The Race For One Piece is On! But Where Do the Contender’s Stand?

A Look At Where Everyone Stands in the Race for the One Piece

The state of One Piece right now could best be summed up by a quote from Dr. Strange: “We’re in the endgame, now.” After 25 years of twists, turns, laughs, and tears, Eichiro Oda’s preparing to take his legendary masterpiece into its final phase. The moment the Wano Arc ends, fans should expect nothing less than a race to the finish line that is Laugh Tale. The grand prize: not just the One Piece, but the truth about the Void Century and the history of the world. It’s going to be a very tight race, though, with the most powerful pirates competing to make it to Laugh Tale first.

While the Straw Hat Pirates come out of Wano as the crew of one of the Yonko, they’re facing stiff competition from their fellow pirates. With the manga on break this week, now’s the perfect time to look at where the top contenders each stand in terms of strength, power, and how close they are to reaching Laugh Tale.

Buggy and his New Alliance Are a Major Wild Card

One of the first enemies that Luffy ever fought, Buggy seemed destined to become comic relief as the rubber wonder moved on to bigger enemies. Then came the events at Impel Down and Marineford, which outed him as a former member of the Roger Pirates, gave him instant notoriety, and earned him the title of one of the Seven Warlords. The loss of that title, though, didn’t diminish his power. Somehow, the Clown got elevated to the status of Yonko alongside Luffy and former crewmate Shanks!

Despite the world thinking he’s a mad genius, fans know that Buggy’s a joke. However, he’s a joke that’s managed to talk former Warlords “Hawkeye” Mihawk and Crocodile into working with him as part of his new group, Cross Guild. Even more brazen, though, is that his group put bounties on the Marines. That takes guts!

With the amount of power and influence that Buggy has gathered, albeit unintentionally, he could stand a serious shot at finding the One Piece. He’s also got the motivation: due to getting sick at the penultimate island, Buggy never got to see Laugh Tale. Now, he could change that, either on his own, or by forming an alliance with another Yonko.

Shanks is Throwing His Lot into the Ring.

What can be said about Shanks that hasn’t been said already? He’s a former member of the Roger Pirates, the man who inspired Luffy to become a pirate, and one of the four Yonko. After his recent display of Conquerer’s Haki in Wano, though, Shanks has elevated himself to Giga-CHAD levels of awesomeness! And this is while he only has one arm.

Until now, Shanks has shown no interest in reaching Laugh Tale or finding his former captain’s treasure. However, with Luffy now standing alongside him as a fellow Yonko, that attitude’s gone right out the window. Having thrown his proverbial hat into the ring, Shanks is setting himself up for a confrontation with Luffy. Given how his mastery of Conquerer’s Haki ranks among the strongest in the world, Luffy’s idol might also be one of his biggest obstacles to finding One Piece. Or, he might end up being a powerful ally. 

Trafalgar Law Knows Almost as Much as the Straw Hats Do.

The Straw Hats have been allied with Trafalgar Law for what’s likely been a few months in-universe. From the fan’s perspective, though, it’s been about a decade of having Law hanging out with Luffy. While the Straw Hat’s antics may annoy him at times, this alliance has been nothing but good for the captain of the Heart Pirates. Not only did he get revenge on Doflamingo, but he managed to learn almost everything the Straw Hats did about Laugh Tale and the Road Poneglyphs. 

While he may not be a Yonko, that doesn’t change the fact that Law took down Big Mom alongside Kid. That along makes him one of the toughest pirates alive. Add in the fact that he has access to at least two of the Road Poneglyph’s (three, if Luffy shared the one from Big Mom with him), and he’s got a good chance of making it to Laugh Tale. 

Kid Seems to Have His Own Lead on Finding One Piece

The last few arcs have been absolute hell for Captain Kid. His first alliance to take down Shanks ended when he got betrayed and captured by Kaido. To add insult to injury, his first mate, Killer, got force-fed a SMILE fruit, rendering him permanently smiling. No wonder he promised not to trust anyone outside of his crew again. However, that didn’t stop him from joining the Alliance that raided Onigashima, and that saw him and Law take down Big Mom. 

Law and Kid now stand on equal footing regarding power and prestige, and thanks to the former, Kid now has a copy of Wano’s Road Poneglyph. While this alone won’t be enough to get him to Laugh Tale, he already seems to have another lead in the form of someone with “flame marks.” How this will factor into the race to Laugh Tale remains anyone’s guess, though.

Blackbeard Is Luffy’s Greatest Threat

Of all the rival’s that Luffy has to face to reach One Piece, his greatest will likely be none other than Marshall D. Teach, AKA Blackbeard. It’s likely Eichiro Oda always meant for Blackbeard to be Luffy’s last and greatest obstacle to becoming King of the Pirates. After all, Blackbeard is, in essence, a natural foil to Luffy.

Let’s recap. Both Luffy and Blackbeard started forming their crews around the same time. Both kept said crew’s small in number, but filled with highly capable individuals. Furthermore, each has gone on to have a massive impact on the world in different ways. Lastly, both are now Yonko with a fleet of thousands of pirates ready to fight for them. The big difference between them is that unlike Luffy, Blackbeard seemingly wants to be the Pirate King for the power it will give him.

Given how Blackbeard’s directly responsible for the events that led to Ace’s death, it’s safe to say that Luffy hates his guts. Given all of this, a showdown between the two is coming. And when the dust settles, only one of them will be walking away.

Luffy is Closer Than Ever to Finding One Piece

The boy who will be a king, the second coming of Joy Boy, and the newest Yonko, Monkey D. Luffy. We’ve followed Luffy from the beginning, seen him go from a rookie upstart to a rubber-hosed demigod of freedom. The Wano Arc marked a turning point in Luffy’s growth as a fighter, going from not being able to lay a scratch on Kaido to besting the strongest beast in the world. He’s more than earned the right to be called a Yonko by now.

We all know that Luffy’s the one who will be King of the Pirates, but just how close is he? Crew filled with people who can go toe-to-toe with the best the World Government can throw at them? Check. Awakened Devil Fruit powers? Check. Three of the four Road Poneglyphs meant to reveal the way to Laugh Tale? Check. It’s plain for everyone to see that Luffy’s the closest to finding the One Piece right now. Should he make it past the might of his fellow Yonko, then his dream of being Pirate King will be within his grasp.  

Wano Country Was Peak One Piece. Change my Mind

Ten Greatest Moments From One Piece’s Wano Country Arc

After four years and 150 chapters, One Piece nears the end of the story of Wano Country. The biggest arc of the legendary manga to date, Wano Country had it all. The protagonists ascended to new heights of power. Fans got even more clues to the mystery surrounding the One Piece. And Luffy essentially became the Shonen Popeye.

With an arc that saw almost everyone share the spotlight, it’s hard to decide which moments were the best.

Kaido One-Shots Luffy

Everyone knew going in that Kaido would be the strongest Luffy faced up to that point. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to lose so easily. After getting the attention of the drunken Kaido, Luffy hits him with his strongest attack, only for Kaido to knock him out with little effort.

This moment hammered home the point that Luffy still wasn’t at the level of the Yonko. Fortunately, instead of killing him like a smart villain would, Kaido threw him in prison, where he trained to get even stronger. Dumb move, Kaido.

Yasuie Gets the Last Laugh on Orochi

One Piece is known for having some reprehensible villains, but Orochi might be among the worst. Unfortunately for the heroes, he was also very cunning. When he gets word about the upcoming rebellion, he wastes no time in arresting anyone involved. It’s only thanks to the sacrifice of Lord Yasuie that the heroes even get some breathing room.

By allowing himself to be publicly executed by Orochi, Yasuie convinced everyone that the coming rebellion wasn’t real. As a result, he died making the brutal tyrant look like a paranoid fool. He got the last laugh after all.

Zoro Gains the Blade of Oden

After Yasuie’s death, Zoro found his sword Shusui stolen by a thief who was determined to return it to the frame of its previous owner where it belonged. Needless to say, Zoro got it back without much effort. Then, Oden Kozuki’s daughter, Hiyori, offered a trade. In exchange for returning Shusui, she would give Zoro one of her father’s two swords, Enma.

To say Enma is a powerful sword is an understatement. Enma’s downright terrifying, able to split off an entire section of the coast in one swipe! That is insane!

Oden Kozuki’s Introduction

After hearing people gush about how great a man Oden Kozuki was, fans finally got to meet him at the start of Act 3 of the Wano Arc. After failing to leave Wano once more, he crashes the funeral of an old friend and proceeds to use his crematory pyre to boil himself some Oden.

This one scene tells people a great deal about who Oden was. He’s loyal to those he considers friends and will always honor them, even if others might not understand it. No wonder he fit right in with the Roger Pirates.

Oden Recalls Reaching Laugh Tale

Speaking of the Roger Pirates, the Wano Country Arc gave fans the most detailed chronicle of their final voyage to date. Told through the journal of Oden himself, fans follow the Roger Pirates all the way to Laugh Tale, the supposed final island of the Grand Line. While we don’t know yet what they found, it was enough to make them all laugh until their sides split. Hopefully, One Piece fans the world over will laugh and cry the same amount the day the series comes to an end.

Oden’s Legendary Hour of Execution

If people thought the way Gol D. Roger went out was amazing, then Oden Kozuki’s death rivals it in terms of badassery. Sentenced to death by boiling oil, Oden endures the burning pot for over an hour while holding his retainers above him in a battle for their freedom. While Orochi decides to kill them anyway, Oden ensures his retainers escape before allowing Kaido to kill him. It was less an execution, though, and more of a sign of respect to the man who came closest to ending Kaido.

The Raid on Onigashima Begins!

This was a moment years in the making. After struggling to gather enough people to challenge Kaido, the Alliance of Pirates and Samurai finally marches on Onigashima. In a moment that’s equal parts badass and cathartic, the Red Scabbards sneak up on Kaido and plunge their swords into his chest. They fail to kill Kaido, but it’s still awesome to finally see them about to make Kaido face Justice for his crimes.

Luffy Pummels Kaido into the Ground

Luffy is the man who will become King of the Pirates, and that means he has no time to deal with a mere Yonko. In the series 1000th chapter, Luffy faces down the likes of Big Mom and Kaido…only to ignore them and focus on his fallen friends. Then, to add insult to injury, Luffy pummels Kaido into the ground. And unlike last time, it hurts the beast. All hail the King, people.

Kid and Law Defeat Big Mom

Big Mom is one of the most sadistic, sociopathic pirates in all of One Piece and one of the strongest. Her grudge against Luffy meant that a fight between them was inevitable, or so it seemed. In one of the greatest team-ups in the franchise, Eustass Kid and Trafalgar Law show just why they’re part of the Worst Generation of Pirates. The fight is close, but in the end, the two take down the Yonko, sending her into a magma chamber far below Wano Country.

Luffy Awakens His Devil Fruit

Since the reveal that Devil Fruits could awaken to get even stronger, fans waited for the moment when it would happen to Luffy. When the moment finally came, it didn’t disappoint. Pushed to his absolute limits by Kaido, Luffy wound up awakening his Devil Fruit and gained a power that made him a rubber-hosed God in the mold of Popeye. What followed was one of the silliest fights in Shonen history as Luffy proceeded to wreck Kaido. Joy Boy has returned!

Why You Need to Read Diligence of the Shield Hero!

RJ Writing Ink Interviews Allen Blaster, author of the Shield Hero fanfic, Diligence of the Shield Hero.

In 2019, The Rising of the Shield Hero made waves in the anime community. It was a different kind of Isekai, one where the hero wasn’t an ace that succeeded at everything but one that struggled in a world out to get him. It proved very popular. Then we got the second season earlier this year, and it felt like all that potential went down the drain. 

I would’ve been very disappointed in how the second season turned out…if I had watched it more. However, I have already found something else to love. A fanfiction for Shield Hero that’s so good that it surpasses the official series: The Diligence of the Shield Hero. For the last year, I’ve known the fanfic’s author, Allen Blaster, fairly well on Discord. Thus, when I wanted to interview him for D&A Anime, I was delighted to hear him say yes. I hope you enjoy this interview about one of the best fanfic one could expect to find and the one behind it. 

Interview

RJ: Thank you again for doing this interview, Allen.

Allen: Alright.

RJ: First thing’s first, though: what made you want to get into writing fanfiction in the first place?

Allen:

This pretty much sums up why I got into fanfiction in the first place. I am a sucker for teenage romance. And after reading a lot of it, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing my own.

RJ: You really are a fan of Ren and Wyndia, huh?

Allen:

RJ: So, Allen, when did you discover The Rising of the Shield Hero? Were you a fan of it before the anime came out or did that lead you to become a fan?

Allen: I discovered it in June of 2019 thanks to the recommendation of a good friend. I only recently watched anime with some roommates like Code Geass and Attack on Titan, and decided to give it a shotI binged the entire first season throughout one night, and the rest was history.

RJ: Nice. So, why don’t you tell us a little about your series, Diligence of the Shield Hero? For the readers that haven’t read it yet. Like, what’s it about and what sets it apart from the official series.

Allen: It starts with Naofumi learning of the rape accusation before he was accused and what happens to him after that because he ran away. Then it evolves by kickstarting character growth for the other Heroes earlier on due to how events go down well, focusing not only on Naofumi but on the other Heroes and their parties too.

RJ: And it’s all the better for it. Now the series has an ensemble cast that can carry their own weight.

Allen: I feel that is one issue the anime had regarding its second season. Ironically enough, I’m staying more true to the characters and events from the light novels than they were. There was so much content they cut from the Spirit Tortoise Arc that further established Eclair, Granny, and even the other Heroes like Ren.

RJ: What was your inspiration for writing this fanfic?

Allen: Obviously not the entire thing. It started out with me just wanting to write a start that’d allow for Raphumi to develop because I loved them so much in the anime. I ended up loving them even more after reading the LN’s and seeing how much Raphtalia meant to Naofumi there. Then, after the first arc, I ended up writing more and more, continuing down the rabbit hole to see where the path would go

RJ: Plenty of people would think shipping Naofumi with Raphtalia Is weird due to her technically being ten. Do you think it is?

Allen: I have a whole freaking thing on my fanfiction profile explaining why this is stupidI sum it up as “if you want to argue another race’s age instead of how quickly or slowly they mature being the primary thing that makes them legal, you are advocating for Baby Yoda to be made legal.” In short, I don’t find it weird at all, and what I find weird is people trying to inflict human standards on a race that isn’t human, to begin with.

RJ: Fair enough. Btw, did you know that your fic’s tv tropes page says it’s better than canon?

Allen: Yes, I do know that. And it is fine for people to have their opinions. But I don’t prefer people using that message to spread word of my fic around. Despite its shortcomings, I love the anime, and I love the light novels it’s based off of even more. I cannot put into words how much the original story means to me.

RJ: How were you able to make Bitch even worse than she was in canon?

Allen: I didn’t. I simply allowed her more opportunities to be herself. 

RJ: With more screentime?

Allen: And the version of events that played out. The first real big change up was nothing stopping Motoyasu from being made the Lord of Lute (Riyute) Village. So there was nothing to stop Malty from doing what she was going to do there.

RJ: Where do you get inspiration for all your original characters? Because there are quite a number of them.

Allen: The inspiration sometimes comes from them getting introduced into the story for an event and me thinking about them in general. That was how my Hakuko OC Dou-Lon ended up getting added to it. Other times, I start with a concept for a character like Altara, and then, later on, I had thoughts that led to a parallel with Darth Vader’s transformation. And I look at what I wrote and realize I can fit it in easily.

RJ: Alright, last question: Who’s cuter, Raphtalia, Filo, or Raph-Chan?

Allen: Wyndia, Lol.

He really likes Wyndia, a dog demihuman that the anime has yet to introduce. 

Click here to read the fanfic for yourself. Updates Every Monday

How American Culture Influenced Anime?

There is a good reason why anime has become quite popular today as there are a lot of different high-quality animated shows produced by Japan. In that regard, anime has invaded all of the other nations because of how popular it is and how different people from all over the world love watching different types of anime series. But the thing is that, while anime has a huge influence on the world today, it was originally influenced by American culture. And the influence of America on anime is what we are here to look at.

Where Did Anime Come From?

While we often look at Astro Boy as the first anime series in the history of anime, that really isn’t the case as far as the early roots of anime are concerned. In fact, anime has been around for a long time in Japan, even though it wasn’t really called anime before that. And the early beginnings of Japanese “animation” began in the late 1910s when Shimokawa Oten released an animated film made with chalk.

Meanwhile, in the 1930s and 40s, Japan eventually improved its technology, especially with the fact that the country was becoming more westernized. Kenzo Masaoka released Chikara to Onna no Yo no Naka in 1933 as this was the first animated Japanese movie with synced voices. He eventually released Chagama Ondo, which was the first anime that was made entirely of celluloid.

In that regard, animating with celluloid became quite popular in Japan, especially with the fact that the traditional form of technology in animated films and television shows was introduced by the western world. During the 1930s, more and more animated movies were coming out of the US, as Japan was steadily embracing the different western movies and the technology that came with them.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the first animated television shows were released. In fact, before the 60s, people had to go to theaters to watch anime. Of course, it was after the Second World War that Japan steadily embraced western technology and began inventing their own televisions as well. The rise of the TV in Japan opened the gateway for Astro Boy, which is regarded as the first animated television show in the history of anime.

Since then, anime television shows steadily evolved into what they are today as more and more studios adopted western technology and innovated them to fit the style that made anime so popular in Japan. And that was when more and more anime TV shows that were inspired by their western counterparts became more popular in Japan and all over the world.

How America Influenced Anime

The rise of anime in Japan and all over the world led to huge development in the way the writers and animators created their masterpieces. That’s because globalization meant that it was best for them to make sure that their creations were also able to attract the attention of global audiences, particularly those from the west, as America is still the largest market in the world. So, because of the fact that anime needed to be as international as possible, there were subtle American influences in anime.

Food

You can find subtle American influences in the way different anime shows include food in the daily lives of their characters. For example, in the popular anime Hana Yori Dango, western food like ice cream and hamburgers were quite common throughout the entire series as there was a need to make the anime enticing to western audiences as well while also exposing domestic viewers to American food culture, which is often centered on fast food.

Even in the anime, The Devil Works As a Part-Timer, the series revolves around the Devil himself working part-time in a fast-food restaurant. We also see in Weathering With You that the lead female character also works for a fast-food restaurant instead of the usual traditional Japanese restaurant. 

Character Appearances

The appearances of anime characters themselves already give us a hint in relation to how American culture has affected anime. As early as Astro Boy himself, we already know for a fact that the characters in this 1960s anime don’t really look like your prototypical Japanese person.

Male characters in anime are often portrayed to be tall and muscular, even though most Japanese men aren’t even taller than 5’7”. In fact, shojo anime often portray their characters to be large and muscular men, similar to how the characters of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure are tall, muscular, and commanding men that don’t resemble Japanese men. Their looks, of course, were influenced by the common American male appearance as most Americans are taller and more muscular than their Japanese counterparts.

Women in anime are also portrayed differently. Teenage high school women are already given mature features that allow them to look like their western counterparts in the sense that they look like adult women that have generously proportioned breasts and buttocks, even though most Japanese women aren’t as voluptuous as American women are.

Of course, the fact that the characters all have large eyes tends to be the biggest western influence on anime character design. Allowing the characters to have large eyes makes them more appealing to non-Japanese audiences, as even the Japanese audiences themselves have gotten used to the fact that anime characters are given large eyes that resemble the ones that Americans have.

Despite the fact that people with African heritage are quite rare in Japan, more and more anime characters are portrayed to be African precisely because of the fact that a huge market of anime viewers in America are black. In fact, the English dubbing of these characters is also handled by African-Americans. Meanwhile, their Japanese voice counterparts are given darker and more imposing voices due to a Japanese stereotype regarding Africans.

Themes

There is also the fact that there are a lot of themes that are western in nature in relation to the storyline of the anime and how the characters talk and converse with one another. While Nihongo is still the original audio in anime, more and more anime series are dubbed in English to appeal to American audiences

In terms of the themes covered by anime, we often see subtle hints of the blue and white (America) vs. the red (Russians) in anime series like Gundam. It is more often than not that the main characters in Gundam use blue and white colors while their antagonistic counterparts of ten use red.

The rich vs. poor theme has also been used quite extensively in anime, as the rich characters are often portrayed to have Caucasian American features and are often dressed in western fashion. On the other hand, the poor anime characters are given common Japanese features and are often dressed in the usual clothes that the Japanese wear.

Still, despite the fact that western culture has invaded anime, there is no doubt that anime is still a purely Japanese phenomenon that’s simply laced with American themes and subtle references to make the shows more marketable to western audiences. In fact, most of the themes covered by the narratives of different anime series tend to be quite Japanese in their nature, such as the focus on family and traditions. Nevertheless, American culture has still influenced anime due to the fact that western influences tend to be quite difficult to avoid in this globalized world we live in.

A big shout-out to Ysmael Delicana from Fiction Horizon for contributing to our blog; as all credit for this article goes to the author! If you want to submit an article or post to us, just let us know through our Contact Us page. Each article you submit will be reviewed by us before publishing, and if it passes our inspection, then we’ll publish it on our blog.

Kazuki Takahasi, Creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dead at Age 60

A Fan Remembering the Man Behind Yu-Gi-Oh!

Officially, my first anime was the original Pokémon. That introduced me to the franchise and the idea of anime. However, it would be another anime that affirmed my lifelong passion for the medium. That anime was Yu-Gi-Oh!

I was obsessed with Yu-Gi-Oh! as a kid. I dressed up like Yami Yugi for Halloween. I watched almost every episode, played the games, and spent my allowance money on card packs. It felt like the coolest thing I’d ever seen up to that point in my life. And while I would move on to other works, Yu-Gi-Oh! has always held a special place in my heart.

Which only made it harder when I woke up on a Thursday morning and learned that Kazuki Takahashi, the mangaka who created Yu-Gi-Oh!, had passed away. He was 60 years old.

Like many fans, I mourned his passing. This man gave me a big part of my childhood and created one of the most popular franchises in the world. More than that, though, he was a man who loved games and how they brought people together.

Beginnings

Born on October 4th, 1961, in Tokyo, Japan as Kazuo, Takahashi had two great interests growing up: manga and games. Takahashi loved games because he considered them a chance for the players to become the hero. For a little kid who can’t do much regarding the world around them, that’s extremely appealing.

When Kazuki left high school, he knew he wanted to become a mangaka. However, there was a problem with that in the 1980s. The Shonen demographic was bursting with fighting manga, leaving little to help him stand out. As a result, success eluded him for over a decade until he got his big break with Yu-Gi-Oh!

It’s Time to Duel!

Debuting in Shonen Jump in 1996, Yu-Gi-Oh! was an example of “writing what you know” done right. Working on his love of games, Kazuki gave us Yugi, a weak and friendly boy who gained the ability to create “Shadow Games” where the winner could punish the loser. Initially, the manga would feature different games with each new arc. All of that would change, though, when Kazuki introduced a card game called Magic and Wizards. Western audiences would know it as Duel Monsters.

Takahashi meant for the card game to appear in only two chapters. However, Shueisha got so many fan letters about it that Takahashi chose to make it the main focus of the series. From that moment on, Yu-Gi-Oh!’s popularity would explode. Within two years, Toei picked it up for its anime series

Yes, there’s a Yu-Gi-Oh! made by Toei in the 90s. Unlike its successor, though, this focused on the pre-Duel Monster days and never got exported out of Japan. However, the following year, Konami agreed to make Duel Monsters into an actual card game. Thus, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game was born.

International Phenomenon

The following year, the second anime adaptation came out. This time, it exclusively focused on Duel Monsters. Once it became licensed overseas, nothing would stop Takahashi’s creation. It became an international phenomenon on par with that of Pokemon.

By the time the manga ended in 2004, Takahashi had gone from a struggling mangaka to the creator of a franchise beloved the world over. Movies, video games, and a successful card game he helped to create. Whether fans knew his name or not, many knew the name of Yu-Gi-Oh!

After Yu-Gi-Oh! came to an end, Takahashi continued to help oversee his creation as the anime and manga continued with the ongoing sequel series. In between then, Takahashi worked on a few one-shot and limited series manga. One included a two-chapter manga written as part of this collaboration between Shonen Jump and Marvel in 2019. All of that came to an end, though, with Takahashi’s passing.

Takahashi Found Dead

On July 6th, Kazuki Takahashi was reported by a passing boat to be floating a thousand feet off the coast of Okinawa. The Japanese Coast Guard found him not long afterward. He’d been dead for several days.

At the time of this posting, there’s an ongoing investigation into Takahashi’s death. He was found wearing snorkeling gear, and it was confirmed he arrived several days earlier on his own. As the authorities continue investigating, though, the world mourns Takahashi’s passing. Fans young and old, and those who worked on Yu-Gi-Oh!, have taken to social media to mourn his passing, myself included.

Thank You, King of Games

While Takahashi’s passing deeply saddens me, his legacy will last for decades. Yu-Gi-Oh! is one of the most successful franchises and will likely continue for many more years. Of all his contributions to the world, though, Takahashi’s greatest is the trading card game his manga created. Played by millions worldwide and constantly added to, the game’s become a staple of pop culture. In 2009, Guinness named it the top-selling card game in the world, and Konami shows no signs of stopping it.

I never could get rid of my old Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards, even though I’ve long since moved on from the franchise. I’m glad I didn’t. Yu-Gi-Oh! was my childhood. Takahashi created Yugi, and his alter ego because he wanted them to embody the idea that when you play a game, you can be the hero you aren’t in real life. That’s a powerful concept, and it’s made the world a much better place for it. Takahashi may be gone, but fans will forever remember him as the King of Games.

Shout-outs to Roderick J “Jay” Friz for this awesome article about Kazuki Takahashi. His work has touched the lives of millions of childhoods all over (including ours). May he Rest In Peace.

A Founder’s Thought’s with D.J. Lewis: Netflix & Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Fallout!

Ok, I’ve noticed that ever since anime has been socially accepted among the ranks of mainstream media (and pop culture), everybody and their mama has been trying to cash in on its profitable success. Sony bought FUNimation to help expand its brand globally and even get several anime movies into theaters, while another streaming giant we all know as Netflix has been throwing their hat into the ring with their own anime catalog. The once niche medium that I used to get bullied over back in high school is now stompin’ with the ‘big boys’, and for me and any other fan; that’s both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a blessing because every other person I’ve talked to has seen at least one or all of hit titles; Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Sailor Moon, Demon Slayer, and My Hero Academia! Those titles are hot on the market right now. If you’ve been to a movie theater lately (or just recently) you might have come up against one of these titles in a movie. Anime is so mainstream, that it has crossed over into other fandoms like professional wrestling and football. (Hell, even rappers like Megan Thee Stallion talk about it through her lyrics and has probably seen a LOT of My Hero Academia.) In the last decade or so there were probably so many people who were afraid to come out as anime fans due to the ridicule they might receive. Now that its poppin’, they’re coming outta the woodwork like ants at a summer picnic. Anime is now one of the ‘cool kids’ at the party, however everything that glitters…is not gold. 

Many we’re excited about this, but…

Growing up in the 90’s was a fun time; Nintendo and SEGA we’re battling it out for childhood video game supremacy, Gushers were more fun to eat than Skittles, the TGIF lineup was the best primetime lineup in all of television, and Saturday Morning Cartoons were the best invention a kid could ask for! It was also back during this time that the franchises you know and love today decided to take a shot in the world of Live-Action Adaptation. I think the first video game to receive one during this time was Super Mario Bros. with its own movie. Then I think there was the live-action Mortal Kombat movie…um, okay.

Remember when I said that anime being mainstream is both a blessing and a curse? Well, here’s the problem with anime being mainstream. I’m not saying I have an issue with production studios or streaming platforms doing live-action adaptations of anime titles that I (and many other fans) grew up on, but unless you got the original Japanese creator and director as part of the production crew; along with a movie budget that’s somewhere between Pixar and MCU, I’d keep away from that avenue if you don’t know what you’re doing.

So now this brings me to the fallout on Netflix’s live-action Cowboy Bebop. One thing I will applaud them on is the fact that they paid homage to the original anime opening and even kept the original opening theme by TANK. Since Netflix’s track record with live-action anime is shaky at best, many hardcore fans of the series we’re already praying for its downfall…and it did just that after one season. This of course lead to some division amongst fans saying that the toxic portion of the fandom is the reason why the live action failed, while others stated that Netflix didn’t see it as profitable as they’d hoped it would be.

In the director’s defense they we’re trying something a little different out that didn’t match the exact plot of the anime series, nor didn’t want it to be a carbon-copy of it. Even the Mortal Kombat live-action movie of the 90’s had ‘B-Movie’ scripting, but its still beloved by the former children of that decade. Anime on the other hand is a whole other monster when it comes to live-action adaptation. So yeah, Netflix tried to stay true to the original (and in some aspects they did) but due to what I heard in many of those comments is ‘lack of emotion’ and ‘poor direction’, Netflix Bebop never made it past season one.

I’ll say this and then I’ll wrap it up; being an actor, voice actor, director, costume designer or script writer is not an easy job. Sadly social media and other digital outlets don’t make it easy for them mentally when the project they’ve worked on flops, but even so, they get back up and try it again. Netflix tried a live-action Bebop, and it flopped after the first season. Even though there’s a petition to try and make Netflix make a second season, I don’t see Netflix making that happen…especially if they said it was in their words ‘unprofitable’. I think that may be the other reason why it might’ve flopped; because just like another live-action movie I won’t mention, it was all about collecting the check! I dunno Netflix; maybe try being more like Paramount with the Sonic Movie franchise and put people in the production crew who are hardcore fans of the series, who knows what the fans like and wanna see. That’s just me.

Anyway that’s it for my thoughts. Until next time guys.  

Avidd Music Fridays: Dariasirene – Angel in Tokyo (feat. Nyokee)

Sorry this one took so long, but D&A Anime Blog would like to welcome you to a special segment where we highlight independent music artists, DJ’s and producers called Avidd Music Fridays! To kick off this new segment we bring to you an awesome artist that reached out to us a couple months ago on the blog. Her name is Dariasirene, and we’ve had the chance to check out her latest single featuring another artist known as Nyokee. It’s a fun little song that has a future type of techno vibe with chiptune sounds that kind of remind me of an ending from a futuristic anime. The title of the track is called “Angel in Tokyo”, and it’s available on all music streaming platforms! Check it out! 😉

Candy Girl: Anime REvisited Kicks Off with Dagashi Kashi Season One!

As more stay-at-home orders continue to get issued all across North America, a lot of us are jumping online to create new content to take our minds off of what’s happening. With us our content comes in the form of a new series of anime reviews called Anime REvisited, and to kick things off for the month of April, we’ll be reviewing the whole first season of a show about candy I’d like to call Dagashi Kashi! If you’re looking for a show about Japanese candy, manga, slice-of-life, and comedy, then you’re gonna love this show! Starting next Monday April 6th through April 30th (every other day), we’ll be posting full-length episodic reviews on anime’s favorite candy-lovin’ girl, Hotoru! Hope you gotta sweet tooth, cuz’ it’s gonna be a fun ride! 😉

Anime REvisited was a little idea we were thinking about while under quarantine. It mixes dry comedy (dry sense of humor) with anime reviews as we pick apart an anime series episode by episode; from the characters to the plot itself. Hopefully fans will have a fun time reading these reviews as a way of taking their minds off of world events.

D&A Anime Blog: Sonic The Hedgehog (2020) Movie Review!

Before we kick off this awesome review, we just want to say Happy Valentine’s Day to all the guys who are taking their gals out for a night on the town. Today (or tonight rather) is the opening day for the controversial-yet-anticipated movie about the World’s Fastest Hedgehog known as, Sonic. We of course had the chance to catch the movie ourselves and went in with clear thoughts as to what we may or may not be expecting from the movie. However one thing that we must credit both the fanbase as well as Paramount for, was the new design for Sonic. Compared to the hot mess we were given back when the first trailer for the movie aired, I’m glad that the companies and producers really put some thought into this movie. So with introductions out of the way, let’s review the movie – shall we?

Without spoiling too much from the movie, here’s what you’ll be in for if you decide to go see it. The story is based off the well-known franchise that is Sonic the Hedgehog; where he finds himself on the run from those who want his power to use for their own malevolent, and selfish desires. From his world (which was designed to look like modern day Green Hill Zone) to our world, Sonic is able to bounce between worlds through his golden rings. For this movie, the rings allow him to teleport between worlds as opposed to keeping him alive much like the games. Now in the human world Sonic befriends a human who is the town sheriff of Green Hills, Montana, and the two of them find themselves on an adventure to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman as we call him) from trying to capture Sonic, and use his power to take over the world.

The Review

As we mentioned before, we got a chance to see the movie knowing what we might be expecting from it. Based on what we knew so far from the trailers we were right about two things; there were no chaos emeralds like we said in our last post, and the Dr. Eggman we know and love goes through an evolutionary track into his descent into being a mad (and slightly unstable) scientist. The opening started off with a scene from near the end of the movie, as if that hasn’t been done before many of times before. As a big Sonic fan, I’m glad that they kept a lot of the core source material from the games (such as the rings, the opening of Green Hill Zone, and Sonic’s trademark sneakers) while reintroducing the blue hedgehog to our world in a brand new origin story.

There were some good moments as well as some touching ones that weren’t too sappy, and in spite of the fact that there may have been a few inconsistencies here and there, there was a good balance between action, Sonic’s dialogue and relationship with the human world, comedy, and adventure. Seeing as though he’s been around since the 90’s, the movie kept a little bit of his original mentality, while introducing a more modern disposition to much of the younger generation – memes and internet dances included. Overall I’d say that this movie is a cross between a buddy-cop comedy, a kid’s superhero thrill ride, a journey of self-discovery, and finding a place that you can call home. Both us 90’s kids and Gen-Z have played all of the games (good and bad), read the comics, and watched the series (again, both good and bad).

Sonic meant a lot to so many of us growing up the same way Mario does, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo decides to make a live-action Mario movie (but that’s another post for another day). Ultimately, if you’re a Sonic fan, you’re gonna love this movie. If not, then you’re probably gonna hate it.

That’s our review! Now here’s our score:

D&A Movie Score – 4.4 / 5 Stars

There you have it! That will do it for our movie review post, and as always until our next one, have a Happy Valentine’s Day – and stay nerdy my friends! 😉

Get This! Cruchyroll and Webtoon Are Joining Forces!!

While doing our usual check-up of our social media for updates and other things, we’ve stumbled upon some rather exciting news! Crunchyroll, one of our favorite anime streaming services, is joining forces with Webtoon, the digital comics website dedicated to webtoons. What does this mean? It means that Crunchyroll and Webtoon will be co-producing animated content from the webtoons that have been created. This is very exciting news because this means that Crunchyroll will have brand new original anime content and series coming out, and if you’re a webtoon creator, this is an opportunity to showcase your creation to the masses! That’s our 411, and until next post, stay nerdy! 😉

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Crunchyroll and Webtoon, UNITE!!