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also, the list will be updated as new episodes come out
Perhaps the season's strongest outing so far but not without its issues
When a comedy show starts to put a bigger focus on the more serious emotional aspects of the characters, it often comes at the price of comedic entertainment. I would love to say Community avoids this completely but then I'd just be lying to myself. Nonetheless, it does manage to create a satisfying experience.
It's been clear what this episode's purpose was gonna be since we knew the title. Jeff's reunion with his father, while interesting and engaging in its own right, makes for a plot line that just doesn't produce the laughs one would expect from Community. While Willy Jr. and Britta's excitement about practicing Therapy are fun, the conversations between Jeff and his father are a perfect showcase of why combining comedy and drama is hard to do in a 20-minute show. The other story line involves the rest of the group "trapped" at Shirley's Thanksgiving dinner. This is also where the best thing about the episode comes into play - Abed's voice over. His consistent and self-ironic narration is delightful. The only problem here is that the other characters hardly get to show their strengths and so Abed ends up being responsible for easily half of the laughs.
All in all, while a satisfying, entertaining and relevant episode, "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" is held back a bit by the same thing as the prior season 4 outings - it just feels like it could and should be better.
Decent but feels like a missed opportunity
"Alternative History of the German Invasion" is for the most part a pretty good episode but it's not all I -and probably many other people- were hoping for.
For one, I personally found myself having a hard time laughing at the German puns and the Germans themselves hardly have any funny moments. The "twist" at the end was actually very cool, well done and made up for some things i wasn't comfortable with during the episode. My favorite parts of the episode were probably the scenes with the dean and Chang and it'll be interesting to see how that continues. Finally, i think it's quite disappointing that Malcolm McDowell has so little screen time and hardly any funny lines. Teachers have often been a highlight of the show and it feels like they hardly tried with his character.
While it has several good moments, particularly during the "war" montage, the episode just isn't everything it could have been. I'll let other people discuss the reasons for this, though.
Different but good
I think it's pretty clear by now that Season 4 has slightly different priorities than the show had before, namely putting more weight on the sentimental parts. That may or may not sit well with you but that's where we are.
That being said, "Conventions of Space and Time" gets it down well. Not spoiling anything, Troy and Abed's relationship is a big focus of the episode and the issues are presented and resolved in a way only those two could while actually managing to be taken seriously. Overall the Episode features plenty of clever references, stays true to the characters and has plenty of heart. It's not a comedic powerhouse like Community at its best but it got several laughs out of me.
All in all, I'd rate it similarly to "Paranormal Parentage" in that it essentially includes many things I'm looking for in Community, it's just not quite up there with the show's highlights.
Oh, and you get to see Gillian Jacobs in her underwear. How's that for motivation?
Hametsu no Marusu (2005)
The worst anime of all time? It just might be
As you can guess from the rating this OVA has on just about any site where you can rate stuff, Mars of Destruction (or Hametsu No Mars) is bad and it gets just about anything wrong that an animated movie (no matter the length) can.
Story - The story starts out with two astronauts talking about getting wasted while on the mission and subsequently get blown up. Flash forward to people who are supposedly part of an elite team to defend earth (even though it's questionable whether they're in high school yet by the looks of them) fighting some aliens (which mostly involves pointing their guns at them and not shooting). I'm not sure if anything from here on out could be considered a spoiler but I'm not taking the risk. The story makes no sense whatsoever and the out-of-nowhere plot twist doesn't help it. Character development is non-existent with the exception of one small scene that shows that the main(?) character has problems with his father. As a consequence, there isn't the slightest reason to be emotionally involved or even remotely care about anything that happens Bottom line, there isn't the slightest bit of value in this story, no originality, no ideas and the execution is below poor.
Animation - Taking a glance at a screen shot of this might make you think "eh, this is all right for a low budget 90s production". However, for something released in 2005, the visuals are unacceptable. Nevermind the boring art style or the emptiness of the world. What makes the animation unacceptable is the stunning lack of, well, animation. Hardly anyone ever bothers moving, the fighters spend more time just looking at the enemies than actually firing guns. the main villain never does more then grab someone and holding them up in the air for a couple of seconds. It's almost unbearably boring to watch and makes you wonder why you're looking at it at all.
Sound - While the voice work adds up for the most part, the sound department definitely doesn't get a pass either. Sound effects are dull and do little to nothing to draw you into the scene and the absolute absence of any sounds at all during most scenes may go along with the visuals but that doesn't make the whole thing any less boring. The biggest joke however is the music. It's not bad, no. In fact, it includes some of the most memorable pieces of music ever written but they're all sub par versions of classical music pieces and don't even remotely match anything that is going on. It's laughable at best.
All in all, Mars of Destruction offers nothing. It's about as dull and irrelevant as animation can get. it's not even funny either unless you have someone to make funny remarks about it with. If you look at how much emotion, creativity and entertainment film makers have been able to show in 20 minutes, it could almost make you angry at how little this OVA seems to care but trust me, it's not worth it. I can honestly only recommend it so you can appreciate whatever other productions give you (or even try to give).