2021 wasn’t much better than 2020, to be honest. COVID is still a thing (not that I thought it would disappear that year), life has been hectic for me, and I have been realizing how much I’ve been negatively affected psychologically in ways I never realized years ago which was a very rude awakening for me. With that said, I did enjoy multiple things about this blog. I beat all my reviewing goals for 2021, saw some very fascinating films, and I’m over 500 posts strong on here. That did feel good and I wish I made a bigger celebration about those things.
I hope my readers had some enjoyment checking out my reviews, Top 7 lists, and other random posts I churned out with this year. Some were pure fun to write, some were serious, and I had times where I was angry while writing. It’s good that people still check out my stuff regardless. Once I took a look at the most viewed posts of 2021, I was surprised by some of the picks. Spoiler alert: Half of the most viewed posts were Top 7 lists! That was certainly mind-blowing. This was also the most-viewed year since I started Iridium Eye, which is also a plus! I didn’t have any firsts for 2021, so let’s get ahead to talk about what were the most viewed posts on the year that was.
10: Top 7 People in Indie BritWres Who Should Get Their Own Documentaries
This is one of my most unique Top 7 lists ever, yet it was the one I never thought I would create years ago. I had a lot of fun creating this BritWres-themed list in the context of documentaries and I was floored by the positive reception I got. The UK outranked every other country in views for a week when this was posted! Not only that, but I got emails from most of the wrestlers on this list who loved it, two federation owners, and I got props from Wresthings whom I shouted out in the lead-up to the post. I swear that after this BritWres Top 7 list was posted, a bunch of positive things manifested with the people involved in some strange, yet awesome ways. I could be here all day talking about what happened after the fact, but the most recent example involves Sheffield’s own Taonga as seen above. At the time of the original post, she only had one title in her CV, but in the late parts of 2021, The Ultimate Diva managed to win TWO titles in the span of a couple of months! Her most recent accomplishment is becoming the inaugural Odyssey Pro Wrestling Women’s Champion (as seen in this picture) from this brand new company based in Morecambe, Lancashire. The other title she won was the Futureshock Women’s Championship which made her the first-ever Black woman to win that title in its decade-long history. Congrats, Taonga! Anyways, I was happy with the positive feedback, the random manifestations that happened, and for making a post for an unexpected geographically-specific interest of mine that I can like without being fandom shamed. Let’s hope these wrestlers can get their own docs very soon!
9: Street Fighter II V
Okay, I legitimately didn’t expect THIS review to be viewed that much. This was a slightly older review and I personally thought that Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie would get more attention since it was more critically acclaimed and I watched it last year. It wasn’t my favorite Street Fighter anime, let alone my favorite video game adapted work, but it was cool that a lot of people checked it out. It did throw me off seeing Ryu basically having a bunch of Goku-isms in his personality and not acting like the stoic fighter that he does in the games he’s been on over the past few decades. I guess my thoughts of it being pretty mid (as the folks say on the internet these days) must have intrigued multiple viewers, but I’m not complaining if people appreciate my insight on this 90s TV series take on Capcom’s premiere fighting game. Well, at least it’s not the hilariously bad American cartoon that became so meme-tastic mainly because of a very certain M. Bison. YES! YES! XD
8: Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa OVA
(2018: #7, 2019: #8, 2020: #4 on each respective year-end list)
We have a new record here! The Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa OVA has been on my year-end lists for a whopping 4 years in a row. This is nuts how much attention my review of this anime pilot got all this time ever since I posted it. I guess part of the reason might be the fact that I covered something related to a very popular anime series even though it didn’t get noticed much until the Madhouse remake of Yoshihiro Togashi’s longest-running work (manga hiatus or not). It’s cool that people have an interest in the obscure debut HXH animated work that even I didn’t know existed until a few years ago and this is coming from someone who saw the TV series before the remake existed! I guess I may have a place for some people who like the popular anime even if it’s something I rarely ever cover on Iridium Eye given the concept of this blog.
7: The Trader (Sovdagari)
(2018: #9, 2019: #7 on each respective year-end list)
This Georgian documentary is now a three-time entry in my year-end list for most-viewed posts? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that fact. The Trader (Sovdagari) does have the advantage of being a Netflix Original, but it certainly didn’t get the mainstream attention of Tiger King or more recently Squid Game then or now. I guess some people want to know more about the Georgian film scene and they just happened to stumble across my blog. It’s also good that people also like my documentary and live-action film reviews since a lot of my most-viewed stuff typically involve anime which we’ll get to more of that later. Maybe I should look into more Georgian movies to see some fictional work as well as other documentaries from the country often mistaken for that state in America.
6: Top 7 Characters That Fans Are Reluctant to Call Blatant Ripoffs
Oh, boy! This was hands down the angriest Top 7 list I’ve written and probably one of the most caustic posts in general that have been on Iridium Eye. I’d make a case of this being one of my most controversial and ranty posts given how passionate I am about the subject and why I titled the Top 7 list the way I did. Let’s say I was having a stressful time while I was coming up with this list. It certainly got attention and I went in on some of the examples. I also realized how this had the most mainstream characters compared to any other post I’ve done so far. Because I’m in a decent mood, I decided to put K9999 from the King of Fighters series and how he’s a shameless clone (figuratively and literally) of Tetsuo Shima from Akira. That was actually the example that made me laugh instead of being sarcastic or frothing with rage like some other examples that one knows about. I also found out that SNK created a character called Krohnen who does look like K9999 with a different hairdo, goggles, and lower voice. Suspiciously, he has some of K9999’s moveset and just replaced his disembodied mutated arm super move with a robotic one. Also, I did notice him using Tetsuo and K9999’s “Ore no chikara ga!” (This is my power!) line. I did think it was kind of funny how some people correctly guessed one character who would be on there. It was very cathartic after dealing with some enraging hypocrisy from different people both online and offline. I just had to let off some steam.
5: Top 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Hikaru no Go
Now, let’s transition to a list I was actually in a good mood writing about back in 2020! Positive Top 7 lists have been helpful with my mental health and not coming off like some person who just bashes mainstream stuff or is willing to call anything problematic (hopefully, I don’t have that reputation). Rediscovering Hikaru no Go was helpful especially when lockdown happened and I had more time to watch things. I never had a list that was specifically about one anime movie or series and HNG gave me so much to talk about with the story, characters, and creators of this innovative Shonen Jump work. I learned a ton in my research and I thought it was fantastic bringing up various trivia that no one would’ve ever expected such as the potential title, getting a bit of attention on Toonami, or even a German rap song sampling one of the theme songs! See, I do have a positive side, people! Speaking of Hikaru no Go…
4: Hikaru no Go
That transition wasn’t very subtle. This was my record-breaking review that involved the longest anime series I’ve covered at 75 episodes long, the highest word count, and the most fun facts ever! I will say that my post of Hikaru no Go was one of my favorite reviews ever as it was a very fun challenge for me. In early 2020, I re-read the manga and re-watched the anime starting before lockdown and this was one thing that kept me sane during that scary period of that dumpster fire of a year. I was impressed that people wanted to check out my thoughts on Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata’s unique story about one of the oldest board games in the world and the people who play that game. It was also good getting positive feedback from my review and how people actually wanted to watch it after reading my thoughts on it. That is a success in my book because I never know if people watch whatever I review. I do have to give a shout-out to Pinkie even though she doesn’t actively blog anymore. She was inspired to make her own episode reviews after she read my posts. This is one anime I definitely recommend to people who like original story concepts, anime that breaks stereotypes, and/or wholesome stories that aren’t attached to some commercialized agenda. Isn’t it crazy that Obata would eventually help create Death Note after this nonviolent anime? Hahaha!
3: Top 7 Underrated Anime Villains
(2019: #2, 2020: #1 in each respective year-end list)
For starters, I apologize for not putting a picture of this villain on my original list. That’s King Yukio from Kino’s Journey for those that didn’t know who that guy was. Anyways, this has been one of my most popular posts for the past couple of years. I do theorize that it may or may not have something to do with a particular evil 60s anime feline on there especially given the timing of when it was posted, but that’s a story for a different day. I did enjoy making this list because I got to expose so many readers to antagonists they may not have heard of. It was also great to see how many people actually agree with my #1 pick (it’s not Yukio or the feline villain) or how some bloggers think said entry is also their favorite anime villain bar none. I didn’t realize this topic would be that popular at all, but I guess I may have hit some kind of pulse for people to be interested in such a topic in the aniblogger world.
2: Hikaru no Go: Road to the Hokuto Cup
(Last year, it ranked #5)
Sometimes I jokingly give each year a theme with what posts get popular for whatever reason. 2017 was my starting year. 2018 was the year of Netflix-related reviews. 2019 was the year of the lion because the existence of that Lion King remake had to have boosted my views involving Kimba the White Lion/Jungle Emperor Leo and The Lion’s Share documentary given the respective plagiarism controversies (and legal case with the latter). 2020 was the year of web series, documentaries, and my Mulan: Rise of a Warrior review skyrocketing in views most likely because of Disney’s live-action remake. I can definitely say that 2021 is the year of Hikaru no Go! Besides my Top 7 Low-Key Innovative Movies and Series list, I haven’t put HNG in a post since last year when I reviewed the TV series, made the series’ own Top 7 list, and this movie sequel. It makes me wonder why this review got this much attention for two years in a row now. Hey, if it gets more attention to this unique shonen series, then so be it. I do wish the Hokuto Cup Arc would be fully animated in the future though. Until that happens, then I guess I could give in to my curiosity on how the Chinese live-action remake TV series is, but I have yet to see a good live-action version of an anime even if one can make a strong case on how Hikaru no Go could work in that context. [sigh] Pray for my soul if that happens…
1: Top 7 Anime for the Arthouse Crowd
How in the name of Yoshitoshi ABe did THIS happen? My first Top 7 list of 2021 was the most viewed post of the year it debuted. I must have struck a chord with people who like artsy stuff as well as the typical anime fan. This was one of the most fun lists I made or possibly the most fun I had made such a list. As someone who has watched anime since childhood, but became a huge fan during my middle school and high school years, I dealt with a lot of fandom shaming. Even back in my teenage years, I gravitated towards certain anime that shattered stereotypes as well as works that were artsy or at the very least serious in their storytelling. I was sick of people saying anime is all Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, or hentai crap, so I wanted to expose people to things they can take seriously. Disney, Dreamworks, and Seth McFarlane certainly don’t have the stones to make anything like what’s on this list and many more series or movies. At least Japanese animators are willing to take chances from time to time. It’s more than what I can say about American animation.
Alright, so what do you think? Did you like any of these posts? Which of my posts did you like back in 2021? May you all have a blessed 2022!
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.
The picture of Taonga is from Twitter.
Street Fighter II V is property of Manga Entertainment and Capcom. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Manga Entertainment and Capcom.
Hunter X Hunter Jump Festa OVA is property of Yoshihiro Togashi and Studio Pierrot. The screenshot is from YouTube.
Hikaru no Go is property of Yumi Hotta, Takeshi Obata, Viz Media, and Studio Pierrot. The Screenshots are from YouTube. The screenshot from the TV series is from YouTube and is property of Studio Pierrot and Viz Media. The Hokuto Cup screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Studio Pierrot.
The King of Fighters is property of SNK. Akira is property of Katsuhiro Otomo and TMS. The meme featuring K9999 and Tetsuo Shima is from 9GAG.
The Trader (Sovdagari) is property of Netflix. The screenshot is from Ready Steady Cut.
Kino’s Journey is property of ADV Films. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of ADV Films.
Texhnolyze is property of Funimation. The screenshot is from YouTube and is property of Funimation.