Let’s point out the obvious here. 2020 sucked!
This was such a scary year with a global pandemic, rampant racism, tanking economies, the American political scene being a hot mess (or a bigger and more obvious one as one could argue), and just the overall stress of everything compounded together. If you’re reading this, then congrats for surviving the dumpster fire of a year. It was a miracle that I kept at it with reviewing things every Saturday.
Even with all of the bad things that happened in 2020 which I certainly won’t ignore or downplay, 2020 from a blogging standpoint on here was good. I saw some fascinating movies and got to cover international films from countries that have never been featured here. Also, I managed to beat my reviewing goals!
-Review an anime series longer than 52 episodes? Check! More on that later.
-Review Satoshi Kon’s directorial portfolio? Check!
-Have at least one Top 7 list a month? Check!
-Review movies from 5 different African nations that have never been featured on Iridium Eye before? Let’s see…Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Uganda, Botswana, Gabon, and even Angola! Check! That’s not even counting Algeria, Morocco, or Tunisia having co-production credits for two of Ousmane Sembene’s movies I reviewed that year.
-Complete at least 3 collaborative posts on this blog? Check! Thank you, Scott, Ashley, and Jeannette for collaborating with me in 2020!
-Dedicate or give special thanks to some reviewers who have recommended me things to watch! That I did! Blkpride introduced me to a couple of things and I even had two pro wrestlers of all people (RJ Singh and Nsereko) recommend movies to me which I never would’ve thought would happen for this blog. Life can be very strange like that.
That felt great accomplishing my 2020 Iridium Eye goals. Besides that, I was glad to have more interaction with different bloggers and readers whether it was lighthearted talk about something I watched or if it was something serious like some of my personal experiences or one of my more morose reviews. It was good to see that happen. Before we get to the Top 10 most viewed posts of 2020, let’s deal with some things that managed to be notable Iridium Eye firsts.
First live-action webseries I reviewed: Sad-Ass Black Folk
I actually didn’t think I would review a live-action webseries. Everything else was either an anime ONA or the Nigerian animated webseries The Adventures of Lola & Chuchu. This was a good way to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to types of media to be featured on the blog. I want to thank blkpride again for introducing me to this series because I would’ve never heard of it otherwise. This was a good watch, had relevant themes, and the dark comedy worked more often than not. Looks like I should check out more independent shows on YouTube and Vimeo.
First docuseries I reviewed: Sunderland ‘Til I Die
I’m certainly no stranger to documentaries, but I’ve never actually reviewed a docuseries until 2020. It wasn’t until I found out my dad of all people told me about this show on Netflix. Granted, he’s more into sports than I am, but I thought I would give it a shot. Sunderland ‘Til I Die was a fascinating docuseries and I barely know anything about the English soccer scene. It intrigued me so much, that I watched and reviewed both seasons on Iridium Eye. Regardless if one is a fan of English soccer or one happens to be a Mackem, this is something I would recommend. Much like Sad-Ass Black Folk, I might try to review something else with a similar format in the future.
First international collaboration review: Tokyo Godfathers with Ashley Capes from The Review Heap
I had a really fun time reviewing this great work from the late Satoshi Kon. Reviewing with others can be even more fun and I had the honor of doing so with Australian aniblogger/author/poet Ashley Capes. Ashley is an awesome addition to the WordPress reviewing community as he makes intelligent reviews that can cover a wide array of both obscure and popular media. We’ve had great discussions in the past and we even joke with each that we’re each other’s doppelgangers when it comes to taste in anime like how he was the only other blogger I’ve seen to have reviewed Kurogane Communication (that’s such an underrated anime that more people should know about) and both of us have even covered a Disney plagiarism controversy that’s associated with anime like his Atlantis/Nadia post. Of course, we all know what controversy I’m guilty of talking about. Haha! Seriously, I thought it was awesome and I would love to collaborate with additional bloggers. Ashley and I even have another collab planned soon, so watch out for it!
First series I reviewed to get its own Top 7 list: Hikaru no Go
2020 might as well be the year I really got back into Hikaru no Go. I binge-watched the whole series early last year even when lockdown started. Despite having moments of depression and paranoia, rediscovering this anime I first saw as a teenager (saying nothing about reading the manga first close to the same time) did calm me down. After I reviewed that series, I thought it would be amazing to give Hikaru no Go its own Top 7 list especially since I could’ve put way more fun facts about it in my original review, and even then that post has more fun facts than any other review I’ve done before.
Now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk about the top 10 most viewed posts on Iridium Eye in 2020!
10: Kimba the White Lion
(in 2017, it was #2)
It has been a long time since this review cracked the top 10 most-viewed posts, so I was intrigued that it popped back up again. Contrary to somewhat popular belief, Kimba is not my favorite series of all time even though I certainly talk about it more than others in the aniblogger community. With that said, this review was a watershed moment for the blog back in 2017 since that was the first review to involve a very famous plagiarism controversy which would really set the tone for future reviews, and it was also the first review I wrote where I actually thought I would get death threats. The only thing that would’ve been worse was if I was bashing K-Pop singers because stans of that genre are SCARY! I was thankful to have written it after watching the original 60 series and I hoped I was balanced enough while still calling out Disney on their thievery.
By the way, the “Remember who you are” scene in that OTHER lion story wouldn’t exist without the scene in the picture you see above. That’s straight facts. Moving on…
I didn’t expect my Paprika review to be viewed that much this year! If I’m not mistaken this was one of the first Satoshi Kon reviews I wrote a couple of years ago along with Perfect Blue. It’s a shame that this was Satoshi Kon’s last full-length work before he died 4 years after this movie would be released. I’m glad there are people who still appreciate this film as well as Kon-sensei’s work. You know, Paprika and Kimba the White Lion are two sides of the same coin for me because in Tezuka’s work, I saw the ripoff movie first since I wasn’t alive during the 60s. Paprika is something where I saw the original before I saw the ripoff existed.
Much like the last entry’s picture, that scene with the people floating in the hotel hallway from that OTHER movie involving going into a dream world totally aped this scene. Kon did it first, Christopher Nolan! Your movie would be NOTHING without Paprika!
This was an unexpected entry to make it on my Top 10 list. Zion was a very inspiring documentary as well as it was a very powerful watch. This was actually my third sports documentary review I posted that involved an athlete with a physical disability (the other two are Beatrice and Francesco by Venezuelan director Lorena Alvarado), but this managed to get so much attention for reasons I’m unsure why. However, I strongly recommend this documentary. Zion also has the distinction of being the shortest film to get a 10/10 from me and the second short documentary to get such a score with the other one being the Kenyan documentary Preying Missionaries. I also found out that it’s not just on Netflix proper, but you can stream it from their YouTube page directly. Now you have an excuse to watch it if you have a spare 11 minutes.
7: Jungle Emperor Leo (2009 remake)
(last year, it was #4)
Every single year like clockwork, at least two of my Kimba/JEL reviews show up in my Top 10 yearly lists. Maybe I just happen to be a good source when it comes to reviewing the works of Osamu Tezuka’s famous lion (or infamous lion if one’s a Disney fan). While this remake was weird with the post-apocalyptic vibe, I’m happy it got an official North American release from Discotek as well as it streaming on RetroCrush. More people need to know about this series as more things come to light about Mickey Mouse being a total scumbag in that company’s vast denial of what they did. Sadly, the only reason why people watched anything from Tezuka’s work in this day and age is that the Kimba/JEL IP has and will have the reputation of being “The anime that The Lion King stole from” and I’m also talking about how I first discovered this series, too. Don’t get it twisted. Disney was totally in the wrong for ripping off storylines, most of the characters, some scenes, and for almost banning Jungle Emperor Leo (1997) from North America, but I’m getting weary talking about this controversy especially when fans think it’s just a conspiracy theory or make thousands of excuses for the House of Mouse when they would never do the same if it was the other way around or when other companies do the same thing. Its good people have been checking out this and other reviews though.
6: Dareka no Manazashi
(in 2018, it was #8)
I’m still baffled how this review got more views than Makoto Shinkai’s other works, but I’m still grateful that this animated short got some attention. While I wouldn’t call Dareka no Manazashi the best Shinkai work, it was still a heartwarming story and certainly one of those corporate-sponsored works that you couldn’t tell it was a commercial unless someone told you. It still blows my mind how this was a tool for a real estate company, but I would argue there was way more artistic integrity than most Hollywood works out there. Regardless if this was a low-key ad for houses and apartments, this is still something that could resonate with many viewers.
5: Hikaru no Go: Road to the Hokuto Cup
This made-for-TV movie sequel got more attention than my review of the main series? This is certainly puzzling to me. Regardless, Hikaru no Go getting attention on here is a good thing. Maybe I’m biased because it’s one of my favorite works in the shonen genre and I’m not just talking about Shonen Jump in general. Road to the Hokuto Cup was a good extension, but I do wish the real Hokuto Cup Arc would be animated and not just the Japan preliminaries because there’s some great drama in the final arc of the original manga. After doing a tiny bit of research in making this list, I found out that China actually came out with their own live-action remake TV series after my reviews for both the original TV series and this movie sequel. WHAAAT?! I would’ve never expected Hikaru no Go to get the live-action treatment even though I can see arguments why it can work. At least one doesn’t have to worry about stunt doubles or janky CGI, am I right?
4: Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa OVA
(in 2018 it was #7 and in 2019 it was #8)
Dang, this review of this pilot OVA is STILL getting some eyeballs after the fact. I know I’ve said this before in previous posts, but the fact that Hunter X Hunter is considered to be an A-list anime series as well as having Shonen Jump Breakfast Club status makes me feel like such a hipster. Nobody paid much attention to the original TV series even though I didn’t see it until years after it came out in Japan. I read the manga and saw the 1999 series that no one else heard of it. Even I was schooled years ago because I didn’t know this was animated a year prior to the TV show by Pierrot while having a different voice cast. It was a solid pilot even though I prefer the 1999 series.
3: Mulan: Rise of a Warrior
(in 2018, it was #10)
Of all the reviews I’ve done since the very beginning of Iridium Eye, I actually knew this review would get a lot of attention in 2020. Why? The answer is so obvious: Disney’s live-action (mis)treatment of Mulan. That’s why. Views for this Chinese live-action version skyrocketed close to the time Disney’s version came out. That is my grounded hypothesis on the matter much like how last year, half the list consisted of things that The Lion King ripped off when that remake came out with 3 different Kimba/JEL reviews, The Lion’s Share, and a certain Top 7 list involving a Kimba character as an entry got lots of attention. I’m even seeing people compare and contrast Rise of a Warrior with Mulan (2020) and they’re unanimously favoring the Chinese film over Hollywood’s cash grab. While I didn’t think it was a masterpiece, I can see why people are loving this version even if it’s partially out of spite against Disney and their arrogant attempts to remake the Animated Canon. We can all agree that this version is way more authentic and doesn’t feel like nostalgia pandering compared to what came out of Hollywood, that’s for sure. One can say that Rise of a Warrior [puts sunglasses on] will bring honor to us all. YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
2: Golden Time [2014 Takuya Inaba film]
(In 2018, it was #5. In 2019, it was #3.)
How this review got so popular 3 years in a row is something I’m still trying to figure out. Maybe some people were confused by that other anime of the same name? I don’t know. Golden Time is still a fantastic watch and Robot Communications really know how to make anime that is atypical while still hitting you in the feels. This is one work that is artier than it looks and it’s sort of like how The Brave Little Toaster should’ve been in some aspects (not that it ripped off that movie series). Makes me wonder what made people gravitate towards my particular thoughts on this animated short.
1: Top 7 Underrated Anime Villains
(Last year, it was #2)
This is hands down my most-viewed Top 7 list so far. Remember how I said that there was a Top 7 list that got a ton of attention possibly because of a certain remake last year? This is the one. Hopefully, I shouldn’t have to explain why at that time with this picture involving my #3 pick in that list: Claw from Kimba the White Lion. I will say that it was a very fun list to write as well as spotlighting anime antagonists who get overlooked by so many fans. This even got loads of comments which was pretty cool. I wondered how many people have heard of any of the villains on that list.
That involves the most-viewed posts of 2020. Let’s hope 2021 can be better. What were your favorite posts I’ve written in 2020?
The 2020 picture is from Day of the Shirt.
Sad-Ass Black Folk is property of Joel Boyd and Neima Peterson. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die is property of Netflix. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Tokyo Godfathers is property of GKIDS. The screenshot is from Ashley Capes and is property of Satoshi Kon, Madhouse, and GKIDS.
Hikaru no Go is property of Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata, Studio Pierrot, and Viz. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata, Shueisha, and Viz. The Hokuto Cup screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata, and Studio Pierrot.
Kimba the White Lion, The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion, and Jungle Emperor Leo (2009) are property of Tezuka Productions. The screenshots are from Kimba US, Fandom, and YouTube and are property of Nozomi Entertainment, Right Stuf, Discotek, and Tezuka Productions respectively.
Paprika is property of Sony Pictures Classics. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Zion is property of Netflix. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Dareka no Manazashi is property of Makoto Shinkai and Comix Wave. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Golden Time is property of Robot Communications and the screenshot is from Supertran.
Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa OVA is property of Yoshihiro Togashi and Studio Pierrot. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior is property of Giant Ape and Funimation. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Giant Ape.