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A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Naruto 220…

Time. It’s the one thing we don’t get enough of, and the one thing we always wish we had more of. For many of us we feel like if we had more time to do the things we like, we would feel a greater sense of joy and less stress in our daily lives. However life can throw you a curveball when you least expect it, and now you have to make adjustments in the time you spend to those things you like to do. There’s one other thing about time that secretly scares many of us; it always moves forward. This post isn’t really about time, but its more like…its time to move on.

If you’ve noticed by the title, I indeed do have a Naruto episode reference that talks about the 220th episode of the first half of the series. That is the series finale where Naruto leaves the Hidden Leaf with Jiraiya for about 2 years and 6 months. Well…as for me and D&A, let’s just say I’m on that ‘Naruto 220 Type Beat’.

In 2016 Aaron and I made the decision to go on this crazy ride, to become one of the best anime blog/websites out there in the U.S. and the world. Our first anime convention was Animore in Baltimore, MD during its first year on January 11, 2016. From there we would go to various other conventions; such as Zenkaikon, Otakon (our original convention), SaikuCon, and Thy Geekdom Con. Just this year we made appearances at Stellar Con, PuchiCon, and Ocean City Comic Con. Around January 2020 we were receiving reports of the first few cases of coronavirus in the U.S., however it didn’t really start hitting close to home until March of that year. We spent the next two years with no in-person conventions, so we made a podcast on Youtube called “Nerdz of the Decade”, to help us keep our sanity while also nerding out about anime and video games.

It was also around this time that we wanted to take what we do seriously, and start a business. I’ll admit, at first I was a bit confused due to the fact that when we started this, we really didn’t have any intention of it going as far as it did. So adjustments were made and we backed away from the convention circuit until Fall 2023; when we made our return to cons through Stellar Con, PuchiCon, and Ocean City Comic Con. Even though a part of me was happy being back on the circuit…it didn’t really feel the same. Although I was among cosplayers and other anime fans, the ambiance was a little different. Maybe it could be with conventions marketing and targeting a younger demographic, old heads like myself have either stopped going to those “family-friendly” cons, or just went to some of the afterparties held offsite from some of the semi-major/major cons.

Maybe that’s where I’m at. Maybe its time to chill from the con circuit for awhile. Maybe its time to acknowledge that fact that I’m having a “Naruto 220” moment, and depart for a new chapter in my life as an anime nerd. If it means I gotta peace out from D&A, then that’s what I’ll have to do. I know last time was really a hiatus to get my head together, but this time is much different. Aaron and I are still friends, and he’ll always have my back no matter where I go or end up on this new chapter. The blog and business will still be here, it’ll just be under new management. For those who want to become contributors, you can still hit up our “Contact Us” page.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you guys for making this journey with D&A a fun one. Perhaps somewhere down the line we may cross paths again. I may be out the door, put make sure you support Aaron as he goes on his new venture in making D&A one of the best businesses out there. This is D.J. Lewis on his “Naruto 220” saying thank you, and stay nerdy!

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