Physically speaking, Akabayashi is tall (much like Aozaki) but more on the slim side with remarkable strength for someone his age, and has sharp eyes. His most distinguishing feature is the scar on his right eye. He is usually seen wearing a suit with a red undershirt (blue in the anime) and also wears colored designer sunglasses. He also carries an intricately carved, handcrafted, European-style cane which most people also find gaudy.
In his younger days, Akabayashi was reckless, hot-headed, and completely ruthless. He was always eager to fight and would usually leave his opponents in a bloody mess. On the surface he seems to have mellowed with age and is much more relaxed and laidback. Many of his older acquaintances find this as a big shock and wonder what could have changed him so quickly. He has a soft spot for kids and has strong convictions against drug dealing. He is also adept at keeping up with pop culture and adapting to new technologies, unlike his partner Aozaki.
Akabayashi's sudden change in personality has also sparked some distrust among his colleagues, most notably Shiki. Shiki believes that Akabayashi is hiding something but he isn't sure what.
Before joining the Awakusu, Akabayashi was part of an unnamed yakuza group and acted as the bodyguard of its leader. He receives orders to extort "protection" money from an antique store and a grocery store owned by the Sonohara family. Akabayashi decides to hit the grocery store first and has a fateful encounter with Sayaka Sonohara, the mother of Anri Sonohara. Instead of caving into pressure like Akabayashi expected, Sayaka drew Saika and attacked him relentlessly. Akabayashi managed to defend himself for a short time before being quickly overwhelmed and losing his right eye in the process. He manages to overcome Saika's curse by ripping out his eye before the curse could spread from his wound to the rest of his body. After the incident, Akabayashi leaves the Sonoharas in peace but soon finds that he couldn't stop thinking about Sayaka. He realizes he has fallen in love with her and goes to confess. Unfortunately he gets shot down after she tells him that she was already married and had a family. The two of them remained on relatively friendly terms until tragedy struck when Sayaka took the life of her husband along with her own.
Initially, Akabayashi assumed it was due to her husband's abusive nature but, upon further investigation, Akabayashi finds that the reports of domestic abuse happened very suddenly and very recently. Sayaka's husband had, up until that point, had shown no signs of abusing Sayaka or their daughter, Anri, at all. Several drug tests also showed that there was an unknown drug, which was known to cause fits of insanity and rage, detected in Sayaka's husband's body. Akabayashi also learned that the drugs had come from the very organization that he worked for, effectively making his boss indirectly responsible for Sayaka's death. With this new information in mind, when Akabayashi and his boss were confronted with an assassin, Akabayashi abandoned his duty as a bodyguard and let the assassin kill his boss. Many of the members from his old yakuza group believe Akabayashi was the one who killed him and still seek revenge from time to time. After leaving his old yakuza group, Akabayashi eventually joined the Awakusu.
Dollars and Blue Squares ArcEdit
Akabayashi is seen in a meeting between all of the high ranking executives of the Awakusu including Shiki, Aozaki, Kazamoto, and the young head Mikiya Awakusu. They discuss what to do about Shizuo who is under suspicion of randomly killing three Awakusu members. Akabayashi describes Shizuo's abilities to a skeptical Mikiya. After the meeting is adjourned, Akabayashi is seen looking through the Dollars message board for more info. He expresses some satisfaction at being accepted into the gang despite his old age.
In the epilogue, Akabayashi, Aozaki, and their subordinates are charged with taking down Vorona and Slon, who were hiding out in an abandoned construction site. Akabayashi takes down Vorona easily and warns her not underestimate the Awakusu again, since they were responsible for kidnapping Akane Awakusu earlier in the volume. He leaves Vorona with Simon and the others from Russia sushi and heads back home.
Daily Life ArcEdit
Akabayashi is seen taking out a group of drug dealers who were operating in Awakusu territory. The incident causes him to muse about his past experiences but he is called back to the present when Akane invites him over to ask about something. When he arrives to visit, she welcomes him warmly and invites him to talk privately in her room. Once they get settled, Akane asks Akabayashi "what is the best way to kill someone?" He is visibly disturbed by the question, but soon comes to understand the situation when Akane explains what happened with Shizuo. After gaining her father's approval, he signs Akane up for self-defense training at Rakuei gym.
Later in the day, Akabayashi pays a visit to Russia Sushi and encounters Vorona who is extremely hostile towards him for Slon's apparent death. Akabayashi explains that Slon is still alive but will have to work off the debt he and Vorona owe by doing odd jobs for the Awakusu. The news of Slon's survival calms Vorona down significantly, although Akabayashi leaves as he feels some guilt regarding the situation. Later, He is seen visiting Sayaka's grave and runs into Anri in the process. The two discuss their past together, with Anri thanking Akabayashi for supporting her financially all these years.
After parting ways, Akabayashi is called to an abandoned warehouse by some former members of his old yakuza gang. Wanting revenge on Aozaki for their boss' death, the group of thugs surround him with the intent to kill. Before a fight can break out, Akabayashi warns his assailants of another group he had hired to help him out before coming there. As he says this, several Molotov cocktails come crashing through the windows and set the building ablaze. Akabayashi makes a quick escape as his former colleagues were consumed by the flames. He is last seen in the office building for the Awakusu, discussing the recent commotion with Aozaki, and reveals the help he received came from the Dollars.
Dragon Zombie ArcEdit
Akabayashi meets Izaya in a park to ask for a job. He wants Izaya to do a background check on Mikado Ryuugamine. He knows Mikado is getting close with Anri and he simply wants to make sure he isn't involved with anything dangerous. Izaya accepts the job.
Kadota's Coma ArcEdit
Akabayashi gets his information from Izaya, who pretends to be surprised that his junior (from Raira) is the founder of Dollars. In their conversation, Akabayashi comments that if he were younger he would beat a person like Izaya to death without reason, but he will leave all the fighting to the younger generation. He says the young man in the bartender suit can do it in his place. Izaya is naturally irritated.
Shiki introduces Akabayashi to Shuji Niekawa in search of his runaway daughter Haruna, who is in the Dollars. Akabayashi crashes one of the Dollars meetings, and says that for those the Awakusu cannot force out of the underworld, there are two choices: to merge, or to destroy. Mikado is desperate for a third choice where they can maintain the status quo, having fights that do not interfere with the underworld. Akabayashi warns Mikado that what he's doing is not as righteous as it might feel, and that the look in Mikado's eyes resembles those of spiraling gambling addicts - the easiest solution would be to not gamble at all, but they will claim their place is in the midst of risk and danger, and in the end everyone will fall together.
Akabayashi says he is only giving a warning to the Dollars as his duty is to guard the line between the underworld and the above-stage activities in Ikebukuro; he leaves after threatening Mikado with Sonohara Anri. Mikado is unaware that the two are acquaintances.
- Main article: Sayaka Sonohara
After suffering his first defeat at Sayaka's hands, Akabayashi soon found himself unable to think of anything else other than her. Although initially hostile, Akabayashi's obsession soon turned into admiration and then love. Even after Sayaka shot him down, the two remained on relatively friendly terms. Sayaka's suicide had a profound effect on Akabayashi to the point that he would eventually leave his boss for dead and allow his old yakuza group to fall apart when it was proven that they were indirectly responsible for the deaths of her and her husband. She also had a profound effect on his overall personality, going from being reckless and violent to a more relaxed and laidback persona.
- Main article: Anri Sonohara
Akabayashi treats Anri like his own daughter and is somewhat protective of her. He is frequently teased by his colleagues about how he took her in out of the blue and they make jokes about him being a pedophile (which he denies). Akabayashi's actions regarding Anri simply stem from lingering feelings he had towards Sayaka. He feels that Sayaka would want someone to take care of her daughter at least until she is old enough to support herself.
Akane Awakusu Edit
- Main article: Akabayashi and Akane
Akabayashi frequently visited Mikiya's home to play with Akane while she was young. However, as Akane grew older and entered the last years of primary school, her father requested he visit less to avoid Akane learning the truth about their organization. Despite Akabayashi showing up less, Akane shows the same excitement and trust upon seeing him again after several years of his absence.
- Main article: Haruya Shiki
Although the two of them share no personal grudge, Shiki has voiced his distrust of Akabayashi on several occasions. This is mostly due to Akabayashi's generally cryptic method of speaking and overly relaxed tone. Whenever there is some kind of disturbance that occurs within the Awakusu (or even Ikebukuro in general) that has no definite cause, Akabayashi is usually one of the people Shiki puts on his list of suspects.
- Main article: Shu Aozaki
Akabayashi and Aozaki have shared a very fierce rivalry since before Akabayashi joined the Awakusu. Aozaki has frequently voiced his desire to kill Akabayashi but never acts on them due to his loyalty to the Awakusu and its leader, Dougen. Aozaki's hatred seems to only stem from personal pride and not out of anything malicious, as he is willing to warn Akabayashi about old enemies seeking revenge. Akabayashi seems to bear no real hatred towards Aozaki although he is rather annoyed at Aozaki's complete inability to keep up with current events. Their rivalry seems destined never to be resolved as they are frequently paired up on missions and the closest they can get to fighting each other is by seeing who performs the best on each assignment.