This is taken from another writing thing that I do, so it’s copy-pasted, but it should still be relevant.
Hey everyone! This is an EXTREMELY LONG post that contains the Top 25 pieces of media I’ve consumed this year (there is a TLDR at the bottom). This is anything that I’ve finished or finished consuming within the year 2022. This includes movies, music, tv shows, books, and any other thing that…I will consider media. Things that were released in 2022 are marked with an *. Other markers such as seasonal markers for TV shows like (1) are still used here. For convenience I am not going to bother with the archiving/ULTRA format concerning languages for most of them because I’m lazy.
I’ve also been asked if I get any money for advertising games and stuff. I don’t. I just want you guys to be able to have access to them. I’m not listing all the accessibilities. These are just off the top of my head, so keep in mind there may be other ways to access the given media. Alright. Let’s start with some honorable mentions:
Game: Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons:*
I don’t know why but I wasn’t super impressed with End of Dragons. I still love Guild Wars, and it’s still great, but something about End of Dragons just felt very off. It probably doesn’t help that it was developed during Covid’s biggest damage. The most impressive thing though are the new subclasses from this expansion. They’ve all been great. The base game is on PC for free.
Film: The Bad Guys*
A delightful movie that came from a book that I had no idea about. The film is very cute and well done. Definitely worth a watch. I think it’s still on Netflix.
Film: The Black Phone*
A very good horror film that feels good. I mean, it feels like the crew really cared about this film. It’s different and the actors do a very good job. It’s a weird idea, but it is executed well. I’m not going to say much about the contents, I suggest going for it and just watching it. It’s good.
Anime: Lupin the Third (1)
The first season of such an old anime. It’s definitely old, because it’s got racist stuff, but it’s also interesting to see how much anime has changed, as well as how much this anime still stands. It’s still really funny, and the characters are still great. It’s just crazy to see how things have changed socially since then. Also goes to show that just ‘cause something’s old doesn’t mean it is bad.
Game: Path of Exile and Genshin Impact
I will never stop playing these and Path of Exile 2 (when it releases) until I evaporate.
Now for the actual Top 25.
#25. (Song) 轉圈圈 – Crispy 脆樂團
The second this song hits, it’s like a chef’s kiss. It still has that delicious feeling of city pop that I grew up with, and the theme of going in circles was a huge thing for me with me and my vices. This year has been all about breaking the vicious cycles that I’ve been through, and listening to this song at the beginning of the year was like a final wave goodbye as I started a new character arc in life. Also the music video of the woman doing the hula hoop in various places doing nothing but staring at the screen for some reason always gets me.
#24 (Game) Going Under
I did not know that this random rogue-lite satire about the working industry was going to hit this hard. The game pokes at all the stupid stuff that offices and typical workplaces have flowed into. Artistically this game is extreme graphic design, also in the way that it pokes at graphic design. The humor is very good and I feel like pretty much all the satire hits all the right notes. Camera and combat are a tad janky, but you get used to it. You can pick up nearly everything in the rooms and use them as weapons, with puns related to office objects and other stuff. There’s an entire dungeon that is about stock and bitcoin. Soundtrack is a bop too. Get it on Steam.
#23 (Anime(?)) The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System
I know people will try to say donghua, but no, I’m going to call it anime. This is a 3D anime about a guy that is making fun of how dumb a web novel is, only to be reborn as the villain of the novel. Since he knows he’s gonna get it at the end, he has to try and maneuver his way out of a bad ending, but the meta system prevents him from straight up being good, since he’s supposed to be a villain. He has to play the system in this ridiculous and funny anime. The budget for this is very low, so expect the animations to be… well, not high-budgeted. We’re hoping for a second season that has a better budget, but it’s hard to survive in China as media. Ugh. It was on YouTube, I’m not sure where to watch it now. It might still be there? It is on Prime, but not if you’re in the USA. =_=
#22 (Game) Assassin’s Creed: Origins
I played through all the Assassin’s Creed games up to Origins so far. And finally. Finally Ubisoft made an Assassin’s Creed game that was just…good. Ironically, it’s higher up than Going Under, but it didn’t get on my top 12. There are still huge chunks of it that still have that weird Ubisoft game feel that is slimy to me. But they portrayed Egypt very, very well and the assassin Bayek is a really awesome character. While I do like the more RPG-ish system, the way the different locations felt were all the same, even if they looked different. For some reason the game just felt…so…the same the whole time even though the world was so big. But still, it’s a beautiful world. The expansions are very good as well.
You can play it on Uplay, Steam, and other major consoles excluding Switch.
#21 (Album) Further Joy, by the Regrettes*
The Regrettes’ songs are always so darn catchy. They almost always have the f-word in it, which is a bummer. But this album has like one third of the songs that don’t have it, and those are all REALLY GOOD. Subtleties, La Di Da, Rosy, Step 9, and Nowhere are all just really really good. Darn it.
#20 (Book) Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? By Michael J. Sandel
I tend to read books that are sociology related, but here is one that is…never mind this can also count as sociology related. This is a really darn good book that goes through what justice is like for different viewpoints. I’m all for learning and listening for understanding and it’s very interesting seeing how my views correlate with parts of other things set by people like Kant, Aristotle, and more. It’s a shame that students consider it just another GE book just for class, because it’s definitely worth keeping on the shelf.
#19 (Game)Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy does it again. And by does it again I mean I couldn’t finish it again. (I never actually finished III). Games that require you to adopt a specific way of play in order to win really, really, really, turn me off. Everything about this game is fantastic, except near the very end where if you weren’t playing the most “efficient” way of playing you’re …you’re gonna have a really hard time if you don’t cheese. And that doesn’t stand with me. It would be a lot higher on this list if it wasn’t for this.
It’s on Steam now if you want to play it though.
#18 (Song) 光の方へ – Ayano Kaneko
A song about …well, it’s more thoughts to music. All nostalgic. You don’t really even need to understand the lyrics. Just know that it’s nostalgic thoughts. This takes me back to driving in the parts of Asia you don’t usually see. The rice fields. The small roads with the little tiny family owned breakfast place that has the friggin best sandwiches in the world. Festivals. The rocky shores with only a few people wandering around. The alleyways in East Asia that people walk on that all look the same. If you know you know. This song is that. This song is all those things and thoughts liquefied into song form. Frick. It’s good. Also her voice is phenomenal.
#17 (Anime) Sailor Moon (1)
…I really loved Sailor Moon. I said “I loved” because I felt pressured not to show that for obvious social reasons. But as you can see from my name now, I don’t friggin’ care about that anymore. I love Sailor Moon. Yeah, it’s still a cheesy kids show but it hits all the teenage girl motifs that I totally missed out on in life. Some things are crazily outdated, but it still ends up being a fun and extremely historic anime that should not be unknown. Some of the villains would give kids nightmares though. Goodness.
#16 (Film) Minari
What is with this year? This film about a Korean family moving around and trying to get their hold in rural United States is painfully real. The feeling of getting kicked down by the strange world and trying to operate in a way that lives in both worlds. I always love films that don’t have conventional story movement, and this one is one of those. If you’re an immigrant to the United States or have some history being in between two worlds, this is the film to watch. Just again, be aware it’s not normal Hollywood. It almost travels near the shallow ends of art house film. Not sure where to watch this. Obviously, digitally you can get it on Prime.
#15 (Film) Turning Red*
Dang it, Elise. Seriously? Yes. Another thing about being Asian. I love this movie. I admit the first time didn’t hit me as hard, but the second time I watched it it hit me hard. I was bawling. It gets so many things right about what it was like being Chinese in white North America. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it was riddled with criticisms from all over the spectrum. Doesn’t matter. This film was good and I stand by it. You can watch it through Disney+.
#14 (Album) PEP by Lights*
Another album with some f-words in it. Sorry about that. But Prodigal Daughter, Salt & Vinegar, Beside Myself and especially Money in the Bag are so DARN GOOD. Lights has consistently been one of the best musicians I’ve listened to and while I am steering away from the increasing amount of bad worded songs, she still does an amazing job with…everything. It helps that she’s not always singing about love. Ever since her EP she’s been one of the singers on the playlists. She was also my most listened to artist on Spotify this year.
#13 (Anime) When They Cry / ひぐらしのなく頃に (1)
A violent anime about a town where people go crazy? Sign me up! At first it seems like a weird repeating trip of who dunnit and violent people, but the further it goes the more heart it has and you realize people…deal with stuff mentally. There are a few arcs where it really highlights how painful it is to go through trauma without emotional support. And while these are extreme cases heightened by the scenario given in the series, the pain is no less valid by those who go through it in real life. There is a lot of child violence that is pretty visceral, so be aware of that if you’re going to go in. For me, I feel a lot of heart in this anime because I feel so much empathy for what the characters go through and I wish better for them. Well…most of them.
#12 (Anime) Scissor Seven (1-3)
A Chinese anime that is kiiinda weird. But in a really good way. Although it starts out seemingly silly, it starts getting serious…er. It’s still hilarious but the plot gets going. As with most anime, I just love all the heart in it. I mean, also it’s Chinese, and seeing Chinese media well received is so nice. I just wish it came with even more understanding and acceptance in the community as well. It’s done something though, so I can’t complain. The animation is really awesome and well done while also being able to play off some great humor. You can watch it on Netflix. A film is also going to be released. Cola.
#11 (Film) It’s a Wonderful Life
I just watched this film like a week ago and it’s really darn good. It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be (I always dodged any info on it) and people said it was amazing so on a whim I watched it and I LOVE IT. IT’S SO GOOD. This really is such a good film and I’ll definitely stuff into the sack of what to watch for Christmas now. Why didn’t I watch it sooner? Why!? Not sure I want to say anything about it because I love blindly walking in, but if you need to know it’s about a guy named George Bailey who is a hard working guy and crap keeps going on in his life. Go watch it to learn what I mean by this. I watched it on Amazon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up on other stuff during the holidays.
#10 (TV Show) Oni: Thunder God’s Tale*
I have no idea what genre to call this. Some people call it anime but…I…I don’t know what it is. Pseudo stop-motion animated thingy. Anyway, it’s by Tonko House, so I already expected a lot, but holy crap this is really well done. It’s a short four episode series that can be watched more like a long film if you want. The voice actors did really well and the animation and story are just heart-melting. It’s cute darn it. It’s on Netflix.
#9: (Anime/Film) A Silent Voice
Death. I mean, this film slaughtered my soul. It’s hard to cram a whole series of trauma and life lessons into a film, and they tried here. They did well. If you’ve dealt with bullying, trauma, or disability, this is a good film to watch. It might kick you in the guts though. I was just weeping. I missed out on some because it was all blurry and I couldn’t see but it was good. It was good. Films like this are good to help us take another perspective into what life is like for others and learn sympathy or empathy. Oh, the story, right. A young man who was a bully to a deaf girl ends up being outcast himself. Later through his interactions with the girl, he learns to grow out of his trauma while she struggles with her deafness. It’s very psychologically heavy. It was on Netflix last I saw.
#8 (Film) Nobody
Bob Odenkirk is a bada** and awesome in this film. Enough said. But seriously, for a film all about action and fun craziness, it’s still really well done as a film. That only adds to how fricking fun this film is. I think it’s on HBOMax right now.
#7 (Game) Prey
Arkane Studios is such a darn good studio. They made the Dishonored series, and while this isn’t as good as Dishonored, it’s still really, really well done. They’re so good at writing about a world. It’s a horror game that is more actiony, but definitely still has some good scares. Arkane once again writes an amazing world where it questions what it means to be good, but now with a sci-fi setting. I accidentally almost 100%ed the game. Yes. Accidentally. That’s how good it is.
#6 (Film) The Batman*
I was super hyped for this, and I was not disappointed. Other than the fact that I had to go the bathroom for like two hours in the theater, this film was very well done. Batman is always a great hero because he tends to be pretty human, even if he is rich, but in this one I think it probably is one of the most vulnerable showings of what Batman and his identity is. Everything feels real and gloomy. We may not live in a world of superheroes and supervillains, but the commentary of what this film says about life shows that people can definitely act like either one.
#5 (Film) All Quiet on the Western Front*
Uhm…this is a really good film. You likely know the classic World War I story about the innocence of young boys strangled out by war. This film is brutal, intense, and extremely well executed. Another film that shows us just how sad and messed up war is while remembering what it is like to be human. It’s on Netflix.
#4 (TV Show) Reservation Dogs (1)
A comedy-drama show about life on the Native American reservation. The pacing is great, and it has a setting that isn’t visited enough. I mean, mostly because this show is super well executed. It’s super hilarious and really touching, but it also has a TON of f-words. All over the place. Frick. It’s on Hulu.
#3 (TV Show) Better Call Saul (1-3)
Man, I’m not even done with this series. It’s so darn good. Who would’ve thought that a spin off could be so darn solid as its own series? It’s less unnecessarily boob-swinging and inappropriate as it’s main show Breaking Bad, and it’s shot and written in a way that just shows what it’s like to make a masterpiece. Definitely worth watching. I’m not even done, so it’s probably going to show up on Top 25 Media of 2023 with the rest of the seasons. Ha! It’s on Netflix right now.
#2 (Anime/Film) Whisper of the Heart
Am I cheating here? Yes. Totally. This film was already on the Top 12, but was re-reviewed. I totally thought I was overrating this. But I watched it again and I was beaten to death. Yeah, I’m totally cheating by putting this on here again. I just love it so much. A very heartfelt and cute coming of age film about two youngsters finding out who they are to themselves. It’s very…normal. It feels like us trying to reach for nostalgia in a world that doesn’t exist and failing. It feels like that as a film. Yeah, I cried. Heh, no surprise.
#1 (Game) Kentucky Route Zero
THIS. FRIGGIN. MASTERPIECE. This is an audio/visual novel masterpiece that rocked me. I can’t. It’s so darn good. This Americana fantasy realism adventure is so good. Sometimes I am just speechless. Ugh, I remember looking at this game and thinking, what the crap is so good that critics are saying about this weird lookin’ game?
No. I was wrong. It’s so so so so soooo good. Treat it like an experience, because that’s kinda what it is. Sometimes the sound design is like wow. I am…living a book right now. It hits all the weird spiritual, ethereal notes that I love about Americana that I loved in Over the Garden Wall. Its tone is much more serious and heavy, but man it’s so good. The fantasy parts don’t even matter that it’s fantasy because it might as well be real. All the experiences that we have in them might as well be real. As you travel and learn more about the mysterious Route Zero, you’ll find yourself in head spaces that make you think and feel what it’s like to be in between spaces and existence. I don’t know how to explain it. Actually I do, I’m writing a review for it that will be more in depth. However, it will have spoilers, and I definitely don’t want to spoil this for you. Even if you’re not someone who plays games, this is a classic adventure game that will not rely on your gaming skills. It’s simply an experience. And it’s a darn good one. The writing is fantastic. Just fantastic. Okay, I’m done. It’s good.
It’s very…art house. So I’m sorry if you play it and it just doesn’t connect well. But I’m going to stand by this and say Kentucky Route Zero was easily the best piece of media I consumed this year. It landed on #9 on the ULTRA. It’s on Steam.
Thanks for reading all this. Tell me some of your favorite media below! I would love to hear from you and your recommendations! And if you wanted a TLDR, here’s the list below:
- Kentucky Route Zero
- Whisper of the Heart
- Better Call Saul (1, 2)
- Reservation Dogs (1)
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- The Batman
- A Silent Voice
- Oni: Thundergod’s Tale (1)
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Scissor Seven
- PEP, by lights
- Turning Red
- Sailor Moon (1)
- 光の方へ – Ayano Kaneko
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Further Joy, by The Regrettes
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins
- Going Under
- 轉圈圈 – Crispy 脆樂團
- Lupin III (1)
- The Bad Guys
- Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons
- The Black Phone
- Genshin Impact and Path of Exile