of amazing songs all in their own way, so when every song has something good or interesting to offer, in the end it might be a little overwhelming for a song like symphonia. Anyway, I can’t be more satisfied with Kalafina now. They only had two singles before the release, but both the A-sides sparked my interests immediately. From beginning to end, this album collects their lovely rock, electro and folk sounds on one disc to create another great effort. Kajiura needs a standing ovation for this again.

Favorite songs: Eden | Magia | in your eyes | destination unknown | neverending | Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa | Mune no Yukue

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

Kalafina – Magia

July 11, 2014 at 11:15 AM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – Magia

1. Magia
2. snow falling (CD only)
3. Magia ~magic mix~ (Anime Edition only)
4. Magia ~TV Version~ (Anime Edition only)
5. Magia ~instrumental~

Magia is the ninth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on February 16, 2011. The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies.

Magia is by far one of Kalafina’s best and most epic songs to date. It’s also the first rock A-side by the group, well I’ll say. I’m always impressed by how ‘in your face’ this song is with its percussion, electric guitars, strings and gong effects. HIKARU takes over from WAKANA as the lead singer of this song and we all know HIKARU is at best in fast paced and aggressive songs like this one. Kalafina has gone evil in a good way, I adore it!

Wait, what? snow falling is definitely a complete 180 from Magia since it’s almost acapella. There’s just a piano and vocals by WAKANA and KEIKO for most of the song, when HIKARU sings her part a violin joins in as well. This song is like a lullaby, easily putting you in a dreamy state. Sometimes I can’t fully appreciate this because it’s too slow and I want something more energetic, but nonetheless this is an amazing and pretty song.

As one of their fewer remixes, Magia ~magic mix~ is a special song. What is not so special about this, is the fact that it sounds a lot emptier than the original. All the epic strings have been removed and it’s mostly HIKARU with some backing vocals by KEIKO doing all the work. I believe there is an erhu added to the arrangement somewhere, but I’m not sure. I prefer the original way more.

OVERALL RATING
starstarstarstarhalfstar
4½ stars

The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf
The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf

The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf

The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf
The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf
The title track was used as the ending theme for the anime Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica. The single reached #7 on the Oricon weekly charts, and charted for 21 weeks, selling 48,679 copies. – See more at: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Magia#sthash.bwxPYgfi.dpuf

Kalafina – Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa

July 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM | Posted in Kalafina | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Kalafina – Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa

1. Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa
2. adore
3. Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa ~instrumental~

Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa is the eighth single by Japanese group Kalafina, released on September 15, 2010. The single debuted at #8 on the Oricon Charts. The title track was used as the insert song for the anime Kuroshitsuji II.

Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa is an underrated song when I see what other reviewers have written about it. True, this song has a simplistic beginning with just a piano, strings and vocals by KEIKO and WAKANA, but it gets much more powerful afterwards when drums and electric guitars come in. That little flute addition just finishes everything off. For once, HIKARU’s solo spices up the entire song and she’s at the top of her game.

What is a good Kalafina single without a good B-side? adore makes for the danceable track on the single and Kalafina makes some of the best electro songs in the business. I love how the fast beats and soft strings contrast each other here, just like the girls’ vocals. WAKANA takes centre stage with her soft and melodic sound, while KEIKO and HIKARU take care of the powerful and sassy touches. I love this entire single, it has definitely grown a lot on me in the past four years!

OVERALL RATING
star
starstarstarstar
5 stars

 

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