D&A’s Checkpoint Check-In (January 2023)!

Hey guys. Well, January 2023 is pretty much over at this point, and many are wondering what will become of the future of D&A. In our earlier post (from last year) we started that we’re in a period of ‘where do we go from here?’ and what is the next step, or next phase of our journey. Regardless of what direction we go in, we’re still happy and grateful to all of the awesome fans and voice actors we’ve met during the start of our nerdy lil’ journey. The doors are still open if you’re interested in writing contributor posts to our blog, as long as you make sure your grammar is good, and you fact-checked your sources. We know this post will probably leave you with more questions than answers, so for the ones that you do have, here’s our answers to them.

Is This The End of D&A Anime Blog and D&A Studios Entertainment?

No. We’re still creating videos and content on our Youtube page for you guys to check out (we’ll leave links below), and while we may not post as often as we used to, there’s awesome reviews and articles coming from our contributors. Everyone has a dry spell at some point in their journey, this just happens to be ours.

Will D&A Make Appearances at Conventions?

This one’s been the hardest to answer; mainly due to logistical standpoints, and financial conundrums in regards to location and travel. Our convention future is up in the air; with no actual timetable of when we’ll return to them. (We probably will, we just don’t know when.) There’s periods where we even thought about hosting our own convention-like event for two days, however we would need the support of our fans and the anime community to make it happen.

Will The Nerdz of the Decade Podcast Return?

We don’t have an official timetable of when the podcast will return with new episodes, but we’ll update you on when (and if) it returns. We do want to bring more guests o the show, but we’re playing it by ear in terms of their availability.

That’s all we’ve got for now, so until our next post, stay nerdy and keep rooting for us.

D&A’s Checkpoint Check-In (December 2022)

Hey guys, it’s finally here. With less than 30 hours until 2023, and this is our last post of 2022, we just wanna thank you guys for all of the love and support that you’ve given us throughout the year and then some. Things around D&A HQ haven’t always been smooth, but we’ve managed to persevere and continue to do what we do best. Although we’re rapidly approaching the new year, the future of D&A is still kinda up in the air; with aspects such as looking for more contributors (shout-outs to ‘JunoGuy’) to help run the ‘blog’ side of things, to convention appearances. We’ve actually had to take a step back these last few months due to burnout as well as life ‘stressors’, which meant we also had to scale back on the amount of content that we put up on our channel. We do however want to emphasize that ‘D&A’ as a blog, is not going anywhere. We are just in a period where we’re on the verge of redirecting our focus on other aspects of the blog; especially in the educational sector.

2022 has been a year of reflection, reevaluation, and revelations for D&A as a whole. What comes next can only be described as the ‘What Happens Now?’ phase of our 7-year tenure. (Kinda like the 7-year itch for marriages.) Should we get pulled out to a con, or we stumble upon some new material for our content, you’ll be the first to know – as we post or talk about on our podcast! This is pretty much it for this post, so until 2023, keep being nerdy! 😉

D&A Anime Blog: So…What Now?

Well, 2022 is about to come to an end, and things around here have been pretty quiet. It’s not because there hasn’t been any ground-breaking anime titles to come out this season (other than Bleach and MHA Season 6), but after 900+ articles, posts, and reviews within the last 6-to-7 years, we’ve racked up some serious burnout mileage both mentally and creatively. Usually for most people, this is where you’d thank all of your fans for all of the love and support you’ve given them throughout their journey of being a blogger and content creator; followed by a tearful farewell video telling them that they appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to watch and like their content. Now before you guys get the wrong idea thinking that we’re walking away from being bloggers and content creators, we’re in more of a “what now?” situation than a “farewell” one.

We kicked off this adventure back in 2016 after making our debut at Animore in January of that year; then in 2017 we really got the ball rolling and made appearances at Animore, Zenkaikon, Nipponcon, CHS Otaku Fest, Saikucon, and ended the year at Anime USA. During the first two years we were quite active in the convention circuit as well as in the anime community, and right after our fifth appearance at Animore in 2020, the pandemic happened. Cons from all around the world were shutdown, thus causing many of them to go virtual or even on hiatus – many of which even closed their doors for good. For a lot of the major players in the convention scene, there were financial losses that caused them to downsize but not close down, while others managed to have enough in their reserves to keep them afloat until things got better.

Near the end of 2020 we decided to take a different route in terms of convention appearances by becoming full-fledged guests (contracts and all). There’s not much we can say on what’s in store for us in 2023 for a return to conventions, so we’re in a ‘wait-and-see’ period on that front. In some of our earlier posts we mentioned that we’re looking for writers and contributors for the blog, and the door is still open for those who wanna hit us up! Don’t worry about the steep 1,000-word requirements, just write whatever you want however you want it – as long as its related to the current content that we have on the blog already. We don’t have all the answers of what the next move for D&A will be in 2023; whether its downsizing our social media presence to a more manageable footprint, or redirecting our focus towards a different part of our brand. All we can say is that this is our “what now?” moment, and not a “farewell” one. 

A Founder’s Review with D.J. Lewis: Stellar Con 2022

Hey. So…where do I begin with this…? Its been a month since I’ve written any article or made any blog post; only because I was going through a combination of burnout, and grief. It wasn’t until 72 hours ago that I found out another actor from my childhood had passed roughly several days after one of my favorite actors had passed. Jason David Frank, although I never got the chance to meet him, he along with Kevin Conroy played a part of my childhood – along with a lot of other 90’s kids who grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series, and Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. Both of them will be truly missed, but they will always be remembered.

So, how do I begin with this? A few weeks ago we were hoping to make our first convention appearance at an anime convention in New Jersey called DerpyCon, however that didn’t quite happen. With yet another convention cancellation my mind when back into con withdraw, and I was scrambling looking for a convention near Baltimore (where D&A is headquartered and also where I live) that I could go to. Surely enough there was a convention called Stellar Con that was located just on county away from Baltimore, in Harford County. I along with my family and a few of her clients went to this con to see what it was all about. Although it was a one-day convention, there were several voice actors, actors, and professional cosplayers there too.

My first con back in two-and-a-half years…

Right off the bat it was pretty much like Baltimore Comic-Con during its early years. There was representation from EVERY fandom; Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Anime, Video Games, Sci-Fi, Pop Culture, you name it! There were also superstar voice actors there as well; including the likes of Khary Payton and Dante Basco. I also met a few of our fans out there, and of course the vendors had some awesome stuff as well. Like every nerd convention; it had gaming tournaments, cosplay contests, autograph lines and panels. Stellar Con is hosted by Transcendent Events (who were also at Baltimore’s former anime convention, AniMore), and honestly…I actually had a fun time.

The only suggestion I would have for this convention would be to make it longer than one day, because there was a lot to do at this convention – yet not enough time to do it. I’d say make it a two-day convention and have it in a big hotel like the Marriott or the Holiday Inn & Suites. Sure the convention was held in a basketball arena next to a community college, but they give you a certain amount of time that you’re allowed to occupy that space; by 6pm you gotta go home! All in all, Stellar Con indeed lived up to its name as my first convention back since 2019, and I think it will have the potential to be even more stellar as a two-day convention; and possibly a three-day one if their budget allows. 

Here’s hoping D&A will be at the next one, until next post, stay nerdy!

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Old School vs. New School Anime Fans!

Anime has been that one particular medium that has gone above and beyond in terms of garnering mainstream acceptance, and that’s due in part to the anime fandom itself. If you look back to the early days of when anime first made its mark in the West, you’d be surprised by how many geeks all around the U.S. have been bullied and made fun of at school; because of the Pokemon backpack their parents bought them for their birthday! For many older anime fans the 80’s was when anime began its walk into the mainstream, but they also know that it was the 90’s that propelled it into the forefront and thus allowed geeks of all generations to proudly state that they’re anime fans. Never had I thought I’d see the day where Goku would be flying over 34th street in New York during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, nor would I thought that mainstream anime franchises would be getting the ‘Red Carpet’ treatment. Anime has come a long way in terms of being noticed by the mainstream audience, however many feel like it hasn’t truly reached its final form yet.

If Anime was Frieza, what form would it currently be in…?

Right now there is more anime to watch than ever before on so many streaming sites than ever before. If you were a kid in the 90’s you had to by a pack of 12 bricks for $150.00 if you wanted to see the Saiyan Saga on VHS! (Kids today will never know the hustle old school fans had to go through to get anime.) As the years went by anime solidified itself as a mainstay in the mainstream, however the journey didn’t come without a few bumps in the road; quality declines, weeb culture, sub v. dub wars, you name it. Somewhere along the line there have been recent debates over what decade of anime titles were better. Sure you had your pioneers like Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon; but then you’ve got gems like Case Closed, Lupin the Third, and Gundam – oh, Gundam! Now we like in a timeline where some 12-year-old kid says that Boruto is better than Gundam SEED, and I know this because that kid was never seen on Twitter again. (He 86’d his account.)

I’m no stranger to the battle of old school vs. new school, but I feel like if older anime fans were a bit more forgiving of newbie anime fans (due to the mass amount of anime out there), it would take a lot of tension out of aggressive online debates. Older fans also gotta keep in mind that this is the first time new fans are experiencing the medium; they have no tier list, favorite waifus, best girls, best boys, shows that are fire, and shows that are ‘mid’. I also feel like established anime fans put so much pressure on newbies that if they pick a show that they don’t like only because the new fan like it, they get dunked on faster than Captain Crunch against Shaq.

As fans get older their taste in anime changes, not the feeling they have towards it. Older fans prefer more of a story with decent plot progression and plot development, but they’ll also settle for character-driven stories with character development as well. Its not to say that new school anime fans don’t want that, but if a show doesn’t grip them within the first 2-3 episodes, then it is dropped and forgotten – and older fans are the same way about newer anime. Genres have also played a part in what fans (both old and new) will watch; as isekai and harem titles have been cranked out more often than not, with ‘sliced bread’ style plots and ‘cookie cutter’ characters. There are some titles that do indeed bridge the gap between old anime fans and new ones, but when it comes to watching anime, there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

I still think this anime needs a second season.

Everyone’s entitled to like the shows they like, and with so much anime out there, there’s bound to be some that both old and new fans will like (or dislike). Trends for certain anime genres come and go, and tastes in anime will also change as well, but with the right approach old school anime fans might end up teaching new anime fans what to look for based on their tastes. A lot of the debates and squabbles I see online can come from nostalgia chasers and ‘boomer anime fans’ (me being the former than the latter), but I think older fans remember how hard access to anime was before streaming sites became the norm. They remember the days where they had to watch 1 episode of School Rumble in 3 separate videos from the same Youtube channel – in 480p!

Being an anime fan comes with a lot of growing pains, but it also came with a lot of unforgettable moments as well. We all knew how hyped we got when Goku transformed into a Super Saiyan for the first time, or when Naruto and Hinata shippers finally got the scene they wanted when Naruto and Hinata kissed. Regardless of what generation you come from as an anime fan, just know that there will be shows that you think are the best ever made, while others may think that your show is ‘mid’ or ‘trash’. Sure, old school fans are always gonna look back at the gold ol’ days; when anime titles focused more on the quality of their story and characters, than by how much anime content can be put out onto the web. Newer fans will have a different take on what’s out there; since there’s so many titles and genres to choose from. At the end of the day, if the shows you watch have value to you as a person and as a fan, then that’s all that should matter to you; regardless of what other people think.

So watch what you love, help your younger anime fans, and keep being nerdy! 😉

D&A Weekly Newsletter (October 24, 2022)

D&A Anime Blog / D&A Studios Entertainment Weekly Newsletter (October 24, 2022)

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Old School vs. New School Anime Fans!

Since the 80’s anime has gone from being a ‘niche’ medium, to gaining mainstream attention in a matter of decades. Multiple generations have come across anime at some point of their lives, but lately there’s been a shift in what tastes these generations of anime fans have. Some studios have been accused of ‘fan-pandering’, while others are ‘rebooting the classics’. This week check out D.J. Lewis’ take and thoughts on the case of old school vs. new school anime fans.

Naruto Shippuden: The Akatsuki Tier List!

Naruto has become a worldwide phenomenon since the early 2000’s, and is one of the legendary BIG 3 of its time. The most popular villain stable on that show is the Akatsuki, and for the first time in D&A history, we rate each member on a Tier List based on their power. A 2-part post coming later this week!

Side Note: There were some articles we’ve listed in previous newsletters that we didn’t get to do, due to circumstances beyond our control. We hope to reintroduce them in later newsletter releases down the road.

D&A’s Checkpoint Check-In! (October 2022)

Hey guys n’ gals! We’re under three months away from 2023, and with that comes some changes in the form of an experiment. For the last couple of months we’ve been trying to figure out a way to implement our premium content on our blog, and it look like we might’ve figured out FINALLY how we’re going to do that! Japan is rich in so many things; from tourist destinations, to fashion, culture, cuisine, music, and of course media (anime). It was also brought to our attention that we may want to try and reinforce the educational aspect of our brand; as we’ve stated this in our mission statement. With that being said, here’s what we’ll be working on come the month of November.

Premium Content Experiment

So we’ll be working on trying to (hopefully) implement our premium content for our fans to enjoy. We know we’ve stated that we were going to do it this month and the month before, but we’re hoping this time that we have something going. As far as we know we’re leaning more towards Japanese Cuisine for our premium content; telling you its history, and where to find it. We’ll keep you guys updated on this experiment, and also when the first video drops.

One-2-One: Waifu Wednesday Edition

For the whole month of November, we’ll be bringing our ‘One-2-One’ character analysis series back; but with a heavy emphasis on waifus from various different anime genres. Some are fan favorites, while others are hand-picked by us.

That will do it for this checkpoint check-in, so until our next monthly check-in (and post), stay nerdy my friends! 😉

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Knowing Your Worth as an Artist!

Artist. That word has taken on so many different alliterations and meanings over hundreds of years. When I think of the word ‘artist’ the first thing that comes to mind would be a painter, and that still holds true even to this day, but now the word means so many other things; like music artist (producer), filmmaker (creator), novelist, poet, content creator, voice over, voice actor, animation, comedy, stage plays, makeup, concept artist, and so on. Gone are the days of it being just about Pablo Picasso, and enter the days of creatives coming from all sides of the artistic spectrum; creating the art that they’re passionate about. With different types of art comes different types of artists; your hobbyists that do it for fun, and your professionals that do it as a full time career. Art for me will always have a special place in my heart, as it can be anything that the artist themselves views as art; basically becoming an art form.

Anime itself is an art form

Creating art is one thing, but after awhile (unless you’re a hobbyist) artists may feel that its time to go the professional route, and start to charge a fee for their art. If you’ve gone to the movies at any time during your life, then you’ve paid for tickets to the movie that you wanted to see. The combination of all national ticket sales gives you the domestic box office total, and the combination of both national and international ticket sales gives you the global box office total. Where am I going with this? Well, in the realm of the entertainment industry; art takes on the form of actors, makeup artists, CGI and SFX artists, movie props, writers, producers, directors, and filmmakers (who sometimes double as producers and directors). When it comes to the quality of art, how good the quality is depends on the artist who’s making it. Good artists are not cheap, and cheap artists are not good.

So, what about artists who are independent contractors (or just independent creators)? Well these individuals are artists who make a living from their art. They can do commissions, indie projects (for voice acting roles), produce beats for upcoming music artists, make Youtube content, become a social media influencer, and more. As an independent artist (in any form) this is where you have to take the value of your work to heart, and know your worth as a professional artist. So many people what to short-change artists; thinking that they’ll get the best quality of their art for less than the value the artist has given them. If I produce a beat and charge $99.99 for it, you’re not getting it for half of that value! It doesn’t work like that! If you’re an independent voice actor (voice over artist or vox artist) or a professional voice actor, then you would want to get paid for the value of your worth, and if the director/creator or company in charge is trying to charge you less than what you specified (especially if they signed a contract), then you DON’T do the project! 

I charge 2 hour minimums for my DJ time, not my DJ set(s)

As an artist, you have the power and creativity to make something special and maybe even change someone’s life. There is a beauty in art that makes us human, as we’re able to have a connection to it in many different ways; be it mentally, emotionally, visually, and aesthetically. There will always be people who feel like art is a waste of time, and that these people should get a real job instead of chasing some fantasy, but art is so much more than just seeing that anime couple that you shipped finally have their BIG kiss moment on screen.

The time it takes to produce quality art is something that I wish more people outside of the industry took a little more seriously; which is why I get so peeved when big corps rush projects that needed more time, underpay voice actors because they don’t value their worth, and even replace them with Hollywood face actors because they value their star power much more than they should. You don’t have to be a ‘starving artist’, you can be an artist who’s starving to creatively express themselves however they see fit. You wanna create fashions for models to wear during New York and L.A. Fashion Week? Go for it! You wanna make a name for yourself as an independent music artist? Have at it! The sky is the limit when it comes to being an artist, so never sell yourself short in your worth, and your value. Nobody can do it the way you do it, and the quality of your work should show people that you mean business.

That will do it for my thoughts on this topic, so until next post, stay nerdy my friends.

D&A Weekly Newsletter (October 17, 2022)

D&A Anime Blog / D&A Studios Entertainment Weekly (October 17, 2022)

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Knowing Your Worth as an Artist!

D.J. Lewis of D&A Anime Blog / D&A Studios Entertainment; talks about knowing your worth as an artist in both the entertainment (Anime and Gaming) industry, and commission wise. Many measure the worth and value of an artist by the quantity of their years, instead of the quality of their work; while others don’t see the value in what they’re doing at all – and tell them to go get a ‘real job’. Happening this week!

Is Harem The Most Hated Anime Genre?

So, it appears that anime fans are not too fond of Harem anime, but why do you think that is? Could it have something to do with the main MC being bland as hell? Or the trope of where there’s always that one Tsundere chick who kicks the snot out of the main character, yet ends up being chosen as their love interest at the end of the season? We break it all down later this week!

Spooky Season is here! So here’s a spooky groovy beat from Avidd Minddset!

A Founder’s Review with D.J. Lewis: 30 Years of Mortal Kombat!

There’s something so nostalgic about being a 90’s kid; you remember what the internet looked like before social media, Blockbuster was the original Netflix, Nintendo and SEGA were trying to out-due each other during the console wars, and 90’s fighting games were all the rage! There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t remember asking my mom to drop me and my friends off at the arcade, to play all the arcade fighters that came out during this decade. Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel vs. Capcom, you name it! Back then I wasn’t just about Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. during my childhood, I liked fighting games too. It really wasn’t until about 1998 that I found myself playing a fighting game that…seemed to hit different. It felt like a fighting game from another world; no, another realm. What my 9-year-old mind didn’t realize at the time I was playing it, was the fact that I had found a game that was going to have one of the most iconic lines in its 30 year history…

“GET OVER HERE!!”

MORTAL KOMBAT!!! (Turns 30)

Mortal Kombat is like that edgy 90’s high school kid that you didn’t wanna mess with; and that goth and emo girls were lovestruck over. It is one of the first games that I would find myself playing more of later down the road, and also watching “fatality reels” of on Youtube. The ‘tweens’ of my generation couldn’t get enough of this game (many of which still play it to this very day); not because of the fighting, but because of the FatalitiesWhen you’re a teenager in the 90’s who got bullied a lot, this is where you’d take out your frustration – and set Johnny Cage on fire as Scorpion (pretending it was you who set his/her bully on fire as the hellspawn ninja).

If you haven’t noticed by now this franchise is widely known to be the most violent and gory when it comes to finishing moves. Back in the 90’s you’d have this ‘Konami Code’ sequence of buttons and directions of where you have to tap on your controller, and because there was no cheat code you could use (not even in the game manual), you’d have to know what you’re doing by memory – and remember how to do it during your next fight. To this very day its hard to believe that this game only had four people working on it, and in 30 years its still delivering banger, after banger, after banger, after banger, AFTER BANGER!

I watch WWE from time to time…

After the success of the first game, Mortal Kombat went on to become more than just a bloody fighter; it became a worldwide phenomenon. It got so big that Hollywood wanted to make a live-action adaptation of it; while it may seem cheesy and ‘mid’ by today’s standards (and Gen Z’ers), at the time when the movie came out in 1995, it was the coolest thing I ever saw! (Although I didn’t get the chance to watch it until my 9th birthday.) The gameplay and the fatalities weren’t the only reason Mortal Kombat was so cool, during the time it came out; it was criticized by politicians who thought the game was ‘too violent’ and ‘too gory’, and tried to get it banned from being purchased or played.

In fact let me raise you up one; Mortal Kombat is the reason WHY the ESRB rating on video games exists, and could be considered as the first M-rated series ever created. Despite the fact that it got banned in several countries (even to this very day), Mortal Kombat as a whole is one of the most successful fighting game franchises out there with 73 million units sold; and counting. Oddly enough the original Mortal Kombat (the 1992 version) was released by both Nintendo and SEGA; and guess which one everyone ended up playing more of…SEEEGAAA!!

Suck it Nintendo!

Mortal Kombat walked into our lives and spiced things up; thanks to co-creator Ed Boone, along with John Tobias. While other games were playing it safe Mortal Kombat pushed the envelope past the ‘taboo territory’ and thus created the ESRB we know today. It might even be the reason why you have your Grand Theft Auto’s, your Resident Evil’s, and all of the other games with blood in them. Sure, it was hated by congressmen and politicians during the time it came out, but on the flipside Mortal Kombat became more than just a media franchise. Now you can go to any anime or gaming convention and find a section where Mortal Kombat X, or 11 is being played; in fact there is STILL cosplay of it to be found 30 years later! Like Mario and Sonic, Mortal Kombat has some serious staying power!

Although I only played the first four games from 1998-2006, I can see why MK has such a dedicated fanbase to it. The finishing moves are the best part about the game; not the story (even though its serviceable in some parts), or the character roster (Ultimate MK3 had the BEST roster), but the Fatalities! Many have wondered what Ed Boone would do now that the franchise as a whole is celebrating its 30th anniversary; would there be an announcement of MK12? Or perhaps a sequel to the 2021 live-action reboot? Also, the music. Yeah, the music slapped SO HARD back then, and STILL DOES to this day! You can’t tell me the dance remix doesn’t make you feel something; being though its jam-packed with that 90’s acid-techno flavor, that has been heard at various underground raves of the 90’s. If I had to rate the franchise as a whole, I’d give it a 4.7 out of 5 Stars (94% out of 100%). If you’re already familiar with Tekken and Street Fighter, go play any of the Mortal Kombat games (even the classic ones), and go nuts!

That’s my review, now here’s the opening theme to Mortal Kombat! Happy 30th anniversary! 😉

MORTAL KOMBAT!!