A fan’s reflection on ‘Unus Annus,’ two years after its deletion


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“Memento mori” is a beautiful reminder of the inevitability of death and the importance of living life.

“Memento mori.” (“Remember you must die.”)

“Unus Annus.” (A single year.)

These two phrases still burn in my memory three years after the death of what I still see as the best project to ever originate on YouTube. These two phrases are a reminder of the inevitability of death.

These two phrases were brought to light two years ago by a pair of well-known entertainers—Mark Fischbach, also known as Markiplier, and Ethan Nestor-Darling, or CrankGameplays. As a project surrounding the concept of death and its inevitability, they created a crazy and quirky variety channel, called “Unus Annus,” that uploaded a single video a day. The pair did everything from performing skits to breaking out of creepy escape rooms to walking across broken glass and looking at memes from the channel’s subReddit.

From the outside, the channel seemed like a fun YouTube project. However, it had a deeper meaning and an arc surrounding it. On Nov. 15, 2020, after a full year of creating content, the channel went completely dark, and the videos were deleted and never seen again.

I was there that day in 2020, enjoying the channel’s final moments before it was deleted on a live stream, and the fact settled in that the channel I had been enjoying all year was truly gone.

“Unus Annus” existed at a truly weird point in my life when I was an extremely busy junior in high school. I remember that their new videos would always release on my way home from school, and I’d watch it as I swayed back and forth on the bus, headphones blasting as I tried to hear over the crowd of students.

Then COVID started, and all of a sudden, everything shut down, and we were unable to do anything except stay at home. My family members were all essential workers, and my little brother was in daycare, so I spent all my time in my house alone. I’m also considered high-risk, so even the thought of leaving the house was terrifying. I would have gone crazy in the silence of being home alone, but there were a lot of things that helped distract me from the deafening noise that I had to endure back in those days. I found new shows, Youtubers and hobbies that helped me to fill time, but back then and to this day, nothing ever made as lasting of an impression on me as “Unus Annu”s did.

Watching the channel’s final live stream was heartbreaking and terrifying, especially seeing the screen go black. As I watched with the other million viewers as that timer reached zero, I realized that the words “memento mori” and “Unus Annus” would forever be remembered, at least by me.

This was not just because I loved watching the fun skits. This YouTube project was created by someone I admire and still learn from to this day. Markiplier is one of the most creative minds on YouTube, and seeing his projects and voice as a creator evolve is so inspiring. But that’s not the reason I will carry these words in my mind and heart for the rest of my life.

While I was sitting in silence, afraid to step outside and move on with life as things began to open again after COVID, this project reminded me why I needed to move forward. As Mark would say, “All we are is a walking bag of memories,” and sitting in silence was not all I wanted to remember from 2020. The inevitability of everything ending reminded me that moving forward was the only way to live life.

In 2021, one of the project’s editors, Luis Costa, known as Lixian, released an anniversary video remembering and reflecting on “Unus Annus” a year after its death. He proposed an idea inspired by Mark’s words in one of the final videos: “You can do a lot in a year.” Lixian’s idea was to create a set of passive and active goals that he wanted to work on in 2021. Unfortunately, he didn’t do so well with these goals. He shared his idea with the online community so he could keep himself accountable, and so that we as a community could share the goals that we created.

As someone who doesn’t do well with New Year’s resolutions, Lixian’s idea stood out to me and inspired me. I sat down and wrote myself 12 goals, ranging from personal to fun to professional; I covered all the bases. I’m happy to say that upon completing this article, I’ll have finished my last goal of the year: Never forget “Unus Annus.”

“Memento mori.” See you next year.