Fantastic Children - Reviews

VivisQueen's avatar
Jul 21, 2009


If the writer for this series didn’t watch Wolf Rilla’s Village of the Damned the night before scripting this conceptually hackneyed mess, I’ll eat my hat. With a similar science fiction concept of white-haired children born around the same time and wearing staring-at-you-funny expressions, a viewer of both might be forgiven for thinking one the younger but incompetent rip-off of the other.

Fantastic Children’s flaws might not be immediately obvious as it establishes a gripping set of circumstances in the beginning. The atmosphere during the opening episodes is disturbingly potent, the music hauntingly beautiful, and the white-haired Béfort Children (tragic runaways searching for a mythical place of freedom) will likely set teeth on edge with their penetrating glances into the camera. From the fifth episode, however, the plot deteriorates into an odd mix of general triteness and sporadic profundity.


Firstly, Fantastic Children meanders towards its conclusion, making perfunctory pit stops at numerous themes that barely hang together: science v ethics, doomed star-crossed lovers, the afterlife, reincarnation, a detective mystery, off-world political intrigue, and… mecha? Preferably, the focus should have remained on the Béfort Children’s sense of alienation and the tragedy of their search as this provides the most powerful suspense. As things stand, the story overloads on themes and switches focus halfway with inane results.

Related to this problem is the show’s hesitant pace. It devotes much time to setting the scene, although this comes in the form of allusions and vague snapshots of the bigger picture instead of thorough explanations. Indeed, faced with randomly appearing shadow monsters and nebulous dialogue, viewers will spend several hours intrigued but also confused and frustrated. Eventually, the series decides it’s had enough dragging the audience along and begins to rush through conclusions, each cornier and more juvenile than the one before. Flashbacks and haphazard leaps in real time are the main tools for this, which not only hamper the narrative’s flow, but also exacerbate the jumbled feel of the content.

With that said, Fantastic Children evidently means well – its stunning opening episodes promise a lot, and once or twice (for instance, with the romantic tragedy subplot in the latter half) the conflicts hit the right emotional buttons. The series simply lacks the elegance of other, more successful sci-fi mysteries to remain consistently enjoyable.


Boasting one or two inventive fantasy battle sequences, this show could have been Now and Then, Here and There’s quirkier spiritual successor. Washing everything from the backgrounds to the clothes in dull greys, the colour palette has roughly the same solemnising effect as rain at a funeral. Conversely, the characters look basic and are drawn with similar attention to detail as the cast of Digimon. Unfortunately, the weak plot undermines Fantastic Children’s attempt to make a visual impact by contrasting cute character designs with dark tragedy; the combination is something that looks acceptably World Masterpiece Theatre-ish but feels increasingly flat and uninteresting as the narrative worsens.


In its own delicate, haunting way, Fantastic Children joins the ranks of anime with exceptional soundtracks. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Escaflowne, Cowboy Bebop – if the anime market were purely a soundtrack contest, Fantastic Children could stand beside these greats as an equal. The ending theme in particular stokes the emotions with sweet flutes and fluttering vocals, providing an outstanding melancholic conclusion to every episode. In between, there will be moody piano music, playful character themes, and discordant synthesised sounds. Occasionally, Fantastic Children also enhances its natural sounds to excellent effect. In the second episode, following a chase through an underground waterway, one drop of water falling into the pool below brings the tension to an excellent climax.


The series spends a long time chronicling its characters’ backgrounds – generally, they have a history of foolish decisions and desperate acts – but for all that effort, it fails remarkably to make them involving. In regards to the Béfort Children, their initial fascination stems from one thing: clearly they are not human, but clearly they suffer like humans do. Despite their uncanny abilities, they are still children lost in a vast and hostile world and needing the love and familiarity of a good home. On top of this, they grapple with some tough choices and an agonising secret, all in the desperate search for something that is impossibly distant.

Once you get the general gist of the characters, however, any further explanations seem superfluous. Most of them never develop beyond caricature. Despite being the most important individual, the orphan girl Helga – sad, sorry little Helga – will also stretch viewers’ patience with her chronic haplessness. Spending entire episodes detailing her past thus becomes a tedious and repetitive exercise involving misfortunes only memorable for their clichés. Beyond the most superficial pang of sympathy, I felt little else for her.

Faced with such lacklustre performances, viewers will most likely settle for Thoma, who, though hardly complex, is still sprightly, outgoing, and fun to watch. Moreover, his role involves one of the more original twists of the show.


The most generous complement I can offer Fantastic Children is that it’s a passable patchwork of well-trodden Western ideas. Poignant tragedy and stupendously moving music get lost amongst corny flashbacks, a lot of silly science, and subplots of utmost banality. Moreover, everything either happens too slowly, with undue attention paid to characters I struggled to like, or the explanations spew forth in a sequence of clichés. Middle of the road, morose, and too often mundane, Fantastic Children delivers sporadic amusement at best.

5.5/10 story
7/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
May 25, 2012

Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:


Produced by Nippon Animation, which is making titles only for the young audience. Amongst their various works I only liked Mahoujin Guruguru and the first version of Hunter X Hunter. I guess this is their third best and only because just like the other two it has some really dark and adult overtones. Directed by Nakamura Takashi, who although not famous has done some very interesting experimentation in his career. Before this he had directed Robot Carnival and A Tree of Palme, both of which are quite heavy on metaphors and themes. Yet he is not a person who goes for entertainment and instead goes for moody atmosphere and extreme emotional stimulation with dark and depressing events. Other than that, it is rather hard to enjoy his work if you don’t get into a very specific mentality. He has both style and substance but does it in quite a rough way. I found it extremely hard to get into the proper mood and even when I did the payback is mostly cool concepts and heavy drama instead of properly exploited themes and storylines. So I must warn you guys, this dude is quite eccentric in the way he does his work. An average casual viewer will not be able to appreciate him and the veterans will still need to get into a mindset akin to looking spaced out at weird imagery and situations. I for example couldn’t do it despite my years of experience.

So what do I think about this show? I find it as if Village of the Damned performs a Fusion Dance with Please Save My Earth and the result is Fantastic Children. Their movements though were not coordinated and the result was a bad hybrid. This show is considered to be a masterpiece for those who liked it and total boredom for those who didn’t. Not because it’s one of those philosophical anime where they talk and talk and talk and say many important stuff while plot and pacing are slow to inexistent. This is not nearly as close as the philosophical level of Ghost in the Shell or the constant satirical wordplay level of Bakemonogatari. In the contrary, the dialogues are easy to follow and there is plenty of story and plot going on. It is mostly the unorthodox appeal of the show that makes it hard for most viewers to appreciate. If one can see past those weird aesthetics, he or she will most likely be amazed with what is going on in this show.

So was I one of those people? I mean, I do admit there is a good story and interesting concepts in here, and I do like those a lot, so why not? And the answer is… Sorry folks, it took me 5 years and 4 attempts to finally get to finish it and only because I had nothing better to watch during the fourth try. This is quite rare for me as I usually have patience to watch even shows I don’t fancy. I just wanted to finally watch it and make a review about it and not because I wanted to be entertained. In the contrary I was mostly annoyed and displeased with it.


So what were these reasons that made it so hard for me you may wonder? Here is a list.

1) Character figures. They are unappealing. Not just because they don’t look cool like those in Hellsing or moe like those in Haruhi. They look silly, childish and simplistic. Such a thing wouldn’t be a problem if this was purely a simple children’s show but in this case it is actually a very dark and complicating story, full of angst, death and mystery which no average little kid would have the mindset follow easily. Or should watch in general; this show is too depressing and cruel for kids for all I see. So here I am asking you, shouldn’t a show which has something really strong and bold in it deserve to have equally bold and captivating character figures? And I don’t mean big-busted chicks or GAR muscular dudes; I mean eye-captivating. How can a character transmit such important feelings and messages to you if he looks so damn generic or even stupid? Oh sure, shows like Kaiba have even more simple-drawn characters but over there they would also have interesting mannerisms, cloths, body language, extreme facial expressions and the backgrounds helped to bring all that out even more. Over here you see nothing; they are plain/ugly people talking. It can’t work like that; it’s like a very boring teacher at school talking in a completely dry way and not teaching you anything, thus failing at his prime directive of TEACHING. It’s the same thing here; the characters fail to show you their character. Who would be willing to watch a show full of boring/unappealing characters?

2) Caricature personalities. Ok, let’s just suppose that some manage to get over that snag and sit to watch the show past its stupid character figures. Let’s just say they will focus on the personalities. Once again, it will probably not work because most of them are 2D caricatures. The good guys and the bad guys are easily identifiable, which is expected in a kid’s show but then again it is not just a kid’s show. Even the ones who play out neutral end up being defined mostly by a vague character trait. This is enough to ruin all the effort given to their backdrop and development, which as strong as they may be are still lost because of the lack in interest from the average viewer.

3) Forced development. Even if you try to see them as overall developed characters, you still get the impression they matured in a completely convenient way. It is all nothing other than memory losses and memory gains that happen only when the plot requires for it and not because they did something to lose or gain it. Thus you get the feeling the characters are making aimless circles around things they have no control or even remember why they are part of and then PRESTO out of nowhere they remember everything so the plot can advance. This is making them nothing more than plot devises instead of personalities who are in control of their own actions. And they were surely supposed to have more control over them since they went through a ton of trouble, took the initiative to embark on quite the far-fetched mission, and had super powerful technology on their side.

4) Wimps. Another bad thing about them is how most of the cast is a bunch of weak crybabies. They can’t even cross the street without getting all scared and emo; quite bad for those who like more active and decisive characters. It has nothing to do with coolness; it’s just that most people expect from the main characters to be bold in whatever they have set their minds to achieve. If they are cowards, weak and passive then the story can’t go on and they are not even fit to be called main characters. Yet for most of the show you see them being scared and frozen over things that are not that scary to begin with. Their angst is not excused at all. Heck, it could be excused for little kids but even century old immortals seem to lack the basic experience to control their emotions, even around issues they deal all the time. Shouldn’t they be wise and apathetic around trivial issues after all this time? Shouldn’t they be far braver if they decided to take part in such a dangerous mission to begin with? They weren’t forced to take part you know, they chose to do it. Being so emotionally weak is only making them feel like they are out of character. Not only they are 2D personalities but also feel fake and forced to be as such for the sake of superficial meta-series drama.

5) Repeating names. Let’s suppose you can see even past that and focus on getting to like the dialogues. They are mostly good in context and easy to follow to the most part; so in theory this means they are good and help you enjoy the show. Well excuse me once again but they were horrible just for stating their names. ALL THE TIME. Do you know how irritating it is to mention someone by name even when you know him all your life? How about doing it every two sentences? How about mentioning them even when there is no reason at all? This is of course nothing but a literature method to help the viewer/reader remember the names of the characters. And such a show which has such unappealing figures would sure need this method, as I personally didn’t care to even remember them. Still, that made the dialogues to sound really fake and tiresome, just like their personalities, which once again leads to your enjoyment lowering even further.

6) Docile pacing. There is a lot of story all right but to the most part it is offered with monologues and a spoon. The action scenes or the manhunts spread out throughout the show are not helping to keep things exciting. They are quite simple and feel almost as poor attempts to stall time. Hell, since the main story plays out as a mystery, for the most part you see people talking and not knowing, making questions and being cryptic. All of which should normally build tension and excitement but in the contrary end up feeling very boring because of the character figures, mannerisms and the fake dialogues.

7) Disjoined elements. In the second half the story, everything swifts to something entirely different, a long flashback to some other time and place, making you think you are watching an entirely different show. The elements of the story don’t seem to be uniform at this point, trying to have both unearthly fantasy and earth science at the same show and yet in different packages. I mean it was cool alright but I definitely felt like they were completely different shows.

I am so envy of all the people out there who got to enjoy this anime. They didn’t give a damn about all I described so far and just thought “Wow, good story, gets a 10 from me”. Apparently, they wouldn’t mind it even if the animation was stop motion stick figures on some plain desk. I prefer my anime with a lot more things going on and this was a really good example of doing a good premise in a bad way. It is also sad how the show is not ruined by fan service or derailment from the core idea, as is the case with most anime. It is very consistent in its atmosphere and thematics but it’s also plain unappealing from the get-go. If though I am to give the show some credit, I can also say the following good things about it.

1) Very good atmosphere. Its artwork is very good at making your imagination go wild. Half of it is taking place on a European society from centuries ago, and the other half on an alien planet with very fantasy-like decorations.

2) Very interesting themes. They mostly have to do with immortality, love, and duty, but there are many more. I won’t spoil it further so I leave it vague.

3) Very good songs. They are very elegiac. I liked them.

… And that is pretty much all of it.
It is not a mess as my criticism may let you think. The music score has some very elegiac pieces in it that really drive your mind away. And the story is complicating enough to involve immortality, reincarnation, memories, alternative dimensions, ancient alien civilizations, mystery, secret organizations, inhuman experimentation, sci-fi, superpowers, romance, power struggles amongst powerful aristocrats, and a few more. It even goes as far as mentioning how real historical figures were aliens who affected human history with their scientific breakthroughs. It becomes a lot more enjoyable in the second half, when the mystery is revealed and the corny alien romance kicks in. Too bad most of everything else is dull; under different handling, this could be a show most could enjoy.


Anime: Kaiba, Sailor Moon, Please Save My Earth
Movies: Village of the Damned
Videogames: Planescape Torment, Xenogears

And now for some excused scorings.

General Artwork 2/2 (looks like a well made fairy tale from a 70’s series)
Character Figures 0/2 (dull)
Backgrounds 2/2 (interesting blend of fantasy and sci-fi)
Animation 1/2 (nothing much)
Visual Effects 1/2 (nothing much)

Voice Acting 1/3 (repeating names grunge me for 5000 damage)
Music Themes 4/4 (great OST)
Sound Effects 1/3 (nothing much)

Premise 2/2 (Very complicating and intriguing)
Pacing 0/2 (dreadfully slow)
Complexity 2/2 (lots of those thanks to the complicating story)
Plausibility 1/2 (excused in a dragged out fashion; messy in excusing the characters being so wimps)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid)

Presence 0/2 (dull)
Personality 1/2 (simplistic and out of character when they are so scared all the time)
Backdrop 2/2 (everyone has some)
Development 1/2 (too far-fetched and dependent on memory losses; dragged or simple for most but all get some)
Catharsis 1/2 (far-fetched but otherwise it’s there)

Historical Value 1/3 (a bit famous)
Rewatchability 1/3 (mostly skippable)
Memorability 3/4 (quite memorable, although not always for good reasons; many remember it for its distinctively boring plot)

Art 1/1 (looks interesting)
Sound 1/2 (the music is good, the dialogues are bad)
Story 1/3 (good ideas but presented in a boring way)
Characters 3/4 (interesting characters but presented in a boring way)

VERDICT: 5.5/10
With better visuals and faster pacing, and perhaps better action, this could be a masterpiece.

7/10 story
6/10 animation
6/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall
Ciplas's avatar
Jul 4, 2019

Empezare la reseña con algo que no es ajeno a cualquiera que vea el anime en cuestión, la premisa es buena, un grupo de niños de cabello blanco van a lo largo de la historia de la humanidad en busca de alguien más, que por supuesto es vital para ellos, incluso como es que al ser prácticamente seres muy misteriosos, se ven reflejados en escritos y leyendas hasta la actualidad, a su vez esto tiene un motivo ajeno, partiendo desde una traición y un golpe al reino de Greecia, ubicado en un planeta lejano al nuestro, tiene su grado de complejidad y hasta momentos con buenos temas a profundizar pero el problema va por otro lado.

A pesar de que tiene un concepto muy interesante, la serie no logra brindar su información adecuadamente, o bien son monólogos extensos de los personajes explicándote que es lo que sucede o que sucedió para llegar al punto en el que se encuentran, o es que normalmente las preguntas que se hacen a lo largo de la historia en lugar de aclarar la situación terminan volviéndola más criptica. Esto podría verse con buen ojo desde un punto de misterio, porque no es que se esconda toda la información para conveniencia, pero lamentablemente al ser o bien muy expositivos o bien muy crípticos, esto termina jugándole en contra a la serie porque no hay una dosificación de los acontecimientos.

A esto debemos sumarle que, si bien la serie por momentos parece ser muy estacionaria, hay momentos de acción pero que a su vez no son la gran cosa, más parece relleno innecesario que tranquilamente se pudo obviar, salvo excepciones muy puntuales, o simplemente guardarlo para el final donde se justifica con mayor razón.

A lo largo del desarrollo vamos a ver distintos temas propuestos, como el de la reencarnación y el pecado que se arrastra con ello, una visión entre la ciencia y la ética de los implicados, disputas políticas y hasta un romance bien dramático, pero al tener tanto tiempo muerto en la primera mitad del show, estos conceptos recién se sacan a la luz de la mitad para adelante, por ende, quedan con un desarrollo muy vago. no voy a mentirles, los primeros episodios de la obra te dan una buena dosis de misterio como para crear interés en seguirla, sin embargo, el problema es que se manejan dos historias en paralelo y un largo flashback que podría tomarse como una tercera que no llegan a cuajar del todo bien o por momentos se sienten distantes.

Me explico mejor, si bien tenemos a los niños de pelo blanco buscando a esa persona tan preciada para ellos a lo largo de la historia de la humanidad y ya teniendo una mínima idea de cómo es que será su travesía, por otro lado, tenemos la historia de Thoma, Chitto y Helga. Mientras la primera mencionada se ve un aura de misterio acompañado de un tono oscuro que le da buen ambiente a lo que sucede, y se va desarrollando en lugares de Europa de los siglos pasados, la otra está en una isla con sol y mar, donde todo parece alegría y una chica que quiere escapar de su orfanato porque busca un lugar que siempre dibuja. Esto no solo con las locaciones, sino también con los personajes, mientras los niños de pelo blanco son secos y muy calmos a la hora de actuar, Thoma y Chitto son muy explosivos, llegando al punto del fastidio, más que nada con Thoma, es demasiado empeñoso y altruista. esto tiene una explicación más adelante, pero que carece de un sentido propio; a diferencia de Helga, la cual es muy fácil de confundir a un personaje sin emociones, es simplemente reservada, no ayuda mucho para la compenetración con el espectador ya que inicialmente no tiene carisma ni tampoco es que tenga un gran cambio al final del caso, pero al menos entiendes su pasado y la condena que ha estado sufriendo, incluso teniendo una decisión digna cuando se entera de su situación.

La tercera, que es el flashback, se justifica su cambio de estética porque da lugar a otro planeta, lo que no termina de convencer es el hecho de que sean gigantes, o sea, está bien que sean una raza distinta, eso está bien, pero nunca hay un cuestionamiento o sorpresa para cuando los terrícolas ven por primera vez los cuerpos de los científicos, sino más bien llega después cuando recién ven el cuerpo de tina, la princesa de Greecia, en otras palabras, es una reacción tardía por parte de los personajes, no es un detalle muy grande pero si es para cuestionarse mientras se ve la serie.

Un punto que me parece desaprovechado es que los Niños de Bedford, como son llamados los niños de pelo blanco, van perdiendo miembros a lo largo de la historia, primero Palza, el que declina a seguir con la misión para vivir su reencarnación como Conrad, que indirectamente crea la maquina rayos x con la que se investiga la materia negra con la que se abre la zona, lugar donde conviven almas y que fue descubierto por los científicos de Greecia, o sea, las vidas originales de los Niños de Bedford. En esto se pudo hacer que la búsqueda, ya que es punto central, sea más profundizada a ver cómo es que por ciertas razones de complejidad de la misión, otros chicos declinan y se convierten en personajes importantes a lo largo de la historia de la humanidad, hubiera sido un punto más provechoso y que le da un toque de fantasía más verosímil basando en hechos reales, sin embargo solo se deja a Palza para que sea de utilidad en la trama, lo mismo sucede con Mel, que a la larga es secuestrada por dumas, el que podría tomarse como el antagonista, pero su aporte en avances científicos también es directo para que no se estanque la historia, sin embargo, no digo que estas decisiones sean erradas, ya que le da sentido a lo que se está contando, pero pudieron ser mejor aprovechadas para darle otro aire a la historia y no se acumulaban de tantos elementos que a la larga iban a complicarse y no ser desarrollados correctamente.

Por parte de los recuerdos que manejan los personajes directamente relacionados con Greecia, estos suelen perderse y regresar de manera conveniente, algunos comienzan a recordar incluso vidas pasadas en las que también reencarnaron, pero sin una sustancia que justifique dichos eventos, los Niños de Bedford son los más propensos a ello, ya que al reencarnar se pierden y necesitan un recipiente que los ayuda a saber su misión, pero a lo largo de los eventos presentados, hasta parece que ni siquiera hay un control total de lo que hacen y más esperan en que el destino los ayude, lo cual hace que haber reencarnado tantas veces sea en vano, es que nunca aprendieron nada a lo largo de la misión, se supone que los habitantes de Greecia tienen mejor tecnología, ¿no pudieron idear mejores planes para ello?

 Otro punto cuestionable es la transportación del alma de Seth, los Niños de Bedford, que como dije previamente, son las reencarnaciones de los científicos de Greecia, transportan el alma de la princesa Tina a la tierra para salvarla, previo a esto hubo una disputa entre Seth y Soran, por lo que se entiende es que solo el alma de Tina es transportada, sin embargo luego vemos también el alma de Seth, se hacen hipo tesis, pero nunca una razón verosímil, ya que esa hipótesis no explica cómo se transporta el alma de Soran que estaba más lejos del aparato usado.

Mencione algo sobre Thoma y su personalidad, esto es extraño, porque si bien se entiende que al ser la reencarnación de Seth, que originalmente era el encargado de velar por la seguridad de Tina, este sea muy pegado a Helga, hay un punto que descuadra, mientras Helga tiene una personalidad similar a la de tina e incluso el muchacho que aparece al final tiene el aire de Soran, las personalidades de Thoma y Seth son casi opuestas, lo que no me termina de cuadrar del todo el actuar de Thoma a lo largo de la obra.

Más allá de ello, hay momentos en que las acciones de los personajes son muy extrañas, un caso bastante puntual es cuando Thoma, en su afán de apoyar a Helga, pide el permiso de sus padres para acompañarla, sabiendo estos que es muy peligroso su viaje, lo dejan ir como si nada, no hay tensión ni tampoco un sentido de peligro a lo que pueda suceder.

Llegados a este punto, también debo recalcar es que a pesar de que la serie maneja ciertas muertes, estas nunca caen en un tono de factor shock, tengamos en cuenta que la serie lleva un tono dramático, depresivo y oscuro, que contrasta bien con su paleta opaca lo que le da consistencia a la obra, quizás sea uno de los puntos que aleje a cierto sector que la vea, porque es bastante sosa y seca, casi igual que la mayoría de sus personajes, igualmente los fondos también están bien ilustrados y son inmersivos cuando la serie quiere darte la sensación de que están en otro planeta o una situación dramática. Por su parte el diseño de los personajes es donde la obra cojea un poco ya que son muy similares, a excepción de Chitto, Tarlant y Hesma, casi todos los demás presenta la misma estructura craneal y facciones, al ser diseños muy simplistas, carecen de expresividad, por lo que la angustia de muchos personajes en ciertos momentos, puede no tener un buen impacto para el espectador.

Uno de los puntos más altos de este anime es el Soundtrack, compuesto en base a piano y chelos, el cual dota de buen ambiente las escenas y los paisajes mostrados a lo largo del show, incluso el opening, “Voyage”, funciona como un buen tema de apertura que, a pesar de tener secuencias de acción, no se desentona con la instrumentación presentada.

Finalmente, Fantastic Children es un anime con una historia interesante, pero que lamentablemente la echa a perder por sus ejecuciones y su ritmo demasiado lento, una mala construcción de su misterio y personajes planos que no terminan de interesar al final del caso y maneja también demasiados conceptos subyacentes que no cierran del todo, sin embargo debo rescatar que al menos tiene un final en el que muestran como terminan las vidas de los personajes y no es ambiguo ni deja nada a la especulación. En general es una pena, porque pudo ser mejor y no recriminaría a nadie si deja de verlo cuando ni ha llegado a la mitad del show.

6/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 overall
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tenshichan666's avatar
Dec 15, 2015

I personaly loved this anime. the animetion quality is really bad, but the story is beautiful. the soundtrack is lovely and fitting to the series. character development is very solid and left my heart a little sad for all of the characters. a bit tough to understand at first but it catches up quick. the end is no joke too. 

8.5/10 story
3.5/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
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