Fangirling Highlights 2021
I really went ahead and said “Posting in -ber months? NOT THIS YEAR.”
You could literally see last year’s recap posts in the main page of this blog akskskssk
I guess this is simply me not sharing my life online less. And not just that but also treating them like “content” less. “Optimizing” them less. Putting out stuff to be “relevant” less.
Like I just scrolled through my posts on here from 2018 up to early 2019 and I’m feeling a bit awkward – it’s me but it’s also not me anymore, you know?
To be frank, though, I don’t intend on cutting out being online completely. It’s already very much part of my life and with me working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s just going to be a constant thing. Heck, we completely lost all form of network for 12 straight hours because of Typhoon Odette earlier this month, and even with the plethora of offline games and ebooks I had, I was getting pissed.
There are still lots of people who still don’t have water, power, signal or any combination of the three all over the country – and they have spent Christmas and will sadly be spending New Year’s like this – because of the typhoon. If you can, please donate or spread the word. This is a good place to start.
But I do want to be chronically online less. I want to take the internet by the horns and tame that motherfucker until it bends to my will. (Words from @kevinnblizzard. he gives the best affirmations – both ironically and unironically – on tiktok tbh)
So, before I continue onto my fangirling highlights, here’s a quick bullet point update of my life:
- Practicing setting boundaries.
- Being 1% more open when expressing my feelings to others (because I have this tendency to bottle things up until they’re overflowing lololol)
- I upgraded from my old tablet and bought an iPad – still currently noodling around so there’s really nothing I can show for right now.
- Being less conscious of my body and wearing what I want to wear.
- Literally have zero tolerance to bullshit now. Still have to work on my people pleasing tendencies though.
Now on to the main thing:
- Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I legit stayed up UNTIL EIGHT O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING to finish this entire series. I mean anyone who knows me knows I will choose binging over watching one ep at a time but a SIXTEEN HOUR BINGE? Probably stripped off a small percentage of my life span.
bitches really didn’t sleep to finish watching all 5 parts of fma. it’s me. I’m bitches— kate /// (@allthetrinkets) January 24, 2021
I still think they did my Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong dirty. #My大総統
- The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. Legit one of the funniest anime out there. For this year, probably the close second for me would be Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan which is funny since both titular characters are voiced by the same Japanese voice actor. (Hiroshi Kamiya GOAT.) I also fully believe Saiki can outpower Goku any time any day, thanks for coming to my TED talk.
- Trese. A FILIPINO ANIME Y’ALL. Despite what other people thought of this and the production’s various choices, I still fully believe it’s a great introduction into an urban fantasy series inspired by Filipino mythology.
Fair warning: This anime contains violence, gore and blood.
- Blue Period. We still have a couple or so episodes left for this one but it’s definitely one of my favorite anime of this year. I want to cheer Yatora on with his struggles in art but also lowkey want to strangle him because I too want to have his hard work and dedication to art. I literally have the eye strain and hives already sskajskjsakjs
- Komi Can’t Communicate. Like its fellow Fall 2021 anime above, there’s still a couple or so episodes left for Komi, but it’s one of my faves this year so I had to. I absolutely love the animation in this series and the art is overall gorgeous. I will always be biased when it comes to Slice of Life anime – and with good reason; people always unfairly treat them as “boring” simply because there aren’t a lot of action like there would be on an Action/Adventure anime. Which is why I was so happy that the adaptation for this one was so well-made. And we’re getting a season 2 lessgooooo
TV Series (Western shows)
- Salt Fat Acid Heat. Easily one of my favorite cooking documentary out there, largely in part because of Samin Nosrat and her charming earnestness to learn what she can from the people she meets throughout the show. When I’m craving for a chill food-related show, this has now been my go-to show to watch.
- Schitt’s Creek. Not gonna lie, I started watching this when I saw it trending on Twitter, apparently sweeping so many awards on its last season. And when I started the first several episodes, I had zero emotional attachment to any of the main characters save for probably Stevie and her smartmouth dumbassery. But the Rose’s and everyone on Schitt’s Creek did become endearing. Also, I was watching this on Netflix US via VPN but it’s finally available on Netflix PH recently yeyyy
- Baking Impossible. Seeing as most of the shows I watched this year are food or cooking related, I had to put one of the best I’ve watched this year. I love the balance between competitiveness and pleasantness amongst the contestants. There’s no unnecessary drama because the stress of whether or not their “bakineered” creations would pass the stress test is already anxiety-inducing. Honestly, School of Chocolate would have been here on this list too if it weren’t for the production’s focus on the contestants’ drama.
- Arcane. Without a doubt, this will be a cultural reset, animation-wise. The story is super tight and the world-building is already well developed because of the existing lore from the game this is based on, but as someone who doesn’t play any of Riot’s games, I am very much impressed with this series and how great almost all of the characters are. My fave is Viktor and I already have lots of fanedits saved on my phone <3
- We Are Lady Parts. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if there’s any one show in this whole list that you should check out, let it be We Are Lady Parts. It is incredibly funny and endearing. The fact that ALL RELEVANT CHARACTERS in the series are people of the global majority?? And that they’re all incredibly well-written and not stereotyped??? And that there are absolute badass Muslim rep singing in a rock band???? Please please please. Here’s the show’s first 5 minutes which is arguably one of the tightest first 5 minutes in any Western show I’ve seen recently:
Heads up, lots of these are animated films, surprising no one really lolol.
- Scott Pilgrim vs the World. How did I only watch this in the year 2021? I really don’t know what to tell you. But I can say that it was a very fun, very enjoyable film. I love the incorporation of doodles in its visual effects and I think there’s a charm to the movie as someone who’s a young adult when I first watched it. (Because I know had I watched this in high school I would have taken all of them just a tad more seriously, but as a 20-something it’s all just very hilarious to me) I love all the characters and even made a fanart of Ramona Flowers and I’m hoping to do more of the cast.
- Mitchells vs the Machines. Absolute fun film, must watch with the whole fam! I love how it’s super energetic and it’s a really great pick-me-up film to watch when you’re bummed out. Eric and Deborahbot are my favorites but that twist at the end with Linda also had me in stitches. Robots should just be in comedy shows even if the story is lowkey apocalyptic fiction skjaksjks
- Luca. JUST TWO GOOD BOYS WANTING TO EXPLORE THE WORLD. (cryng sobbing screaming) I may not have full on sobbed throughout the film but this movie had my heart on its grip from the very first second.
- The Holiday. Another classic romcom that I should have watched by now but huzzah it’s my first time watching this year. It is SO cozy and I absolutely the double getaway romance here (the clumsy country girl getting her empowering city escape and the city girl getting her healing in the countryside.) Also both Jude Law and Jack Black are SUPER GORGEOUS in this film like???
- Encanto. I literally just finished watching this a few days ago and it’s so so good! The music is total banger (no surprises there, LMM) and the way I can literally relate to all three Madrigal Sisters??? ToT Controversial but I honestly relate to this on a more emotional level than Raya oof.
- The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan. Definitely my favorite getaway romance this year and this is one of the first books I read in 2021. It’s incredibly very chill and relaxing read. I would have preferred for the endgame OTP’s relationship dynamic to be explored more, but I still fully enjoyed the overall story with the rural Highlands as a backdrop.
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse. By far the best epic fantasy series I’ve read this year AND one of the best I’ve read of all time. This is truly a cultural reset. I haven’t been able to read any other fantasy after this, and it’s always on my mind.
some food must be cooked and eaten fast while others demand your careful consideration and require enough time for simmering and later savouring upon consuming.— kate /// (@allthetrinkets) March 25, 2021
for me, The Black Sun is the latter and I thoroughly enjoyed it. pic.twitter.com/RqsvdtTtMX
- The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. PLEASE, must read book regardless of age. (sob emoji here) I read and listened the audiobook (which is narrated by the author himself!!) on Scribd and it has turned my life around. It is so comforting and warm and just something that speaks to the soul. Highly recommended especially for those of you who have restrained your inner child all throughout your childhood and adolescence.
- First Comes Like by Alisha Rai. The final book of Alisha Rai’s Modern Love trilogy. This may be my least fave among the three books but I love love LOVE how tender the relationship between Jia and Dev. I talked about it more here.
Side note, I should really sort out my impromptu review tweets.
- Barbarian Lover by Ruby Dixon. SCREEEEEEEEEEECH If 2014 me was told she would be reading a whole-ass series about humans falling in love with blue-skinned aliens and have it as one of her top reads of the year, she might have fainted. 2020 me would be too stunned to speak at first then later shrug it off and say, “Eh no kink-shaming ig.” lolololol
All jokes aside, I have breezed through the first 4 books in the IPB series and I plan on reading every single one – which is huge because there are like, what, 10+ books in the main series and a few more in the spin-off series? This will be my whole job y’all. (kidding.) Dixon’s writing is very tight and her pacing is a literal Goldilocks’ Zone, not too fast and also not too dragging. And the two voice talents narrating the audiobooks? Absolute legends. Might have been the punchline in some BookTok videos but it’s seriously an enjoyable read.
Also new section that I will be adding from this year henceforth:
If you saw my 2020 highlights, I mentioned there that I only finished reading TWO completed manga that really stuck with me. You know how many I read this year?
And out of all of that, 53 are BL (Boys’ Love) manga!!! It was so hard to choose but here are my top six:
- Swing Baby by Mudan (Read on Tapas). ABSOLUTE BEST BL WEBCOMIC THERE IS. I’m still screaming crying huddling on the corner because I didn’t expect it to end this year. It’s one of the most grounded yet tender portrayal of love and growth for characters who are trying to go through adulthood. If you are a young adult trying to navigate office life, I highly highly recommend it. Also if you’re not that but love to see gorgeous people doing hot people stuff, this series is for you. <3
- Blue Flag by KAITO (Read on Shounen Jump Plus). PLEASE I AM STILL STEWING MY THOUGHTS OVER THIS SERIES. All good though! It’s more just how other people (especially those on Reddit *cough*) took the ending. I may or may not write up a piece about this someday. Here’s what I will say though, this is an amazing series with LGBTQ+ characters coming from a manga publisher that is very much known for putting out their more popular action adventure titles that are geared towards straight young boys. It’s such a wonderful coming-of-age story that I highly recommend everyone read.
- Sweat and Soap by Kintetsu Yamada (Read on BookWalker Global). THIS SERIES HAS MY WHOLE HEART AND SOUL. From the title and the premise (a woman that tends to sweat so much and a man who has a high sense of smell) you’d think this is gimmicky and niched. But I have never related to any adult character as much as I did with Asako. Also, the portrayal of a healthy relationship? I am so so happy they further expanded on what started to be just a one-chapter story and Yamada-sensei was able to put out a whole 11-volume series. I have the entire series in digital copy and I will for sure be rereading this constantly.
- Bitter Like Light by Nago Nayuta (Read on Futekiya). This one’s a spin-off but the OG series is also available to read on Futekiya if you’re interested in BL. I honestly love this more than the OG though because I love the dynamic between Morisaki and Taguchi more so I was very happy that Nago-sensei explored what their relationship will be after high school. Just the right amount of spice and overall very endearing. *chef’s kiss*
- By My Side by Kazuki Natsume (Read on Futekiya). PLEASE THIS STORY BROKE ME IN FIVE CHAPTERS. Honestly one of the best childhood friends to lovers BL stories out there. And Natsume-sensei’s art??? The way the lineart looks so delicate and how that line quality contrasts to the characters being quite masculine??? GORGEOUS. They’re literally one of my auto-read on Futekiya and I’m always happy to see a title of theirs getting an official English license.
- Setagaya Synchronicity by Hongo Chika (Read on Futekiya). I don’t know about other BL readers but I try not to put expectations of accurate queer representations into BL simply for the fact that that is not what the genre was initially made for. Kinda like how, as a genre, I do expect romance stories to have a Happily Ever After or a Happy For Now ending. I could go into heavy detail about this but that’s for another post. My point is, I don’t expect any depiction of queerness in BL titles to be accurate and I don’t really discount the accuracy or inaccuracy into how I feel about the BL story itself.
On the occasion that a BL work does explore gender identity, sexual and/or romantic orientations into its story with a more grounded, more realistic and more resonating approach? Of course it will stuck with me! Setagaya Synchronicity is very much this BL story and I absolutely love it. I raved about it more here:
not quite sure if starting this series RIGHT AFTER finishing blue flag was the best decision i’ve made but, as a wise french food critic once said, IT HAD ROCKED ME TO MY CORE 😭❤ pic.twitter.com/NeRaL3bBb5— kate /// (@allthetrinkets) December 13, 2021
- Our Life: Beginning & Always (Visual Novel Game). I LOVE this game. It’s so inclusive and at one point or another also made me consider about stuff in my own life. It’s Free to Play on Steam and fully enjoyable with just the free part. I plan on buying the expansion packs though because the story element of the game is really really good! Also just want to experience more interactions with all the characters hehehe.
- Stardew Valley (Farming Sim Game). This right here is what I have been obsessed with for the good first half of the year. My first playthrough I immediately targeted emo boy Sebastian before even getting chummy with the rest of the single people. For the second playthrough, I don’t plan on marrying anyone, just going to make my OC Blue Witch flourish as the aro-ace unintentional flirt that she truly is. Also, ostrich. I want to get an ostrich for Blue Witch’s farm.
- The Vanishing of Harry Pace (Non-fictional Podcast series). One of my favorite miniseries from Radiolab. It’s a nuanced exploration of race and identity through 20th Century American music and it all centers one phenomenal trailblazer who have long been forgotten. My all-time favorite one-liner of the year was also in this podcast: “And everything he dealt with from that point onwards seems to be driven by spite.” Still have me in stitches now. Definitely became my mantra hahshshshshs
- Kaleidotrope (Fictional Podcast). This one’s very very cute and sweet. It’s about two college boys who were thrown in to host a radio show and somehow became reluctant advice-givers. It’s set in a magical campus where romance tropes seem to come alive and one of the college’s age-old superstition is that you’ll find The One when you experience a trope. That whole premise may seem gimmicky but the series has so much heart into it with how it deals with the tropes. And you can literally listen to the whole series for free on Youtube!
What are some great shows or books you watched or read this year?
None of the images above are mine and are owned by the titles’ respective creator/s.
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