A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Producing Music!

In my early years of growing up, I was given the nickname “DJ” because I was the neighborhood ‘beatbox kid’ that all the kids would come to. When I say all, I mean just three or four, because the rest of them were in their late 20’s to mid 40’s. I was into a lot of things as a kid (including cartoons and anime), but I never thought I would find myself having a deep passion of producing music. My mother brought me my first synthesizer when I was about seven, and to tell you the truth…I actually had a lot of fun with it. Did I make any beats with it? No, not really. Whatever kicks and snare drums that synthesizer had lacked any excitement you’d find in many of the digital synthesizers and drum machines of today.

In 2007 (about ten years later) my mother brought me my first DAW called MAGIX Music Maker. It was simply a ‘graduation’ gift from synthesizer to computerized music. There was a time period where only a handful of people had access to Digital Audio Workstations (DAW). Now just about anyone can get their hands on one; even a ten-year-old kid can produce a DJ Snake-like club banger track in this day and age. I think we live an exciting age where millennial kids (90’s kids) are super creative in the arts; be it music, dance, or performing. As for me, I just found myself producing, cutting, and editing tracks. Basically, I was a beatmaker before I was a producer.

Back then I never really took it seriously; like upload my beats on Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify, or any of the music listening apps that are on the web right now. It was also at that time I didn’t really know about Compression, Mixing, Mastering and Limiting when it came to Music Production. I was just a teen who went from the keyboard to the DAW. Somewhere around 2013 I still found myself producing music unreleased to the rest of the world, but six months prior to that a crazy new anime called Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt came out and I fell in love with the show so much, that not only did I produce an original track, but also an Anime Music Video with original lyrics (which I rapped)!

The last time I produced any music was back in January of 2014, as any music I produced prior to that was used in various fashion shows that my mother put together. After that I decided to pursue other interests for the time being; one of those being the inception and creation of this anime blog. While going out to anime conventions with my D&A partner, A. Goldman, I went to a lot of late night rave parties and looked at what type of gear the DJ was using. It was then my dormant passion for creating music was once again ignited with energy and drive, however at the same time I was unemployed for two years; but thanks to a few pocket-change jobs I was able to go to anime conventions.

So here I am in 2018 with a newfound drive in wanting to produce music again, of course thanks to several classes in mixing and mastering, I can make my projects sound better on a nightclub level! Now with the knowledge on how music is being mixed, EQ’ed, and mastered in the depths of my brain, becoming a DJ is the next step on my musical goal list!

Every producer has a signature ‘sound’ that makes their music stand out from everyone else. Mine of course consists of an uptempo fusion of Chiptune, Hip-Hop, and Electronic music. I don’t know what the future will hold for me in taking this path, but one thing’s for sure, I’m gonna have fun doing it!

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D&A Anime Blog: Newsletter?

Well guys, we’re in the final days of ‘April Showers’ as we’re now getting ready for the ‘May Flowers’. With that in mind there’s a burning question we want to ask our fans; how do you guys feel about us doing a Newsletter? Many companies are cranking them out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Although when it comes to otaku culture, there’s a whole LOT to talk about.

There’s all kinds of news going on in the anime community everyday, but we just wanted to know how would you all feel about us doing a newsletter. The benefits of doing one would allow us to cover content that you wouldn’t normally find in our filler posts, as well as expand our marketing strategy. We’re not saying that not doing one is a bad idea, but often times with millions of emails getting sent out everyday, it’s easy to understand why most of us are hesitant about giving away our email addresses. Getting spammed is no fun; as it causes you to miss really important emails, and sometimes those emails can contain viruses and Trojans in them if you’re not careful.

We want to give you guys are absolute best in terms of original content, anime and manga reviews, and so much more. Sure, our YouTube uploads have been mighty slow as of late, but we’re in the process of getting better post-production software and equipment, so that our future convention videos will be better in quality, and content! The same can be said for our music playlist segment, our fanfiction, and several other things.

Finally, we know we’ve said this over a thousand times already, but we want to thank our fans from the bottom of our hearts for all the love and support that we’ve gotten over the last two years. You guys are like family to us and we want to make sure we honor our commitment to you, in giving you our best!

— Donte’ J. Lewis and Aaron M. Goldman, Founders of D&A Anime Blog

Filler Post: D&A’s Top 5 Anime Quotes!

Going through life we sometimes find ourselves battling with various obstacles that hinder us from achieving our own greatness, as well as the greatness that we see in others. There are various old sayings like ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!’ or ‘What goes around, comes around!’, but to many of us we seek out quotes that give us a deeper understanding about the world we live in. There are many historic quotes that can be found in any history museum in the world, but for anime fans the best quotes can be found in the very titles that we watch.

Some of them give us hope while others put us on a deeper level of thinking, whatever the case may be for you, somewhere along the line you’ve heard these quotes before. For this post we’re bringing you our Top 5 anime quotes that will do one of three things; make you cry, make you think, or teach you to never give up hope!

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Number 5: Ganta Igarashi’s Quote (Deadman Wonderland)

A quote like this can make us really think about what’s important in our lives, and hopefully open our eyes to see what it truly is. Never take what’s important to you for granted, and don’t turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to what may be important to someone else.

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Number 4: Garaa’s Quote (Naruto Shippuden)

All of us want peace in various parts of our lives, but it won’t be true if its under an illusion. The true value of peace is only relevant and meaningful if we accomplish it, and one day we will know what its like to have true peace…

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Number 3: Saitama’s Quote (One-Punch Man)

You can’t change the world unless you change yourself, right? That’s the beauty of being a human; the power to change and having the will power to do it, can spread through others and even help them to change as well. (Through their circumstances, short-comings, and more!)

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Number 2: Bellmere’s Quote (One Piece)

This quote reminds us that even though we go through the many storms of life, things will get better and the sun will shine again! There are people in your life who appreciate who you are, so never forget that! 🙂

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Number 1: Kirito’s Quote (SAO)

For this final quote we’ll let you guys make of this what you will. Trust takes time to build, but doubt can come within seconds. The biggest regret you can ever have, is regretting the things you wanted to do or say, but never had the courage to do or say them. Life can throw you many curve balls, so start swinging, Jack!

There are many other anime quotes out there that have helped you get through the day; whether dealing with the loss of a loved one, being stressed out at work, or anything that will cause you to question certain aspects of your life. No matter what happens just know that you’re not alone in this world, because you matter to a lot of people – including us!

Stay gold! 🙂

D&A’s D.J. Lewis: My Return to Fanfiction…

Ten years ago, I stumbled upon something on the internet that would change my life. During that time I was a fluffy high school teen (and still am, minus the ‘teen’ part) watching anime, and playing Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 on my Wii. I don’t remember what night it was but after watching the first season of Magister Negi Magi (Negima!), I suddenly found myself online and found a website called “FanFiction.net”. Of course I had no idea what fan fiction was at the time, but after checking out the site for the first time, I saw the ‘Anime’ category tab on the homepage and clicked on it.

It was then that I saw hundreds of entries from titles that I’ve watched during that time; especially Naruto, back when it was in its first couple of seasons. Aside from being a DBZ fan I was also a Sonic fan as well, which lead me over to the ‘Anime Crossover’ section of the site. It was then that I found this crossover fan fiction called Naruto & Sonic: Tales of a Super Ninja. Even though it was only three chapters long, at the time I thought it was one of the best stories I’ve ever read. I was disappointed that its author didn’t finish it, so I took it upon myself to continue his/her work. I made it twenty-six chapters long with elements of the Forest of Death Arc, Sonic Unleashed, and the Sasuke Retrieval Arc. I never posted it because (as sad as this is) I never really knew how to post stories on FanFiction.net at the time.

In 2011 I soon learned how to post stories on the site; as my first fan fiction title was a crossover between Sonic the Hedgehog and an anime called Sekirei. I ended up abandoning it after four chapters due to a few criticisms; saying that the way the story was formatted didn’t make any sense, or that the plot was too confusing and lacked detail. Yes guys n’ gals, I bombed on my first try – but I’m not the only one.

In the Summer of 2013 I went back on FanFiction.net to give it another shot and redeem myself. The dub for Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt came out the year prior, even though I didn’t start watching it until Spring 2013. I pretty much fell in love with the show the first time I saw it, at least up until the ‘Gainax Ending’. Although half of the fanbase was disappointed that they were promised a second season of the show, and never got it, I took their disappointment and channeled it into a fourteen-chapter fan fiction story called Brief & Soulfire: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Season 2.

The reception I got after its creation was amazing! Other fan fiction readers thought it was one of the best season two scenarios they’ve ever read; in fact it got an 8.2 out of 10. Some people though that maybe Gainax should take some notes from my fanfic, and even base it off of their actual season two – IF they make one.

It didn’t stop there however, because in 2014 I made two other PSG fanfics; both of them being crossovers with Sonic. Sonic plus Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and its spin-off title Sonic & Stocking Anarchy. Both fanfics did pretty good, mainly because I’ve changed the way I write my stories to make them more detailed, and interesting. There were a few short stories and other spin-offs that followed after that, but December of 2014 was the last time I was on FanFiction.net.

Back then I went by the pin names “djlsnegima” and “DJ Returns”. After wrapping up the final chapter of Sonic & Stocking Anarchy, I left FanFiction.net after getting bogged down with life. (School, work, and more work.)

After January 1, 2018 (New Year’s Day) I’ve been thinking and contemplating if I should make a return on FanFiction.net or not. I went back on the site and read over some of my old titles that I’ve made back in 2014, and remember how awesome they were when I made them. If I was going to make a comeback on the fanfiction servers, I wanted to do it in a big way. I’ve played a lot of RPG and Fighting games back when I was a teen, so an idea came to mind to bring those two worlds together while crossing over my three favorite series; Panty & Stocking, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Danganronpa.

For my big comeback I’m bringing not one, but two crossover fanfiction stories with original plots and characters. The first; Sonic Beatdown: Danganronpa SilverBlaze, is a Sonic/Danganronpa crossover where Silver and Blaze battle victims effected by ‘Despair Disease’ in an alternate Fighting/MMORPG reality of Towa City. The second; Sonic Beatdown Act 2: Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, is a Sonic/PSG crossover where Sonic and Co. join forces with the Anarchy sisters to battle against an evil shaman princess and her sorcerer, in the same Fighting/MMORPG reality.

I don’t really have any release dates planned just yet, but I will keep you guys posted on the latest developments! 🙂

Filler Post: A Brief History of Hatsune Miku (as told by D&A)!

She has almost a million fans of Facebook. She’s sold out concerts worldwide from L.A. to Hong Kong. She’s collaborated with various companies and artists; including SEGA and Pharrell Williams. She’s one of the most recognizable digital Pop stars in the world. We of course are big fans of this internet celebrity, and many of you know who we’re talking about. Tonight’s filler post will take you through the brief history of the one and only, Hatsune Miku, as told by the guys of D&A Anime Blog!

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So question number one? What exactly is Hatsune Miku, and who created her? That answer is easy, just ask the guys behind Crypton Future Media. As for what Hatsune Miku is, she’s what’s called a Moe Anthropomorphism. (In anime; a non-human being or object that has been given moe-like qualities.) Miku, as many of us know, is a Vocaloid voicebank created by the aforementioned company, and her name actually means “the first sound of the future”. Her synthesized singing voice is modeled from Japanese voice actress, Saki Fujita, and is the first Vocaloid in Crypton’s “Character Vocal Series”. (But the third to be sold commercially, following ‘Meiko’ and ‘Kaito’.)

She was built using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 technology; of course her name wasn’t really conceived until after the Vocaloid 2 announcements. Hatsune was released by Crypton on August 31, 2007 and was again released August 31, 2013 on Vocaloid 3. Fast-forward ahead to MMD (or MikuMikuDance) where fans could create fan-made animations, and trust us, there’s tons of em’ out there! Since 2008 our favorite blue-haired, pig-tailed digital pop star has been heavily marketed and promoted, and originally aimed at musicians. Her success can be credited to Vocaloid being a cultural hit in Japan, but it didn’t stop there…

Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese site akin to YouTube, played a major role in propelling Vocaloid (and Hatsune Miku) to the level that it’s at today. Since 2011 Miku has made several cameos in anime titles, has showed up in Super Bowl commercials, and has over 100,000 songs and has done various collabs with famous artists like Big Boi from Outcast, and “Happy’s” Pharell Williams. Fans from all over have produced original mixes and remixes featuring her on them, and Hatsune Miku even made her first ever live television broadcast October 8, 2014 with her song “Sharing the World” on The Late Show with David Letterman.

From concerts all over the world to being featured on original tracks by up-and-coming DJ/Producers, Miku has become a worldwide phenomenon. If you head to an anime convention anywhere in the world, you’re bound to find not just Miku, but all of her Vocaloid friends as well. It won’t belong before we start seeing her Djing her own tracks, let’s just hope Crypton Media is thinking what we’re thinking.

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D&A’s Crunchyroll Spotlight: Magical Girl Ore!

Whew, today’s work day was a killer, but we’re glad to be alive to bring you another installment of our Crunchyroll Spotlight filler posts! If you’re a 90’s kid, then some time in your life you probably met a magical girl by the name of Sailor Moon, right? If the answer’s yes then you might be in for a surprise when it comes to a series like this. Tonight our Crunchyroll title is the magical girl comedy; Magical Girl Ore!

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So here’s the deal; Saki Uno is an unpopular idol and high school student who discovers that her mother was once a “Magical Girl”, but passed on the tradition due to problems with her back. With some help from a Yazuka-like character named Kokoro, Saki can now transform into “Magical Girl Ore”, however there’s just one small problem; her magical girl form is that of a tall muscular man in a magical girl outfit. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough; Saki has to fight cute-faced demons who threaten to kidnap her crush, Mohiro, who is now attracted to Saki’s “manly” form. Not only that but her idol partner, Sakuyo, is attracted to her normal female civilian form.

This series takes everything you know about the magical girl genre, and drops that baby on its head. Although being a magical girl is not all fun and games (in fact there’s a dark side to it), they mix in some comedic parts in the story that make it worth while to take a gander at. (Even if you’re not a fan of magical girl anime.) The dub for this series is not out yet, but you can stream the sub on Crunchyroll if you wanna check it out!

That’s it for now, but there’s more filler posts coming up! 🙂

D&A Anime Blog: It’s Update Time, Again!

Top of the night, fellow otaku and anibloggers! We were going to bring you another filler post about our ‘Top 5 Comedic Anime Characters’, but we’ve decided to push that to next week’s post. A few weeks ago it was brought to our attention if we were going to continue to post any more videos on our YouTube page. The answer to that question is yes; in spite of the fact that getting and recording content has been on the recline. Luckily for us we’ve got two anime conventions that we’re heading to this month, so we’ll be working on getting some convention content as soon as those events arrive.

If you haven’t heard the news, we’ve decided to delete our Patreon page in order to shift our focus on an even bigger long-term goal; having our own anime convention. In one of our previous posts we’ve mentioned what we’ll be doing in order to achieve this goal, and that is broken down into three different phases. The first is to start a Kickstarter for “Project: Paradise” in order to raise funds so that we can establish a budget for the convention; Anime Escape! Phase two is the ‘red tape’ legal matters that have to be crossed. (Gaining and applying Non-profit status, convention location, tax exemptions, looking for con staff, etc.)

Phase three is heavy promotion, contacting booking agencies, creating a website, setting up a payment system for purchasing badges online, the whole nine yards. We’re hoping by our fifth or sixth anniversary, we’ll be able to officially announce our debut year for Anime Escape, on our seventh anniversary (or sooner).

That’s all for announcements! We’ve got more posts coming your way next week! 🙂