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Ultraman: Towards the Future, known as Ultraman Great (ウルトラマンGグレート, Urutoraman Gurēto) in Japan, is a tokusatsu sci-Fi/kaiju/superhero TV series produced in 1990 in Australia by the South Australian Film Corporation and Tsuburaya Productions, making it the tenth series in the Ultraman Series, and the first to be produced in Japan's Heisei era.

The series was first released on home video and LaserDisc in Japan on September 25, 1990, and was later broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System from July 8 to September 30, 1995. The show was distributed in the United States by Sachs Family Entertainment, and broadcast weekly from January 4 to March 28, 1992.

The series consists of 13 episodes, the first 6 making up the "Gudis Threat" story arc. At the time, eco-awareness was at a high, and many episodes included environmental themes. Ultraman's three minute time limit is also attributed to "Earth's polluted atmosphere" in this version.

Production[]

Ultraman Towards the Future poster 0005

Promotional artwork for Ultraman: Towards the Future.[1]

In 1986, preparations began for the project "New Ultraman," which was scheduled to be broadcast on TBS. At that time, Tsuburaya Productions was busy collaborating with Hanna-Barbera Productions to create the animated film Ultraman: The Adventure Begins. As for the new project driving the live-action series forward, it was proposed based on the popularity gained from the reruns of past series on television at that time. The project was overseen by Koichi Takano, Kazuho Mitsuta, and Kiyoshi Suzuki. Some screenwriters, including Noboru Aikawa, Hidenori Miyazawa, Chiaki J. Konaka, and Akinori Endo, also participated in the initial meetings. However, the project was shelved after six months.[2][3]

In early 1989, under the impetus of Kiyoshi Suzuki, the project was relaunched. Originally aimed at airing on TBS, the project proposal explicitly stated that the greatest allure of Ultraman lies in its "mystery" and declared the exclusion of "Ultra Brothers." This move was not only to initiate a new television series but also to reboot the franchise by resetting key aspects of Ultraman.[2]

The project emphasized three main elements of the original Ultraman series: "Ultraman," "monsters," and the "defense team." Two approaches for constructing the new series were proposed. Approach A advocated for a faithful portrayal of the "defense team" without introducing new concepts. Approach B, which became the core of the project, suggested starting changes from the defense team if modifications to the existing series were required. This involved a "reconstruction" of the defense team, establishing a specialized "LDM" (Laboratory for Destruction of Monsters) responsible for eliminating monsters. The protagonist's affiliation with the defense team shifted from a defense army or police organization to a team focused on monster research, analysis, and countermeasures, presenting a more realistic inclination. This also implied a reinforcement of the human drama aspect through the defense team.[2]

In early March 1989, Chiaki J. Konaka and Kazuya Konaka, who participated in the meeting, submitted a document titled "New Ultraman Conceptual Plot" (新・ウルトラマン CONCEPTUAL PLOT, Shin Urutoraman CONCEPTUAL P LOT).[4][5] Based on this synopsis, they organized a "New Series Proposal." This proposal centered around the Defense Team LULF (Laboratory to Unknown Life Forms), depicting a world where there is no knowledge of monster extermination. The protagonists undertake missions involving preliminary investigations and methods of repelling monsters, attempting to address the issue of the rationality of transitioning from patrol to investigation and then repulsion for a few individuals. Before the start of the second draft, it was confirmed that securing a broadcast slot on TBS would be difficult. Suzuki proposed a strategy of releasing the work in videotape format, which would also ensure easier production costs. A production committee was established with the media department of the Bandai Group at its center.[2]

To expand globally, the production aimed to use English-speaking countries as its production base, with production taking place outside of Japan. Australia was selected as the filming location, with Paul Nicola[6] recommended by Suzuki as the head of SFX, Andrew Prowse as the director, and Ken Arlidge as the fight scene director. Production was conducted in three shifts on location at the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC), operated by the South Australian government, with Adelaide as the central hub. Only a few scenes were shot in studios in Sydney.[7][8]

Ultraman Shinpen

The poster draft for "Ultraman Divine Change" designed by Tohl Narita was commissioned for the promotion of this series. However, due to various reasons, it was ultimately not used.[9][10]

Once the production arrangements were finalized, based on the setting of "New Ultraman," Aikawa created a full outline for the six-episode series titled Ultraman Divine Change (ウルトラマン神変, Urutoraman Shinpen). The story centered around the dichotomy of good and evil with Gudis at its core. The Ultraman's setting was clearly defined in the second draft of the "memorandum." They were referred to as "observers," depicting Ultraman as a highly evolved race akin to "gods," observing the growth of life and maintaining a neutral stance towards humanity. However, considering overseas sales, the series was eventually expanded to seven episodes, forming a seasonal structure.[8][11]

By late August 1989, the preparation work by the Japanese team of writers was completed. The scripts written by Aikawa and others were adapted by Terry Larsen[12], who meticulously reconstructed the series' environmental and ecological themes to suit the demands of television broadcasting in Europe and America. Filming and editing work in Australia progressed smoothly, with many special effects scenes taking advantage of Australia's geographical features, utilizing open shooting locations and natural light to convey a sense of scale. The overall principal photography period was only four months.[8]

In the series, the costumes for the monsters were initially planned to be filmed using animatronics and puppets, controlled through a waldo-style cable system. However, due to the inability of Animatronics to convey a sense of strength and speed, as well as its impact on the filming progress, it was ultimately decided not to use them. Instead, rubber suits were used as a substitute. Ultraman's suit, on the other hand, utilized spandex material.[13][14] Vicky Kite was responsible for producing the suits, while Andrew Blaxland supervised the production design. Filming of the work on 35mm celluloid was completed in the first half of 1990. The production news of the series was announced to the public at the end of 1989, with the character images released in February 1990.[8]

The series generated a merchandise line including toys, comic books and a video game.

Synopsis[]

Jack Shindo and Stanley Haggard are members of the first manned expedition to Mars, and on the red planet find a giant slug-like monster, Gudis. Suddenly the giant warrior, Ultraman (Great), arrives and fights Gudis, but is knocked down for a period. Jack Shindo is pinned by a rockslide and Haggard tries to escape in their ship but is blown up by Gudis.

It is then that Ultraman gets up, and when he is on the verge of victory, Gudis changes into a virus and travels to Earth, where it plans on corrupting all life, mutating other creatures into monsters and awakening existing ones. Needing a human host to survive on Earth, Ultraman joins with Jack, allowing him to become the mighty alien when all seems lost. He joins the Universal Multipurpose Agency, or UMA, in order to help them battle the many monsters that threaten humanity.

Characters[]

UMA[]

Others[]

Ultras[]

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

Character English Japanese dub
Jack Shindo Dore Kraus Masaki Kyomoto
Jean Echo Gia Carides Yoshiko Sakakibara
Arthur Grant Ralph Cotterill Akiji Kobayashi
Kim Shaomin Grace Parr Fumi Hirano
Charles Morgan Lloyd Morris Shingo Yanagisawa
Lloyd Wilder Rick Adams Koichi Yamadera

Voice Actors[]

Character English Japanese dub
Ultraman Great Matthew O'Sullivan Masaaki Okabe
Narrator John Bonney
Gus Mercurio (movies)
Hiroshi Fujioka (episodes 1-6)
Kenji Utsumi (episodes 7-13)
Tessho Genda (episode previews)

Guest Cast[]

Character English Japanese dub
Stanley Haggard Jay Hackett[15] Eizou Tsuda
Ike David Grybowski[16] Kazuhiko Kishino
Technicians[17] Chris Kemp[16]
Debbie Little[16]
Paul Coulson[18]
Nicki Patterson[18]
Jimmy Martin Hamish Fletcher[19] Daisuke Namikawa
Rachael[17] Fiona Jarvis[19] Atsuko Koganezawa
Archaeologist[17] Raymond Jurgens[19]
Site Foreman[17] Brian Knott[19]
Caitlin McDougall[19]
Greg Elliott[19]
Mudjudi Ernie Dingo[20] Ryusei Nakao
Dave[21] Alec Wilson[20]
Robbo[21] Stephen Horne[20]
Bartender[21] Betty Sumner[20]
General Brewer Peter Raymond Powell[22] Shozo Iizuka
Inspector Sykes Norman Yemm[23] Kiyoshi Kobayashi
Mary[21] Carmel Johnson[23]
Jenny Sharna Coates[23] Atsuko Mine
Bulldozer Driver[21] Adrian Shirley[23]
Peter Green[23]
Boy Russel Wirrabone[23]
Sandman Peter Dunn[24] Takuzou Kamiyama
Johnson Don Barker[24] Masao Imanishi
Dr. Leonie Krankstein Lyn Shakespeare[25] Aiko Konoshima
Brian Debnam[25]
Graham Dawson[25]
Sebastian Scott[25]
Tib Horvath[25]
Veronica Oriana Panozzo[26] Keiko Han
Susan[21] Lym Semler[26]
Drunk[21] Francis Greenslade[26] Masashi Hirose
Homeless Persons[21] Caroline Mignon[26]
Sean Ladhams[26]
Hideyuki Umezu
Lou Varsallo[21] Ike's Assistant[26]
Railway Guard[21] Claire Benito[26]
Veronica as an older woman[21] Lauriel Smart[26]
Ryugulo Leigh Biolis (voice)[21]
Lloyd Morris (human form)[21]
Kazuhiro Nakata
Norberg Patrick Frost[27] Ichiro Nagai
Kathryn Fisher[27]
Philip Stephens[27]
Geoffrey Ashton[27]
Curator/Evangelist[21] Edwin Hodgeman[28]
Silo Kid[21] Michael Coard[28]

Suit Actors[]

  • Ultraman Great: Steve Apps and Robert Simper
  • Monsters: Mike Read and Johnny Halliday

Staff[]

  • Production Company: The South Australian Film Corporation
  • Executive Producers: Noboru Tsuburaya, Richard Watson
  • Supervising Producers: Kiyoshi Suzuki, Gus Howard
  • Producers: Kiyoshi Suzuki, Sue Wild
  • Music: Shinsuke Kazato
  • Performed by: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
  • Music Producer: Shizuka Tamagawa
  • Music Directors: Kazuo Kogure, Kevin Roper
  • Music Production Supervisors: Hidetoshi Kimura, Michael Elwood
  • SFX Consultant: Koichi Takano
  • Original Concept: Noboru Aikawa, Hidenori Miyazawa, Chiaki J. Konaka, Akinori Endo, Satoshi Suzuki
  • Director: Andrew Prowse
  • Series Composition: Terry Larsen
  • Director of Photography: Paul Dallwitz
  • Special Effects: Paul Nicola
  • Art Director: Andrew Blaxland
  • Action Sequence Director: Ken Arlidge
  • Stunt Choreographer: Glenn Boswell
  • Ultraman Design: Hiromitsu Murayama
  • Kaiju Design: Minoru Yoshida
  • Production Support: Mitsubishi Motors, Royal Australian Air Force
  • Japanese Version Staff Producer: Juuhachi Shimada
  • Japanese Version Staff Sound Director: Hiroshi Yamazaki
  • Japanese Version Staff Production: Production Yurika
  • Production: Tsuburaya Productions
    • Ultraman Production Committee (Bandai, Kodansha, Takii Corporation, KSS, Marubeni)

Music[]

Opening Themes
  • Bokura no Great (ぼくらのグレート, Bokura no Gurēto, lit. Our Great) (Japanese)
  • The Silver Giant (English)
    • Composition: Shinsuke Kazato
Ending Theme
  • Chikyu wa Kimi o Mattteita (地球は君を待っていた, lit. The Earth Was Waiting For You)
    • Artist: Masaki Kyomoto
Insert Themes
  • Mirai e Mukatte (未来へ向かって, lit. Towards the Future)
    • Artist: Masaki Kyomoto
  • THE EARTH IT'S HURTIN'
    • Artist: Masaki Kyomoto

Merchandising[]

Soundtrack[]

The music was composed by Shinsuke Kazato and released by Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd (COCC-9745) in 1992. The soundtrack is very rare, it went quickly out of print and can now only be found used. The music was performed by The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

Toy Line[]

The series also received an equally short-lived toyline from DreamWorks toys. The figures were 10" tall and included Ultraman, who came with a mini Jack Shindo, as well as his enemies Bogun, Barrangas, Majaba, Gerukadon and Kilazee. Also released was a toy of the Hummer vehicle which included a mini figure of Charlie Morgan. A toy of the Saltop was advertised on the back of all boxes, though it was never released or produced according to a Bandai representative. Despite their unique size, the toys were not without their problems. Jack, Charlie and the Hummer were well out of scale with the other toys, while the Ultraman figure lacked articulation. Also, despite being the main villain for the first story arc, neither version of Gudis was released as a toy in the DreamWorks line (although one did appear in Bandai's Japanese vinyl Ultraman line). However, Gudis was mentioned on the packaging of all the figures.

Home Media[]

There were two video releases in the West. In 1990, New World Entertainment distributed two feature versions - Ultraman - The Alien Invasion and Ultraman - The Battle For Earth, which were released in Canada by Malofilm Video. They were slightly letterboxed and some limited post production video effects were added as well as replacing the original narrator John Bonney with Gus Mercurio. In 1993, L.A. Hero released the entire series in 13 voulmes. Some of the releases were taken from the television syndication video masters and still had the commercial bumpers.

Emotion released the entire series on LaserDisc.

The Japanese release of the show had Ultraman Great's voice added with additional Ultra kiai recorded by Masao Nakasone (though it frequently overlaps with Matthew O'Sullivan's dubbed grunts), with his Color Timer's sound being reused from the original's.

In 2017, the entire series was released on Blu-ray in Japan, with both English and Japanese dubbed language tracks, and a total two versions of the TV show: English Hardsubbed, and Japanese broadcast. The release also features two compilation movies also in original English, non-hardsubbed release. All of the Episodes are upscaled and slightly modified from the Japanese broadcasts.[29]

Comic Book[]

A comic book retelling of/sequel to the series, published in early 1993 by Harvey Comics' short-lived "Nemesis" label, was printed in the United States. However, the comic treats Ultraman Great as the same Ultraman from the original 1966 series. The comic has also been known to confuse Ultraman: Towards the Future with the subsequent American-produced series, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (which was released as Ultraman Powered in Japan), of which the comic had included plenty of full-color publicity pictures in many issues to generate interest. After 8 issues (most of these issues had different collectible cover variants, a trend prevalent in the "Speculator Boom" at the time), the comic series was canceled once Harvey Comics went out of business the next year.

Cancelled Plans[]

Season 2[]

As revealed by Sho Aikawa there were plans to make a season 2 of Great. While most information on it is unknown, what is known is that it would've continued after the finale of season 1 with Ultraman Great returning to Earth to protect it from more monsters and aliens. The Alien Baltan was set to appear as alien invaders in a three-episode storyline with some other popular Ultra monsters potentially showing up as well. Veronica and Ryugulo were to come back and assist the Ultra in defending Earth, mainly in the Baltan's invasion. The Ultra Brothers were also considered for guest appearances. The season would've had 14 episodes in total or episodes 14 - 27.

Ultraman Great Goes To Japan[]

There was a movie idea thrown around about Ultraman Great visiting Japan and stopping a powerful villain there. Not much else is known really beside the fact of potential crossovers with Showa Ultras.

Gallery[]

External Links[]

References[]

  1. https://www.scifijapan.com/ultraman-tsuburaya/ultraman-towards-the-future-retrospective-in-shadowland-magazine
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 18: Ultraman Great / Ultraman Powered, pg 4
  3. Entertainment Archive : Ultraman G & Ultraman Powered pg 66
  4. https://moviewalker.jp/news/article/202295/p2/
  5. https://akiba-souken.com/article/37636/?page=2
  6. https://rcscifi.blogspot.com/2021/02/ultraman-towards-future-aka-ultraman.html
  7. https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/last-40-years-exploring-south-australia-film
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 18: Ultraman Great / Ultraman Powered, pg 5
  9. https://x.com/nishi_ogi/status/981763265888796672
  10. https://muuseo.com/PPPppppppQQQ/items/36
  11. Entertainment Archive : Ultraman G & Ultraman Powered pg 68
  12. https://vantagepointinterviews.com/2021/11/19/ultraman-out-west-terry-larsen-on-scripting-the-groundbreaking-tokusatsu-series-ultraman-towards-the-future/
  13. https://vantagepointinterviews.com/2020/12/10/from-monster-kid-to-monster-maker-model-maker-norman-yeend-on-living-the-dream-on-the-set-of-ultraman/
  14. https://vantagepointinterviews.com/2021/03/21/ultraman-down-under-a-candid-conversation-with-steve-rosewell-about-ultraman-towards-the-future/
  15. Episode 1 credits
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Episode 2 credits
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Ultraman: The Alien Invasion credits
  18. 18.0 18.1 Episode 5 credits
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 Episode 3 credits
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Episode 4 credits
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 Ultraman: The Battle for Earth credits
  22. Episode 6 credits
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 Episode 7 credits
  24. 24.0 24.1 Episode 8 credits
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Episode 9 credits
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 26.6 26.7 Episode 10 credits
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Episode 11 credits
  28. 28.0 28.1 Episode 12 credits
  29. https://m-78.jp/ultraman-bd/ultraman_great/

Productions
Showa Series Ultra Q | Ultraman | Ultraseven | Return of Ultraman | Ultraman Ace | Ultraman Taro | Ultraman Leo | Ultraman 80
Heisei Series Ultraman Tiga | Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Cosmos | Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy | Ultraman Nexus | Ultraman Max | Ultraman Mebius | Ultraseven X | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey | Neo Ultra Q | Ultraman Ginga | Ultraman Ginga S | Ultraman X | Ultraman Orb | Ultraman Geed | Ultraman R/B
Reiwa Series Ultraman Taiga | Ultraman Z | Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga | Ultraman Decker | Ultraman Blazar | Ultraman Arc
Outside of Japan Ultraman: The Adventure Begins | Ultraman: Towards the Future | Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero | Ultraman: Rising
Original Video and TV Special Ultra Fight | Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider | Ultra Super Fight | Ultraman Nice | Heisei Ultraseven | Ultraman Neos | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Idemitsujin | Ultra Zone
Showa Movies Ultraman: Monster Movie Feature | Ultraman, Ultraseven: Great Violent Monster Fight | Return of Ultraman | The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. The Monster Army | Ultraman (1979) | Ultraman: Great Monster Decisive Battle | Return of Ultraman: MAT Arrow 1 Takeoff Order | Ultraman ZOFFY: Ultra Warriors vs. the Giant Monster Army | Ultraman Story
Heisei Movies Ultra Q The Movie | Revive! Ultraman | Ultraman Zearth | Ultraman Zearth 2 | Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, & Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odyssey | Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact | Ultraman Cosmos 2 | New Century Ultraman Legend | Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice | New Century 2003 Ultraman Legend | ULTRAMAN (2004) | Ultraman Mebius & the Ultra Brothers | Super 8 Ultra Brothers | Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie | Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial | Ultraman Saga | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Battle Royale | Ultraman Ginga S The Movie | Ultraman X The Movie | Ultraman Orb The Movie | Ultraman Geed The Movie | Ultraman R/B The Movie
Reiwa Movies Ultraman Taiga The Movie | Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z | Shin Ultraman | Ultraman Decker Finale | Ultraman Blazar The Movie
Spin-Offs Andro Melos | Ultraman Zearth: Parody Chapter | Revival of the Ancient Giant | The Return of Hanejiro | Gaia Again | Ultra Q Kaiju Legend | Ultraman Kaiju Legend | Hikari Saga | Armored Darkness | Ghost Rebirth | Ultraman Zero vs. Darklops Zero | Q - Door to Another Dimension | Killer the Beatstar | Ultra Zero Fight | Ultra Fight Victory | Ultraman Orb THE ORIGIN SAGA | Ultra Fight Orb | New Generation Heroes | The Absolute Conspiracy | Sevenger Fight | The Struggle of Special Section 3 | The Destined Crossroad | Continued Ultra Fight | Shin Ultra Fight | Return of Special Section 3 | Ultraman Regulos | Ultraman Regulos: First Mission | Ultraseven IF Story | SKaRD Break Room
Rebroadcast Shows Ultraman Retsuden | New Ultraman Retsuden | Ultraman Zero: The Chronicle | Ultraman Orb: The Chronicle | Ultraman New Generation Chronicle | Ultraman Chronicle: ZERO & GEED | Ultraman Chronicle Z: Heroes' Odyssey | Ultraman Chronicle D | Ultraman New Generation Stars
Informational Ultraman The Prime | ULTRAMAN ARCHIVES | Ultra Science Fantasy Hour | Ultra Fight Club | UlSummer Information Station | Ultra Information Center | Professor Teruaki's "Blazar Kaiju Academy" | Super Power! Ultra Encyclopedia! | Ultra Construction Tour | THE ORIGIN OF ULTRAMAN | Ultraman 4K Discovery
Docudramas Fly in the Sea Breeze! Ultraman | The Men Who Made Ultraman | My Beloved Ultraseven | The Man Who Wanted to be Ultraman | The Kaiju Club | The Two Ultramen
Other Series and Movies Kaiju Booska | Captain Ultra | Mighty Jack | Fight! Mighty Jack | Operation: Mystery | Chibira-kun | Mirrorman | Redman | Triple Fighter | Emergency Directive 10-4·10-10 | Iron King | Horror Theater Unbalance | Fireman | Jumborg Ace | Mirror Fight | Jumborg Ace & Giant | Mars Men | Army of the Apes | Pro-Wres no Hoshi Azteckaiser | The Last Dinosaur | Dinosaur Expedition Born Free | Dinosaur Great War Izenborg | Star Wolf | Dinosaur Squadron Koseidon | Anime-chan | Gridman the Hyper Agent | Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad | Moon Spiral | Cyber Beauties Telomere | Booska! Booska!! | Otasuke Girl | Mysterious Incident Special Investigation Team SRI | Mirrorman REFLEX | Bio Planet WoO | Operation: Mystery - Second File | Mirror Fight 2012 | Operation: Mystery - Mystery File | Gridknight Fight
Anime The☆Ultraman | Ultraman Kids | Ultraman Graffiti: Wild! Ultra Country | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Nyan | Ultra Nyan 2: The Great Happy Operation | Ultraman M78 Theater Love & Peace | Gridman the Hyper Agent: boys invent great hero | The・Ultraman: Jackal vs. Ultraman | Kaiju Sakaba Kanpai! | Kaiju Girls | SSSS.GRIDMAN | ULTRAMAN (2019) | Kaiju Step Wandabada | SSSS.DYNAZENON | KAIJU DECODE | GRIDMAN UNIVERSE
Outlaw Content Space Warriors 2000 | Project Ultraman | Ultraman The Animation | Ultraman: A Little Journey on Earth | Fun... English with Ultraman | Young Ultraman | Ultraman Big Transformation | Sinic Q | Red Jade | Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman | Dragon Force: Rise of Ultraman
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