However, all of this is what Yuki Hijiri did after going pro in 1971. Prior to that he had already made a name for himself in the doujinshi world for a few years with the manga that will truly be his legacy: Chojin Locke/Locke the Superman.
|Just a small selection of Locke volumes,|
from the OG to more modern ones.
Founded in 1962 by a junior high school student named Yoshiaki Baba, the Sakuga Group was a doujin circle that continued to exist all the way until July 2016, a month after Baba himself passed away on June 21 at age 68. During his second year of high school, a young Yuki Hijiri came across an ad promoting the Sakuga Group in an issue of Boy's Life that he had borrowed from his local rental bookstore, and with dreams of making manga in mind he got into contact with the circle. The end result of this was the publication of the first Locke the Superman story, later titled "Nimbus & the Negative World", in October of 1967, detailing the journey of a mysterious esper named Locke who helped people all around the galaxy. Locke the Superman was so instantly successful that the Sakuga Group became inundated with new applications, at one point maxing out at roughly 1,000 members! Hijiri would make five volumes worth of Locke the Superman until 1977, even making one doujin story after going pro, before finally doing Locke professionally, first via a story in Minori Shobo's Monthly OUT (Japan's first anime magazine) before starting a proper serialized run in Shonen Gahosha's Weekly Shonen King in 1979, which would run until the magazine ceased publication in 1988, totaling 37 volumes.
After that, Hijiri would continue to make Locke the Superman manga via various publishers, before finding two consistent homes from 2007 on with Shonen Gahosha's Young King OURs (yes, Locke ran alongside the likes of Hellsing, [maybe] Trigun Maximum, & Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer) & Media Factory's (now Kadokawa's) Monthly Comic Flapper. As of his death, there is close to 100 volumes of Locke the Superman manga published, in total, & according to the official timeline take place over the course of a little less than 1,400 years of time! Granted, some of these later runs retold early stories in more detail, but Hijiri literally kept making Locke (mostly) consistently from 1977 to 2020 (only missing 1990, 2003, & 2018!), and his last hiatus was only because he was recovering from a chronic sinus infection, cardiac arrest, a coma, & needing to be resuscitated! Yeah, he actually continued making manga after that, & only seemed to stop in 2020 after getting diagnosed with Parkinson's disease; otherwise, I imagine Yuki Hijiri would have continued making Locke manga until his death. However, with so much manga out there for this franchise (almost none of it being translated into English, fan or officially), I want to honor Yuki Hijiri by taking a look at something more reasonable: The anime adaptations of Locke the Superman. From 1984 to 2000 there were four anime produced based on Hiriji's life work, so let's go over all of them & see what made Locke the Superman so special that it was able to last for over half a century.