Grandmaster Meio (冥王グランドマスター, alternatively Meiou/Meioh, meaning Lord of Darkness) is the main antagonist of the series, starring in the first Strider coin-op and all its sequels. He's always seen as a cloaked figure floating in mid-air, with no visible legs; and with long, claw-like fingernails. In Strider 2, his face is completely covered by bandages, and his eyes glow through them.
A being of nearly godlike powers, most information about Grandmaster Meio's origins or details such as nationality or age, are unknown. There's a lot of speculation surrounding the truth behind his origins, such as him being an alien from a distant nebula who has come coveting the planet's sheer force of will. What's known with certainty is that Grandmaster Meio suddenly appeared on Earth one day, and became the absolute ruler of the planet in a few years.
A cruel and evil character, Grandmaster Meio has no moral, ethics or even respect for life of any kind, and only cares for his own ambitions. He shows no interest in the well-being of his subjects, seeing them as nothing but playthings, and even willing to perform mass genocide if they don't live up to his expectations. He also exhibits an unhealthy obssession for total control and an ambition that knows no bounds: not satisfied with having taking over the world, Meio desires to unify every single living being on Earth under his rule. Extremely arrogant and confident in his powers, Meio seeks to become "God" through the creation of his very own perfect race, with which he'd replace the old humanity. The world in Strider 2 is the end result of this vision, a world where he's worshipped as God and where everything is, directly or indirectly, created by him. This overconfidence and a tendency to greatly underestimate those he deems inferior, however, tends to become his unmaking in the end.
Meio shows a great level of intelligence, being able to create both organic and technological wonders with apparent ease, and cunning enough to obtain the support of earthbound military and political figures. All his subordinates are profoundly devoted and loyal to him, but even them are forbidden to speak his name, instead referring to him respectfully as "Him/That Man" (あのお方, translated as either "Master" or "Lord" in the localizations).
Story[edit | edit source]
Meio suddenly appeared on Earth in the year 2042, while the world was engulfed in war and chaos. Starting from the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, he began a full-scale worldwide invasion. Easily overcoming any attempt to fight him back, Meio eventually became the absolute ruler of both eastern and western countries in a mere 5 years, taking control of the entire world's military and scientific power, and forging a corrupt military contingent to sustain his rule. Gathering state-of-the-art technology he builds an artificial satellite, the Third Moon, which is launched into Earth's orbit between the planet and its natural moon. From here, he intends to use it as the center of his dictatorship and further his own plans. But even after having all the world at his command, his ambition was yet to be satisfied. He wanted to create an unified world, where all living beings accepted his rule, though he realized it would be impossible since not every human being, let alone the more primitive ones, would be able to understand his word or reason.
Pouring all the scientific power of the world in the research of the creatures in the Amazon, Meio was able to decipher the secret to create life. After some unsatisfactory experiments, and with the creation of the Anti-Gravity Device, a diabolical idea flashed in his mind, "The Third Moon Plan": by using the device to lift up the Third Moon off Earth's atmosphere, he would burn all life (all "Sons of Old Gods") on the planet, leaving behind a "New Earth" free for him to repopulate with his own creations, the sons of a new God, himself.
He has, however, failed to take the Striders into account. With humanity in the brink of extinction, the rebel armies against Meio contract their services and they send Strider Hiryu with a single directive: eliminate Grandmaster Meio. Hiryu infiltrates Kazakh's Capital City and well known base of Meio, St. Petersburg, as the first step of his investigation. After the fall of Kazakh's government, Grandmaster Meio places a large reward for Hiryu's head, sending both his vast army and hired bounty hunters after him. This included expert bounty hunter Solo, who he personally contracts to assure Hiryu "never leaves Eurasia alive". Nonetheless, Hiryu mows down any opposition in his path and eventually brings down Meio's greatest ace: the Flying Battleship Balrog.
Wondering how Hiryu dares fight him, the Grandmaster challenges him claiming he'll show him why he controls this world. But Hiryu continues his mission and eventually discovers the existence of the Third Moon. Removing all obstacles in his path, Hiryu finally faces the madman in a final confrontation, and against all odds he is able to bring the Grandmaster down.
For unknown reasons, Grandmaster Meio has been sealed in a burial chamber beneath ancient ruins in the region of "El Dorado". Through the act of renegade Strider Hien, he's set free of his confinement to take control of the world once again. Meio took residence in the rebuild Third Moon and remained there exclusively, focusing in continuing genetic experimentation on his "New Life".
However, 2000 years after his encounter with Hiryu and since his ambition have fell apart. The "Unified Earth" he returned to is overrun with diseases and struck by constant wars, and his humanity is slowly nearing their own extinction. Seeing this, Grandmaster Meio decides to destroy this decadent Earth, and leave for another planet where to start his experiments anew. In order to do so, he creates the bio-organic weapon Caduceus to serve as his "path to the stars", a vehicle to carry the seeds of his artificial lifeforms as they travel the galaxy in search of another planet.
Even though this time the Striders were preemptively exterminated, one survivor remained. Strider Hiryu resurfaced once again intent on fulfilling the Striders' last mission: to kill Meio. Hiryu faces the entire world in his quest, but eventually finds and infiltrates the Third Moon, with Meio goading him into coming to kneel before him. Once face to face, Meio proclaims he'll eliminate him before destroying the world, but is unable to best the Strider in battle. Desperate, he unleashes Caduceus at him, but even his creation meets its end in Hiryu's hands. Injured and at Hiryu's mercy, Meio spoke cryptic words, wondering if Hiryu was the same one who, two thousands years before, stood in his path. Hiryu, however, pays no mind to these words and slashes Meio down for good.
Grandmaster Meio suddenly appeared one day on Earth, transforming Kazakh City in his seat of power. Forging a military force known as "Meio's Army" with his vast scientific might, Grandmaster Meio took over the world in a mere few years. Implementing the "Year of Meio", he became the unopposed ruler of the world. Meio took residence in the Throne Room atop "Meio's Tower" in the center of Kazakh City, from where he controlled his rule throughout his subordinates and generals, who were the only ones who ever saw him.
While the ruler of the world, Grandmaster Meio still harbored the ambition to create his own ideal world, and has patiently awaited for a chance to cleanse the "old world" off all living existence so he can create his personal "new world". He created the Research Facility specifically to carry out genetic research in order to engineer a new species. He also commanded a team of researchers to develop an anti-gravity device called "Gravitron" under false pretenses, keeping secret his intent on using the device to erase all life on the planet. Any researcher who came to know of the truth attempted to escape, only to be hunted down under Meio's orders.
Meio became the target of the Striders at some point during his rise to power, and 11 agents were sent with the mission of killing him. None of the agents survived infiltration of Kazakh City, and only one (Hien) managed to reach the Grandmaster in person, though to no avail. In the year of "Meio 0048", Strider Hiryu is assigned the mission as well. In preparations to execute his plans, Meio at first mostly ignored this new intrusion.
After Hiryu proves a strong enough foe for his personal bounty hunters, he orders General Mikiel to contract the services of Solo. Neither Solo nor Mikiel himself survive their encounter with the Strider, and thus Meio orders his enforcer, Xi Wang Mu, and the head of the Research Facility, Professor Schlange, to eliminate him. Hiryu continues to overcome his foes, surviving every attempt at his life. Tired of Schlange's failures, Meio appears just as the scientist was in the middle of a rant and kills him. He then faces Hiryu, pushing him into the Underground with his powers.
Noting Hiryu's persitence, Meio sends his most trusted follower, Juroung, expecting him to not fail like the others. In spite of Juroung's confidence, however, Hiryu defeated him as well. By that point, Meio decides to await for him at the top of his tower. Once Hiryu appeared, Meio thanks him for having taken care of his subordinates, for he was tired of their incompetence. Meio explains how the "imperfect" humanity has squandered the gifts granted by him, and his plans to start anew and bring a new "age of Meio". He also gives Hiryu the chance to join him, but Hiryu hastily refuses.
Disappointed over his decision, Meio begins his assault. He attacks while reminding Hiryu that he has no chance of winning, and that both the world and fate are his to control. Eventually, however, Hiryu strikes Meio down. Screaming in pain, Meio teleports to his base in orbit, and reveals his true form: Meio Prime. Notably unhinged from having been pushed this far, Meio proclaims that he'll be the creator of a perfect race as he lashes at Hiryu, but in the end he's defeated for good. Collapsing into Earth, Meio wriggles in pain as his body vaporises during atmospheric reentry, with Hiryu calmy standing on him.
Skills and Abilities[edit | edit source]
Grandmaster Meio doesn't appear to hold any level of superior physical strength, and instead relies on his intelligence and vast powers to attack his enemies from afar. In terms of mobility, Meio has the power to levitate and move through the air at such speed that he leaves a trail of after-images, and the skill to instantly teleport to any location on Earth, or even above its orbit. In terms of offense, Meio can manipulate electricity with great precision and accuracy, being capable of changing its direction and potency at will; and he can also generate highly-explosive projectile orbs with tracking abilities. But what's likely his best known ability is the power of creation, the ability to create organic "lifeforms" through lightning shot from his hands.
Meio is shown having an apparent unlimited control over his ability to create life. There seems to be no limit in the complexity or nature of the lifeforms, as he can produce both simple forms, (i.e., fish) and more complex forms (i.e., dinosaurs) and even humans, and he's also shown able to create non-living objects such as the mechanical creatures Mecha Pon and Lago, bizarrelly-shaped organic life and even world-sized creatures like Caduceus. Using this ability in combat, Meio restricts his enemies' movement by filling out the area with several forms in constant movement attacking their target, which in turn makes Meio's own attacks harder to dodge.
As Meio Prime in the 2014 Strider, the Grandmaster's powers are increased exponentially, multiplying the strength and amount of projectiles he can perform with every attack.
Attacks[edit | edit source]
- Life Summoning: Meio's signature ability, strangely absent in the 2014 Strider. Meio extends his arms and releases a green lightning bolt, which travels through the air in an erratic pattern, finally stopping and generating a set of creatures on the spot. In Strider 2, he raises both open palms above his head, which glow with energy before the lifeform is created at an specific point of the stage. Each version creates different forms:
- Lifeforms in Strider include:
- Wolves: Two gray wolves are generated from the lightning bolt, jumping out or pouncing as soon as they are summoned.
- Piranhas: A group of 6 Piranhas which fly out in several directions after appearing. They appear in different formations and fly out at random directions, making them difficult to predict and evade.
- Pteranodon: A set of 2 Pteranodon, which fly in a straight line at either the right or left side of the screen.
- Lifeforms in Strider 2 include:
- Gravity Organism "Graveleo": A square-ish, hopping "leg" with a lion's head that's actually the shoulder joint of Caduceus. After being summoned, it starts leaping from one platform to another, periodically releasing discs of energy straight below him.
- Plasma Organism "Ardoravis": A red flaming orb, this form is the tip of Caduceus' "arms". This construct appears at one side of the screen and quickly flies to the other side, trying to hit Hiryu on its way.
- Electromagnetic Organism "Fulmenorca": A floating transparent fish-like construct with a red core. It floats through the air, and shoots a lightning bolt once it comes close to Hiryu. The bolt is aimed at Hiryu’s position, and last a few seconds before disappearing.
- Teleport: His other signature attack. Meio disappears surrounded by a white/purplish vortex of energy, then reappears in another location. Meio usually teleports between attacks or after being hit himself.
- From Strider 2:
- Energy Orbs: Meio unleashes a small orb of energy, with weak homing capabilities. The orb aims at Hiryu's position, but it's somewhat slow and easy to avoid. Once it hits either Hiryu or a platform, it produces an explosion on the spot. Meio has two different forms of throwing it: he either creates it with one hand and throws it with a hand gesture, or creates it by putting both open hands together in front of him.
- Lightning Beam: Meio puts both open hands together, and unleashes a giant lightning beam straight below him. Usually done when Hiryu is close or directly below Meio. Being a slow attack, it can be avoided and countered.
- From the 2014 Strider:
- Lightning Blast: Meio shoots two lightning bolts from each hand, diagonally down. Any surfaces they touch are charged up briefly, with a small pulse running through them. After losing half his health, Meio redirects both lightnings away from any surface they touch, extending their effective range. Purple lines coming from his hands indicate which path the lightning will follow.
- Giant Tracker Orb: Meio generates a large plasma orb which will slowly follow Hiryu around. The orb can move through walls and objects, and is mostly a distraction as it will not disappear until it hits Hiryu or is destroyed. Destroying it restores a bit of health. During the battle's latter half, it takes more hits to destroy.
- Fire Array: Meio generates 4 red fireballs above him, which shoot themselves at Hiryu one at a time. During the battle's latter half, Meio generates six instead of four orbs.
- Plasma Array: Meio generates a ring of 10 purple plasma orbs around him, which radiates outwards and splits into even smaller orbs covering a large area. They can be blocked by using the platforms. Meio only uses it when low on health.
Design Notes[edit | edit source]
Strider: According to Isuke, Grandmaster Meio was inspired by an image he saw in Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings. 'Meiō' (冥王, lit. Dark King) is also the Japanese translation of the English 'Dark Lord' that is used in reference to the titular character. Before all this became known, however, it was a popular belief that Meio drew inspiration from Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars franchise, noting several parallels between the two characters such as their old age, being covered in a dark cloak, shooting lightning from their hands, and their similar stations (the Death Star and the Third Moon).
His name was originally localized as Lord Grand Master in the first official English source, the "Falcon" flyers created for the 1988 AM Show. Also to note that the name "Meiō" is also a portion of "Meiōsei" (冥王星, lit. Dark King Star), which is the Japanese name for the dwarf planet Pluto; and thus in that context, "Meiō" by itself in regards to Greek and Roman mythology can also be the Japanese name for Hades.
Grandmaster Meio is the only Arcade-only character besides Hiryu to appear in Isuke's scenario draft, where he's only called "Meio" or "Dark Lord", or is simply referred to as the "Man". This text explains Meio appeared among the Soviet circles and started amassing power and influences, assisting in their alliance with China but placing Russian interests first while talking about strategies to combat the Western side. Once he reached the top ranks, however, he usurped the Federal State, exterminated China, moved the capital from Alma-ata to Kazakh and started a war campaign to rule the entire world, eventually accomplishing the first full world conquest in human history after 5 years of conflict. The Striders are contracted to eliminate him and Hiryu is assigned the mission as in the final story.
The draft makes no reference to Meio's ultimate plans for the planet, and only obliquely hints at his mysterious inhuman nature and powers beyond comprehension.
Strider 2: Concept art of Grandmaster Meio shows a little mechanical sphere which would have always appeared floating below him, called the "Control Life Orb" (制御生球), which was removed from the final game. This orb appears to have a connection with the Grandmaster's apparent ghost-like form in the game. The Control Life Orb would have also merged with Caduceus during the final battle, forming part of its head or life core.
Other Appearances[edit | edit source]
Game Appearances[edit | edit source]
Grandmaster Meio (called The Master in-game, and Evil Master in the manual) returns to enact a plan of revenge against the Striders. He poises himself over the planet with his Prison Ship, threatening to turn it into a "black hole". He also kidnaps Hinjo's fianceé, Lexia, and dares him to come to her rescue. Meio (or a fake, as the manual implies) is first fought in Castle Metropolis, and finally in the Prison Ship, where he's defeated for good.
Meio is only present in-game in the Genesis and Game Gear ports. In the Master System and all computer versions of the game he's only seen in the starting screen, while boss duties are handled by the "Terrorist Leader". In the Genesis version, Meio is static as he simply throws orbs at Hiryu from the center of a room full of electric prods. Big orbs standing in the room can be used to damage him though. In the Game Gear port, however, Meio's pattern is more varied, teleporting around and attacking with both orbs and incendiary bombs.
Grandmaster Meio appears as a major villain in this crossover game. His design is taken from the original coin-op, and his main attack technique is the summoning of lifeforms. Standing as usual in his base at the Third Moon, Meio's plans continue along the lines of replacing humanity with his own creations. Besides his own subordinates Strider Hien, Solo and Tong Pooh, Meio is also assisted by Captain Comando villains Druk, Shtrom and Sthrom Jr., Street Fighter antagonist M. Bison and his Dolls, and by MegaMan Juno, who he personally rebuild after his fight with MegaMan Volnutt as in the events of Mega Man Legends.
He only appears in person during the final stages of the battle, revealing his connection with the game's main antagonist Saya, and his bid to not only take Earth, but all planets in the universe afterwards. Meio has the privilege of being the second-to-last boss enemy to be faced before the game' final stage. He's finally defeated, and eliminated by Hiryu after a short exchange.
Capcom Quiz: Hatena? no Daibouken
Grandmaster Meio appears in this Game Boy board-themed quiz as the final boss in the Strider-themed board course. As a boss he has 7 life units, which means the player needs 7 correct answers to win. Meio also appears during the Game Over screen while playing in the Strider board, taunting the player by saying "Come back when you're ready!".
Grandmaster Meio appears in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinte as a character in the Story Mode, sporting his appearance and techniques from the 2014 Strider. He's featured as a stage hazard for one fight during the Knowmoon chapter, attacking from the background with homing energy blasts while the player fights 6 Ultron Drones.
Grandmaster Meio is a mysterious and cruel being whose main goal is to eradicate all life on Earth, and the "imperator" of Knowmoon in the game's merged universe. He's capable of "corrupting life itself" in order to reshape it to his own twisted designs, and he has allied himself with Ultron Sigma in his search for a way to manipulate and control life. He's also responsible for mind-controlling Zero, having rewritten his core routines to turn him into "Oblivion", a loyal enforcer. Meio is one of the villains in possession of an Infinity Stone, specifically the Power Stone, held in the Gravitron Core of Knowmoon and used to power up the entire megastructure. It is also suspected he's using the location to mass-produce Ultron Drones, amassing a growing army by the day.
Grandmaster Meio repurposes the Gravitron cores into biological bombs capable of deploying lethal amounts of the Sigma Virus all across the atmosphere, allowing him to reshape all living beings on Earth into Ultron Sigma's visage. He shows great disgust to the human life on Earth, calling them "Children of the Old Gods" as in the first Strider, and proclaims to be content to see their kind suffer. In this continuity, Meio and Hiryu appear to be somehow caught in an eternal cycle where they fight each other: Hiryu reveals to Gamora that he has been fighting the Grandmaster and "dying a thousand deaths" across a thousand years as if their fates were forever bound, and Meio himself proclaims that death has no "dominion" over him.
Cameos[edit | edit source]
SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters
Grandmaster Meio appears in the second installment of this SNK/Capcom crossover card game. He appears in the artwork for a "Reaction" type card (sort of a counter card) known as "Genesis" (てんちそうぞう).
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Grandmaster Meio appears as one of the 104 ability cards found in the game's DLC mode, "Heroes And Heralds Mode". He's a card of "A" rarity (uncommon), and provides an auto-recovery ability for both the health and Hyper Combo bars.
Project X Zone 2
Although Grandmaster Meio makes no actual appearance during the course of Project X Zone 2, he's referenced several times. Already killed by Hiryu before the game began, Tong Pooh's ultimate goal throrough the game is to find a way to ressurect him. During Chapter 37, she attempts to use the large summoning circle in the world of Valkyrie to "summon" his soul back from the other side, but in the end Hiryu and the party interrupt the ritual just before it can be finished and stop her plans.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Grandmaster Meio first used projectile orbs during his boss battles in the Master System port of Strider and the Game Gear port of Strider Returns respectively, predating their use in Strider 2.
- Some magazine reviews of the time listed Meio's name erroneously as Lord Eurasia, probably a mistake born from his well-known line: "He shall never leave Eurasia alive!"
- Grandmaster Meio shows a lot of differences in his dialogue and how he's adreessed in the Japanese subtitles of the 2014 Strider when compared with the English script:
- In Japanese, the previous game's taboo followed by all his subordinates of never speaking his name and only referring to him as "Him/That Man" is maintained throrough, while the English script drops it and has all enemies freely speak his full name.
- Save one instance, Grandmaster Meio always calls Hiryu a "Son of an Old God" (古き神の子よ) in Japanese, a nod to his end-game dialogue in the first game. There's no such reference in the English dialogue.
- The pre-boss battle talk between Meio and Hiryu is very different: Meio makes no mention of being tired of his subordinates and neither asks Hiryu to join him, instead telling Hiryu he is late and declaring his intention to create a New World and that Hiryu will be soon witness of the end of the world.
- In English, Meio speaks using the Royal we inconsistently, referring to himself in plural only during most of his big speech. There's no equivalent used in the Japanese subtitles, where he speaks normally.
- While Meio Prime's intel bio in the 2014 Strider directly states Meio is a "space alien", both Meio and Meio Prime's intel bios in the Japanese version remain vague about his true nature and origins all the way through.
- Grandmaster Meio's 2014 Strider redesign bears a strong resemblance to fellow Capcom antagonist Dr. Edward Bilstein, or more accurately, Bilstein's Ghost from the Star Gladiator series.
References[edit | edit source]
- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 27
- Capcom (October 2006, PlayStation). Gamebook: Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Pg. 42. ISBN 4-86233-076-2.
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Character Intel #38: Grandmaster Meio
- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider (English). Instruction manual, Pg. 3
- Staff (November 30, 1992). "Capcom Game Street". Gamest Extra: All Capcom (81). Pg. 42-45.
- Yamato, Shinichi (February 21, 2014). "Watching out for the new Strider, the only one Strider - producer Andrew Szimansky talks about the revival after 15 years!" (Japanese). 4gamer.net. Retrieved May 09, 2014
- Capcom (February 2000, PlayStation). Strider Hiryû 1&2 (Japanese). Mission 0: Investigate the Ancient Ruins
- Capcom (February 2000, PlayStation). Strider Hiryû 1&2 (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 1
- Strider Development Staff (March 1989). "Strider Hiryu Characters Original Image Collection". Gamest (30). Pg. 98-99.
- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider Hiryû (Japanese). Instruction manual, Pg. 3
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 07
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 15
- Staff (April 28, 2000). "Strider Hiryu 2: Setting Document (Part 2)" (Japanese). Monthly Arcadia (06). Pg. 181.
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Story Intel #09: Research Facility
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Character Intel #23: Gravitron
- Capcom (February 2014, multi). Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Story Intel #13: Strider Hien
- Capcom (October 2006, PlayStation). Gamebook: Strider Hiryu (Japanese). Pg. 13. ISBN 4-86233-076-2.
- Jones, Darran (April 24, 2010). "The Making of... Strider". Retro Gamer (76). Pg. 51.
- Capcom (February 22, 2014). Strider Hiryu Visual Chronicle (Japanese). Pg. 47
- Busch, Jenna (July 21, 2017). "Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite News from San Diego Comic-Con" (English). comingsoon.net. Accessed July 23, 2017
- Capcom (September 2017, multi). Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (English). Stark-Light Library, Scenes sub-section. "Knowmoon: Power Stone" entry #2: Gravitron Core.
- Capcom (September 2017, multi). Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (English). Stark-Light Library, Scenes sub-section. "Knowmoon: Power Stone" entry #3: Knowmoon - Walkway.
|Strider video game series|
|Strider (Home computers • Mega Drive • Master System • PC Engine • Sharp X68000 • PlayStation • Mobile Phones)|
Strider (NES) • Strider II/Returns • Strider 2 • Strider (2014)
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|Hiryu • Grandmaster Meio • Solo • Kuniang M.A. Team|
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Anti-Gravity Device/Gravitron • Mecha Pon • Flying Battleship Balrog • The Third Moon
|Capcom • Moto Kikaku • Tiertex Design Studios • Double Helix Games|
Isuke • Patariro • Other key staff • Strider Hiryu (Manga) • Capcom Gamebooks
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