|“||A shinobi should follow her master, no matter where he goes.||„|
|~ Akatsuki to Shiroe|
Akatsuki (real name: Shizuka Hanekura) is the deuteragonist and lead heroine of the light novel and anime series Log Horizon. She is a 20-year-old college student and a veteran player of the MMORPG Elder Tales, and one that was pulled into the game by a mysterious phenomenon referred to as the Apocalypse. Soon after, she forms a party with fellow veteran players Shiroe and Naotsugu and later becomes one of the founding members of Log Horizon. She is a Human Assassin-Tracker.
Akatsuki's original appearance in Elder Tales was that of a tall male Assassin with purple hair and eyes. His clothing consisted of a long-sleeved purple hooded shirt with dark purple cuffs and reinforced with 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 changing potion from Shiroe, Akatsuki changed her gender and size to be similar to that of her real world stature. She is currently a petite female Assassin but with the same purple eyes and hair that she ties up in a ponytail. Her clothing is similar to her previous ones, albeit smaller in size. She now wears a sleeveless purple top, purple arm warmers, brown pants and purple boots. Because of her size, Shiroe and Naotsugu were shocked to discover that she was actually only a few years younger than them (she's 20 while they're 23 and 25, respectively).
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.
|“||Akatsuki: Uh, okay, is it alright if I knee Mr. Pervy Pants in his stupid face.
Naotsugu: Ask before you do it, pipsqueak!
Akatsuki: Do not call me 'pipsqueak'!
|~ A quote expressing Akatsuki's height sensitivity and hatred of perverts|
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 names like "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. She even roleplays as a ninja, claiming that the whole point of a role-playing game is to be someone else. With the Catastrophe, however, it was no longer possible to keep her disguise up due to her voice, and she was forced to adjust her avatar to a body akin to her actual appearance. Additionally, her years of being isolated has left her with very poor social skills, to the point that she often says ridiculous things with a completely straight face. Therefore, she tends to stay out of politics and usually serves as Shiroe's patrol.
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.
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, often 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.
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 her for being such a fantastic girl that any man would be lucky to have (ironically, Minori often feels the exact same way about her). Akatsuki berates herself for failing to meet her own expectations and wonders if she's even worthy of trying to get Shiroe's attention.
After Shiroe leaves to the raid in the Depths of Palm, Shiroe leaves Akatsuki behind to protect the princess, claiming it's a job only she can do. It's during this time that her insecurities deepen even further; having never been in a raiding party, she feels 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 learns her Overskill Shadow Lurk and defeats Enbart Nelles, Akatsuki regains her confidence back, and starts to view her short stature as an asset rather than a hindrance.
Skills & Abilities
|“||The Covert Killer, Assassin. Clandestine operations are this class's speciality, making for quick kills out of sight and occasionally out of mind.||„|
|~ Shiroe describing the Assassin class|
Akatsuki possesses a level of combat prowess that belies her small build. She has real-life training in kendo, which neither Shiroe nor Naotsugu possess, which helps after the Apocalypse due to the fact that she now has to use her body to fight, which she was the first to figure out. She is Lv. 90 at the start of the series, which was the level cap before the Apocalypse. Her main class is Assassin and her subclass is Tracker, and so she is the hardest hitter among the Log Horizon members. Her weapons include a sword and kunai.
Akatsuki is a master at sneak attacks; in the Save Serara arc, she was able to defeat and kill Brigandia's entire mage squad simultaneously without any of them noticing. Due to her size, she is also very light on her feet and can jump very high into the air, allowing her to come swiping down at an enemy.
- Assassination: As an Assassin, this is Akatsuki's key and last-resort skill. It deals large damage to an enemy's body; furthermore, enemies usually are killed instantly if their levels are at least ten levels lower than Akatsuki's.
- Death Stinger: One of Akatsuki's special attacks, which damages the enemy and has a chance to poison them. It can only be used with a melee weapon, but the additional damage caused by the poison makes it MP efficient.
- Dark Vision: Grants Akatsuki the ability to see, even without light source. As the range is determined by the level of the user, at level 90, Akatsuki's range is very high. However, it does not allow her to see anything that she could not see otherwise- invisible objects are still invisible, and illusions are still illusions.
- Sneak & Silent Move: As a Tracker, Akatsuki is able to use these two skills, which enable her to conceal her presence and move without sound respectively.
- Shadow Lurk: Akatsuki's Overskill. Using the Tracker skill Hide Shadow with Lord Mirage and Trick Step, Akatsuki can make doubles of herself that can attack in conjunction to her; however, when they are attacked, they disappear. In order to use this ability, Akatsuki has to hold her breath.