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Feature: Introducing The New Challengers in Super Smash Bros.

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Adding diversity and a little weirdness to the franchise

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS will be the biggest entries in the franchise in a number of ways, with a daunting range of stages, trophies and extras promised. One area that looks all set to be more sizeable than ever before is the roster, with recent leaks suggesting that the recent reveal of Shulk won't be the last.

The 3DS version of the title is just 10 days away in Japan, before smashing into North America and Europe on 3rd October. You can expect a lot of coverage up to those releases here on Nintendo Life, and today we're going to look at the characters entering the series for the first time. We're missing at least one — probably — as we're sticking to official reveals, and we're also focusing on those that are "Newcomers", excluding variations and spin-offs such as Zero Suit Samus and Sheik.

With that out of the way, let's get to it.

When announced shortly after Nintendo's Direct presentation at E3 2013, the initial reaction in Nintendo Life HQ was that it was an elaborate hoax. Yet the Wii Fit Trainer is very real, and will be playable in both the male and female representations. The history for this character is extremely simple — it's appeared in Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Fit U.

This character — in either form — could be a dark horse in the roster, as despite the peculiar moves used it can (like any character) be used effectively with practice. Some may consider it gimmicky, but in the right hands this brawler could cause some trouble.

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The reveal of Capcom's underused mascot was a wow moment of E3 2013, continuing the idea of incorporating much-loved third-party characters into the Smash Bros. series. With weapons that reflect Robot Masters and one of the most exciting Final Smash moves, we suspect the Blue Bomber will be a favourite of many.

The history of the character is vast, sadly highlighting the current dearth of new games in the series. There's an outstanding heritage with the character on Nintendo hardware, whether considering the first six 'classic' NES games, the X games on Super NES, the many spin-offs that delved into strategy and RPG genres or the various remakes and remasters; let's not forget some gems on Game Boy, too. Recent weeks and months have seen plenty of these games arrive on the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console platforms.

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Another shock announcement, in a sense, more for the intriguing moves shown off and the memes generated by the dead-eyed, worrying representation of the character in its reveal. Masahiro Sakurai has recently confirmed that there'll be eight different designs available, which makes sense considering that "Villager" is really an avatar from a lifestyle-sim experience. It needs little introduction to current Nintendo gamers who've invested dozens of hours in Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS, the latest in the series that's graced Wii, DS, GameCube and the Nintendo 64 — the latter was Japan-only.

In terms of how the Villager will play, speed won't necessarily be a strength, while the elaborate build-a-tree-and-chop-it-down move will surely be notoriously difficult to connect. There are some interesting attacks, including one that's a flying move, but will no doubt need plenty of mastering.

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Rosalina has become a bit of a fan-favourite, it seems, so this inclusion was entirely unsurprising. First introduced in Super Mario Galaxy she also appeared — unsurprisingly — in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Such is her role in the world of Mario that she's appeared in three mainline Mario Kart games and is an unlockable in SPOILER. For those that haven't reached a particular stage in that other game, we'll keep quiet on the last one.

Though her final smash is arguably one of the least exciting showing so far, Rosalina has some decent range in her attacks. This is primarily due to Luma, who can be controlled semi-independently for attacks.

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A reveal that had some giddily jumping up and down while making lots of noise, we're perhaps left to wonder why Little Mac hasn't appeared before. His cause has been helped a great deal by the excellent Punch-Out!! on Wii — from Next Level Games — which brought the plucky underdog back to prominence. The boxer is primarily famous for Punch-Out!! on NES and the 16-bit Super Punch-Out!!.

Little Mac will be an interesting inclusion as, despite obvious weaknesses in the air and with general mobility, he will be a powerful attacker. Whether he'll be best suited to particular stages — those that are scrolling or require plenty of jumping could be tricky — or a strong all-rounder focused on close-range melee attacks will be interesting to see. He'll likely be popular simply due to the various boxing shorts designs that'll no doubt be included.

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The new entries in the franchise will have select Pokémon as standalone characters, and naturally fans of Pocket Monsters had varied expectations on who the playable 'mon should be. Greninja was somewhat surprising — the Water/Dark type first appeared in the most recent 3DS entries in the franchise — Pokémon X & Y.

As the name alone suggests, we can expect Greninja to be particularly quick around the arena, while throwing stars will surely be prominent in order to match up to its main-series approach.

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As Masahiro Sakurai saw countless requests for certain celebrities and iconic Nintendo figureheads to appear in the new games — such as Reggie Fils-Aime — he opted for the fairest, most democratic option. The Mii avatar first appeared on Wii, and allows Nintendo gamers to create cheery or strange versions of themselves, while the creation tools naturally make friends, family and celebrities fair game. The Mii has been prominent in many games across Wii, 3DS and Wii U, with Super Smash Bros. the latest Nintendo franchise to see them added as playable characters.

In terms of move-sets, the Mii will come in three variations — Brawler, Swordfighter and Gunner. Each of these move-sets will — like other characters in the game — be customisable, so choosing a class and moveset that best represents you in the new games is sure to be a fun diversion.

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With Masahiro Sakurai in charge this was always on the agenda, and 3DS owners will perhaps know her as Lady Palutena, an integral part of Kid Icarus: Uprising. As a character she was present in the few previous original — read: older — Kid Icarus titles, and did also make a non-playable appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

A powerful figure in Uprising — she is a Goddess after all — we can expect Palutena to more than hold her own. Her staff and god-like abilities will include Heavenly Light, a rocket jump, a dash move and a variety of melee attacks; she'll give Pit and all-comers a run for their money.

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Bandai Namco has been an integral development partner for the new Super Smash Bros. entries, absolutely vital in making the games a reality. As such it's not hugely surprising that the company's number one mascot is appearing in the game — iconic since the glory days of arcades and with more games released than pellets eaten, most recognise Pac-Man.

Those with a love of pixel-art should adore Pac-Mans special moves, as he utilises various classic Bandai Namco characters and items within battle. The Pac-Man themed stage should also be particularly interesting.

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Over a million of us have already played as Robin, in a manner of speaking, as he / she is the embodiment of our avatars in the brilliant 3DS title Fire Emblem: Awakening; the character can be male or female and utilise magic from a Tome.

Magic will, of course, be prominent in Robin's moveset, recreating a number of spells from Awakening; they'll be limited use, however, so the character will revert to swordplay once the magic allocation is all gone.

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Lucina's another character that was introduced to the Fire Emblem series in awakening. She is... well, we won't post that spoiler here. Her reveal was somewhat overshadowed by Robin, and she doesn't even have her own dedicated 'Newcomer' spot on the official website.

Lucina is essentially a clone of Marth, though due to her smaller frame she'll be a little quicker and have power balanced throughout her blade.

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At last we come to the most recent reveal, Shulk. This dashing figure — who seems to have a pair of Speedos as an alternative outfit — was the hero in the brilliant Wii game Xenoblade Chronicles, and will appear again in the New Nintendo 3DS port that's been confirmed for release in Japan.

Shulk could be a particularly powerful character as he wields the Monado, a weapon typically used for saving the world when not slashing away at Mario. There'll be multiple statuses and special moves characterised by attractive symbols, and Shulk could be one of the most varied fighters in the game — there's also a rather attractive Xenoblade Chronicles stage in both the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game.

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There you have it. Let us know which of the newcomers your most keen to try out — ignoring that other one that was apparently leaked and will be added at a later date — and vote for your favourite so far in the poll below.

Which is your favourite Super Smash Bros. for Wii U / Nintendo 3DS New Challenger? (593 votes)

Wii Fit Trainer


Mega Man




Rosalina & Luma


Little Mac




Mii Fighter












Please login to vote in this poll.

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User Comments (118)



Grumblevolcano said:

Robin easily is my favourite newcomer with Lucina a close second. Fire Emblem Awakening is an amazing game and easily my favourite from the whole 3DS game library so it's great having it represented well in Smash.



FirLocke said:

I'm really liking the new challengers. It's a tie between Robin, Shulk and Little Mac for me! I voted Little Mac because he's closest to my typical style in fighting games.



2Sang said:

Little Mac, Robin, and Shulk in that order. Villager, Miis, Megaman, lucina and pac-man are cool too. Others I couldn't give a crap about.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

It's a really exciting cast ain't it? Lot's of unexpected new challengers. While most of the ones I wanted were deconfirmed or assigned as Assist trophies, I'm not all that upset because the newcomers we have here are still just as awesome!

Out of the ones I predicted, Little Mac, Shulk, and Pac-Man came true. I also had a small feeling that Mii would happen too.
Others who didn't make it were Wonder-Red, Dillon, and Rayman.
The rest could still go either way. But it's looking very unlikely.



MixMasterMudkip said:

Wii Fit Trainer is obliviously the best one of these, but the newcomers for Smash 4 have been hands down the best the series has ever received. My true favorite is Duck Hunt Dog having been my most wanted character for about a year or so. I can't vote for him unfortunately.



Ryu_Niiyama said:

I'm loving the newcomers this time around, such diversity! While I'll still bounce between Zelda and Sheik, I plan on giving Robin and Lucina second main spot.
While I doubt I'll use wii fit trainer, she/he is in my opinion the coolest newcomer.



pleonexia said:

small correction: rosalina made her kart debut in mario kart wii, not in mario kart 8. She is also playable in mario kart 7.



Gerbwmu said:

Voted for Little Mac because he is an iconic fighter in the Nintendo library but really Pac-Man and Mega Man are both legends and worthy of being included in this Nintendo based love-a-thon as well. Not sure if you can go wrong with any of the picks. Can't wait to see Mario, Pac-Man, Mega Man and Sonic all on the same screen at 1 time......the Mount Rushmore of video game characters!



Frank90 said:

Robin because Fire Emblem is my favorite series since I played the first (in america) on GBA, and FE: Awakening is amazing.
Palutena looks amazing too, and while I love Xenoblade Chronicles I did not like Shulk's moveset



ShadJV said:

So the leak is pretty much assumed to be the final roster now? If so, I'm a bit disappointed...

Out of the revealed, Robin is probably my favorite in terms of fighting style



ArcanaXVI said:

Error: "spin-offs such as Zero Suit Samus and Sheik."

My vote is definitely for Shulk. I was hoping he'd be added the moment they started introducing the new fighters.



TruthBeTold said:

@ShadJV No. There was another picture somewhere in the leak that had the padlock on all-star mode I believe, which means not all the characters are unlocked. I haven't seen this leak pic with the pad lock, but that is how the smash community took yesterday's pic of the day.



CapeSmash said:

My vote went to Little Mac. My other favorites are Mega Man, Pac-Man, Mii Fighters (Brawler), and Shulk.



NintendoFan64 said:

Pacman. Why? Because he's freakin' Pacman! He's been around since before Mario! Also I was a huge fan of the Namco arcade games as a child.



BigH88 said:

My votes Shulk. But every one except Villager and Pac Man looks like its going to be fun to learn.



ManateeBlubber said:

@MixMasterMudkip The leak is confirmed, by now. Shulk's art on the character select screen is exactly the same as it is on the website. Leak confirmed! I SO WANTED IT TO BE TRUE! And it is!



Jamester0722 said:

From the poll results, I'm assuming I'm the only person actually excited to play as The Villager from Animal Crossing...



DarkKirby said:

Lucina (because she was actually on my wish list, even if she ended up as a clone) > Wii Fit Trainer > Robin > Villager > Palutena > Others



KFlow325 said: would seem that Nintendo has opted out of homosexuality (Tomodaichi Life) whereas they have totally "opted-in" for transgender with Robin/PacMan and possibly more multi-sex costumes...hmmmmm...the plot thickens Nintendo....The plot thickens like reux...



TruthBeTold said:

@KFlow325 Male and Female Robin are the same playable character but represent two entirely different people, really. Same with PacMan (as the female would be his wife Mrs. PacMan instead). They aren't "opting in" for transgender characters as much as including several characters with multiple incarnations.



EverythingAmiibo said:

@KFlow325 what the crap are you going on about?! Most games have male and female lead characters/avatars or multiple costumes. It's hardly 'trans-gender' or 'multi-sex', stop creating controversay when there is none.



TeeJay said:

I can easily imagine maining all of them barring Little Mac, Mii Fighter and perhaps Palutena. I'm actually surprised so many people are excited for Little Mac. His recovery is abyssmal...idk maybe it's because I'm used to characters like Toon Link who excel at jumping.

But the one I am most excited for is Megaman!



link3710 said:

I'm still hopeful for Sharla to show up in this game some how, she was my favorite character to play as in Xenoblade Chronicles. Anyways I'm still hoping for someone from Golden Sun, though with Isaac deconfirmed it doesn't look likely.



DonnaxNL said:

Rosalina made her karting debut in Mario Kart Wii, not Mario Kart 8 (she was even in Mario Kart 7).



Porky said:

In other words, you're going to spoil the game for us before it's released here?? D:



TeeJay said:

@Porky You didn't have to click the article. Also if you somehow missed the other several hundred articles about Smash kudos to you.



E_Blackadder said:


I'm with you, totally looking forward to Villager. Probably will get my butt kicked since I'm horrible at fighter games. Maybe the amiibo I've got preordered will help.



Gridatttack said:

You know, rosalina didnt debuted in the kart games in MK8.

She has appeared since Mario kart wii



Porky said:

@TeeJay Title alone will spoil without my curiosity taking over. And sure, I like to know some information of the game before release but not day by day coverage until 101% is shared. I will, however, be avoiding the internet until a week of play this time. Won't make the same mistake as Brawl.



Iggly said:

It's a tie between Robin and Villager when it comes to my favorites so far, though I love Palutena and Lucina as well. This may be my first Smash where I'll be maining everyone.



PAppleyard said:

Seems Shulk is the flavor of the moment. I don't get why tbh. Anyway I voted Pac Man (I want to see him in sexy swimming trunks and clogs!).



hikingmudkip6 said:

Greninja and the Animal Crossing villager will be cool. I just wish we could get Mewtwo back though. Oh well...



Ryu_Niiyama said:

@KFlow325 what are you talking about? Keeping characters that have more than one gender selection locked to one character slot is not a transgendered character. I don't know if you are trying to be funny or if you are actually seriously equating a gender option in a game to being Transgendered but please don't make such baseless comments. It is really offensive.

Also again with Tomodachi life. There was never an option for same sex marriage in the game. People were making opposite gendered miis based on same gendered characters/people.



OdnetninAges said:

Lucina. I am HYPED to play as her.

I wish this was multiple choice though, as I'm also HYPED for Robin, Mega Man, Pac-Man... Pretty much all of the Newcomers really!



OdnetninAges said:


"[W]e're sticking to official reveals, and we're also focusing on those that are "Newcomers", excluding variations and spin-offs such as Zero Suit Samus and Shulk."

Err, don't you mean Sheik?

"Such is [Rosalina's] role in the world of Mario that she made her karting début in Mario Kart 8..."

This is probably just me nitpicking, but she actually appeared in Mario Kart Wii before Mario Kart 8... As well as Mario Kart 7.



BSFsontails1012 said:

I love all newcomers, but my particular favorite would have to be mii. I've always wanted to face mario with mii and other nintendo stars! My first matic with my mii will be Mii V.S. Mario



Spoony_Tech said:

All the Mega Man vote does is prove that outside characters need a chance.

Rayman for the next one please!



NintyMan said:

I voted for Little Mac. I also like Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Mii.

Little Mac is pretty much the original Nintendo fighter and it's a wonder why he's never been playable before. Mega Man and Pac-man are perfect new third-party characters as far as I'm concerned. And I love the huge customization and sheer diversity of fighters the Miis will provide.



MasterWario said:

I didn't know people liked Shulk so much...

I'm curious how much people would like King K. Rool...



ValiantPixel said:

Overall, I'm ecstatic about these newcomers. We have old-school favorites (Pac-Man, Mega Man, Little Mac) mixed with new arrivals (Shulk, Greninja, Robin, etc), as well as some other integral Nintendo figureheads (Villager, Wii Fit Trainer). Props to Sakurai and the team for scouring this deep. I can't wait to have an Inkling Amiibo next generation, though



luckybreak said:

mega man!!! I haven't even played a megaman game all the way through but he is just so awesome! Same with pac man, glad they made it in!



DarkLink95 said:

My favorite is Shulk but I think the Wii fit trainer is awesome just because it shows the creativity and variety of the smash roster so perfectly



realar said:

All of these newcomers brought something new and fun to the table, I would say my favorite newcomers are Shulk, Little Mac, Robin, Megaman, and Mii Fighter.



rbmoura85 said:

I think nintendo exagerated a bit on the hype building for this already sick of gonna buy it, but im just tired of hearing about it.



AugustusOxy said:

Yeah man, nothing MORE diverse than a bunch of pretty boys and sword users.

They need to name this one SUPER SMASH BROS... BISHIEBOY EDITION.



tripunktoj said:

The poll is missing a least favorite new challenger question again.

And again that'd be Greninja for me. Smash Bros is oversaturated with random pokémon as playable characters, a Pokémon Trainer and Pikachu would've been enough, so that more varied newcomers could enter.



Benny3999 said:

I can't wait to play as all of them, but the Duck Hunt Dog has me the most excited! I'm really wondering what kind of moveset they'll give him.



Link506 said:

Blah. Why would people pick Shulk? He really doesn't look like he would bring anything new to smash. The only reason he will be on my 3ds or tv screen is because I will be useing him as my personal punching bag



J-Manix98 said:

Aww! Wheres the love for Lucina? I mean, I picked Megaman, but y'know, she was a close second...



WinterWarm said:

Shulk's beating Mega Man?!

My fav's Robin, with Lucina and Wii Fit Trainer second and third.



Sam_Loser2 said:

Wow, didn't expect Shulk to be so popular. I really need to Play Xenoblade now, though the length and confusing menus are daunting to me.

My favorite is Robin, by far. Time to tip the scales!



Sonicman said:

Lucina, all the way. My current main's moveset (Marth), plus faster speeds, plus a character I'm already very familiar with? It's a no brainer.



SavoirFaire said:

Shulk is that high?? Aren't there enough sword characters? Couldn't they bring in someone with mace or an axe or maybe a whip

I voted Rosalina!



Lalivero said:

Palutena and Pac-man are ones I'm really liking, although Villager looks pretty interesting, too.

@UnseatingKDawg I just read through some of the comments I missed and noticed we have the same picks, ha. You have good taste.



TwilightV said:

Shulk and Greninja are my favorites. My least favorite are Mega Man and Palutena,



Finntendo said:

Wakka wakka wakka wakka...

Eh no, Wii Fit Trainer! ...and Shulk of course.

I am still seriosly thinking that instead of Pac-Man (even he is cool) Bandai Namco should have given Yoshimitsu to the game. I could almost see him doing his katana-riding move on Mario.

Greninja is meh for me, since I've never played Pokemon, don't care and probably never will

And this arctice here reminds me again that need to buy that new controller...



Darknyht said:

Shulk has me interested for all the different play styles and because I finally have been able to play Xenoblade Chronicles.



SleepyCrossing said:

Why does Shulk have a speedo outfit.. O_o I'm looking forward to trying out a bunch of new fighters, but I'm most looking forward to Villager & Zero Suit Samus. There was a shortcut to switch to Zero Suit upon the start of a match in a previous title and I would always use that to play as her. Villager probably will be difficult to master but I plan on doing so at all costs, lol.



AJWolfTill said:

I got all the characters I was really hoping for in Shulk, Lucina and Palutena and got Robin as an additional treat.
Having said that I can see myself using Mii's an awful lot as I have been getting more attached to them recently + the amount of customization is incredibly exciting!



AJWolfTill said:

I don't understand the gripe against sword users... There are four fighter archetypes in these games.
Brawler/martial artist
Gun Wielder
Sword Wielder
and Mage/Psychic.

It's not like all the characters with swords have all the same movesets... they just use slashes instead of punches. I love that Shulk is joint with MegaMan, take that naysayers : P



Ralizah said:

Lucina, as far as a character I'll probably be maining.

Although Shulk and Rosalina both seem like they could be very powerful in the hands of players who know what they're doing.



Luna-Harmony said:

I like Little Mac best and Palutena & Mega Man.
Little Mac takes me back to the mike Tysons punch out game on nes when i was a kid



gloom said:

All of you dudebros obsessing with Megaman... And this is sad because Wii Fit Trainer needs more love than last place...



earthboundlink said:

MEGA. MAN. One of the greatest gaming mascots of all time, and far and away my favorite third party mascot. Who among us gaming in the 80s and 90s didn't wonder what would happen if Mega Man, Mario, and Sonic all ran into each other in a game?

Kind of concerned that there are too many sword-wielding folks in the game, but there are just so many other diverse characters (and let's not forget those from the original Smash), that I think it will be okay. Glad they finally called up a magic wielder from Fire Emblem.

Finally, if the Duck Hunt dog is in the game, they should let you sub him in for the punching bag in the home run contest. I've been wanting to beat the stuffing out of that dog for decades.



polivar4 said:

@ShanaUnite Why can't Dixie Kong or King K.Rool be in Smash? And replace Ice Climbers with Joe and Mac! Even though that's just me still a great list of new challengers.



RaphaBoss said:

I'm amased how well Shulk is doing at the vote pool. He is a close second to me, behind Megaman, because he is just a freaking classic! Sorry Pac-Man, I wanted you more than Megaman, but you disapointed me with your moveset.



Oaf7724 said:

@ThomasBW84 LOVE that Greninja pic! Where did you guys pull it from? Wonder who drew it, it's fantastic.

EDIT: Answered my own question. It's on the page, illustration by Ken Sugimori of GAME FREAK



sjdswanlund said:

As nice as it is to see Shulk getting some love, I hope Namco Bandai and Monolith Soft's previous Xenosaga trilogy isn't out of the question. As cool as Shulk is, I believe KOS-MOS and Ziggy would be much cooler fighters.

In fact, modding has brought her and many other characters into the last game. One of the more popular mods has her as clone of Zero Suit Samus, If I am not mistaken. But think if she were her own build and character, how awesome that would be. The same goes for Ziggy too.

With Nintendo owning Monolith Software, and the game being developed by Namco Bandai, I think it would be foolish to pass this chance up. It would be a good way to get more people excited for Xeno-related games, thus Nintendo could make more Xenoblade sales.



Kikkipoptart said:

@Link506 What wrong with people picking Shulk? He the first mode changing character in the game and the people that voted for him love the game that he is from and love him as a character. He does bring something new to the table, also you sound so hateful for him being in the game.



Link506 said:

@Kikkipoptart The reason I dislike him mostly is because I like when a character is announced in smash THAT I KNOW. Pick any character on the roster besides shuck and I know them from their own game. Most likely I have one if their games. But shulk. But all I know about him is had had a huge sword, has random Japanese symbols appear behind him and he really needs a hair cut. That's about it. He's just about as popular as Boshi here in the United States.



Kikkipoptart said:

@Link506 I'm pretty sure that no one know who Marth, Pit, Ness, and Lucus before smash. Shulk was requested by a bunch of people, he top five in the states and number one in japan. I can get why people don't know him, is game was really under stock so people have to get it used and they did no advertisement for his game. I hope the advertise the one that coming to the 3DS.



Link506 said:

@Kikkipoptart Trust me they will. With the new 3ds coming out with Xenoblade, there's no reason why they wouldn't. They Might be making one for the Wii U but I'm not sure. I think they are.

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