For a good while now, Creed III director and star Michael B. Jordan has been quite open about his love for anime. The star has discussed how he infused that love for anime into the Creed sequel’s style, and now that it’s playing in theaters, fans have been able to see just how much anime influence made it into the film.
To start, designer and concept artist Raphael Phillips took to Twitter to reveal that Adonis Creed’s shorts in the sequel took inspiration from Akira protagonist Shōtarō Kaneda’s iconic red jacket.
So, @thebigbadwolf44 hits me one Sunday afternoon in 2021 and was like: ‘Raph! Michael loves anime so much, what if we pitch him some Akira inspired shorts?’ We took inspo from the design lines of Kaneda’s classic fit, and he loved it ? #CreedIII pic.twitter.com/Hl7HlBHxsT
— It’s Still Raph ? (@Jehutysan) March 3, 2023
The huge gut-punch that Creed takes from Dame in the final battle brings to mind similar strikes from many anime that leave the recipient winded — especially given the specific camera angle — but a particularly famous use of this attack comes in the form of Goku’s Meteor Smash against Frieza.
One of the most memorable moments from that last fight was the symmetrical punch that Dame and Creed exchanged — a moment that can be seen in quite a few anime, but was specifically confirmed by Jordan to be in reference to Naruto and Sasuke’s own exchange of punches. That said, it also appears in Dragon Ball Super and in series like Fairy Tail and Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.
The star and director also mentioned that “the void,” the scene in the final fight where Creed and Dame are suddenly in an empty stadium of sorts, was “the biggest anime swing” he took. Jordan specifically compared the moment to the scene in Naruto: Shippuden where Naruto’s rival, Sasuke Uchiha, first meets the Nine-Tailed Fox Demon Kurama inside Naruto. Jordan said that scene in particular made him think, “Oh man, that would be dope, if I could figure out a way to get these two guys into a void, and that’s where they were really having their final battle at.”
Even outside of these bigger thematic references, Adonis’ childhood room at the start of the film is filled with anime merchandise. From Lupin the Third, Naruto, and Robotech posters to Gundam models, its clear that Jordan is fond of all sorts of different anime of different eras and genres.
Taking anime themes and visuals and adapting them into a major movie in a way that is accessible to non-anime fans is no easy task, but Michael B. Jordan has gone the distance and crafted a film that uses the best and most recognizable anime tropes to great effect. Now we just need to wait and see if Adonis will get a JoJo Stand in Creed IV.