Concept and creation
Susumu was created by Takajima in 1958 while trying to create an animation at the Tokyo University that would be successful. While other characters that other students created weren't that good, Takajima's idea was suggested by himself while borrowing elements from Disney's animated films. Takajima originally named him Mr. Driller, but a professor at the university asked Takajima to name him Susumu.
After graduating, Takajima and a group of students formed Drillimation Studios, which would later become the most popular animation studio in Japan. Takajima said that Susumu Hori was to be used in every short film the studio produced before the studio began production of the Angry German Kid anime. When the studio began development on the Star Trigon anime, engineers at Drillimation Studios wrote a story about a boy who must overcome dangerous obstacles and defeat a mad scientist from destroying the world. Takajima found the concept useful and decided to make the series based in a medieval-based world in modern times. Takajima took out the name Mr. Driller decided to make him fight monsters using a drill.
During the creation of the Mr. Driller arcade game in 1986, Takajima wanted to avoid animating Susumu's hair while he jumped, and due to the graphical limitations of the Commodore Amiga, the computer the arcade version ran on, the four colors he used were magenta, cyan, and tan, as well as brown. Over time, as the technology gotten better in Microsoft Windows, Susumu's jumpsuit he generally wears was colored reddish-pink. Surprisingly, before Susumu was born, both Taizo and Masuyo thought that they were going to have a girl, and they bought him a lot of pink stuff. This was based on a true story from Takajima's childhood when his parents thought they were going to have a girl but turned out to be a boy instead when he was born.
Susumu's first name (進) means "to move on", while his surname, Hori (堀), means "to dig". When combined together, his whole name means "dig on".
Name in other languages
- Spanish: Manolito Domínguez (nicknamed "El Niño con El Taladro")
- Sallyish: Susma Horí
In the anime
Susumu made his debut in the main Drillimation anime series in 1972 starting with Star Trigon. According to his backstory, he is the prince of the Lucky Star Kingdom who is trying to seek revenge on Team Ankoku for murdering the kingdom's monarch. He is the second child between Ataru Hori and Taiyo Toby in the Hori clan and currently lives in the Lucky Star Kingdom to this date. He is accompanied by Wataru Hoshi during his missions.
Susumu returns in the magical girl series Lucky Star as the male protagonist, with the female protagonist, Konata Izumi, making her debut. In the series, a group of scientists manages to bring back Konata's lost mother, Kanata Izumi, who was mercilessly murdered by Dr. Manhole on Halloween of 1983 when Konata was five months old, as a youkai. After Kanata's revival, the Lucky Star Kingdom's inhabitants coronate Kanata as the queen of the Lucky Star Kingdom. Kanata's husband, Soujirou Izumi, also becomes coronated as the king and was frequently called Lord Soujirou by Susumu and others. As a result of Kanata's return, the prom that was scheduled becomes relocated to the Lucky Star Kingdom, and at the party, Susumu was not permitted to dance with any other girl besides Konata, and was forced to sit in his throne until Konata arrived and was coronated. After Konata arrived at the Lucky Star Kingdom, Susumu becomes impressed with her appearance and realizes that Konata has developed a crush on him, starting their friendship.
Because Susumu didn't want to lose Konata, he is forced to relocate to Kasukabe, Saitama in order to see Konata regularly. As a result, Susumu and Konata begin their friendship and become boyfriend and girlfriend. As time flew by in the anime, the two develop a strong, romantic relationship, often resulting in them feeling like they had just first met each other back at the Lucky Star Kingdom. A lot of the time, Team Ankoku hackers often try to shatter their relationship, and Keel has made numerous attempts to kidnap Konata and make her their slave. To stop this from happening, Susumu has often teamed up with Konata and the rest of the Lucky Stars to crush Team Ankoku's society.
Susumu reprises his role once again in the last two seasons of the original Mr. Driller anime Mr. Driller Drill Spirits. In the grand finale of the original Drillimation main series, Dr. Manhole releases a curse that imprisons Konata inside one of his water prisons, and Susumu is up to find and rescue her.
In the games
Mr. Driller series
Susumu has appeared in all Mr. Driller games to date and was the first series of games he has appeared in.
Driller Engine Grand Prix series
Susumu has appeared in the entire Driller Engine Grand Prix series of kart-racing games by Namco and Drillimation. He is a middleweight driver and his signature kart was reddish-pink until Driller Engine Grand Prix 2x2, where all characters get their own signature kart, his being the Drill Master.
Susumu has been critically acclaimed by critics, with his reviews being almost all positive. Critics praised him for his appearance and personalities but was criticized for his voice sounding more like a girl's, even though he's male.