Similar to the Ranma-Akane Relationship, the Akari-Ryoga relationship is intended as a canonical relationship. It is described by Rumiko Takahashi as the only other relationship in the love tangle to have mutual, reciprocal love between the two characters involved. She admitted in an interview that she created Akari solely for the purpose of giving Ryoga a "happy ending" after he proved so popular with the fans. However the pairing is frequently overshadowed by that between Ryoga and Ukyo Kuonji. This is presumably due to the fact that Ukyo is a much more well known character with a more established history and there have been suggestions of a possible relationship between the two. Akari only appears late in the manga for six actual chapters including her three chapter long introductory story, while in the latter three of which she is very much a background character.
Ryoga and Akari met when, during their respective wanderings, Ryoga crossed paths with Akari's champion sumo wrestling pig, Katsunishiki, who attacked him on Akari's command. Ryoga handily defeated him, which fulfilled a requirement set down by Akari's father that she could only consider a man who could defeat Katsunishiki, a process that she had put countless males through since she was a young girl. Ryoga was the first to defeat the champion pig an Akari immediately began to shower him with affection, proclaiming her undying love for him and that she has secretly been admiring him from afar for some time, although this is the first time she has seen him. Ryoga, at first, while thinking her attractive, is not interested. When he discovers that Akari is a pig fanatic after he first tries to get to know her out of politeness makes him even less interested, as he considers it insulting thanks to his curse. Ranma Saotome, seeing an opportunity to wean Ryoga away from Akane Tendo, sets the two up on a date and goes to the Cat Café to borrow some mind-altering incense that he uses to condition Ryoga to hug anybody who says the word "pig". Unfortunately for him, Akari, having determined that Ryoga dislikes pigs for some reason, tries to condition herself to hate them as well, so the incense just makes things worse. Finally, Ranma takes Akari and Ryoga back to the Tendo Dojo and throws him into the furo to activate Ryoga's curse. He is nearly heartbroken when Akari appears to have rejected him, but her ecstatic, blissful reaction prompts Ryoga to start taking her feelings for him seriously, and she told him that he was the perfect man. This was threatened when Ranma in his female form mentioned the word pig, causing Ryoga to uncontrollably hug her and proclaim that he loved her, causing Akari to flee in shock. However she later wrote him declaring that she bore him no ill will and promised to wait for him forever.
At the end of the series, Ryoga, while now more serious about Akari, still has residual feelings for Akane. However he did not deliberately try to sabotage Ranma and Akane's wedding unlike the rest of the rivals and suitors when they appeared.