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Creed 3 and the anime that inspired it

It’s official: Creed 3 is a hit. If you’ve seen director Michael B. Jordan talk about Creed III, it’s likely you’ve heard him discuss the enormous influence that anime had on his vision for the movie. And, if you’ve seen Creed III, you know that he wasn’t just making that talking point up. From the movie’s very first moments through the end of its climactic fight, Jordan was clearly influenced by the world of anime.

From the dynamic way he films the fights to even the movie’s central dynamic, Creed III is all anime, all the way down. Here are six of the anime that influenced Creed III, and how they shaped the finished movie.

Naruto Shippūden (2007)

Naruto Shippūden
tv-pg 20 Seasons
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Cast Junko Takeuchi, Chie Nakamura, Noriaki Sugiyama

In the very first scene of Creed III, we get a chance to check out Adonis’s bedroom circa 2002, and see a Naruto poster hanging on one of his walls. This may be an obvious allusion, but Naruto is also an influence on the film’s central dynamic. Naruto is a striver who wants to prove his skills as a ninja, but he’s also facing off against a rival ninja who is something of a frenemy.

Diamond Dame Anderson serves that role in Creed III, testing and challenging Adonis even though the two of them were friends as children. Naruto Shippuden is also where Creed III draws its slow-motion simultaneous punch from, as Jordan discussed in this interview with Polygon.

Naruto Shippuden - DUBBED ENGLISH - Trailer

Dragon Ball Z (1989)

Dragon Ball Z
tv-pg 9 Seasons
Genre Animation, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Cast Masako Nozawa, Ryou Horikawa, Toshio Furukawa
Created by Akira Toriyama

A touchstone anime for any major fan of the genre, Dragon Ball Z is another anime that draws on the idea of rivals who are also friends. Goku and Vegeta, two aliens from a dead planet who have come to Earth and fight to defend it, are often testing their strengths against one another.

Jordan also said that the resilience Goku has was an inspiration for him as he thought about Creed III. “No matter how much pain and struggle he goes through, every battle, a Saiyan only gets stronger. They could even lose, but they’re gonna come back stronger until they eventually beat you,” Jordan explained.”

Dragon Ball Z Season 1 Trailer

My Hero Academia (2016)

My Hero Academia
tv-14 6 Seasons
Genre Action & Adventure, Animation
Cast Daiki Yamashita, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Kenta Miyake

Jordan has also cited My Hero Academia as a touchstone for the film’s central relationship, and you can see the parallels between Bakugo and Midoriya and Adonis and Dame. Adonis knows how to fight and wants to be seen as brave and strong, but he is much less prone to violence by nature.

Damian is much wilder than Adonis and is initially the one who seems to have all the power in their relationship. So much of Creed III is about Dame’s feeling that Adonis stole his life, and the ways in which the two men are similar and different from one another.

My Hero Academia - Season One - English Trailer [HD]

Fighting Spirit (2000)

Fighting Spirit
tv-pg 3 Seasons
Genre Animation, Comedy, Drama, Action & Adventure
Cast Rikiya Koyama, Kohei Kiyasu, Wataru Takagi

The fighting style in Creed III is meant to mimic the fighting a wide array of anime, but Hajime No Ippo is an obvious touchstone, in part because the series is about a boxer.

The style of boxing in Creed III, which involves closeups on individual body parts as well as plenty of slow motion, replicates some of the techniques employed in this anime. It can be hard to make that fighting style work in a live action format, but Jordan knows which touches to keep and which would be difficult to translate.

Hajime No Ippo (Fighting Spirit) Trailer #GB_101


tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Drama
Cast Yoshimasa Hosoya, Hiroki Yasumoto, Michiyo Murase

Another anime about boxing, this time featuring mechanical exosuits that make their punches far more lethal. There are again similarities between the way fighting is depicted here and in Creed III, but another thing that connects these two properties is the way that Dame seems to be willing to break the rules in order to emerge victorious.

He doesn’t care if he hurts his opponent, and in fact, as we see in a montage, he seems to do pretty substantial damage to almost all of them.

Megalobox, Season 1 on Blu-ray | Official English Trailer | VIZ


tv-14 1 Season
Genre Animation, Action & Adventure, Drama
Cast Kazuki Ura, Tasuku Kaito, Yuki Ono

Another anime set in the world of sports, Blue Lock is a series that Jordan said he was currently watching as he promotes Creed III. As a result, it may not have had a huge impact on Jordan’s directing on this project.

If he directs another Creed movie, though, or anything that is set in the world of sports, Blue Lock may come in handy. The series follows a young soccer player who attempts to become the world’s greatest striker by taking part in a program called Blue Lock that unlocks a player’s skills.


Don’t take our word for it. Listen to Michael B. Jordan talk to Crunchyroll about how anime inspired Creed III and why the genre appeals to him:

We got to talk to @michaelb4jordan about anime at the @creedmovie Premiere 🥊🔥 #Creed3

— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) March 2, 2023

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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