- This article is about the celebrity. For the fictional version of the celebrity, see Susumu Takajima (character).
Susumu Takajima (高島 進 Takajima Susumu ), often known by his stage name The Real Driller (リアルドリラー Riaru Dorirā ), is an American-born Japanese game programmer, voice actor, and music artist at the point to where he holds dual citizenship. He is the current headmaster of Drillimation Studios. Born in Anaheim, California during one of his father's trips to the United States for a shareholder's meeting, the date to return to Japan was postponed after his mother's water had broken. Despite being unable to return to Japan, she had Takajima there instead. Takajima became the president of Drillimation in March of 1998, almost a year after his father's death.
Takajima married fellow J-pop singer and actress Kagami Ochiai in 2003. They originally met in 1992 during the production of Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil when she was cast as the voices of Remilia and Flandre Scarlet. They worked together on projects until Ochiai moved to Nagasaki in 1995, which led to a three-year break in seeing each other, and their relationship would not be renewed until 1998. Takajima and Ochiai began dating during their years in college before their massive wedding at Drillimation Studios in 2003. The marriage eventually led Takajima to father three children.
Takajima was hugely known for creating the first internet anime series Anime Atrocities, which made him a respectable internet individual. His talent made Anime Atrocities a popular short film series. Takajima was nominated for eight Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film and won three times in 1999, 2003, and 2009.
Takajima was born on October 25, 1979, in Anaheim, California as the youngest of two children to Hiroshi and Miyuki Takajima. He has an older brother named Hiroki Takajima (born 1977). Takajima spent the first few weeks of his life in the United States before returning to Japan. At the age of seven, Takajima's parents bought him a Famicom, which his father had been using for programming games. Every year since kindergarten, mainly during the summer breaks, Takajima frequently spent those breaks in Anaheim, California, where he took English lessons with an American tutor.
Junior high and senior high years
At the age of nine, Takajima began programming games on a PC-98 computer his parents owned. At the age of eleven, his parents bought him a PC-9801DX, which he dominantly used during his years in junior high and senior high school. During the time he was in junior high school, Takajima also met his first girlfriend, Ayako Sugiwara. However, they broke up after finishing their second year when she transferred due to financial troubles with her family. When Takajima was a third-year junior high student, he began composing his own pieces of music using his experience of playing in a concert band when he was in junior high school. Around that time, he met J-pop singer and theatre actress Kagami Ochiai, who would later go on to become his future wife. After Takajima graduated from junior high, Ochiai moved away to Nagasaki, and he would not meet her again until after senior high.
Takajima's father's health began declining in 1995 during his first year in senior high school. His father would continue functioning for two more years, but after returning home from school during the first term of his third year in 1997, Takajima had learned that he had died following complications from a stroke, and his mother asked him to take over his position. Takajima was inaugurated in March of 1998, shortly after graduating from senior high.
Around that time he was inaugurated, he was reunited with Kagami Ochiai, his former friend from junior high school. Throughout their years in college, they began dating and a year after graduating from college, they became married. Takajima proposed to Ochiai at the Shinjuku High School homecoming festival in October 2002 and officially became married in March 2003 with their ceremony held at Drillimation Studios.
After Takajima and Ochiai were married, Takajima continued his success as a programmer and composer for Drillimation games and songs for Ochiai. At E3 2004, Takajima announced that he and Ochiai were expecting to have their first child. On December 9, 2004, Takajima became a father to a healthy baby boy by the name of Minoru Takajima (高島 稔), named after Minoru Shiraishi from the Lucky Star series, then to a baby girl by the name of Konata Takajima (高島 此方) on September 6, 2006, named after Konata Izumi from the same series, and to another baby boy by the name of Satoru Takajima (高島 悟) on June 11, 2008, named after then-Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. The announcements for their daughter and second son were made on Takajima's Twitter account respectively.
At E3 2013, Takajima ended up in a near-death situation from a failed assassination attempt while trying to announce Lucky Star: Lords of Shadow 2 for the arcades. He was saved by Ochiai and fellow Drillimation programmer Kenjirou Nasaya. When Takajima explained on their blog of what happened, he asked fans to play the Lucky Star games and upload their gameplays to YouTube and Twitch to raise awareness for Crimsonites.
|1995-present||Anime Atrocities||Susumu Takajima||Debut role, internet series.|
|1998-2002||Chuhou Joutai series||Susumu Takajima||Also provided additional voices|
|1999-2001||Touhou Project: The Animated Series||Himself||Live-action only.|
Western television and animation
|1999||The Simpsons||Himself||Guest voice on Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo.|
|2018||Bali's Kingdom||Bradly||Japanese dub of French-Kuboian series.|
|2009||The Drillimation Movie||Himself/Narrator|
|Minoru Takajima||December 9, 2004|
|Konata Takajima||September 6, 2006|
|Satoru Takajima||June 11, 2008|
Autism and mentality disorders
Takajima has had a lengthy history of mentality disorders, as described in the about page on the Drillimation website. He began developing mental issues at the age of seven due to having oppositional defiant disorder and was diagnosed with autism at the age of eleven. The specialist who diagnosed him said it was one of the worst cases he had seen in a decade. Takajima was also diagnosed with an intellectual disability, where he struggled socially and academically in senior high school, although he still managed to graduate with the help of reading specialists. His intellectual disability was done away with at the age of 17. He also experienced other mental disorders as well during his childhood which worsened when he was a teenager, even after his friend Kagami Ochiai moved out in 1995, including depression, misophonia, Tourette's Syndrome, PTSD, anxiety, and aggression.
Even with all this, Takajima had been acting violently as early as preschool, and was spotted by other students and teachers for having a violent streak. One of his teachers told NHK that when he was in sixth grade, he had to be placed in anger management therapy. As a result of all his disorders, he attempted to commit suicide three times as a teenager: first time in 1993 after getting punished for his cyber attacks, a second time in 1995 over the court orders over his doujin games, and a third time after his father's death in 1997.
To treat them, his psychiatrist prescribed him Paxil, which effectively worked. To help raise money for autism awareness, he founded the Takajima Foundation for Autism, a non-profit organization based in Anaheim, California that helps children with autism and intellectual disabilities play video games.
Takajima was involved in two legal cases as a teenager: the first being a hacking case at his junior high school in 1993. Before joining Drillimation Studios, he was a former computer hacker. Takajima had hacked his school's grading system in an attempt to raise his grades. Upon seeing the case, the school suspended him for three days and was forced to attend a disciplinary hearing at the local courthouse. He was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 for unauthorized use of a computer system. He was later sentenced to four years of probation and 90 hours of community service.
In 1995, Takajima was involved in another legal case after he committed a conspiracy to commit art theft over computer-generated art, mostly sprites for use in his doujin games, and sold them at Comiket. He was court-ordered to remove the art and had to pay damages to the original artists he had stolen from.
Name in other languages
- Chinese - Gāodǎo Jìn (Romanization of the kanji for his name)
The Real Driller
- German - Der Echte Driller
Behind the Scenes
- According to IGN interviews, Takajima's favorite Drillimation game of all time is Driller Engine Grand Prix 2x2, with his favorite danmaku shooter being Touhou 7: Perfect Cherry Blossom.
- Takajima also owns a Yorkshire Terrier named Suika, named after Suika Ibuki from the Touhou Project series.
- Takajima stated in an interview that he was the only person in the Takajima family to be born outside of Japan.