Hajime No Ippo: The Anime That Inspired Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III

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Written By Archie Fenn

Archie is a writer, journalist, and critic from South London. He spends most of his free time (and his work hours) watching and writing about cowboys in space and hip-hop samurai. His parents are very proud of him. You can learn more at archiefenn.com and theinsightfulnerd.com

It’s safe to say that Michael B. Jordan is a pretty big fan of anime. Throughout the press junkets for his directorial debut Creed III, Jordan discussed the plethora of series that inspired the close of the Creed trilogy.

In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Ali Plumb, Jordan listed his top five favorites:

  1. One Piece
  2. Dragon Ball Z
  3. Naruto
  4. Bleach
  5. Hunter X Hunter

As someone who’s seen all five, I can concur that they’re all excellent series. However, there is one anime that Jordan repeatedly mentions in interviews as a major inspiration for Creed III that sadly doesn’t make the list, but it really should, and it should definitely be on your watch list.

Hajime No Ippo

Makonouchi Ippo punching a punching bag
Hajime No Ippo (2000). Images via YouTube

Hajime No Ippo is a long-running boxing manga and anime created by George Morikawa who owns and runs a real boxing gym in Japan. The series focuses on bullies teenager Makunouchi Ippo, who discovers boxing as a method of growing his confidence and confronting his bullies.

Hajime No Ippo follows Makunouchi as he learns the ropes of boxing, from the most basic techniques to advanced strategies, and works his way up to fight for the Japanese Championship belt. The series is a must-watch for boxing fans, and it is evident from the show’s first sparring match where Jordan drew his inspiration for Creed III.

As well as featuring excellent boxing matches and training montages just as motivating, if not more so, as those found in Rocky, Hajime No Ippo is an excellent character study and exploration of the psychology of professional athletes and showcases the highs of winning world championships, as well as the lows of working three jobs in-between training just get by.

The original series of Hajime No Ippois currently available on the anime streaming service Crunchyroll, while the sequel series is streamable on Netflix.