For consistency, this article refers to Akito as female throughout.
Akito has short black hair due to her mother's command on bringing her up as a male. She shares the same eyes and hair color as her mother. To cover up her female body figure, Akito usually dresses in many layers or male clothing or oversized male clothing. In the Sohma House, she usually wears robes meant for men. By the end of the series, she grows her hair to shoulder-length and starts to wear female clothes. According to Shigure, if Akito had been brought up as a female, she would have been a spitting image of Ren.
However, in the anime, they make her completely male. Everything mentioned about how Akito tries to hide her feminine figure is subverted here and visibly shows Akito's chest.
Akito is the god of the zodiac. Akito, for most of the story, is abusive and cruel to all The Chinese Zodiac, as she is the God. She rarely shows any sympathy and is extremely misogynistic, showing little to no trust or respect for other women. This is evident through her behaviour towards Kana, Tohru, Rin, and her mother, Ren. Early in the story, she appeared rather composed on the surface, but she is actually quite emotionally unstable. Additionally, she made a deal with Kyo Sohma, the cat. They said that if Kyo were to defeat his rival Yuki Sohma, the rat, by the time he graduated high school; he would not be forced to live in the isolated house like the cats before him. However, if he was never able to defeat Yuki, Kyo would be sent to the isolated house. Because of her meddling in the Sohma's lifestyle, she grew loathsome around Tohru Honda until near the end of the manga. However, Akito is actually extremely insecure. Ren's biting words and treatment towards her really had a strong impact on her mind when she was a child, and it can be seen that even as an adult, Akito is still intimidated by her words.
In the manga, Akito is biologically female but has been raised male, and spends most of the series living as a man. In the anime, Akito is referred to as a male and is presumed to be biologically male, as he is seen shirtless with a male chest.
When asked in an interview, Natsuki Takaya said she had always planned on Akito being a female.
Akito Sohma was born female, the child of head of the Sohma family, Akira Sohma, and a maid in the Main House, Ren Sohma. Upon discovering her child would be female, Ren demanded that Akito be raised male out of fear that a female child would steal her place in Akira's heart. She threatened to abort the child unless her demands were met. After Akito's birth, in compliance with Ren's demands, she was presented as a male, with only the four eldest of the cursed Sohmas, Hatori, Shigure, Ayame, and Kureno, knowing her true gender due to a dream they had on the night she was conceived. Sometime in Akito's childhood, Akira's illness took a turn for the worse. On his death-bed, he told the young Akito not to be afraid, adding that he would always be with her, even if she couldn't physically see him. Akira went onto confess that he had wanted Ren to be the happiest over Akito, because Akito was a "special existence," and therefore she and Ren were special. After he passed away, when Ren found out that no one had come to get her when Akira had been dying, she yelled at the young Akito that she was an unwanted existence, and that she had only been a little toy to amuse Akira; Ren also added that, because Akira was dead, no one had any more need of her.
Akito countered these statements, telling her hysterical mother that her father had loved her; but because of Akira's parting words, even Akito herself doubted that Akira had loved her the most, fearing that she had "lost" to "that woman" (Ren). One of the elderly maids, wanting to comfort Akito, proceeded to give her an empty box, claiming that Akira's spirit was inside it, and that she had wanted only Akito to receive such a special gift. (The same maid later claimed, in chapter 117, that the box was of course empty, and only given to Akito to help her through such a stressful time, adding that Akito should have well known that her father's spirit wasn't really inside the box.) All of her life, Akito kept this box hidden away in her room; she told Kureno in chapter 117 that part of her didn't believe that anything was inside of the box, yet another part always hoped that maybe there was.
After her father's early death, Akito became the head of the Sohma family (raised to appear and act as a male), in addition to her role as God of the Zodiac animals.
According to an interview with Natsuki Takaya, Akito was enrolled in "better" and "more expensive" schools than everyone else in the Zodiac, though she completed all of her schooling (including high school) by correspondence.
Current Story Line
Akito is possessed of the Zodiac's God-Spirit, forcing all the cursed Sohmas have to obey her every word, no matter what. After Yuki left the Main House to live with Shigure, Akito's mother Ren commented that the cursed Sohmas were abandoning Akito, just as Ren always predicted they would. Akito denied this and claimed they would all come back to her because of their inseparable Zodiac bonds. She and Ren made a dare in which Akito was to allow the cursed Sohmas to form bonds with "outsiders" to test whether they would return to Akito's side. If they did not return, Akito would have to bow before Ren then leave the Sohma family.
Before Summer Break
It was soon after this bet was made that Shigure approached Akito about allowing Tohru stay with his home. Akito, confident that she would win against Ren, consented to this. Since Akito believed that the world was a cruel, bleak place in which unconditional love did not exist outside of the Zodiac bonds, she also believed that Tohru would eventually end up rejecting the cursed Sohmas, causing them to return brokenhearted to her side.
When Tohru leaves the Sohmas' main house after her first visit to there, Akito is seen gloomily staring out of a window at Tohru. Tohru spotted her and got frightened by the gloomy hated aura from Akito.
Akito is then next seen 'visiting' the school Tohru, Kyo, Yuki, Hatsuharu Sohma and Momiji Sohma are attending. Akito had intended to 'check' on Tohru to see how she was doing. However, due to sheer coincidence, Tohru spots Akito and, without knowing a thing, approaches Akito. Upon introducing herself properly, Akito pretends to be pleased about Tohru, praising her on being cute and kind. Yuki comes to rescue Tohru, only to find himself being intimidated by Akito's menacing words about her horrific treatment to Yuki in the past. Tohru manages to break off the contact between the two by pushing Akito aside. Akito was seen leaving the school, entering a car to be ferried back. In the car sat Shigure, where Akito tells Shigure that Tohru is all ugly and spoilt, contradicting her "praises" earlier on.
During Summer Break
Akito was manipulated into joining the Sohmas having vacation at the summer house by Shigure. She brings along Kureno. She arrives at the summer house, uninvited and a bombshell to the Sohmas that were present. She instantly summons all the cursed Sohmas (except Kyo) to visit her, telling them that she "loves you all" and "misses you". She lets them go before the night ended. The next day, she met Yuki when he was taking a walk. She was seen talking to Yuki about something that shocked him and made him "run away". She later attempts to meet Tohru but she ended up 'giving up' as she felt 'sick and hot' and unable to comprehend Tohru playing with "monster (Kyo)". She had a conversation with Kureno, even commenting that Kureno was "inferior" to her.
Next, she summons Haru, purposely insulting him with the phrase "big, dumb ox" and saying she doesn't want Tohru to meet Kureno. Following Haru's summon came Kyo's. There it was revealed on Akito's true intention on Kyo and how she forced Kyo to understand his feelings for Tohru. It was also revealed that Kyo would be confined for the rest of his life if he does not beat Yuki in a fight, a bet met between Akito and him. Before being sent home because of Ren, she forcefully meets Tohru, successful the second time, where she tells Tohru to leave the cursed Sohmas alone, staying out of the curse, and revealing that she is the "master of all their souls" or God-like and scratches Tohru's face. Akito confirms that Kureno is the Bird/Rooster of the Zodiac and not her. She later is believed to have traveled home, as she had met Tohru to see her before leaving.
After Summer Break
It is eventually revealed that Akito had always been lonely and afraid of change. The reason that she clung so desperately to the Juunishi bonds was that she feared that, without them, she would be all alone, and her existence meaningless, just as her mother had always claimed. This revelation occurred after both Momiji's and Hiro's curses broke. With the bonds falling apart, Akito—after having wrongfully stabbed Kureno in the back—ran away from the Sohma estate, wondering if everything really was all her fault, and why her world was collapsing so suddenly. Desperate and looking for someone to blame, Akito suddenly realizes that the Juunishi had been slowly but surely leaving ever since Tohru had appeared in their lives. Akito then walks to Shigure's home and finds Tohru alone outside. Akito comments that Tohru must be happy, because she had "won" and had, in the process, destroyed the only life she had known. Akito then threatens Tohru with a knife; but Tohru, realizing how both she and Akito had been trying to hold onto an "unchanging" reality (Akito clinging to the eternal bonds of the Zodiac; Tohru wanting her mother to always be first in her heart), told Akito that she understood how scary it is to be alone, and instead offered her hand in friendship. Before Akito could accept, the unstable cliff ground collapsed and Tohru fell, while Akito screamed for help. (In the first volume of the series, just after a landslide destroyed Tohru's tent, Shigure warned her that the ground around the area was unstable and due to collapse again one day.)
When Tohru (who recovered at the hospital) was finally allowed visitors beyond her immediate family, Akito was surprisingly one of the first to visit (and even more surprisingly, according to Hatori and Shigure, she went alone and entirely on her own accord). Fearful that she would be rejected by Tohru and Kureno (both of whom she'd hurt, emotionally and physically), Akito was told a comforting story by Momiji, who also offered advice that made it possible for Akito to see Tohru and Kureno for who they really are: People whose kindness for others overrides their ability to be concerned about themselves. With that in mind, she finally went to see Tohru, who offered her hand (despite the fact her arm is injured) to Akito in friendship again, which she accepted with a small smile. Akito also visited Kureno in the hospital, whom she had stabbed in the back (chapter 118); Kureno, however, didn't blame Akito for her actions, and forgave her when Akito cried and apologized to him repeatedly for smothering him all of the years she'd kept him close. From there on out, Akito decided to try to change rather than cling to being "God," and to the memory of her father and what he had wanted her to be (chapter 132).
Towards the end of the manga, after Kureno left to live in the country with Arisa Uotani, a close friend of Tohru's, and the curse was broken, Akito and Shigure finally confessed their true feelings for each other and reconciled. Akito begins living and dressing as a woman, and in her last meeting with all the formerly cursed Sohmas, she wore a furisode (female kimono), and donned a flower in her hair, something that shocked the younger Sohmas, who had just learned of Akito's true gender.
In the manga finale, Akito was with Shigure. She had let her hair grow a little past her shoulders, and wore a dress.