It was Episode 6 of Marvel's What If...?, "What If... Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?"
Actor Michael B. Jordan had reprised his role as Black Panther's Killmonger, widely regarded as one of the MCU's best villains. He presented his schematics for humanoid combat drones to Tony (Mick Wingert). After sarcastically praising their "bold design choice," Killmonger simply replied, "What? I like anime."
The scene was more than just a cheeky Gundam reference. The character of Killmonger was often presented on screen as an extension of Michael B. Jordan's love for anime. When Black Panther first came out in 2018, many anime fans likened one of Killmonger's outfits to a similar uniform worn by Vegeta from the Dragon Ball franchise, though Michael has neither confirmed nor denied the design theory.
Nevertheless, Michael has always been an outspoken anime fan, and it shows in his career.
Michael B. Jordan is an enormous anime fan.
Though his role as the controversial heir to the throne of Wakanda is one of his best known, Michael B. Jordan's acting career is marked by several notable projects. He's previously starred in HBO's The Wire and NBC's Friday Night Lights. He received critical acclaim for his role as the son of Apollo Creed in Creed and Creed II and will reprise the role in the upcoming 2022 film Creed III, which he is also directing.
In 2015, he also played Johnny Storm, aka Human Torch, in the critically-panned Fantastic Four reboot film, but hey, they can't all be winners.
Yet despite his wide filmography, Michael B. Jordan still has his own hobbies and interests like the rest of us. One of them just so happens to be anime.
Michael B. Jordan proudly declares himself "a true anime fan." In a 2018 episode of "Actually Me" by GQ, Michael went undercover to answer questions about himself around social media. After coming across a question about his favorite anime, he eventually settled on Naruto: Shippuden (though he completely butchered the pronunciation), and went on to say he's also big on Samurai Champloo.
But as a self-proclaimed true anime fan, that certainly isn't the only favorite on his list. In 2019, Highsnobiety asked about his obsession in their cover story on the actor.
"Anime is something that was a big piece of my childhood, my adult life, and my creativity," he told Highsnobiety.
Along with Shippuden, Michael also listed Dragon Ball Z, Attack on Titan, and Gundam Wing as some of his all-time favorite shows.
He's even made anime part of his career.
Michael B. Jordan appreciates anime so much that he's even woven it into his acting and professional work. In 2019, the actor collaborated with Coach on a Naruto-inspired line of clothes. The "Naruto Collection" includes several stylish jackets, shoes, bags, and shirts with designs featuring several popular Naruto characters.
Michael also stars in gen:LOCK, an anime-inspired animated series. True to his passions, the series follows the titular gen:LOCK team of mecha pilots in the fight against the nanotech army of the Union. The second season of gen:LOCK starts on Nov. 4 on HBO Max.
Hollywood actors don't necessarily keep their nerdy sides hidden, but few are as passionate about sharing their interests as Michael B. Jordan and his love for anime.