Muichiro Unlocks his Tragic Past…and New Powers

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3, Ep 8 Review

They say when you’re about to die, your life starts flashing before your eyes. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s always a good plot device in fiction. Besides serving as a means to remind people of key moments in a character’s life, it also helps explain more about how they ended up the way they are now. In this case, we get to see the life of Muichiro Tokito and learn what made him into the Hashira he is now. The obtuse, potentially thoughtless Hashira we’ve come to know.

This Was My Life…and it Sucked!

Even though he managed to free himself from the water pot thanks to Kotetsu, Muichiro’s in no better shape. Those needles Gyokko and the fish Demons hit him with were poison. As a result, he’s still on the verge of passing out right as the low-level grunt Demons swarm around him.

And this is the moment where Muichiro remembers all of his traumatic past. It soon becomes apparent why his mind chose to suppress the memories, though.

When he was younger, he was the son of a kind and compassionate woodcutter, and he took a lot after his father. However, tragedy struck their family when his mother died from an illness brought on by overworking herself. In addition, his father died trying to find herbs that could’ve helped her. He lost both his parents in one day, leaving him an orphan and alone.

Alone, that is, except for this twin brother.

Yuichiro and Muichiro Needed Therapy!

In essence, Yuichiro, in order to cope with the loss of his parents, shut himself off from the world and not caring about anyone else, thinking that it would keep himself and his brother alive. That’s why even though the wife of the head of the Demon Slayer Corps came to recruit them since they were descendants of one of their members, he kept turning her away. However, that proved to be a massive mistake when a Demon came to kill them both. 


In what can only be described as a fit of primal rage brought on by the urge to survive, Muichiro somehow managed to kill the Demon. The episode leaves the details a mystery, with not even the future Hashira knowing. What is known, though, is that Yuichiro didn’t survive the attack. In his final moments, the boy prayed to the heavens for forgiveness for his misguided attempts to protect his brother, something Muichiro witnessed. 

No wonder Muichiro developed amnesia! He might have gone insane had this not happened.


Awakening a New Power and Wasting Gyokko

As painful as his past was, remembering it did help Muichiro in the long run. As a result of this near-death experience trigger his dormant memories, the Hashira unlocks a new level of power. His face gains markings similar to the ones displayed by Tanjiro in his fights against Demons. Without going into spoiler-territory, it’s safe to say that these marks are the Demon Slayer equivalent to the Super Saiyan. Once he gains them, Muichiro wastes all the fish Demons to save Kotetsu, then turns his attention to the distracted Gyokko.

What follows is the beginning of a fight that, once again, shows off Demon Slayer’s greatest asset: it’s animation. The animation becomes smoother, crisper, and breath-taking to look at. That’s the anime’s way of showing that the stakes are higher than normal, and that we’re going to see things get destroyed, as Gyokko soon learns.

The fight’s between the Mist Hashira and the psychotic artist Gyokko isn’t over yet, but I can already see the writing on the wall: Muichiro’s going to win. 

This was another great episode of Demon Slayer, but I do have one complaint: the meaning of the episode’s title. It’s referring to how the Kanji for ‘Mu’ in Muichiro can have two meanings, according to his late brother: incompetence…and infinite or infinity. However, that loses a little meaning in translation to Western Audiences. Chalk that up to cultural differences, I suppose.

I Give “The ‘Mu’ in Muichiro” a 4/5

Also, this is a quick reminder that the dub for this season of Demon Slayer is now airing on Crunchyroll. If you’ve been waiting to watch it dubbed, then now’s the time to start!

Human Will is Why the Demons Will Never Win!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3 Ep 7 Review

I’ve seen my fair share of Shonen stories over the years, and I’ve come to notice a number of familiar tropes in them. Among my favorite of these tropes has to be the importance of one’s will to succeed. Think about it; how many shonen protagonists have we seen get beaten to the point where they shouldn’t be able to stand, let alone fight…yet do exactly that? Some call it corny or ridiculous; I call it a testament to the will of the human spirit. It’s why the good guys win in the end, and its why the Demons can never win no matter how many Demon Slayers they kill. Case in point, Tanjiro and the other Demon Slayers utilize their incredible willpower to turn the tide on the Demons once more in this episode!

Tanjiro Ain’t Buying That “Awful Villian” Garbage

So, right as Tanjiro’s about to decaptitate the diminutive Hantengu, he finds his sword’s unable to penetrate his skin. Then, to make matters worse, Sekido, the Demon representing Hantengu’s rage, takes matters into his own hands. He absorbs several of the other Emotion Demon’s into himself to create a new Demon, Zohakuten, Hantengu’s hatred. And Zohakuten is a piece of work.

The main thing about Zohakuten is the fact that he is a spiteful and foul-mouthed creature, calling the Demon Slayers awful villains for picking on the “weak and defenseless” Hantengu, who he tries to protect. The Demon then doubles down on the awful villains talk when Tanjiro admits that Hantengu’s never killed anyone that he knows or loves. 

Tanjiro, though, is having none of it. He knows that the Demon’s have no right to claim the moral high ground when the vast majority of them slaughter Humans without a second thought. What Hantengu and Gyokko have done in the short amount of time they’ve been in the village is proof that they’re the villains, and they’re going down.

Gyokko Angered Over Haganezuka Being Better Than Him

Meanwhile, back at the shed, Tokito’s attempts to escape from his watery prison continue to be for naught. He’s close to drowning, and he knows it. Gyokko knows it well enough that he turns his back on the Hashira in lieu of seeing what’s inside the shed. There, in the shed, is Haganezuka, who remains hard at work fixing the sword that Tanjiro recovered from the mechanical doll. And Haganezuka is not letting anything distract him, not even the Demon that could easily kill him.

Since Gyokko considers himself a talented artist, he’s incredibly vain and full of himself. So, when faced with a Human that’s willing to ignore him in favor of his craft, Gyokko loses it. He keeps trying to make Haganezuka break his concentration by attacking him, yelling at him, and breaking his mask so everyone can see his face. Yet, Haganezuka’s will and dedication to his work is so strong, nothing can make him budge. And that just makes the Demon even angrier, making him blow his chance to kill everyone.

That proves to be a costly mistake. As Tokito begins to suffocate, Kotetsu demonstrates his own willpower. The young swordsmith willingly allows another Demon inflict a potentially fatal wound on him, just so he can breathe air into the Hashira’s prison. That kid’s willing to die to save Tokito so he can save everyone. As a result, Tokito manages to slice through the water jar to freedom.

The Demons Lack the Will to Win

This episode encapsulates why the Demons are destined to eventually lose to Humanity: they lack the will to do so. Save for the handful I mentioned, every Demon we’ve seen has been selfish and only cared about themselves. When faced with the prospect of death, they’ll run and abandon each other. 

Now, contrast this with the members of the Demon Slayer Corps. Even when faced with certain death, they’re willing to keep fighting to ensure that one of them can come out on top. They’re willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure no one else can be hurt by Muzan. That’s how powerful the Human will can be, and it’s why they keep winning over the vastly more powerful Demons.

Overall, this episode was a good one. It reminds viewers of why Demon Slayer can stand amongst the greats of the Shonen genre. Like Naruto, JoJo, and One Piece before it, the heroes demonstrate a will to fight in spite of impossible odds. And, in accordance with Shonen rules, that can determine who the victor is.

I Give “Awful Villains” a 4/5

Mushoku Tensei Is S-Rank Isekai 

A Candid Recap of Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation, Part 1

If you’ve been watching anime for the past decade, then you know about the concept of an isekai. We know the idea: someone living their life when they get sent to another world cooler than ours. It’s a concept that goes back centuries, but the 2010s saw it explode in popularity. Next thing we know, there’s an isekai in every season of anime coming out, all trying to cash in on the hype. It’s gotten to the point where people are starting to get sick of it, and how many of them seem dime-a-dozen. Look at all the hate that Sword Art Online gets! However, a few isekai truly live up to the hype, and after years of wandering, I have found it. After all these years, I have reached one of the Seven Summits of Isekai, and it is glorious. I have discovered Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation. 

Now, I know the controversy surrounding Mushoku Tensei and how some people think it’s overrated. However, it came at the right time when isekai were starting to blow up in Japanese culture. Thanks to that, it helped pave the way for the genre’s explosion in the 2010s. And once I started watching it, I realized that it was good. Like, really good! And with the new season coming out, I thought it’d be fun to recap the first season in my own words. My own candid, hilarious words. This is Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation.

In the Beginning…

So, this story starts out with this overweight, lazy, 34-year-old shut-in in modern Japan, and…he sucks. He’s a smart guy, but he started slacking off growing up, so he ended up in a bad high school. Then one day, he finna give this bully a piece of his mind. Their response? They beat him, strip him naked, and leave him chained out in public for the whole school to mock him. 

Seriously messed stuff, I know. And then, he decides that he’s done with the outside world. He’s just going to live at home and mooch off his parents, spending his whole time watching anime and ogling waifus 24/7. He doesn’t even try and earn money off of YouTube or get remote work, something he is fully capable of doing!

Eventually, though, his parents die, and since this guy’s wallowing in self-pity, he doesn’t even show up to his parent’s funeral. When his family finds him, they find him ogling loli waifus. And they’ve had it, so they throw him the f out of his house. That’s when he finally realizes that he’s wasted his life and wishes, “man, I wish I had another chance to do things over.”

Truck-Kun Cometh!

That’s when the dreaded Truck-kun shows up, and today’s victims are a trio of high schoolers arguing on a crossway. So the man decides, “Screw it. If I’m gonna do one thing right in my life, it’s this.” Now he saves the teens, but Truck-Kun takes him instead. But since this is an Isekai, he doesn’t die. His life’s getting started. 

The next thing this dude knows, he’s opening his eyes someplace else, and he’s surrounded by these smiling, good-looking strangers who are all happy to see him. And it doesn’t take him long to figure out that he’s been reincarnated. And once he sees the grown-ups using magic, he realizes… he’s been isekai’d. 

So, sweet. He’s finna put this new life to good use.

Oh, and from this day forward, this man shall be known as Rudeus Greyrat.

Finna Take His First Steps

So this grown man has been reincarnated into a world of magic and swords in the body of a baby but with all his memories intact. And since this is an isekai, that’s basically like a cheat code to help him get a head start. So once he relearns how to walk, talk, and read, he gets down to business. He starts reading these books on how to do magic and begins practicing in secret. And he quickly learns something. Even though those books say he has to use these incantations to do magic, and that everyone has a set amount of magic, or mana, in them… that’s all bunk. He learns how to do wordless magic and trains himself so he never runs out of mana. So, he’s a badass, and he’s only three. 

Rudeus’ so badass that his parents, Paul and Zenith, decide to get him his own magic tutor. Enter Roxy Migurdia. Instead of being some Gandalf type, she’s a cute demon loli with blue hair. She only looks young, though; she’s 30-something. Her people, the Migurdians, can live around two-hundred years, and spend 75% of them looking 13. In other words, she’s legal. Stand down, FBI.

Anyway, Roxy spends the next two years teaching him everything she knows. By the time they’re done, he’s already surpassed her. More importantly, though, Roxy manages to heal all that trauma Rudeus’ been holding onto from his past life. So when she dips on out, Rudy is a changed person. From that moment on, 

He still keeps a pair of panties he stole from her, though, as like this holy relic. It’s slightly sweeter than it sounds.

Out There Making Moves

So now that he’s not scared of the world anymore, Rudeus starts living his new life to the fullest. He’s making moves and making friends, like his new friend Slyph, this green-haired part-elf he rescues from bullies. Because he can’t stand bullying, thanks to what he went through in his first life. After that, Sylph latches onto Rudeus like glue, following him around everywhere and thinking he’s the coolest person ever. Rudeus thinks they’re pretty awesome, too, not to mention quite the looker. Give it a few years, and he thinks the girls will be trampling over themselves trying to get at them…maybe even the guys.

So Rudeus and Sylph end up becoming best friends, and soon, Rudeus decides to teach them everything he knows about magic. Pretty soon, they’re able to cast magic without incantations, which is a bit of a blow to Rudeus’ ego. Still, now the two of them can go out, make moves, and woo girls as a badass magical duo.

All of that changes, though, when they come back home after getting caught in a rainstorm. So Rudeus decides, “Alright, let’s hop in the bath so we don’t get sick.” But Sylph’s like, “Um, no thanks, I’m good.” But Rudeus thinks he’s just being shy, so he ends up forcing the matter. That’s when he gets the biggest shock of his lives: Sylph…is a girl. Her real name’s Sylphiette. Her hair was just so short that his stupid ass thought she was a boy this whole time.

Morgan Freeman: It was at this point, Rudeus knew…he fucked up.

So, yeah. Rudeus might be a pervert, but he’s got standards. He doesn’t need the FBI coming into his house and arresting him for being a pedo. So, he tells her he thought she was a boy this whole time, like a dummy, which makes her cry. However, after they’ve got time to think things over, Sylphie forgives him for being an ignoramus. 

So, bet. Now Rudeus got a potential future waifu for a best friend. 

Finna Save the Family

Not long after, Zenith discovered she was pregnant with their next kid. Happy feelings for all. Except… Lilia’s also pregnant. Now I know what you’re thinking: who’s the Dad? Well, the answer might surprise…Paul, it’s Paul. Everyone knew it was Paul! 

Morgan Freeman: It was at this point Paul knew…he fucked up.

So, here’s the thing: Lilia plans to stick around to help Zenith give birth, but once that’s done, she’s giving her two weeks’ notice. The problem is that it’s a month-long journey to her hometown. With a baby to care for, that’s a death sentence. So, Rudeus pulls a big-brained move and resolves things. He throws Paul under the bus by lying and saying the whole thing was his fault, and Zenith buys this. Okay, I don’t think she does, but she uses it as an excuse because she doesn’t want to throw out Lilia since she’s her best friend. That, and this is Paul we’re talking about. 

Full disclosure: it was Lilia that came onto Paul. She already had a crush on him from way back, and she had to spend years listening to them go at it after dark. There’s only so much a person can take, and no amount of maintenance can help. So, she did the only thing she could and cared for herself. 

So, awesome. Rudeus has two baby sisters: Norn and Aisha. 

Daddy Gets Rudy a Job

So, by this point, Rudeus is pretty happy with his life. He’s a badass magician, he’s got two adorable sisters, and his best friend Sylphie’s super cute. He’s finna enjoy his life the way it is. Except he gets this letter from Roxy, who says she’s been inspired by him to train to get even stronger and that she hopes to see how amazing he is once he’s grown up. She also got a job tutoring this Prince, but that’s for another day.

So, in his previous life, Rudeus was pretty smart and had all the potential to be successful. However, he let himself start slacking off, and everything went downhill from there. So instead, he’s going to make sure that doesn’t happen this time. So, he decides to enroll at Roxy’s alma mater and become a world-class magician. And when Slyphie begs him not to leave her alone, he decides they both should go. The only problem: how’s he going to pay for all this? His Dad won’t pay for both of them.

So, Rudeus decides there’s only one thing to do: he’s gotta get a job. And Paul pulls some strings and gets something that’s perfect for him. See, Paul’s not just some knight and former adventurer. He’s actually from one of the great houses that rules their country, and his cousin’s the heir to another great house that rules their region. Plus, his and Zenith’s old adventuring teammate, Ghislaine, who is the swolest-looking cat girl you’ve ever seen, is their bodyguard. So, he pulls some strings and gets Rudeus a job working as a tutor for the Boreas Greyrat family. 

The catch is that he can’t come home, write home, or write to Sylphie for the next five years. They’re becoming co-dependent on each other, and that’s not good, so they need to be self-sufficient. 

That’s All for Now!

And that is where we are going to end things for today. I meant for this recap to be done in one go, but it’s so huge that I had to split things up. Come back for part two as Rudeus starts his new life as a professional tutor and comes face-to-face with, quite possibly, the tsundere to end all tsundere’s.

The Sad, Sad Story of Genya.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3 Ep 6 Review

So, after the end of the last episode of Demon Slayer, I took the initiative and looked up what the deal was with Genya. I remembered reading how he has this power to absorb a Demon’s strength by eating them, but that’s all I could remember about him. After consulting the Demon Slayer Wikia and an anime channel on YouTuber, though, I found there’s more to Genya than meets the eye. Even though he’s a hot-headed and abrasive guy in the vein of Bakugo, he’s got a very tragic past. As in, it could give what happened to Sasuke a run for his money. 

No wonder he wants to be a Demon Slayer so badly.

So Close to Victory, but Not Quite.

Last week, it looked like Tanjiro and Genya managed to end the split Demons of Hatengu of the Upper Four. All of their heads were separated from their bodies and everything. However, despite this…the Demons don’t die. Their injuries only slow them down, but they’re ready to make Demon Slayer heads roll once they heal.

This is a regular occurrence in Demon Slayer. Right when the Demon Slayers look like they’ve got things in the bag, the Demons pull an ace out of their sleeves. Tanjiro realizes that the main Demon, Hatengu, isn’t dead in this case. Instead of fully splitting into four Demons, Hatengu broke them off his body while he ran and hid. As a result, Hatengu’s body is the size of a mouse and beyond durable. The sword breaks when Genya tries to hit him with his shotgun and sword! How does that make any sense?

Now, Genya’s lost his sword, and one of the emotion Demons is about to run his skull through with their staff. That makes it the perfect time for a flashback! 

The Sad Story of Sanemi and Genya Shinazugawa

I don’t know if it was already explained, but the flashback reveals Genya’s the younger brother of the Wind Hashira, Sanemi Shinazugawa. AKA the man who stabbed Nezuko in her box before trying (and failing) to goad her into attacking him. The fact that they’re brothers make so much sense, but what happened to them explains why Sanemi was so biased against Nezuko.

Sanemi and Genya’s childhood was fairly horrible. Their father was an abusive deadbeat who died via stabbing on the streets. Their tiny Mother had to care for them and their five brothers and sisters. Since they were the oldest of the two, they had to look out for their Mom and siblings. 

Then, one cruel night while their Mom was out, a monster broke into their home and killed all but Genya and Sanemi. Sanemi forced the monster outside while Genya ran to find a doctor, unable to accept his siblings were dead. Then, as the sun rose, he saw something that made his blood run cold. His brother, Sanemi, stood over their Mother’s bloodied, dead body. Sanemi killed their own Mom! It wasn’t until later that Genya realized that their Mom had been turned into a Demon and killed her own family, forcing Sanemi to kill her in self-defense. Thus, Genya feels like the worst brother ever.

Genya Needs to Open up His Heart to Become a Hashira

I cannot lie: what happened to Genya and Sanemi is messed up. It might be up there with what happened in Sasuke and Itachi’s backstories; it’s that bad! Like Sasuke, Genya blamed his brother for what happened, only to realize that his brother had no choice. It was that or let himself die and, more importantly, let his brother die. In other words, Genya feels like the worst brother ever and thinks Sanemi hates him for it. That’s why he wants to become a Hashira despite being unable to use Breathing techniques. He has to rely on his ability to eat the flesh of Demons and gain their strength. However, determination alone does make someone great. Naruto proves it, Luffy proves it, and Tanjiro proves it. Genya must learn to open his heart again if he wants to succeed.

Genya’s intentions are good, but due to the absolute hell he went through as a kid, he’s closed himself off and become abrasive to everyone. His powers, while cool, can only take him so far. Now compare that to Tanjiro. Despite losing almost his entire family and his sister becoming a Demon, he remains cheerful and friendly. That equates to him making powerful friends and thus overcoming great obstacles, a hallmark of the Shonen genre.

Now, Tanjiro’s kindness even gets through to Genya. Despite wanting to secure the win against an Upper Four, he realizes he can’t do it, but Tanjiro can. So, he lets himself get skewered while allowing Tanjiro find and end Hatengu. It’s the start of good character development.

Once again, Demon Slayer slays with another awesome episode. It might be my preference, but I’ve always been fond of expository flashbacks, so this episode got points. Meanwhile, we still have depraved Demon artist Gyokko holding one Hashira hostage and another defending the Swordsmith Village. If we’re lucky, this arc will end with a fight as cool as the one that leveled the Entertainment District!

I Give “Aren’t You Going to Become a Hashira?” a 4/5

Gyokko is A MENACE to the Arts!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3, Ep 5 Review

One of the big draws to Demon Slayer is how creative the Demons themselves can be. They can range from the ones that can pass for Human to the ones that look like hideous abominations, but they all look interesting. However, I don’t think I’ve seen a Demon as strange or unnerving as that of Gyokko of the Upper Four. Not only does he have mouths where his eyes would be, but Gyokko looks like centipede with stunted limbs! The most disturbing thing about him, though, is his sick, depraved ideas about “art.” If I hadn’t already seen many sick things in fiction, the art of Gyokko might make me puke. 

The Demon Slayers and swordsmiths have their work cut out for them in this fight!

I Now Understand Why Mitsuri Kanroji’s a Waifu

First, though, we need to address the arrival of the Love Hashira, Mitsuri Kanroji, at the Swordsmith Village. With Tanjiro and the other’s tied down fighting the Upper Four, the Swordsmiths can’t do much to stop the fish Demons from killing them all. However, all that changes when Misturi arrives on the battlefield. We get to see her Love Breathing style first-hand, and it is impressive. It’s strange that her sword’s more of a whip, but the results speak for themselves. She wastes the Demons attacking the villagers and saves the village chief while doing so!

Her crazy strength alone is enough to impress most people. What makes Mitsuri a top-tier waifu is her personality. The first thing she does after saving the village chief is to make sure they’re all right, much to his happiness. She’s a precious treasure, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she can do in this arc.

Gyokko is One Messed Up Demon

While all of this is happening, Muichiro’s heading to the shed with Kotetsu to get the new sword promised to him by the swordsmith Kozo, only to save the latter en route. By the time the three make it to the shed, though, Gyokko’s already beaten them there in his demonic vases. The Demon’s already creepy enough, but once he decides to show the three his “art” before killing them, it’s enough to make people’s stomachs churn. This Demon has been capturing villagers from the Swordsmith Village in his vases, fusing them, and then spitting them back out as these horrifically grotesque statues! If that wasn’t bad enough, then Gyokko explains in great detail the meaning behind everything like an artist explaining his work to critics, and he does it without caring how he made the thing.

The worst part, though? When Gyokko twists a sword embedded in the thing, the “statue” starts screaming in pain. The people that make up his “art” are still alive and in unspeakable agony! If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve seen messed-up stuff like this before, I might have puked then and there. Muichiro needs to put Gyokko down. He’s not only a threat to humanity, but a menace to art! That might be hard, though, since Gyokko can create magic vases, teleport them wherever he wants, and imprison people in water. 

Tanjiro Unlocks that Shonen Super State!

Meanwhile, Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Genya’s fight against the four Demons that make up Hatengu isn’t going well. The Demons prove to be even stronger when fighting together, as seen when they level the building they were fighting in! Tanjiro gets ready to fight them anyway but is surprised when Nezuko grabs his sword and refuses to let go until it’s coated in her blood. At first glance, it looks like she’s trying to stop him, but then the sword catches fire. Nezuko used her Blood Demon Art to set Tanjiro’s blade on fire! 

A flaming sword’s cool enough as it is, but it’s more than just for coolness points. The blade that Tanjiro and Kotestu found in the training doll was also bright red. The same bright red used by the man Tanjiro’s had dreams of, and what his own sword became in the Entertainment District’s final battle. A lot of Shonen stories have the protagonist’s unlocking some kind of super-powered state at one point or another, and this red sword, combined with that mark on Tanjiro, is the Demon Slayer equivalent. As a result, Tanjiro cuts through three of Hantengu’s selves like a hot knife through butter! Once again, Demon Slayer’s animation proves to be one of its biggest draws.

The Fight Could Go Either Way Right Now

As of now, the Demon Slayers and Demons seem to be in a stalemate. At first glance, it looks like the Demons have the upper hand, but that’s what tends to happen in these fights. The Demon Slayers are always fighting an uphill battle. However, between Mitsuri showing up, Muichiro tying down Gyokko, and Tanjiro’s flaming sword, things could turn in their favor. In addition, one of Hantengu’s persona’s has a memory from Muzan of that swordsman from Tanjiro’s dreams using the same power against him. People who read the manga know what that power is, and what it means that Tanjiro’s unlocked it for the second time now. Muzan has reason to be afraid. 

Thus far, the Swordsmith Village Arc’s shaping up to be just as exciting as the Entertainment District was, if not more. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens, but above all, I want to see Gyokko get what’s coming to him! That Demon must die!

I Give “Bright Red Blade” a 4/5 

Battle for the Swordsmith Village! Demon Slayers and Demons Clash!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3, Ep 4 Review

How did the Demons find the Swordsmith Village in the first place? That’s what I’m asking myself as I watched the new episode of Demon Slayer. The fact that it’s under attack by two members of the Upper Four, though, is just as concerning. However, for all their power, the Demons have themselves a tough time against the likes of Tanjiro, Nezuko, and their allies. What follows is a rather interesting series of battles that sees all the Demon Slayers get a chance to show off their skills. And that includes Nezuko!

Muichiro Does Have a Heart, After All

Despite having a personality akin to sandpaper at first, the last episode proved that underneath all that, Muichiro’s a decent person. He wound up taking Tanjiro’s words about kindness to others to heart. As a result, he saves Kotesu from the fish Demon. What’s more, despite wanting to prioritize the safety of the village over a single person, he agrees to help Kotetsu save Hotaru and his comrade. 

So, Muichiro’s not a bad person. However, this episode also revealed something interesting: he has amnesia. He doesn’t remember much about his past, so the head of the Demon Slayer Corps has been telling him to talk to others. Sometimes, minor moments can trigger a person’s memories. Thus, he jumps back into the fight to save Hotaru, AKA the guy fixing the sword that Tanjiro’s going to need to win.

Speaking of which…

Tanjiro, Nezuko, and Genya vs. the Quadruplet Demons

I’ve seen a number of Demons with bizarre powers in this series, but I wasn’t expecting one that could split into more Demons like Hantengu can. As a result of this ability, now the three are facing off against four Demons, each representing a different emotion of Hantengu: Urogi, Sekido, Karaku, and Aizetsu. At first glance, they all appear to be tougher than them, but that’s usually the case with Demons. Yet thanks to some good old-fashioned swordsmanship and inegunity, Tanjiro still manages to come out on top. Thanks to his wits, Tanjiro discovers that there’s a limit to how many times the Demons can split themselves. In addition, despite being separated from his sister and Genya, he uses Urogi to quickly reunite with his comrades. This is why Tanjiro’s one of the best the Demon Slayer Corps has to offer.

Nezuko, meanwhile, starts struggling against her opponent. On paper, she should be fine, but the more she uses her Demon powers, the greater the risk she has of succumbing to them. Thankfully, Genya manages to cover for her well enough, despite taking a beating himself.

I don’t know that much about Genya, but his fighting style’s unlike any Demon Slayer we’ve seen thus far. He doesn’t use breathing techniques, he uses a shotgun, and he can heal from bad injuries. He’s an interesting character, to be sure. I hope we learn more about him as the arc progresses.

The War has Come to the Swordsmith Village

It doesn’t matter how you slice it, the war against the Demons has come to the Swordsmith Village. Worse, since it’s location is a secret even from the Demon Slayers, there’s no surefire way to get people there in time to help. It’s fortunate that the Love Hashira, Misturi, happens to be nearby and rushes to help. Beyond that, the villagers and the Demon Slayers there are on their own.

I don’t know the full details of what happens, but I do know that something very important happens at the very end of this arc. As such, I’m going to be paying close attention to what happens. Given how this is Demon Slayer, we’re bound to get some jaw-dropping action in the coming episodes. It will be worth it!

I Give “Thank You, Tokito” a 4/5

10 Scariest Transformation Scenes in Anime

From Human to Ghoul Kaneki’s Transformation in Tokyo Ghoul

One of the most iconic transformation scenes in anime is Kaneki’s transformation from a normal human to a half-ghoul in Tokyo Ghoul. Kaneki was an ordinary college student until he was attacked by a ghoul and received a life-saving organ transplant from her, which turned him into a half-ghoul hybrid.

The scene in which Kaneki’s transformation occurs is particularly gruesome and unsettling, as his body contorts and twists in pain as his ghoul powers awaken. His hair turns white, his nails become razor sharp, and his eyes turn red with a black sclera, signifying his new status as a ghoul.

Kaneki’s transformation is not just physical, but also psychological, as he struggles to come to terms with his new identity and the fact that he must now consume human flesh to survive. This internal conflict drives much of the story of Tokyo Ghoul, making Kaneki’s transformation a pivotal moment in the series.

The Curse of the Mark: Griffith’s Transformation in Berserk

Griffith’s transformation in Berserk is a pivotal moment in the series, as it marks the character’s descent into darkness and sets the stage for much of the story’s later events. The transformation is brought about by the activation of the Crimson Behelit, a mysterious artifact that summons the God Hand, a group of demonic beings that offer immense power to those who sacrifice the things most precious to them.

Griffith, seeking to achieve his dream of ruling his own kingdom, sacrifices his comrades and closest friends to the God Hand in exchange for power. The result is a horrific transformation, as Griffith is reborn as Femto, a demonic being with wings and a dark, twisted appearance.

The scene in which Griffith transforms is chilling, as his body contorts and writhes in pain before he emerges as Femto, complete with his trademark helmet and razor-sharp wings. The transformation is not just physical, but also symbolic of Griffith’s betrayal and descent into evil, marking a turning point in the story that shapes the remainder of the series.

Beyond Human Limits Goku’s Super Saiyan Transformation in Dragon Ball Z

Goku’s Super Saiyan transformation in “Dragon Ball Z Figure” is one of the most iconic moments in anime history. The transformation occurs during Goku’s battle with the evil tyrant Frieza, who had just killed Goku’s best friend, Krillin, and pushed Goku to his absolute limits.

As Frieza taunts Goku and prepares to finish him off, Goku suddenly begins to transform. His hair turns golden and stands on end, his eyes turn green, and his muscles bulk up significantly. The transformation marks a dramatic increase in Goku’s power, pushing him beyond his human limits and into the realm of the legendary Super Saiyan.

The scene in which Goku transforms is intense and emotional, with Frieza’s arrogance and cruelty driving Goku to the brink of his own destruction. The transformation is a powerful symbol of Goku’s strength and determination, as well as his love for his friends and his willingness to push himself to new heights to protect them.

The Super Saiyan transformation becomes a defining characteristic of Goku’s character throughout the Dragon Ball Z series and beyond, with numerous other characters also achieving the transformation in later story arcs.

The Demon Within: Inuyasha’s Transformation in Inuyasha

Inuyasha’s transformation in Inuyasha is a pivotal moment in the series, as it marks the first time that the half-demon unleashes the full extent of his power. Inuyasha is a hybrid of a human and a dog demon, and throughout the series, he struggles to control his demonic side and the immense power that comes with it.

In the scene where Inuyasha transforms, he is pushed to his limits by his arch-nemesis, the demon Naraku. As Naraku taunts Inuyasha and threatens to harm his loved ones, Inuyasha’s demonic powers begin to stir. His eyes turn red, his claws lengthen, and his fangs become more pronounced as he fully unleashes his demonic form.

The transformation is both terrifying and exhilarating, as Inuyasha’s power surges and he becomes a force to be reckoned with. However, the transformation also comes with a cost, as Inuyasha struggles to control his demonic impulses and must work to maintain his humanity in the face of his newfound power.

Inuyasha’s transformation is a pivotal moment in his character arc, as it marks the first step in his journey towards accepting and embracing his demonic side. The transformation also sets the stage for many of the later battles in the series, as Inuyasha must learn to balance his power with his humanity in order to overcome his enemies.

The Ultimate Kryptonian: Doomsday’s Transformation in Superman: Doomsday

Doomsday’s transformation in Superman: Doomsday is a chilling and destructive moment in the film. Doomsday is a creature created by an ancient Kryptonian genetic engineering program, designed to be an unstoppable force of destruction.

In the scene where Doomsday transforms, he emerges from a Kryptonian chamber in which he has been genetically engineered and begins to wreak havoc on the city of Metropolis. His appearance is monstrous, with spiked armor covering his body and glowing red eyes that exude pure rage.

As Doomsday battles Superman and other heroes, he continues to evolve and adapt, becoming stronger and more dangerous with each passing moment. His transformation is not just physical, but also mental, as he becomes more and more fixated on destruction and less capable of reason or empathy.

Doomsday’s transformation marks a pivotal moment in the story of Superman: Doomsday, as it sets the stage for the climactic battle between Doomsday and Superman. The transformation is a powerful reminder of the dangers of unchecked genetic engineering and the potential consequences of creating a creature that is truly beyond human control.

The Rise of the Titans: Eren’s Transformation in Attack on Titan

Eren’s transformation in Attack on Titan is a significant moment in the series, as it marks the first time that a human has been able to transform into one of the fearsome Titans that threaten humanity. Eren is a member of the Survey Corps, a group of soldiers tasked with protecting humanity from the Titans, who are giant humanoid creatures that devour humans without reason.

In the scene where Eren transforms, he is faced with the overwhelming power of the Titans and is forced to make a desperate decision. With the help of a mysterious serum, Eren gains the ability to transform into a Titan, granting him immense strength and regenerative powers.

The transformation is both awe-inspiring and terrifying, as Eren’s body mutates and grows, and his eyes turn into those of a Titan. However, the transformation also comes with a price, as Eren struggles to control his newfound power and must grapple with the consequences of his actions as a Titan.

Eren’s transformation marks a turning point in the story of Attack on Titan, as it sets the stage for many of the later battles in the series and introduces new complexities to the already fraught relationship between humans and Titans. The transformation also marks a significant moment in Eren’s character development, as he grapples with the morality of his actions as both a human and a Titan.

The True Nature of the Devil: Akira’s Transformation in Devilman Crybaby

Akira’s transformation in Devilman Crybaby is a terrifying and brutal moment in the series, as it marks the moment when Akira fully embraces his demonic powers and becomes the titular Devilman. Akira is a high school student who becomes entangled in a war between demons and humans, and must make a difficult choice when he discovers his true nature.

In the scene where Akira transforms, he is faced with the full extent of the demonic powers that have been lying dormant within him. As he unleashes his true form, his body contorts and shifts, becoming more and more demonic with each passing moment. His eyes turn red, his skin becomes covered in scales, and his once-human form is twisted and warped into a monstrous creature.

The transformation is both shocking and mesmerizing, as Akira’s power surges and he becomes a force to be reckoned with. However, the transformation also comes with a cost, as Akira struggles to maintain his humanity in the face of his newfound demonic powers and must confront the true nature of the devil within him.

Akira’s transformation is a pivotal moment in the story of Devilman Crybaby, as it sets the stage for the apocalyptic battle between demons and humans that lies at the heart of the series. The transformation also raises difficult questions about the nature of good and evil, and the blurred lines between human and demon in the world of Devilman Crybaby.

The Dark Side of Magic: Lucy’s Transformation in Elfen Lied

Lucy’s transformation in Elfen Lied is a disturbing and tragic moment in the series, as it marks the moment when Lucy fully embraces her powers as a Diclonius, a race of beings with telekinetic abilities and lethal vectors. Lucy is a young woman who has been subjected to cruel experimentation and abuse, and her transformation is the result of years of trauma and pain.

In the scene where Lucy transforms, she is pushed to the brink of insanity by the constant abuse and mistreatment she has suffered. As she unleashes her powers, her body is engulfed in a terrifying aura, and her vectors lash out, killing everyone in their path.

The transformation is both horrifying and heartbreaking, as Lucy is revealed to be a victim of the same system that has created her monstrous powers. Her transformation is a testament to the dark side of magic and the dangers of wielding power without empathy or compassion.

Lucy’s transformation is a pivotal moment in the story of Elfen Lied, as it sets the stage for the intense battles and tragic events that follow. The transformation also serves as a powerful reminder of the toll that abuse and trauma can take on the human psyche, and the importance of addressing these issues in a responsible and compassionate manner.

From Child to Monster: Nina’s Transformation in Fullmetal Alchemist

Nina’s transformation in Fullmetal Alchemist is a heartbreaking and horrifying moment in the series, as it marks the moment when Nina is turned into a monstrous chimera by her father, who is working for the military. Nina is a young girl who befriends the series’ protagonists, Edward and Alphonse Elric, and her transformation is a result of the dark alchemical experiments that take place in the world of Fullmetal Alchemist.

In the scene where Nina transforms, she is shown to be completely helpless and vulnerable, as her father uses her as a test subject in his twisted experiments. The transformation is both shocking and deeply disturbing, as Nina’s body is twisted and warped into a monstrous chimera, with her human and dog forms merged together in a grotesque and unnatural way.

The transformation is a stark reminder of the consequences of playing with the laws of alchemy, and the danger of using science for evil purposes. Nina’s transformation also serves as a poignant commentary on the horrors of war and the way that innocent lives can be sacrificed in the pursuit of power and glory.

Nina’s transformation is a pivotal moment in the story of Fullmetal Alchemist, as it sets the stage for the intense battles and moral dilemmas that the series’ characters must face. The transformation also serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of compassion and empathy, and the need to protect the innocent and vulnerable in a world that can be cruel and unforgiving.

The Vampiric Awakening: Seras’ Transformation in Hellsing

Seras’ transformation in Hellsing is a powerful and visceral moment in the series, as it marks the moment when Seras becomes a vampire and fully embraces her newfound powers. Seras is a former police officer who is turned into a vampire by Alucard, the series’ main protagonist, after she is mortally wounded in a battle with a vampire.

In the scene where Seras transforms, she is shown to be struggling with her humanity and the knowledge that she has become something that she once fought against. As she embraces her vampiric powers, her body is engulfed in a dark and supernatural aura, and her eyes turn blood red.

The transformation is both thrilling and terrifying, as Seras’ body is transformed into a powerful and deadly weapon, with superhuman strength, speed, and agility. The transformation also marks a significant turning point in Seras’ character arc, as she begins to grapple with the morality of her newfound powers and the question of what it means to be a vampire.

Seras’ transformation is a pivotal moment in the story of Hellsing, as it sets the stage for the intense battles and complex moral dilemmas that the series’ characters must face. The transformation also serves as a powerful reminder of the dangers of power and the importance of using it responsibly and with compassion.

Overall, Seras’ transformation in Hellsing is a memorable and impactful moment in the series, and it stands as a testament to the power of transformation in anime storytelling.

A big shout-out to Elena Viuova for posting this awesome article on our blog! Welcome to the D&A Anime Blog Family! 🙂

Tanjiro vs The Super Doll

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba S3, Ep 2 Review

In my review for the season premiere, I missed an important scene at the end of the episode. In it, Tanjiro’s in the woods near the swordsmith’s village when he stumbles upon a man who looks exactly like the one he saw in his dream in the episode. As we see in this episode, that man isn’t a man but a training dummy. A training dummy that puts 21st-century robotics to shame, at that! Modeled in the likeness of a long-dead Demon Slayer, it will help Tanjiro get stronger if he can get past the abrasive Hashira who called dibs on it. The Yoriichi Type Zero doll appears!

Muichiro Tokito, the Sand Paper Hashira

Picking up where the last episode left off, Tanjiro watches as one of the twelve Hashira, Muichiro Tokito, butts heads with this little blacksmith named Kotetsu. Muichiro demands to use the mechanical doll, the Yoriichi Type Zero so that he can get stronger. However, that young blacksmith refuses, not wanting it to get damaged. The Yoriichi doll was made by his ancestors three hundred years ago, and it’s so advanced they don’t know how to repair it if it gets damaged.

Muichiro doesn’t care, though. After knocking Tanjiro out for trying to intervene, the Hashira proceeds to train with it and chops off one of the arms! Muichiro’s officially the Mist Hashira, but he might as well be the Sand Paper Hashira. He’s so abrasive and arrogant he makes the likes of Sasuke, Bakugo, and Vegeta look pleasant in comparison. 

So, Tanjiro and this little boy, Kotetsu, aren’t going to take this disrespect lying down. Even though he’s only ten and knows he can’t fix the doll if it breaks anymore, Kotetsu doesn’t care. He goes full drill sergeant and forces Tanjiro to try without rest or food until he can beat the thing. It gets so bad, Tanjiro has to drink the rainwater to stay upright! 

It’s worth it, though, to fight the Yoriichi doll.

The Six-Armed Demon Slaying Doll

There needs to be a way to discuss the person who the doll was modeled after without spoiling the manga. For now, the important thing to know is that Yoriichi was a Demon Slayer who lived three hundred years ago and was a master swordsman. He was so powerful that swordsmiths had to give the Type Zero doll six arms to capture his skill with a blade fully. In addition, as Tanjiro discovers from his dreams, this man eventually meets Tanjiro’s ancestors. The earrings that Tanjiro wears match the ones Yoriichi wore in the dream. In other words, the Kamado family was close to this man.

That doesn’t do a lot of good for Tanjiro, though. Despite his best efforts, his exhaustion (and Kotetsu’s drill Sgt. behavior) almost get the better of him. However, in true Shonen fashion, pushing himself to his limits lets Tanjiro unlock a new power. And while I don’t understand how smelling the doll’s attacks works, I don’t need to understand it. It allowed him to beat the doll…and break it.

The Perfect Sword for Tanjiro, Courtesy of Yoriichi

As shocking as it was to see the Type Zero doll break thanks to Tanjiro’s training, what’s more, surprising is that a sword is embedded inside the doll. It may have shocked Tanjiro and Kotetsu, but I know why it was in the doll. I guess that Yoriichi himself put the sword inside the doll that bears its likeness as a reward. Anyone strong enough to beat the Yoriichi Type Zero would be good enough to wield the blade within. In other words, it’s likely that the sword’s special. 

Again, I never read the manga, so I am still determining what will happen next. However, I’m willing to bet that that mystery blade will become Tanjiro’s new weapon of choice before this arc ends—the perfect tool to kill Muzan’s evil Demons. 

This season’s gotten off to a slow start, lacking the ecstasy-inducing action we saw in the Entertainment District’s climax. However, once things get underway, Demon Slayer will start breaking the Internet again. I look forward to seeing what happens and learning more about Yoriichi in anime form.

I Give “Yoriichi Type Zero” a 3.5/5

Oh No, the Swordsmith Village is Under Attack!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3, Ep 3 Review

When we last left off with Tanjiro, he was going through training from Hell, fighting against an advanced training doll modeled after a legendary Demon Slayer. He eventually overcame it, but broke the doll in the process. However, he ended up getting the prize inside: a new sword! The bad news, though, is that the sword’s rusted from 300 years of neglect. That, and the Demons found the Swordsmith Village. That’s not good.

You Can’t Just Show Up, Mr. Haganezuka

Just as Kotetsu and Tanjiro are lamenting the rusty sword, none other than the swordsmith Haganezuka appears, demanding they hand over the blade for him to fix. Since he bailed on them in the first place and just says, “leave it to me!” this leads to some Shonen comedy. Tanjiro has every right to not let Haganezuka work on the sword since he bailed on him when he arrived. Since another swordsmith explains that Haganezuka had gone to train to make the ideal sword for Tanjiro, though, all is forgiven. The sword-polishing process will take three days, though. 

In the meantime, though, the world of anime gets blessed with the light of adorableness that is Nezuko. Getting to see Tanjiro braid her hair to look like the Love Hashira is so adorable, as are Nezuko’s antics. She even manages to make Muichiro let his guard down a little. Despite me calling him the “Sand Paper Hashira” last week, Muichiro at least manages to talk civilly with Tanjiro and Nezuko.

It’s too bad the village is under attack.

I Give “A Sword from 300 Years Ago” a 4/5

‘Demon Slayer’ Returns for Long-Awaited Swordsmith Village Arc

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba S3, Ep 1 Review

Since its anime debut in 2019, Demon Slayer has risen to international superstardom. With a cast of memorable characters, incredible music, and animation so good it borders on otherwordly, Demon Slayer is one of the biggest names in Shonen anime. So when a new season drops, people pay attention to it, like they are right now.

During the events of the last season, Tanjiro and his comrades emerged from their toughest battle yet in the Entertainment District Arc. That battle reduced the location to rubble and left every Demon Slayer terribly injuries, but it was worth it. For the first time in a century, the Demon Slayers took out one of the feared Upper Six, AKA Muzan’s strongest Demons. The upside is that this could mark a shift in the war between the two factions. The downside? Tanjiro’s broken his sword for the umpteenth time, forcing him to get it repaired. With this as the backdrop, Demon Slayer heads into its third season and the Swordsmith Village Arc.

The Upper Six Demons Terrifying…ly Dysfunctional.

With the death of the Upper Rank Six holders Daki and Gyutaro, the King of Demons Muzan is not happy with his followers. Thus, he summons them to his lair in the Infinity Castle to remind them why they shouldn’t fail him. This marks the first time we see the rest of Upper Rank Six in person, and, in true Demon Slayer form, they’re all horrifying to look at. Their bodies are misshapen and distorted, with one Demon having mouths where his eyes should be and eyes where his mouths should be. They’re the stuff of nightmares!

At the same time, though, one thing becomes clear about the Upper Ranks: they’re on the same side, but they’re not a team. They make constant, mean-spirited jabs at each other…or flat-out try to kill one another. They’re at each other’s throats jockeying for power, and its only the power of Muzan and the Upper Rank One, Kokushibo, that keeps them in line. In short, they give off the impression of beings that, were it not for their powers, would be easy pickings for the Demon Slayers. That, or they would kill each other.

Tanjiro Awakens, and Hilarity Ensues

While all of this is going on, Tanjiro’s been out cold following the fight with Daki and Gyutaro, during which he has a strange dream. He seems a man who looks much like himself, minus the burn scar, speaking with a man wearing the earrings he now wears. Those who read the manga know who these two are and how important they are to the story. Anime-only people, though, have to wait for this to be revealed down the line. In the meantime, Tanjiro wakes up, much to everyone’s joy.

Especially Inosuke. He wouldn’t stop screaming at him to wake up from his spot on the ceiling.

Following yet another rehab session, though, Tanjiro hits a bit of a snag: his sword broke for the umpteenth time. Now the one who forged it is so mad, he’s refusing to make it again. As a result, Tanjiro and Nezuko have to go to the Demon Slayer Corps secret swordsmith village and get it fixed there.

Swordsmith Village: So Secret No One Can Know Where it is!

Calling the swordsmith village a secret is an understatement. It’s the Demon Slayer Corps most closely guarded secret. Without it or its swordsmiths, the Demon Slayer Corps would be unable to create the treasured swords that help them slay Demons. They pull out all the stops to keep its location a secret from everyone, even their own members. I would call this paranoia, but given how dangerous Demons can be, they have good reason to be paranoid.

As someone who takes an interest in historical facts and settings, it was fun seeing what this ancient, revered village looks like. The forging of swords is an art form in Japan, so getting to see it up close, even in an anime, was fun to watch. In addition, this episode also sees the return of the love Misturi Kanroji. Beyond the fanservice, I can see why people like her; she’s nice. In contrast, we also meet Genya, another Demon Slayer who’s rude and abrasive to everyone, including Tanjiro and Nezuko. Both are interesting contrasts.

The Demons Are Going to Find the Swordsmith Village, Aren’t They?

Now, I would normally say that this Swordsmith Village arc is going to be peaceful to counter how explosive the Entertainment District Arc was. However, the fact that this village is so important invites people to target it. In other words, the Demons are coming, and they’re out for blood.

Overall, this was a decent start to the new season. I’m not as devout a follower of Demon Slayer as I am with other anime, but I can see the appeal behind it, and the animation’s amazing. Given everyone’s expectations, I’m hoping that the new season can build on the hype of the last one as we ring in the Spring 2023 season of anime.

Also, Muzan’s a jerk.

I Give “Someone’s Dream” a 3.5/5

Suzume, a Heartfelt Disaster Film by Makoto Shinkai

Suzume Review

Twelve years ago, Japan found itself wracked by the deadliest earthquake in its history. Tens of thousands lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami. Hundreds of thousands lost their homes thanks to these things and the nuclear meltdown, and many have never been able to return home. This incident has deeply scarred Japan in recent years, with many only now coming to grips with what happened. Suzume, the latest film from the director of Your Name, Makoto Shinkai, addresses the effects of that great disaster. It does it not in some grandiose fashion, but in a surreal, retrospective way.

Also, there’s a talking chair.

What the Heck is Going On?!?

After a surreal dream, the film Suzume introduces us to our main protagonist, the titular Suzume, a normal high-school girl living in Kyushu with her aunt. Then one day, after meeting this stranger named Souta, she finds this magical doorway in some ruins and picks up the keystone she finds on the other side. However, by doing so, she ends ups freeing this supernatural monster that causes massive earthquakes whenever it gets out. Even weirder, Souta, whose job is to close these doors so this doesn’t happen, gets turned into a chair. Before Suzume can process what’s happening, she’s dragged on this cross-country road trip to find the keystone, turn Souta back to normal, and fix this mess before it can destroy Japan. 

could not make any of this up even if I tried. Given all of the strange things that can happen in anime, though, a guy getting turned into a chair isn’t the most bizarre thing I’ve seen.

Suzume is a Bizarre, Supernatural/Road trip/Disaster Film

When I was a teenager, I got to read a copy of the nonfiction book Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It told the real-life story of Chris McCandless, a young man who left his life behind to become a nomad, traveling across the United States before dying in the wilderness in Alaska. While the circumstances of his death are sad, the idea of traveling the world while young has a certain appeal to audiences. Thus, getting to see Suzume take this unplanned trip across most of Japan was an interesting idea. On the surface, she’s doing it to fix her mistake and help Souta, on the inside, she’s doing it to make peace with her traumatic past. 

Without getting into too much detail, Suzume’s revealed to be a survivor of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. Twelve years onward, people are still trying to pick up the pieces from that great disaster. One moment, they’re leading normal lives, only for catastrophe to change everything forever. It’s a bitter reminder of how bad things happen without warning, and how easy it is for people to lose what hey hold dear the most. 

I still remember hearing news about the disaster, and its clear that its something that Japan hasn’t forgotten what happened. It also ties back to Shinkai’s previous films, Weathering With You and Your Name. Both of them involved dealing with natural disasters via the supernatural. It was a means of coping with what happened, and a good one, at that.

Suzume Makes an Effort Not to Repeat the Romances of Shinkai’s Previous Films

While I’m a fan of Makoto Shinkai thanks to his previous works, I don’t think that Suzume reaches the same emotional highs as that of Your Name. However, one thing that sets it apart from Shinkai’s previous films is how there’s less of a focus on the romantic aspect. Which is good, too, because Suzume’s a high schooler while Souta’s at least a few years older, given that he’s stated to be in grad school. There is some chemistry between the two, but the film solves this by having Souta remain a chair the majority of the time. 

While the idea of someone getting cursed into a chair might sound weird (and it is), it’s brilliant from a storytelling perspective. It allows Souta and Suzume’s relationship to develop in a platonic fashion during the film, eliminating the threat of shipping. In addition, it also allows Suzume to become introspective at times as she thinks about her traumatic past and how it’s affected her life. She doesn’t realize it until the end, but this whole journey has been to help teach her an important life lesson. That lesson being that, regardless of how sudden life can change, it can also leave people open to new experiences. 

A Heartfelt, Coming-of-Age Story

Not everyone’s going to enjoy the movie Suzume. Compared to the likes of Your Name, it feels like Makoto Shinkai failed to recapture that great spark he had. However, the ones who do like it are in for a treat.

Suzume is a good movie about overcoming past trauma through the bonds we forge, and as always, the art and animation are breathtaking. The look of the sky alone is good enough for an art gallery! If you got a chance, I recommend you give this film a shot.

I Give “Suzume” a 4/5

Ash Ketchum, Until We Meet Again

Ash and Pikachu End Their Run as the Heroes of Pokémon

Twenty six years, 1,200 episodes, three generations worth of fans, and the start of dozens of films. That’s how long the world has known Ash Ketchum and Pikachu. They have been the face of Pokémon since almost the very beginning. Ask anyone about Pokémon, and their faces are likely the first things that come to mind. However, now the franchise is entering into a new era, and Ash and Pikachu won’t be part of it as the main characters. This past Friday, the final episode of Ash and Pikachu’s journey premiered, giving millions of fans the chance to say one final goodbye to the boy and mouse that inspired so many of them.

Truthfully, though, this farewell, for now, was in the works for months. Last year, fans of Pokémon got to see Ash do the impossible: he became the Pokémon World Champion! For the boy who seemed to lose in almost every League he fought in, this was a moment many feared would never come to pass. Nintendo wouldn’t let it so they could keep sending him on adventures to promote the franchise. Yet he did it, and the world cheered.

Ash Starts His Next Journey Without Us

The only question left is, what now? Do Ash and Pikachu continue their journey, or will they rest on their laurels? The answer turns out to be a bit of both. Beginning in January, the series aired what amounted to an epilogue series. Ash and Pikachu continued their journey, Team Rocket continued their antics (though they briefly split up), and Ash reunited with his OG companions, Brock and Misty. It was the perfect way to bookend our time with Ash by reuniting the original trio for one last journey. Still, the question remains: what will Ash do now? 

When you’ve devoted so much of your life to a goal and finally see it through, a scary thing is trying to figure out where to go after you succeed. Ash has served as someone capable of teaching people the significance of never giving up on a goal despite hardship. That’s an important lesson not even some adults understand, and eventually, despite fans thinking he’d never do it, he finally does. Therefore, it’s only fitting his final episode as the MC has Ash teach us what to do after we fulfill our dreams: set ourselves a new goal in life and work at it. In his case, Ash wants to go out and befriend every Pokémon in the world. 

I wasn’t overly interested in this epilogue series, but I still consider it a fitting send-off for Ash and Pikachu for the time being. The one gripe I have is at the end of the finale where Ash sees a rainbow. In the first episode, Ash earnestly began his Pokémon journey after seeing a rainbow and the Legendary Pokémon, Ho-Oh. I think it was a missed opportunity not to have our time with him bookended by Ho-Oh returning. Regardless, it’s still a nice callback as we say goodbye to Ash for now.

And I do mean for now.

I Think We’ll See Ash and Pikachu Again Someday

Even though our travels with Ash are over, I doubt that we’ve seen the last of him. Ash and Pikachu have been the face of the Pokémon for decades, and there’s no way The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures will let that fall by the wayside now. They’ll likely continue to call upon Ash and his Pikachu to appear in future projects for recognition purposes. In addition, they might decide to come back to the OG duo at some point.

There’s a precedent for this in pop culture. Everyone thought the Dragon Ball franchise had retired by the mid-2000s, only for the franchise to enter a renaissance with the release of Battle of Gods. The Animaniacs came back twenty years after it ended. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder brought the Disney show to a new generation. If there’s still a big enough audience and potential stories to tell, then a brand or franchise will only stay there for a while. It’s a blessing and curse, but it might be a blessing in this case.

Until the day we see him again, though, thank you, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu. You made the childhoods of millions of people worthwhile, and we will never forget you. Sayonara, Satoshi!

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…

I Think Misuzu’s Finally Lost it!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 11 Review

It’s taken most of the season, but at last, we’re seeing some real progress with Tomo and Jun’s relationship. Now both are aware they have a crush on the other; it might not be long before they’re a full-fledged couple. So…why isn’t Misuzu happy about this? This is what she’s been working towards throughout the whole show. Maybe she’s jealous because she doesn’t want to share Tomo with anyone else?

Things could get interesting fast.

Tomo, Carol, and Misuzu Get Jobs

Most people will never forget their first job, although some keep trying to do so. In this case, Tomo starts hunting for a part-time job to pay for a birthday present for Jun. That’s when Misuzu’s number-one fan, Tanabe, says his Dad needs help at the family ramen shop while his Mom’s away. Tomo, Misuzu, and Carol all join in, and soon, all three girls are working at the shop.

Since this is an anime, and Tomo, Carol, and Misuzu are all cute girls, business starts booming at the ramen shop. Say what you want, but getting pretty people to work at a business is effective. In addition, seeing Tomo and Carol in maid outfits is worth buying a few bowls of ramen (Misuzu refused to wear that outfit, though!) Jun seems to think so.

It turns out that Jun’s a regular at that ramen shop, and when he sees Tomo in a maid uniform…he starts going there every day so he can see her. While this does fluster Tomo immensely, the two are happy, and they’re even happier when Tomo buys Jun a matching smartwatch for his birthday.

I Think We Broke Misuzu

It’s the second segment of the episode that’s the most interesting one, though, and it all has to do with Misuzu. When she tries to push Jun and Tomo further along by pushing Jun down some stairs into Tomo’s arms, it backfires. He lands on Carol instead, which feels like something that would happen to Yuuki Rito from To-Love-Ru.

After that mishap, Misuzu ends up falling into a depression. As in, when she falls down the stairs into Tanabe’s arms, she thanks him. It’s that bad, and it gets worse when she stays home pretending to be sick for several days. The reason is two-fold this time: firstly, she realizes that her telling Tomo that she should act more like a “normal” girl in middle school affected her more than she realized. It made her feel unworthy of Jun when the reality is anything but. Secondly…she realized that part of her doesn’t want Tomo to be with Jun. She’s jealous.

The series’ TV Tropes page suggests that this might be because Misuzu sees Tomo as more than just a friend, but there’s nothing concrete. Regardless, Misuzu’s guilt is very much real, even after Tomo convinces her to come back to school, only to find she’s been drafted to play the starring role in the class play of Cinderella. And the Prince is played by…Tomo.

That TV Tropes page also says that Tomo makes girls question their own orientation, and I’m starting to see why. Still, this could be a good opportunity.

Hurry Up and Make a Move, You Two!

There’s only two episodes left in the season of this show, and I don’t know if there’s going to be a second one. Given how the manga its adapting is about 950 chapters (all of them one page) and we’re in the 800s from what I’ve seen, the chance of them ending the series in that time is…nill. I’m hoping, though, that we get to the point where the two finally fess up and get together, and this play could be the perfect way to do so.

Think about it: if Tomo were to suddenly end up playing Cinderella because Misuzu bailed, then Jun could be the Prince. That’s perfect for romance! Then again, much of Tomo and Jun’s relationship seems unorthodox, so that might not work. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing how the next episode turns out. And I’m also hoping that Misuzu stops beating herself up like this. Another fun episode from my favorite anime from this season.

Oh, and don’t read the TV Tropes page if you want to avoid spoilers. Otherwise, go nuts. 

I Give “My First Part-Time Job” and “The Abandoned Cinderella” a 4/5 Each.

Jun Rolls a Nat 20 On Charming Tomo!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 10 Review

Soon, people. Soon, Tomo and Jun shall step outside the friend zone and become the couple they’re meant to be. And in this week’s episode, which goes back to focusing on Tomo and Jun, we not only see them grow closer, we also learn about how they almost drifted apart in middle school.

Tomo Almost Runs Herself into the Ground.

Interesting tidbit about the word ‘marathon,’ and the meaning behind it. During the Battle of Marathon in which the Greeks bested the invading Persian army, a lone soldier carried the news back to Athens. This soldier ran without rest the entire, 27-mile distance to tell the city of their victory. As soon as he did, though, the man died from exhaustion. 

Why am I mentioning all of this? Because Tomo does something very similiar, albeit not to the point of threatening her life. When their school’s annual marathon comes around, Tomo and Jun compete to see who can make it to the finish line first. Tomo being Tomo, she spent the whole day before training until she passed out in her bathroom. Thanks to that, she got a fever that made her collapse halfway through the race. Lucky for her, Jun carries her on his back to the nurse’s office; the whole way

As funny as it is to see how those two are more muscles than brains, it’s an undeniably sweet thing that Jun did. It makes them even closer than they already were, and it prompts Tomo to finally return Jun’s DS. So, why is this not as awesome as it should be?

The answer lies in the second segment, where we learn what happened when Jun, Tomo, and Misuzu entered middle school.

So Both Jun and Misuzu Had their Own Reasons for Dating!

If you’ll recall, it took seeing Tomo in a girl’s uniform when they started middle school for Jun to realize the obvious facts: Tomo is a girl. Mind. Blown.

Jun’s mind was so blown, the boy spent the next year struggling to comprehend this fact and not knowing how to act. It didn’t help that everyone thought they were already dating, making things even more awkward. So, Jun decides the best solution is to find another girl they both like to date. Awkwardness averted. 

As it so happens, Misuzu was looking for the same thing: a boy she could date while they hung out with Tomo. The stars aligned and, without even realizing it, the two were helping the other’s agenda. However, we all know how that turned out. 

In hindsight, it’s sweet but hilarious to learn that Jun and Misuzu dated because they didn’t want to lose Tomo in their lives. As it turns out, though, the problems they thought they had are all in their heads. Once they talk things out with Tomo, their friendship’s stronger than ever.

What Will You Do, Jun?

…is what I would like to say. However, after what happened at the marathon, Jun feels like his friendship with Tomo’s shakier than ever. This time, it’s because of the simple fact that he’s falling for her. If he doesn’t want to lose the best thing that ever happened to her, he needs to figure things out, and soon.

I know I’m sounding like a broken record, but I love this show and the romance. It’s so sweet to see two best friends who want to take the next step but struggle to do so. I’m rooting for them, though. This is one of the best romcoms I’ve seen in years!

I Give “How the Contest Ends” and “To Stay Best Friends…” a 4.5/5 Each

Never, Ever Make Carol Sad Again. EVER!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 9 Review

Okay, I knew that there was something about Carol that made me feel uneasy. On the one hand, she’s like this living cinnamon bun that makes people smile. On the other hand, it’s implied she’s way smarter than she lets on. She managed to troll Misuzu, after all! However, this week’s Carol-centric offers a greater look behind her smiling face than we’ve gotten thus far. And I have to say, it’s a pleasant change of pace. 

B-Couple Drama Ensues

Carol Olston and Kousouke Misaki are what shippers refer to as the b-couple of the anime. They’re the pair that also garner attention, but not as much as the main couple. In this case, Tomo and Jun. They also make for an odd pairing due to Carol’s seemingly ditzy nature and Kousuke always fretting over her, but to each their own. 

The plot of the episode kicks off when Kousuke enrolls in Mr. Aizawa’s dojo to get stronger for Carol’s sake. Given how he has to compete with Jun and Tomo, though, that’s a tall order. However, when he mentions this to Carol and explains how he wants to catch up to Tomo, she misunderstands this as thinking he likes her. Uh-oh.

Not only does this lead Carol to act colder towards Tomo, but she tries to make Kousuke jealous by flirting with Jun. He wasn’t the only one who felt uncomfortable, though. I know enough about relationships to know that this tactic can blow up in people’s faces.

Then, Misuzu…she messes up.

Maybe Misuzu Shouldn’t Play Matchmaker Anymore

Carol goes to Misuzu to ask if she knows what Kousuke thinks of her. Rather than tell her the truth, Misuzu does something that potentially crosses the line. To encourage both of them to open up more, Misuzu lies to Carol, making it seem like Kousuke doesn’t romantically like her. Her goal’s to get her to cry so Kousuke can stop putting her on this pedestal, which is fine. However, this plan backfires when Carol takes it even worse than expected. She stops smiling! CAROL NEVER STOPS SMILING! THAT’S A RED FLAG.

Ultimately, Misuzu’s plan does end up working: Kousuke chases after Carol, sees her in tears, and finally works up the nerve to tell her how he feels. It’s a happy ending for everyone, with Carol pranking Misuzu as payback. However, things came very close to ending off far worse.

Misuzu came dangerously close to emotionally scarring Carol. Had that happened, and if Kousuke hadn’t learned about it soon enough, Carol’s mindset could’ve changed for the worse. Thus, Misuzu dodged a big bullet.

The question is, though, should Misuzu keep trying to make Jun and Tomo get together? Her meddling could make things worse and ruin everything for everyone.

Questionable decision aside, I liked this episode for adding more depth to Carol. She’s not as one-note as some fans might think. However, I want the show to get back to Tomo and Jun, because it’s starting to get good with them.

I Give “The Angel’s True Face” a 3/5

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!

How Did Tomo and Jun Meet? Best Friend’s First Meeting!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep. 7 Review

You know what I love seeing in TV shows? Extended flashbacks. They can reveal so much about a character’s backstory, what made them into the person we know, and provide greater context to how characters act. In this case, we get an entire segment dedicated to learning how Jun and Tomo first met. And we also get a beach episode.

The Day Jun Met Tomo

The first segment takes place almost exclusively in flashback form, with Jun remembering the day he met his best friend Tomo. It was literally the day after he and his family moved from Tokyo that she wound up in his backyard…and then broke his copyright-friendly DS or 3DS. He punched her in response, her parents begged for forgiveness, and just like that, they became friends.

The entire first segment’s a fun way to show how Jun first met Tomo and Misuzu, and helps to establish much of the group dynamics they have as teenagers. The funniest part is the fact that Misuzu was, and always has been, a massive troll when it comes to Jun. That smirk of hers might rival Anya Forger’s when it comes to meme-worthiness.

More importantly, this segment also proves my point about why Jun keeps Tomo in the friendzone despite her throwing out a ton of signals.

The short version: after Tomo got Jun’s DS back from some bullies, Jun hated how weak he was. So he told her she could keep it until he got stronger than her, started training with her dad, and the rest is history. However, it’s been ten years, and Jun still doesn’t think he’s surpassed Tomo. It’s the hallmark of putting someone on a pedestal, and it’s what’s keeping him from seeing Tomo as the romantic partner that she wants!

As a side note, the fact that kid Jun’s heart wouldn’t stop pounding whenever Tomo did something cute makes it obvious. Our boy Jun is in denial about liking her!

Too bad for him, Tomo and Misuzu have other plans.

The Beach Episode is the Perfect Way to Make Jun Notice Tomo

The beach episode, a staple to many romcom/slice-of-life anime. The perfect opportunity to provide some fan-service…or get your crush to notice how great you look in a swimsuit.

In an effort to force Jun to acknowledge Tomo’s gender once and for, Tomo, Misuzu, and Carol drag him to the beach for a day of fun and relaxation. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to be. Jun takes one look at Tomo in a bikini, realizes how amazing she looks, and now he can barely think straight. It also doesn’t help that Tomo, following Suzu and Carol’s advice, refuses to let him out of her sight. The results are super effective. By the end of their beach day, Jun’s a mess.

This entire segment confirms that Jun does see Tomo as a girl, but is in denial over it and the feelings he clearly has for her. Not only does he freak out over her figure in a swimsuit, but when some creep hits on her, he pulls up on them and scares them off. Granted, Tomo could’ve broken the guy’s spine, and he does the same thing for Carol, but it’s the thought that counts.

The takeaway from this review is that this was yet another fun episode of my favorite romcom of the Winter 2023 season. And the best part is that Tomo’s finally starting to wear Jun down. We might see him caving into his feeling before the end of the season! Either that, or we’ll get a second one. 

I Give “Junichiro’s Promise” and “When Tomo Puts On a Swimsuit…” a 4.5/5 each. 

Jun, Stop Treating Tomo So Delicately!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 8 Review

Whether Jun likes it or not, he can no longer deny the facts: Tomo is a girl. She’s a badass girl who’s also super cute when she tries to be, and one he very much finds attractive. Many people do; why else would Gigguk include a call to join the Church of Tomboys in his review for the Winter 2023 anime season? So why isn’t he doing anything about it? 

We still have until April for the season to end, so there’s more time to see these two lovebirds try and figure out their relationship. More fun for the rest of us, though!

The Summer Festival, another classic trope of Slice-of-Life anime

It’s summertime, and in slice-of-life anime, that almost always means two things happen. Firstly, we get a beach episode. Secondly, we get the festival episode, where the cast dresses up in kimonos, visits stalls, and watches fireworks. And, thanks to Misuzu, Tomo will spend the local festival alone with Jun. Let the romance begin!

There’s just one problem…ever since the beach trip, Jun’s been way too flustered to act like his normal self around Tomo. It gets worse in this episode when Tomo goes to the festival in an amazing kimono, and almost every guy’s floored by how beautiful she looks. The stall attendants are so blown away when they start sharing a photo of her, and the reactions are priceless. Everyone looks at Tomo like she’s this beautiful goddess walking amongst mere mortals. 

As funny and heartwarming as everyone’s reactions are, though, they highlight Jun’s biggest issue. He knows Tomo’s a girl and finds her attractive. Yet whenever he acknowledges this, he starts treating it way more delicately. Tomo likes that to an extent. However, she still wants him to be her best friend and her boyfriend. 

Girl or not, though, Tomo can still kick most people’s butts. And it takes a certain incident to get Jun to snap out of his funk.

Don’t Mess with Jun, Tomo, or Misuzu. 

Once the new term starts, Tomo’s bummed out by how more cautious Jun’s treating her and complains about it to Carol and Misuzu. And as the season’s progressed, it’s clear that Misuzu’s secretly jealous of them and doesn’t want to lose her best friend. However, that gets sidelined due to a certain incident.

If you’ll recall, this pack of bullies made the mistake of going after Tomo earlier in the season, and she cleaned their leader’s clock. Then Jun did the same to all of them at once. When they spot Misuzu and Carol, though, they see this as the perfect chance for revenge, leaving the two girls to run and hide…and call Jun for help. Tomo soon learns, and before long, the cavalry arrives to save Carol and Misuzu. Oh, and Kousuke, the captain of the karate club, comes because Carol’s his friend/and or fiance.

The following curb stomp serves as a reminder to Jun that he sorely needed. Tomo might be a girl, and while it’s fine for him to protect her when she needs it, she can still kick most people’s asses. Given everything we’ve seen of the two, neither can reconcile these aspects.

Okay, Real talk, Tomo and Jun

I normally don’t do this in a review, but I feel like it’s necessary. Jun doesn’t realize how lucky he is to have Tomo.

Tomo is one of the best waifu’s I’ve seen in an anime in a long, long time. Not only is she cute, but she’s also a badass. That is seriously awesome to have someone like that as your best friend. And despite the fact that both are attracted to and perfect for each other, Jun’s as scared as Tomo is about taking that next step. They don’t want to give up their status as best friends, even if it means they become lovers. But is that what will happen?

Real talk: there’s no rule against your best friend being your lover as well. If anything, that’s the best of both worlds. The fact that they’re best friends means they don’t have to put on an act in front of each other and be themselves. That’s the best thing that could happen in a romantic relationship! So for both of their sakes, they better figure that out soon.

Alright, rants over. Once again, Tomo-Chan knocked it out of the park. I love this anime, and it’s one of the best of 2023. 

Also, never anger Misuzu. She will destroy your social life.

I Give “The Night of the Summer Festival” and “The Distance Between Them,” a 4.5/5 each. Best Episodes yet

I Think I Figured Out Jun-Chan’s Deal About Tomo-Chan!

It might be premature, but I’m now putting Tomo-Chan on my list for best anime of 2023. This week’s episode has to be my favorite one yet. Besides Tomo going from total badass to awkward teenager, it also gives us some sweet moments between her and Jun.

Tomo-Chan’s Birthday Makeover

In our first segment, it’s Tomo’s birthday, and she starts acting smug to the others since she has her birthday before them. Besides getting sunglasses from Jun that give her the power of the drip and an actual gold bar from Carol, Tomo receives a special birthday present. Carol and Misuzu give her a mega-makeover. One that’s way more extensive than the one she got for her date with Jun. then Carol and Misuzu send her out into the world to give her confidence.

Then, as if by fate, she runs into Jun at a convenience store. And Jun does recognize her in her makeover, and he’s super confused about it! So confused that the day afterwards, he goes out of his way to get punched by her to make sure she hasn’t gone soft on him! 

As funny as this whole thing was, it does give us some insight into what Jun sees in Tomo. He’s suffering from the classic “putting someone on a pedestal” syndrome. 

Dodgeball is Serious Business

In the second segment, a dodgeball tournament’s coming up. And since Tomo’s too strong for the girls, she has to play on the boy’s team with Jun. Since the two are unstoppable together, they slaughter the enemy. Dodgeball is serious business to high schoolers, after all!

Come the final round, the two face off against the strongest person in school, and Jun gets knocked out protecting Tomo. So Tomo tries to turn the thing around by getting Jun back in the game, but Jun zones out and…they still win, but it’s anticlimactic. 

There is a reason why Jun messed up, though: he was expecting Tomo to win without him. This whole episode reveals that Jun has Tomo on this pedestal in his head. To him, she’s the strongest person he knows, and he’s always been trying to catch up to her, even though she doesn’t see it that way. As a result, he’s got this inferiority complex with Tomo. He knows things are different between them now, but he doesn’t want to move forward until he thinks he’s strong enough to rival her.

In other words, normal teen love drama. 

Best Episode Yet

In a show that’s already given us plenty of laughs, this episode of Tomo-Chan is probably the best. It’s got the right balance of hilarious and heartwarming. Say what you want, but I think it’s a great anime.

That, and I want to meme the heck out of Tomo with her sunglasses.

I Give “Birthday Present” and “Burn Up! The Ball Sports Tournament” a 4.5/5 Each

I’m Now Convinced Carol is Messing With Us!

Another week, another episode of Tomo-Chan is on the books. The rom-com, slice-of-life genre isn’t my usual go-to when it comes to anime, but I’ll make an exception every now and then. If the plot or characters are entertaining enough, I’ll watch anything. And between Tomo, Misuzu, Carol, and Jun, Tomo-Chan has a fun cast. Especially Carol, given how last week gave us this gem.

I had no idea what was going on, and I loved it.

Carol is From a Family of Airheads

Carol Olston might be one of the most airheaded girls I’ve seen in recent anime. Her thought process is a mystery to everyone; she always seems happy. Did I mention the headband thing? That was so random and hilarious!

So when Tomo and Misuzu get invited to her house, it should come as no surprise that we learn that Carol’s mom is just as much an airhead. She mistook Tomo for a boy, she can get lost walking back to her own mansion…and she’s just as affectionate as Carol.

This must be Misuzu’s worst nightmare. Then again, what happens next might be Misuzu’s worst nightmare.

Carol Olston: Ditz, Genius, or Genius Ditz

There is a trope that is known as obfuscating stupidity. Essentially, it is when a character in fiction pretends to act dumb or clueless when, in truth, they’re way smarter. Some people do it to avoid suspicion or the stress of their talents, and others do it for the lolz. After this next short, I’m convinced Carol might be the latter case.

So, the midterm’s are the next day, and Tomo’s freaking out since she forgot, so Misuzu offers to help her study at her place, and Carol joins them. Given how the subject in question was math, I don’t blame Tomo for freaking out. Math was my worst subject in school, and it caused me far more stress than it should have. Unfortunately, if she wants to go to the same university as Misuzu like she wants, she’s got to do well.

Carol, on the other hand, doesn’t need to put much effort into studying for math. She manages to get the top score on their math test, taking Misuzu’s spot as number one, much to her irritation.

Until we learn otherwise, I’m convinced that Carol might be a bigger troll than Misuzu.

The Big Sleepover

The real meat of the episode comes in the third segment, though. When Jun gets a new video game that he and Tomo have been dying to play, he invites her over to his house. Overnight. While his parents are out of town. You see where this is going?

I don’t know what Tomo would be more stressed over. The fact that she’s spending the night over at a boy’s house (even if he is her best friend), or her parents are perfectly fine with it. Her mom even says she will start thinking of names for her grandkids! She says that! It’s hilarious; embarrassing and hilarious.

While Tomo and Jun do spend most of the night just playing video games and best friend stuff, to the show’s credit, they do have a few moments where they could take things a step out of the friend zone. There’s the standard “fall on top of you” scenario, and at one point, Jun accidentally grabs onto Tomo while he’s asleep on the floor. However, they don’t take that next step because it’s too awkward for them. And it stays that way for a week afterwards.

As annoying as this is, though, it did show me one key thing. I’m almost certain that Jun’s into Tomo like she’s into him because he was as flustered as Tomo was. He’s just in super denial over it. 

Now, the anime’s only thirteen episodes long, so I doubt anything will get resolved before the season’s out. If it does well enough, though, it might get a second season, so if you wanna find out if they get together, then support this show on Crunchyroll. Do it for Tomo and Carol, who I’m also nominating for the best girl of 2023!

I Give “The Girls of the Olston Family”, “A Feeling I Won’t Give Up” and “Heart-Pounding! A Gaming Overnighter” a 4/5. a 3.5/5, and a 4.5/5

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.

Misuzu Scares Us When She Smiles

Tomo-Chan is a Girl Ep. 4 Review

In my teen years, one of my go-to romcom anime was To-Love-Ru from the halls of Shonen Jump. Say what you want about harem anime and the fanservice, but it’s a lot of fun when it does stuff right. And one of the best things To-Love-Ru did at one point was splitting the episodes up into segments, letting them tell more stories in a single episode. Some of them didn’t even revolve around the main character; they could be about the supporting cast. Why am I talking about all of this, though? Because Tomo-Chan has reached the pointed where it can start to break each episode up into more segments and focus on the side characters. And the side characters are still pretty funny. 

Misuzu Gives Me all Kinds of Red Flags

An interesting thing about Misuzu: in the dub, she’s voiced by the talented Jad Saxton. A lot of her roles over the years have a recurring theme of being characters who are

  1. Associated with cats.
  2. Actual cat-girls.
  3. Cold & sassy tsundere’s
  4. All of the above

Going by this criteria, I’d say Misuzu was meant for someone like Jad. She acts prickly to almost everyone, and…she’s one of the best characters on the show.

The thing about Misuzu that the first short drives home is that she’s scary. Jun says that when she smiles, it’s like the Devil’s smiling at him. Even Tomo’s a little scared of her smile. However, Misuzu’s scary in a good way because you know she’s going to do something fun. 

Plus, she does care about her friends.

Misuzu Craves Tomo’s Affection

Misuzu may not say it outright, but as the next short makes clear, she deeply craves Tomo’s affection. They’ve been best friends since they were babies, and they balance each other quite well. Tomo brings out the best in Misuzu, and Misuzu keeps Tomo grounded when she lets her emotions run wild. So, when Tomo decides to become more physically affectionate with her girlfriends and winds up getting glomped by Carol all day, she gets jealous. 

Misuzu’s what we call a tsundere. Someone whose harsh to people at first but warm and affectionate to people once she’s warmed up to them. However, Misuzu’s pride also keeps her from expressing her emotions properly. Thankfully, Tomo and Misuzu’s bond is too strong to be broken by things like that.

As a side note: Jun’s a total hypocrite. When he surprises Tomo with a hug out of nowhere, it’s fine, but when she does it, it’s not cool? Either it’s cool for both of them, or it isn’t, man!

Tomo’s Parents are Just Like Her

The final short, while a bit all over the place, is also my favorite because we get to meet Tomo’s parents for the first time. After seeing them, her personality starts to make a lot more sense.

First, there’s her mom, whose just as fiery and passionate as her daughter is, to the point where she threatens Jun when he doesn’t call her by her first name. Then, we finally meet her dad, the head of the Aizawa Dojo. Despite being as much of a meathead as Tomo and Jun can be, he’s powerless before his wife. It’s clear that she wears the pants in the relationship. 

Despite what Tomo thinks of her Dad, Jun understands Mr. Aizawa a little better. He may not look cool in front of his wife and daughter, but Jun understands that he doesn’t need to put on airs in front of his family. He can be himself with them, and that’s the best thing anyone can ask for. The rest of the segment revolves around Tomo standing up to a group of bullies for her girlfriends. And when they seek revenge, Jun whups them offscreen. 

They may not have been as organized as some of the other episodes so far, but I’m still having fun watching them. Better wait for long-term for Jun to wise up to his best friend’s crush on him, though. 

I Give “The Reason for Her Smile” a 3.5/5, a “I Want to Be Playful Like a Girl” a 3.5/5, & “Heroes Fall a Lot” a 4/5

So That’s Why Misuzu Hates Jun-Kun!

Tomo-Chan is a Girl! Ep 3 Review

Another week goes by, another instance of you guys enjoying my reviews of Tomo-Chan is a Girl! I’m not sure if it’s because I’m writing it for D&A Anime Blog or watching the anime, but thank you, regardless. I’m personally still enjoying this light-hearted rom-com. Speaking of romance, the second segment for last week’s episode ended with the reveal that Jun and Misuzu used to date. Tomo wasn’t aware of this, and the three had been friends since they were kids.

Time for some good old-fashioned drama!

Why Misuzu Hates Jun So Much

After hearing about the apparent relationship between the two of them, Tomo immediately goes to Misuzu to learn more. The story went like this: one day in middle school, Jun asked Misuzu out on a date out of nowhere, and she said yes. However, his idea of a “date” was bike riding up a mountain road. Misuzu didn’t like it. At all. They did the same thing the day after that, so she couldn’t take it anymore. 

It gets funnier. Even though she wanted to break it off with him, Jun did it first. And that’s why she hates Jun so much: he hurt her pride as a woman.

Hilarity aside, it’s pretty obvious that Jun’s ideal date involves doing things that Tomo would like. Between that and how he becomes violently protective of her around other guys, it’s pretty safe to assume that he likes Tomo like that. He’s just Naruto Uzumaki levels of dense about it. Some might find it boring, but I find it funny to see how long these two will keep fumbling around like this.

Speaking of which…

An Actual Date Between Tomo and Jun!?!?

Tomo finally manages to work up the nerve to ask Jun out on a date! At least, that’s what she intends for it to be. Jun merely sees it as the two of them hanging out like they usually do. Still, Misuzu and Carol both agree that Tomo shouldn’t waste this chance, and advise her to dress slightly more feminine. The end results are pretty impressive to look at; when Tomo puts her mind to it, she looks really pretty.

Too bad Jun remains as dense as ever. As a result, the two continue to do things they normally do, like play baseball and go bowling. And sadly for Tomo, when she suggests they go do karaoke together, she’s left singing kiddie songs while Jun watches. It’s…a little sad to look at.

As seems to be the case, though, Jun slowly does start to see Tomo as more of a girl, as he privately admits that Tomo looked cute in her outfit on their not-date. 

I may not have much experience with dating (sadly), but I do know that a date doesn’t have to be exactly romantic. As long as both people are doing something they love together, then that’s also fine. 

Thus far, I’m loving this anime. I think it’s one of the funniest ones to come out of the Winter 2023 season, and I look forward to seeing how far it’s going to go. 

I Give “Best Buds” and “Let’s Go on a Date!” a 3.8/5 and 3.5/5 

Short Skirts and Cotton-Candy Girls

First off, I wanted to say thank you to all the people who liked my review to the premiere episode of Tomo-Chan is a Girl! I didn’t expect it to be so well-liked, and I appreciate it. Secondly, it’s still too early to tell, but I stand by my statement. This is going to be a slice-of-life romcom to watch in the winter 2023 anime season. This week, Tomo-Chan deals with skirts and makes a new friend who is…rather weird.

That Intro Screams Best Friends, Though!

This episode also marks the debut of the anime opening, and I have to say, I found it to be very light-hearted and charming. Seeing Jun and Tomo throw fists at each other like there’s no tomorrow and then laugh it off immediately afterward? These two have “best friend energy” written all over them and can clearly be themselves around each other. It drives home just how strong their bond really is. That, and any girl you can pal around with like this is the kind you want in your life. Get on that, Jun!

The Pros and Cons of Wearing Skirts

In the first segment, Tomo and Jun take the bus home from school when some pervert tries feeling the former up. Thankfully, Jun sees what’s happening right away and hauls the guy to the police. While Tomo could’ve done it herself, it’s sweet seeing Jun be protective of his best friend. 

He then ruins any good will he gets by dropping a bombshell: he thinks Tomo should ditch the skirt and wear shorts full-time. She’s…not happy about that since her goal is to get Jun to notice her femininity. However, she’s just as upset by Misuzu’s advice of doing the opposite: ditching her shorts underneath her skirt. Then she basically forces Tomo to do just that to get a reaction out of Jun.

If it were anyone else, Misuzu would come off as a jerk. However, it’s clear that she wants what’s best for her two friends, even if that means she has to push them to each other a little. In the end, though, Tomo and Jun both realize that it’s better to do things at their own pace. I think; besides, anyone else who tries to put a hand on Tomo will get their butts kicked by either one of them. 

Tomo Befriends The Most Popular Girl in School…Who has the Same VA Subbed and Dubbed

In the second segment, we’re introduced to Carol Olston, who’s got the distinction of being voiced by the same person. Dubbed or subbed, she’s voiced by Sally Amaki. She’s the school idol and…she’s odd. Like odd, even by the standards of anime. She mistook Tomo for a girl and then spent the whole day calling her “dumbbell.” Then, to make things weirder, she goes to Misuzu and talks her into getting advice on how to fight Tomo. Or make friends with her. She bribed Misuzu with cake, so the latter was fine with it.

Misuzu’s solution was, of course, Jun. As in, she used the whole thing to get Jun and Carol to spend time together to make Tomo jealous. And it works. Somehow, Tomo and Carol both end up being friends. However, I couldn’t help but be nervous at how Misuzu manipulates her two friends like this. It’s one thing if its because she wants them to be happy. Yet she also seems to do it to mess with them for her own enjoyment. 

That, and the final moments see Jun drop a bombshell: he and Misuzu…used to date. 

So far, this is a really good romcom slice-of-life anime. I’m enjoying it; and now I think Carol and Misuzu are also running for best girls of 2023. 

I Give “Tomo’s Skirt” a 3.5/5 and “The School’s Idol” a 4/5

Chainsaw Man Season 1 Ends on Lukewarm Note

Chainsaw Man Episode 12 Review

Himeno, thou art avenged, and with it, the curtain falls on the first season of Chainsaw Man. At least the first part of the season’s over, but that’s besides the point. The point is that the Devil Hunter’s fight with the Katana Man and his Yakuza ends, and the survivors walk away with their heads held high. That, and Denji and Aki force their enemy to endure one of the worst things any man could endure.

But does it do a good job of capping off the season? Meh.

I Must Not Fear, Fear is the Mind Killer

On Aki’s part, when faced with the Ghost Devil, the same one that worked with Himeno, he’s left terrified. Fortunately, since this is a shonen anime, all it takes is a reminder of Himeno in the form of a cigarette that she wrote on to snap him out of it. Like a true badass, Aki manages to kill the Ghost Devil, who uses fear to sense its enemies. And Aki, having committed to his path of revenge, has no fear. 

This is both equal parts badass and disturbing. I’ve already said several times that most of the Devil Hunters will die young in horrible ways. Given what the Future Devil saw, Aki’s death is going to be horrible. This should concern him, even though he already knows he has only a few years before he dies. Instead of doing something else with his life, though, he chooses revenge. 

Revenge can feel good, but it can also make things worse.

Chainsaw vs Katana is the best fight of the season.

As for Denji, he has his rematch with the Katana Man, but not before the latter tries to take the moral high ground. The Katana Man says all he wants is to avenge his grandfather; he doesn’t care if he has to turn himself in afterwards. However, his pleas fall on the deaf ears of Denji, and, hopefully, the audience itself.

Firstly, the Katana Man ignores the fact that his beloved grandpa was a Yakuza gangster who did a lot of terrible things. Denji did everything the man asked of him, and he chose to kill him anyway. Secondly, he was already a zombie when Denji iced him, so he was dumb enough to make a bad deal with a Devil. Instead of accepting that his grandad got himself killed, Katana Man tried to kill Denji, and got Himeno killed. Thus, Katana Man gets what’s coming to him.

The rematch between the two is, arguably, the best of the season. It also marked the first time in several episodes that I started to get excited about the fighting. Even though it, once again, ended too soon for my tastes, while it was going, it was fun to watch. 

The Ultimate Nut Shot

The best part of the entire episode, though, is what Denji and Aki do to the Katana Man after he gets his butt handed to him. As punishment for killing Himeno and their other comrades, they dish out the ultimate punishment: they take turns kicking him below the belt. Whoever makes him scream the loudest wins.

I honestly thought that this whole scene was hilarious. It was petty, vengeful, and unnecessary of them to do this, but it also felt like a good way for them to deal with their excessive anger over Himeno’s death. Also, you have to admit the man had it coming. Thus, the season ends with the Devil Hunters walking away with their heads held high. 

So why is it that I don’t feel fully satisfied with what happened?

Not as Fun as I Thought it Would Be

I haven’t read the Chainsaw Man manga before I started watching the anime, but I kept hearing everyone saying a ton of good stuff about it. They said that it was amazing, that it was an instant classic, and one of the best shonen manga of the next generation. And I bought it for a bit-it certainly looked cool. However, as much as I wanted to deny it, the Chainsaw Man anime…wasn’t as exciting as I thought.

I’d say I over-hyped the series in my mind after hearing what it was like, but I’m not so sure. I even read that a fan petition started to have the anime redone. I think that might be a little much, but I can’t help but think what we would get if this was animated by Studio Trigger. 

Regardless, I still think that the Chainsaw Man anime has potential. Hopefully, once I start watching it in dub form, I’ll regain my excitement. In the meantime, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic for the next season, whenever that comes out.

I Give “Katana vs. Chainsaw” a 3.5/5

2022 Was a Great Year for Anime

The Best Anime of 2022

Another year over, another year closer to anime fans achieving pop culture hegemony. All jokes aside, 2022 was a particularly good year for Japanese animation. Not only did we get some incredible films and series in 2022, but several of these ended up breaking the Internet. As the year comes to a close, it’s time for us to look back on the best anime to come out of Japan.

Full disclosure: in addition to anime series, we will also be counting movies. Considering the success that several anime films had at the box office this year, it’s justified.

Attack on Titan Season 4, Part 2

Just when you thought that Attack on Titan couldn’t get any bigger, it does just that. The second part to the hit anime’s final season premiered in January 2022, and the Internet went crazy over it. Given how this part saw series protagonist/antagonist Eren Yeager enact his plans of unleashing an army of Titans to wipe out all humanity beyond his island home, that was to be expected. In addition, when the opening for the new part, “Rumbling” went up on YouTube, it wound up trending. Given how the part ended on a massive cliffhanger, fans are chomping at the bit to see the grand finale in all its animated glory. 

Spy x Family

It’s the spy comedy that’s taken the anime world by storm, Spy x Family. Making its anime debut in 2022, Spy x Family combines all the action and escapades of classic spy films with the kind of comedy that will leave you in stitches. Set in a fictional world locked in a cold war, Spy x Family follows Twilight, an agent tasked with spying on an enemy politician to stop a potential war. To do this, he builds a fake family with a little girl named Anya and a woman named Yor. The twist is that Yor’s secretly one of her country’s best assassins, and the only one aware of this is the mind-reading Anya, whose desperate to keep her found family intact.

Even though it’s the new kid on the block, Spy x Family has already won the hearts of millions, and it’s not hard to see why: the characters are so likable. Anya’s a precious little cinnamon bun who only wants to have a real family and will go to great lengths. Despite only taking them in as part of his cover, Loid comes to genuinely care about Anya and Yor. Lastly, Yor’s dual nature as a deadly assassin but clumsy and caring housewife makes her one of the top waifus of the year. If you haven’t already watched it, you should check out Spy x Family.

One Piece

This year was a good year for One Piece, period. On the manga front, the series completed its biggest and longest arc to date, the Wano Country Arc that saw Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates go head-to-head with one of the strongest pirates in the world. Meanwhile, that same arc continues to be adapted into anime to great fanfare. When Crunchyroll posted some of the best clips on YouTube, they trended several times. 

Lastly, the series latest film, One Piece Film: Red, saw massive success in its native Japan and overseas, with its soundtrack trending on iTunes. With the series entering its final saga and Eichiro Oda promising it to be more epic than ever, now’s a good time to be a One Piece fan.

Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero 

After so many years of getting the short end of the stick in favor of his dad, Dragon Ball finally made Gohan great again. When the remnants of the Red Ribbon Army come out of hiding (again) while Goku and Vegeta are away, it falls to Gohan to deal with the threat. However, Gohan’s neglecting his training again, much to everyone’s disappointment. Frustrated by this, Piccolo uses this chance to force Gohan to reawaken his fighting spirit.

Even though this movie sees the franchise use 3D animation as opposed to 2D, it doesn’t make the film less amazing. The film brings back much of the humor from the early days of the original manga while carefully balancing it with a ton of action. In addition, the film sees Gohan and Piccolo gain new forms that put them in the running for strongest characters in the franchise once more. The former gets a form that, for all intents and purposes, effectively canonizes the popular fanmade transformation El Blanco. El Blanco is canon, people!

Chainsaw Man

Yet another newcomer to the Shonen anime scene, Chainsaw Man has also taken the anime world by storm. Set in an alternate 1990’s Japan where Devils exist, the series follows Denji, a young, teenaged Devil Hunter whose life’s cut short by a group of Yakuza. However, Denji gets a second lease on life when he fuses with his Devil friend, Pochita, becoming the infamous Chainsaw Man. Now, Denji hunts down even more Devils. Not for the sake of humanity or for justice or revenge, but for the simple goal of living a normal life. That, and to get lucky with a woman.

Chainsaw Man is one of the most popular anime on the market right, and it’s not hard to see why. The characters are quirky and the series is filled with so much blood and over-the-top violence that it would leave Attack on Titan jealous. If you haven’t been watching it, then you need to be. It’s a slow burn at first, but once it picks up, you’ll see why it’s so popular already.

My Hero Academia Season 6

While the fifth season may not have been that exciting, it was just a prelude to the real show: My Hero Academia, Season 6. With the villains growing more powerful than ever, the heroes make their move to put an end to the destructive plans of Tomura Shigaraki. However, what should’ve been a decisive victory for the heroes turns into an all-out war that pushes both sides to their absolute limits. Characters die, heroes and villains unlock new abilities, and shocking revelations emerge. This is My Hero Academia at its absolute best, and the season’s only halfway over.

JoJo : Stone Ocean

Netflix ruined the hype for this. JoJo’s Bizzare Adventure is one of the greatest shonen series ever. The last decade’s seen the anime inspire countless memes as it finally achieved worldwide popularity. However, the decision to have Part 6 air on Netflix prevented it from reaching the heights it should have. Netflix made the decision to release the season in batches, which is good for streaming but terrible for building up hype. As a result, the final act in the original JoJo timeline almost flies under the radar. 

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! 😉

Anime Training Arc=Badass Protagonists

Chainsaw Man, Ep 11 Review

When an anime protagonist wants to overcome insurmountable odds and beat an enemy that kicked their butts, what do they do? They have an anime training arc, get stronger, and then go back for a rematch. In this case, Special Division 4 has a collective anime training arc to take down the Katana Man. However, will it be enough to take down the Katana Man and his Devils?  

Yes. That’s what happens with an anime training arc.

Training Time’s Over, Time for Payback 

Having trained under Kishibe for an unspecified amount of time, Denji and Power start to show some improvement. At least, that’s what Kishibe says, since he pushes back their training to once a week. However, he also lets them know that they’re going to be launching their mission to take down the Katana Man and his rogue Yakuza the next day. The Special Division’s future rides on their success; if they fail, Denji and Power die. In other words, they shouldn’t fail.

The success of what will happen is the main source of drama for the episode, with Makima even visiting the Yakuza upper echeleons to get more intel…is what I wish she was just doing. In addition to that, she then intimidates the Yakuza into cooperating with the government or face destruction.

This moment show’s how no-nonsense Makima is about her job. When the Yakuza boss refuses to cooperate at first, saying they’re a necessary evil to keep worse gangs from outside Japan out, she doesn’t have it. She gives him a bag of eyes from their other members, their families, and more. It’s a morbid sight and one that would intimidate most people. As I’ve said before, Makima scares me. 

The Raid Begins! The Other Members of Special Division 4 Make their Debut!

The third act of the episode sees Special Division 4 start their raid on the forces of the Katana Man and Sawatari (the girl with the Snake Devil). This moment serves as a chance for us to meet the other members of their group, and most of them are either Devils or Fiends. 

It’s more apparent now why Makima’s Division is cause for concern. Most of the members are either crazy people, Fiends, Devils, or some combination of all three. Denji fits right in with all these oddballs, for better or worse. 

Aki’s Anime Training Arc Pays Off

The real highlight of the episode, though, is Aki. He made a contract with the Future Devil, who, despite it’s strange appearance, is a troll by nature. It likes to mockingly say that “the future rules,” and unlike others, it’s worked with, it barely asks for anything from Aki. All it wants is to live in his right eye, and it will let him see a few seconds into the future. 

The catch to this, though, is that it wants a front-row seat to Aki’s inevitable death, something it found very interesting. Like I said, it’s a troll. 

As I said last week, it’s pretty evident that most of these people aren’t going to live to see retirement. The implication that Aki’s death is so morbid that the Future Devil wanted a front-row seat to it makes it pretty obvious. However, it’s still disturbing to see that the series equivalent to Sasuke will likely die before the anime ends.

Regardless of the short life expectancy, it’s clear that the anime training arc’s paid off. The Yakuza are going down. The one regret that I may have is the fact that the first portion of the anime ends next episode. Here’s hoping they can finish the Katana Man Arc in that time. 

Happy Holidays everyone!

I Give “Mission Start” a 3/5

Anime Training Arc. Brought to You By Kishibe

Chainsaw Man Ep. 10 Review

The first round between the Yakuza of the Katana Man and Public Safety Division 4 of the Devil Hunters has ended. Both sides have retreated to lick their wounds and mourn the dead. In this case, most of Division 4’s either dead or quit. Aki’s lost his partner, Denji got his butt kicked, and Power? She ran away like a coward. Thus, in accordance with the laws of Shonen anime, this defeat means the protagonists must train to get stronger. To do that, Makima brings in someone crazy. So crazy that he makes Denji and Power look sane in comparison: Kishibe.

Master Kishibe Pulls No Punches

With most of their members dead or quitting Public Safety to go private, Makima needs to make sure her remaining members (the main trio, Kobeni, and Madoka) are up to the task. To that end, she arranges for each of them to get stronger in some fashion. For Aki, this means forming a contract with a new Devil. For Denji and Power, though, this means training under the strongest Devil Hunter they have: Kishibe.

Kishibe only likes three things in life: booze, women, and killing Devils, and he’s good at the last one. So good, in fact, that he was Aki and Himeno’s teacher at one point. In other words, he’s as nuts as they get, and brutal to boot. When he meets Denji and Power at a cemetery, the first thing he does is attack them and beat them to near death.

While his training methods sound sadistic, there’s a method to his madness. Only the strongest and craziest people can become Devil Hunters and survive. And with his monstrous strength and lack of fear, Kishibe’s crazy and strong enough to train Denji and Power. 

The bad news? His training methods involve beating them within an inch of their lives until they can beat him. It’s brutal, Spartan, and sadistic…but effective. They do slightly better the next day.

Aki Goes Devil Shopping

As for Aki, he finds himself dealing with a different problem. After what happened with the Katana Man and that girl with the Snake Devil, he’s out of a Devil Contract. Thus, his next step is to get a new one from one of the Devils the Public Safety Division has captured. What follows is like a cross between going to buy something at the store or adopting a new pet. In this case, the “pets” are Devils that can kill him.

The one that Aki considers is the Future Devil. Considering how it represents the fear of the future (which can be pretty scary), I can imagine that such a being must be pretty strong. The uncertainty of the future scares a lot of people, thus making it very dangerous. 

I’m suddenly very worried.

None of These People Will Live to See Retirement, Will They?

The more I watch Chainsaw Man, the more I realize something bad: none of these characters are going to live to see retirement, are they? 

I’m being serious. With the rate of casualties as a Devil Hunter, I don’t think anyone of these people can expect to die in their sleep from old age. Not Denji, not Power (can she even age?) And certainly not Aki. Thanks to his contract with the Curse Devil, he only has two years left to live. He knowingly gave up his chance at a long life to get revenge on the Gun Devil. And I thought Sasuke was bad.

Regardless of their short lifespans, the trio fo Denji, Power, and Aki seem determined to live life to the fullest. Firstly, that means finding the Katana Man, and putting him in his place. And once they undergo their anime training arc, they will do so. For Himeno.

I Give “Bruised and Battered,” a 3/5

Kishibe Arrives! Begin the Anime Training Arc!

Chainsaw Man, Ep 10 Review

The first round between the Yakuza of the Katana Man and Public Safety Division 4 of the Devil Hunters has ended. Both sides have retreated to lick their wounds and mourn the dead. In this case, most of Division 4’s either dead or quit. Aki’s lost his partner, Denji got his butt kicked, and Power? She ran away like a coward. Thus, in accordance with the laws of Shonen anime, this defeat means the protagonists must train to get stronger. To do that, Makima brings in someone crazy. So crazy that he makes Denji and Power look sane in comparison: Kishibe.

Master Kishibe Pulls No Punches

With most of their members dead or quitting Public Safety to go private, Makima needs to make sure her remaining members (the main trio, Kobeni, and Madoka) are up to the task. To that end, she arranges for each of them to get stronger in some fashion. For Aki, this means forming a contract with a new Devil. For Denji and Power, though, this means training under the strongest Devil Hunter they have: Kishibe.

Kishibe only likes three things in life: booze, women, and killing Devils, and he’s good at the last one. So good, in fact, that he was Aki and Himeno’s teacher at one point. In other words, he’s as nuts as they get, and brutal to boot. When he meets Denji and Power at a cemetery, the first thing he does is attack them and beat them to near death.

While his training methods sound sadistic, there’s a method to his madness. Only the strongest and craziest people can become Devil Hunters and survive. And with his monstrous strength and lack of fear, Kishibe’s crazy and strong enough to train Denji and Power. 

The bad news? His training methods involve beating them within an inch of their lives until they can beat him. It’s brutal, Spartan, and sadistic…but effective. They do slightly better the next day.

Aki Goes Devil Shopping

As for Aki, he finds himself dealing with a different problem. After what happened with the Katana Man and that girl with the Snake Devil, he’s out of a Devil Contract. Thus, his next step is to get a new one from one of the Devils the Public Safety Division has captured. What follows is like a cross between going to buy something at the store or adopting a new pet. In this case, the “pets” are Devils that can kill him.

The one that Aki considers is the Future Devil. Considering how it represents the fear of the future (which can be pretty scary), I can imagine that such a being must be pretty strong. The uncertainty of the future scares a lot of people, thus making it very dangerous. 

I’m suddenly very worried.

None of These People Will Live to See Retirement, Will They?

The more I watch Chainsaw Man, the more I realize something bad: none of these characters are going to live to see retirement, are they? 

I’m being serious. With the rate of casualties as a Devil Hunter, I don’t think anyone of these people can expect to die in their sleep from old age. Not Denji, not Power (can she even age?) And certainly not Aki. Thanks to his contract with the Curse Devil, he only has two years left to live. He knowingly gave up his chance at a long life to get revenge on the Gun Devil. And I thought Sasuke was bad.

Regardless of their short lifespans, the trio fo Denji, Power, and Aki seem determined to live life to the fullest. Firstly, that means finding the Katana Man, and putting him in his place. And once they undergo their anime training arc, they will do so. For Himeno.

I Give “Bruised and Battered,” a 3/5

Makima Scares Me Now

Chainsaw Man Ep 9 Review

To paraphrase Wolverine from the X-Men comics, “All right, Yakuza bastards. You took yer best shot. Now it’s my turn!” 

That was the exact thing that went through my head while watching the new episode of Chainsaw Man. The Devil Hunters got ambushed by the Yakuza and seemed to be on the ropes. However, the Yakuza failed to finish the job. Now it’s their turn to hit back, and Makima’s not taking any prisoners. She’s killing them!

Round One! Winners: Yakuza

Last episode, the Devil Hunters came under attack by Yakuza working for the guy whose grandpa Denji killed in the first episode. Now that man can turn into a Katana-Devil hybrid similar to Denji, and he wants them all dead. What follows is probably the best fight in the anime to date. Chainsaws and Katana slashing, blood’s pouring, and it’s just flat out epic.

Sadly, it’s over all too soon, with Katana Man slicing Denji in half to beat him, which is also awesome. And with Aki out, Himeno dead, and Power missing, there’s no stopping Katana Man and his associates (including the girl with the Snake Devil) from taking Denji.

However, the Yakuza made one big mistake, one that a lot of villains make. When you’re out to kill your enemies, never turn your back on them until you’re sure they’re dead. 

Now it’s Makima’s turn.

Makima…She Scares Me

As someone who’s only watched the anime, I have no clue how Makima survived the Yakuza’s attempts to kill her. For now, I’ll chalk it up to plot armor/contract with whatever Devil she has in her back pocket. It doesn’t matter, though. What matters is what she does next…and it honestly scared me a little. 

So after killing her would-be assassins off-screen without batting an eye, Makima comes up to her colleagues and tells them “I’m going to need a temple and some death-row inmates.” As soon as I heard that, I knew where this was going: she was going to sacrifice them to use some terrifying powers to deal with the thugs who decided to mess with her people. 

I don’t fully understand what she does, but seeing Makima sacrifice these condemned prisoners makes the Yakuza explode! It’s like something out of Death Note, but far bloodier. It was horrifying! Seeing all those criminals blood and guts exploding is nightmare fuel.

If I didn’t have my reservations about her before, now I’m convinced: Makima is dangerous. However, what she does is one of the three best moments of the entire episode.

Where Was this Kobeni Last Arc?!?!

The last great moment of the episode comes from, of all people, Kobeni. Kobeni, who I kept saying wasn’t cut out for being a Devil Slayer, and a female version of Usopp, but less lovable, saves the day. After killing her assassin (her friend doesn’t make it, though,) she tracks down Katana Man and the snake girl. Then she manages to fight them both off and send them running for the hills. In a series already filled with badass moments, this one stood out.

When I was watching this, though, all I could think of was “where the heck was this Kobeni when they were trapped in the hotel?!? I want more of it!” 

In all seriousness, though, I was actually impressed with how badass Kobeni was in this episode. Not only did she kill her attacker, but she saved Denji. As far as I care, that makes up for her trying to sacrifice him a few episodes ago.

Let the Devil Hunt Begin

So, the episode ends with both sides regrouping following the first battle. While many Devil Hunters died, including Himeno and Arai, the Yakuza got off far worse. As for Denji, I’m sure he’ll recover. He’s regenerated from being chopped into pieces thanks to Pochita, so he should be able to grow back the lower half of his body.

This episode was by far the best one yet. I’m glad I started watching Chainsaw Man, because it’s one of the best shonen anime in this new generation of the genre. The one hang-up I have is how the action sequences end too soon. I need the chance to enjoy them, Studio MAPPA! 

Oh, and RIP to Himeno and Arai. We hardly knew ye, but the former will live on in fan-art.

I Give “From Kyoto” a 4/5

Ash Ketchum Says Goodbye in 2023

Ash Ketchum and Pikachu’s Story to End in 2023, Make Way for New Heroes

After 25 years of trying, Ash Ketchum finally did it. He became the very best like no one ever was. Sadly, this also means that our time with Ash Ketchum is coming to a close. 

The Boy Who Became the Very Best…

In November 2022, Ash Ketchum, the fictional protagonist of the Pokemon anime, set the Internet ablaze. News came out of Japan that the latest episode had seen Ash defeat the Pokemon world champion Leon in a battle that could only be described as the stuff of legends. In other words, our boy Ash was now the Pokemon champion.

Fans all over the world cheered for Ash Ketchum. After so many years of being denied, Ash Ketchum became the best trainer in the world. However, this presented a unique problem. With Scarlet and Violet about to release, would we see Ash continue his journey? The answer turned out to be no. 

In a video released on social media, the Pokémon company announced that starting in January, the next batch of episodes for the anime would close the book on Ash and Pikachu’s journey. The anime would cover a new generation of trainers in Paldea, featuring their own starter Pokémon.

…Like No One Ever Was

Thus far, fan reactions have been mixed. Ash Ketchum and Pikachu have been the face of the franchise for 25 years. Their journey’s a big part of why Pokemon got so popular and beloved by generations of children. Saying goodbye is something we all suspected could happen. It actually happening, though, is surreal.

On the other hand, fans also argue that it’s time for Ash Ketchum to rest. He did what he set out to accomplish: he became the very best like no one ever was. While I doubt that this is the last we’ll truly see of him, it’s time to let Ash go. Our boy needs to continue his adventures alone.

Ash Ketchum was the very first anime protagonist I ever met. Pokémon was my gateway to the world of anime, and without it, my life would be very different. I stopped following Ash actively after the Johto League, but he always had a place in my heart. Letting our boy go will be incredibly hard, but I’m just glad he finally became the very best. Besides, now we can debate whether the new girl is Ash’s daughter. 

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. 

The Katana Man Arc Unsheathes Its Sword!

Chainsaw Man Episode 8 Review

Since I haven’t read the manga yet, I don’t really know what’s going to happen as Chainsaw Man progresses beyond a few facts. However, I keep hearing that the next arc in the series, the Katana Man arc, is supposed to be really good. Several people I follow on social media insist that it is. After witnessing the start to this new arc today, I see that the hype wasn’t exaggerated. Bodies are going to start falling, people!

They Have Standards, People. They Have Standards

At the end of the last episode, Himeno brought Denji back to her apartment after getting drunk at a company party. The next thing Denji knows, he’s lying on her bed as she comes walking in wearing her underwear and offers to do it with him. If you know Denji by now, then you know that his major goal in life is to get lucky with a woman, and now he’s getting that chance. 

Thankfully, he turns her down and sleeps on the floor. 

While this may seem weird, keep in mind three things. Firstly, Denji’s focused on Makima and the promise she gave him. She has him wrapped around her fingers with the promise that what she’ll give him will be far better. Secondly, Himeno’s drunk at the time, and thus, not capable of making responsible decisions. Thirdly, she’s an adult while Denji’s a minor. She could go to jail if she went through with that! Thankfully, Denji’s puppy love for Makima saves them both from making a stupid decision, and they end up becoming friends at breakfast.

Too bad she’s not going to be around for much longer, thanks to the Katana Man.

Yakuza Revenge

Remember that Yakuza boss that tried to kill Denji in the first episode after becoming a zombie? Denji gave him some well-deserved karma via his first massacre as Chainsaw Man. However, as the latter half of this episode reveals, that old man had a grandson. And that grandson wasn’t happy to learn about his grandpa’s death. Thus, he gets all his Yakuza associates together to get revenge on Denji and the Devil Hunters.

The results speak for themselves. The Yakuza attack the Devil Hunters on all fronts, and characters seem to start dropping like flies. I’m still betting that Kobeni and Hirokazu will die soon, and this seems like the right time for that to happen.

Sadly, though, the one confirmed death we get this episode is none other than Himeno herself. As Aki fights against the grandson, now a Human-Devil hybrid like Denji (albeit with katanas), Himeno sacrifices her life to help Aki win. Thanks to the contract with her Devil, she doesn’t even leave a body behind to bury. 

I feel like this is the moment where the gloves really come off. It serves to drive home how dangerous Denji’s new life really is. Even having a contract with a powerful Devil might not be a guarantee of victory. And this is the life that Denji’s now found himself in.

This is Going to be Good

I was told that the Katana Man Arc of Chainsaw Man was going to be good. So far, it looks like it’s meeting the hype surrounding it. And this is only the first episode of the arc. With less than three episodes left for the first half of the season, I’m hoping they dedicate them to this arc. Chainsaws and Katanas clashing sounds like the most metal thing ever!

I Give “Gunfire” a 4/5

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!

Is Denji Very Lucky or Very Unlucky? I Can’t Tell

Chainsaw Man Episode 7 Review

I’m not sure whether I should call Denji lucky or very unlucky. On the one hand, he’s got cool Devil powers that turn him into an engine of bloody chaos. On the other hand, he’s working a job where making it past five years seems non-existent. Yet ever since he started working as a Public Safety Devil Hunter, he’s getting more luck with women than most people do on dating apps. Given what most of those women are like, I wouldn’t call it that lucky.

At least it’s still great for the camera.

Denji ENDS the Eternity Devil

So, after spending the last episode getting psychologically tortured by the Eternity Devil, Denji decides that the simplest solution is the best one. So like a teenage version of Alucard from Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, he dives right into the fighting like a madman. And it works. He just drinks up that Devil blood while ripping the Eternity Devil apart until he finally wins.

Like I said, Denji’s crazy enough to be a Devil Hunter. Because as Himeno’s mentor once told her, the best Devil Hunters are the ones crazy enough not to fear this job. Thus, after three days of being trapped in a hotel, everyone makes it out alive! Yay!

Now, it’s time for everyone to celebrate a successful mission with the time-honored tradition of going out to a pub and drinking the night away.

Denji: Lucky With Women or Unlucky? I Can’t Decide

Remember how I questioned how lucky Denji is? While his line of work means he’ll likely die young, I was questioning his luck with women. He did manage to get Power to make good on her promise…only for her boobs to be fake. 

The real surprise, though, is that during the work party, Himeno makes good on a promise to Denji: that if they lived through this, she’d kiss him! It was a French kiss, too; But then she ended up puking in his mouth from all the beer she had.

That, and this happened in full view of Makima, AKA the girl that he holds a candle for above all else. It’s never a good idea for someone to get a kiss from another woman in full view of their crush, even if Makima doesn’t react to it. 

Maybe I’m just overthinking this sort of thing and letting my bias get in the way. No offense, but I wouldn’t call any of the women in Chainsaw Man so far as the kind you’d want to date. However, given the dangerous nature of the job, and how bad his life’s been, I don’t think Denji has the luxury of being picky. Maybe he is lucky, in his own, weird way. After all, he wakes up in Himeno’s place…and she offers to do…that with him.

I can’t believe the mangaka got away with this in a Shonen series. 

I Give “Taste of a Kiss” a 4/5

Denji is Crazy Enough to be a Devil Hunter

Chainsaw Man Episode 6 Review

I’ve noticed a trend in the Shonen genre. Besides possessing crazy amounts of willpower, many Shonen protagonists are, to varying degrees, crazy. They either display behavior that makes most people think they’re nuts…or do things that no sane person would do. The irony’s that their crazy lets them pull off the impossible and survive things that would break others. Why am I bringing this up? Because the latest episode of Chainsaw Man confirms that Denji’s crazy. And that craziness helps him to survive a situation that the saner Devil Hunters break under.

Oh, and the same goes for Power.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure up in Here!

When we last left off, Denji and his group weren’t looking so hot. They went hunting down a Devil in a local hotel, but found themselves trapped on the 8th floor. And they can’t get out; it loops back around, like a sadistic Mobius strip. Even time’s stopped for them. In addition, they can’t call for help, so they’re trapped, unable to do anything about it.

This reminds me a lot of an enemy Stand in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. If you’ve read the manga or seen the anime, then you know some enemies can manipulate reality like this to break the heroes. It comes down to whether the protagonists can keep their heads straight and think of a way out. However, that’s hard to do when they’ve got a limited amount of food and water to ration. Once that runs out, then they either have to find a way out…or wait to die of starvation or dehydration. The latter is not a great way to die. 

Sanity Can Be a Weakness in This Line of Work

Last week, I said that two of the new Devil Hunters, Hirokazu and Kobeni, gave off “Red Shirt Energy.” They both seemed like they’d die pretty fast. While they do survive this episode, their behavior does nothing to change a simple fact: they’re not cut out to be Devil Hunters. They’re too sane to do so.

Sanity is, obviously, a good thing. It helps keep us alive and with a grasp on what’s going on around us. However, there are moments in fiction when being sane can be more of a hindrance than of help. Case in point, we have Kobeni, who’s an absolute coward. And unlike people like Usopp or Mr. Satan, it’s not played for laughs. It is genuinely sad to see her break down in their current situation and admit that she’s not cut out for this job. Her parents said it was either this, or become a sex worker to pay for her brother’s college fees! Is it really a surprise when their Devil enemy offers to let them go in exchange for killing Denji, she jumps at this chance. 

The Perks of Being Crazy, as Shown by Denji

Now compare Kobeni and Hirokazu’s behavior to that of Denji and Power. When faced with this impossible situation, what do they do? Power starts saying that when she gets out of this, she’ll win a Nobel Prize and become the Prime Minister. And Denji? He decides to sleep it off.

In other words, they’re both crazy. Aki and his partner, Himeno, don’t count in this instance, as they’ve probably dealt with crazy messes like this before. In addition, all four of these people understand that being a Devil Hunter’s the kind of job you shouldn’t take if you want to live to see old age. You either have to be very brave, very skilled, or very crazy to take it up. And Denji is crazy. We’ve already that before. So, what is their solution to dealing with this Devil?

Simple: they fight it.

This is a Shonen anime, after all—usually, the best solution in a Shonen series is to beat up the enemy even if that notion is crazy. Its this crazy willingness to do crazy things that makes Denji perfect to be a Devil Hunter. As for Kobeni and Hirokazu, they should quit this line of work while they can. Or, in Kobeni’s case, get an office job with the Devil Hunters. 

I Give “Kill Denji” a 3.5/5

Denji Finally Be Getting His Reward

Well, Denji, you might be the second anime protagonist I’ve seen whose been motivated to win a fight…just so you can get some boobs. The first was Issei from High School DxD. If nothing else, it’s been an effective motivator for him, as he not only kills another Devil, but he’s starting to make a name for himself. As for Power, underneath her tough girl exterior lies someone with more depth than we thought. Or maybe not. It’s really hard to tell with Power right now. 

Should We Trust Power?

Power has proven herself to be a loose cannon who will do whatever she wants, regardless of the consequences. She lied to Denji to try to feed him to another Devil, an act that could get her killed by Makima’s superiors. However, she did it so she could save her pet cat, Meowy. She may have only kept it to eat it at first, but it’s clear that she cares about Meowy. Even a Devil can prove capable of feeling human emotion.

As for Denji…his quest for boobs allows him to unlock another essential trait found in most Shonen protagonists: a stupid level of resolve. Even after another Devil shows up to eat Power and Meowy, chops off his arm, and he loses a ton of blood, he refuses to admit defeat. Thanks to that, Hayakawa manages to show up in time to save both of them.

Then, despite having no obligation to do so, Denji covers for Power, saving her from termination. All so that he can get a shot at that normal life he always wanted; and to get boobs.

New Reveals and New Living Situation

An interesting reveal takes place during this episode, though: the fact that Hayakawa has his own contract with another Devil. In exchange for its power, Hayakawa must sacrifice pieces of his body. The fact that the Devil Hunters work with a Devil in the form of Power is enough proof, but this reveal confirms it: for all their talk to exterminating Devils, the Hunters have to rely on their power to do so. I’m sure the irony isn’t lost on anyone. Especially Aki, who now finds himself hosting Denji and Power in his home.

Yep, after convincing Makima to keep Denji and Power with the Public Safety Organization, Makima tells Hayakama that he has to let Power and Denji stay at his place. This is so that he can keep an eye on both of them in case they go rogue. Truthfully, though, Makima probably did it because she thinks that together, they’ll make an effective team. It’s like what happened with Team 7 in Naruto. They started out with poor teamwork, but by the end of the series, they worked well enough to save the world. Plus, I get a lot of Team 7 vibes from the trio. Denji’s the perverted goofball, Hayakama’s the serious one, and Power is the one that thinks highly of herself. Together, they might make a decent team…assuming they don’t kill each other first.

As for Denji, we don’t get to see it yet, but Power keeps her promise. Here’s hoping he likes it.

RIP, Kevin Conroy. You are The Batman

Who’s the greatest person to ever play Batman? Anyone from the 1960s might say that it was the late Adam West, and some might argue that it was Michael Keaton or Christopher Nolan. But us Millenials know the truth. When it comes to Batman, the GOAT wasn’t even someone who played it live-action but left a massive impact. That person was Kevin Conroy, who, we recently learned, passed away after battling cancer. He was 66 years old.

When people thought about Batman for thirty years, his voice came to mind. Beginning in 1992, Kevin Conroy provided the voice of the Dark Knight in Batman: The Animated Series, a role that he would keep returning to for the rest of his life. The fans loved Kevin Conroy as Batman. Just something about his voice captured the essence of one of the greatest fiction heroes. It was just so dark and serious; we couldn’t get enough of it.

Kevin would continue to play Batman throughout the history of the DC Animated Universe. He was so prolific and popular that Batman made at least one appearance in every DCAU show. And when he did, people paid attention. From his days with Robin to the possible future of Batman Beyond, Kevin Conroy remained a constant for fans.

Eventually, though, the DCAU ended, but that wasn’t the end of Kevin’s tenure as the Caped Crusader. Far from it. He would reprise his role as the iconic Dark Knight in Rocksteady’s hit games, the Batman: Arkham series. His return as Batman, with Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Joker, was a big part of the game’s massive success. 

Following this, Kevin would reprise his role as Batman several times, much to the delight of his legion of fans. With his passing, fans of Batman are left absolutely devastated.

I was too young to watch Batman: The Animated Series in its heyday, and I only discovered it through either watching newer shows like Batman Beyond, Static Shock, and Justice League and later through streaming services. I became a fan of his by playing the Batman: Arkham games. I was lucky enough to meet him at NYCC several years back and get him to autograph my game copy.

And take a photo with me. 

Kevin Conroy was a great guy, and I don’t think anyone can ever hope to match him as the Dark Knight. But the fact that so many people are mourning his loss is a comforting feeling. When people think of Batman from now on, they’ll hopefully think of Kevin Conroy along with him. 

RIP, Kevin Conroy. You are Batman.

Rest In Power, Kevin Conroy (1955-2022)

Power is One Weird Devil

Chainsaw Man Episode 3 Review

I have seen a lot of oddballs in my years of watching anime. Monkey D. Luffy’s a pirate who can turn into a rubber hose god but is also very dumb. Haruko from FLCL is so weird that I can’t understand what’s happening inside her head. Then we have the likes of Power from Chainsaw Man. If I wasn’t fully convinced last week, then this week’s episode convinced me that Power is out there. That, and I think Denji would fit right in with the likes of Sanji, Master Roshi, Jiraya, and Mineta. 

Power, the Cat-Loving, Bloody Devil

After taking down a Devil at the tail-end of last week’s episode, Denji learns that much to his annoyance, he’s now partnered with Power. The only problem is that she’s a veritable cloudcuckoolander. She constantly brags about how awesome she is and how she dislikes humans or Devils. The latter of which is due to one of them taking her pet cat, Meowy (who she may have been planning on eating), and holding it hostage. The only reason she’s working for Makima is so she can get her cat back. Somehow, she ropes Denji into helping her rescue her cat…by promising to let him grope her boobs. 

Denji’s really starting to remind me of a more laid-back version of Issei Hyoudou from High School DxD

On the surface, Power seems like a very abrasive character, despite her good looks making her one of the waifu of Chainsaw Man alongside Makima. She’s proud, boastful, and thinks highly of herself. Underneath the attitude that reminds me of Vegeta, though, she’s not as bad as she acts. Despite the flashbacks saying she only adopted Meowy so she could eat it later, she does care about it. I think. 

Then again, it is revealed that the only reason she roped Denji into this was so she could sacrifice him to said Devil in exchange for her cat. So, she manipulated him the entire time.

Denji Will Stop at Nothing to Get a Girl

Denji’s quest for boobs means he won’t become a Devil’s dinner regardless of intentions. Transforming into Chainsaw Man once more, Denji pursues the Devil into a nearby city for a bloody showdown. This is also the moment where Denji reveals that he’s more anti-hero than a hero at this point. His motives are selfish, and while he’ll avoid causing civilian deaths, he won’t cry over them if it happens. Case in point, he takes a car with a man inside of it and throws it at his opponent. The guy bails, but still. 

Motivations aside, we all know why we’re here: the fighting. I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it: the animation studio’s do an excellent job blending 2D and 3D animation during the fight sequences. The result is chaotic, bloody, and a spectacle to watch. Seeing Denji standing in a pool of his enemy’s blood is just so cool to look at. Denji, you’re going to go far in this Shonen Business. As for Power, you are very weird. Keep doing you, though. You may not be on my waifu list, but I understand why people stan you.

I Give “Meowy’s Whereabouts” A 3.5/5

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! 😉

Denji’s Quest for Girls Begins!

Chainsaw Man Episode 2 Review

Question: what would you say if you met a beautiful but mysterious woman who asked you to come work for her in exchange for anything you wanted? Most people would say no because such an offer is very sus. When you’ve hit absolute rock bottom in your life, though, and said woman’s the first person to treat you with decency, it’s hard for common sense to win the argument. Especially when said person happens to be Denji, whose life has been so bad his only real goal is to get lucky with a girl. That’s assuming he can live long enough as a Devil Hunter. 

Denji the Devil Dog Finds a New Master…

After the brilliantly bloody origin story of the titular Chainsaw Man saw Denji break free of his Yakuza master’s, he will need a new job. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the woman Denji met, Makima, recruits him to join the government-backed Devil Hunters she helps lead. They’ll provide room & board for Denji so long as he helps them continue to hunt down Devils using his newfound powers. If he refuses, then Makima’s allowed to kill him like a Devil. 

Some people would object to the obvious “join-or-die” choice offered or say that it’s not even a real choice. However, Denji agrees immediately because they’re offering the dream of a normal life that he’s had for as long as he can remember. That, and Denji’s head over heels for Makima. 

Some shonen protagonists have lofty goals and ambitions that drive them forward in their stories. Goku wants to be as strong as he possibly can. Naruto’s is to become Hokage. Luffy wants to become King of the Pirates and throw the world’s biggest party (that’s a big fan theory, anyway.) Denji, though? Besides getting a chance to live a normal life, Denji’s only dream…is boobs.

At Least Denji Has a Clear Goal in Life.

No, really. As he goes out on his first mission as a Devil Hunter, he decides that his next goal, now that he’s gotten close to a woman, is to get his hands on boobs. If it were most other people said this, they would get slapped and called a pervert. Yet despite how impure his dreams of scoring may sound, it’s how genuine Denji sounds when he says this stuff that can be endearing. All he wants is to have a chance at love in life, something a lot of us can relate to. Ironically, this simple desire lets Denji demonstrate the pure-hearted nature found in many Shonen protagonists. I’ve only known Denji for two weeks now, and I already like him.

Of course, no good Shonen story’s complete without its supporting cast, and we get to meet two of Denji’s new comrades this episode. Firstly, there’s Hatayama, a no-nonsense Devil Hunter who flat-out tells Denji that unless he gets proper motivation, he will not survive in their line of work. So he’s the tough-love kind of person. Then, we have Power, a Fiend, or Devil who possessed a dead human’s body. I love Power. She’s bold, loud, and exuberant, and she will ask anyone or anything to fight her. She’s perfect for Shonen Jump, in my opinion.

There wasn’t a lot of action in this second episode, but given how the first cours has a dozen episodes, I’m willing to give Chainsaw Man time to get its foot in the door. Once that happens, though, I’m looking forward to seeing if Denji can stand alongside Shonen Jump greats like Goku, Naruto, Luffy, and the Joestar Family. I’m pretty sure he can, though. I’m rooting for him in his quest for love!

I Give “Arrival in Tokyo” a 3.5/5

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…


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! 😉


‘Chainsaw Man’ Slaps A With Bloody Series Premiere

Chainsaw Man Ep. 1 Review

A few years ago, I went to an anime convention and came across the strangest thing: there was a guy cosplaying as some character with chainsaws coming out of his arms and head. That ended up being my introduction to Chainsaw Man, the newest in the long line of hits from the house of Shonen Jump. I learned more about it in bits and pieces as time went on, but I never found the time to read it. However, that may have changed, with the highly-anticipated premiere of the Chainsaw Man anime on Crunchyroll. It’s rare for me to watch a Shonen anime without so much as a passing understanding, but if this is what Chainsaw Man is like, then I think I need to get to reading.

In a World Filled With Devils…

In the world of Chainsaw Man, Devils are a fact of life. They rise from Hell and feed on the fears of mankind to gain power, then return to Hell when they die. It’s up to Devil Hunters to slay them and protect people, and among them is the likes of Denji.

Denji is unlike many Shonen protagonists I’ve seen. He’s not insanely strong (yet), driven by incredible life goals, and he’s not a living meme. He’s, for all intents and purposes, a loser, being worked like a dog by the Yakuza to pay off the impossible debt his dead Dad owes them. When we first meet him, his major dreams consist of living a normal life and scoring with a girl at least once before he dies. If it weren’t for the fact that his best friend is a Devil dog with a chainsaw coming out of its head, he’d pass for any other down-on-his-luck teenager.

Then we have Pochita, the series mascot and one of the most adorable things since Chopper from One Piece. Pochita’s a Devil, but also a very loyal dog who wholeheartedly loves Denji. Together, this odd take on a boy and his dog make for effective Devil Hunters for the Yakuza. Too effective, it would seem. In the end, the Yakuza make a pact with another Devil to kill Denji, ending his life before he even gets a chance to live.

Except this is a Shonen Jump series, and the protagonist of a Shonen Jump series won’t die so soon into their story. The two form a pact as Denji lies dismembered in a dumpster alongside Pochita. Pochita fuses with Denji to repair his body in exchange for letting the Devil see his dreams of living a normal life. And what comes out of this fusion is a complete and utter badass.

…Chainsaw Man Reigns Supreme.

In its first major fight of the series, Chainsaw Man sets itself as a cut above a lot of Shonen anime. It’s incredibly violent and bloody, befitting the unhinged and psychotic nature Denji posseses as the Chainsaw Man. Given how the Yakuza screwed him over his entire life, though, it makes his rampage very cathartic to watch. As for the fight itself, it’s a visually impressive fusion of traditional 2D and 3D animation. It’s a testament to how far the medium’s come that it’s becoming harder to tell the two apart when combined. 

By the time the dust settles, Denji’s put the Yakuza in their place just in time to meet this cute Devil Hunter that works for the Government. She gives him the choice: he can die, or come work for the other Devil Hunters and get room and board. Denji, eager to live his dream of a normal life, doesn’t hesitate to say yes.

Overall, it looks like the hype surrounding Chainsaw Man was the real deal. I’m very intrigued with the premise of the series, and will likely add it to the list of manga I’ll read every week. As for the anime, I’m looking forward to watching it for the next three months. Rev it up, people. This is going to be good!

I Give “Dog & Chainsaw” a 4.5/5

Super Mario Bros. Movie: What We Know So Far…

Super Freakin’ Mario! Everybody knows how iconic this guy is. He’s been Nintendo’s flagship mascot for over 35 years and has a global fanbase with an equally iconic voice actor; Charles Martinet. Like many other Mario fans we’ve gotten the chance to see the new teaser trailer for the new Super Mario Bros. movie by Nintendo and Illumination (the same guys behind the Minions franchise). Also, like many other Mario fans, we’ve noticed that Charles Martinet; the voice of Super Mario himself, is NOT the character his voice is known for. That’s right, Charles ain’t voicing Mario in the new movie, Chris Pratt is.

“That’s stupid!”

Once again, its one of those moments where Hollywood chose ‘faces’ over ‘voices’. We remember the uproar the Sonic fandom gave Paramount over giving Tail’s voice actor (Collen O’Shaughnessey) her credits in the movie, but in the end not only did they fix their mistake, she got acknowledged as a voice actress in a major live-action motion picture and reprised her role as Tails in both Sonic movies. That’s Sonic, but what about Mario? While Charles has done a lot of other stuff (including being the voice of Magenta in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero), 90’s kids know him as Mr. Mario himself; along with Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi. The movie may be going in a different direction than the video games, but at least have the original voice actor play the character that the fandom knows him for – is what we’ve heard from a lot of the Mario fandom on social media.

What we wanted vs. what we got.

We are not saying that the movie will be bad because Charles is not Mario, in fact he’s in the movie…but his role is unknown at the moment. There’s not too much known about the plot, but it will have callbacks to everything from the games; like Power Stars, Bowser, Toads, and everything in between. When you have a franchise as big as Super Mario, you’re also going to have a fandom that is very fickle and critical about Hollywood’s involvement in doing CGI and live-action adaptations. What happens a lot of times when it comes to live adaptations to anime and video game franchises, is that they have to be marketable to the general audience (non-anime and gaming fans) outside of their respective fandoms. However if “Dragon Ball Evolution” and Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop” have taught us anything…you’d best come correct, or DON’T come at all!

To wrap things up the Super Mario movie drops in theaters April 7, 2023, and Chris Pratt is the voice of Movie Mario; and Jack Black is the voice of Bowser. Jack Black as Bowser might be the only exception for a lot of fans because he has some voice actor experience (the Kung Fu Panda series), on the same token 2023 is also the year Movie Knuckles gets his own spin-off series on Paramount Plus. Nintendo’s trying to be slick and wait until the Sonic hype died down before announcing this movie, but with Sonic Movie 3 dropping December 20, 2024, SEGA understands the assignment. That’s another post for another day.

Until next post, stay nerdy my friends! 😉 

‘My Clueless First Friend’ is Hilariously Endearing!

My Clueless First Friend Initial Review by RJ Writing Ink

Have you ever had that one friend that’s so different from you? You question why your friend’s in the first place. Or you’ve seen a show about a gloomy person who has a super happy and upbeat person decide to be friends with them? Better yet, have you seen fictional protagonists who can win over the most closed-off people by being so kind, no matter how dumb they are? Combine all those concepts into one, and you get the anime “My Clueless First Friend.”

The result: something so hilarious, sweet, and heartwarming that you can’t help but smile!

The Shy Grim Reaper and the Embodiment of Kindness

My Clueless First Friend revolves around Akane Nishimura, this shy Elementary School girl. Because of how creepy her eyes look, everyone makes jokes about her, saying that she’s a “Grim Reaper” and that if they hang around her, they’ll get cursed! As a result, she has no friends and is very lonely in her life. 

One day, a new transfer student, Taiyo Takada, this hyperactive, extroverted bundle of energy, shows up and hears about her nickname. His response? “THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER!!!!” Thus, Takada latches onto Nishimura like glue, becomes her first friend, and helps to bring her out of her lonely shell.

And for a long time, he’s convinced that Nishimura’s an actual Grim Reaper! He’s so clueless that any attempts to make him understand this go through one ear and out the other. 

Taiyo Takada, the CHAD Chuunibyo

To understand the thought process of someone like Taiyo Takada, one must understand what a ‘Chuunibyo’ is. A Chuunibyo, or ‘chuuni’, is a kid who usually acts all high-and-mighty, makes dramatic speeches about stuff, and may or may not believe they have special powers. Now, Taiyo himself would be a loose example of this. While he’s prone to being melodramatic and wears his emotions on his sleeve, he doesn’t think he has special powers. However, after hearing everyone call Akane a Grim Reaper, he’s convinced she does. And where other kids find that scary, he thinks that’s the coolest thing in the world. 

It gets even crazier from there. No matter how many times people try to bully him for hanging out with Akane, he doesn’t let it get to him. He’s so pure-hearted that he fails to grasp the idea that someone’s insulting him or Akane. As a result, he takes every bad thing someone says as a compliment, throwing said bullies so far off their game they just leave. 

In other words, Taiyo’s a clueless idiot. But he’s also the best friend anyone could ever ask to have, especially Akane. He doesn’t even realize it, but it’s clear early on that he’s gotten Akane to fall for him. I love this kid! It helps that his dub VA is Madeline Morris, who also does Rudeus for Mushoku Tensei.

Akane Nishimura, the Cutest Introvert You’ll Ever Meet

On the other end of the duo, we have Akane Nishimura, the girl everyone calls the Grim Reaper. Because of the way her eyes look, her classmates cruelly taunt her and give her that nickname, not wanting anything to do with her. As a result, she’s never had any friends, to the point where she lies to her Dad about her school life so he won’t worry. She even tries to tell Taiyo not to hang out with her since she knows everyone else will bully him for it. 

So when all the hints fly over Taiyo’s friend, and he keeps taking that “Grim Reaper” stuff as compliments, she’s thrown for a loop. And the more and more he turns those insults into compliments, the more amazed she gets. It’s pretty clear early on that she’s fallen for him because she won’t stop blushing whenever he says something nice about her. Takada takes the cruel nickname she has and turns it into a term of endearment. This is good because it’s eventually revealed that Nishimura thinks her nickname’s appropriate for sadder reasons.

*Minor Spoiler Warning to Follow*

It’s revealed a few episodes into the show that Nishimura’s Mom died when she was young. To be more precise, she died shortly after giving birth to Akane. While none of her family blames her for it and showers her with love because they know that’s what her mom would want, Akane can’t help but blame herself. She thinks she’s taken her Mom’s place, and it’s why she never liked the Grim Reaper nickname. And poor Taiyo! When he finds that out, he thinks he’s been a horrible person calling her the Grim Reaper. 

Clueless First Friend is Such a Sweet and Heartwarming Anime

This is another spoiler, but Akane eventually tells Taiyo that she doesn’t mind him calling her the Grim Reaper. Through his sheer levels of kindness, he turned the nickname she hated into one of endearment. It’s one of the sweetest things I’ve seen in anime in some time, and it’s why I love My Clueless First Friend.

The world we live in can be harsh, cruel, and unforgiving at times. That’s why it’s important that we remember to treat each other with kindness. With that in mind, I think what Akane and Taiyo have is the kind of friendship everyone should have at least once in their lives. If we had someone like Taiyo Takada in all our lives, the world would be all the better for it. My Clueless First Friend is on my watchlist for the Spring/Summer Anime season of 2023!