February 15, 2022

The Best Stuff of 2021

On thing you can say about 2021, is that it was a year that certainly occurred. Or did it? Sometimes it felt like watching an excruciatingly long movie that wouldn’t end, but other things seemed to breeze by us so quickly that’s it’s hard to remember what happened. Well, it’s time again to try to remember. The world is still in chaos, but I’m going to try to find things that I liked about it anyway.

Favorite Game – Monster Hunter Rise

No big surprise that this was my favorite game. It’s the game I spent most of the year playing and had a great time streaming it on Twitch. Rise has many familiar elements for Monster Hunter veterans like me, but plenty of new additions that make the game more exciting and appealing. The way the game combines new and familiar elements with its ninja aesthetic is great. It’s exactly the kind of Monster Hunter I wanted. The downside is that after awhile, there seems to be less to do, but the upcoming Sunbreak expansion should remedy that.

Favorite Book – The Toys of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

I have multiple collections of different things like toys, games, and movies, but I don’t have all the money or all the space to collect everything that I’m interested in. That’s why I love to collect books like this. I can’t collect all the MotU figures, but I can own this book that has everything I’d every need to know about them all right there. It’s full of great photos and comprehensive info, so it fills the gap for me and is a lot of fun to leaf through.

Favorite Toy – Shogun Masters Skeletor

Well, I just said that I can’t own every Masters of the Universe thing, but of course I had to own this one! It wasn’t cheap, but I knew there was only going to be one shot at this, and it seemed like it’d be wrong if I didn’t buy one. They combined two of my most favorite things together, Skeletor and Japanese robots. It’s like they made it especially for me, and other people who know me have said as much. In fact, I have to wonder if perhaps I manifested it into existence myself. This large figure is now my pride and joy, and I can’t imagine my shelf without it.

Favorite TV Series – Squid Game

What can I say? This was the show of the moment, and I was curious enough to check it out. I was hooked, and if you saw it, you probably were too. It’s intense, with graphic violence and high stakes, life-or-death scenarios, and it’s truly captivating. The performances were certainly heightened in a way that I wasn’t used to as someone who has only seen a few Korean productions, but I enjoyed that. Everyone in the cast had a very unique, expressive, recognizable face, which made it feel like watching a cartoon, but in a good way. It helped to soften the harsh subject matter.

Favorite Anime – SSSS Dynazenon

Coming from the Gridman Universe, Dynazenon combines the trials and tribulations of being a young person in modern times with robots fighting monsters over the fate of the world. Truth be told, it leans much heavier on the drama, with most of the mecha action lasting but a brief moment. But the characters were interesting and the story had some unfolding mysteries that kept up the intrigue every episode. And when we did get that mecha action, it was very cool and dynamic, with a finale that paid off and delivered the goods.

Favorite Movie – Godzilla Vs Kong

A long awaited rematch decades in the making, delayed numerous times, released during the pandemic, featuring two of the most iconic characters in the history of film, carrying the weight of the future of the Monsterverse franchise on it’s back. This movie had a lot of live up to, and on the day it was released I certainly felt the collective relief from the entire world when people found out that it was actually a good movie. This became my comfort film for the year, the movie I watched when I just wanted to feel better. I don’t care what insipid complaints the critics had about this movie, the characters were great, and the fights lived up to hype!

Favorite Person – Mark Hamill

From the heights of the stars themselves to the depths of Arkham Asylum and everything in between, Mark Hamill has seemingly done it all.  You never know when he’s going to show up next, and it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does. We even heard him as Skeletor in 2021! And he has proven himself to be a big hearted, down to Earth guy the entire time. He clearly loves his fans and uses his status to have fun. But when it comes to the not-so-fun realities of the world we live in today, Mr. Hamill always keeps it real. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I can’t imagine not wanting to be on the same side as the guy who played (and sometimes still plays?) Luke Freaking Skywalker.

So that’s that. I still look back at 2020 as the dumpster fire I said it was, and while 2021 certainly had many of the same challenges, I feel better in general about it than 2020. There were plenty of things worth enjoying, and I am very lucky and grateful to have been in a position where I could keep up with a lot of what I was into. Clearly we’re all still struggling with the way the world is today, but at least this kind of stuff gave me something to look forward to, or at least offered a bit of inspiration.



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