The 5 Saddest Moments in One Piece

One Piece is a manga series written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. The series was first introduced in 1997 and is still ongoing. One Piece has received critical acclaim and set the Guinness World Record for “The most copies published for the same comic book series by a single author.” Currently, the series has sold over 300 million printed copies worldwide. This success has made it the highest selling manga series of all time. One Piece focuses on the exploits of Monkey D. Luffy. Luffy gained the physical properties of rubber after accidently eating a Devil Fruit. Luffy along with his, Straw Hat Crew, aim to travel the sea in search for the most sought after treasure, the One Piece.

One Piece is known for its cartoonish art style, epic battles and playful humor. However, the manga series has undertaken some more serious topics during its publication. The characters in have faced genocide at the hands of a corrupt government, slavery, assassination, war and death. Suffering these hardships has had a profound effect on the story and the characters. It is important for manga plots to have a variety of emotional moments. The characters become more 3 dimensional as they deal with new experiences. If they only had happy or sad events in their lives you wouldn’t be able to relate to them. Greater emotional depth allows the reader to understand the characters more.

1. Tragedy of Ohara

During the Enies Lobby arc (Episode 277), we learn of Nico Robin’s hidden past. Nico Robin is the archaeologists of the Straw Hat pirates. She was original an enemy of the Straw Hats, during the Alabasta Saga and was named Miss All Sunday. She ate the Devil Fruit, Hana Hana no Mi. This gave her the ability to “replicate and sprout pieces of their body from the surface of any object or living thing.” She became involved with the Revolutionaries. Her dream is to find the Poneglyph that tells the true history of the world. Her bounty currently sits at 130,000,000 Beli.

Nico Robin was born on the island of Ohara, to a family of archaeologist’s. Her mother abandoned her when she was two, leaving her in the care of her abusive aunt. Her devil fruit ability scared the townspeople leaving her isolated. She sought solace with the scholars at the “Tree of Knowledge”, and particularly with Professor Clover. She became a scholar herself at the age of eight. Robin was open about her wish to learn the truth of the “history of the world”. Dr. Clover informed her that she could get banned if she pursued that knowledge. Upset, Robin ran to a nearby beach where she met a giant, Jaguar D. Saul. They developed a friendship. Saul informed Robin of the danger the government presented, due to the scholars studying the Poneglyph. The government wanted the knowledge found within the Poneglyph to stay hidden. Robin’s mother returned to warn her colleagues at Ohara that the Marines were coming. They refused to flee and remained to protect the knowledge they valued. When CP9 (a secret government assassination squad) arrived, they entered the “Tree of Knowledge” and arrested the archaeologists. Spandine, the head of CP9 and the Marines located the Poneglyph in the basement.

Saul frozen

As punishment, Spandine sentenced the archaeologists to death by Buster Call. Saul rushed to find Robin after seeing the marine battleships arrive. The Marines learned that Robin could read Poneglyphs, so she became their target. Saul was a former Vice Admiral in the Marines. Marine ships caught Saul helping Robin escape and opened fire on him. He attacked, destroying several of the Marine’s ships. In the chaos, Robin attempted to get into a lifeboat using her Devil Fruit ability. The civilians prevented her from entering, due to Spandine warning them not to help her.

That lifeboat was destroyed by Vice Admiral Sakazuki, as he feared that she might escape. Saul encourages Robin to escape as he is frozen to death by Vice Admiral, Kuzan. The scholars in the “Tree of Knowledge”, throw the books in the tree into the sea. Their hope was that future generations would be able to find them. They resigned themselves to their fate and remained in the tree as it burned. Robin managed to escape on the raft that Saul created, only to meet Kuzan. He let Robin go, leaving her with a warning “if she tried anything he will be the first to come after her”.

Robin was the only survivor of the events that occurred in Ohara. The World Government put a bounty on her head. They began spreading lies about what happened at Ohara, claiming that Robin destroyed six ships to cover the truth. She was given the moniker of “Demon of Ohara”. They told the public that the Oharans were trying to destroy the world. The World government used paranoia and deception to ruin Robin’s life.

As a result, she met several people that she trusted, only for them to betray her to the government. Her ability to trust became compromised as a result. When she joined the Straw Hats she still had fears that they would abandon her. Luffy and the rest of the crew proved to her that she could finally trust someone, during the events of Enies Lobby Arc.

2. Death of Fisher Tiger

Fisher Tiger was a fishman and founder of the Sun pirates. He was considered to be a very brutal fishman. However, he detested unnecessary violence and was capable of compassion. Tiger was considered a legend among his fellow fishmen. He believed that humans and fishmen should stay segregated. He left Fishman Island to explore the larger seas. During his voyage, he was captured and enslaved by World Nobles. He was tortured by his new masters. Eventually, he escaped and attacked Mariejois (the holy land) to free his fellow slaves. Tiger did not discriminate between slaves, freeing all races.

After being freed, Tiger altered the slave branding into a symbol of the Sun Pirates. The sun pirates faced off against Marines, who were searching for the missing slaves. He wanted to free the oppressed. While visiting an island, Tiger met a young slave named Koala. He agreed to return her to her homeland. When returning Koala to Foolshout Island, Tiger was betrayed by its citizens. During the confrontation between Marines and Sun Pirates, Tiger was shot many times.

Fisher Tiger

They managed to escape, but Tiger was mortally wounded. He was offered a blood transfusion from human blood. He refused the transfusion due to “humanity’s hatred for fishmen”. Before his death, he revealed that he developed a “deep seeded hatred”, for humans after their treatment of him and other slaves. Due to this hatred, Tiger preferred death over aid. However, he begged his crew not to tell the information he disclosed. He also asked them to refrain from revenge and “end the cycle of hate”.

The crew respected Tiger’s wishes and never revealed the truth. This lead the citizens to assume that Tiger died as a result of being denied a transfusion due to human bigotry. However, many fishmen became enraged at humanity and became violent towards them. Several fishmen looked at Tiger as a liberator of his race.
Fisher Tiger also had a profound effect on the human slaves he freed. During his escape from Mariejois he rescued Boa Hancock, and her sisters, Marigold and Sandersonia. She and her sisters would grow to distrust everyone, except each other. Hancock would become the princess of the Kuja and became a target of the World Government. To protect her fellow Kuja, she became a Shichibukai, forming a treaty with the government.

Koala from Foolshout Island was grateful for meeting Tiger. She became a practitioner of fishman karate and joined the Revolutionary Army to stop the tyrannical government that allowed slavery.

3. The Separation of the Strawhat Crew

The Strawhat crew have developed significant and close relationships with each other. This closeness has been an important part of the One Piece series. Within the series pirate crews often become surrogate families. The Strawhats have exemplified their love of one another many times. However, it was during the Archipelago arc that they displayed their friendship in what was a very emotional moment.

The crew was heading to the Red Line, they were exhausted after a confrontation with the Marines. They are attacked by Sentomaru, the head of the Marine’s Science unit and a clone of the Shichibukai, Bartholomew Kuma. In the frenzy, Luffy calls for his crew to separate and leave. They split into three groups of three and run in separate directions. Each group is attacked by the Kuma clone, Sentomaru, and Admiral Kizaru respectively.

The Strawhat crew fight admirably but fail to land any significant damage. Rayleigh, a famous pirate intervenes, giving Luffy and the others a brief opportunity to escape. However, when the real Kuma arrives the situation turns dire. He asks Zoro, “if he were to go on a trip, where would he like to go”. He makes Zoro disappear, stunning his crew. Luffy demands answers, Sentomaru tells him that Kuma can send people flying for three days.Luffy becomes concerned, telling to his comrades to run. Kuma systematically sends each Strawhat flying. Luffy begins to lose his will to fight as each of his friends disappear. He prepares to fight, attacking Kuma, but fails to stop his advance. He becomes desperate and begs Kuma to stop. Luffy begins to berate himself for being useless in stopping Kuma. Resigning himself to his fate, Kuma makes him vanish like his crew.

The Strawhat pirates are separated for two years. They are sent to various places around the world. Robin lands in Tequila Wolf, where she was enslaved. She and the other slaves are freed by the Revolutionaries. They tell her that they have been “searching for her for a decade”. Robin accepts their invitation to meet with Dragon, the leader of the revolutionaries. Zoro lands on Kuraigana island, where he is accosted by sword wielding baboons, called Humandrills. Kuraigana is home to Mihawk, the world’s greatest swordsman. Zoro begs Mihawk to train him. Mihawk becomes disgusted at his begging and feels that he has overestimated Zoro. Zoro surprises him by defeating the Humandrills. He agrees to train him after this.

Nami arrives at a small island called, Weatheria. She is taken in by Haredas, a weather scientist. He shows her, “Weather Science”. She is later held prisoner by weather scientists because she tried to rob them. Haredas teaches her about the strange weather found in the New World.Usopp arrives on the island called Greenstone. He meets a local named Hercules. Hercules saves him from a giant stag beetle and then a man-eating plant. He teaches Usopp his fighting techniques so that Usopp can become the true Sniper King. Sanji get’s trapped on the island of transvestite called Momoiro Island. They chase him and dress him in woman’s clothing. Sanji aims to learn the “Attack Cuisine”, as it can give him strength. Ivankov gives him a challenge, defeat all 99 masters of the Newkama Kenpo. Each win would give him one of the 99 attack cuisine recipes.

Kuma verses the Strawhat Crew

Chopper lands in the Torino Kingdom. The natives wanted to cook him, forcing him to flee to avoid being eaten. He asks the natives to help him learn about the indigenous plants. Franky is sent to the island of Karakuri island. The island inhabitants are cyborgs. Franky stumbles into the abandoned laboratory of the genius, Vegapunk. A local informs him of the history of Vegapunk and his lab. Franky searches this lab, he finds several blueprints depicting futuristic designs of machines. Franky accidental pushes the self-destruct button in Vegapunk’s lab. This explosion was known as the “Nightmare of Barujimoa”. His skin is blown off as a result. He locates another lab and takes refuge there. He learns that with the use of Vegapunk’s experiments, he can make himself stronger. Meanwhile, Brook literally lands in the middle of a demon summoning ritual. The summoner’s were hoping to appease Satan to get revenge on the Longarm tribe.

Brook is kidnapped by the Longarm tribe and is sold to a freak show. Luffy lands on a jungle island. Here he encounters Boa Hancock and her sisters. He asks Hancock for aid since she had the island’s only ship. Luffy accidentally stumbles upon Hancock’s secret and is sentenced to death as a result. Hancock’s mistreatment of her subjects angers Luffy as he battles against her sisters. During this battle, Luffy displays his Haoshoku Haki ability. Luffy impresses Boa Hancock with his character and she falls in love with him. Each of the members of the Strawhat crew becomes inspired by news that Luffy has lost his brother and infiltrated Marine headquarters. They all remember why they feel at home within the Strawhat crew. Drawing the same conclusion, they become decide to get stronger for Luffy. They all plan to help Luffy in his dream of becoming the pirate king.

4. Death of Ace

Portgas D. Ace, also known as “Fire Fist Ace”, was the adopted brother of Luffy and Sabo. He was also the son of late Pirate King, Gol D. Roger. Ace was adopted by Monkey D. Garp, the Vice Admiral of the Marines. He became the commander of the 2nd division of the Whitebeard Pirates. Ace consumed the Mera Mera no Mi, Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to produce and change himself into flames. Blackbeard (a former crewmate of Ace’s), captures Ace and then hands him over to the World Government. Ace is sentenced to a public execution. This resulted in Whitebeard becoming enraged, vowing to rescue his “son”. Luffy attempts to free Ace, by infiltrating the prison named Impel Down. Unfortunately, he fails and Ace is moved to another place. Ace awaits for death atop the execution platform. Whitebeard and his pirate fleet arrive to free him. A massive battle ensues as Whitebeard, his pirates, Luffy and escaped prisoners face the Marines over Ace. Witnessing the sacrifice his friends and family are willing to make, he stops resisting.

Luffy faces off against the Marines. He manages to barely get past the three Admirals, then his grandfather Garp. Suddenly, Mr. 3 a former prisoner of Impel Down, disguised as an executioner, appears. He uses his Doru Doru no Mi, Devil Fruit’s wax abilities to create a duplicate key to free Ace. Luffy and Ace fight together against the Marines. Together they prepare to escape until Admiral Akainu insults Whitebread. Ace attacks Akainu, however, his magma abilities outmatched Ace’s flame abilities. Akainu then targeted Luffy, prompting Ace to intervene. The attack causes Ace severe damages to his internal organs. Ace realizes that he will not survive. Luffy reminds Ace of his childhood promise, “never to die”. Ace responds that “if it wasn’t for having Luffy as a younger brother to look out for, he would have given up living”. Fading, Ace leaves his crew with these last words:

“Old man, everyone!! And you Luffy. Even though I’ve been good for nothing my whole life, even though I have the blood of a demon within me… You guys still loved me! Thank you so much!!”

It was revealed during the battle between the Marines and Whitebeard pirates that Ace was the son of the Pirate King. In death, Ace gained a level of notoriety that made him a legend. Many suffered tremendous grief after his death. Luffy however, was devastated the most. He remained comatose for a while. When he awoke he became determined to gain strength.
After two years, Luffy still remained affected by Ace’s death. During his fight with Hody, Luffy states that he will “never let anybody die again”. Luffy’s relationship to Ace has gained him more fame. He is often noticed purely for this reason. Sabo upon reading of Ace’s death regained his memories. Sabo vowed to protect Luffy, at all cost. Ultimately, it was Sabo the ate the Mera Mera no Mi, devil fruit. The same devil fruit that Ace had once consumed.

Luffy devasted after Ace’s death

5. Whitebeard’s Death

Edward Newgate, more commonly known as Whitebeard, was the Captain of the Whitebeard Pirates. He was considered by many to be “the strongest man on earth”. He was one of the Yonko, the four strongest pirates on the seas. He ate the Gura Gura no Mi Devil Fruit. This gave him the ability to “create powerful shock waves by shattering the air like glass”. During the battle at Marineford, Whitebeard was killed by the Blackbeard pirate crew. After Ace was freed, Whitebeard told his men to “leave him behind”. He continued to attack the Marines attempting to give his crew enough time to escape. When Ace was fatally wounded by Akainu, Whitebeard began to cry. Heartbroken and determined not to see any more of his “children” die, he went on a rampage. Attacking Akainu with a devastating shockwave, he managed to damage Marine headquarters. His attack also resulted in the plaza being cut in half. However, Whitebeard was interrupted by the arrival of the Blackbeard pirates.

Blackbeard, having betrayed Whitebeard in the past, was quickly attacked. Blackbeard’s powers countered Whitebeard’s, but he was still overwhelmed by Whitebeard’s strength. Blackbeard cowardly called for his crew to collectively assault Whitebeard. They shot and stabbed him several times. Overall, he sustained “267 sword wounds, 152 gunshot wounds, and 46 wounds from cannonballs, and got half of his head blasted off”. Before dying, he proclaimed that “One Piece” did exist.

After his death, Whitebeard’s powers were taken by Blackbeard. It’s unclear how he managed to do this. However, he would rise to replace Whitebeard as one of the four Yonko. The death of Whitebeard caused the balance of power in the world to shift. He protected many islands and prevented invasion from more violent pirates. Blackbeard took over most of these territories. However, Whitebeard’s final declaration inspired many young pirates to voyage to the New World in search for the “One Piece.”

Despite One Piece‘s general tone and characterizations, the series has delved into more heavy topics. Through the sad moments, the characters have been greatly changed. However, the characters always have the love of each other to see them through the pain. Overall, the series has been able to set up well-rounded characters. They love, laugh, cry, fight, and experience hardships. This makes the story more effective, the characters more realistic and the reader a little sad.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. God you pick the most gut wrenching scenes. I was emotional just reading these scenes in the manga but watching them… My heart can barely take it.

  2. For me the saddest Moment is when the young Zorro wants to make himself a name so big it would reach the heaven…

  3. The music … makes everything even more emotionalwhen watching the anime.

  4. Venita Burris

    for me, the top 10 sadest moments of one piece are:
    10.-Sanji´s backstory
    9.-Bon Clay saving Luffy
    8.-Garp vs Luffy
    7.-Strawhats separation (specifically, when Luffy was all alone)
    6.-Zoro´s sacrifice
    5.-Nami´s cry for help 4.-Brook´s backstory
    3.-Whitebeard´s death (speech)
    2.-Ace´s death
    1.-Robins desire to live

  5. The saddest no doubt scene that made me cry was the death of the going merry… Everyone was like including me was like : “I’m not going to cry” two seconds later the merry says I’m sorry when it clearly has nothing to say I’m sorry for, it wasn’t the Kerry’s fault it couldn’t sail, yet it still feels it has disappointed the crew

  6. I can’t believe I cried over a bout I love this anime 

  7. The reason why I could say Ace is the saddest death because it impacted Luffy a lot. It brought him to a mentally break down compared to Merry’s death, even though it effected the whole crew.

    • Lili Call

      Merry’s Death isnt merely as sad with the song. The song makes Merry’s Death look sadder SO SAD JUST THINKING ABOUT!!!! THEY JOURNEY TOGETHER FOR SO LONG AND MERRY COULDNT TAKE IT ANYMORE…

  8. The part where the sakura bloom in winter island. Made me cry honestly lol, and also One Piece Z’s ending but oh well.

  9. I think that Ace died in vain, they rescued him and then he went and messed it up. But Merry’s death was so touching, specially with all the background leading up to it. And at least Bon-chan’s supposed death was so that luffy and the others could get away.

  10. YsabelGo

    One Piece definitely exceeds in combining both happy moments and sad moments in their series. It is also the first series to make me cry over a ship. T___T

    • Jiraiyan

      The crews in One Piece almost humanize their ships. I can understand why so many felt heart broken over the “death” of Merry.

  11. Kevin Mohammed

    The saddest moment in my opinion was when Luffy became delirious after Ace’s death and Jinbe held him down and made him realize that he still had his crew to live for.

  12. In my opinion, the death of Ace is before the Strawhat crew’s separation.

  13. Howland

    Nothing beats merry’s death.

  14. Vincenz

    I- I’m c-crying so hard!!!!!

  15. Na Agee

    For me the saddest moment was when Ace said he would never die after Sabo “died”

  16. i think ace’s death is the saddest moment in one piece history

  17. What would you say is sadder? Reading it or watching the scenes with Merry? I’ve obviously watched it and cried like a little girl. 

    • I say watching it cause like the soundtrack and just like seeing it is horrible.

  18. Krystin

    One piece you made me cry over a burning ship .that damn feels

  19. I hope they make black beard pay to he got ace killed and whitebeard

  20. I feel like Oda does emotion better with his simpler backstories that are more consistent with the tone of the rest of One Piece. It’s what makes Brook’s backstory so good; it’s a little silly, it’s only possible because of the One Piece setting and Devil Fruits, it’s relatable. Robin’s backstory, while important to the overall setting of One Piece as well as Robin’s characterization, is so exceedingly tragic to the point it becomes difficult to relate. Similarly now with Trafalgar Law’s childhood, which is so stark it almost seems to have no place in the One Piece universe.

  21. FandomCrasher

    You chose some real good tear gushers!

  22. I’d definitely add Bell-mère’s death to this list. That eventually leads into the heart-wrenching scene where Nami continuously stabs herself, shouting, “Arlong!,” and then we get that amazing moment where Luffy gives Nami his treasured straw hat.

  23. ace’s death and merry’s funeral break my heart and cried all over.

  24. Jawwwny

    The saddest moments for me would be Ace’s death and the past with Law & Corazon. Those were the only moments I cried more than the other moments in the show.

  25. gabby918

    The Going Merry’s funeral literally brought tears to my eyes. Never thought, in my entire life, that I’d cry over an animated pirate ship. Wow, that;s incredible writing right there. Props to Oda!

  26. Merry’s funeral, the Strawhats separating, and the Whitebeard war KILLED me cuz of their immediacy. Nobody expected Ace to die. Literally nobody. It’s probably the most well-orchestrated death in shounen manga history, because after ~500 chapters of miraculous survivals this is the first real, right now, irreversible death. And plus the whole war was for nothing.

  27. When usopp leaves the crew and fights luffy. That anime episode always makes me shed a tear.

  28. When Usopp leaves the crew, that was tragic

  29. The seperation of straw hat crew is definitely the saddest for me….

  30. I’ll never forget when they burned the Going Merry.

  31. Good Choice ! Moments that cant be forgotten !

    • Jiraiyan

      Thank you. There have been some other moments since I wrote this, but these are some of the most important.

  32. When Brook plays the Bink’s Sake with his old crew. Tears.

  33. NancySamuel

    For me, the saddest moment was when Usopp leaves the crew, that was saddest. Here is a comparison of Luffy and reed

  34. Toto aka Яеiz

    Wait, where is Corazón?

  35. onepiece1041

    dont forget brooks crew dying while they were singing

  36. sn0wf0x0

    Okay okay i cant exactly rank these (but i cried at Ace’s death the most) but these are the saddest or most heartbreaking moments:

    -Sanji’s backstory
    -Ace’s death
    -Law’s backstory (man that was tragic)
    -Whitebeard’s death
    -Merry’s funeral
    -Cora-san’s death (still part of law’s backstory though)
    -Brook’s backstory (man he spent 50 years alone poor boy)
    -Separation of strawhats
    -Nami’s backstory
    -Usopp leaving
    -When ace said he’d never die
    -“nothing happened”)
    -Sanji vs luffy

    i cried on 9/14 and literally bawled my eyes out at merry and ace

  37. annaegan

    One Piece definitely has some heartbreaking moments. But adding to the list, the isolation experienced by both Tony Tony Chopper and Nico Robin during their time prior to joining the Straw Hats is solely tragic and evokes empathy.

  38. annaegan

    One Piece has some heartbreaking moments. But adding to the list, the isolation experienced by both Tony Tony Chopper and Nico Robin during their time prior to joining the Straw Hats is solely tragic and evokes empathy.

    • Jiraiyan

      One Piece has several characters that were once isolated but found friendship among their pirate crews. Nico Robin and Chopper have experienced many hardships.

  39. Aliadwan02

    Definitely, all very sad moments that hit hard when I first saw them. I’d also like to add when Koala was first put onto Tiger’s ship and Sabo reacting to Ace’s death.

  40. Personally I think one of the saddest moments is when Luffy and the others are saying goodbye to bon clay on the transponder snail after he sacrifices himself to save them all

  41. I really new to One Piece I just started a couple of weeks ago and I am in the Water 7 arc, so far this is the only arc that has made me cry I’m so scared for the straw hat separation I just know that’s gonna make me cry.

  42. Even after reading dozens of manga and watching tens of different anime, One Piece still sits at the top of my favorites. I think one its strongest attributes is definitely these emotional moments that do not even need to kill a character to make them so effective. I remember crying about three times in a span of a couple episodes when I first watched Chopper’s backstory, as well as tearing up seeing Ace’s smiling body on the ground after his death. However, I must say I was not very sad for the great Whitebeard’s death. I struggle to put in words, but I was more impressed with the pure raw power that Whitebeard held, as made especially apparent when he died while standing up, without a single scar inflicted on his back, or a “coward’s wound” as Oda put it.

    • Jiraiyan

      I think the audience wasn’t emotionally connected to Whitebeard so many of us didn’t feel emotional regarding his death. I can’t help but cry when seeing Ace died so I don’t watch that scene anymore. One Piece’s Wano arc has made me cry several times already. I don’t think it gets enough credit for these emotional moments.

      • I definitely agree with Wano’s emotional scenes. For example, Yasuie’s death did not hit me too hard when I first read it, but I was bawling when I watched it in the anime.

  43. Usopp™

    When usopp loses the money in water 7 and gets beaten up is the saddest moment in one piece

  44. honestly, the list was great but I think if I were to ever try to make my own id struggle way too much because there are so many sad scenes within one piece to choose from like one of the scenes I haven’t seen mentioned as much as the others is the fight between Sanji and Luffy and many many more

  45. There are simply too many sad parts in One Piece. The top for me was Merry-go funeral follows by Zou when Dog and Cat reveals that Raizo is safe and sound after they wete almost destroyed by Jack.

  46. Perfect top 5! I would also add to the list:

    – the sad moment when Usop leaves the crew and Robin fades after meeting CP9

    – the discovery that Oden had been behaving as a madman just to save his people from Kaido

  47. Dr Hiriluk’s death was also pretty sad but I loved the dialogue it produced. A man dies when they are forgotten.

  48. Ace’s death by far got me bawling like a baby, rewatching that entire part 4 times didn’t help subside the feelings either. Though another death that got me as sad and emotional broken was Corazon, Law’s backstory. Oda definitely knows how to play with people’s feelings with the progression of each character and its full story.

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