Creed III is hitting the big screen tomorrow, March 3, and it seems director and star Michael B. Jordan might be hoping a lot of anime fans show up. That’s because anime was a major influence on the movie, and he did a deeper dive into that in a recent lengthy interview.
Jordan says he watches anime every day (right now he’s watching BLUELOCK, which he loves). Before he had hinted that a certain punch was inspired by Dragon Ball Z, so when the interviewer asked about a specific punch in the movie and if that were the DBZ one, Jordan corrected, “No, that punch is Naruto and Sasuke.” Specifically, it’s from the 450th episode in Naruto: Shippuden.
“It’s like these images [from anime] are burned into my head. So when I was in preproduction and putting together the fight choreography, it was just second nature to me to reach for that.
There’s a few moments like that in there: the gut punch — boom! There were moments during production where I was like, Where do I infuse these moments? I just have a highlight reel of moments from my favorite anime constantly running through my head that, you know, if it makes sense and it fits with the movie, I just pull from that for inspiration. You know, try this or try that. It just came together naturally like that. It’s hard to explain, but yeah.”
Anime Easter eggs were also discussed — the character Adonis will have references to Lupin III, Robotech and Naruto all in his room.
Asked what about Dragon Ball Z and Naruto resonates with him, Jordan replied:
“Oh man, that’s deep. There are so many layers I can get into, but like [for Dragon Ball Z], it’s Goku’s resilience, you know? 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.. . .
The bonds and relationships of Naruto are what speak to me. Him being an outcast, being different, being shunned away from everybody, and still being able to not hold a grudge, keep a smile on his face, keep his promise and go to the ends of the Earth in order to live up to that promise, is what resonates for me. And then just the idea of having that inner demon inside of you, that inner beast — I think that’s something strong to have, an inner sense of self. And that’s not even getting into the story of all the Hokages before him.”
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.