Unus Annus: A Tale as Old as Death
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The world of YouTube and has brought a lot of wonderful video projects, and among those one man stands out as a pinnacle of creativity and innovation. Ever since his departure from making solely gaming videos in recent years, Markiplier has been investing in a lot of his own content, most recently with the YouTube Original series “A Heist with Markiplier.” Together with Ethan Nestor of CrankGameplays, also created a new channel/vlogging project called Unus Annus.
The most intriguing part about Unus Annus is that not only is it a vlogging channel, but written into the existence of the channel itself is a narrative. As the first video of the channel titled “Unus Annus” explains, the phrase literally means one year. The reason for the title stems from their intention to delete the channel after one year of daily uploads. During the video, Markiplier and CrankGamePlays encourage everyone to subscribe, “Ask not for who the bell tolls, ring the bell to know…”
This also is not a gimmick limited to just the first video. Throughout many of the uploads on the channel, such as “Mark turns Ethan into a mummy to prepare him for the great beyond,” there is a continued emphasis on the mortality of humans and how limited time is for those still living. There are even times when the light-hearted antics the two are usually known for gets interrupted in favor of continued emphasis of this message.
Another good example of this comes in one of the first videos on the channel, where the two attempt to create their own sensory deprivation chamber. Throughout the video, the two make reference to the fact that they are doing this so that they can imagine more what death feels like. Normally, this would be something the two would do anyway, but in the context of Unus Annus’ narrative, the emphasis on the feeling of death takes on a much different tone than it otherwise would have.
There is also now a different dimension to the characters that are Markiplier and CrankGameplays. The two have almost always been known for their funny, endearing personalities that make people want to come back and watch whatever it is they want to do. However, now there is a much more serious dimension to their personas. Markiplier, specifically, has grown as a mix of both his real-life personality and the many characters he portrays in his original works. YouTube has been like this for many creators, such are the properties of an interactive medium.
A lot of the time this can serve to make the video a bit awkward, juggling between more serious and jovial tones, but that seems to be the point. Unus Annus is about, among other things, getting people to understand what limited time they have left, and to use it wisely. However, this narrative also seems to be a bit of a self-fulfilling one, because Unus Annus is not just about understanding how much time people have left, but rather that people should spend that time with them because in one year it will all be gone.
Some of this is negated by the fact that, inevitably, someone will go against their wishes and archive these videos for future viewing. Whether or not the two would go after those who do this is unclear, but it does serve as a reminder that while time may be limited, the internet is forever.
Despite the noticeable departure in tone from their own videos, Unus Annus still has a lot to offer those who are fans Markiplier and CrankGameplays. The vlogs themselves still adhere to a similar format as many of the recent videos that the two have put out before, whether that being doing a challenge or exploring something that they otherwise have not. For example, Both “2 Truths and a Lie – Waxing Edition” and “Helium Therapy” seem like videos that Mark would have made on his own channel.
The videos themselves, when not focusing on the channel’s overall narrative, are still funny enough to warrant watching. One that managed to strike a balance between serious and hilarious was “Purging Our Sins with a Neti Pot” in which Markiplier and CrankGameplays used Neti Pots for the first time.
It will be interesting to see where their channel goes from here, and whether or not the tone will get darker as the clock that counts down the channel’s eventual demise runs out of time. They certainly have an interesting project on their hands.
Have you all watched Unus Annus? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below. I know this is a bit different from what I usually write about, but the idea was really interesting, so I wanted to write about it.
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