YouTube, perhaps more than any other platform, is extremely easy to get lost in. From the shorter format of most videos to the sheer number of content creators out there, hours can slip by in the blink of an eye while watching. It all but encourages unproductive binge-watching in which you lose chunks of your life without meaning. A newer channel that likes to focus on that idea is Unus Annus.
Mark Fischbach, also known as Markiplier, and Ethan Nestor, who runs CrankGameplays, started Unus Annus in November 2019. In their first video, the pair, usually known for gaming content, explained the intentions of the channel: to publish a video every day for an entire year. The catch, though, is that at the end of that year, the entire channel, along with every single video, will be deleted. What’s come from it so far has been one of the most unique channels on YouTube.
The concept itself is a really strange one to apply to YouTube. The whole idea of the platform, after all, is to continuously gain subscribers and views over an extended period of time. So to begin the channel with the expectation that everything will be gone in only one year makes it really difficult to define exactly what the two are trying to accomplish.
On one hand, it could be construed as a gimmick of sorts for views and profit. Unus Annus currently stands at 2.3 million subscribers, so interest has certainly been piqued. Yet, while considerable money from views and merchandise can be acquired in a year’s time, the two are already successful outside of this collaboration. Not to mention, the promise that it will all be gone after only a year seems to suggest something else, as if Mark and Ethan are trying to make some sort of statement.
Huge concepts that are focused on in most of the videos, whether jokingly or seriously, include time and death. Unus Annus literally translates to “one year” in Latin, and it’s often paired with another common phrase of the channel, “memento mori,” or “remember death.” They constantly bring up and discuss the inevitability of time and it being the one thing no one can stop when it comes to the death of the channel, themselves or the viewers.
Through offering challenges for viewers to make their own videos or just simple encouragement at the end of videos, Mark or Ethan often tries to spur those watching, to not let opportunity slip by. They want their audience to live life to the fullest and cherish the time that they are given. It’s a pretty impactful message when taken at face value, but they also don’t take themselves too seriously.
Those ideals are often mixed within videos about the two trying something new or going to unique local businesses in Los Angeles or even their first actual video in which they attempted to cook with sex toys. It’s a beautiful, chaotic mishmash of the personalities the two have come to be known for, set to the backdrop of a really dark obsession with death and the unstoppable flow of time. Maybe it’s hard to nail down their exact purpose, but it certainly seems like the two creators feel absolutely free to do whatever they want with this new channel.
No matter what the purpose actually is, Unus Annus is a once-in-a-lifetime creation on YouTube. There’s nothing quite like it on the platform, and you can never really know what to expect from the daily upload. Whatever it ends up being, the madmen in charge will always get you questioning your own mortality while making you laugh so hard you can’t breathe, which maybe makes you question your own mortality even more.
The countdown, though, is now nearing just 250 days left until the end. And, while there are those aiming to re-upload and archive the videos, it seems best not to go against Mark’s and Ethan’s wishes. Be sure to check the videos out before they’re gone. So much time since November has already flown by. And as they end many of their videos: Memento mori. Unus annus.
Jackson Horvat is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those ofThe Post. Do you agree? Tell Jackson by tweeting him at @horvatjackson.