Akira Ihotsu leads the group of characters who are at the center of the plot of Yakitori: Soldiers of Misfortune, risking their lives as the titular infantrymen.
The Yakitoris in the sci-fi anime are soldiers who hail from the bottom of the food chain and are sent off to space beyond Earth as either food or fodder for war and conflicts.
Akira is one of these foot soldiers who volunteer to embark on missions that carry true risk and a death rate of about 70%, with his survival instinct with him every step of the way.
A troubled teen in a third-world world
A technologically advanced civilization takes over Earth and strips humanity of its freedom. Following this “Great Collapse,” they rendered the planet into a third-world country.
Earth’s only exports now were humans, either as food or as mercenaries. Akira also becomes one of these mercenaries for the Trade Federation Army.
Before that, though, he was a high schooler who was deprived of the opportunity to give exams for college, in order to let others have the chance to pursue higher education.
The teacher who rejects Akira tells him he won’t be making anything of himself and robbing someone more deserving of their opportunity. This upsets Akira greatly and he lashes out at the teacher (it is implied that some corruption-related foul play is at work here), who then expels him.
Later, Akira gets into a fight with three of his colleagues at a job he takes on, which gets him arrested and he’s eventually bailed out by a military recruiter called Vasa Pupkin.
Untrusting & ill-tempered
Growing up amid underprivileged circumstances and where opportunities are far and between to come by, and when they do come, they carry a risk of being hogged up by other players in the market, ready to pounce on it and take it home for themselves.
Everyone is out to fend for themselves and nobody really shows the team spirit back in good ol’ Earth. His experiences and brushes with the brutalities of post-great-collapse Earth have made Akira jaded, irritable, and angry, not to mention very untrusting of others.
When he meets and begins the training with the rest of the Unite K321, he’s not keen on shaking hands and celebrating the team spirit. He prefers to go alone and gets annoyed when someone extends a hand or insists on getting to know each other. He often says he’s in the program for himself and doesn’t care what happens to others.
These shreds of apathy have made Akira arguably too heartless, to the point that he feels little to no remorse after getting numerous Barkans wiped out by a genocidal orbital attack he asks for from the Trade Federation Military.
He’s elated and feels happy at the prospect of getting rid of the enemies in one fell swoop, even if that swoop is a massive genocidal attack. After the orbital attack, he celebrates it and laughs it off, while others are in a bit of disbelief and feel remorse for what just transpired.
Zihan Yang and Amalia recognize that the guilt of this attack is something they’d have to live with for the rest of their lives, but Akira shows no such anxieties or fears about his conscience and any weight it might have to carry. In fact, he is jovial to have made it out safe and sound after the orbital attack leaves many Barkans dead and many others gravely injured.