In both the original version and the Royal enchanted port, the two first meet during Joker's school trip to a TV station in Akasaka Mitsuke, where Akechi was being recorded for an episode of "Good Morning Japan". Before the interview, he ends up running into Joker and his current group, having a conversation before bringing up with Morgana had said.
The next day, Joker and his party watches the interview live, which eventually leads into a conversation about the Phantom Thieves and if they're just. After Akechi states his opinion on the topic, Joker gets randomly selected, in which the two have a little debate before the interview ends. Afterwards, a set of events leads to Akechi approaching Joker, asking about his own opinion on the Thieves. With his differing opinions, Akechi gets interested in Joker, calling him a "worthwhile debate partner" and asks to be able to speak him again later. In both versions, this is the start of his "Confidant" or as the term is called in previous Persona games, social link.
Throughout the game, Akechi ends up running into the group at certain points, increasing his Confidant rank each encounter in the original game (the Royal enchanted port gives him a new confidant that isn't fully based on story progress), with his appearance on 8/28 having him run into Joker while the latter is working at Leblanc. After this point, he arrives a few more times, such as on 10/24, Akechi is once again at Leblanc, where a famous option choice is "Honey I'm Home" (simply "I'm Home" in the Japanese version), which leads to Akechi playing along with Joker's antics.
On 10/26, Akechi ends up joining the Phantom Thieves due to blackmail, an event that actually raises the Confidant rank in the base game. He ends up helping the group for the 6th palace, but "leaves" afterwards, ending up on the opposite side once again. The last time Akechi is seen in the original game is when the group prepares a route for the 7th palace.
Akechi notes under other circumstances, they might have been allies or friends and overall acts jealous over Joker, something that has the latter feel Akechi "truly regrets this turn of events". The last thing he does is sacrifice himself to save the Thieves after a cognitive version of himself appears, an event that raises his Confidant to its max rank.
New Additions in Persona 5 Royal
In the enchanted version, Persona 5 Royal, if the right circumstances are completed, Akechi will appear after beating the main game's final boss, offering to be arrested in Joker's place, though due to the distortions in the world, he is quickly let out. This event is what leads to him once again approaching Joker, as he is the seemingly the only other one to notice something is wrong. During these events, Akechi and Joker gain a showtime together, a special attack that can occur the two can perform together, the only showtime Akechi can perform.
On February 2nd, the final palace's leader claims Akechi's existence in the world currently is fabricated, with some implications Joker is why it happened. The palace leader attempts to convince Joker not to stop him to save Akechi as they too were saddened by the suddenly split between Akechi and Joker, though neither of them are convinced, with Akechi even calling the threat "trival". If the right dialogue options were done earlier, keeping Akechi's promise of not backing down against the palace leader will have his Persona evolve into its final state.
When the final boss is defeated, Joker has the chance to ask what will happen to Akechi when the world is fixed instead of asking what would happen to him, though both questions give the same response and on the last day, Joker can talk to the Jazz Club owner, which has Joker remember Akechi and their promise.
A bad ending that can occur by agreeing with the final palace leader's plans has a shot of Akechi and Joker playing a game together.
In Royal, Akechi gains a new Confidant, treating him more like a normal Confidant and not an entirely story-based one, though his rank 8 can only be achieved once progressing enough in the story and he still has two auto rank ups. Many of Akechi's new confidants involve him inviting Joker to a certain location, such as a club and the bathhouse. It can be noted one of the ways Akechi can inform Joker he is ready to rank up is by texting "I'm alone right now".
In his rank 3, Joker ends up messing with Akechi's looks, making him look like himself to avoid some fangirls, and while Akechi acts uncomfortable in the moment, after the confidant, he brings up the idea of doing it again sometime.
His rank 8 has him throw one of his gloves at Joker in frustration, stating it is a tradition in the West to throw a glove to challenge another person. Joker ends up keeping this glove the rest of the game, and can promise to Akechi in a changed version of his sacrifice scene to hold onto it.
Persona 5 the Animation
The anime series for Persona 5 focuses more on Akechi and Joker's relationship, adding several scenes that weren't in the games. In the anime's events, the two instead first meet at Leblanc while Akechi is working with Sae, and the two commonly have debates with each other throughout the series.
The TV interview's events are edited slightly, the interview occurring first with Akechi noticing Joker before the interview starts, though similar events occur during the actual interview and after the interview, Akechi thanks Joker for the coffee he had made earlier.
Episode 13 brings Akechi into a version of another character's confidant, working with Joker to catch a criminal who was running a similar scam to someone the Phantom Thieves stole the heart of. Akechi tells Joker it was due to his help that the culprit was caught.
There is a whole OVA called Proof of Justice, which is focused on Joker and Akechi's relationship and Joker moving on from what happened in the seventh palace. Interestingly, a few of the events that occur in the OVA were ported into the Royal enchanted version.
Joker and Akechi have a bunch of promotional art together due to being made as foils of each other.
The Maniax spoiler book states Akechi holds "complicated" feelings towards Joker as he is jealous of his friendships and wishes he did meet him earlier so they could be genuine friends while the P5R Official Complete Guide compares the dynamic between Akechi, Joker, and Yoshizawa to a "love triangle".
ShuAke is a very popular ship in the Persona 5 fanbase, being put under the "Fan-Preferred Couple" and "Foe Yay" section of Person 5's YMMV TVTropes page, which states that fans in both Japan and the West expressed wishes Akechi would be a romance option in Royal. Something that has been modded by two separate people, albeit one via a female protagonist mod.
Currently on Archive of Our Own, if the Akechi Goro/Amamiya Ren tag is used, there are over 1,670 fanworks.
- Valentine's Day Date Mod posted by Rover Bernhard