It has been a comeback year of sorts for the entertainment industry. Especially after the 2020 shutdown of everything even remotely human. We came back less human, unfortunately. The stadiums, art galleries, everyone started figuring out how to profit even during the ongoing pandemic – with an (ineffective) social distancing. Oh, and vaccinations. One action – saved artists from one more year of no concert revenue. We could start to socialize again (ugh) with other people, preferably wearing masks. We could start playing games like carrom and monopoly and datin- AHEM physical sports again.
This year has been a weird year for all artists. The most anticipated albums from major artists have fallen flat while new creators have popped up and stole the show (Taylor Swift still remains up there though, how?) L’Rain, Dry Cleaning, Arooj Aftab are the new breakout artists, making us ask for more. Jazmine Sullivan, Low, and Weather Station made their career-best releases to move into the spotlight. BTS got even bigger this year, with the Korean wave getting bigger (All thanks to Squid Game). Adele just let go of everything and created an album on her heartbreak and freedom of sorts. Lil Nas X created the weirdest debut album, which somehow made it into the top 10 of 2021’s list of best albums.
Not much of a comeback in the songs department you might think, but theatrics carried most of the brunt in the west. People flocked to theatres to watch actors do their best after a year of hiatus. The raw emotions on the stage after a year made all theatre enthusiasts cry out with fervor.
It has been a very weird year for all kinds of movies and shows, not for anime though. It has always been going forward. The Korean wave is childish compared to this Japanese wave composed of animation, imagination, and emotion.
Anime is usually adapted from a manga(Japanese word for comics). It so happens that the anime also makes the manga shoot up in popularity. This always made sure that everyone had something to relax with, in Japan. Now, this has come to the west and is helping us do the same.
Many anime got very much anticipated second seasons. A total of 805 different anime/new seasons were aired in 2021. “One Piece”, a fantasy anime and manga based on pirates, hit a record of 1000 chapters in the manga and it’s still ongoing. “Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Mugen Train”, a movie based on the manga “Kimetsu no Yaiba” (Demon Slayer) broke many records and became the most grossing anime movie of all time, finally uprooting “Kimi no na wa”(Your Name). “The Mugen Train” amassed $503,063,688 worldwide and counting by the end of 2021. The movie was released worldwide around mid-July 2021.
Moving onto the most anticipated anime released, here is the top of the list:
- Jujutsu Kaisen (Season 1)
- Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean
- Fruits Basket: The Final
- Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (Season 2)
- Laid-Back Camp (Season 2)
- My Hero Academia (Season 5)
- Komi-san wa komyushou desu (Komi-san can’t communicate)
All the above anime made its fans go wild when they were released and again nonchalantly broke some records. As said above, the manga sales graph looks very similar to the very anticipated anime. The graph has a steep curve up. (If you have not noticed, anime does not have a plural form)
F1: For the first time in many years, 71 to be exact, the championship race has gone this close. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were level on points before going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Max Verstappen won the Formula One championship and beat the defending champ Lewis Hamilton at a very debated last lap head to head in the race. The podium always had Lewis or Max in the first place.
Cricket: The usual happened. Virat Kohli has not hit his 71st century yet again making this year century-less. Australia won the T20 World Cup, which took place in The UAE. India did not even qualify, losing heavily to New Zealand and Pakistan.
New Zealand won the World Test Championship against India. The test took place in England during the rainy season. Very clever move.
IPL took place in the UAE due to a surge in cases of covid-19 all over India. Chennai Super Kings showed why the dad’s army concept still works by winning the IPL. Oh, and Mumbai Indians did not even qualify with their best players-only concept. Poor Ambani.
Moving onto current news, IPL got two more teams and made it more difficult for CSK to qualify. The first team is based in Lucknow – the team is owned by the RPSG group who won with a bid of INR 7090 crores. The second team is based in Ahmedabad – owned by CVC Capital and won with a bid of INR 5625 crores.
There was quite a bit of drama that unfolded in the football world but most of it saw limited live attendance due to the lockdown restrictions. In the Premier League, Manchester City notched up a 13-match winning streak that secured them their 3rd title in 4 years. Chelsea managed to eke out a 1-0 win over favourites Man City in an all-English final which concludes the last edition of the competition with the away goals rule. About time, if you ask me.
In La Liga, the top 2, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, were separated by just 2 points heading into the final game week but a late Luis Suarez goal proved to be the decider and the silencer of all critics and traitors. Elsewhere, in Ligue 1, Lille won their first title in 10 years, beating out PSG by just one point. In Italy, Internazionale won their first league title in 11 years ending Juventus’s 9-title streak. Italy broke English hearts by winning the 2020 Euros on penalties following which some English fans took to racial abuse to blame the country’s loss. It’s just a sport, my dude, calm down already!
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was held without spectators between 23 July and 8 August 2021 with 11,656 participants from 206 countries taking part in the global event. Russian athletes participated under the name ROC, due to the 4-year international sporting ban as a result of their state-sponsored doping program. Meanwhile, the United States (surprise surprise) took home the most medals with 39 gold medals and 113 in total.
Neeraj Chopra, however, won hearts across the nation with India’s second individual gold medal and first post-independence athletics gold medal. Despite a 16-month hiatus in 2019 and part of 2020, Neeraj utilised the lockdown effectively to breeze past the rest of the competition. The rest of India’s contingent had heartbreak after heartbreak with PV Sindhu having to settle for a bronze after a semifinal loss to World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying. Indian boxing star Mary Kom lost out in the round of 16 to Colombia’s Ingrit Lorena Victoria Valencia in a split decision.
Introverts love quarantine. So do gamers. Unfortunately professional gamers like live tournaments for the revenue. This year was a crazy roller coaster for E-Sports. Just as Covid-19 almost came within our grasp, it evolved. Fortunately, before it evolved, we had gaming tournaments.
League of Legends World’s championship saw EDward Gaming beating DWG Kia and getting crowned after a scintillating tournament in Reykjavik, Iceland.
In VALORANT Champions, Acend was crowned after defeating Gambit Esports in Berlin, Germany. Fnatic and Cloud 9 were the favourites, but they did not even reach the quarterfinals.
DOTA 2 had Team spirit crowned champions after they washed out all other teams.
MOVIES & SHOWS
Despite the lockdown, movies, shows and other content thrived in both theatres and your laptop every day between 10 am and 5 pm (cough cough). This year saw the release of even more Marvel movies to add to their expansive portfolio from the summer action-thriller Black Widow to September’s soulful Shang-Chi and of course, the holiday season Spider-Man: No Way Home.
I know the holiday season is all about sharing, but please, shut your mouth or I will stuff it with cobwebs fresh from my hostel room when you’re sleeping. Treacherous, ain’t it?
No Time to Die marks the end of another era of James Bond by giving Daniel Craig the sad, beautiful, tragic send-off he deserves- a face-off against Rami Malek’s sharp acting and even sharper jawline. Hans Zimmer delivers yet another brilliant score alongside a lineup of other scores this year, including the sci-fi adventure Dune. The much anticipated A Quiet Place: Part II didn’t disappoint as it delivers nail-biting, edge of the seat thrill. For those of you that prefer the predictability and comfort of romcoms, like me, the Groundhog Day-inspired Palm Springs starring the charming Cristin Millioti and the amusing Andy Samberg is a must-watch.
“A place where everybody knows your name is hell.” Well, the world has morphed into hell, for Brooklyn Nine-Nine is over! After 8 sensational seasons of shenanigans and endless entertainment, the global phenomenon drew to a close with an emotional, yet action-packed finale. Yes, I know, no spoilers, but if you still haven’t watched it, what are you doing with your life? Sex Education season 3 was finally released on Netflix after a 20-month wait but didn’t disappoint fans of the British comedy leaving them hanging for yet another season to come.
Korean battle royale games always fascinated us with PUBG and Garena Free Fire. Now, they hit us with Squid Game. A show about a broke man getting to be a millionaire through… well, a battle royale. The eliminating condition seems to be failing at children’s games and a bullet through your head. It is not the most original concept released by the Koreans, there have been many other shows, but the advertising made this show stand at the top.
Marvel completely outdid themselves with their arsenal of diverse miniseries that quenched the fans’ eternal thirst for more content throughout the ups and downs this year. We started with WandaVision that took us not only behind Wanda’s grieving process but also through decades of sitcoms. Just as Wanda gets some closure, we fans get the closure we’ve been itching for in the Captain America saga in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Somehow, Loki managed to upstage both these shows and leave fans laughing, puzzled, and eagerly anxious for the next season. What If… Marvel had a limited budget but still created this masterpiece? Hawkeye rounds off the year and fills in the gaps that Endgame left behind.
That’s it, folks! I hope you’ve binged enough content for a year and you’re planning to resolve to be more productive in 2022 at least. I know all too well that I’m going to give up on the very first night. As long as my WiFi works and my semester results don’t turn up, I am the lucky one: even if there’s nothing new, I will just begin again with my bingeing.
This article was written by Tarun Kumaar and Saatvik Sankar Ram