As someone who spent the Eighties obsessing over animated robots instead of girls, researching this article for David Marx's Neojaponisme took me into some very strange waters. One of the very strangest involves a "lolicon" pioneer by the name of Aki Uchiyama.
His name came up again and again in Japanese sources discussing the the domestic "lolicon boom" that paralleled the "real robot boom" of the early Eighties. But there's almost nothing on him in English. One of the few mentions is a single sentence in Frederik Schodt's Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. Schodt calls lolicon "disturbing" and accuses Uchiyama of pandering to "voyeurism and diapers," which I originally interpreted as a metaphor.
It wasn't. According to his Wikipedia Japan bio, Uchiyama is actually known as -- I am not making this up -- the "Emperor of Diaper Manga." The description of his 1982 series Andro Trio, which ran in the very mainstream Weekly Shonen Champion, reads like fetish porn cloaked in a paper-thin parody of Akira Toriyama's already scatological Dr. Slump. The diaper-clad protagonists even live inside a house shaped like a giant diaper, as Dr. Slump's does inside a giant coffepot.
Sounds like something you'd see consigned to the all-porn day of Comiket, right? Only it wasn't. In the early Eighties, Shonen Champion sold something like a million copies every single week. That a comic like Andro Trio was running right alongside the work of greats like Osamu Tezuka only goes to show how firmly entrenched this kind of fetishism was in pop culture of the day.
Another example of how mainstream it was might hit closer to home for American anime fans. When Tatsunoko, producer of the hit anime series Macross, was casting around for talent to design characters for the sequel, Southern Cross, they actually turned to Uchiyama.
As you might expect, Uchiyama's character studies were so over-the-top "loli" that Tatsunoku got cold feet. They quickly replaced him with a pair of more experienced anime designers who turned out more conventional designs. The one rough illustration of Uchiyama's that I was able to turn up online can be seen here. (Don't worry, it's "safe for work.")
For better or worse, like many sequels of sequels, Southern Cross turned out to be a completely unremarkable show. Had Carl Macek not incorporated it into his "Robotech" trilogy, doubtless few would remember it today. Still, it's an amusing footnote in anime history. How might Robotech have turned out had a chunk of it been designed by the Diaper Emperor?