NFL Star Mike Daniels Talks His Love of Anime in New Documentary

Entering his seventh season in the NFL, Green Bay Packers Defensive End Mike Daniels continues to make his mark on the league. A two-time Pro Bowler, Daniels continues to be a leader for the storied franchise as they head into the 2018-19 season. But if you asked him how he does it, he’ll tell you it comes from an unlikely source: anime.

Daniels stars in a new documentary titled He Was Anime, a film about how the genre influenced his life and the lives of those around him. The short 11-minute film was created by anime streaming service Crunchyroll. You can watch below.


Daniels identifies himself as an anime fan first, above even an NFL player, because of his humble New Jersey roots. He admits he didn’t fit  in and was bullied in school for being “different.” He gravitated towards anime (especially Dragon Ball Z) because it was different, like him, and not many people were watching it. Although it gave bullies another reason to pick on him Daniels didn’t care; he liked anime. It gave him something to be proud of.

Daniels’ father, Mike Daniels Sr., introduced him to wrestling, baseball and football to “toughen him up” after he came home from school crying one day. However, Daniels Sr. credits anime for teaching his son the importance of hard work in becoming a successful football player.

“The power level of each character and the way they increase their power level is through working out, and practicing their skills and martial arts,” Daniels Sr. says in the documentary. “That instilled a good work ethic in him.”

But Daniels’ parents aren’t the only people he’s influenced with his love of anime. His wife (who became a fan because of her husband) and their children are all avid watchers, enjoying shows like Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures and My Hero Academia as a family.

He Was Anime is available to watch now.