In the real world, she was a college student named Shizuka Hanekura (羽倉静, Hanekura Shizuka?), attending Yamazaki Gakuen University. Naturally short and cutesy all her life, Akatsuki created a tall male avatar in Elder Tale as wish fulfillment — which backfires on her when the Catastrophe hits and brings all logged-in players into the world of Theldesia.
Akatsuki's original avatar in Elder Tale was a tall male Assassin with purple hair and eyes. He wore a long-sleeved purple hooded shirt with dark purple cuffs, armor on his shoulder and forehead areas, brown belted pants, knee-high boots with knee guards and a purple scarf tied around his neck.
After obtaining an Appearance Reset Potion from Shiroe, Akatsuki changed her gender and size to be closer to her real-world appearance. Now, she is a petite female Assassin but with purple eyes and long hair that she ties up in a ponytail. Her clothing is similar to her previous ones, albeit refitted to match her new stature. She now wears a sleeveless purple top, purple arm warmers, brown pants and purple boots.
Even in the real world, she was incredibly petite. She bemoans that even as a college student, people mistook her for a middle-school student and always used her as a cute mascot, something that she despised. She only recently began to accept her small stature while trying to learn an Overskill. In the real world, she has black hair and purple eyes.
Due to her short stature and youthful appearance, Akatsuki is easily mistaken for being much younger than she really is. In the real world, this made socializing with people her age very difficult, to the point that she had never once been on a date or even had a close friend. The only people who ever showed interest in her were children and pedophiles, and her younger sister gave Akatsuki her hand-me-downs to wear, which damaged her self-esteem. As a result of all this, she is very sensitive about her height and so takes great offence at being called "pipsqueak" or "shrimp".
She is a hard worker who does things tirelessly, just to be recognized based on her competence; in spite of that, her efforts never got proper recognition due to her cute appearance. To escape those preconceptions about her, she created her avatar in Elder Tale to be a tall silent man. With the Catastrophe, however, it was no longer possible to keep that disguise up.
In her efforts to prove herself, she is prone to being too serious, melancholic, and rash. Because he saved her from a "cruel and disgusting fate," Shiroe unwillingly became Akatsuki's "Lord" while she roleplays being his ninja. She is incredibly loyal to Shiroe, insisting on accompanying him whenever she can. However, she feels insecure about her ability to help him after seeing the flawless teamwork between him, Naotsugu, and Nyanta, and how they each knew what the others would do even without communicating. She also comes to develop romantic feelings for him, since he never made assumptions about her abilities based on her looks. However, it's those very feelings that further drive her insecurities, as she feels inadequate compared to his other companions and discovers that one of her romantic rivals is an actual middle-school girl.
She constantly questions her self-worth and her value to Shiroe and desperately wants him not to think of her as a child. Although they both love Shiroe, Akatsuki can't bring herself to hate Minori, as she can't help but praise the girl for being such a fantastic girl that any man would be lucky to have. Akatsuki berates herself for failing to meet her own expectations and wonders if she's even worthy of trying to get Shiroe's attention.
Despite her limited social skills, Akatsuki is shown to be disgusted by perverts; a running gag in the series has her kneeing Naotsugu in the face when he's about to say something perverted, and then asking Shiroe for permission to do what she just did, usually followed by Naotsugu telling her to ask before she does it. In spite of this, as well as the fact that Naotsugu tends to call her short names despite knowing it irritates her, the two are shown to be good friends and frequently watch each other's backs in combat. Isuzu also states that Akatsuki has a hidden sense of humor, and enjoys washing and cleaning.
After Shiroe leaves to the raid in the Depths of Palm, Shiroe leaves Akatsuki behind to protect the princess. It's during this time that her insecurities deepen even further; having never been in a raiding party, she felt lonely and unwanted, believing Shiroe left her behind because he thought she'd just be a burden. However, after taking part in the Akiba Raid Party, during which she learned an Overskill and defeated Enbart Nelles, Akatsuki regains her confidence back, and starts to view her short stature as an asset rather than a hindrance.
Before the Catastrophe
Shizuka was always smaller than normal and often mistaken for being much younger than she really was. She was so short that her younger sister, Hibiki, referred to her as the younger sister. At one point, a middle school boy in her neighborhood thought that she was his age (she was in college) and confessed to her, an incident that left her bedridden for several days out of despair, and it is implied that pedophiles have also targeted her in the past. To make up for her height, Shizuka took up kendo to gain more self-confidence. She also raised a dog named Myojo.
At the time of the Catastrophe, Shizuka attended Yamazaki Gakuen University and lives at home. When Shizuka was entering college, Hibiki's advice was to become a pet groomer, since she's bad at talking and works better with her hands.
Eventually she began to play Elder Tale, where she played a ninja named Akatsuki. Roleplaying a strong, silent ninja, she refused to use voice chat. She was usually a solo player who would only party up for specific quests. It was during these times that she became acquainted with Shiroe, who never suspected that she was a girl.
The Catastrophe arc
After being trapped in the world of Theldesia, she quickly realizes that her male avatar was only going to be a hindrance. However, unwilling to expose herself as a female player out of fear of harassment, she instead bode her time in an abandoned building while trying to figure out what to do.
Around five days after the Catastrophe, she sees Shiroe pass by and remembers that he owned an Appearance Reset Potion. After hailing him and Naotsugu down, she finally musters the courage to ask for the potion, shocking both of the men. After she takes the potion, the three of them discuss the situation after the Catastrophe. For the convenience of all three of them, Shiroe proposes that Akatsuki join them, which she agrees to: on the basis that she treats him as her Lord.
To steel themselves for fighting, the trio regularly visit the Archive Tower Forest, a map filled with monsters that attack on sight. Although fighting the monsters face-to-face was difficult at first, they are able to adjust to it. One day, while returning to the Akiba after a day of fighting and looting, they are beset by the Player Killing guild, Dread Pack. While Naotsugu and Shiroe took on the four members that confronted them, Akatsuki went into the depths of the forest to scout for any hidden members. She finds two Mages and kills them both, preventing them from backing up the main group when her companions end up victorious. Naotsugu, who already killed their Samurai, kills their second Swashbuckler, and Akatsuki kills the leader.
Saving Serara arc
After Shiroe's Party learns about the situation in Susukino and how the Crescent Moon Alliance member Serara is under threat of being enslaved by its ruling guild, Brigandia, they embark on a mission to rescue her. After fighting through the Depths of Palm, they arrive in the city and quickly take note of the city's atmosphere. While Shiroe went to the designated meeting spot with Naotsugu guarding the entrance, Akatsuki is ordered to keep an eye on the city. She reports that Brigandia's men were on the lookout for them, causing Shiroe and Serara's guardian, Nyanta, to decide to face the guild in a one-on-one match.
During this time, Akatsuki remains hidden, biding her time until the enemy dropped their guard so she could take out their healers. However, witnessing Nyanta, Shiroe, and Naotsugu's cohesive teamwork, without even having to speak to each other, causes Akatsuki to doubt her own abilities.
Round Table Alliance arc
Upon the group's return to Akiba, Shiroe finds the resolve to throw away his history with guilds so that he could start his own, which he calls Log Horizon. Akatsuki, Naotsugu, and Nyanta are its first three members, and they launch their "campaign" to revitalize Akiba in conjunction with the Crescent Moon Alliance. For the most part, Akatsuki spends her time in reconnaissance, keeping tabs on the Hamelin members and capturing their names so that Shiroe could later blacklist them on the day of the Round Table Conference.
On the day of the conference itself, Akatsuki is kept on guard to make sure that the kids in Hamelin were successfully retrieved. However, she misses Shredder, so he is able to access the main guild hall while the rest of his compatriots could not. When Minori and Touya are attacked by the furious man, Akatsuki comes to their rescue, gracefully kneeing the man and freeing Touya. When he grabs her by the collar and demands to know where she is, she simply calls Shiroe and asks him to blacklist him, adding insult to injury by saying that Shredder's face matched his name. With that, he is kicked out of the building and lands outside, where Naotsugu and several other companions were waiting for him.
Summer Training arc
Akatsuki is present when Marielle throws a fit over going to the beach. After Shiroe finds a resolution, she is seen cowering from Henrietta inside Log Horizon's guild house, as the latter had prepared a summer dress for her to wear. When Serara talks to Nyanta, both she and Naotsugu listen intently for Serara's reaction. When a messenger from Eastal arrives, however, and Shiroe is selected as one of the representatives to go to the Ancient Court of Eternal Ice, Akatsuki decides to accompany him there. Much to both of their distaste, Henrietta tags along to "observe, "definitely not" to force Akatsuki into the aforementioned dress. Akatsuki ends up wearing said dress at the ball held by the Earthling nobles, and shyly asks Shiroe if she looked strange.
Fallen Guardian arc
Akatsuki, now level 91, visits the guild Amenoma in search of a better sword. Much to her shock, she learns from guild master Tatara that the sword which she wanted, on top of being too expensive for her, was already sold to someone else. Faced with the reality that she was still only a second-class Assassin, she goes off to a forest and observes members of the Black Sword Knights train together, wallowing in her misery over her own incompetence. She wishes to acquire an Overskill, which she overheard several members talking about, but thinks that it is beyond her because she rarely participated in Raid Battles that would give Secret scrolls that would improve her skills.
On Shiroe's request, she accompanies Marielle, Henrietta, Serara, and Rieze in accompanying Raynesia and guarding her. She is mostly silent throughout the engagement as Marielle throws clothes on Raynesia and forces her to dress up, empathizing with the Princess. Occasionally she speaks, but usually only to reprimand her companions. As she watches, though, she feels a pang of jealousy towards Raynesia and Rieze, both of whom she deems to be more beautiful than she is. After they leave, Henrietta and Rieze are shopping for food together when Rieze mentions that Akatsuki had been watching D.D.D's training sessions as well. Despite having only known the Assassin for half a month, Rieze could tell that Akatsuki was feeling depressed, while Henrietta, whom Akatsuki had confided in, understands that she had a lack of confidence in her skills. In the early hours before dawn, Akatsuki patrols the city, having decided not to return to her guild house in order to track down the murderer who had been killing several Adventurers over the past week. Hoping to learn more about Overskills and perhaps witness some major battle guilds fighting him, Akatsuki wanders about, thinking about her relationship with Shiroe. Her jealousy towards Minori becomes eminent as she starts criticizing the younger girl in her mind, but she catches herself and feels guilty for thinking about her that way. In the end, she decides to stay at the inn rather than return to the guild house.
After Raynesia hears the truth about the murderer being a Royal Guard from the Kunie clan, it turns out that Akatsuki, who had been sitting in the waiting room, heard everything as well by using her Tracker skills. Now with a hint regarding the murderer's capabilities, she goes off to find and combat him, unaware that Soujiro and the West Wind Brigade had already entered in combat with him. However, while leaping from branch to branch, she overhears the battle and decides to join the fray. Her attacks are futile against the murderer, oftentimes missing or dealing little to no damage, but Soujiro's attacks keep the murderer from focusing on her. Even with Nazuna's help, both fighters were aware that it would do little to nothing against an opponent of such caliber. Despite this, Akatsuki yells at Soujiro to run, but he refuses. He performs several movements and radiates an air that Akatsuki doesn't quite understand, before she realizes what he was doing—he was showing her his Overskill. While deflecting some of the murderer's attacks, he teaches her the secret of Overskill, which was to practice endlessly and to never give up. Soon, the barrier that Nazuna had erected before escaping collapses, and even with Soujiro's Overskill, the two Adventurers are killed.
She ends up on Mare Tranquillitatis, where she runs through the streets of Tokyo from her memories until she reaches the sandy beach. There, she sees Shiroe, who had himself died in the Abyssal Shaft raid. After a small conversation with him, she vows to make up for her previous lapses and revives in the Akiba Cathedral. She requests the others to help her, and after receiving a stern lecture, takes a step forward to become stronger and stop the murderer.
As part of Rieze's strategy, Akatsuki and Marielle were the focus of the raid, luring Enbart Nelles through the city, with the other members providing support at certain milestones to counter one of Nelles' raid boss abilities.
During the battle with the murderer, Akatsuki accidentally developed the Overskill, Shadow Lurk, which combined her Assassin and Tracker skills to create clones of herself as long as she held her breath; however, near the end of the raid, her blade is broken during an attack. In response, Tatara handed to her Haganemushi-Tatara, the other powerful kodachi Akatsuki had been eyeing, which she reforged to aid the Assassin. With it, and with Nelles frozen by Rieze's aerial attack, Akatsuki destroys Byakamaru and defeats Nelles, putting an end to the fiasco in Akiba. Afterwards, she joins the others for a slumber-pajama party in the Watermaple Consulate. She goes outside, alone, and thinks about how she misses Shiroe when he calls her, about to return to the Abyssal Shaft raid himself.
Along with the rest of her guild, Akatsuki participates in the Shibuya Raid Team.
Collapse of the Round Table arc
Akatsuki was an acquirable character in the mobile game Chain Chronicle during the limited-time collaboration.
Log Horizon: New Adventure Land
- Main article: Akatsuki/SNG
Akatsuki makes several appearances in Log Horizon: New Adventure Land. Her first SR version could be acquired by preregistering for the game. Since the release of the game, several other versions of Akatsuki have been released.
Along with several other Log Horizon characters, Akatsuki has a skin on the Japanese version of the mobile RPG Avabel Online, seen in her first season outfit and Round Table uniform.
Notably, her height does not change to match her stature in Log Horizon, making it possible to finally have a tall Akatsuki.
Haganemushi-Tatara: A reforged version of Meito-Haganemushi. Tatara specially customized this dagger to fit Akatsuki. The flavor text reads: "A legendary short sword that causes any armor it strikes to instantly rust away, earning it the name Haganemushi, or ‘metal-eating bug’. Any blade it clashes against grows duller with each blow." Tatara reforged the sword and added to the flavor text: "May this serious and righteous girl never fall to the wrong path; May both the sword and the girl support each other; to fight against evil curses and the suffering of the world."
To be revealed.
- Akatsuki shares a birthday (July 7) with Elias Hackblade.
- Akatsuki took the #1 spot in both official popularity polls; she received 1,186 votes in the first poll, and 2,278 in the second.
- In volume 6's illustration of Akatsuki's new outfit, her pants are leggings that extend all the way down to her ankles. In the anime, they were interpreted as compression shorts, and later versions of the light novel illustrations were changed to reflect that.
- Akatsuki has by far the most character variations in the mobile game, with over 40 as of February 2020.
- She is the only character in the series with an official figurine.
- In Japanese, Akatsuki's name (アカツキ) is the katakana transcription of 暁, which means "dawn" or "daybreak."
- In Chinese, her name is 曉 (Xiǎo). It retains the original Japanese meaning while also doubling as a pun; it is pronounced the same way as the Chinese word for "small" (小).
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 5, Chapter 5
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 5, Chapter 2
- ログ･ホライズン完全設定資料集 2015, Page 022
- Log Horizon Anime: Episode 3, The Depths of Palm
- Log Horizon 3: Chapter 3
- Log Horizon Anime: Episode 1, The Apocalypse
- "渋谷の大学に通う女子大生。進学のきっかけは妹さまから「おねいちゃんは口下手だから動物の美容師さんとかがいいと思うよ。手に職だよ」というアドバイスだとか。" Twitter
- Log Horizon anime, Episode 1: The Apocalypse
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 1, Chapter 3
- Log Horizon Anime, Episode 11: An Invitation From Eastal
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 6, Chapter 2
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 6, Chapter 3
- Log Horizon 2 anime, Episode 5: Christmas Eve
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 6, Chapter 4
- Log Horizon 2 anime, Episode 6: A Lost Child at Dawn
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 6, Chapter 5
- Log Horizon 2 anime, episode 8: Akiba Raid
- Log Horizon light novel: Volume 6 Appendix
- Log Horizon's 2nd Official Popularity Poll Results