Another year has gone by, and at least you and I, dear reader, have made it out the other side.  I won’t say that this odd year in entertainment somehow made it worth it, because it didn’t.  It did, however, make things occasionally more bearable, and that’s worth something.

This year, I finally started back at a community college (and I’m hoping I’ll be able to transfer to a university next year), and learning online suits me, so I’m glad for that, at least.  I’ve also started writing reviews for the college newspaper, which keeps me busy during the school year (along with, you know, actual classes).  I’m not sure what I’m going to do once I finish Steven Universe – it’ll run into next fall, but as I move on with my schooling and (hopefully) my career as a writer, this site may very well fall to the wayside.  I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I will always be grateful for this site and the support of my dear readers.

As always, this is just a list of stories I encountered this year and enjoyed, with most of the entries being there because I had a lot to say about them, not necessarily because I liked them better than my honorable mentions (or any other statement of “objective quality”).

Anthem of the Heart (anime film): This is just one of those stories that almost feels like it was made for me (I mean, I would’ve preferred that the story not involve a blandly nice male anime protagonist, but I’ll take it).  I don’t generally relate to club stories, but this is about musical theater, AKA the only extracurricular I was really involved in in school (although it feels more like my experience with community theater).  What really hooked me is the female protagonist, a girl who stopped speaking after her parents divorced, but starts to find her voice again through song.  It probably isn’t for everyone, but if you have a similar love for music and/or musical theater, you might like it, too.

Fruits Basket season 2 (anime): This show is still a soul-crushingly good adaptation of an already great story, but since most of my ravings are just reiterating what I already said last year, I can actually fit it in here!  This season features some revelations about the nature of the Curse as the show finally breezed past the last remnants of what was covered in the original anime.  Rin’s backstory was a punch to the gut, but at least I got to see my boy Yuki growing up and leaving the nest, even if Tohru and Kyo are still maddeningly clueless.  And now, we’re finally going to see the ending animated!  Prepare yourselves.

The Innocence Files (documentary series): Between the pandemic and general social upheaval, I had both the inclination and ability to watch more topical stories this year.  This Netflix series takes a good hard look at the American criminal justice system and picks apart some of its failures by telling the stories of real people; Just Mercy and When They See Us tell fictionalized versions of similar stories and are also very good.

The Little Prince (film): This movie is just beautiful in every aspect.  I’ve never been a huge fan of the book, but this film presents the story with a unique blend of whimsy and melancholy that left me in tears by the end (even if it was a tad longer than it needed to be).  Particularly recommended for fans of the craft of animation, as it uses a mix of stop-motion and CG to fantastic effect.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (cartoon): This show is not a masterpiece, but it is a lot of fun, and sometimes that’s all I really want.  It has an interesting world and a fun retro aesthetic, and although the villains were generally way more interesting than the good guys, at least the show obviously cared about the villains, too.  Like its progenitor, this She-Ra is hella gay, but unlike the original, that gayness is actually canon, to the point that when a central character turns out to be gay, it doesn’t feel like a shocking swerve so much as a natural development for the character.

Honorable Mentions:

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Just a fun little movie about a pair of dorks with a time machine

Dick Johnson is Dead: A surprisingly prescient musing on death, which I already wrote up for my college paper

Little Witch Academia: If you ever wondered, “What if Harry Potter, but magical girls?” here’s your answer

On Pointe: There’s nothing particularly outstanding about this show, but I binged it in a day because there’s not nearly enough ballet content in the world

Steven Universe Future: Full review is forthcoming, but I just have to mention that this was a fantastic ending

Young Adult Movie Ministry (podcast): If you, too, grew up in a Christian media bubble before discovering the wonders (and surprising spiritual depth) of “secular” media, you might also enjoy this

Until next time…

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