Character Discussion Why does Akainu have so many fans?

we aren't many but authoritarian hardass is such a book cover view

1. he is also the one of the few villains in the entire story to break luffy's will triggering the 2 year timeskip
2. what you refer to as an "authoritarian hardass" is really just a villain that leaves little room for plot conveniences. In mf it was that way at least and it was a bit refreshing.

personally tho I think his origin story would be the most interesting . oda really has to nail why he took such a hardline against pirates.
One of the few villains with Teach to actually bring consequences in the series. Even an arc involving two emperors couldn't do this. If you're not a flashback character you're usually nigh unkilleable in this series.
Akainu killing the fan-favorite, MC's brother in front of his and readers powerless eyes after 60 chapters spent on rescuing him and mindbreaking said MC will always make Akainu stand out compared to other villains.
Him being an authoritarian hardass makes it a perfect foil to Luffy free spirited goofiness. Heck, he's the only relevant authoritarian hardass in the series, making him also stand out from chaotic pirates who wants to start a big war/topple the WG/change the world by plunging it into chaos.

While I don't think villains need to be super complex to be entertaining, the drawing of a child Akainu in a SBS could imply he has rough past that shaped his beliefs and he's not just LE bad because.. he's LE bad just because
Sparing Aokiji when their fight was supposed to be a fight to death is also something I find interesting.

And last, some of the most common complaints about the series are the lack of tension, fake deaths and consequences. He brought them for the time of an arc.
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Like, seriously all there is to his character is that he's an authoritarian hardass
It's because being an authoritarian hardass is so diametrically opposite to our main character Luffy, and at such an opposite end of the spectrum, that the inversion ends up looking rather fascinating.
Moreover, more commonly than Luffy, people like Akainu can be found all over the place in real life. When Luffy beats up a villain, he beats up their ideology too, thus Akainu's defeat, culturally, holds the potential to have an incredibly significant message.
I think liking harsh villains is pretty normal in Shonen series

It's probably his bruteness and sense of hax and power and potential that can attract folks 🤔