Akane's mother died when she was very young. Perhaps because of this, she appears not to have learned many traditionally feminine skills, and her terrible cooking is a running joke during the series. Akane may see her sister Kasumi as a surrogate mother figure, since she helps her with more traditionally feminine chores.
Akane grows up as a tomboy, getting into fights, acting tough, and improving her martial arts. In elementary school, her classmates thought she was so much like a boy that she was cast to play Romeo in their production of Romeo and Juliet; Akane accepts the role and plays a very cute Romeo, though deep down she always wanted to be cast as Juliet, a wish that she'll have fulfilled only years later (though she would have four different Romeos fighting for her).
At the beginning of the series Akane had a crush on Dr. Tofu Ono, who patched her up many times when she got into fights. Unfortunately for Akane, Dr. Tofu is besotted with her older sister Kasumi. In an attempt to get his attention, Akane grew out her hair longer like Kasumi's. However during one of the first fights between Ranma and Ryoga, her hair is cut, a look she retains for the rest of the series.
Despite her crush on Dr. Tofu, she initially claims to hate boys. It turned out that because her original 'suitor', Tatewaki Kuno, declared that only someone who defeated her in battle would be allowed to date her, many of the strongest male athletes at Furinkan High School began to violently attack her en masse every morning. Akane always beat them all without being late for class.
When the series begins, Akane is engaged against her will to her father's friend's son, Ranma Saotome, so that the Tendo dojo and the school of the Anything Goes Martial Arts will be assured a future. At first, Ranma could've been engaged to any of the Tendo girls, but Akane's older sisters palm Ranma off on Akane. Akane's first meeting with Ranma does not go smoothly: when Akane first meets Ranma, he is in his girl form, and they have a short sparring match. But as she goes to wash off the sweat from their workout, Akane unknowingly walks in on him in the bathroom just after he's transformed back into his boy form.
Akane and Ranma often fight and insult each other. Usually, Ranma insults Akane for being a tomboy and calls her "uncute," while Akane insults Ranma for being a pervert. Despite their bickering, Ranma is always there to protect her, and Akane often helps him through his fights, or saves his life. The two are also usually seen hanging out with each other outside of school and the dojo. Ranma's arrival heralds the end of her daily morning fights shortly after he defeats Kuno, the school's best warrior, in combat. Because of this and due to learning of her engagement, her daily attackers tearfully declare that they give up on her.
After Akane's hair, which she had worked hard to grow out for Dr. Tofu, was suddenly and accidentally shorn off during Ranma's battle with his rival, Ryoga, she became extremely angry and sad. Realizing this, Ranma comforted her by telling her she looked cute with short hair. After that, Akane was able to get over her feelings for Dr. Tofu (later making several attempts to help bring Kasumi and Dr. Tofu closer) and began to develop affection for Ranma, although his abrasiveness sometimes jeopardized these emotions.
The two are often seen in each other's presence when they're not fighting, and often work together when trying to accomplish something. At the end of the series, Ranma admits his love for Akane. He opens his mouth wide, and thinks the words, but it is unclear if anything comes out, save her name. Regardless, Akane states that she heard him somehow, finally knows for sure that he loves her, and is very happy about this. In the final panel it is stated that the two will eventually marry.
While Akane is generally shown as compassionate and helpful towards anyone in trouble, she's also a vulnerable, stubborn and very short-tempered girl. She frequently becomes angry and jealous, and is apt to hit Ranma when this happens, often a reaction to Ranma's own bad traits like his smart mouth and insensitivity, but also due to rampant paranoia and willingness to generally believe the worst of the situations she finds him in. Despite her temper, Akane has a more prominent gentle side. She has come to the aid of her rivals, even consistently feeling compassion towards or helping people who try to make her life miserable (or in the first case even kill her), like Shampoo, Happosai or Kuno. She's repeatedly expressed extreme disapproval in attacking or hurting anyone unable to defend himself/herself, and refrained from striking Ranma when he was turned into a small child despite being insulted. She has also apologized for her behavior, once she has had time to cool down or learn the facts, and consistently risked her own life trying to help Ranma without a second thought, showing extreme courage in this regard given her own comparatively limited skills/increased danger. For example, she choose to use a magic paper doll to take the damage for Ranma rather than herself, when both were bitten by lethally poisonous snake-herbs/wines, effectively consciously trading her life for his, and entered the Orochi's mouth in an effort to save him/her from being eaten.
Most of her flaws can be attributed to insecurities about her own attractiveness, skill, or lack of traditionally feminine talents. Despite this, she seems to have an appeal to the opposite gender. Ryoga, Shinnosuke, Kuno and Gosunkugi have all been in love with her and she's considered attractive by her schoolmates, but given that she seems generally, but not consistently, oblivious to the first case and the others have largely been of a highly negative nature (constant assaults from Kuno and sports club members, general stalking from Gosunkugi) this hasn't served to build up her self-esteem.
Her insecurity often leads her to overreact upon finding Ranma in compromising positions and to punt, repeatedly whack, stomp, or attack him with bokken, shinai, mallets, arrows, stones, tables or any other available blunt object. Ranma seldom seems injured in the following panels, but in the Reversal Jewel story, she punched him so hard into the horizon that he was in a full body cast. Although in the anime this was also due to sustaining a follow-up beating from Kuno and Ryoga.
She's also once stated a remarkable double-standard in this regard as she was burning with outrage and vowed to never forgive him if he deigned to strike her even once during her relentless assault while wearing a 'battle dougi' that brought out her full fighting power. During the 'Nabiki's fiancé' arc she got upset just from overhearing an affirmation that a dejected Ranma found this treatment very taxing (though she only clobbered him after he derisively insulted her as well), so while she's remorseful about specific instances, and has gradually strengthened her restraint as the series progresses, she doesn't stop the pattern as a whole.
That said, according to Cologne, Akane confessed her true feelings under the influence of the reversal jewel. That she loves Ranma with all her heart more than anyone in the world, and is sorry for being so angry.
Akane has difficulty trying to sort out her feelings for Ranma. There are times when she is on the verge of telling him how she really feels, but this is almost always interrupted by comedic circumstances, and they return to their usual barbs and antics, but she's consistently worried when he's endangered and overjoyed when he turns up safe.
Akane does have a need for being comforted when sad or scared, but they're both usually too uncomfortable to interact in this manner. Unlike most other main female characters, she's expressed great, traditionally 'feminine', fears of ghosts or reptiles and can be extremely frightened simply from a scary story, being in a casino, or imagining Kuno raping Ranma-chan.
Despite not being as technically skilled as several other characters in martial arts, she takes pride in her legacy and position as the scion of her father's Tendo-Ryu, and never backs off from a fight or rejects a challenge.
Akane seems to get along well with people who are technically her rivals, like Ukyo and Cologne. She tends to be naive in often wishing to believe the best of everyone even when repeatedly proven to the contrary, as with Nabiki or Shampoo. The two most notable exceptions are Ranma and Kuno. In the former case attributed to her own insecurities being fueled by regular insults and the very awkward and chaotic semi-relationship, and in the latter due to intense harassment. Ranma easily owes Akane his life several times over (though the opposite holds true as well). She is kind, helpful, self-sacrificing, forgiving and somewhat naive towards people in general, even technical enemies, being the only character in the series who can almost match Kasumi in her ordinary mood. She's also very appreciative if Ranma treats her with consideration, and is consistently worrying about, cheering him on, or going to extremes to assist him. When severely upset however, she undergoes a bipolar shift into a state of arrogant derogatory insults, unreasonable paranoia and self-righteous violence, on average treating Ranma worse than his arrogant and extremely insensitive behavior justifies, but she can just as swiftly switch back to being very kind again and make a shamefaced apology whenever she realises a mistake. Kasumi’s initial assessment that "She's really a very sweet girl. She's just a violent maniac." has consistently held true, if usually only in Ranma's case. That said, Ranma has also been beaten up several times by his other paramours, Akane is simply around him more often. It is also more evident in the anime than in the manga.
Fighting Style: As one of the heirs of the Anything Goes Martial Arts School, Akane is in good fighting form, and has excellent physical strength and agility, although she doesn't know enough to use her style as efficiently as Ranma. She is also proficient in the use of several samurai weaponry, including bokken, shinai, staffs and archaic bows. Among other feats, she has managed to hold her own against Tatewaki Kuno in an official Kendo match, while disguised as a boy, deflected Mariko Konjo's "Airborne Cutter" 'razor-batons', and used a staff to block arrows from Phoenix tribe warriors. She seemingly possesses greater skill in armed than unarmed combat.
Skill, Speed, and Agility: While sometimes considered weak, the manga clearly depicts Akane as a strong and very gifted martial artist in her own right. During Nabiki's stint as Ranma's fiancée, she was able to instantly defeat nine of her school's strongest fighters. She has repeatedly successfully defended herself against ambushes from Kodachi Kuno, even stopping her attacks singlehanded or without significant effort.
She fought, while previously injured, against the Dojo Destroyer and managed to stand her ground for an extended time, but was eventually overcome. She has held her own against Kiima, avoiding the latter's "Thousand wings of a Seabird" signature attack, and immediately barraged her foe with several sharp bamboo projectiles, despite waking up disoriented and in hostile (Jusenkyo) terrain.
She has also shown great agility when avoiding throngs of projectile attacks, for example from the Dojo Destroyer, Kodachi, Kiima and Mousse, and effortlessly manoeuvred between the heads of a giant multi-headed dragon/hydra, and managed to snatch the rejuvenating moss growing from its body, while simultaneously caught in its tongue.
Her most prominent achievement in the anime continuity is likely in the OVA "The One To Carry On". Here Nabiki stated that Akane had begun to mostly use martial arts as a mere exercise. However, after being defeated by Kurumi, she trains with Ryoga's help, and later gains an advantage in their 1-on-1 fight, before it is interrupted by Kurumi's sister Natsume. By collaborating, she and Ranma manage to defeat both sisters.
Potential: In the 'battle-dougi' arc her potential was shown as immense, greatly eclipsing Ranma's prowess at the time. While she has most likely received consistent, by normal standards intense, training by her ever-present dojo-master father - Who would like her to become a very powerful martial artist, as he expressed great pride when her full power was brought out by the dougi - several other characters have seemingly practised more extensively, and she is currently only explicitly seen training alone. Ukyo, Ryoga, and possibly Taro, are apparently almost completely self-taught while wandering the country, but the former apparently used to be, and the second is currently shown as, extremely dedicated. Ranma has mixed regular school and intense training journeys with his extraordinarily proficient father since he was at most 2 years old, and Shampoo has been immersed in a warrior-culture, while being tutored by the greatest martial arts teacher in the series, since she was small. Mousse lacks that instruction, but is a fellow product of this environment, and has apparently managed to vastly exceed Shampoo in spite of this. Thus, Akane's displayed, by normal standards incredible, skills are quite remarkable given the circumstances.
Physical Power: Like most other regular cast members Akane possesses considerable superhuman physical strength, enabling her to, even early in the series, barely completely shatter thick stone-walls with one blow, or punt Ranma at least a few kilometres. Her regular level was shown as somewhat less than that of Shampoo during the "Super-Soba" story, and far less than that of Ranma in the same story, but she seems to occasionally undergo a great boost when enormously maddened. During the two times he's angered her most, at the end of the "Reversal Jewel" story, and during the "Battle Dougi" arc (here without the dougi), she even managed to knock out, and in the first case seriously injure Ranma by single barehanded attacks, but partially by taking him unprepared. Thus the only regular cast members eclipsing her potential for raw power seem to be Ryoga Hibiki and Happosai. In the anime continuity she was once seen effortlessly kicking a 14-tonne steel globe at least 15 metres.
Sports: Beyond her fighting prowess, she is athletic, albeit slightly clumsy. She practices and excels in regular aerobics, and appears to be the captain of her school’s volleyball team. She is also moderately adept at tennis and ice skating. She had trouble learning rhythmic gymnastics as preparation for a duel with Kodachi, but this may be more due to the complexity of the sport rather than any real deficiency on her part, and she developed a reasonable amount of skill after a week of training. However, she has no aptitude whatsoever for swimming due to a number of factors; outrageously unsuitable instructors, ill-conceived alternate methods, and primarily an erroneous preconceptions of the skill: a stated misconception that the skill entailed breathing water. This results in her possessing absolutely zero buoyancy; she sinks like a stone, earning her the title of "hammer-girl". Her potent musculature may also contribute.