Butt Monkey: Gets the most amount of punishment without never suffering anything really irreversible.
Badass Normal: Kaneda was taking on a fully powered Tetsuo with a laser gun and winning. He actually would've pulled off killing him, something even the entire military was failing at at that point, but the gun ran out of energy.
He's a total pervert to Kei at the start, but later grows fond of her.
Averted big time, however, with the way he treats his first girlfriend in the manga. He doesn't really care about her much and only uses her for sex and to score drugs (she's doing some kind of internship with the school nurse) and when she tells him he may have gotten her pregnant he laughs about it.
Disappeared Dad: He IS one (assuming his ex and unborn child survived the events of the manga, which is hardly a guarantee).
Iconic Outfit: The red motorcycle jacket with the Capsules' logo on the back.
Jerk Ass: He starts out as a big one, especially in the manga but matures as time goes on.
Ax-Crazy: Moreso in the manga, where he simply kills people because he feels like it.
Big Bad: While Tetsuo starts off just as confused as everybody else, he becomes the main antagonist eventually.
Despair Event Horizon: After Kaori is killed. He goes to Akira's chamber without clear intentions, but seems to be tired of everything and loses control of his powers by the last time.
Eldritch Abomination: The sheer amount of Body Horror caused by his Superpower Meltdown at the end turns him into one that consumes anything it touches. The only thing that could stop him was Akira's resurrection and the subsequent birth of a new universe, which definitely adds Eldritch points.
Character Development: Begins the manga as a hardened militant who has no problem killing to achieve her group's objectives. As the story progresses, she turns away from violence and tries to spare lives when she can.
Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: While she shows traces of this in The Movie, it's never explained why the espers chose her out of all the other people in Neo Tokyo, The manga explains that she herself has powers; but her powers are that of a medium.
Papa Wolf: To the Espers, and also to Kaori in the movie. Because Tetsuo was advancing on her, he was the only one aside from Kaneda to score a hit with his gun.
Took a Level in Badass: The Colonel, after the timeskip in the manga. Before, he's a very angry Elite Mook who spends his whole time shouting conflicting orders. After, he's a much more thoughtful and outright heroic character who shows that he's a very badass fighter who's not to be messed with as time goes on, leading up to him attempting to take out Tetsuo head on.
Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Nonverbally autistic and the most powerful psyker in existence. Then again, they never say whether or not he was like that before the government experimented on his brain.
Ill Girl: Kiyoko is bedridden and has weaker health than the others. Masaru has polio and is confined to a wheelchair.
Never Grew Up: Implied to have been a result of all the drugs they have to take.
Sacrificial Lion: Takashi, who gets shot in the head by Nezumi (who was most likely aiming for Akira instead.) And right when he had found Akira and was happily going to him! This completely causes an horrified Akira to fall in despair and fully release his powers, taking almost all of Neo Tokyo with him.
Cruel and Unusual Death: In the anime. During Tetsuo's mutation he accidentally crushes her, and we see everything.
Living Emotional Crutch: In the manga, she is Tetsuo's closest confidante and the one he turns to when he needs to be consoled. When she is shot to death in an attempted coup, Tetsuo's grief leads to his losing his grip on the power completely.
Morality Chain: She's one of the few persons Tetsuo cares for. When she dies in the manga, he went APESHIT.
Stockholm Syndrome: In the manga, Kaori comes to feel sympathy towards Tetsuo, despite the fact he forcibly recruited her and tried to turn her into a sex slave.
Then again, the book does seem to have a decent following in Japan. Naoki Urasawa is also a fan.
Gambit Pileup: Engaged in one with the military. Basically she can't directly expose the truth about their experiments because it would cost her the cult she built around herself and they can't expose her as a fraud without publicly acknowledging their own misdeeds, all while they both try to undermine each other behind the scenes.
God Guise/Scam Religion: A somewhat more benevolent example than most. She uses the powers she got from the government's experiments to convince people she's a Messianic Archetype in order to gain followers to help her bring down the sadistic military industrial complex that ruined her life. She does seem to genuinely care about her followers, doing all she can to help people after the city is destroyed and even seems to believe some of her own hype, as she considers her powers and those of the other psychics to be a manifestation of some greater mystical force that the military simply blundered into discovering.
Action Survivor: He manages to survive the entire manga, and in the movie, is one of the four main survivors. (The other three being Kaneda, Kei, and the Colonel)
Ambiguously Gay: There is a lot of debate on this. He certainly does seem the neatest, best-dressed of the gang, he's pretty small, he cries when he tells Kaneda that Yamagata got killed, and he's really happy when Kaneda is found alive.
Voiced by: Masaaki Ōkura (JP), Tony Mozdy (EN, Streamline dub), Michael Lindsay (EN, Animaze dub)