Post Reply Same sex couples, hetero couples, and your name.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
I've definitely noticed a double standard towards same-sex vs. opposite sex couples in anime, in terms of how the fans react and recognize them.

When a male/male couple does anything short of kissing, people assume that they have no romantic interest in each other, and that anyone who thinks they do is just a crazy fujoshi. People will even attack the show for "baiting" whenever the show doesn't clumsily beat you over the head with the fact that they're a couple.

//// (side note: baiting is a thing. There are shows that do have pointless, shallow things, like accidental kisses, or having the characters handcuffed together, but with no legitimate character connection behind it, just to tease the fans. I am not talking about those shows. I'm talking about shows that do have legitimate character writing that shows real connections between the characters)

But if a show has a male main character and a female main character, it's just assumed as a given that they'll be a couple, and people take it for granted.

Ex. everyone recognizes that the main characters from the movie your name. are a couple. But let's look at what actual interaction they have, romantically:
- She gives him her hair cord
- He writes "suki da" on her hand
- They find each other again and... laugh? I saw the movie once, maybe they hug, I don't remember. But they don't kiss. They are clearly in agreement - it wasn't a one-sided love confession. But they don't explicitly confirm their status.

After noticing this, I started to see this pairing as a sort of litmus-test for how canon a pairing is.
There are a lot of male/male couples that have even more romantic interaction than this - multiple uses of "suki", uses of "ai-suru"; "I'd give anything for you,"; "You stole my heart,"; and plenty of non-kiss physical interactions that are just as romantic as the hair cord. (When was the last time you told a platonic friend any of these things, in a serious tone, while preparing to go fulfill your dreams together?) One series from this past Spring (so, after your name.) even used a hair cord this way. I don't want to spoil it, but it was the most beautiful thing ever.
The music, timing, tone of voice, facial expressions, etc., also contribute to whether or not a scene is romantic.

And yet, these characters don't get recognized as couples, even though they have just as much romantic interaction. If a f/m pairing can be so widely recognized even without explicitly confirming their status, why can't an m/m pairing?

A lot of people will say they they're not homophobic, they're just "realistic about the world", and assume that the writers must be homophobic. But... writers are people, too. Writers have a variety of opinions and tastes, too. Also, Japanese businesses are progressing on the issue. https://nyti.ms/2z44ATM < this article doesn't talk about anime in particular, but these things don't happen in a vacuum. There's no reason to think that both anime writers and directors, and the producers and executives, are uniformly homophobic.

I'm not naming series, since I don't want to spoil, but the anime I'm referring to are mostly


(I've also noticed that this seems to be the case a lot less frequently with yuri couples...)
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
To me, I think a decent amount of this comes down to how prevalent baiting is. Teasing same sex couples/interest but never going further has become so much of a thing that it's almost hard to believe in actual same sex coupling in anime/manga any more. Pretty much every series with multiple characters of the same sex makes sure to include at least a few scenes that can be read as more than simply friendly interest between those characters because they know it encourages fandom and buzz. No matter how genuine the writing may or may not be, it brings heat.

If there was follow-up more often then there would be less of a requirement for there to always be follow-up or actual blatant confirmation.

I agree that it's not fair to put it on the writers but I do think it's a case of desired public perception. Japan in particular isn't quite there yet in it's acceptance of homosexuality as more than a phase when taken at large. The writers may have good intentions in crafting their material but especially when talking big name properties by big name companies, the will just isn't quite where it needs to be, and that can trump what individual writers bring to the table.

I always come back to Sound Euphonium when thinking of this topic. You had a series there with the entire core of the series being the definitively more than friends growing relationship between it's two main characters, both female. The writers did a masterful job of weaving everything together. Then, in the last few episodes the series took a u-turn and shoe horned in a male interest who barely even showed up on screen in the entire second season (but was more prominent in the manga), made one of the female leads a complete idiot and even added a second potential female love interest to appease her fan base. It was very clear that the writer(s) who had written the story all the way up to that point were given a push by someone, likely higher up, to not continue writing the story they had been allowed to up to then.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
Double standards are not inherently illogical in this case, as with many others. This is simply acknowledging the context, ranging from the historical background in the medium to the modern acceptance. In this case, why should we treat the term "double standards" as a dirty word, when it is the most accurate to apply to many writers and people in the industry itself?

It may be the exact "same thing", but given how much, or rather, how little weight is given to many a homosexual shipping, I find it reasonable to be wary, but I also express the claim that some love stories do not take place within 12 episodes.

It also bears to mention, and this is a general observation, but many of Japan's population is largely uniform in how it operates, and the power dynamics could have just a few at the top dictating much of the work at the bottom.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17

StriderShinryu wrote:

To me, I think a decent amount of this comes down to how prevalent baiting is. Teasing same sex couples/interest but never going further has become so much of a thing that it's almost hard to believe in actual same sex coupling in anime/manga any more. Pretty much every series with multiple characters of the same sex makes sure to include at least a few scenes that can be read as more than simply friendly interest between those characters because they know it encourages fandom and buzz. No matter how genuine the writing may or may not be, it brings heat.

If there was follow-up more often then there would be less of a requirement for there to always be follow-up or actual blatant confirmation.
...
I always come back to Sound Euphonium when thinking of this topic. You had a series there with the entire core of the series being the definitively more than friends growing relationship between it's two main characters, both female. The writers did a masterful job of weaving everything together. Then, in the last few episodes the series took a u-turn and shoe horned in a male interest who barely even showed up on screen in the entire second season (but was more prominent in the manga), made one of the female leads a complete idiot and even added a second potential female love interest to appease her fan base. It was very clear that the writer(s) who had written the story all the way up to that point were given a push by someone, likely higher up, to not continue writing the story they had been allowed to up to then.


I'm specifically talking about comparing a show with an f/m pairing and a show with a m/m pairing that have the same level of confirmation, and either the same level of emotional depth, or where the m/m pairing has more emotional depth. By "emotional depth", I mean that the story shows how much the characters mean to each other through their actions, reactions, etc., that it's more than just teasing.


That's sad that that happened in that show, but I'm talking about specific instances where that did not happen.


PeripheralVisionary wrote:

Double standards are not inherently illogical in this case, as with many others. This is simply acknowledging the context, ranging from the historical background in the medium to the modern acceptance. In this case, why should we treat the term "double standards" as a dirty word, when it is the most accurate to apply to many writers and people in the industry itself?

It may be the exact "same thing", but given how much, or rather, how little weight is given to many a homosexual shipping, I find it reasonable to be wary, but I also express the claim that some love stories do not take place within 12 episodes.

It also bears to mention, and this is a general observation, but many of Japan's population is largely uniform in how it operates, and the power dynamics could have just a few at the top dictating much of the work at the bottom.


(If one movie can be long enough, why can't 12 episodes be?)

My point is that, even if 4/5 people believe one thing, it's not reasonable to always assume that that applies to the individual that you're looking at at the moment, especially when presented with other evidence. As I said, that goes for the writers as well as for people dictating... you can't assume that all those people necessarily feel the same way either. Not all writers are the same, not all directors are the same, not all producers are the same... That's why I linked to the article about businesses. Some businesses are realizing it's to their advantage to be more accepting.

There is also a history in media that, when a writer or director wants to say something that they feel they wouldn't be able to get away with, they imply it rather than stating it outright. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rYXxK8enGs < some examples, but the phenomenon is well known). I get the sense that, while the baiting thing is an issue (in shallower, more popular series, e.g. Shonen Jump titles), there are also a lot of things in Japan that are sort of in this stage.

You can also look at the story, look at the writing and direction, and just see, "Is this sympathetic? Is this respectful? Is this from the perspective of these characters, or of a friend who wants them to be happy? Or is it from the point of view of an onlooker who wants them to do sexy things in public for the onlooker's amusement, regardless of how the characters feel? Do these interactions deepen their relationship, or is it just showing off?" I can't think of specific examples of the latter, because I tend to just not watch shows that feel like that - I guess any of the pairings that actually hate each other, like Shizuo/Izaya, would fall into that category. But with genuine examples of the former, it's not fair to say, "Well, the writers live in Japan, so they can't have meant that." Because that distinction comes from whether or not they meant it.

If the evidence is there in the story that the relationship is deeper, why not accept it? Why tell people "that can't possibly be the case", based on an assumption about the writer's ideas?
(especially when it comes to series with canon gay pairings/attractions among supporting characters.)

(Though, to be honest, I will give credit - StarMyu fans don't say that pairing isn't canon. They just ship A/B and they're upset that A/C ended up together. Like, I could tell that A/C was the point all along, even in the first season, just by how things were framed, but other people didn't realize it until half way through the second season, and they thought it was just tacked on, somehow, like, they missed everything up until that point... anyway, but they do acknowledge that that is not platonic between them.
But the pairing in Kamigami no Asobi is just... not acknowledged. And I don't get why, because it's so obviously there. Obviously, it's not in the game, since "Anyone x Player" is canon in an otome game. But in the anime, two of the "options" are clearly in love with each other. )
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
i haven't watched either of the series you mentioned so i have no idea how canon those ships might actually be but . . . it definitely can be annoying to me when people are so cynical, or only interested in a particular kind of romantic content, that they dismiss anything that isn't explicitly yuri or bl-genre unless there's a big flashing sign that says "these characters are an actual official couple". i've seen people suggest that flip flappers was "only subtext" because the characters . . . don't kiss in the end or something i guess? even though the writer and director have straight up called it yuri, there's multiple confessions of love and the themes and symbolism are like the furthest thing from subtle. and the fact that the word "subtext" is used to imply "not real" in general is kind of weird, since people use it even when the subtext is obvious and clearly intentional and the relationship can only be interpreted as romantic

but at the same time . . . i can see where they're coming from, because at least like 75% of the time it really is just "bait" and anyone who's watched enough anime has probably learned the hard way not to take it seriously right away. even when the characters don't end up with boring het love interests at the last minute, they always find some way to imply in the dialogue that their feelings aren't "really" romantic, that they're still more interested in the opposite sex and someday they'll get married and live a normal straight lifestyle or whatever. someone else in this thread already mentioned hibike and it reminds me of this interview with (i think?) the director of the anime, where that subject is brought up and she kind of talks about it like yuri is just an anime fanservice thing and obviously everyone knows lesbians aren't real. heavily paraphrased and exaggerated there of course, i'm sure she wasn't trying to be hateful but a lot of japanese writers/directors/etc do just seem to genuinely have that kind of ignorant and backwards mentality even now in 2017. like they literally don't understand that real people are gay, or at least real "normal" people that aren't obvious stereotypes - or they think it's somehow a different kind of feeling/relationship than het romance, and a girl can love a girl but still accept the inevitable necessity of ending up with a guy and not feel bad about that at all

and, i mean . . . it usually works. a lot of people will gladly take that bait even knowing that they're setting themselves up for disappointment. i still see fans on tumblr all the time who are deeply in denial of the fact that hibike isn't yuri. and honestly, i can't really blame them. kumirei is a good ship, and some of the "romantic" scenes in that anime are more well-written and memorable than what i've seen in most of the actual yuri manga i read. when actual good representation is so hard to come by, i can understand why they'd rather just cling to something that makes them happy and pretend it's everything they want it to be . . . even if that means they end up supporting the series and reaffirming the idea that baiting f/f or m/m ships and never following through on it is a safe and financially viable strategy
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
I don't think I've ever watched an anime with any yaoi pairings now that I think about it, so I don't really have any personal experience with this question...
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17

limeparadox wrote:


and, i mean . . . it usually works. a lot of people will gladly take that bait even knowing that they're setting themselves up for disappointment. i still see fans on tumblr all the time who are deeply in denial of the fact that hibike isn't yuri. and honestly, i can't really blame them. kumirei is a good ship, and some of the "romantic" scenes in that anime are more well-written and memorable than what i've seen in most of the actual yuri manga i read. when actual good representation is so hard to come by, i can understand why they'd rather just cling to something that makes them happy and pretend it's everything they want it to be . . . even if that means they end up supporting the series and reaffirming the idea that baiting f/f or m/m ships and never following through on it is a safe and financially viable strategy


That's exactly it. For 90% of it's run time, Hibike was yuri or, at the least, the developing relationship between Kumiko and Reina was the heart and the core of it. It was only in the last few episodes that it was forced in the other direction. The decisions made with that series at it's end are very much emblematic of the issue at hand. Companies can, and do push, same sex relationships as hard and as far as they can but ultimately make the choice to not go with them for various reasons, many related to cultural acceptability. And because companies so rarely take ff or mm relationships seriously, it does lead to the audience often not taking them seriously either because they know the vast majority of the time that there's just going to be some twist or gotcha that negates all of that.

When you can have all the carefully plotted and well written interaction in the world but still devolve to the "default" mf pairing when pressed, it's not hard to see why "non-default" pairings are not taken seriously by the audience.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17

LavenderMintRose wrote:
I'm specifically talking about comparing a show with an f/m pairing and a show with a m/m pairing that have the same level of confirmation, and either the same level of emotional depth, or where the m/m pairing has more emotional depth. By "emotional depth", I mean that the story shows how much the characters mean to each other through their actions, reactions, etc., that it's more than just teasing.


That's sad that that happened in that show, but I'm talking about specific instances where that did not happen.


Of course but, as I said, it's so rare to see any actual mm or ff pairings without some sort of gotcha or twist tacked on that it's hard for audiences to ever take it seriously. It always feels like there's going to be a catch or a "it looks like that but it's really not" moment. Frankly, mm and ff pairings are so often played off as jokes that they always "feel" like them even when they clearly aren't. That's not how I see them at all but within a larger scope I can see many others who feel that way.

Beyond that, yeah, I don't really get it either. I don't think you're wrong at all in your assessment of things. Other than the obvious but usually denied homophobia, I don't know why mm and ff pairings even when plainly canon don't get taken seriously.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17

StriderShinryu wrote:


LavenderMintRose wrote:
I'm specifically talking about comparing a show with an f/m pairing and a show with a m/m pairing that have the same level of confirmation, and either the same level of emotional depth, or where the m/m pairing has more emotional depth. By "emotional depth", I mean that the story shows how much the characters mean to each other through their actions, reactions, etc., that it's more than just teasing.


That's sad that that happened in that show, but I'm talking about specific instances where that did not happen.


Of course but, as I said, it's so rare to see any actual mm or ff pairings without some sort of gotcha or twist tacked on that it's hard for audiences to ever take it seriously. It always feels like there's going to be a catch or a "it looks like that but it's really not" moment. Frankly, mm and ff pairings are so often played off as jokes that they always "feel" like them even when they clearly aren't. That's not how I see them at all but within a larger scope I can see many others who feel that way.

Beyond that, yeah, I don't really get it either. I don't think you're wrong at all in your assessment of things. Other than the obvious but usually denied homophobia, I don't know why mm and ff pairings even when plainly canon don't get taken seriously.


ahhh there's no one scene that I could show out of context for what I mean about StarMyu, because so much of it is their character development and all the things they did before that point... same with KamiAso. But StarMyu... it's so good, I really don't want to spoil.

Also, a lot of time there isn't a romantic resolution, but there's no "gotcha or twist" (active denial) either, there's just... the end. And it's really up to the viewers who gets together with whom, or not...


limeparadox wrote:
and the fact that the word "subtext" is used to imply "not real" in general is kind of weird, since people use it even when the subtext is obvious and clearly intentional and the relationship can only be interpreted as romantic

when actual good representation is so hard to come by, i can understand why they'd rather just cling to something that makes them happy and pretend it's everything they want it to be . . . even if that means they end up supporting the series and reaffirming the idea that baiting f/f or m/m ships and never following through on it is a safe and financially viable strategy



Yes. Subtext is when they do want to say it, but feel like they can't for whatever reason, and they imply it. That's not the same as baiting.

There are also shows that, for whatever reason, do want to appeal to both het fans and m/m fans, so they leave it open-ended, and sell an equal amount of Lelouch x C.C. merchandise and Lelouch x Suzaku merchandise. That's not the same as, say Aldnoah.Zero, where they used the opening, posters, etc. to tease "OrangeBat" as a SuzaLulu-esque pairing, and then they had literally two scenes together and barely even knew each others' names by the end. And yet a certain portion of fandom still likes that show for them (the "coffee ship" people). (for the record, I like A3L11 over coffee.)

I really dislike Lelouch x C.C., but not because that's an m/f pairing... I dislike it because she's mean to him... actually similar to how most seme treat their uke. And I will be upset if the new series makes them canon, but for that reason, not because I'm offended on behalf of m/m pairings in general. If they make a new character as a love interest for Lelouch or Suzaku, I'd probably still be bothered even if that character is male. (Now, if they make a new male or female love interest character for either of them as a foil to highlight why Lelouch and Suzaku need each other, that would probably be good... but after the spoilers for the first recap movie, I have low hopes...)

(Likewise, it would be hard to sell sequel otome games, or those situation CDs (basically this POV thing... difficult to explain, but if you know ASMR roleplay videos... like that but otome game), if they'd flat out said that any pairings were canon in the anime, m/f or m/m. I don't blame them for that, and the fact that I can buy a CD of that character flirting with a microphone shaped like a head doesn't make me appreciate the emotional depth of their interactions in the anime any less.)
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/14/17
Honestly, I think more of the problem is fans trying to ship couples that just aren't there... It happens more in pseudo-yaoi from my own perspective. But it happens in all three kinds of pairings. People ship who they want to ship instead of just letting relationships play out. And because of that people perceive things how they want to instead of what is actually going on.

And for a lack of better or more discrete terminology, that really annoys the hell out of me.
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Posted 10/14/17 , edited 10/15/17

LavenderMintRose wrote:


StriderShinryu wrote:

To me, I think a decent amount of this comes down to how prevalent baiting is. Teasing same sex couples/interest but never going further has become so much of a thing that it's almost hard to believe in actual same sex coupling in anime/manga any more. Pretty much every series with multiple characters of the same sex makes sure to include at least a few scenes that can be read as more than simply friendly interest between those characters because they know it encourages fandom and buzz. No matter how genuine the writing may or may not be, it brings heat.

If there was follow-up more often then there would be less of a requirement for there to always be follow-up or actual blatant confirmation.
...
I always come back to Sound Euphonium when thinking of this topic. You had a series there with the entire core of the series being the definitively more than friends growing relationship between it's two main characters, both female. The writers did a masterful job of weaving everything together. Then, in the last few episodes the series took a u-turn and shoe horned in a male interest who barely even showed up on screen in the entire second season (but was more prominent in the manga), made one of the female leads a complete idiot and even added a second potential female love interest to appease her fan base. It was very clear that the writer(s) who had written the story all the way up to that point were given a push by someone, likely higher up, to not continue writing the story they had been allowed to up to then.


I'm specifically talking about comparing a show with an f/m pairing and a show with a m/m pairing that have the same level of confirmation, and either the same level of emotional depth, or where the m/m pairing has more emotional depth. By "emotional depth", I mean that the story shows how much the characters mean to each other through their actions, reactions, etc., that it's more than just teasing.


That's sad that that happened in that show, but I'm talking about specific instances where that did not happen.


PeripheralVisionary wrote:

Double standards are not inherently illogical in this case, as with many others. This is simply acknowledging the context, ranging from the historical background in the medium to the modern acceptance. In this case, why should we treat the term "double standards" as a dirty word, when it is the most accurate to apply to many writers and people in the industry itself?

It may be the exact "same thing", but given how much, or rather, how little weight is given to many a homosexual shipping, I find it reasonable to be wary, but I also express the claim that some love stories do not take place within 12 episodes.

It also bears to mention, and this is a general observation, but many of Japan's population is largely uniform in how it operates, and the power dynamics could have just a few at the top dictating much of the work at the bottom.


(If one movie can be long enough, why can't 12 episodes be?)

My point is that, even if 4/5 people believe one thing, it's not reasonable to always assume that that applies to the individual that you're looking at at the moment, especially when presented with other evidence. As I said, that goes for the writers as well as for people dictating... you can't assume that all those people necessarily feel the same way either. Not all writers are the same, not all directors are the same, not all producers are the same... That's why I linked to the article about businesses. Some businesses are realizing it's to their advantage to be more accepting.

There is also a history in media that, when a writer or director wants to say something that they feel they wouldn't be able to get away with, they imply it rather than stating it outright. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rYXxK8enGs < some examples, but the phenomenon is well known). I get the sense that, while the baiting thing is an issue (in shallower, more popular series, e.g. Shonen Jump titles), there are also a lot of things in Japan that are sort of in this stage.

You can also look at the story, look at the writing and direction, and just see, "Is this sympathetic? Is this respectful? Is this from the perspective of these characters, or of a friend who wants them to be happy? Or is it from the point of view of an onlooker who wants them to do sexy things in public for the onlooker's amusement, regardless of how the characters feel? Do these interactions deepen their relationship, or is it just showing off?" I can't think of specific examples of the latter, because I tend to just not watch shows that feel like that - I guess any of the pairings that actually hate each other, like Shizuo/Izaya, would fall into that category. But with genuine examples of the former, it's not fair to say, "Well, the writers live in Japan, so they can't have meant that." Because that distinction comes from whether or not they meant it.

If the evidence is there in the story that the relationship is deeper, why not accept it? Why tell people "that can't possibly be the case", based on an assumption about the writer's ideas?
(especially when it comes to series with canon gay pairings/attractions among supporting characters.)

(Though, to be honest, I will give credit - StarMyu fans don't say that pairing isn't canon. They just ship A/B and they're upset that A/C ended up together. Like, I could tell that A/C was the point all along, even in the first season, just by how things were framed, but other people didn't realize it until half way through the second season, and they thought it was just tacked on, somehow, like, they missed everything up until that point... anyway, but they do acknowledge that that is not platonic between them.
But the pairing in Kamigami no Asobi is just... not acknowledged. And I don't get why, because it's so obviously there. Obviously, it's not in the game, since "Anyone x Player" is canon in an otome game. But in the anime, two of the "options" are clearly in love with each other. )


Some things my benefit better with varying amounts of length, even under the same genre. Maybe with Yuri On Ice, they wanted a slow approach, and I do not find it a bad thing. I like my romances to be displays of burgeoning affection, but this is on a case by case basis. Some works do better when they are shorter, or longer. The idea against yaoibaiting is often under the assumption that undeniable proof would alienate what could have been a larger fanbase, as is the idea for yaoibaiting could be to pander to a demographic that would take strongly enough to support it. A great deal of acceptance is often driven by profit than morality when it comes to businesses.

I often criticize the idea that in Masamune's Revenge, you can pinpoint that Aki and Masamune will end up together at the end, despite Aki being a raging misandrist and Masamune for being a petty manchild, but someone with arguably more connections would be left unresolved or shafted due to being of the same sex. Though at the same time, I know why I and others think that. It is due to the noticing of tired tropes, the cultural attitudes, and the market trends we can come to the conclusions we do. These are generalities, no doubt about that, but they are generalities for a reason. We have seen this happen consistently over a period of years, and I ask "Why should I expect different", especially given with what we are just shown.

It is bad to treat an individual in question as being of this insidious trend I suppose, but my standards are a bit higher in question.

I find it feasible and often the most possible that in the end, writers and producers will treat a male and male couple differently precisely because they are male and male. It isn't out of the realm of possibility they will just use emotional moments to tease what a show of abs cannot, and this seems to be case at times. I see this quite a bit in yuribait shows at the very least (I watch a great deal of moe.)

Sorry if I offend you, but this feels like an unjust criticism of a reasonable assumption, but I am a bit tired, so sorry if I am a bit nonsensical.
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