Akudama Drive is one of the best anime of 2020, and with good reason. It’s not just about the interesting storyline and studio Pierrot‘s quality animation, but the unique characters. There is something for everybody. Maybe you like hot and crazy characters? Well, we’ve got Doctor. She is a sexy doctor who can re-attach her own torso and completely cut off legs. If that does not tickle your fancy, we’ve also got Cutthroat. He literally licks people, doesn’t feel pain and is completely obsessive. Additionally, we have a fun brawler, a cool hacker and an emo biker. So there’s something for everybody. Now, let’s get started with the list. I’m happy to present to you, my list of the top 10 best Akudama Drive characters!
VA: Shun Horie
Hacker is bored of living a normal life, so he’s constantly looking for ways to entertain himself by using his hacking skills. It’s all about increasing his blood pressure, as he’s a junkie looking for a good high. And he’s doing all of it because he’s tired of the boring routine of everyday life and he wants something more. Doesn’t that sound like a relatable character? Well, let me tell you, the writers do nothing with this angle, as he’s just used as a crutch for the storyline.
The problem with Hacker is simple; he’s used as a cheat code and a bandage to fix all types of plot holes. If the gang encounters a locked door or a security system, you have the hacker who can get you into anywhere. It doesn’t matter how silly or ridiculous the method is, Hacker will find a way of achieving the impossible. In turn, I find this character to be a crutch. With that, I mean that he’s only used until needed. Otherwise, he doesn’t matter in the slightest. He gets thrown away halfway through the show, and comes back in the end when he’s needed again.
Hacker is a character who’s full potential was squandered. In turn, I can’t rank him any higher. However, I will say that I enjoyed his personality. It’s just sad they didn’t do more with him. He was just a cheat code; fixing every conundrum the writers created and they themselves could not re-write. It’s honestly quite surprising. With that said, Hacker gets the 10th spot on my list of the Top 10 Best Akudama Drive Characters!
VA: Kana Ichinose
Sister is a constant source of adorable energy, who represents human innocence with a great amount of endearing vulnerability. It’s like she’s the sunshine after rain, the joy after sadness. By that, I’m referring to her warm personality and lovable nature. After all, she’s the only one in the gang who’s genuinelly, wholeheartedly, good. While that’s a positive thing, it makes her less of a character and more of a shell for a bigger point that the anime struggles to get across.
While Sister is a decent secondary character, her entire behavior is too mushy. It’s like she’s just a cute character, without much more going for her, you know? Not to mention, her best scenes are together with Brother and Swindler, as she needs to interact with someone to be interesting. While I enjoy her cute behavior and lovable nature, it’s the lack of depth that just hinders her from ranking any higher.
VA: Akio Ootsuka
Execution Division Master is arguably the most badass character in Akudama Drive. With a skill set and abilities to match, Master is easily a highlight for the short amount of time he appears in Akudama Drive.
Personally I really enjoyed watching Master’s action scenes, but as a character, he left much to be desired. While he’s a well-designed character with a distinct personality, there’s not much more to him as a character. But who are we kidding here? Akudama Drive is a show that puts heavy focus on exciting action scenes rather than good characters, and that’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? Only a few characters are actually well-written, but Master isn’t one of them. Thus, I’m ranking him rather low, just like Sister and Hacker.
Brawler is the overwhelmingly positive and joyfulfighter, who simply loves punching things. It doesn’t matter if he’s throwing hands with a robot or a human being, he’s looking for a bloody good scarp. If he’s satisfied with the combat, he’ll smile like a kid on Christmas Day. If it’s bad, he’ll not be too pleased, and will encourage his opponent to pick up the pace. In turn, he’s the lovable Brawler that loves to brawl, and I just find her very fun to watch!
When it comes to Brawler, he’s similar to Master, as his eye-catching fights are the reason you will remember him! For better or for worse, Brawler is a highlight reel, and while that makes him entertaining, it doesn’t make him a well-written character. But that’s not a big problem, considering his rather small role in the story. Quite the contrary, because of his limited screen time, it actually works. However, that’s the reason Brawler doesn’t rank higher, as there’s not much to him aside from everything related to fighting.
VA: Maaya Uchida
From being mutilated to becoming an immortal vessel to voicing a black cat that ignited the storyline of Akudama Drive, Brother is a vital character in the story. In turn, he’s pretty well-written, with an understandably stoic nature and a stand-offish behavior, with an egotistical goal for him and Sister. But in the big picture, it all makes perfect sense.
Brother isn’t necesarily the most interesting character, but he’s indirectly the protagonist of Akudama Drive. He’s the reason the Akudama meet each other, and he’s the reason they are working together. But not out of free will, but from a collar bomb around their necks, making Brother an anti-hero. But that’s a part of his character, isn’t it? Considering everything that he’s been through, he doesn’t care about “life” or “humanity” anymore. He just wants to be free and go to the moon, literally. In turn, he’s a child trying to find his way in a world that he has never understood, making for a very sympathetic and empathetic character.
While this character can be considered quite simplistic, I would completely disagree. He’s one of the most well-written characters in the anime, alongside Swindler and Hoodlum. It’s simply a matter of preference if you like him or not, as he’s definitely a bit special. Personally, I find myself somewhere in the middle. But, I enjoy what he brings to the table, and his backstory is really good as well. In turn, he’s #6 on my list of the best Akudama Drive characters!
VA: Subaru Kimura
Hoodlum plays the role of an adaptable faker; he’s everything you want him to be, even when he’s nothing at all! Therefore, he’s a chameleon, even though his acting skills are horrendous. But that’s what makes him so human and relatable, as he’s not crazy powerful like the other Akudama. In turn, he’s just a human being trying to survive a terrible situation with hardened criminals, and Swindler.
I’d like to mention that Hoodlum’s high rank has a lot to do with the second half of Akudama Drive. In it, we see Hoodlum changing and growing, following the death of his “brother”, the Brawler. Thus, we see a genuine human struggle when he’s trying to find his his place in a world that he’s always played a small part in. Consequently, he ends up making morally difficult decisions in hopes of saving what’s left of his soul. But this was bound to happen when you constantly lie to others and expect to walk away harmless.
Overall, Hoodlum is a good comedic relief character, whose journey is actually interesting. He’s the most human character, aside from Swindler, and that makes him very relatable. Thus, I’m more than comfortable giving Hoodlum a high spot on my list. He’s #5. No way he’s lower.
VA: Megumi Ogata
When it comes to ridiculous characters, it doesn’t get any more unexplainable or odd than Doctor, right? After all, we’re talking about a character that gets cut in half, and is capable of stitching herself together. Oh, let’s not forget that she re-attached Cutthroat’s cut-off legs as well! Isn’t that convenient? But with all of that being said, Doctor is so damn well-designed and entertaining that she climbs over many other characters on this list.
Let me explain, okay? Doctor redeems herself in the second half of the anime, in which she becomes a full-blown villain to the remaining Akudama. And it works because she’s been a narcissist from the moment she was introduced, and she’s been making egotistical decisions all the way through. From making a deal with the Boss to using Hoodlum as a pawn in her plans, Doctor’s motivation and decision-making are logical. In turn, she’s a fun character to follow, as she has a gruesome introduction and an even more disturbing (but fitting) ending.
Courier is the cool, calm and collected character, who’s constantly putting up with everyone else, just because he has to. For him, it’s not about the money, but finishing the job that he has accepted, as it’s a binding moral contract for the Courier. Whether he lives or dies doesn’t necessarily matter in the big picture, as his personal motivation in finishing what he’s started is more important than anything else.
Why doesn’t Courier rank higher? Simply put, he’s a rather shallow character that never grows or changes as a person. Admittedly, this is the case with most Akudama Drive characters. But Courier is Akudama Drive’s poster boy, so there’s no excuse writing him this way. While he has a distinct personality and is involved in many great moments, it’s not enough to rank him any higher in my book. It’s a classic case of a cool and likable character not having enough meat on their bones, so they come across as entertaining, and not necessarily that good.
VA: Takahiro Sakurai
Cutthroat is one of the biggest draws of Akudama Drive, as he’s a walking, talking, highlight reel, with every one of his moments being downright captivating. Whether it’s his playful and childish nature or his bloodthirsty and psychopatic behavior, he always manages to steal the spotlight. But that’s no small feat in an ensemble cast, where he’s fighting for attention against many other noteworthy and well-written characters.
The irony of Cutthroat is that he’s not necessarily as well-written as Swindler or Hoodlum, but somehow manages to be even more eye-catching and enchanting. Maybe it’s his visceral and instinctual nature? Perhaps it’s the way he approaches humans, as if they are disposable and beneath him? Well, I think it’s all of the above, including his behavior and personality. Simply put, Cutthroat is absolutely great, considering his role in the story.
VA: Tomoyo Kurosawa
This is a predictable pick, isn’t it? Being that Swindler is the lead character of Akudama Drive, it’s clear that she gets the most screen time and is thus the most developed character of the bunch. She’s also the most introspective and realistic character of the show, making Swindler the character we can relate to the most. Therefore, Swindler is the most humane character of the group, who is our measuring stick for how crazy people around her actually are. Thus, she is pretty great overall.
Swindler is a well-written character, which is pretty surprising considering the inconsistency in the character writing in Akudama Drive. What I mean is that most characters are either deep or shallow, without anything in-between. Therefore, there are not many mediocre characters, but they are either “good” or “bad”. In turn, Swindler stands out like a sore thumb. It’s as if she was written for a different anime, and later added into Akudama Drive. Nevertheless, it’s obvious, at least in my opinion, that she’s the best overall character of the anime!
I must crown the winner; Swindler is #1 on my list of the best Akudama Drive characters!
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