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Girls und Panzer das Finale – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Grand Symphony」by 佐咲紗花 (Sasaki Sayaka)

「ガールズ&パンツァー 最終章 第一話」 (Girls und Panzer – Saishuushou Daichi Wa)
“Girls und Panzer das Finale the First Episode”

There is a lot of Girls und Panzer. Besides the anime, there are manga spin-offs, drama CDs, and an entire menagerie of cross-promotional mechandise that casual anime fans will not even scrape the surface of. Personally, I am but a humble anime blogger and have not probed the full depth of GuP, so when I heard the news that it was getting a ‘Finale‘ I was surprised. Wait, we were ending already? For a franchise that has grown so disproportionately large I felt like we hadn’t gotten a lot of anime out of it. How much GuP have I missed out on?

Perhaps it’s exactly the size of GuP that demands something like a definitive last chapter. Even if they intend to make more of it in the future (i.e. can it still make money?) an excuse for a reset can be very useful. Consider how large the GuP cast is right now. Due to its narrative formula it is in GuP‘s nature to continue accruing characters like layers of subcutaneous fat, and by now its cast is bloated indeed. Not unmanageably so, but it does make Gup look a bit pudgy around the sides. Let’s make a study of this first instalment of das Finale, shall we? Although it’s technically a feature film, in content it is probably as close as we’re going to get to Girls und Panzer 2nd Season. You can just imagine it as another episode from the first season? Change some names and dates around and it could even be from the same tournament, as round 2.5 or something. You will recognise the formula. They find a new tank. They rustle up a new team to fill that tank. Fight time! After getting slapped around a bit, Oarai rallies. Roll credits. It’s all comfortingly familiar. But the big difference is: this movie is twice the length of a TV episode. Part of this simply comes from more content — familiar formula though it was, the extra time available allowed for more flesh all the way through. But significant time is also spent cycling through each member of the cast, or groups within the cast, to make sure each of them got their turn to say a line. And that’s not even including the characters who don’t play any significant role this episode; even they needed a ‘where are they now? segment. On the one hand, it’s good that the cast is strong and that everyone can find a character to care about, but on the other hand it makes for a lot of necessary housekeeping if none are to be left out. So perhaps it’s a good thing for GuP to drop the curtain here, at least on this set of actors.

Evidently, besides from character bloat we also have tank bloat. Sure, in the history of warfare there have been a lot of tanks, but for a team where the tanks are characters unto themselves we need more than just a metal box with a turret. I don’t know if at this point GuP is messing with us or just scraping the bottom of the barrel, because the newest addition to the Oarai lineup is this ugly thing. Doesn’t look like a WWII tank? Well, it isn’t. It’s a WWI tank. And as you may expect from decades-antiquated technology, it’s terrible. While the Mark IV was designed with combat against its own kind as a consideration, back in WWI tanks were still mainly seen as tools to ford trenches and bully infantry. It was only by WWII where generals realised that the main weapon of any tank is its engine, and thus the Mark IV missed out. This thing is slow. Monstrously so. You know the Duck Team’s sad, inadequate Type 89b? Their medium-tank-wannabe can run circles around the Mark IV. Heck, you can probably jog faster than the Mark IV. It is a land-ship only in the sense of one that has beached itself and can now do naught but wriggle its turrets around hoping something wanders into firing range.

But those are all practical concerns, and GuP has never paid much mind to those. The important thing is that the new tank has character and has fun. And, yeah, pirates are fun. Fun has always been the top priority of GuP, overriding minor details like plot, OH&S, and physics. Therefore fun is always the primary metric by which I measure GuP, and thankfully das Finale is still wholesome girls + tanks fun all the way. I think GuP understands that it is bound to get more ridiculous as it goes (adding to the list of bloat: spectacle creep), and its license to do so is earned with gambolling fun. Why else would the movie originally air in ’4D’, with the moving chairs and everything? It’s a theme park ride.

Sure, while das Finale has yet to reach the same heights of ridiculousness as der Film, I think it’s okay for it to start slow. While I loved der Film for all its panzer action, I also thought it perhaps could have used a teensy more on the girls side. Again, I didn’t listen to any drama CDs or whatever, I didn’t know who all the new characters were. And while das Finale didn’t have quite enough panzer for me (only half a match in 40 minutes and now I have to wait for more), they made sure the new characters stood out. The Shark Team got more chance to shine outside their tanks than most of the other secondary Oarai girls (since this was, I assume, their one opportunity to do so). They’re great, they have personality (though maybe too much personality). And while in der Film the rival university team was a bit bland, BC Freedom certainly did not lack in texture. It just goes to show how much having a clear motif helps. Sure, they’re playing on stereotypes, but their quirk needed to be established in a hurry and it can chuckle at them while they do so. It’s true: while the French may seem like they hate each other, never forget that they hate everybody else much more. I’ve never felt a general antipathy for all humanity quite like in Paris. Oh yeah, BC Freedom was the French school, I could tell. It also helps that the characters themselves are so into it and will ham it up at any opportunity they can get. Like Pravda, BC Freedom sings their own leitmotif, and it’s this kind of silly fun that perfectly encapsulates Girls und Panzer.

One problem: you’re the French popular uprising themed school, you want to sing a march, and it’s not from Les Misérables? Come on.

Random thoughts:

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「Enter Enter MISSION!最終章ver.」 (Enter Enter MISSION!Saishuushou ver.) by 渕上舞、茅野愛衣、尾崎真実、中上育実、井口裕香 (Fuchigami Mai, Kayano Ai, Ozaki Mami, Nakagami Ikumi, Iguchi Yuka)

March 28, 2018 at 10:09 am
32 comments »
  • March 28, 2018 at 10:33 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Dat Hana, dat Flint, dat Ogin, dat Mark IV, dat ARL-40, dat EVERYTHING!!!

    GuP is LOVE!! GuP is LIFE!!!!

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2026.jpg

    JESUS CHRIST, YUKARI!!!

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2025.jpg

    Victory through politeness!

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2050.jpg

    HAH!!! Overslept again, lol.

    Such feels in knowing that the third years are all going to be graduating and are leaving or have left – Maho in Germany, Darjeeling going to Britain, Katyusha going to Russia (and not knowing Russian, lol), Anzu, Yuzu, and hopefully Momo, all going to university (Hana the new Student Council President, w00t!).

    Too bad that Continuation wasn’t getting involved in the tournament. Who else wouldn’t love to see more BT-42 on crack action with a Finnish polka playing in the background? XD

    I was wondering just what sort of “misfit” tank could possibly be added to the mix-and-match Oarai team, but I would never have expected a WWI British Mark IV tank of all things. Instead of an upgrade, they get a “downgrade”, lol. And yeah, you can WALK as fast as a Mark IV can go – around 4 mph, lol, and only about a half inch of armor and an engine that made the Porsche Tiger look reliable, was really hot inside (crew members wearing full leather suits and such, easy to burn yourself given the engine was right there, bad enough hits would send bolts flying everywhere inside. Basically, being part of a tank crew was NOT preferable until better ones came along like the Renault (which Marie is in)

    And loved the remixed ED for Shark Team, lol.

  • March 28, 2018 at 10:44 amWorldwidedepp

    This New tank is an WW1 Veteran. it’s was very prone to hand grenades on his roof. Also, You see how their Armor is holden in place? rivets. If some strong impact hit the Armor but not penetrate it, the rivets act like shrapnel inside the tank and.. well you can guess it. thats why they gone and used welding

    • March 28, 2018 at 10:46 amWorldwidedepp

      Also i read somewhere that there are more OAV’s to come.. in total 5 of 6.. Al around 1 Hour or so..

      So we will see an “to be continue…”

    • March 28, 2018 at 1:33 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

      This is why the Mark IV is actually the perfect tank for the Shark team and why their pirate theme isn’t random. The actual thought that went into the “tank” was that it was literally envisioned as a “land battleship” (“tank” was initially just the word used to make the Germans think it had to do with water tanks in order to keep it secret) and the use of rivets and such was also similar to how naval vessels were built. So it “floats” across No Man’s Land and even its movement, due to lack of any suspension and such, would be very much like being on a ship at sea, with a number of crew members feeling ill because of it.

      And yeah, das Finale is going to have six episodes, so I could see maybe three different stories at two episodes each.

  • March 28, 2018 at 10:58 amDoomSlayer

    As others have put it, Das Finale is a return to the series’ roots rather than going for spectacle. The focus on Momo was a solid choice – since the series had such a large number of unique but lesser-explored characters, it was nice to see the student council get a bit more into the limelight. I invite you to take a look at the linked post; I think their author is always looking for feedback from the giants, as it were!

  • March 28, 2018 at 11:15 amLyfe

    I remember the movie of this sold around the same as Love Live!. It’s definately a massive franchise that doesn’t deserve to just die, but if they send it off well enough they could always reboot with new characters.

    I genuinely forgot the finale was even out until I saw it listed to buy. I know, not the best GuP fan out there lol.

  • March 28, 2018 at 1:13 pmGars

    So the “French” school sings “Chanson de l’oignon” while advancing in the column formation used at the battle of Wagram 1809, the amount of obscure research this show is willing to make puts a lot of more “serious” productions to shame.

  • March 28, 2018 at 1:15 pmWorldwidedepp

    Also if you want to see then “realistic tank” watch Indiana Jones :)

  • March 28, 2018 at 1:34 pmRoguespirit

    Man, GuP was one of the shows that kept me coming to RandomC. This is really nostalgic seeing this show again. Wow, was it really back in 2012? Seems like only yesterday everyone was crying out about how we’d get stuck with a clipshow every few episodes due to the production issues, screaming about having to wait 3-4 months for the last two episodes, and competing with the SAO coverage on RC at the time for the most number of comments on the posts.

    I do think the characterization was sacrificed for cheap laughs in some cases, Sodoko being kidnapped being the prime example. I doubt someone who’s been handling delinquents her whole high school career would have been so clueless as to how to handle them unless she was putting on an act in order to be taken to someone in a position of power. That said, we did get a lot of what we love all these girls for and I hope we’ll get to see and learn more about the girls of our favourite high school tank team with these OVAs, but the VAs might be grandmothers by the time the last one comes out at the rate they’re coming.

    I wonder if Yukari is going to become a film director when she grows up. She seems to have some talent for presentation at least. 3 of the Anglerfish members are on the new Student Council, with Hana as pres, and most surprisingly, the previously shy and socially awkward Yukari as the vice president, and Saori taking Momo’s old job.

    Seeing Miho’s Magnadoodle really brought back memories of being in my single-digits. I used to have one of those when I was a kid. Didn’t think they still made those things.

    • March 28, 2018 at 3:14 pmPhoenixActual

      Perhaps I can introduce you to another blog that offers comparable insights into Girls und Panzer? Take the Mangadoodle: the author provides a very clever bit of connection with what Miho’s choice of gear says about her as a person. Definitely worth checking out.

      • March 28, 2018 at 5:46 pmRoguespirit

        Yes, thanks. I love Infinite Zenith’s posts, first found him back when GuP was first airing. I do think he is correct about the magnadoodle regarding Miho, shows a pragmatic side of her too.

  • March 28, 2018 at 4:21 pmdanes256

    Au pas camarade :)

  • March 28, 2018 at 9:12 pmLadioss

    “It’s true: while the French may seem like they hate each other, never forget that they hate everybody else much more”

    It’s funny because it’s true :D

    • March 28, 2018 at 11:45 pmIncognito

      Ah, French stereotypes. Clichéd to hell and back, but still hilarious at times.

      And whenever French stereotypes are mentioned, I usually hear this accordion music:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPiaJc3hjco

      (Blame a certain atsf/Yuro and his “How to DunkerqueWorld of Warships video, as well as RYAN C00P3R’s “How to Use RichelieuKanColle video.)

    • March 29, 2018 at 12:06 amPancakes

      @Incognito
      Yuro is bae, 10/10 best WoWs content creator hands down.
      Also as an aside I can confirm that you run the Dunkerque like he suggests, it makes for many abused lolibotes :P

  • March 28, 2018 at 10:50 pmZhinvu

    Highlight of the episode: FLINT!!! My best girl right there and she had to show in the finale…

    Anyways on the episode itself, it was great to watch GuP again as I have enjoyed the entire series for the music and tank tactics and action. I was surprised though. Who’d have thought the Oarai ship even had a lawless region. Didn’t expect all those delinquent students down there. I wonder if they were all unattached from everything that’s been happening. I mean they’d lose their place if Oarai lost the tournament so they might have at least been aware of who the Senshado team is. Then again they most likely didn’t care about all that.

    As for the fight in this episode, I sort of had a feeling BC Freedom were half faking their internal fighting just to fool Oarai (half since they’re fighting also isn’t just an act). It’s amazing to think they might have staged the whole thing in anticipation for Yukari’s infiltration. By now maybe Yukari’s spying is already public knowledge across all schools. Glad to see they were still able to pull through coz being trapped in the that wooden bridge I thought Oarai was done for.

    Random thought:
    - In that FPS scene where Sodoko was taken by those two delinquent girls, for wearing long skirts those girls were walking creepily fast. It’s like they were floating ghosts. But that’s just me.
    - Looks like Oshida from BC Freedom knows Mantis style.

  • March 28, 2018 at 11:19 pmIncognito

    “Obligatory, but I still need to say it: Let them eat cake.”
    Appropriately enough, her name is Marie.

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%20OP%20-%20Large%2007.jpg
    [Eurobeat intensifies]

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2011.jpg
    They have the Bathyscaphe Trieste (best known for its record-setting manned dives into the Mariana Trench) aboard the Ooarai school ship? Does this mean they also have elective courses for deep-sea diving?

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2044.jpg
    I was almost expecting a riot akin to the Storming of Bastille (which led to the French Revolution) to break out during Yukari’s recon. Though for the Warhammer Fantasy / Total War: Warhammer fans, this social divide is reminiscent of Bretonnia. (With the patrician-esque Examination Clique being analogous to Bretonnian Knights, while the plebian-like Escalator Clique are analogous to Bretonnia’s peasantry.)

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Other comments:
    - My first thoughts on Momo taking on the commander’s mantle: “Will she be alright?”
    - So Hana is now student council president and can take you on in a (G-rated) drinking match? I’m loving her even more… ~<3
    - Funny to see Chi-Ha-Tan still being fond of charging at things and having no indoor voice.
    - I had a chuckle seeing those Goliath tracked mines being used to sweep for tanks hidden within the Ooarai school ship, as well as those parodies of the famous "I Want You" poster and the Lucasfilm logo.
    - With the Mark IV tank recently celebrating its 100th birthday, it's nice to see it being represented in this anime.
    - “Yousoro!” Channeling a bit of You Watanabe / KanColle / Haifuri there, aren’t ya, Shark Team? Not too sure about using a tank’s exhaust to smoke meat, though… *sweatdrops*

    I’m looking forward to seeing more of this, though I do hope the last episode gives a proper send-off to this series this time around.

  • March 29, 2018 at 1:39 amHenrietta Brix

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2004.jpg
    Goliath tracked mine vehicle…

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2037.jpg
    Sikorsky S64 Skycrane…

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2051.jpg
    Mk IV Male

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2060.jpg
    ARL-44

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2066.jpg
    Somua S35

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2067.jpg
    Renault FT 17

    More things to add to the anime debut list

    And it’s no secret that BC’s big boss tank is Char 2C. Despite seeing only a turret shot of it at the end, it’s no longer an open secret. I’m surprise you didn’t screen cap that.

    On to other things

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2017.jpg
    I really like the chase scene down the dark alleyways of Johannesberg and I think so far, GuP is like the only anime that makes full use of the POV perspective.

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2020.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2041.jpg
    Flint may be lovable but among all the tank waifus, Flint can never reach the sassiness and the command prowess of the venerable and enigmatic Mika. Seriously no screen shot of her in the Soumisian sauna house? IT”S HERESY! APOLOGISE TO THE SOUMISIANS!

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2026.jpg
    Yukari reminds us why she’s the belle of Oorai. Stick smoke grenade… I wonder where she keeps it and if it has any other functions. I know you got to unscrew the cap and pull glass bead to activate the stick grenade.

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2036.jpg
    Nonna and Klara seems to be enjoying the fact that they’ve kidnapped a loli. Does that make Klara an Nonna lolicons?

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2043.jpg
    It’s not Star Wars parody without the titular crawl!

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2053.jpg
    You know, I am not surprised that the ARL shot the S35. This is the very definition of random match making in World of Tanks. Although this is tier 7 matched with tiers 3…

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2046.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2057.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2044.jpg
    I cannot help it but to see Marie Antoinette reveling in the fact that the French peasents are suffering while the nobility and the bourgeois are having their cake and enjoying it. I don’t know but to feel unsettled that the creators seems to have replicated the sense of division and the boiling sense of unhappiness and disgruntlement with the Ancien Regeime. It’s no surprise that the peasents stormed the Bastille during Akiyama’s recon mission.

    http://randomc.net/image/Girls%20und%20Panzer/Girls%20und%20Panzer%20das%20Finale%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2077.jpg
    We have Stalin’s Choir and who’s choir is this? Petain? De Gaulle? Napoleon? Louis XIV?

  • March 29, 2018 at 6:16 pmBear

    Oh good god. A WWI tank??? Couldn’t they have at least picked something that was being used in WWII or something closer to 1940 like the FT?

  • March 29, 2018 at 8:48 pmewok40k

    oh god I loved this….
    chihatan still “100% charged up”
    pirate team riding a landship
    yukari still playing spy and making glorious yukarivision TM vids
    playing the national stereotypes to the max
    and translating the random teams of WOT into GUP universe…
    laughed like madman when i saw that randomly fired shots between somuas and arl’s
    and then probably the ultimate surprise of unity happening

  • March 29, 2018 at 9:29 pmWanderer

    They managed to find a tank that’s even more useless than the Type 89. Hard to believe such a thing even exists.

    • March 30, 2018 at 1:33 amPasserby

      To be fair, it’s a lot older too. If Oarai gets another team they’ll be getting a penny-farthing bicycle and a slingshot.

  • March 29, 2018 at 9:44 pmmaou

    Lol chihatan…same as always, leeroy jenkins will be proud

  • March 31, 2018 at 2:33 amMechamorph

    Yeah, somewhere early in the first anime GuP abandoned any pretense they had to realism in favour of fun, spectacle and fun spectacle. I think it was somewhere around the time when the teams decorated their tanks in all their campy glory.

    Like others here I do love the Shark team and especially Flint although Captain Silver Ogin is growing on me too. You can tell those two are some of the more important members of Shark Team when they are named for Pirate Captains while the rest are named for elements of a pirate’s life. Also two songs in one OAV? You are starting to spoil us Silver Link!

    Given a Napoleonic march, I think BC Academy is closest to the Bourbon Restoration even though Marie (Antoinette) is still around. Despite her namesake, part of me suspects Marie is supposed to be a moderate figure like Louis XVIII or Philippe Egalite (Louis Philippe I) if not Napoleon himself. BC Academy’s factitious nature was explored in the Ribbon Warrior spin off so I wonder if this indicates that das Finale occurs after the events in that manga. Show Spoiler ▼

    As for not using Les Miserable… sadly the book and the musical is set in the June Rebellion which (as both depict) kind of failed miserably (pun not intended). And the most famous song of the OG French Revolution is kind of hard to use since La Marseillaise wound up becoming the French National Anthem. All told a Napoleonic march is fitting as that was the first time since the Flight to Varenne that the French nation was (relatively) united.

    • March 31, 2018 at 3:46 pmLyfe

      I think they had two choices with Girls und Panzer, make a gritty realistic version that depicted the reality of being in a tank thats blasted and thrown around like a ragdoll during a match. Or simply go for campy fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

      The first choice would have limited the shows audience, I don’t think people particularly want to see a GuP with injuries such a broken bones, lacerations, burns etc. It would lose the fun and appeal.

      • April 1, 2018 at 10:26 amMechamorph

        Yeah I know what you mean. I have read doujinshi where the tank combat is taken seriously and it was pretty brutal. Credit to the author, it was shown that the teams were tricked into their participation of “real” senshadou, all of them thought that the tournament was going to be the sporting form we see in the original series. Few sane people want to participate in what are essentially death matches after all. Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 3, 2018 at 11:51 pmToukairin

      You know, I have been thinking about that almost legendary song (Do You Hear the People Sing?) from the musical Les Misérables. Although the rebellion failed, what I enjoy the most from the song is the uniting power in the lyrics, especially the chorus (English or French versions both apply). Considering the context that BC Freedom has not always been united as a school, the use of that song would have been great to show the spirit of unity between the various factions of BC Freedom school when they come up against a common opposition that wants to defeat them.

  • March 31, 2018 at 2:31 pmBear

    I thought Girls und Panzer was over and done with and even took down my blog, PanzersVor. Amazing how this keeps coming back (eventually). It took a long time between the anime, the OVA, and the movie and now we get this. What next GuP the College years?

    Ok, I commented earlier before I watched but, so far, it wasn’t as silly as the movie. I still can’t forgive them for the Karl Gërat (calling that thing a tank is just OTT). The whole belly of the beast with the yankee’s acting like escapees from a Disneyworld Pirates of the Caribbean attraction had me turned off at first. The Mark IV turned out to be another “ramp” (like when the attacked the Maus and the Karl Gërat) so at least they had a reason for it. I still think they could have come up with a more appropriate tank.

  • March 31, 2018 at 8:42 pmLeoDA

    I wished the pirate team got the TOG II, it’s literally a land battleship!

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