As the year comes to a close, one of our favorite traditions here at Third Impact Anime is to blog about our favorite media junk of the year. I feel like this year, my media consumption went down considerably. I don’t know if that’s just my perception or a reflection of reality, but something inside me feels like I didn’t ingest all that much this year. Maybe that’s for the best? But there’s certainly no shortage of wonderful things I did consume this year, so I’m gonna talk about them!
Years ago I watched a few episodes of Portlandia and was not feeling it for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t down for it’s absurdist style at the time? Needless to say, I’ve done a complete 180 and really fell in love with this series. I love the Monty Python-style approach, with the two leads playing numerous different characters, and watching their antics and stories play out over the seasons is hilarious, brilliant, and occasionally heartwarming. Kyle MacLachlan as the Mayor of Portland is definitely my favorite thing about the show.
Super, super populist pick here but I have to say I’m really enjoying it. Of course, I’m not one to levy many complaints towards Star Wars (except when it’s sand related) but The Mandalorian has a lot of heart and creativity, at least for a mass-market Disney property. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this show, and for Star Wars over all! And no I won’t mention Baby Yoda™ because, let’s be honest, I don’t need to.
Mobile Police Patlabor
On and off throughout the year, I’ve been watching through Patlabor with a good friend of mine and have enjoyed it immensely. Depending on what Patlabor iteration you watch, it can be a dense, procedural thriller… or a wacky sitcom, but I really like both equally. It’s such a fun series with stand-out characters, especially the main character Noa Izumi. She’s quickly become one of my favorite anime characters ever! She’s hard working, driven, kind, and an absolute goofball. Characters like that are 110% my jam.
Alita: Battle Angel
Boy was this one was a surprise! I didn’t think anyone was prepared for how good Alita: Battle Angel turned out to be. A movie with this much history in production-hell, and the initial backlash to it’s “visual style,” was certainly set up to fail from the get go. Thankfully, the odds were defied and Alita turned out AWESOME. It’s one of those movies that really captures the intensity of sci-fi-action-nonsense in such an unashamed way. Alita is an earnest film and an equally earnest labor of love from James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, and of course Rosa Salazar who was able to make Alita herself work so incredibly well.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
I can’t believe it, guys. After years and years of trying and failing, a Zelda game has finally hooked me. And I’m not just saying that because Link can use a grappling hook. Okay, maybe I am.
I’ve picked up and put down about half as many Zelda games as there are in existence, and while I’ve enjoyed many of them (Ocarina, Twilight Princess, Breath of the Wild) none of them have made me love Zelda like The Wind Waker has. The adorable visual style, the music, the scenes and gags, and the simple perfection of the game are what really drew me in. I’m still a ways away from actually completing it, but it’s easily made it’s way into the list of my top favorite games ever. Probably nestled somewhere between Bloodborne and Ratchet & Clank.
Would it be presumptuous to state that I believe PROMARE is now TRIGGER’s flagship work? It doesn’t have the same problems that KILL la KILL or Little Witch Academia have, as differing as those problems may be, and it showcases a ton of what TRIGGER does best and little of what they do worst. PROMARE single handedly popularized “himbo” in the fandom lexicon and yes we are all BETTER FOR IT. While you wait for it’s inevitable bluray release, just go listen to Inferno again. Just get it out of your system!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Having a girlfriend who works for The Mouse comes with an excellent set of perks, including our chance to pay a visit to that Star Wars Land thing in Orlando! It was just as grand as I imagined it to be, the Millennium Falcon is just as impressive as it should be, and the whole land is just a delight. An expensive delight, a “this isn’t real milk” delight, but a delight none the less. Go see it if you can!
Sailor Moon: The Super LIVE & Perfume
Last October, Perfume announced a US tour and I very impulsively bought tickets for Tori and I for their NYC show. Not too long after that, Sailor Moon: The Super Live was announced, coming to NYC the day before Perfume! What incredible timing!
Perfume has been one of my favorite Japanese music groups for a couple years now and getting to see them perform was so fun and special. I’m still a relative newbie to Sailor Moon, but I do have a lot of appreciation and affection towards the franchise. The Super Live was perfect for me and Tori, the newbie and the long time fan, because it basically told the first story arc in a very easy to grasp way. The singing, dancing, and light effects were just so creative and delightful. I still can’t believe we got to see both!
I’ve known about this podcast for a good while, and even briefly met Jeremy Parish at a convention in 2017, but it wasn’t until this year that I finally jumped headfirst into the Retronauts!
If you’re not familiar with them, they are a retro video gaming podcast where they talk about old video games and video game ephemera. While I wouldn’t call myself a massive fan of retro games, and I really don’t even play that many video games anyway, but the hosts, guests, and format of this podcast have kept me consistently engaged, even during topics that I’m not as interested in. It’s ended up influencing the way I produce our show and I think we’re much better for it!
Kingdom Hearts III
Anyone who knows me IRL or follows me on twitter is in NO WAY surprised by this being my top pick of the year. Kingdom Hearts III was the culmination of years of anticipation and hype and for me and it largely delivered. It’s an intensely fun gameplay experience and the dialogue writing got a very welcome shot of adrenaline, especially between Sora, Donald, and Goofy.
Kingdom Hearts III does suffer in some ways because it had the impossible task of trying to satisfyingly pay off every plot thread that Tetsuya Nomura has stranded over the last 10+ years since Kingdom Hearts II. That’s no easy feat, and I think his reach extended his grasp. That being said, KHIII was solid. Imperfect, but solid. I love it anyway. I’m sure you’ll be seeing Kingdom Hearts III: ReMind on my 2020 top ten list!
Thanks for taking the time to read my top stuff of the year! If you also love any of the stuff I talked about on my list, let me know in the comments and we can talk about it. Or, feel free to follow me on twitter to do the same. I wish you, and the planet at large, a happy and healthy two-thousand and twenty.
Some runner ups:
- Whisper of the Heart
- Mob Psycho 100 Season 2
- Carol & Tuesday
- Detective Pikachu
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba