2021 in Review: Part 1

2021 in Review: Part 1


2021 in Review: Part 1

Even though most people would agree the year 2021 was better overall than 2020, it still has been a rather long year. So let’s look back at all my columns for the year, with some additional context and/or updates. This will be divided into two parts, so here’s weeks 1 through 25 of 2021!

I haven’t revisited INKR even though I’ve thought about it. I know they had a bunch of Kodansha Comics titles, and Kodansha manga keep getting added to both old and new services. Also, compared to some platforms that have launched later, I don’t hear much about INKR or exclusives that make me want to rush and check it out again.

Shipping continues to be an issue, especially during the holiday season. Rising rates don’t help ease the waiting pains either. But as for Barnes & Noble? I don’t think I shopped online there all year, and I think I picked up one clearance figure (non-anime) in late spring/early summer. Just don’t really have much of an incentive to swing by, and it’s not like even Members are getting a lot of coupons.

In September, Amazon and the publishers pushed to have the lawsuit dismissed, but otherwise, there have been no new updates.

Forced to view on mobile = still not cool. Combined with vertical scrolling, which I still dislike, and this is another service not really on my radar. Too bad, as there are some manga I might like to explore.

That Miku figure is cute, but man, I do so love the necklace. Still in stock, which is surprising.

I gotta give Reddit credit for sticking with GameStop. Even though as of this writing the stock fell to about $150 when it was around $250 just a couple of weeks ago, people are still propping up the price. Like, GameStop is worth more than Walmart…just bizarre.

GameStop Stock December 2021
From Google

I still have my Violet Evergarden box set, but I do check on prices every now and then. Can be a massive price difference, with some sets selling for around $300 and others north of $500. But considering how long it’s been, I’m guessing the hope for a reprint has sailed.

This doesn’t seem like it was from all the way back in February. The I’m in Love with the Villainess author expressed disappointment in March, but even then, this feels like it just happened.

You can see examples of their revised versions, but this is still one of the drawbacks of investing in physical media: you can’t just get over-the-air updates.

Still sad the media/electronics field got a little smaller with Fry’s closure. But considering the current struggles to gain and retain employees in the current market, even if Fry’s had made it through the spring and into summer, I think they would have been forced to shut down by winter anyway.

More news about DirecTV has come out since this post. But I also talked about the importance of rural America getting better Internet. Since this article, a couple of providers are picking up AT&T’s slack in my area and are working on fiber Internet. Cell service still stinks though. But if you don’t usually leave a city, you just might not appreciate how bad technology is lagging in small towns and farm areas, which is a major reason why DirecTV still has dedicated subscribers.

Well, with Twisted Wonderland becoming an anime, hopefully we’ll get more clover-related merchandise available in the US!

Well, Toys R Us has opened a new store in New Jersey. The real question though…do you think the slide has an age limit? Asking for a friend…

As I mentioned here, you really do need to compare shipping services when choosing what store to import from. Amazon Japan, like Amazon US and probably all the other Amazons, does have some great rates they must have negotiated from carriers. And if anyone was wondering, yes, I did get my $88 refund from Amazon Japan to send that little box back.

Well, here’s a question we actually did get an answer to! But while I mentioned anime-adjacent titles like Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir from Disney, little did we know to expect some actual anime licenses from Disney a short time later.

Best Buy Beta has been replaced with Best Buy Totaltech. Totaltech is still being tested and has yet to roll out nationwide. Totaltech is mostly just a renamed version of Beta, but there are a couple of differences, and it’s not the same as the Total Tech from before.

Best Buy Beta vs Totaltech

Again, the program still seems like it’s targeting senior citizens, or perhaps those with disabilities who can’t easily install or move larger items. I still think it’s a lot of money upfront which dissuades people, including myself, especially since several benefits aren’t likely going to be used that often (setting up TVs, delivering furniture, etc.).

This article is one of many who question just how exactly GameStop plans on improving itself. Sure, adding PC accessories is nice and improving delivery time is important for an online retailer. But I expected the site to have undergone significant improvements by now to have a more modern appeal in the vein of Chewy.

Feels like the calm before the new manga reading services storm. Beyond that, all the concerns and warning bells about the reprint situation were spot-on. New titles are also feeling the crunch.

I’ve seen a couple of sales on BOOKWALKER for J-Novel Club titles, but I’m sure the partnership will grow stronger still.

Yen On is already growing, with Yen Press announcing three new titles just recently: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai; Spice & Wolf; So I’m a Spider, So What?. Plus, they’re not the only ones getting into the audiobook game. I expect this field to continue growing. I still say Unnamed Memory needs to be added to the list. Those are real novels, not light novels.

I think some stores have reverted back to stocking trading cards as normal, but I know Target — at least my local one — isn’t one of them. I imagine there’s no point right now since workers are already overworked with the holiday rush and shipping crunches, and so it’s easier just to sell them during a certain part of the day and/or week. Meanwhile, tech across all fields, from gaming to cars and more, faces challenges building devices. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to be any easier to get a PS5 during its second year than during its holiday 2020 debut. At the very least, I’m glad it’s causing companies to keep last gen games active and offer free or reduced price upgrades.

I still laugh at the fact the name they didn’t reveal during the announcement was DiscoveryWarner. That seems like a major publicity fail. Especially since it was recently revealed AT&T and Discovery had been striking a deal that eventually collapsed before the May announcement. In addition, several Congress members are in favor of deeper analyses into the merger, worried that this acquisition will lead to lower wages, higher prices, and more.

Yaoi is still against eBay’s terms of service. You can kind of understand “sexually explicit” content, even though that’s very subjective, but yaoi is one of those terms where different people have different interpretations. Is yaoi all boys’ love? Or is yaoi just explicit boys’ love? Anyway, out of curiosity, I did search “yaoi” on eBay and saw about 10,000 results. So use of that term doesn’t seem restricted, which was somewhat surprising.

eBay Yaoi search

I still do love the header for this. (Thanks, Alcina!) The deal still hasn’t closed, but there are still plenty of questions about how Amazon will handle films — and whether they’ll still release dramas over, say, comic book movies. Dramas seem like they would do well on Amazon Prime Video, but I know actors and others would prefer to stick to theater releases.

Since this article, the RetroCrush channel listed its lineup with the series name as well as season/episode number. This is a significant change. But when I went back about a week later to add an image, RetroCrush is not available?? Is it because of the holiday season? Or is it gone for good? Something I’ll have to check out…

Anime is still available, but there doesn’t seem to be a category for it though. Even when viewing an anime (Fushigi Yugi in the case below), not all recommended titles will be anime. Probably a good way to discover what’s available though.

Anime on Peacock

It’s so hard to tell if something’s good or not even with reviews. For instance, I searched “Sailor Moon” on Amazon, and the one of the earliest results was this purse. A little suspect that it has over 1,000 reviews with the earliest being in 2016, yet the first anime box set from VIZ was released two years earlier and has less than 1,000. Sure, maybe so many people were inspired to leave a review on an (obviously bootleg) handbag, but what’s the chance they did so without incentive? Also interesting that, according to FakeSpot, it had less than 200 reviews in May 2020, but a year later, that number had ballooned to 800.

What do you think were the biggest headlines for 2021?



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