American Assassin – Revenge, Wasted Potential, and Refrigerators

American Assassin is a fine enough modern spy movie. It’s got nukes, European car chases, evil Middle Eastern terrorists, MMA style fight scenes, and femme fatales. It is generic, and fine, except for the one if the most driven, hard working, crazy protagonists ever.

For context, Dylan O’Brien plays Mitch, a new recruit to a secret CIA ops team. He was taken in after he trains for months to get revenge for the death of his fiancée, and parents (who were killed adjacent to the terrorists). Once he gets on the team he must stop a nuclear bomb from going off, as well as take out a group of Iranian terrorists.

The coolest element of the movie is Mitch’s dedication and hard work. He gets to CIA levels of skill and training on his own, and gets close to a terrorist cell without any help. That is a strong drive for revenge. It is also incredibly dangerous. When the CIA, and his instructor Hurley, played by Michael Keaton, take him in he honed into a weapon of pure instinct.

That is terrifying.

The movie kind of agrees. There is plenty of surface level talk about the dangers of being so revenge driven, and the toll that takes on a person. It is also critical of how the US uses those kinds of people in its villain, Ghost. It is almost fitting if the film was actually more than just that. Best and worse part of all, it wouldn’t have taken too much.

There is a lot of discussion in the merit of digging deeper in the psyche of trained killers. Some people really see it as taking away the fun in those kind of characters. I mean, if a movie spent 2 hrs explaining why James Bond kind of sucks, and is a monster, it would be no fun. The issue I find with that argument is how rewarding it can be to add a dimension of self-doubt and criticism to that work. This movie is fine, but if it was more openly critical of what Mitch went through it would be better.

See, Mitch trains, goes to extremes, and breaks orders and regulations to get the job done. It is undoubtedly effective. It is a power fantasy. It is also scary. Those rules, regulations, and orders are there for a reason. He just gets lucky with his skills that he doesn’t have to pay the price for that behavior. Again, that is almost cool, but loses possible, more interesting story threads.

One section of the movie has Mitch go on his own to stop a weapons dealer after the initial mission failed. He infiltrates the hotel, gets the to dealer, sees the person who killed his fiancée, and kills him. That single flash could say two things. One, he’s racist, and sees all Middle Eastern people as bad guys (something that could also be explored, but isn’t), OR, he is doing this out of revenge or vengeance.

A more critical take would have him fail that mission because he was driven by the wrong factors. Something I would say the movie would agree with considering what it wants to do. That failure would also lead to maybe changing up the next acts to have him really see why he can’t go on emotion, or deal with more threats, or be physically injured. All more interesting story directions (this is an example. There could be more ideas). It is fine the way it is, but could have been way more interesting.

Though, it could have been interesting in more ways than that. That other way being the motive for Mitch’s revenge.

It is kind of taken for granted that revenge stories staring men feature the death of a female love interest. It’s called fridging. It’s something I talked about recently on the deep dive into Dexter season eight (interesting how the director of this movie directed the first season of Dexter, a season where Dexter is very self-analyzing, and critical, that also has an evil version of the protagonist). It’s main use is to promote male development at the expense of a female character. That happens in this movie. It is the change in status quo that gets Mitch going. His fiancée is killed when terrorists raid a beach (for some reason… so the plot can happen, I guess). In the film, it’s fine, but not necessary. We learn later that his parents were seemingly killed by terrorists accidentally. That is double motivation for seemingly no reason. In fact, his fiancée’s death is only ever used to make him act upset, something that could, again, be done by focusing on his parents death.

The better way to explain it is if Bruce Wayne had his parents die, then had his girlfriend die, then he decided to become Batman. It’s clunky for no reason, and wastes a character… something it does twice because…

Whoops, there is a second not-love interest, spy he works with that is killed by the villain for no reason. Well, there is a reason, but no reason that couldn’t be done by just injuring her and not killing her. In fact, that death does not really drive Mitch any more than the death of his fiancée, making it feel extra useless. They just killed her for no reason.

A counter argument to that is a feminist one. Feminism looks to treat women equally. That is a good thing. Women should equal to men on every social level. But, in media, that is not the case. Women die for shock value and character development for the men way more than the reverse. Wanting women to be treated equally is good, but historically they have not been. Therefore killing them is pushing an old trope that is not needed.

These criticisms are kind of moot. The movie is fine enough. You want a decent action/spy thing to watch and ignore a global pandemic or something it is fine. I just think relying on those tropes, and shallow character work means the movie wasted its potential.

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 3, Period 2 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 2 

    TCPD Officers Mark Quince and his partner Cainith Roy left Jermoe’s Pizza on South Street with a call about a possible hostage situation at Tower City High School, and to check it out. Cainith took the driver’s seat, started the car, then turned on the lights and sirens. Their rotating red and blue light illuminated the area around them. Mark got into the passenger’s side and called in that they were on their way to the school. Cainith took off to North Street. “Shouldn’t we call in SWAT?” Cainith asked. 

    “I’m sure it’s nothing,” Mark said. 

    Cainith swerved around a line of parked cars and into the oncoming traffic lane. “Hostage situation is nothing?” Cainith said. 

    “Just because this is a city doesn’t mean it’s Detroit,” Mark said. He grabbed the handle above the door. Cainith whipped the car back into the right lane and turned onto 23rd North Street.

    “It’s a hostage situation!” Cainith said. “It’s got to be bad.”

    “It’s at the high school,” Mark noted. “It could just be some crappy joke by the kids.” He laughed to himself. “We can take them in, lock’em up for a bit, tease them about the dangers before their parents pick them up to teach them the Boy Who Cried Wolf Lesson.”

    “Where are the teachers then?”

    “I don’t know?” Mark said. He checked his watch. “It’s late. These could just be students who are hanging around maybe. Further proof of my Bow Who Cried Wolf Lesson I’d say then.”

    Cainith shook his head. He took his last turn onto East Street and up to the front of the High School. He reached for the walkie-talkie in the car. “Dispatch, this is Car 1827. We’ve arrived at the school. Will call for backup if needed.”

    “10-4 1827,” the dispatcher said. 

    Both officers exited the car. The school was dark, and empty. The only lights were the police car’s headlights, along with the red and blue signal lights. They put a spotlight on the double door entrance to the building. “Should we get the shotgun?” Cainith asked. 

    Mark tilted his head from side to side in a mocking attempt to examine the empty school. “Why not!” he said, a bit too cheery. “Just keep the shells in your pocket. Don’t want a situation.” Cainith nodded his head. He unlocked the truck and took out the shotgun, then stuffed a few shells into his jacket pocket. Mark stood with one hand on his gun, and flashlight on the other. He was slouched over and relaxed. Mark nodded his head to the school. “Let’s go.” 

    The two officers approached the school quickly. Cainith took point and grabbed the handle. He pulled the door, but it didn’t budge. Cainith looked back and raised an eyebrow in confusion. Mark spun his index finger in circles around in the air. Cainith nodded. He lowered the shotgun and marched along the far side of the building up to the corner. Mark kept his flashlight on the dark windows. All the rooms were empty. The officers turned the corner and marched up the side of the building, clearing rooms along the way. Cainith hit a hard stop when he reached the rear of the school. Mark ran into Cainith’s back, then backed up a few paces. 

    “What’s up?” Mark asked. He peaked around his frozen partner. A reptilian creature with amber eyes, razor teeth, and long claws. Mark took a few more steps back and reached for his gun. “Ah sir, it is a little late for Halloween. Now put your hands in the air and get onto the ground.” He points the gun at the raptor. The raptor jerks forward. Cainith slumps over, and the raptor’s claws emerge from the police officers back covered in blood. Mark fires three shots at the creature. He quickly reached for the radio on his collar. “Car 1827 to dispatch, request backup, and a bus. Officer down. Repeat. Officer down.”

    “10-4 car 1827 we will send the backup to your location,” the dispatcher said. 

    The raptor removed his claw from the officer. He fell to the grass in a puddle of blood. Mark stood firm and kept his gun trained on the raptor. “Freeze,” Mark said. The raptor stopped moving. “Turn around, put your hands in the air, and get on the ground!” Mark commanded. The raptor creature complied with the request. He turned around, put his arms up, and dropped to his knees. “Now place your hands behind your head!” The raptor did. Mark quickly stepped up to the raptor. He tried to ignore his downed partner as much as possible, and got to the perp. He removed his cuffs with one hand, and kept the gun trained with the other. “You move, I blow your head off,” he said. He clicked the cuff around the raptor’s right wrist, then yanked it to the ground. Mark then pressed his knee against the creature’s back to force him to the ground. “Drop!” Mark said sternly. The raptor dropped, then slowly slithered its tail around the officer’s legs then jerked him onto his back. The raptor felt Mark’s grip loosen from the cuff. The raptor leaped up and stepped over the downed officer and bared his teeth at him. “You may get me, but the whole force will come, and you won’t get far,” Mark said. 

    “I’d like to see them try,” the raptor said. He lurched down and bit into the officer’s neck. 

His scream echoed to the baseball field. Kyane whipped her head around to try and see where it was coming from. She then felt a push on her back, then continued walking in front of Eorapst over to the other players and teachers. Eorapst turned to the sound and said, “Ahh, he must have taken care of the pesky visitors.” 

“More will come,” Kyane said. 

“They will not do much with you as our hostage,” Eorapst said. He pressed his clammy hand against her back and pushed her into the pile of people on the ground. “Now collect the phones from your people here, or you will all be killed.”

Kyane stood up in front of the team, and Jamie. “Guys, we can get out of this, just please give me your phones.” She looked at Jamie and leaned her head forward to try and get his attention. “So please take them out, turn them off, and hand them to me. Okay?” She looked back at Jamie, and shook her head, and made a small swiping motion with her finger. “Good, good,” she said. She began to walk through the crowd of students and the remaining coaches, collecting phones all along the way. Her body curdled at what was happening to the other coach and student as she did this. 

Kyane moved past some of them and quickly  to Jamie. She took his phone. It was unlocked like she wanted. She placed that phone in her pocket and dialed her parents’ number via text and sent them her current address with her right hand. With her left hand she picked the remaining phones and made them into an unsteady tower. Before she exited the group of people, she knocked her leg against one of the players. She leaned forward dropping the phones onto the ground. She tossed Jamie’s phone onto the grass during the confusion. She quickly leaned over and apologized for dropping all the phones, and then gave them to Eorapst. 

Eorapst leaned down to her level and looked Kyane in the eyes. “Thank you,” he said to her. His voice began getting drowned out by the whirring and beating of helicopters approaching the scene. A spotlight then blasted down on the group of hostages. A projected voice confirmed they were the police. Cop cars, and news vans quickly began flooding onto the wet grass and surrounding the field. Eorapst looked to the sky. He balled his hand into a fist, and his jaw locked. He reeled his arm back and let his claws out. “I am going to kill you!” he said to Kyane. 

“Wait, wait, wait, wait,” Kyane raised her hands up to protect herself. “We can still get out of this with whatever you want. Just calm down and be patient. Trust me, if you knew me you would not believe I just said that.”

Triassic Invasion – Chapter 3, Period 1 (Period-a-Day)

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Class 3 – Anisian Assembly

Period 1

The late winter-to-early spring night air turned cold and harsh. The hostages, made up of the baseball team, team coaches, and Jamie, all shook and shivered under the frozen blanket of night. They speculated on what was happening, giving different possibilities from reality shows to a movie. They would never get the answer they wanted. Eroapst walked from the baseball diamond over to the crowd on the pitcher’s mound. “This is not some escapist trash!” His high-pitched voice cracked an octave higher. He leaned down and grabbed a player by the collar and yanked the student to him. “Do you know who Dieous is?”

    The student could not stop shaking. His eyes bugged out of his head to examine Eorapst. His breath was strong, but teeth looked like miniature knives sitting in his mouth. His amber eyes blinked to reveal multiple layers of protection. The student tried to get out a “no” but got stuck on the n sound.

    “I see,” Eorapst said. “Then you are of no use to me.” He lifted the student off the ground. 

    A coach shot up. He was the batting coach, and English 2 teacher, Mr. Hoge. He had short salt and pepper hair and looked like he had not done cardio since college. “Stop!” he said. 

    Eorapst tilted his head to look past the student. “What was that? Did a lesser being try to command me?” 

    “Look, Mr…” Mr. Hoge said.

    “Lieutenant Eorapst.”

    “Lt. Eorapst, these are just children, let them go, and leave them alone. I can help you,” Mr. Hoge said. He looked down at the other two coaches sitting on the grass and dirt. “We can help you. We are teachers. We know the students. Just let the kids go.”

    Eorpast looked back at the student in his grasp. His eyes were out of his head and sweat coated his face. He was scared, helpless, and he knew it. It was a common look from prey about to be sacrificed for the stronger species. Eorapst tossed the student to a raptor soldier. “I reject your offer.” He turned to the soldier. “Take him back to the nest.” 

    The student was dragged off the field by the back of his collar. His screams and cries filled the air around the hostages. Snot made up most of his face when he vanished into the shroud of blackness outside of the stadium. 

    In the dugout Desmond tried to stand up, felt a wince of pain, and collapsed back to the ground, hand firmly holding his side. “We have to do something!” 

    “Calm down,” Kyane said. “We have to wait.”

    “While our friends get killed! No, we go now,” Desmond said. He turned to his teammates. “Right?” One agreed. Harry didn’t move. Desmond and the other teammate, Anthony, both tried to stand up again. They walked to the edge of the dugout before collapsing. They could only stand by bracing on the dugout’s ledge. 

    “See how well that doing something worked out,” Kyane said. 

    “Yeah dude, I’m with Kyane here on this one,” Harry said. “We tried going all like Casey Jones on them and that didn’t go so well.”

    Desmond arched his head back. “Well what is your plan then?” he asked.

    “We wait,” she said. She took out her phone and passed it back and forth between her hands. 

    “Wait. You’ve had your phone the whole time!?” Desmond tried to yell. 

    Kayne jumped up and covered his mouth. “Shh, shh, shut up.” She uncovered his mouth. “Yes, I have my phone.”

    “Well why didn’t you text me back!?” Kyane covered his mouth again. 

    It clicked in Kyane’s head. “Is that why you’ve been such a jerk to me?” Kyane asked. “Because I left you on read? Really?” 

    Desmond rolled his eyes. He pulled her handoff. “Yes,” he whispered. “It’s easy to text back and say that you’re okay, or fine, or whatever. It takes two whole seconds to do.”

    “Well I had other stuff on my mind when you texted me,” she said. 

    “Still, two seconds!”

    “Is this really what we are going to talk about right now?” Harry asked. “How some girl you are crushing on didn’t text you back? We kind of have bigger problems right now.”

    “Thank you, Henry,” Kyane said. 

    “It’s Harry. Like the situation we’re in.” The dugout was silent. “Right.”

    Anthony looked over and saw Kyane’s phone in her hand. “You have a phone? Call the police!” 

    She looked at him. “No,” she said. “We have to wait for the best moment, or this will go badly for everyone.”

    “It already went badly!” Anthony lunged at her and grabbed her, pushing her back down to the used condom wrapper floor. The student swiped to the emergency mode and dialed 911. 

    “911 what is your emergency?” the dispatcher asked. 

    “Yeah, ahh there is, there is a hostage situation I think, I don’t know. There are these monsters-” before he could finish Eorapst looked over. The student freaked out. “Oh my god he saw me, he saw me. I’m dead. They already killed one guy; they’re going to kill me too.”

    “Please sir, calm down and tell me where you are?” the dispatcher asked.

    Eroapst ran toward the student and made it before the student could say. He dug his claw into the student’s chest. “You’re a stupid species,” he said. Blood ran down the back of the student’s training jersey and dribbled onto the steps. 

    The phone clacked to the floor. The operation continued to ask if he was there, and what was going on. “We have turned on your GPS and will send police to your location. Please stay safe. I will be on the phone the whole time until the police arrive.” Eorapst picked up the phone and crushed it in his hand. 

    “Whose idea was this?” Eorapst asked. He looked at the three students in the dugout. 

    Kyane pointed to the skewered student. “It was all his,” she said. 

    Eorapst shook his head. He removed his hand from the student’s body. He crumpled to the ground. His claws were painted red. He stepped over the body and entered the dugout. His frame cast deep black shadows over the three. “How do I know that is true. This could all have been some ploy.” Kyane, Desmond, and Harry backed themselves into the corner. 

    Kyane looked at Anothony’s corpse on the ground. She felt her blood pouring on and highlighting the ground with Anthony. She was pale. She looked back at Harry and Desmond. They weren’t any better. She knew her parents were coming. They had to be. She could save them all once they did. She stepped up. “It wasn’t, okay?” Eorapst’s claws sharpened. Her time was limited. “Look, I’ll prove it. Let me tell them that I will collect their cell phones, so they can’t make any other calls for help.”

    Eorapst was silent. Kyane stepped backward. Her eyes were not focused on his claws, or teeth, but his wriggling tail. It moved idly in a soothing back and forth motion. “Okay,” he said, breaking her concentration on the tail. She looked at him. “I will go along with your plan, female.” 

“Good,” Kyane said. She stepped back up to the dinosaur. She looked back. Desmond gave her a look of concern and hope. She knew she just had to buy time until her parents arrived, then she could just change and take care of business. She was just unsure of when that would happen.

Triassic Invasion – Chapter 2 Finale( Period-a-Day)

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Period 9

The moon rose over the baseball field. The stadium lights brightened like the sun. But there were no stars in the sky. The late-winter air blew through the night leaving whispers behind. The crowd of students and teachers murmured about what was going on. Eorapst cracked his tail against the ground. Desmond and the other two players woke up. They crawled and joined Kyane on the bench. “Teenagers! Your superiors are here! Do as I ask of you and you may come out of this alive!” 

Desmond and Kyane looked at each other. Kyane saw a fear that she thought no person of Desmond’s size should have. It was an instinctual fear. The flight or fight response going into high gear. Kyane knew what her answer was to that question. 

Eorapst was unaware that he was being watched from a similarly tailed figure. The tailed figured observed the lieutenant from a large classroom window. Only his green tail, and scaly arms glowed bright in the rising moon’s light. He crossed his arm. It’s only hope was that they could get enough information from this event to adjust their plans. Other than that, he was dreading what he was sure to come.

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is the Synder Cut we Deserve (a Review)

There has been a lot made over the creation and direction of the DCEU. It’s many stops and starts, it’s disastrous reception, and many tragedies has made it one of the most contentious Hollywood stories of all time. The biggest is the butchered Justice League movie that is finally going to be released to HBO Max as the Snyder Cut. A hopeful better version of the film. The problem with all of that debate is how the nerd-sphere has missed that DC has had an ongoing movie universe that spans just as long, and it, like Avengers Endgame, has come to an end.

Spinning out of an adaption of Flashpoint, the DC direct to video movies have followed a more comic book approach, one that matches the, then recent, New 52. That all ends. The Justice League has decided to make their move on Darkseid, intergalactic ruler. Only, when things go awry the Earth is captured, heroes are killed, and Superman, de-powered by one of Darkseid’s plans, and Raven, Teen Titans empath who is hounded by her demon father, must turn to the least helpful person in the DC Universe, magical con man and drunkard, John Constantine to save the day.

This movie hurts your feelings if you have any semblance of care about the DC universe. It is hard to say what heroes do not walk away with any scaring or baggage after what’s happened. It hurts your feelings, but in the right way. The movie knows what these heroes are supposed to be like, then twist them just enough to make you feel bad for them. The movie says to look and what happened, and asks you to see them struggle to make it better.

It succeeds in that.

As an animated film goes, it is not amazing to look at. The models feel stiff at points, a lot of the faces look copy and pasted over. It is not a major motion picture effort. It is a direct to video effort. The fights looks decent enough, and has incredibly atmosphere. This film feels like the DC universe has turned dark. In fact, if Justice League Dark was not already the title of a previous film in this series, and a team all their own, it would be a perfect title for the film because this is a twisted world.

And that is the reason to see the film. It has an honestly interesting twist on what happens to the biggest characters in the DC universe, but doesn’t make it cynical, gritty, and contrived feeling. To give just a taste, Harley Quinn (who is actually good in this film) leads the Suicide Squad as a group of Robin Hood like trouble makers. They are far from good guys, but they know who the real threat is, while still taking their own cut. There is also a group of corrupted heroes that are hidden for a great reveal.

The best of all of the twists is possibly the coolest Evil Superman ever. The concept of Evil Superman feels overdone. Clark becoming a despot feels stale and unoriginal. What this film does with that concept is so cool, and leads to a great fight that it feels too good to miss if you know anything about the DCU.

The film is rated R, and does earn that. There are some swear words, and foul language, but when you’re in an apokolips it is okay. The worst is the use of CGI blood spatter. It is far too disparate from the rest of the designs and feels off. There is also a lot of gore. Again, heroes do die pretty graphically.

The reason this feels like a Snyder Cut is because of its dark, grim, hurt-your-feelings vibe. The difference, and reason I think this is superior (I could totally see Snyder doing a great live action version of this, but) is because the writers, again, know what makes the heroes great. It can look at Superman and understand why he is important, how to ground him, and how to corrupt him in natural (for a comic book universe) ways. It wants to be honestly edgy, and “subvert” superheroes, but gets what that truly means. The Synder Cut (which should technically be two movies, so did they combine that into two films in the script? Is that why it’s 4 hours long? Are we even going to get all of that? I mean if it’s his cut will there still be deleted scenes? How much of the original movie will be in there? So many questions) will come out, and probably fall in line with BvS and Man of Steel, but there will always be this alternative, even to the subversions

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 2, Period 8 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 8

Damon and Hinotomi sat in their living room. Hinotomi’s cell phone sat between them on the coffee table. Their boss, and government liaison Jerry Saucher was on the other end of the line. The sun had set, and the moon was rising. 

“I can’t believe this,” Jerry said.His voice was tiny through the speakerphone.  He was sitting at his computer in his office at the lab downtown. He was examining the data Damon and Hinotomi had gotten from Dieous. Along his desk, and walls were photos of him with military men of all backgrounds. “This data is just incredible.”

“We agree, sir,” Damon said. He had his desk on the wooden coffee table. “This was the first real successful test we’ve seen.”

“Quite impressive. Who did you say the pilot of this test was again?”

“Well that is where this gets a little tricky,” Hinotomi said. “It was our daughter.”

“Ah huh, I see. How old is she? Is she properly trained?”

Hinotomi and Damon gave nervous laughs. “The opposite actually,” Hinotomi said. “She is only 15 years old. The biggest thing she’s ever controlled was her emotions, and that is barely true most of the time.”

Jerry nodded. “Do I even want to ask why she had this government-issued, high-tech battle armor worth more than my house, your house, and your daughter’s future house combined after inflation?”

“No, sir,” Damon said. “But if you look at the video, she is quite good at fighting off the dinosaur creatures.” He looked at his wife. She gave him the same look when he said he would handle all of Thanksgiving dinner many years ago because she had the flu. He meant well by it but knew full well it was far from the truth. “Okay, marginally well. But still, better than any soldier we’ve gotten.” 

“I can’t argue with your results. Are you sure that this T/S meter is the cause of this?” Jerry scrubbed through Kyane’s leaps across the bridge back to her house. 

“Yes,” Hinotomi said. “That T/S meter is what separates Kyane from the rest of the pilots.”

Jerry brought up past data from the other pilots. There was a full screen of 60 or more users, with less than ten percent even being able to move Dieous any length of distance. The T/S meter was blank, or not existent on most of them. “I see,” he said. He paused for a moment. Kyane’s parents’ heartbeats matched the same nervous rhythm. “Should I be mad?”


“Yeah, what do you mean, Jerry?”

“Should I be mad about all of this?” Jerry tried to clarify. 

There was a ding on Damon and Hinotomi’s phones. Damon’s phone showed that there was a message from her daughter to read.

“We were… are mad at our daughter for running away with this equipment but see this information as a major breakthrough with our research,” Damon said.

“Mrs. Yorotis, do you agree with your husband here?” There was a moment of silence. “Mrs. Yorotis?”

Damon looked over at Hinotomi on her phone. Her eyes were wide, her phone shook in her hand. “What’s wrong?” She showed the message to Damon. “‘DN’ what does that mean?” he asked. 

“Our daughter needs Dieous,” Hinotomi said. 

“Right…” Damon said. 

“Good,” Jerry said. “I guess I have my answer. I will call our trainer in, so we can get her up to task for the fight ahead. Make sure you get a supplemental video outside of the mask’s camera.” He hung his phone up.

Inuyasha is the WORST!

Inuyasha. Unlike a lot of big name Shonen anime and manga this one’s premise may not be as remembered by most people (or maybe people just remember the premise). Either way it follows Kagome. On her 15th birthday she gets a calling to go to a spiritual well in the shrine at the back of her house. She goes only to be attacked by a hideous half centipede/half woman demon. Shes pulled back through time to the feudal era. There she meets a half-demon named Inuyasha who was skewered to a tree. She releases him to help slay the centipede woman, only during the fight it is revealed she has the sacred jewel. The jewel gives anyone who holds it sacred power. Through a series of accidents Kagome shatters the jewel across Japan and must team up with Inuyasha to find it. Along the way they meet allies who all have the same enemy, the mysterious Naraku, in common.

Everything will be about the anime by the way. This is a classic Shonen anime (it is long running and has both large and small filler in it), so I used the anime filler website to avoid any unneeded episodes. If an anime having filler is bothersome to begin with maybe that already informs you of its quality.

With that said, it has a strong story engine, the lifeblood of all Shonen stories. That is to say that it has the ability to go on forever. I mean you want character driven fare (and One Piece is both, making it perfect), but just a constant stream of possible creatures to beat, and stories to tell with a vague possible ending in sight is perfect. In that case it works as intended. Inuyasha sure does tell a lot of stories, has lots of enemies to fight, and has a vague ending. However, very little of it is of quality though.

The production was done by Sunrise, home of the Gundam people. This is a double edged sword in the shows favor. It is too consistent, keeping its baseline standards, and even transitions from cell shading to digital fairly seamlessly. The issue with all that is that means it is too polished to be laughably bad. That makes it mundane at worst on a production level.

The art and character designs are good. Some like the villain Naraku, and Sesshomaru are over designed. The monster and creature designs range from basic to absolutely horrifying. The main problem is how many characters share the same face or hair. Mostly bangs and styles of hair. It is not too bad episode to episode, but character to character some look too close to not be clones. It’s the least bad thing about the show really.

He says he’s talking about the anime, but uses manga art. SCRUB!

I have a big rant mode to go into so I will say this as generously as possible. It was not made to be binged through. It’s constant repetition and recap from episode to episode just kills the pacing. Like, do you know how many times in the span of ten episodes how often we get reminded of BASIC character details over and over.

Actually, now is a great time to talk about the characters. Sango (we’ll get to her) is the only good one, everyone else is utterly boring, plain, or garbage.

Kagome is the audience POV character. Her needing to be informed of basic plot details work, but then she just seems to know things about the world moving forward. She also always wears her school uniform and is not called a witch or demon every time they meet someone. It’s so strange that the fact the bad guy doesn’t realize he has a whole other world to try and take over is the biggest missed opportunity. Her clothes are addressed at the start, but is never addressed again. She also is supposed to be kind hearted, and does put up with a lot (she’s a middle school student trying to get into high school, she travels to the past, and has a boyfriend whose ex has been dead but comes back to life. Not easy). It is just all so formulaic (name of the game here today folks). She exists to yell at Inuyasha, get jealous at Inuyasha for interacting with his ex girlfriend who sealed him and was raised from the dead, talks to her friends in the modern day, find jewel shards, watch others do the fighting, and be saved by Inuyasha (even at the end. Kind of..). She really doesn’t have a character arc. Every time it feels like she has one she goes back to forcefully subjugate Inuyasha when actual conversations would would better. She also feels kind of pointless at lots of points in the narrative.

Next to Shippo is Kirara (Kilala) who is the coolest thing ever!

Shippo is a young fox demon who enlisted Inuyasha and Kagome to help get revenge on the person who killed his father. Following that he staying with the group due to losing his family. He has zero reason to be there. He’s supposed to be a comic relief duo with Inuyasha, but it was never funny and kept going on and on. Every interaction is the same. Shippo says something accurate, or blunt, or rude, Inuyasha reacts by committing repeated child abuse (so funny to beat up little children). The most development he receives from his stories is liking a girl and wanting to help them. It is so not interesting and just goes on for what feels like ever. He’s basically a whiny kid. That might be accurate for a kid, but not good television.

To touch dat ass, or to not touch dat ass. That is the question.

Miroku is a monk who was cursed with a wind tunnel embedded into his right hand. It can absorb anything but will eventually absorb him. He is set out on a journey to slay Naraku, the demon who cursed his family.

So I did not really need to explain every other character (I will for the main cast anyway) because every issue and problem with the characters of the show is present in Miroku. Miroku is a monk whose family was cursed with an all consuming wind tunnel by the villain Naraku. The wind tunnel is passed on at birth and has the power to eventually tear him apart if overused. He has lots of good pathos and possible drama that only kicks in until the second series: Inuyasha The Final Act. The reason for these problems is that he is a single joke that is never funny. See, Miroku knows his life is short so he wants to have a child and goes up to every attractive woman and asks to have his kids and touches their butts. Isn’t that just so funny (trust me it gets sooo much funnier, yeah I’m being sarcastic. Obviously). This is bad enough, but what makes it worse is how this single joke hinders any character development into a less perverted person (again until Inuyasha The Final Act). His character development is tied to his teammate Sango.

Sango is one of the few characters I would call compelling. She comes from a clan of demon slayers. When her family goes out to hunt a demon for a shogun her younger brother, Kohaku, is corrupted and kills their whole team and leaves Sango for dead. Naraku heals her and says that it is Inuyasha’s fault. After the fight it is revealed Naraku is in control and has taken control of her brother, wiped his memory, and used the sacred jewel shard to keep him alive. Her quest is simple, she wants Naraku to free her brother and find a way to save him. She is also Miroku’s love interest. She puts up with both a lot and very little of his womanizing. It’s more played for very funny “comedy.” They get psudeo-engaged, but Miroku still does his schtick, and stays. It makes them both less endearing.

What makes Sango the best is how consistent she is. Her goals are simple and understandable. She goes through growth to be a better person and gets what she wants in the end. Not all of it is of her own actions. That hinders her, but she is just heads better than the rest.

What does compensating mean?

Finally, the titular Inuyasha. He is fine. Inuyasha is a half demon. He has trauma from not being accepted by either humans or demons because of that. After his mother dies he works alone and tries to be independent. He grows a little from his relationship with Kikyo. That is reset when Naraku frames them both and he is sealed. Once he’s awakened by Kagome he is basically a selfish jerk. He talks a big game, but is more hurt and haunted than anything else. Through his continual relationship with Kagome and the rest of their team he softens up some, but is still quite imperious, dumb, and single minded. Those qualities also make him the funniest (on purpose or not) because he cares so little sometimes he’ll just tell a foe to shut up and fight. He fails when it comes to the love interests. He is paddled back and forth by Kikyo and Kagome forced to choose but doesn’t have a choice. It’s weird and tedious. His arc is also hindered like Miroku due to how he’s used for comedy. He will make seemingly dumb choices to be yelled at or abused with the very funny “sit” command Kagome has. He’s the baseline for the show overall.

It’s a Shonen, so it has many side characters. All of whom are one note. Some are a good note that is overplayed like Sesshomaru. His arc is that he’s Inuyasha’s brother who wants Inuyasha’s sword because his sword heals, and he hates humans (get the arc? Do you? Cause I hope not it’ll take hundreds of episodes for the character to get it). Some are bland like everyone Kagome knows in the present day. Others are just boring, like Koga, a wolf demon who is rival for Inuyasha. Of course he is not a real rival in any way, but fills that slot. They’re fine. I mean they are all dull as khaki, and super uninteresting, but fine.

Maybe the characters suck, but if the action was good it might help. It is not good and does not help. The action is all the same. The characters use their signature moves to deal with the same enemies with very little strategy or tactical movements involved. There was a saying years ago that you were a bad action artist if you used beam attacks a lot. That seemed dismissive until seeing the characters swing a sword and only use the energy beam attacks to try and do damage. To boot, all the big plot turns hinge around characters getting stronger moves through killing stronger demons. There is little character training, and what training there is just a single episode (there are some longer plot lines, but the actual training itself is short).

It is also clear the characters were made too strong in planning stages because after characters get a big move, Inuyasha’s wind scar or Miroku’s wind tunnel, there are contrived reasons not to use them. Introduce a barrier that can stop anything, or poison insects that will kill him. Just anything to make the fight continue and increase the drama.

It’s characters and action suck, but it has a good, well-woven plot with the sinister Naraku maybe it works. Why am I even giving it the possibility for credit? It doesn’t.

Saying something has a video game plot is often disparaging and not accurate to a lot of video games. This does absolutely have a JRPG video game plot and it’s super noticeable, really tedious, and annoying.

Just to break it down here is the plot of the show in rough sketch. Kagome and Inuyasha meet. They go on side quests until they meet Miroku and Shippo, they do some main quests to find Naraku, and hunt for shards. They meet Sango and she joins the party. They do more side quests and hunting. They corner Naraku and his minions only to realize he can’t be damaged. They get away and find a power to stop him. They do that only for him to run away and send more minions. He reemerges stronger. Then repeat the process as they hunt for jewels and complete side quests. They face different challenges and boss fights, but that’s really it. Oh, and Naraku becomes a god like so many JRPGs do.

Naraku compounds the issue because he is not a real menacing villain. He is always a presence throughout the story. He is the goal to beat. Every ploy goes back to him, but he just is not scary or threatening. He uses incarnations of himself or proxies to go after the main party, and lets them actively try to decisive him to take control. They don’t of course, but they try and waste our time. When he does appear he is always powerful but he doesn’t do anything cool or different. He has a barrier that can never be destroyed until Inuyasha gets a new power, he has tentacle blades, and poison. Nothing real creative. That would be okay if he is a real tactical master. He’s supposed to be. He seemingly knows everything and can predict anything that will happen. It’s also not cool or fun in the way where he goes through how every step connects. It just goes his way because he has that much power and needs whatever the plot needs him to do. It makes it real dull.

That’s the name of the game really. Dull, tedious, repetitive. Those all best describe the show. It is a soap opera and it’s not crazy, bad, or interesting enough to deliver. We get people coming back from the dead, fake deaths, love triangles, betrayals, heartfelt confessions, big action, memory loss, family drama, found family, grief, loss, and being heroic. It has so much going on and yet is just so, so boring.

The source of boredom comes from the slow, repetitive nature of the individual episodes. On top of the usually sub-par OPs and some good, some real slow EDs there is constant recap at the beginning of the episode (something every classic Shonen like this has), and recap in the story proper. Do you want to know how many times I was reminded of Miroku’s wind tunnel, Sango’s brother having amnesia and under Naraku’s control, Kikyo and Inuyasha’s relationship, Sessoshmaru’s quest for Inuyasha’s sword (all character motivation really), and how strong Naraku is? A lot. Everything I said is something that is reminded at least once every other episode, or every time that character is part of the plot. It’s exhausting.

Exhausting is a good descriptor, because this show feels like a sitcom that you watch once a week and get all the big character moments. You tune in to see Miroku touch a woman’s butt, and Kagome and Inuyasha bicker, and a demon be slayed by the exact same move every time. It tries to be comfy, but it is almost too standard to be comfy. Everything is so obvious that it makes every episode a chore to watch. Less so in Final Act, but the rest of the pieces are still intact that it’s hard to change course to be anything better than decent (at best).

I feel that way a lot about all these classic Shonen. Even the good parts of the Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, One Piece, and Bleach anime feel wrote when binge watching as compared to their print versions. The shows were not made to be watched that way, but read as manga. To that end the movies are made as a way to get a bite sized story and tell an interesting side story. I prefer to rewatch all the Bleach and Naruto movies over watching the show. With that in mind, I can say about the four Inuyasha movies are that they reflect the show.

The Inuyasha movies are the most creative part of the series and play with either character pasts, or the fact the two time periods are connected. The first movie, Affections Across Time, is the worst. It features a demon from China (the continent) being resurrected by a jewel shard and using his magic to destroy the feudal era. The most interesting idea is that the tree Inuyasha was sealed to goes through time and that means the arrowhead shot at Inuyasha was imbedded in the tree and used. The opening where the characters are introduced is also good at getting everything about them across in a short action scene. Everything else is just the show in microcosm. Dull, obvious, and a chore.

The second movie, The Castle Beyond the Looking Glass has the best premise for an anime movie, and does a lot with Japanese mythology. It features the team finally beating Naraku in the opening. From their Naraku’s minions summon moon princess/demon Princess Kagyua. It was of course a ploy to get Naraku more power. It is interesting, and seeing how the characters could end up is a strong comparison to what actually happened, but it is also just kind of boring as they try to stop her, fail, and repeat until they do.

The third movie, Swords of an Honorable Ruler, is far and away the best one, and what I would say good. It focuses on Inuyasha and Sesshomaru’s father and his legacy. We meet the ex-husband of Inuyasha’s mother (before his demon dad), find out how their dad died, and that he had a third sword that could raise the dead. That sword is released and seeks revenge (that is just dumb enough to be fun). This forces Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to work together and advance their arc well before the show got to it, and built the world out in an interesting way. It also uses the side characters well but doesn’t leave focus. It’s probably the only part of Inuyasha I’d say was good.

The fourth movie, Fire on the Mystic Island, is the most basic movie. It features a mystic island that only appears once every 50 years, and Inuyasha and Kikyo just so happen to have been their once. They have to fight four war gods, save slave children, and free themselves. It’s the least interesting, but not the most boring one. It’s just fine.

The movies might be the best way to get the characters in the classic series, but the shadow looming over all of this is Inuyasha: The Final Act. The Final Act is the conclusion series. The classic show ended with them just continuing the adventure and nothing major getting accomplished, meaning they needed to correct it. They did complete the series, and make it better, I’ll give it that.

The Final Act is a tight 26 episode finale. It focuses just on the end of Naraku’s plot, and Kagome and Inuyasha’s relationship. Due to its condensed nature it leaves a lot of the bad episodic elements behind in favor of setting up the final conflict. The characters also feel like they get more development, and dig into drama that the 200+ episode series didn’t even touch. It is not perfect because everything else in the plot is the same. The focus is to find new powers, the battles are not very tactical or interesting, and the end game plan is not interesting. The epilogue is also very standard and pretty easy to predict from the beginning.

Inuyasha has a subtitle (subheading?) called: A Feudal Fairy Tale. This story fancies itself a fairy tale. They feature love, good versus evil, magical worlds, and folklore. To be fair it does have all of those things. So it could be called a fairy tale. The problem arises when it is extended for over two hundred episodes, four movies, and 56 volumes. Fairy tales are conscience stories that go on for a couple dozen pages, or a full Disney movie. Even as Disney turned their fairy tales into shows, Aladdin, Hercules, Emperor’s New School, and Tangled (I assume) they made it far complex and complicated in order to sustain the length of a show. Inuyasha tried to be more complicated. Lots of twists, high drama, big action, big cast, but none of it amounted to anything that couldn’t be easily predicted in the first episodes.

Predictability is not bad. Elements of all good stories are predictable. You know a detective is going to catch a criminal at the end of the show. To stick with anime adaptation: FullMetal Alchemist (Brotherhood), Yu Yu Hakusho, My Hero Academia, and Bakuman all have predictable romance plots, and conclusions (for Hero Aca it would be how arcs end instead of the series). However, the arcs the characters go through, and the challenges they face are not. It’s okay for the story to be about the journey, but the journey has to be interesting.

Inuyasha is not interesting.

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 2, Period 7 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 7

The metallic hit of a baseball bat against a baseball sent a shiver down Kyane’s spine. The ball arced up and deep into the outfield. Kyane lost it in the orange glow of the setting sun. The pitcher threw another ball, Harry, Desmond’s teammate, knocked it out of the park. “Good hit, man,” Desmond said. He stood by the bleachers near Kyane and Jamie. He swung his weighted bat to warm up. Kyane couldn’t look away from his muscles when he swung away, but she tried her best. Especially when he looked at her.  

“Was that a good hit?” Jamie asked. He had his laptop out with the claw he and Desmond picked up the night before in the same plastic bag. 

    “Yeah, it’s pretty good,” Kyane said. 

    “He’s the second-best,” Desmond said. “With me being the best of course.” 

    “Yeah, sure,” Kyane said.  She stuffed her hands in her leather jacket pockets. It was spring, but early spring so nights got cold, and Kyane was oddly chilled. She turned to Jamie. “So, tell me again what you found and happened to you.”

    “If you read your texts you’d have known,” Desmond remarked. He knocked the dirt out of his cleats.

    “I told you: grounded. That means the phone is taken away!” She felt her phone weighing her left jacket pocket down. She’s glad he didn’t notice. Kyane did not look away from Jamie, she just pointed her finger at Desmond. “So, please, tell me what happened.”

    “Well,” Jamie began. He then went into an overly detailed explanation of him coming early, doing some preliminary investigation work, Desmond coming, getting her a frozen coffee, waiting for her to arrive, then finding the nail and the creature who lost it. The creature then tried to attack them, but they were saved by some robot superhero. 

    “Right,” Kyane said. She turned to Desmond. “Is this true?” The sun dipped below the horizon. The stadium lights clicked on. 

    “He dropped a truth bomb,” Desmond said. “It is wild, I know, but it is the truth I swear.” He held his hand up. His coach called him over to hit next. “Gotta go homies. Wait up though so we can go over what to write.” He jogged up to the plate. The pitcher hurled a ball at him. He knocked it down the foul line, and out of the park. 

    Desmond stepped up to the plate, took a couple extra swings before the pitcher threw him a fastball. Desmond knocked it out of bounds. “How’s it going with them?” Harry asked. He was leaning along the visiting dugout.

    “They’re pretty cool.” Desmond hit another one down the line. 

    “Pretty and cool?”

    “Yes, I mean no, but like yes. At least for one of them. Jamie’s like a good dude too. We vibe.”

    “That should be what you and Kyane are doing.”

    “I’m working on it.”

    “I can see that.” Harry looked over and waved at the two onlookers. “You should be working on that swing though. You’re way off.” 

    “Yeah, but I like them,” Desmond said. He hit a ball out of the park. He heard it against flesh. They looked at the horizon and froze. 

    “I hate his smug face,” Kyane mumbled. Kyane picked up the bagged claw. “Do you mind?”

    “N-n-no,” Jamie said. He slid it across his keyboard to her. She picked it up and examined the claw. “I tried to look up what kind of claw it was, and how it could pierce brickwork.”

    “No idea,” Kyane said half-listening. She could tell it was the same claws Dieous’s armor was able to block last night. If it could break through brickwork, then whatever Dieous was made up of must have been way stronger. But she had the evidence, now it was time to move on to the next step. “Can I take this home tonight?”

    “Wh-why?” Jamie said. “We need it for our extra credit.”

    “You’ll get it back tomorrow, don’t worry.” She pocketed the claw. “My parents are scientists for, like, a living. You know? Maybe they could figure out what this thing is, or what creature it came from.” 

    “I mean we kind of know the creature,” Jamie said. He typed on his keyboard. He turned it to Kyane. “I said it was a dinosaur-like creature, so I looked up the face I remembered and got that it was a velociraptor. Only it was much bigger and could speak. It is too weird. Right? Then, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but a superhero named Dieous showed up and saved us. Weird and like something out of a movie or a show, but it totally happened.”

    “Yeah, yeah, totally,” Kyane said with fainting interest. “Anyway, what should we write?” Kyane realized that she hadn’t heard the whacking of baseballs against bats for a minute or two, or Desmond’s voice. Until…

    “Ah, guys!” Desmond called from across the field. Kyane and Jamie stood up. Even from across the field they heard the all too familiar, and oddly ominous clicks of the raptor claws against concrete. 

    Outside of the practice stadium the 10 raptors with Eorapst in front marched toward the group of huddled players. Their clicking feet marched in unison, a full fighting force. Three of the players, including Desmond, raised their bats to face the raptor monsters. Kyane wanted to yell, but she couldn’t blow her cover. Three of the raptors took off ahead, leaped over to the fence, and swung their claws down. Two of the players got hit and fell onto the clay. Desmond blocked two of the swipes. Sparks rained off the bat as the aluminum met claw. Desmond pushed back and swung again. He knocked his raptor in the arm. The raptor fell onto the grass. Desmond marched over to finish, one of the other raptors darted over and rammed Desmond in the back. Desmond fell to the ground. 

    “We gotta get outta here,” Kyane said. She stood up, grabbed Jamie by the hand. Jamie shut his laptop and they ran to the edge of the bleachers. Their feet made thonking sounds on the metal chairs. They jumped to the ground and took off.
    “Wait… I… Can’t… Run…” Jamie wheezed out. 

    Kyane swiveled her head back. “We don’t hav-.” It was in that second, she heard it, two sets of raptor claws click in front of her. She swiveled her head back. Two raptor creatures stood in front of her. She knew she had to fight them, get back to her house, get Dieous, come back, and fight off these other guys. It was her fault. She felt it in her stomach. If she hadn’t let him go, or maybe didn’t do as much, or maybe… Wait, she didn’t have time for thinking. 

Kyane let go of Jamie’s hand and jabbed her right fist at the raptor. She saw it in slow motion. The raptor curled his tail around his body, wrapped it around her wrist, then tore it away from him. A stinging pain ran up her body. She then saw her vision flip and felt a slam onto her back. Her lungs felt like they were just popped. 

    Jamie was holding his laptop in both hands. He raised the laptop and arms high. “I give up, please don’t hurt me.” The two raptors cocked their heads at each other. They pointed to the center of the field. Jamie walked over to the pitcher’s mound with his hands still way above his head. The raptor with Kyane’s hand around his tail, and three other raptors dragged the knocked-out players to the pitcher’s mound. The rest of the couch’s and players followed Jamie’s lead and walked over willingly. 

     Eorapst walked to the diamond. He pointed to the home-team dugout. “Place the four prisoners in there for now. We’ll get to them later.” 

The raptors dragged them over. Kyane put her free hand in her pocket. She felt around for the unlock button and clicked it. She searched for the message button. Her parents were the last people she messaged. She knew she only had a limited amount of time to get a message to them as soon as possible. She tapped out the letters “DN” without looking and sent it. She had messaged and typed on her phone enough to be able to do it without needing to see it. She hoped that her parents could figure out what she meant and come over to help her get out of this situation.  

The raptor released Kyane from his grip with a whip of his tail. She was tossed onto the ground of the dugout. The floor consisted of gum, gum wrappers, used water bottles, old granola bars, and a used condom wrapper. Kyane felt sick. She braced herself with both hands and tried to stand. She felt the same sting in her arm again. It shook, and she fell to the ground again. She crawled to the wall and used it to stand and see the 12 raptors force the players, couches, and Jamie into a circle around the pitching mound.

Hot 100 Review: Stuck With U by Ariana Grande, featuring Justin Bieber

Watch the video:

The first real “quarantine” song to break into the Top 10, and the number one spot specifically. Well, some people say Toosie Slide and the like are “quarantine” songs, this one is far more explicit about the fact it’s about being stuck at home.

Stuck with U comes from Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. It is a strange mix to be sure. In fact, what is most strange is just how dull and limp the song is overall.

The beats are very drab and nondescript. The point seems to be to have it be a ballad so the vocals carry the song. Justin Bieber, for all I could say about his shortcomings, has a good singing voice. Ariana on the other hand… people like her. I have a cousin who is obsessed with her and her music. I find that airy, breathy style of singing to be grating. She’s had a couple good songs to be sure, but her voice feels like I could pop it with a toothpick.

Oh, also the title is terrible if the song is a ballad.

So, first, there is already a famous song called Stuck With [You] by Huey Lewis and The News (the Back In Time guy). Second, I get that because many people are on lockdown because of the pandemic, but trying to write a romantic ballad about being stuck with someone sounds like the person is trying to fool themselves into being happy. Like the situation they are in is not great, but they are trying to make it sound good.

The song gets around this very obvious reading of the title by having the narrators frame the relationship as an aberration from what they normally go with. This is evident from Ariana’s first lines “ I’m not one to stick around/One strike and you’re out, baby/Don’t care if I sound crazy/But you never let me down…” These lines, in conjunction with later lyrics like, “So go ahead and drive me insane/Baby, run your mouth/ I still wouldn’t change being stuck with you…” portray the relationship as one she is stuck in because despite all of that they just work together (for reasons…)

This pairs with Justin’s section where he says nothing of substance… No, really. Like the only section that is completely his own, and isn’t a rehash of the chorus or pre-chorus is how he has no where to be, wants to know her better, and that he loves the other person so much that if he was informed the world was ending he would want to be with her (how sweet).

But, boy, does that say nothing about why they should be together. Neither party makes any definitive remarks on what makes the other special. That makes the final lyrics of being stuck with each other haunting. The only imagine that comes to mind is the end of The Graduate where they are on the bus long enough to question if they made a mistake. The lyrics make it sound more of an infatuation over an actual romance is all.

The video is a collection of home videos of people just hanging out intercut with Ariana at home in her bed or playing with her dog, and Justin walking and being with his wife. The video itself is a fundraiser for first responders. That is good, you should donate to it. First Responders are very important and need support…

(Did a make a good and fair platitude about the point of the video so I can now tear it apart? Oh, I should wait another… no, this bit doesn’t work since it’s all typing. Fine.)

Okay, so the intercut of people at home is fine. They might even be families of First Responders or contributors. That is fine. Boring, but fine. Ariana and Justin on the other hand… Look, I get that they are at home, but if Ariana is just recording Instagram stories and slapping them on a video, that seems cheap. Just laying in bed, or showing less filmmaking chops than the worst zoom users is annoying.

Justin on the other hand… Look, the point of duets is that they are supposed to have you think the singers actually like each other romantically. The easiest way to break that is by having the singer’s romantic partner in the video! It’s very hard to see him singing to Ariana when he is recording himself with Hailey Rhode-Bieber. It breaks the illusion, and also must not feel great being told she is stuck with him. It might now, but if they ever get divorced then this song seems like great ammunition. Ariana also hangs out with her partner at the end of the video. It’s a problem on her end too, but it’s for a shorter time. Therefore it’s not as bad.

The other problem with the video is that it is a full quarantine video, but the song isn’t actually about being in lockdown with your significant other. The only allusions to that is “Got all this time on our hands…” a line so generic it could mean anything. So, other than the fact the song has the energy of someone locked in their house for over a month that is really it.

Lethargic has the word that’s been swirling the drainpipe of my brain. It’s slow, tedious, insipid, and just a chore to write about. The lyrics are just such empty platitudes about being with someone they like for no real understandable reason that it drives me crazy. It also has very little actual connection to the quarantine that makes the whole conceit feel vapid and just used for marketing.

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Triassic Invasion – Chapter 2, Period 6 (Period-a-Day)

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Period 6

    Eorapst stood in front of the cave. His mismatched skin was accentuated under the two moons of their world. His tail whipped the cleared-out ground below them. A platoon of twelve raptors stood in a semi-circle around him. They all looked very similar. The only feature that broke their monotonous looks was special battle wounds, or scars. The platoon murmured to themselves, unsure of why the platoon was called. Eorapst raised his claws into the sky. They glistened and shined bright. “My soldiers!” 

    They turned their heads to him. 

    “For too long we have been merely the humans boogermen,” Eorapst said. “We hide in the shadows and eat one for one. But today one of our own was brutally killed. We cannot let this stand. We must show humans why we are at the top of the food chain. No some multi-colored monkeys!” The raptors hissed and screamed in excitement. “We shall charge, us,” he pointed into the cave, “and show them our true nature. Our true force.” 

    “I hope you consulted the Counsel,” said an articulate voice. The raptor soldiers parted away for a gray raptor with a large green circular birthmark on his back to step forward. “The portal can only accept so much energy in and out. If you push too hard it will be destroyed. That would leave us without a food source, or home for those on the other side.”

    Eorapst snapped to salute. “Sargent Nyasan this is just a small force, sir.” 

    Nyasan walked forward to Eorapst. He examined the platoon while he walked. His movements were precise, measured. “I can see Lieutenant. Did you at least tell the Colonel about this?” 

    Eorpast looked away from his gaze. 

    A sly grin curled its way across Nyansa’s face. “I see, most unfortunate,” he said. His tail coiled around Eorapst body. “Well, it seems I was too late to stop you from going. It is too bad really. I would have really chewed you out. Maybe literally, maybe metaphorically.” He whipped his tail against Eorapst back. Eorapst shook, holding his ground and trying not to collapse. Nyansa looked at the platoon. “If you come back heroes, you will be overlooked as the Counsel come in. If you fail, you will not return.” 

    “Yes Sargent!” the raptors and Eorpast said. 

    “Good, good to hear it,” Nyasan walked away. “I hope you have a great hunt!”

    Eorapst stood. He held his arm up. “Single file, on me, men.” He turned and walked into the cave with his platoon behind him. His muscles twitched as he held back his drive to go at full speed. His knuckles twitched in anger over Nyasan’s entrance and taunting of him. Once he comes back a hero, he will rise above Nyasan to Captain and drive Nyasan into the ground. The echoed clicks in the cave created a menacing march. The portal to the human world was down the first hallway on the left. He entered the room and stepped aside to send his men forward. They leaped into the truck-sized portal with no fear, no burden, only victory in their head. It will be what sets them apart from the animals, the meat, the food. Eorpast entered after the last man jumped in. He felt his skin try to peel itself away, and his bone shake to their core. 

Eorpast pulled himself through the plastic wrapping trapping him and through to the empty warehouse. The sun was setting and cast a long shadow from the roof. He cracked his tail in front of his men on the concrete ground “We will find you, Dieous and the three teenagers.” He paused “Ow. Now to the roof.” They leaped to the roof. The river’s cool air sent shivers down the raptors’ spines. “Now one of you show me where the teenagers live.”