Susumu Takajima (高島ススム Takajima Susumu ), often recognised by his stage name Driller, is a fictional character in The Drillimation Series of anime and video games by Drillimation Studios. He also serves as the current mascot of Drillimation, making him one of Drillimation's many collective mascots being recognizable by his spiked brown hair and red headphones. In the series, he's the animated version of Hiroshi Takajima's second son, Susumu Takajima, and serves as the central male protagonist of the Chuhou Joutai games and anime.
Driller has appeared in the games and anime since 1994 while becoming a playable character in the 1999 fighting game Killer Minecraft 3 (also known as Killer Minecraft Gold) and the 2001 racing game Driller Engine Grand Prix 3 as an unlockable driver. He has since appeared in every one of those games to date since his debut. Surprisingly, he is voiced by Susumu Takajima himself and provides his voice worldwide with the only exceptions being Dutch-speaking Belgium, the Island of Sally and other Sallyish-speaking countries, Kazakhstan, and Israel.
Concept and creation
While trying to plan a new Drillimation Series, Takajima suggested making a series based on his second son, who has contributed for many Drillimation games by providing music and graphics. Driller's first name, Susumu (進), means "to move on", while his surname, Takajima (高島), means "high island" and the spelling is a play on the surname Takashima.
In the games
Crystal Island series
Driller made his first appearance in the 1994 Drillimation game Crystal Island on a mission to rescue Kagami Ochiai and defeat Takumi Hearthcliffe after finding out that Driller had stolen one of his sprites. In the second game, Crystal Island 2: Shards of Integrity (1997), Kagami accompanies him to defeat Fred Fuchs for hacking his school's computer system. The third and final title in the original saga, Crystal Island 3: Bombsday (2000), has Driller tackling a cyborg named JCN-3000, who is trying to destroy Minecraftia.
Killer Minecraft series
Driller Engine Grand Prix series
Driller debuted in the 2001 racing game Driller Engine Grand Prix 3 as an unlockable racer, and is unlocked after completing the Driller's challenge mission. In Driller Engine Grand Prix 2x2 (2003), he, along with Megumi Wasai, is unlocked after completing the Crystal Cup on 150cc/Difficult.
In the anime
Driller made his debut in the anime adaptation of Crystal Island as the main protagonist.
Driller has generally received positive reception from critics, receiving a broad in Drillimation's fandom. He has been featured in several pieces of merchandise, including plush toys, action figures, and t-shirts. Fans praised him for his musical production, but was criticized for his stealing and lying habits in the games and anime and not being unlocked from the start in other Drillimation games. GamePro also criticized Super Smash Keyboards 3 and Driller Engine Grand Prix 2 for not having Driller in-game, although he appears as cameos in the game's courses and arenas.