Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile

Cover art from volume 1 of the manga Nodame Cantabile, by Tomoko Ninomiya
(Nodame Kantābire)
Genre Slice of life, Romantic comedy, Drama, Classical music
Written by Tomoko Ninomiya
Published by Kodansha
English publisher
Del Rey Manga (former) Kodansha Comics USA (digital, current)[1]
Demographic Josei
Magazine Kiss
Original run July 10, 2001October 10, 2009
Volumes 23
Television drama
Directed by Takeuchi Hideki
Network Fuji TV
Original run October 16, 2006 December 25, 2006
Episodes 11
Anime television series
Directed by Ken'ichi Kasai
Written by Tomoko Konparu
Studio J.C.Staff
Network Fuji TV (Noitamina), Animax
English network
Original run January 11, 2007 June 26, 2007
Episodes 23+1
Television drama
Nodame Cantabile Shinshun Special in Europe
Directed by Takeuchi Hideki
Network Fuji TV
Original run January 4, 2008 January 5, 2008
Episodes 2
Anime television series
Nodame Cantabile: Paris-Hen
Directed by Chiaki Kon
Written by Yōji Enokido
Studio J.C.Staff
Network Fuji TV (Noitamina)
Original run October 9, 2008 December 18, 2008
Episodes 11+1
Nodame Cantabile - Opera Hen
Written by Tomoko Ninomiya
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Josei
Magazine Kiss
Original run December 10, 2009September 10, 2010
Volumes 2
Live-action film
Nodame Cantabile Saishū Gakushō Zen-Pen
Released December 19, 2009 (2009-12-19)
Live-action film
Nodame Cantabile Saishū Gakushō Kou-Hen
Released April 17, 2010 (2010-04-17)
Anime television series
Nodame Cantabile: Finale
Directed by Chiaki Kon
Written by Kazuki Nakashima
Studio J.C.Staff
Network Fuji TV (Noitamina)
Original run January 14, 2010 March 25, 2010
Episodes 11+2

Nodame Cantabile (Japanese: のだめカンタービレ Hepburn: Nodame Kantābire) is a manga by Tomoko Ninomiya. It was serialized in Japan by Kodansha in the magazine Kiss from July 2001 to October 2009 and collected in 23 tankōbon volumes. A two-volume sequel, called Nodame Cantabile: Opera Chapter, which began serialization in the December 2009 issue of Kiss, was released in 2010. It is licensed in North America by Del Rey Manga. The series depicts the relationship between two aspiring classical musicians, Megumi "Nodame" Noda and Shinichi Chiaki, as university students and after graduation. It received the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for best shōjo manga.

The series has been adapted as four different television series: as an award-winning Japanese live-action drama that aired in 2006 followed by a sequel television special that aired in January 2008, as an anime series spanning three seasons with the first broadcast in 2007, the second in 2008 and the third in 2010,[2] and a 2014 South Korean drama adaptation.[3][4] Two live-action movie sequels to the Japanese television drama, with the same actors, were produced with release dates of 18 December 2009 and April 2010.[5] In addition, several soundtrack albums of classical music have been released, as well as three video games.

In 2016 a final installment was published in the April edition of Kiss.


Shinichi Chiaki, an arrogant, multilingual perfectionist, is the top student at Momogaoka College of Music and has secret ambitions to become a conductor. Born into a musical family, he is talented in piano and violin and once lived abroad in the music capitals of the world as a young boy (namely Prague), but is trapped in Japan because of his childhood phobia of airplanes and the ocean. In contrast, Megumi Noda, or "Nodame", is a piano student at Momogaoka, notorious for messiness and eccentric behavior. Despite being very talented, Nodame prefers to play by ear rather than according to the musical score; thus, she is regarded as sloppy and playful.

When they meet by accident, Nodame quickly falls in love, but it takes much longer for Chiaki to even begin to appreciate Nodame's unusual qualities. Their relationship causes them both to develop and grow. Along the way, they meet some crazy people (like Masumi, Mine, and Stresemann) and make lasting friendships. Because of Nodame, Chiaki gets the opportunity to lead a student orchestra and begins to have a broader appreciation of people's musical abilities. Because of Chiaki, Nodame faces her fears and enters a piano competition. Opportunities open up as both begin taking risks, stretching themselves far more than they ever thought possible.

After graduation, Nodame succeeds in curing Chiaki from his phobias and they both move to Paris, where Nodame continues her piano studies at the Conservatoire de Paris while Chiaki starts a professional career as a conductor. In Europe, they encounter new friends and rivals, as well as keep in touch with their friends from Japan.


Tomoko Ninomiya based the character of Megumi Noda on a real-life counterpart with the same name. Ninomiya first learned about the real Noda when the latter, a music college student at the time, posted a photograph of her messy room on a website Ninomiya managed. This inspired her to start a comedy series about a sloppy music student. Ninomiya consults with Noda about musical details, claiming to receive inspiration from her, and thanks Noda in the acknowledgments of every tankōbon volume of Nodame Cantabile.[6][7] Noda, currently a piano teacher in Fukuoka (the home-town of her fictional counterpart), composed the music and co-wrote (with Ninomiya) the lyrics for the "Fart Song" Nodame plays in the first episode of the anime series,[6] and visited Ninomiya upon the birth of her son.[8]

Ninomiya also based the character of James DePreist, the musical director of the fictional Roux-Marlet Orchestra in Paris, on a real-life counterpart with the same name. James DePreist was Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and conducted the Nodame Orchestra, which provided the music for both the live-action drama and the anime adaptations.



The Nodame Cantabile manga was written and illustrated by Tomoko Ninomiya. It was serialized by Kodansha in the biweekly josei (aimed at younger adult women) manga magazine Kiss from July 10, 2001, to October 10, 2009. The untitled chapters have been collected in 23 tankōbon volumes. It was licensed in North America by Del Rey Manga,[9] which released 16 of the 23 volumes.[10] In 2016 Kodansha USA announced that they received the rights to the series for digital release.[11] It is licensed in France by Pika Édition,[12] in South Korea by Daiwon C.I.,[13] in Thailand by NED Comics,[14] in Indonesia by Elex Media Komputindo,[15] and in Taiwan by Tong Li Comics.[16] All volume covers feature Nodame with a musical instrument.

Starting in May 2008, Japanese serialization changed from biweekly to monthly because of Ninomiya's pregnancy. Serialization went on hiatus starting October 2008 following the birth of her son and Ninomiya's subsequent diagnosis of having carpal tunnel syndrome, but resumed again with the March 10, 2009 issue of Kiss on an irregular schedule depending on her continued recovery.[17] In June 2009, the series went on hiatus again when Ninomiya was hospitalized with acute appendicitis, and resumed serialization in the July 25 issue.[18] In July 2009, Asahi Shimbun reported that the manga was scheduled to end in the spring of 2010, coinciding with the release of the final live-action movie.[18][19] However, the series ended with chapter 136 in the October 10, 2009 issue of the magazine.

Starting in late 2009, a sequel titled Nodame Cantabile - Opera Hen started running in the same magazine. It ended in September 2010. The numbering of the volumes follow right after the original series so they start at volume 24.

On 25 February 2016 in the April 2016 edition of Kiss, Ninomiya published, a one shot set five years after the last installment, it has been described as a final coda to Nodame and Chiaki's story.[20]

Live-action drama

Nodame Cantabile has been adapted as a live-action television drama broadcast in 11 hour-long episodes from October 16 to December 25, 2006, on Fuji TV, covering events up to volume 9 of the manga. This was followed by a four-hour sequel television special, Nodame Cantabile New Year's Special in Europe, adapting further events in the manga after Chiaki and Nodame move to Paris, broadcast on Fuji TV on January 4 and 5, 2008. These were directed by Hideki Takeuchi from scripts by Rin Etou, and starred Hiroshi Tamaki as Shinichi Chiaki and Juri Ueno as Megumi "Nodame" Noda.

Music direction was by Daisuke Mogi with original music by Takayuki Hattori, with several works of classical music featured in each episode.[21] The orchestral music was performed by Nodame Orchestra, which consisted of members specially selected for the live-action drama with professional support from the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra was conducted by James DePriest, Permanent Conductor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, who would later have his name and likeness used in the Nodame storyline as the musical director of the fictional Roux-Marlet Orchestra. The opening theme for both the drama series and special was the First movement ("Andante Cantabile") from Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, and the ending theme was Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, both performed by the Nodame Orchestra conducted by Toshiaki Umeda.

An episode of PuriGorota: Uchū no Yūjō Daibōken (プリごろ太 宇宙の友情大冒険), the fictional anime series that Nodame watches, was created by J.C.Staff for the drama. The anime was written and directed by Ken'ichi Kasai, the director of the first season of the Nodame Cantabile anime. Segments of the PuriGorota anime were shown during episode 4 of the Nodame Cantabile drama, with the complete anime released as a DVD extra with the Nodame Cantabile anime series.

Two live-action movie sequels to the television drama with the same actors were produced, with the first film being released in December 2009, while the second film was released in April 2010.[5] Filming began in May 2009 and lasted for five months,[22] and included location filming in Vienna.[18] On May 4, 2009, the drama began airing in the Philippines on the GMA Network.[23] In South Korea the drama aired on MBC's cable channel where it achieved peak ratings of 2%, which is a record high for a foreign cable drama.[24]

A South Korean adaptation titled Cantabile Tomorrow starring Joo Won and Shim Eun-kyung aired on KBS2 in 2014.[3][4]


Nodame Cantabile was also adapted as an anime television series, produced by Fuji TV and animated by J.C.Staff. The series was broadcast on Fuji and associated stations in the Noitamina time slot. The first season, titled Nodame Cantabile, was broadcast in 23 episodes from January 11 to June 28, 2007, and the second season, called Nodame Cantabile: Paris Chapter, was broadcast in 11 episodes from October 8 to December 18, 2008. Both seasons were also later aired in Japan on the satellite television network Animax. The first season was directed by Ken'ichi Kasai (the director of the Honey and Clover anime) and the second season by Chiaki Kon, and starred Ayako Kawasumi as Megumi "Nodame" Noda and Tomokazu Seki as Shinichi Chiaki. An original video animation (OVA) episode was included with the limited edition volume 22 of the manga when it was published in Japan on 10 August 2009,[25] and a third and final anime season, called Nodame Cantabile: Finale began airing in January 2010.[2][18]

On February 6, 2009, the series received its English language television premiere on Animax Asia across its networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, airing the series with its original Japanese audio and English subtitles.[26] and later its air in English Dubbed on 12 June 2009.

The music director for both seasons was Suguru Matsutani. As with the live-action drama, several works of classical music were featured in each episode,[27] performed by the Nodame Orchestra. The opening theme of season one was "Allegro Cantabile" by Suemitsu & The Suemith, and the ending themes were "Konna ni Chikaku de..." by Crystal Kay (episodes 1–12), "Sagittarius" by Suemitsu & the Nodame Orchestra (episodes 13–22), and "Allegro Cantabile" by Suemitsu & The Suemith (episode 23). The opening theme for the second season was "Sky High" by The Gospellers (with melody taken from the Third movement ("Allegro Scherzando") of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2), and the ending theme was "Tokyo et Paris" (東京 et Paris, lit. "Tokyo and Paris") by Emiri Miyamoto x solita (with variations on the theme from Ravel's Boléro). The opening theme for the final season is "Manazashi Daydream" by Yuu Sakai (with variations on the theme from Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring) and the ending theme is "Kaze to Oka no Ballad (風と丘のバラード)" by Real Paradis with Nodame Orchestra.

The first season was released on 8 DVDs between April and November 2007. A box set was released in February 2008 with an additional 15-minute original video animation (OVA), taking place between episodes 8 and 9. The series has been licensed in Russia and South Korea. The first DVD of the second season was released on 24 December 2008.


Several albums of classical music have been released in association with Nodame Cantabile. Some were promotional tie-ins with the manga, while others are soundtrack albums for the live-action and anime series.

In addition, Nodame Cantabile Special BEST! Released in December 2007, a "best-of" compilation of the most popular works from these albums to date.


Three Nodame Cantabile games have been released in Japan:


The manga of Nodame Cantabile received the 2004 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga,[33] and was a jury recommendation at both the 2005 and 2008 Japan Media Arts Festivals.[34][35] It was a finalist for the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2005 and 2006,[36][37] but did not win. In 2006, the English translation was named by the New York Public Library as one of the Books for the Teen Age.[38] The series sold 2.8 million copies in 2008, making it the 8th best-selling manga series in Japan that year.[39] Volume 17 was the third best-selling manga on the Oricon charts for 2007,[40] and volumes 20 and 21 were the 6th and 7th best-selling manga on the Oricon charts for 2008, respectively, selling 1.2 million copies each.[41] According to an Oricon survey men and women aged 10–40, Nodame Cantabile was the second "most interesting" manga series published during 2008.[42][43] The series and its associated music albums are credited with increasing sales of classical music in Japan.[44] As a whole, the series is a best-seller in Japan, having sold over 37 million copies as of March 2015.[45]

The English translation of Nodame Cantabile has been praised for its quirky, interesting characters,[46] sense of humor,[47][48] and clean art.[49][50] Dirk Deppey in The Comics Journal praised Ninomiya's storytelling, saying she "has a solid sense of when to accentuate the highs and lows with just the right note, and understands that one can only do this by not hitting such notes very often", resulting in "an understated soap opera" that is "a seamless and enjoyable storytelling experience."[51] Reviewers have called Ninomiya's character development subtle,[49] while noting it is the character interactions that drive the story,[52][53] and that "each character has a real and lasting effect on others."[49] Reviewers also cite Ninomiya's ability to depict "scenes of people playing music that no one can hear" and her sense of humor as factors in the series' appeal.[46][47][54][55] Ninomiya has been criticized for not handling transitions between storylines well,[56][57] for sometimes letting the characters derail the story,[55] and for art and backgrounds that are sometimes too plain.[49][58][59] Matt Thorn criticized the English translation for inaccuracies of tone.[60]

The live-action drama received the 2007 Japanese Drama Academy Awards for Best Drama, Best Lead Actress (Juri Ueno), Best Direction (Hideki Takeuchi), Best Music (Takayuki Hattori), and Best Title Song;[61] the show was also recognized overseas as Best Miniseries at the 2nd Seoul Drama Festival. Juri Ueno also was named Best Newcomer at the Élan d'or Awards for her performance, and the next year was named Best Actress at the International Drama Festival in Tokyo Awards for reprising her role as Nodame in the television special.[62] The New Year's Special in Europe received an average household rating of 20.3% and 21.0% for the two nights it was broadcast in Japan, making it them the highest-rated drama episodes of the week.[63] The first soundtrack album for the drama, Nodame Orchestra LIVE!, reached number seven on the Oricon album chart, breaking the record for highest ranked classical music album.[28]

The opening episode of the anime series broke the record for audience share for its time-slot.[64][65] The first DVD volume debuted at number 3 on the Oricon chart for anime the week it went on sale.[66]

Although the anime has not been licensed in English, it has still received notice from English reviewers, who praised the character development and chemistry, the balance between drama and comedy, voice acting, and especially the music—both the performances and how it was presented.[67] Reviewers did complain that the visual design of some secondary characters were too similar.[67]

In 2006, a cafe based on Nodame Cantabile opened in Harajuku, Tokyo, including live music from the live-action drama and sets from the show.[68]


  2. 1 2 "Nodame Cantabile's 3rd TV Anime to Be Its Finale (Updated)". Anime News Network. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 24 August 2009.
  3. 1 2 Park, Ah-reum (29 April 2014). "Joowon Confirms Role in Korean Remake of Nodame Cantabile". enewsWorld. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
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  17. "Nodame's Ninomiya to Return to Kiss Magazine in March (Updated)". Anime News Network. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2009. She adds that her carpal tunnels in her wrists are fine now, but she cannot turn her right shoulder as usual. Still, she said that she will continue serializing her work however she can.
  18. 1 2 3 4 "Nodame, Saki Manga Resume after Creators' Illnesses". Anime News Network. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  19. 実写版映画「のだめカンタービレ」 本場ウィーンでロケ実現 (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2009.
  20. Baseel, Casey (1 March 2016). "Classical music manga 'Nodame Cantabile' getting first new chapter in over five years". Japan Today. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  21. フジテレビ♪ミュージック【のだめカンタービレ 番組で使用された楽曲リスト公開!!】 (in Japanese). Fuji TV. Archived from the original on August 11, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  22. のだめ映画化!樹里&玉木コンビ帰ってくる (2/2ページ) (in Japanese). Sankei Sports. 10 December 2008. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  23. "Nodame Cantabile: how do you say 'Gyabo' in Filipino?". May 4, 2009. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
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  25. "Nodame Cantabile Manga to Bundle Anime DVD in August (Updated)". Anime News Network. 9 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  26. "Hit your love notes with Nodame Cantabile on Animax". Animax Asia. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  27. Arcanum (2 October 2007). "Nodame Cantabile Review". Anime Planet. Retrieved 15 December 2008. Rather, the vast majority of music played throughout the series are brilliantly performed pieces or excerpts from various classical composers ... every piece was re-recorded to fit the context of the anime.
  28. 1 2 "Nodame Cantabile Album Breaks Classic Music Ranking Record". Anime News Network. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
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  37. "10th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Award Finalists Announced". Anime News Network. 8 April 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  38. "Books for the Teen Age" (PDF). New York Public Library. 2006. Retrieved 6 January 2009.
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  42. "Top Manga Properties in 2008 - Rankings and Circulation Data". ComiPress. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  43. "08年一番面白かった漫画は、先読みできない「ONE PIECE」" (in Japanese). Oricon. 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  44. 指揮者秋山一慶のコメント. レコード芸術 (in Japanese): 54. March 2008.
  45. 川澄綾子&関智一 : 5年ぶり“のだめコンビ”復活 「譲れなかった」パートナーと役への思い. Mainichi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). 2015-03-31. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  46. 1 2 Santos, Carlo (30 November 2007). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 11". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. By comparison, the latter half of the volume stays closer to home, doing what it does best: showing the interplay between a set of amusing, intriguing characters.
  47. 1 2 Santos, Carlo (9 December 2008). "RIGHT TURN ONLY!! - Naruto Cantabile". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. A storyline that pirouettes between bouncy jokes and subtle romance and musical rapture, this is one set of chapters that pulls you in with its sheer effervescence ... [Mozart]'s ebullient style seems to have rubbed off on Tomoko Ninomiya as well, as the entire recital arc glows with Wolfgang's unmistakable joy and humor.
  48. "Graphic Novels - 11/15/2005". Library Journal. 15 November 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2009. Ninomiya's cartooning is fairly simple, but her writing has a refreshing unpredictability.
  49. 1 2 3 4 Harper, Melissa (6 January 2007). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: G. Novel 5-6". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. Tomoko Ninomiya seems to enjoy keeping the panels relatively free of clutter and background distractions, which makes it easier to concentrate on the characters.
  50. Chavez, Eduardo M. (20 May 2005). "Nodame Cantabile Vol. #01". Retrieved 12 December 2008. Ninomiya uses good shape and form to make her characters stand out. On top of that she also has a good sense of style, which adds to the individual characteristics. The strongest aspect of her art is how she draws the expressions of her cast. With so little detail in her faces, she still is able to put in a good amount of emotion in them.
  51. Deppey, Dirk (28 September 2006). "Nodame Cantabile Vol. 6". The Comics Journal. Retrieved 10 December 2008. Ninomiya refrains from excessive melodrama, allowing the scenario to play itself out without calling undue attention to dramatic high points, and trusting to our familiarity with the dramatis personae to draw us into their world.
  52. Santos, Carlo (19 September 2008). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 14". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. It's the other characters around him, as well as his interactions with them, that really drive this arc.
  53. Van Gorder, Danielle (2 September 2008). "Nodame Cantabile Vol. #13". Retrieved 18 December 2008. This series is all about the characters and the changing dynamics between them, and the various members of the supporting cast really do a lot to drive the series along.
  54. Santos, Carlo (5 September 2007). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 10". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. The series' artwork is at its most expressive when it comes to the music performance scenes ... sweeping lines, impressionistic backgrounds, and closeups that almost make it feel like being there... Ninomiya also uses layouts to her advantage—notice, for example, how the panels become more angular and compressed when Chiaki stresses out on his final assignment.
  55. 1 2 Santos, Carlo (19 September 2008). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 14". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. If there is any criticism to be had, it's that Tomoko Ninomiya seems to be having so much fun portraying the characters that the storyline sometimes gets off track.
  56. Santos, Carlo (30 November 2007). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 11". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. The transition to the next stage of the story, however, is not quite as graceful: it takes some really stupid, improbable plot twists to get Chiaki into Stresemann's world tour, and their itinerary turns out to be even more outlandish.
  57. Chavez, Eduardo M. (10 October 2007). "Nodame Cantabile Vol. #10". Retrieved 12 December 2008. After so much build up leading to Noda and Chiaki's decision to take their talents abroad, little of the preparation was discussed. Instead, Ninomiya fresh from a trip to France, jumped right into this next chapter
  58. Santos, Carlo (19 September 2008). "Review: Nodame Cantabile: GN 14". Anime News Network. Retrieved 10 December 2008. Simple but striking character designs also add to the series' unique style, but the one major flaw is in the backgrounds—characters often find themselves standing in front of plain white space, a generic screentone, or a hastily drawn interior
  59. Chavez, Eduardo M. (20 May 2005). "Nodame Cantabile Vol. #01". Retrieved 12 December 2008. Her backgrounds ... can be stale, but she uses them more often than most josei artists so I applaud her for that.
  60. Thorn, Matt (29 November 2009). "On Translation". Retrieved 20 January 2010. The translation was jarring, and grossly unfair to the character. But it was fairly typical of the kind of “errors of voice” that occur on almost every page of translated manga today.
  61. ザテレビジョン ドラマアカデミー賞: 結果発表 (in Japanese). Kadokawa Television. 31 January 2007. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
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  64. "Nodame Cantabile Breaks Late Night Record". Anime News Network. 15 January 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
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  66. "Japanese Anime DVD Ranking, April 18–24". Anime News Network. 26 April 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  67. 1 2 Arcanum (2 October 2007). "Nodame Cantabile Review". Anime Planet. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  68. "Cafe de Nodame Opens". Anime News Network. 12 October 2006. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
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