He's also known for his full espousement of the moe aesthetic and loads of cute girls following the lead, and enormous cast size. While he did do earlier doujin work, try not to be confused with his assistant MAGI - who did several doujins under the circle name of Culittle - which are sometimes confused with Ken Akamatsu. As of late, though, he seems to be breaking out of this mold, as his latest series seems to contain far less of these elements.
His wife is a cosplayer, whom some of his lead female characters (prominently, Love Hina's Naru and Negima's Chisame) are apparently inspired by.
He's been working on a project called Manga Library Z, formerly J-Comi, since the 2010s to make currently out-of-print manga available online at no charge, as well as finding ways to allow mangakas to actually make money off of fan translations, again at no cost to the reader.
He's also created a new series, UQ Holder! which seems to be a Stealth Sequel to Negima, picking up on what Evangeline is up to eighty years after the events of his previous manga. The manga ended in 2022 after he announced he would be running for councilor in the 2022 House of Councilors elections. He ran as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan's leading conservative political party, on a platform focusing on promoting manga, freedom of speech protections, and improved copyright protections for doujin authors. He announced his victory in on July 10th of the same year, winning the proportional ballot with about 530,000 votes, and becoming the first-ever mangaka to become a member of the Japanese parliament.
- Hito Natsu No Kids Game (1993): His debut manga
- A.I. Love You (1994-1997): The first of his manga to be (extremely tenuously) connected to one of his other series.
- Itsudatte My Santa! (1997)
- Love Hina (1998-2001): Arguably his best known work, being the Trope Codifier (or at least the most popular example) of the modern Unwanted Harem genre. It pigeonholed him as "a romantic comedy guy", a tendency he began to shift away from in subsequent series. Also known for having lots of Fanservice.
- Mao-chan (2003-2004): The beginning of his shift away from romantic comedy, though it was obscure enough that he was still pigeonholed when his next work came about.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi (2003-2012): Arguably his other best known work, notable for codifying that it, A.I. Love You, and Love Hina all take place in the same universe, as well as taking a hard Genre Shift into shonen territory while still retaining a lot of Moe, Unwanted Harem elements, and Fanservice.
- UQ Holder! (2013-2022): His latest manga, a Sequel Series to Negima, picking up roughly 80 years after Negima's epilogue. It's Akamatsu's first straight Shōnen series, and appears to have jettisoned most (though not all) of the Fanservice and Unwanted Harem material he's most well known for.
Tropes commonly associated with Ken Akamatsu:
- 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Akamatsu's style has been to compose his backgrounds distinct from his characters (the former increasingly done with actual CG, though some hand-drawn backgrounds still make it in), with the characters more or less pasted into the scene. On one hand, it does allow him to produce some lovely detailed backgrounds quickly as he's able to reuse elements or just pan around the created background image. On the other, the characters almost invariably have a white "halo" effect around them that can be distracting. The size of this "halo" has decreased over time (the halos in UQ Holder are easily half of what they were in Love Hina), but it's still present.
- Author Appeal:
- Cosplay. And probably other forms of Fanservice, but the Cosplay is most prominent.
- He also seems to have an interest in the concept of immortality/invulnerability; Love Hina had a Running Gag that the protagonist couldn't be killed, Negima featured an immortal character and explicitly made the protagonist immortal late in the series, and UQ Holder is about an entire organization of immortals.
- Author Avatar: Keitaro may be this to him, seeing as Akamatsu usually draws himself like Keitaro.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Used quite frequently to tone down the fanservice; Love Hina especially uses this.
- Bleached Underpants: Like many manga authors, he got his start writing Rule 34 doujin. It should be noted, however, that a lot of doujins that are attributed to him were actually drawn by one of his assistants.
- Continuity Overlap: Primarily between Negima and Love Hina, but there are some overlaps with A.I. Love You. UQ Holder pretty much confirms it, as it seems to deal with the fallout of The Masquerade being dropped at the end of Negima and Evangeline appears to be a major character, although whether it's a straight-up continuation of the same continuity or an Alternate Universe of some sort is up in the air.
- Cultural Cross-Reference: Everything from Star Wars to Ghostbusters to "Ku:Nel Sanders" to Sylvester Stallone.
- Determinator: Seriously, just read a few of his diary entries (translated) and tell us this guy ain't one himself.
- Ecchi: The levels of nudity in Akamatsu's fanservice, without being softened by things like Barbie Doll Anatomy or other censoring methods, would push Love Hina and (arguably) Negima into R-rated territory.
- Fanservice: If there's a fanservice trope, Akamatsu's used it. One memetic scene from Negima involved a waitress in the magic world◊ whose appearance and clothes hit ten separate fanservice tropes in one package.note For a grand total of one panel.
- Genre Savvy: Good God he is one in real life.
- The Internet Is an Ocean: The Internet's cyberspace is usually an endless ocean. Tuna is a DOS attack.
- A.I. Love You: Cyberspace is depicted as an ocean filled with fish who represent programs. The fish species depends on the nature of the program. It's also stated that there are as many different cyberspace oceans as there are digital networks.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi's chapter 154, where Chisame enters cyberspace to fight Chachamaru, and it is represented as an ocean with fish as programs.
- Reference Overdosed
- Scenery Porn: Akamatsu started doing some very detailed environments in the latter half of Love Hina, but he really got going in Negima, doing amazingly detailed locations in both the regular and magic worlds.
- Shout-Out: Tons. Especially related to Video Games.
- Shown Their Work: Surprisingly good Latin, Ancient Greek, and Sanskrit in Negima. The Omake is also full of mythological references. Negima volumes' bonus sections also discuss how the laws of physics influence magic.
- Unwanted Harem: Love Hina practically redefined this trope's modern form, and it's the genre Akamatsu is most commonly associated with. Even though Negima started out looking like one, it eventually started moving in a different direction, as he wanted to try something different. UQ Holder appeared to have abandoned the genre entirely until chapter 98, when it came back full force.
- The 'Verse: Love Hina, Negima, and UQ Holder all take place in the same universe; A.I. Love You also has a tenuous connection and Mao-Chan an even more tenuous one.
- Wham Line: "Negima will end in three chapters." Cue fans frothing at their mouths. And then you find out his reasons for ending the manga way too quick.