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/Film - Creed III Director Michael B. Jordan Was Inspired By Boxing Anime Hajime No Ippo


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The "Rocky" movies have always felt a bit like anime. You have a very endearing underdog story with a charming protagonist who, with the power of friendship and hard work, manages to become the very best, like no one ever was. Then, as we got more sequels, the villains became more and more cartoonishly ridiculous, with increasingly over-the-top gimmicks. I mean, really, what is Ivan Drago if not an anime villain?

Then the "Creed" movies came and offered something similar, yet fresh and different. 2015's "Creed" delivered an underdog story, a redemption story, and a story of grief and legacy all in one, with some of the best filmmaking in the entire franchise (and the best fight choreography too). 2018's "Creed III" only further upped the ante with an even more emotional story of legacy and of parents and sons.

Now, the upcoming "Creed III" aims to reinvent the franchise yet again, with franchise lead Michael B. Jordan stepping into the director's chair to tell a story about things like family, disability accessibility, and even the importance of boxing in different cultures. But Jordan is also aiming to bring the franchise closer to becoming a full-on live-action anime than ever before, and he's taking inspiration from one of the greatest boxing animes to accomplish just that.

Taking The Fight To The Next Level


During an interview for the 2023 Preview issue of Total Film, Michael B. Jordan spoke about wanting to use his passion for anime as an influence on "Creed III," as outlandish as the idea might seem at first. In truth, for as grounded and gritty as they are, the "Creed" films also utilize the type of stylized visuals (like slow-motion) and impactful editing typical of anime. Jordan, however, is thinking bigger than that:

"With boxing anime like 'Hajime no Ippo,' I really love the inner dialogue of what's going on and happening in the ring from the characters. It was really important to me that we see the emotional journeys of both Donnie and Damian in those scenes, and anime definitely played a part with that inspiration."

Now, if you want to take inspiration from an anime for a boxing movie, "Hajime no Ippo" is definitely the way to go. It's one of the best sports anime ever made, a perfect underdog story of a young boy who decides to pick up boxing to fend off bullies but ends up falling in love with the sport and becoming an incredibly good fighter. The use of inner dialogue is a classic trope in anime, one that allows for a single fight scene to last for hours and hours. In sports anime, however, it is the inner dialogue that makes the genre so special (and, in my humble opinion, more interesting to watch than the real thing). 

Cue The Jet Engine Sound


It is one thing to see two fighters compete in the boxing ring, but it is another thing entirely to feel the context behind every punch -- the emotional motivation, the constant flashbacks to the training that got the athletes to this point, the monologue about what's at stake points that increase the tension -- and remind the audience of why this moment matters. If "Creed III" wants to be different from the rest of the "Rocky" franchise and the first two "Creed" films, then letting us listen to Donny's thoughts while he's fighting is the way to go for sure.

Now, the bigger question remains: Will Michael B. Jordan also let Adonis learn the Dempsey Roll? And more importantly, will he bring in the jet engine sound? If he's going to borrow from "Hajime No Ippo," then he might as well go the whole nine yards, right?

"Creed III" opens in theaters on March 3, 2023.

Read this next: 18 Underrated Anime Movies You Really Need To See

The post Creed III Director Michael B. Jordan Was Inspired By Boxing Anime Hajime No Ippo appeared first on /Film.

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