D.J. Lewis: Chronicles of an Anime Fan

Sometime between last Summer and now I talked about what shows I watched back in the 90’s that drew me to the current anime that I watch now. Long before A. Goldman and I created this blog I was a bit of a loner as a child, as during the time that I was growing up in the early 90’s I was never really exposed to any anime, nor did I have any friends that liked a lot of the same shows that I did. Back in 1993 at the tender age of four I was a huge Super Mario Bros. fan; I owned a Nintendo Entertainment System (that my mother bought for me), and logged in at least 30+ hours a week beating each level – especially the ‘most-hated’ water levels! At the time I was seven years old my mother bought cable (comcast to be exact), and every day after school I would come home and watch Cartoon Network. Back then there were shows like Scooby-Doo (the early 70’s version), Swat Katz, Tom & Jerry, and many others.

In 1997 I came home and turned on the TV to get ready to watch my favorite shows, and that’s when it happened. What happened on my screen would change my life forever. What happened on my screen is the reason why I am who I am today. That was the day that Toonami came to play! What I was watching didn’t look anything like the shows that I watched when I was four or five (which was Barney and Sesame Street at the time). The style looked different, as there were so many vivid colors and unusual hair styles on the characters. No one ever told me that what I was watching was anime, as the first show I found myself watching was in fact Tenchi Muyo. Up until my 10th birthday I found myself watching more and more shows on this action-packed cartoon block called Toonami, but by Fall of 2000 my mother found a brand new job located in the northwest district of Baltimore, Maryland.

We moved out of the Heldrey Square neighborhood right after the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, as I found my new home in Reisterstown, Maryland. From there I went to school at Franklin Middle from 2001-2004, and during this time I was still in Dragon Ball Z mode before this new show came around called Naruto. Honestly I wasn’t a huge fan from the get-go because, well, I was still heavily into DBZ. It wasn’t easy making friends in middle school due to the fact that I had now found this thing called ‘anime’ and have fallen in love with it.

When it comes to middle and high school you’re automatically ‘placed’ in a social circle that fits everything that you like, dislike, and otherwise. I’ve seen all the movies and TV shows where the social status of both middle and high school students was stereotypically portrayed through four different groups; Jocks, Cheerleaders, Outcasts, and the Nerds. You can guess what clique I fell in.

During my 7th grade year I was still into anime, but I was also into shows like Dexter’s Lab, Ed, Edd, n’ Eddy (which is basically ‘The Three Stooges‘ for Millennials), and Samurai Jack! Due to my girth as a heavy-set Afro-American with High-Functioning Autism (HFA), I was picked on a lot to the point where I would have nervous breakdowns and threatened to hurt people because they wouldn’t leave me alone. Trying to fit in was a nightmare, as making/finding friends who liked anime as much as I did was very hard, and I feared that they would make fun of me if I was that one kid who like something that everyone else was unfamiliar with. That is…until my met my friend of 16 years who is my partner on this blog today!

Middle school was indeed tough, but watching anime and Toonami got me through some tough times – even throughout high school. Naruto taught me to never give up on my dreams, and DBZ showed me that with enough hard work, even the ones they consider ‘weak’ can surpass the ones they call ‘strong’. I never though that I would learn so much from anime, as many of the characters have gone through similar trials that I’ve gone through while growing up; such as being bullied in school, finding it hard to make friends who like the same things you do, and being excepted for who you are.

Anime was something different. It wasn’t like anything that I’ve seen before I found it, and they way that it told a story was far deeper than anything I could’ve ever imagined at the time of watching it. Now staring at the beginning of my 30’s I’m proud to call myself an anime fan, and because of that, I find myself seeing life from a whole different lens than I did when I was younger. (I’m not THAT old, guys! XP)

The best advice I could give you if you’re a younger fan going through the trials of middle and high school is to never give up! There may be people who will make fun of you for liking anime, but they can go suck rocks for all I care! Believe me when I say that it may be hard now, but it’s gonna get better! Anime to me was more than just a medium, it helped me find out where I belong, and that’s with awesome people like you!

This one is dedicated to all the awesome fans out there! Stay nerdy! 😉

Our Return To Zenkaikon!

2017 was the most active year for us going to cons and promoting our blog, and one of the cons that we’ve gone to during our tour (as well as had the most fun at) was Zenkaikon. This convention is a 3-day sci-fi/anime convention held at the Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, PA. It was also during that year that this was our first anime convention out of state, and our first impression of the convention was indeed nothing short of awesome! We had the chance to meet some rather awesome people as well as meet some of our twitter and facebook fans, plus we even got the chance to meet the one and only Toonami T.O.M. himself, Steve Blum (as well as Mary Elizabeth McGlynn)!

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Bang! 😉

There’s a lot for fans of both sci-fi and anime to do at this convention, and for some of us who are nerdy party animals there’s also raves that happen on Friday and Saturday nights! One cool thing about this con is the fact that everyone we’ve met while we were there, was incredibly nice. This time around we hope to have the same amount of fun as we did two years ago, and for those who happen to be going, we’ll see you there March 22-24! And on that note that will do it for this post. Until next time, stay nerdy! 😉

Throwback Thursday Returns To The 80’s with Mobile Police Patlabor!

After an 18-month hiatus one of our main segments is back by popular demand! Tonight we go back in time to the 80’s of the anime world; where the mecha genre (especially Gundam and Transformers) was all the rage. While America had MTV, arcade shops, and a movie where nerds finally got revenge on their bullies, a select few of us old school otaku were engaged in Japanimation – or at least knew about it. For the first time since its hiatus we welcome back Throwback Thursday to the blog, with its first 80’s anime title being Mobile Police Patlabor!

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Japanimation in the 80’s!

Mobile Police Patlabor is a classic late 80’s shonen anime title created by the group known as Headgear; with members Masami Yuki, Mamoru Oshii, Kazukori Ito, Yutaka Izubuchi, and Akemi Takada. The franchise itself has its own anime and manga, as well as three movies and a few OVAs. Although its a shonen title this series is known for using mecha in its policing works and military, as well as industrial jobs such as construction.

Here’s the Non-Spoiler’s Overview: The story takes place between 1998-2002, where robots called Labors are employed in construction work. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police also have their own Labors that they use in order to combat crime, as well as rescue any Labors that happen to find themselves in any dire need of rescue. Noa Izumi is the main character of the series as he works in the second division of the Tokyo Police Special Vehicle Section, however the story arcs focus on the entire second division as a whole. The TV series has a different plot however; as division two combats a Schaft Enterprises Labor called the Type J9 Griffon.

The OVA has only seven episodes while the series has 47 in total. It’s even noted that this series was the inspiration behind the Hollywood blockbuster Pacific Rim, which is something that even we did know. (How about that? XP)

On that note that will do it for our first Throwback Thursday title of 2019, and it won’t be our last! Until next post guys and girls, stay nerdy! 😉

The (Brief) History Of Magical Girls!

Anime is such a vast medium that transcends all ages and all races with a wide variety of genres for just about any type of fan. If you’re into horror or sci-fi, we’ve got titles for that! If you love action with a little bit of comedy, romance, or ecchi, then there’s titles for that as well! These days anime is always changing as more and more elements from western influences, are being incorporated into many new titles that are being released. When it comes to anime as a whole, one particular genre has continued to stand the test of time. Although the demographic is originally created and intended for females, there are a few titles that are starting to crossover with both the male and female demographic (i.e. Magical Girl Ore). The subgenre that we’re talking about, is Magical Girls.

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We all know these famous girls!

To discover how far this genre of anime has come, you’d have to go back to the early 1950’s of Japan through that manga known as Princess Knight which was released in 1953. Of course a little later in the 60’s there was Sally the Witch which was a manga that got adapted into an anime, but here’s the fun fact about that; Sally the Witch was inspired by the Japanese dub of Bewitched (which came out around that decade in the U.S.) Fast forward towards the 80’s after the women’s movement in Japan a decade before (and the Equal Opportunities Act in 1985), the magical girl genre of anime appeared to be on the path of a resurgence thanks to the prominence of women during that time. By the time the 90’s rolled around the magical girl genre made a full revitalization through the one and only Sailor Moon, which is viewed as a pioneering title for all of the other magical girl titles that came out in the early-to-late 2000’s.

It wasn’t until a little after 2003 that the magical girl genre of anime, was geared towards both male and female audiences. Titles like Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Magical Girl Rising Project began taking on a darker and more serious approach as opposed to the childish plots found in older titles. Aside from magical girl titles becoming more popular (some of which getting re-dubs and reboots), there are a few magical “boy” titles where the main protagonist gains magical girl powers, and depending on the series said male character ends up cross-dressing as a magical girl. Titles like this would include Shugo Chara, Is This a Zombie?, and Magical Girl Ore.

It’s not just in Japan that the magical girl genre has made a home in the anime medium, but in western animated media, the ‘magical girl’ concept and elements (via transformation) can be found in various series such as The Winx Club and Miraculous. The genre as a whole has been getting a lot of traction since 2010, and with anime always changing and creators coming up with new ideas, the magical girl genre will continue to have that classic concept that fans know and love, with a more modern twist full of action and enhanced plots.

On that note, that will do it for our brief history of magical girls in anime and manga, but not to worry – there’s more filler posts to come!

Until next time! 😉

American Anime Spotlight: RWBY

It’s Monday night and we’re back with another exciting filler post! Last time we did a post about an American anime title we know growing up called Kappa Mikey from Nickelodeon. This time we’re back with another one that many fans know of, if you happen to be a fan of any projects/shows done buy the guys n’ girls at Rooster Teeth. (Famous for the Red vs. Blue series!) This one is heavily anime inspired; as it has gained major popularity throughout the community via Crunchyroll, as well as a manga series. Tonight we shine the American anime spotlight on a web series we like to call, RWBY!

For those of you who are veterans of the show (and have watched it all the way to its upcoming 6th season), you’re already aware of what to expect. For the ones who haven’t seen the series at all (and don’t want to be spoiled), we’ll give you the overview of what you’re in for once you decide to give it a shot.

The story is about four girls who have enrolled in Beacon Academy located in the kingdom of Vale; Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long who is Ruby’s half-sister. Together they live in the world of Remnant composed of four kingdoms that happen to be plagued by the Creatures of Grimm, as mankind battled for survival against these monsters until the discovery of an element that helped them fight back called Dust. These four women train to become huntresses and guardians of Dust by the mysterious Ozpin, as they battle against the evil forces of Roman Torchwick and the terrorist organization known as White Fang, to prevent Dust from falling into their hands.

Due to the series being anime-influenced you’ll find some usual tropes and funny moments that you’d normally see in traditional anime; such as the ‘sweatdrop’ and ‘waterfall tears’. There’s also a lot of action and other good stuff in this series as well, so if that’s something you’re into or happen to be looking for, then give this title a shot!

Well, that’s it for this post, but as always we’ve got more to come right here on D&A Anime Blog! Until next time, be kind to one another and stay awesome! 😉

NGC Classic Review: Super Mario Sunshine!

Since 1993 Nintendo has been a part of our lives and has represented almost half of our whole childhood. We all remember the grandfather of gaming consoles that shall be known as the mighty NES, and since 1989, Nintendo continues to dominate the gaming world (in spite of a few setbacks). Their franchise mascot has been keeping himself busy for a little over three decades, and with multiple titles, crossovers, and spin-offs to his name and brand, Mario doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down anytime soon. In fact, a few of his classics are getting remakes for the New 3DS; such as Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and the Gamecube launch title Luigi’s Mansion. Tonight we’ll be reviewing a classic NGC title that might be getting a remake for the 3DS as well, known as Super Mario Sunshine!

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Brings back memories, doesn’t it? 😉

If you’re a 90’s kid the nostalgia is real with this game! There are so many of us that remember playing Super Mario 64 on the N64 when it first came out, so what makes this game so good you ask? Well for one, it brought back a lot of Mario’s acrobatic moves such as his signature Triple Jump, Ground Pound, and Wall Jump. The new digs is his new water-squirting buddy called F.L.U.D.D. who operates as a new mechanic for the game. F.L.U.D.D. helps Mario fight off the bad guys as well as allows him to reach new heights with FLUDD’s various nozzle’s; such as the Rocket and the Turbo nozzle’s. Instead of Power Stars Mario has to collect Shine Sprites, as they are the source of Isle Delfino’s power and overall morale of its people.

The plot follows Mario along with Princess Peach, Toadsworth, and a few Toads as they all venture to Isle Delfino to enjoy a relaxing vacation from their usual ventures at the Mushroom Kingdom. Upon arriving they are shocked to discover that the once peaceful island, has been covered in graffiti. After encountering F.L.U.D.D. and defeating a giant slime-covered piranha plant, Mario is suddenly arrested by the island locals (the Piantas) and is thrown in jail due to matching the description of their culprit. After the court ruling Mario is set on an adventure to clean up the entire island, find the one who framed him, and protect Princess Peach – all at the same time!

Playing this game was a lot of fun when it came out, not to mention the graphics and music were pretty freakin’ cool! They brought back a lot of the magic that made Super Mario 64 famous; such as the 8 Red Coins and Blue Coins (that earn you Shine Sprites if you find ten of them), boss battles, and Mario’s signature moves. We remember all the numerous hours we logged into this game combing every nook and cranny for all 120 Shine Sprites, and though at times it was a grind, some of us were determined.

We give this Gamecube classic a 9.9 / 10 Stars!

Hopefully if a remake is in the works, let’s give Luigi a shot like we did in Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2! 🙂

American Anime Spotlight: Kappa Mikey (2005-2008)

Somewhere between 1995-2008 a lot of great animated shows were watched by (just about) every 90’s kid in America. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were the holy grail of our childhood; with shows like Rocko’s Modern Life, Ed, Edd, n Eddy, and more! Today we’re shining the spotlight on a mid 2000’s classic that you might remember from your high school days. Back then we weren’t just crazy about (Avatar) The Last Airbender, but there was another title that was known as the ‘first anime title’ to ever be created from our own backyard. Tonight we’re shining the American Anime Spotlight on the Nicktoons title known as Kappa Mikey!

Although 90’s kids know the premise of the show, a lot of boys and girls of the Z Generation may not. Not to worry, we’re more than happy to tell you! 😉

The show is about a 19-year-old ginger-haired boy named Mikey Simon from America, who’s a self-centered adolescent who got lucky and found himself as the main star in a popular Japanese TV show called LilyMu. He then gets flown to Japan where everybody is Anime, and we mean EVERYBODY! Mikey along with his anime co-stars; Lily, Gonard, Mitsuki, and Guano, get into a lot of crazy and hilarious antics when they’re not working on their show, while under the direction and (somewhat annoyance) of Ozo, the TV producer of the show with his right hand assistant Yes-Man. The show basically follows the lives of Mikey and company on and off screen, as they get into shenanigans of all kinds all up and down Tokyo, Japan.

The show relies heavily on various comedic tropes from anime; such as the ‘big sweatdrop’ that we’re all familiar with, over-the-top surprised faces, and many other things. The show only has two seasons at 26 episodes a piece, so you’ll probably get through it in roughly two weeks tops (or sooner). It’s been over ten years since the series ended on Nickelodeon and made the transition to Nicktoons Network, but now the topic of a possible reboot has come up.

Even though the show is a bit underrated in some aspects (as it tries to put a funny-yet-parodic twist on Japanese culture with anime as its representation), having the show get some kind of a remake or reboot doesn’t seem like a totally bad idea. Perhaps Nickelodeon could collaborate with Production I.G. or Studio Trigger or one of the animation studios in Japan to give fans that authentic Eastern-Western experience with Kappa Mikey’s reboot. Or…they could give the reboot the ‘Samurai Jack’ treatment now that Kappa Mikey fans are in their 30’s, but if they did that then the creator would have to toss the reboot over to Adult Swim – which to us personally would make sense.

Well, that’s enough out of us, but what do you guys think? Should Kappa Mikey get a remake/reboot and second shot on the airwaves? Let us know in the comments! 🙂