Tag Archives: 2017

No Game No Life: Zero

Type: This is your Season 2

Synopsis: Two outcast who are both totally legal guys! are unexpectedly drawn to each other through their love of chess. And, you know, both living in a world plagued in war as the Gods fight a petty battle for supremacy. One is a young(?) man who has to lead the last of humanity down their eventual march to extinction and is being crushed by the pressure. The other is a loli robot whose trying to learn what it means to be humans, but also kinda thirsty. Was this just an excuse to have a little girl character say lewd things? Yes, yes it was. Was I still caught up by the character work and stellar actions scenes? Yes, yes I was.

Pros: This movie is a flashback prequel to the anime No Game No Life, which has become something of a mascot for all great anime that never got a proper sequel. This story reveals how the Great War ended, how humanity earned it’s spot as one of the races, and how reality became the game world we first encounter in the anime. Let’s talk about each reveal. First, the movie does a great job showcasing how destructive the Great War was. Unlike the anime, the movie’s world has been utterly decimated by war. The bright colors we’re familiar with have been replaced with a dark color scheme. But I think the best example of the war was the battle between the Ex-Machina Schwi and Angel Jibril. No only is this battle amazing from a technical level, but it shows us the amount of destructive power the other races fought with, and these were just two grunts. It also helps clarify why other characters were so afraid to challenge races like Angels and Deus in the original anime. I know that sometimes less is more when it comes to certain events in stories, but showing the war through the eyes of low-level players helps add to it’s scale in my opinion. Second, the reveal that humanity, or “imanity” was almost extinct at this time of the was was interesting, as was the protagonist, Riku. Unlike Sora, Riku feels the brunt of status. His mood swings and desperation come off an genuine most of the time, and his relationship with Schwi actually does grow on you. By the end of the film, I ended up caring for both of them, as Riku and Schwi both taught each other to open their hearts. Third, by showing how Set became the God of the world, you are giving may more context about how the world works and the relationship between the races. You understand why certain races like Angels act the way they do, and why humanity is seen as such a loser race. The world in No Game No Life is a truly transformed world, predicated on one god and one lonely boy’s love of playing games.

Cons: The movie is rushed. Very rushed. The movie goes from story beat to story beat without ever letting moments breathe. Some moments are so abrupt that I lost track of the story a few times. It felt like they were trying to cram a story arc worth of stories within a 90 minute time frame. Which was weird because this anime only has 3 characters: Riku, Schwi, and Corounne as support. Everyone else is a side character at best, even Jibril. So while I did buy into Riku and Schwi’s relationship, that was mostly due to the sad music and direction. The writing didn’t do much. Riku goes from hating her to loving her within an hour. It’s only in the last half hour that you get to care about them together. Speaking of the characters, you might notice that Riku, Schwi, and Corounne look a lot like Shiro, Sora, and Stephanie. At first I thought that the studio was just being lazy and trying to get people to watch this movie by having similar looking characters in it. But the suggestion that they are reincarnations was a nice touch. They got Isekaied in order to get Isekaied again. I also kinda wish the Set had shown up more in the movie, maybe subtly pushing all the characters to finally win the game. In my own headcannon, I half expected this movie to show why Set became the god of games, but it turns out he was always that way. I should end by saying that this movie is very rushed and congested. It will only really appeal to fans of the show. Even then, some fans may not like it because it askews the tactical aspects of the anime for a more straightforward drama. I would not recommend this to a new audience.

Watch it?: For fans only

MVP: Schwi

We all know what they were doing with her, but it’s still funny.

Best Moment: The Schwi vs Jibril fight (made me appreciate how strong Jibril actually is).

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Girls’ Last Tour

Type: Kinda sounds like a K-Pop group

Synopsis: What? I can listen to K-Pop. It’s 2020 people! If you want to know that I recommend, I’d say you can’t go wrong wit the classics: Black Pink, EXO, Girl’s Generation. BTS, or course, though maybe only stuff from their first album. The music videos are also something else. Totally more creative than our lazy western ones. There’s only so many times I can see a man talk-sing while walking on a sidewalk. Give me crazy set pieces!

Pros: Speaking of set-pieces, Girls’ Last Tour is an anime about two girls (Yuu and Chii) touring around the remains of a mega-city after some massive war. Each episode is basically a stand alone story, with some small elements carried over to the next episode. Most of the stories involve the girls looking for supplies, and discovering some new thing left over from the past. For example, in the first episode, the girls find a plane and kinda goof off with it. In another episode, the girls find a fish, and discover that fish are tasty to each. Throughout the show, we indirectly learn more and more about what happened to society, implying exactly how long it’s been since the end of civilization (the fact that Chii can’t read and both didn’t recognize what a fish was right away give off some strong hints). Sometimes, the girls will run into a singular survivor, through they too are one their own journeys. Due to the setting and quiet nature of the show, there is a melancholic tone through the series. This is thankfully balanced by Yuu and Chii’s comedic interactions and cartoonist design. Nothing bad actually happens to the characters, it’s not that kind of show. Yuu and Chii never abandon each other. There’s not bad guy trying to attack them. Whatever happens to them, Yuu and Chii come out unscathed at the end. It’s that rare post-apocalypse story that just revolves around exploration (which I wish more post-apocalypse stories would do). The show’s not funny haha, but it’s not a tragedy either.

Cons: The show is quiet. The show does a lot to establish the atmosphere and mood the girl’s new surroundings. That being said, it can get a little boring at times. It actually took me two months to finish it because I kept dropping off to watch something more lively. This is not for viewers that like action to happen ever few minutes. This is also not for viewers that like to multitask. You kinda need to play attention to this show. I would say that this show is like a cup of tea. To get the most out of it, you need to take it slow, enjoy the subtle flavor, and accepts it’s calming if bitter taste. (p.s. the show does find excuses to get the girls naked, because anime).

Watch it?: Yes, but only if your in the right mood (4/5)

MVP: Yuu and Chii

It’s either them of their Kettenkrad

Best Episode: Ep.02 Bath/Journal/Laundry (It gives you an inside look at their day to day routine).

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Castlevania (2017)

Type: Is this really an anime?

Synopsis: I mean really? It’s written by an American and partly produced by American animation studios. It’s also paced and shot like a typical western fantasy. But I guess that since it kinda looks like an anime, we’ll count it. Worked for Avatar.

Pros: The Castlevania “anime” is based on the Castlevania video game. Mostly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. I’ve never played it since Castlevania starts at Symphony of the Night (YEAH, I SAID IT), but the stories pretty good. Dracula gets mad when the church kills his wife, so he unleashed literal hell on humanity. Trevor Belmont, a disillusioned monster hunter, decides to help after a cute girl and even cuter boy talk him into it. The anime touches upon the troupe of hypocritical faith. The church in this show, despite proclaiming the virtues of God, are corrupt and power hungry. Trevor and his crew, meanwhile, are heretics who try to help other people. Not that they don’t have their own ulterior  motives, but they don’t try to hid them behind a mask of benevolence as much as the church does. Being only 4 episodes, the show comes off as more of a cut up movie. Something you would see on Amazon as direct to video. Still, it’s a short fun introduction to the Castlevania mythos.

Cons: For an anime where Dracula unleashes his grief on a country, the scale of the film feels really small. The story is mostly located entirely in a enclosed city. And even then, a lot of the story happens in a specific hut or church. For a show based on a game that revolutionized exploration, there isn’t much movement here. And the ending is a cliffhanger. This show anime is more of a prequel to the original game. There is some fan service, like Alucard and Trevor’s weapons. It also kinda bothers me that Dracula and the priest that killed his wife never had a face to face. But I guess he blamed humanity more than the church. But unless your into the game, or medieval supernatural stories, its may come off as generic or even slow.

Watch it?: It’s only 4 episodes, so give it the 4 episode test. (4/5)

MVP: Dracula

He’s really, really, really angry.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Witchbottle” (Dracula could have just killed the priest. But no, he had to be a drama queen about it).

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KonoSuba (Season 2)

Type: “It hurts so good!” – Dustiness Ford Lalatina

Synopsis: We’ve all been in this situation. You have a great job, are surrounded by beautiful people, and are generally successful at what you do. Only to have the job basically kill you. Have all the beautiful people have terrible personalities. And have all your success lead to an arrest warrant, major debt, and religious arguments. At least you house wasn’t taken away (just the furniture).

Pros: KonoSuba season 2 follows almost immediately after the first season. Kazuma and the gang are put on probation for suspicion of working with the Demon King, and have to pay off all the damages they caused while saving the city at the end of the first season. That’s the first half of the season. The second half revolves around a trip to a hot springs city that worships Aqua, and the predictable trouble that causes. The benefit of watching KonoSuba this time around was that I got a better appreciation for the characters and their stories, mainly because I got to interact with them more. The first season went by so fast and had to much hype surrounding it, that it fell a little flat for me. Not so with season two. The first half gives you a nice, weekly adventure that doubles as spotlight episodes for the characters, thus allowing yourself to re-familiarize yourself. The second half gives you a more traditional arc. Overall, this second season has the advantage of having all the characters already established, thus allowing it to do more with them. It left me wanting more in a good way, so I hope it gets another season, or else I’m going to have to seriously consider breaking with my own habits and start reading the light novel.

Cons: There are a few little things I don’t think land. The characters of Yunyun and Vanir aren’t especially funny. Yunyun’s kinda meh. And Vanir feels derivative. I also think the Darkness jokes are kinda lazy. Not the sadism ones. Those are always gold. But her spotlight episode, Ep.4 “A Betrothed for this Noble Daughter” focused too much on fan service and came off as lazy. We get it, she’s the blond with big boobs, can we move on now? I also feel that maybe the whole season ended a little anticlimactically. The battle with another demon general was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but everyone just going home to have some tea without a punch line was maybe to the ideal way to end it. Just my opinion.

Watch it?: A solid sophomore effort. I burned through it rather quickly. (4/5)

MVP: Kazuma

Yes, he’s Kazuma.

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Give Me Deliverance from this Judicial Injustice!” (I mean, he did steal those panties…)

 

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Little Witch Academia (Series)

Type: Believe in the you that believes in yourself, that’s the true magic.

Synopsis: Akko has a dream, to kill all hu–, oops, wrong show. I mean, Akko has a dream, to meet her Idol, becomes best friends, and revitalize the magic industry together. It’s basically the story of an obsessive fangirl trying to make her delusions a reality. But in the nicest, most welcoming sort of way that you can’t help but root for her.

Pros: Amazing. It’s Amazing. It’s also stupendous, terrific, astounding, inspiring, marvelous, wonderful, excellent, sensational, superb, great, first rate, dazzling, and, dare I say it, magical. It’s the first Trigger show, scratch that, the first anime show in a long time that I could easily recommend to everyone, any age and any background. The show follows Akko, a in student at a prestigious magical school as she tries to learn magic to live up to her idol, Shiny Chariot. The first half of the series focuses more of Akko’s day to day life, her struggles in class, and her relationship with her roommates and friends. One of the things I was immediately impressed by how true to life Akko’s portrayal was. Because Akko is shown to be airheaded, lazy, heastrong, whiny, petty, but also brave, kind, and empathetic. An actually teenager. You can laugh at her one minute, but be inspired by her the next (ex: That scene by the fountain. Wow!). Her friends are also a great addition, and each character gets at least one spotlight episode to explore there character. I personally liked Sucy’s spotlight episode and her Eternal Sunshine-esque adventure. The second half of the series focuses more on the search for the Seven Magical Words, and moves the spotlight into some of the more auxiliary characters. Overall, this is the type of show that makes me happy to be an anime fan. This is the type of show that I could realistically give to my 5 year old niece, and/or her mother, and/or her grandfather, without any reservations about the content of reaction to it. It’s a truly all-ages property, joining the rank of Ghibli movies. It’s one of Trigger’s best shows, I would argue the BEST up till now, and a true spiritual successor to Gainax’s Gurren Lagann.

Cons:…maybe Croix. Professor Croix is the series antagonist that’s introduced halfway through (a traditional Trigger/Gainax mid-season twist). She’s not really too imposing, nor that interesting. Unfortunately, we never get a spotlight for her, making her feel more distant than the other characters. I also feel that the teachers at the school weren’t given the proper “cool guy” moment that I expected them to have. I did, however, like how the school’s business side was handled. The world in the anime knows magic exists, but no longer believe in it due to the rise of science and technology. Kinda like Tinker Bell, magic gets weaker the less people believe in it. So magic is kinda on it’s last legs when Akko shows up. And, I guess another negative is that you can’t binge watch it. Or shouldn’t, at least. It’s too good. You have to watch each episode one by one. YOU HAVE TO.

Watch it?: Officially on my Top 10 Favorite anime list. (6/5)

MVP: Akko

She may be a little witch now, but she’ll be shiny one day!

Best Episode: Ep. 8 “Sleeping Sucy” (I am just so happy this went from a Kickstarter show to a full blown production).

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Seven Mortal Sins

Type: Yeah, I know.

Synopsis: What can I say, a man has needs. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Pros: Let’s get this out of the way. There’s nudity in every episode. There’s boob foundling in every episode. There’s boob licking every other episode. And there’s bdsm like scenes in every episode. All the characters have giant breasts. There’s one loli character, but she’s only the focus in episode ep.7, and again in episode 10. If you want to watch this uncensored, try a fan site, because most legal sites will have the censored version. Ok, now that the pervs got what they wanted, is this show actually any good? No. No it is not. Thank you.

Cons: Basic story-Lucifer is cast out from Heaven and she tries to take over Hell, but needs to go through Seven Demon Lords that represent the Seven Deadly Mortal Sins. Each Demon Lord gets one spotlight episodes that follows the same formula. Lucifer confronts the Demon Lord, she gets caught in their trap, gets sexually humiliated for a while, and then convinces them to join her side. Lucifer is also joined by the Demon Lord of Envy, whose really, really annoying, and a human who Lucifer keeps as a slave because she can locate the Demon Lords. This is made from the same company that created Queen’s Blade. It’s better than Queens Blade in terms of story, as it’s more focused and has an actual ending. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still total garbage, but if you want to watch it then go ahead. You do you.

Watch it?: Did I mention it’s total garbage? Because that’s important. (2/5)

MVP: Wrath

I mean, just the worst kind of anime.

Best Episode: Ep.1 “The Proud Fallen Angel” (Total boob show. Everybody gets groped, usually by each other. The characters are all one dimensional. It’s just soft core porn with an average story. Filthy, but genuinely arousing.)

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In Another World With My Smartphone

Type: Wait, this was made in 2017?!

Synopsis: Jeez, really? Hold up, let me double check…I’ll be damned,  released 2017. I mean, OK? That’s fine I guess. A harem show revolving around a guy trapped in a fantasy world. That’s…man, that’s incredibly lazy.

Pros: This is show is about a Japanese boy who goes into a fantasy world, forms a harem of pretty girls, and gets celebrated for being the biggest and the strongest. Now, this isn’t Sword Art Online or Konosuba, because this protagonist has a cellphone! Hooooorayyyy!!!! Sigh. OK, in actuality, the show kinda a mix of the aforementioned shows. Our hero, Touya, accidentally dies. God, being a straight up kind of dude, reincarnates him into a fantasy world where his cellphone still has access to the internet and never has to recharge. Touya adapts to his new world pretty easily, especially considering all the psychological trauma associated with death, leaving everyone you ever knew behind, discovering that God not only exists, but is neglectful of his people, and that multiverse theory is real. (P.S. On an actual positive, I did like Touya’s use of his cellphone and internet as a resource, and the gag of using the spell “slip” to win every important battle).

Cons: Generic. Generic. Generic. But aside from that, nothing much. It’s a harem show. It’s a Isekai show. If you don’t like either, you won’t like this. It’s the kind of cookie cutter show that belongs in the discount bin at Walmart. That being said, its also a great show for stress. Like, if you just came off an emotional high from a better show, or your anxiety levels are rising due to life, then this show is a great remedy. It’s predictable, the protagonist win with no real effort, and there’s no drama for miles. It’s a shot of vanilla when you need it. And aside from the typical fan service, this show seemed like the kind you would find on TV back in the 2000’s. Which is all the more surprising to discover that this was made in 2017. The cheap animation, the uninspired story, the mary sue protagonist. I’ll tell you this though, the show won’t insult your intelligence as much if you frame all of Touya’s accomplishments as God’s way to making up for his death. Like, what better way to make a teenage boy happy than by giving him a gaggle of adventurer girls that all love him, making him the strongest warrior/magician in the world, and have kings and gods view him with awe. Either that, or get him a new phone.

Watch it: A sedative, but in a good way (2/5)

MVP: Leen

For being the only girl to point out that Touya didn’t technically earn any of his abilities or talents. They were a pity gift.

Best Episode: Ep.5 “Slime Castle, and New Functions” (a running gag that’s paid off)

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Hand Shakers

Type: This doesn’t taste like Monkey Butt!

Synopsis: A long time ago, or at least by anime release standards, this show made a very specific impression. It had a…unique animation style, and it’s first episode ended with a busty goth girl wrapped in chains heaving in sexy pain. This turned a lot of people off. That’s the thing about first impressions, you only get one.

Pros: Unless your me! I’ll give anything multiple first impressions. It took me 4 tries to get into The Office. 2 for Parks and Recreations. About 8 for the Dark Souls series. So I was like, what the hell?. I’ll watch Hand Shakers. How bad could it be? And honestly? It’s not that bad. It’s not good. But it’s not trash. It’s more, bargain basement than anything. A lot of the fun of the show come from being introduced to different Hand Shaker teams. The whole show is a Partner battle royale, with the winners getting a wish from “God.” So what you get is a lot of different pairing working together to achieve their goal. The fact that the fights are sudden death means that, no matter what, someone is losing their wish. It gives each team an understandable reason to fight. It’s really the exploration of each team’s origins and motivations that make this show interesting. And I’ll admit, the show’s fights and comedy moments grabbed my attention more than once. This show had competent directors by the feel of it.

Cons: Maybe sometimes if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, but I did start with some positive praise, so….OK, LOOK, I don’t hate this show. But it really is a good bad show. The story is predictable and clunky. I mean, a battle royale where if the protagonist loses, she dies? Really? The protagonists are boring at worst, saccharine at best. Yes, your a male protagonist who will mamuru his lady love. Yes, your a female protagonist whose secretly the strongest hand shaker but needs to learn how to “love” from the first boy she meets. All we need is a tragic back story and evil twin sister…Oops. What else can I say that no one else has? Awkward dialogue. Rush story. Visibly low budget. Some problematic issues (incest, the first episode, come one guys!). And of course, you can’t really ignore the 2D/3D animation style they went for. Not a personal fan, especially because Tazuna’s head look weird. Like his head model and body model weren’t meant for one another. But I think the most egregious issue is the real-life stills that they use as the backgrounds for the show. Now that is just sad. But still. Had the show been an exploration of the teams instead of the Tazuna/Koyori show, and had the used animated backgrounds, and maybe not gone with pairs fueled by incest and BDSM, then I think it would have been a better show for it.

Watch it: Shoudn’t this be called “Hand Holders?” (2/5)

MVP: Team Shadow

I wish they had been used more as mentors

Best Episode: Ep. 3/4 “Blade and Dagger” and “Live Lab” (A fun pair to watch)

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Akiba’s Trip: The Animation

Type: Gonzo’s 25th Anniversary special!

Synopsis: Akihabara, the city of Otoku dreams! Well, really its a small area in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo that mainly sells electronic goods. But really really, its a place where Japanese nerds can hang out. Which is cool, until bugged out aliens try to ruin it by introducing things like employment and girlfriends. Screw that! I got figurines to buy!!

Pros: Here’s a fun fact. Apperantly, Akiba’s Trip was one of the first anime that Funimation tried to silmudub with the Japanese release. When you think about it, it’s not that surprising. The anime is a fairly straightforward comedy show. While it is based on a video game, the show’s main focus is showcasing the various hobbies that Otoku tend to obsess over. Things like guns, idols, fighting games, card games, and even audio equipment for some reason. A lot of the episodes are really just fun stand alone stories where our male protagonist Tomatsu falls deep into a different Otoku hole while his friends sorta watch (his life’s dream is to live off “unearned income). What ties all the stories together is the sub plot where our heroes, dubbed “Electric Mayonnaise” have to protect Akiba by stripping their enemies of clothing (the actual goal of the original game). So you get some nerd lessons and some fan service, what’s not to love!

Cons: This anime was released in 2017, but it feels a lot older. We haven’t really seen this level of silly story telling in a while. At least, not one set outside of a high school. The show could even be described as cartoonish at times. Shades of Excel Saga even, though nowhere near as irreverent. Not that I’m complaining. I loved the humor, right down to watching an entire episode revolve around getting good at Street Fighter. Knowing that this anime was meant to celebrate Gonzo’s 25th anniversary, you can really understand why so many Otoku references and Easter eggs are crammed in here. I’m guessing it’s the studio’s way of thanking the very fan base that allowed them to survive all this time. I mean, the last episode is basically a commercial for why Akiba and Otoku are so great. Not that the show is perfect mind you. The enemies are all forgettable, and Matome largely becomes a side character after her introduction, despite being the female lead. But overall, it’s a fun show that you can watch or put on as background music.

Watch it?: Honestly, it’s a lot of fun (4/5)

MVP: Tomatsu

HQIZgxT

For some reason, I really resonated with this character…

Best Episode: Ep.9 “Whoa, I battled with Game Cards!” (all the episodes are great, but as a old fan of Yugioh, this one hit home)

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Love Tyrant

Type: It’s amazing how quickly they abandon their original premise.

Synopsis: The show is about a notebook that makes couples, not corpses. No! It’s about three new angels how have to foster love or lose their souls. No! It’s about a generational divide between mothers and daughters. No! It’s about a socipath corrupting a young cupid. No! It’s a harem. Wait! It’s all these things and more!!!

Pros: Love Tyrant is a manga based anime with a bit of a muddled plot. The gist is that the cupid Guri creates a love contract with a boy named Seiji, which eventually includes the yandere Akane and her obsessive sister Yuzu. The humor comes from the mixing of these four very different personalities, with Seiji playing the straight man. The show emphasizes the “comedy” part of love-comedy more so than other shows. It gives Love Tyrant a bit more of a unique taste than it’s fellows in the genre. My particular favorite running joke was the characters forgetting what the premise for the show was (i.e. that they have to make couples or lose their souls). I also liked it when Akane violent rage played off against Guri’s playful personality. In fact, Akane and Guri’s over the top personalities make them some of the strongest characters I’ve seen in any harem. Each of the females main cast have interesting backstories involving a struggle between heaven and hell and a family drama, with Seiji acting as an audience inaugurate whose along for the ride, which is what a good harem show should try to shoot for.

Cons: As stated above, you do forget what the original premise is. It’s not crucial to the show, but still. The only episode that really follows the premise is episode 2, so of course it’s the weakest episode. I highly recommend skipping that episode (it involves a student-teacher relationship, which makes it unfunny and icky). And the show doesn’t really break the love-comedy mold. It just stretches it to add more irreverent humor. Stabbings, parodies, boys-love, the show is just a very funny harem show. Oh! And I forgot to mention one of the best characters in a show of great characters: Shikimi. Shikimi is the primary antagonist of the show, and is so delightfully evil, it’s great! Shikimi is Akane’s cousin, and almost always steals the show with her manipulative personality and sadistic nature. The show makes you feel scared of her, but also strangely attracted. The only real bummer is that the show may not get a second season, which sucks because the next story arc fully introduces and explores Akane, Yuzu, and Guri’s mother.

Watch it: The manga’s great too! (4/5)

MVP: Shikimi

While Akane is best girl, Shikimi can’t not be the best.

Best Episode: Ep.10 “I’m Here to Stay the Night x I’m… Growing Up, Too” (slumber party!)

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