Anime fans come from all walks of life and in all shapes and sizes.Some are students, some are scientists, some are doctors, some are artists, and some are even nationally-recognized professional sports figures! Crunchyroll All-Stars is a series of interviews highlighting elite professional athletes who harbor a passion both for their sport and for anime.
Today's profile is on Melvin Gordon III, a two-time Pro Bowler and star NFL running back for the Denver Broncos. As he started watching anime with his brother at a young age, Gordon has gone on to be a true fan of the shonen classics .We spoke with Gordon about watching iconic DBZ moments as a kid, his tips for anyone getting into anime, and more!
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When did you become an anime fan? Was there a specific moment that affected you or changed the way you felt about something?
It all started as a kid with Dragon Ball Z. I was really intrigued with the super saiyan mode and how they powered up right before they transformed. The real experience for me was when future trunks saw Gohan die and he first transformed.
Are there any ways you engage with your favorite anime series or characters aside from watching them?
I had Dragon Ball Z action figures, pinball machines, shirts, and all the game boy video games.I actually even learned how to draw as a kid because of Gohan.
Have you ever bonded with someone else over anime?
Yup, just me and my brother.I remember we used to come home and jump on the couches and act like we were powering up.
What’s your favorite anime series of all time?
Naruto haha. I spent almost 10+ years watching that week after week in Japanese with English subtitles.
Who’s your favorite anime character of all time?
Vash the Stampede…I always thought he was super dope –he could never die.And his trench coat was also super dope.
Who would you rank as the top anime hero ever?
Naruto. He always found a way to motivate and find good in a person regardless of how bad they were.He also never gave up.
Who would you rank as the top anime villain ever?
I like Jiren I guess. You can't really call him a villain but man his scenes were epic. My whole life is based on having a great mindset and the scenes of him and Goku pushing mentally and physically past their own limits always hit home with me.
Have you ever taken any elements or learnings from (an) anime and implemented them into your daily life?
Yup, Naruto…no matter the circumstance never give up on yourself and what you believe in.
It feels like more and more athletes are showcasing their love for anime — what’s anime fandom like in the NFL? And what do you think it is about anime that attracts athletes?
It's not really ever the center topic of conversation but it's amazing everyone knows about it.I think all athletes found some superhero to model their imagination after and for them it's someone they'll never forget.
What would your message be to someone who recently discovered anime and was thinking about getting into it?
Give it time !! Fall in love with the details and the story of each character and how they grow throughout each episode and series.It sounds crazy but at times you can learn a thing or two about life.
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