What made ‘Unus Annus’ so revolutionary in its content, and what impact did the channel leave?
Two years after their co-owned channel’s death, creators Mark Fischbach, or ‘Markiplier’, and Ethan Nestor, or ‘Crankgameplays’, look back upon the beloved experiment ‘Unus Annus’ with solemn joy. ‘Unus Annus’ was a channel set for its death at its beginning, as it was agreed between the two creators that the channel would be deleted a year later. Many fans and casual viewers of YouTube have fond memories of the channel and the content it made. So, why was ‘Unus Annus’ so revolutionary as a YouTube channel, and what was its impact on the YouTube space?
Mark Fischbach and Ethan Nestor are the two creators who conceived the channel ‘Unus Annus’. ‘Unus Annus’ means ‘one year’ in Latin, which describes the entire point behind the project. Fischbach and Nestor created ‘Unus Annus’ to delete the channel a year after its creation. Fischbach and Nestor posted a video channel on the video at the same time every day. At the end of each video, a countdown clock to the channel’s end would play. The two creators would consistently use the phrase ‘memento mori,’ meaning ‘remember you must die’ in Latin. ‘Unus Annus’ started on November 15th, 2019, and ended on November 14th, 2020. This choice was a revolutionary content style for the time. With ‘Unus Annus,’ Fischbach and Nestor created content with the sole purpose of its deletion — or death.
‘Unus Annus’: Two Years Post-Mortem
Two years after the deletion of their YouTube Channel, Fischbach and Nestor released videos on their individual channels. Nestor released a video titled “Memento,” while Fischbach released a video titled “Mori.” Each video features its creator talking and having a conversation, seemingly with no one. Soon, viewers realized that the viewer had to watch both videos at the same time to hear the entirety of the conversation. This interesting choice, along with the beautiful opposite color palettes of each video, made this content another piece of art from the minds of ‘Unus Annus’ — two years post-mortem.
“Memento” and “Mori”: The Conversation
In the videos, Fischbach and Nestor discuss the channel’s impact on themselves, their content creation, and YouTube as a whole. Overall, the creators commented that they missed the channel’s routine, excitement, and “togetherness”. They describe the entire experience as bittersweet, as they successfully executed the idea that put forward, but they miss the moments that came from the channel. When asked if he was sad about the channel’s death, Fischbach stated that he was “never really sad about it…Whether or not [he missed] it is a different thing.”
The two creators discussed how interesting that ‘Unus Annus’ has become a sort of legend in the YouTube community. They note how bizarre it is that those who weren’t there to witness ‘Unus Annus’ know about it. Yet, Fischbach comments (and Nestor agrees) that there could never be a second ‘Unus Annus’. They believe that the meaning behind the channel prevents them from ever creating such a thing. However, Fischbach comments that the concept never goes away, in which someone passionate “[makes] something for the sake of ending it.”
Nestor and Fischbach also commented on how ‘Unus Annus’ helped them appreciate the little things and the calm in between. Nestor commented, “It is really like grieving a friend who passed away in a way.” Ultimately, the two creators reflect on ‘Unus Annus’ with somber joy. Both videos end with Nestor and Fischbach eating Otter Pops with Amy Fischbach (Fischbach’s wife who helped create videos for the ‘Unus Annus’ channel).
The Reaction of the Community
In his video, Nestor commented, “I think it’s nice that the community sort of lives on and that people are able to still get meaning from it.” ‘Unus Annus’ had a loyal community during its run. For many, the channel served as a source of comfort during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The fanbase remains dedicated to this day and holds the experience of ‘Unus Annus’ close to their hearts.
‘Unus Annus’ revolutionized the YouTube content creation space. Creating content to delete it was something new that no one had seen on YouTube before. Not only did it draw in new viewers with its concept, but it also made creating content more interesting. Knowing that the content was being made with a purpose, and wouldn’t be there forever, made this content creation style all the more alluring to viewers and the creators themselves.
Two years later, though distant, ‘Unus Annus’ is a happy memory. Both the channel viewers and the content creators who made it feel this way. Currently, Fischbach and Nestor both have massive success on their individual channels. Nonetheless, each year, the pair reflect on the impact of ‘Unus Annus’ on their lives and creative works. In his video, Nestor comments, “It’s nice to be able to come back every year and just think about it…and to remember what it was and to remember all those times.” In the style of ‘Unus Annus’, appreciate the little things and memento mori.