A Founder’s FINAL Thoughts with D.J. Lewis…

Hey guys, this is Donte’ J. Lewis representing 1/2 of D&A Anime Blog and D&A Studios Entertainment. You probably already know the story by now of how D&A came to be; Aaron Goldman and I worked on a concept for a website where we could post our con pictures that we took, and after tossing many ideas back and forth, we created an anime blog consisting of convention pictures, and anime reviews. In 2016 we made our debut at the first annual AniMore convention; then several appearances at Otakon, Zenkaikon, Saikucon, Anime USA, and Thy Geekdom. We’ve met so many awesome people along the way during our venture, as well as many of our favorite voice actors we’ve come to know throughout the years. Saying all of this makes the next part of what I have to say really hard…harder than you can ever imagine as a blogger, and content creator.

After this post is published…I’ll be signing off from D&A.

I don’t regret ever creating D&A, and everything its done in the lives of both Aaron and I. I am more than grateful for all of the people I’ve met and had the privilege of meeting. To me; D&A is a story about dreams, and no matter what life throws at you, you should never give up on them even though the road is tough. I’ve been a fan of anime since 1997, and throughout the years and decades I’ve noticed the change in the way we consume it. With mainstream companies getting their foot into the market (and even buying anime-centric companies like FUNimation and Crunchyroll), it seems like a lot of the aspects that made anime and its community special, seem to be fading away. Anime is no longer that shy kid in the corner that was picked on in school, now its an adult with a 401K and a six-figure income.

Now it seems like my attitude towards anime has changed. While I still have a genuine love for it, I just don’t have the same level of time for it as I used to. These days IRL commitments have really demanded a lot of my attention, as well as on-going personal trials and a shift in priorities. Don’t worry, its nothing serious.

So…what happens now?

So, where does D&A go from here if I’m stepping down? That’s a good question. After an extensive discussion, Aaron and I have decided that he will be the one to take over as administrator of D&A Anime Blog. This means that contributor posts will have to be accepted by him, and only he can invite other contributors.

“If you’re leaving, what will happen to your Youtube channel?”

Our channel will be fine. Aaron will be posting content on a weekly basis, so there will always be content for you to watch. There’s also a very, very, veeeery slight chance that I’ll make a cameo appearance on our channel every once in a while.

“If you’re leaving, what will happen to convention appearances?”

That’s also a very good question. In the off-chance that Aaron does get booked for an anime convention, I will be there too. As for me, if I’m pulled out to a con as a DJ for the Friday and Saturday Night Rave, then you’ll know me as Avidd Minddset. 

Alright guys, I’m gonna leave you with this. D&A started off as a passion project between two longtime friends, who were bullied during their school years because of their love for anime. It grew into something amazing; where they got to meet their childhood heroes, awesome cosplayers, and be a part of the anime community overall. Who knows what will happen to the future of D&A, and if it will finally reach its peak in becoming one of the best blogs out there. The fact that D&A even exists at all, is an accomplishment in its self.

So from the bottom of my heart, I love each and everyone of you guys, and thank you for making D&A such a fun ride for me. Aaron will be the one taking over D&A and its affiliates, as I will be stepping down. This will not effect our friendship in any way; as many were wondering if my departure from this project would mean the end of our friendship. Now…with all of that said, this is Donte’ J. Lewis signing off from D&A.

Until next time, stay nerdy my friends…

A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: D&A’s Status

Hey guys, how’ve ya been? So, where do I go with this…? 

Its been quite a while since my last post; which was just a ‘check-in’ post to let you know how we’ve been doing this past month, or so. We’ve been managing to keep up with posting articles thanks to our contributors, as well as upload new videos on our youtube channel. With that said, there are some things that we’ll be bringing to your attention in regards to where we as D&A, will go from here.

D.J. Lewis’ Involvement with D&A

Normally you’d see me on youtube with A. Goldman talking about our favorite shows, most loved/hated anime characters, and even have voice actor guests on our podcast. Lately however, I’ve been taking more of a ‘backseat’ role due to a major shift in circumstances that really demand a LOT of my attention. I know a lot of you have been wondering if or even when I may decide to come back, but I don’t have a definitive answer as to when or if that may happen. Thanks to our blogging contributors, it has really taken a lot of the stress of posting reviews and articles on a weekly basis. So for now, I’m taking on an administrative role than an executive one.

D&A’s Future with Convention Appearances

I know many of you have been hoping that we would make an appearance at anime conventions; at the very least, the ones you plan on attending. While we’ve been on the scene since 2016, our convention tenure has fallen off a bit thanks to the pandemic. (Though that’s pretty much with everyone.) As much as we want to see you guys in person at a con, we don’t have a definitive answer as to when we’ll return.


D&A to me is more than just an anime blog, or even a youtube channel; it represents a journey into what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. Never in my wildest dreams would we have gotten the chance to meet our childhood hero Steve Blum had we not founded D&A; or even meet other awesome voice actors like Crispin Freeman, Monica Rial, Tia Ballard, Joshua Seth, Josh Martin, and so many others. While our external activity may have flatlined at the moment, I don’t have any regrets in making D&A into what it is today; thanks to A. Goldman. While I don’t know where my level of interest for D&A will be in the near future, I can’t complain about how far we’ve gotten in the span of seven years. I cherish all of the moments and memories that I’ve had because of starting the blog, and perhaps…maybe, I’ll have future moments as well.

Until next time, stay nerdy!

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.