Skip to content
Home > Should More Directors Take Influence From Anime?

Should More Directors Take Influence From Anime?


The Importance of Genre Intersectionality

Anime as a genre can touch on a multitude of themes, with the medium of animation granting it a pass of absolutely no limits. When looking at how Creed III utilized and looked to anime to further its narrative, it is clear that the genre offers an abundance of inspiration and potential that creatives in the film industry can look towards and reference. Anime can break boundaries in ways that film and television may not reach upon the first draft; animation is a liberating medium that encourages anything to be possible. The diversity of themes, concepts, and characters within the genre boasts a plethora of inspiration and creativity that more directors and writers should pay attention to. Not only do anime references interest audience members, but they also start a conversation between the work and the anime referenced. Directors and writers should look to the works that excite and inspire them when it comes to making their own work. While Creed III is the most recent example of a film that can improve upon itself with inspiration from anime, one can only hope that many more films that lean into this will appear. 

Anime Inspiration in Creed III

Creed III, the third installment of the Creed film series and Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut is one of many films that heavily includes references and influences from anime. Anime as a genre has always been prevalent, but in recent years it has become more so, with popular series such as Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia, and Demon Slayer having stand-alone movies topping box-office sales. The film, while being a stellar addition to the series, was rich with the genre’s influence, not only with direct references, but with its sets, costuming, fighting style, and present themes. When it comes to references, some were in plain sight of the viewer, anime fan or not. During a flashback of the main character, Adonis “Donnie” Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan, we get to see his childhood bedroom. Among his toys, posters, and action figures, posters for Naruto, Lupin the Third, and Robotech can be seen along Donnie’s walls. 

Even more hidden, the costume designer for the film, Lizz Wolf, revealed on her Twitter that Michael B. Jordan’s “love for anime” bled into the film’s costuming. In her tweet, she acknowledges that Donnie’s boxing attire for the climactic fight takes inspiration from the character of Kaneda from Akira. In Akira, the character of Kaneda wears an iconic red jacket and pant pairing, with ridges on the shoulders. Donnie’s boxing shorts include the same ridges and bold hue of red. The film also leans into the fighting styles of many different anime series, looking to the stylized punches and combat of Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and My Hero Academia. Not only do the anime references in the film make anime fans happy, they also add a layer of richness to the fights and conflict within the film. This influence makes the action more dynamic and creative. When Donnie and his friend-turned-rival Damian end their intense boxing match with a two-finger handshake, it is a direct callback to Naruto. The handshake, called the Seal of Reconciliation, indicates the end of battle and a respect for the other competitor. This adds a sense of closure and finality to the end of the fight, with both Donnie and Damian leaving with respect for each other that reflects the gesture.


Thematic Similarities Between Anime and Creed III

When it comes to themes, certain anime share a lot of similar themes to what Creed III was touching upon. The film was portraying a complicated bond between Donnie and Damian, a friendship turned into a violent rivalry, which a lot of popular anime series lean into. Michael B. Jordan even went as far to say that the complicated relationship between Sasuke and Naruto influenced how he treated Donnie and Damian’s relationship. Both works showed how competition and rivalry can affect and potentially erode a friendship, with violence and reflections upon time spent together affecting how the characters view each other. A great deal of anime explores this concept of friends driven apart by circumstance and having to face each other with violence due to competition and what their respective lives require. Creed III, a film about the past vying for attention against the present, about sacrifice, friendship, rivalry, and circumstance fits perfectly with its anime inspiration. Not only does the influence of anime upon Michael B. Jordan and the film deepen the narrative and combat, it also adds to inspiration for the sets and costuming, adding a stronger level of creativity and an eye for detail that is refreshing. 

Other Films/Directors Inspired by Anime

Aside from Creed III, many popular films lean into anime, may it be for inspiration for costumes or fight scenes, or for its similar themes and concepts. Christopher Nolan, an Academy-award nominated filmmaker, cited the 2006 film Paprika, directed by Satoshi Kon, as a major influence for his groundbreaking film Inception. Both are science fiction films that focus on the concept of being able to manipulate people’s dreams and go inside of them to manipulate the dreamer. Not only were the concepts similar, but certain shots, specifically the rotating hallway shot, were inspired by the anime film. Black Swan, a film that gave Natalie Portman an Oscar for Best Actress, has an almost uncanny amount of similarities with another film directed by Satoshi Kon from 1997, Perfect Blue. Black Swan and Perfect Blue portray a female main character with doppelgangers, both possessing a level of hysteria towards their desire of being the best in their fields. The Wachowski sisters were highly influenced by Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell when developing The Matrix, and Disney’s The Lion King has been compared time and time again to Kimba the White Lion by Osamu Tezuka. 


Creed III (2023) Official MGM Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

Contact Information:

Email: news@deadtalknews.com

Phone: +1 (646) 397-2874

Dead Talk Live is simultaneously streamed to: YouTubeInstagramTikTokFacebookTwitchTwitterVimeo, and LinkedIn

Shop official Dead Talk Live Merchandise at our Online Store


Madelyn Whelan attends Merrimack College and studies English with a concentration in creative writing, with a minor in interdisciplinary film studies. She wants to be an author, focusing on fiction and poetry. After graduation, she wants to go on to get her master’s degree in creative writing.