So, yeah. 2020, am I right? The phrase that keeps being used is “Dumpster Fire“, and I have to agree. But I do this kind of thing for every year, and I might as well continue. There were still things that were released in 2020 that I liked, because, you know, companies are still needing for us to be gouged. I did my best to come up with a list, but was not entirely successful in every category as you will see. Because of that, I decided to add a new category, so read on.

Favorite Game – Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Wouldn’t you know it, my favorite game of last year was a re-release of my favorite game from 7 years ago. Hey, it was great then and it’s great now. Pikmin has been one of my favorite underdog Nintendo franchises since the very first game on the Gamecube, and the third entry in the series is probably the best of them all. I enjoyed playing through this game again, especially when I played it on stream. Too bad there is nobody around to play Bingo Battles with.

Favorite Book – Sanei 80s Manga Heroine collection

This was released in October, and I discovered the existence of this magazine/book a few weeks ago. I immediately ordered it straight from Japan, and amazingly it arrived in only a couple of days. It’s full of great manga illustrations from the 80’s and I love that style very much. I’m very glad to own this and I think I’ll be referring to it often for inspiration in my own art.

Favorite Toy – Generations Selects God Neptune

I bought this set as a Christmas gift for myself and I’m so glad to have it. I would really like to own the initial release of the Seacons, and maybe I will some day, but it came at a bad time and is annoying because you have to buy all the members separately. This team, based on the Japanese exclusive Beast Wars II characters, is just the right kind of weird and obscure piece of Transformers that I dig. Plus, they all came packaged together with a bunch of accessories in what is essentially a big pizza box. I love it and I’m looking forward to combining the 5 robot pirates into the large God Neptune on a live stream some time soon.

Favorite TV Series – Ultraman Z

The best show of 2020. Best song of 2020. The best THING of 2020. Ultraman Z made living though 2020 bearable. With wonderful, likable characters and dazzling special effects that often combined retro aesthetic with modern flash, Ultraman Z was a total joy to watch. And it came at just the right time. The fact that Tsuburaya Productions was showing this series to all international audiences on YouTube for free at the same time as it aired in Japan was unthinkable years ago. I eagerly awaited every episode, and the ending was incredibly satisfying. And did I mention the theme song? I did. I’ll mention it again because it’s just the best. Goshowa Kudasai Ware no Na wo!

Favorite Anime – Hi Score Girl Season 2

A great series about video games and teenage nostalgia. Season one was pretty enjoyable, but this second season took a big step forward in my book. I knew from when I was watching it that it would be my favorite anime of the year. While you might think it would just be a silly comedy with video game references, it got to be pretty emotional and really gripping, especially towards the end. But I loved all the video game references too. I lived through a lot of it, so I got them all!

Favorite Movie – I don’t freaking know.

What movies even came out in 2020? Sure, some movies were released in a way, and some were maybe even good, but there isn’t anything that was released that I liked well enough to call my favorite of the year, and I don’t feel like picking one anyway . The one thing I missed about “normal” life during the lockdown was going to the movies. A lot of the movies I was really looking forward to have been delayed, and some are going straight to streaming platforms, and not going to the theater is just not the same. One thing is for sure, I refuse out of principal to nominate Sonic the Hedgehog.

New Category: Favorite Person of 2020 – Asuka

I needed to make this category just to acknowledge a person who rose above the world’s circumstances and became even more entertaining and impressive than she already was. Asuka is the Most Valuable Player of the pandemic, and not just in the world of wrestling. Whether she was destroying opponents and winning titles in the ring, delivering epic rants in Japanese on the mic that didn’t need translation, or going shopping and making a ridiculous pizza on YouTube, Asuka can do it all and she has proved it. Watching her rise in 2020 has been a highlight.

So that’s that. I did the best I could do decide what I liked. Usually it’s hard to pick because there are so many great things worth talking about. But this time I really had to think. I wasn’t about to scrape the bottom of the barrel though, so no favorite movie. It seems like we’re still in recovery from last year (and, let’s face it, the last several years), but hey, maybe we’ll have more great things to choose from again soon! Embarrassingly, the last time I did this I was really enthusiastic about 2020, and look at how that has turned out. So, perhaps we shouldn’t get our hopes up and let’s instead allow ourselves the simple joy of being pleasantly surprised.