Akatsuki is the primary antagonist for a significant portion of Naruto’s plot. They’re a terrorist organization that houses criminal ninjas from a variety of different villages and backgrounds. The members include the likes of Itachi Uchiha, Orochimaru, Kakuzu, and secretly, Obito Uchiha! The group was quite overpowered, and they were a constant threat to people.
As powerful as these terrorists were, different members of Akatsuki had different goals and different approaches towards them. The group was made to rejuvenate peace in a war-torn land and led by the morally sound and charismatic Yahiko. However, Akatsuki’s name gets dragged in the mud due to the meddling of Obito, whom Black Zetsu was manipulating. The group became infamous and started attracting a more unfavorable type of ninja.
Masashi Kishimoto planned for all Aktasuki to be Monsters originally
Kishimoto initially imagined the concept of the Akatsuki as a group with monster-based members rather than any human at all.
Some members of the Akatsuki can still reflect this idea as we saw in the anime series. Members like the shark hybrid Kisame and the plant-like Zetsu were retained from Kishimoto’s original idea. Another member who started as more of a monster was Kakuzu. His earlier designs were based on the Kuchisake-onna creature from Japanese mythology. As Kishimoto’s idea shifted more towards the human-like aesthetics of the characters, members like Kakuzu and Sasori became less outlandish, and full-fledged humans like Deidara and Itachi were also brought into the fold.
It indeed would have been interesting to watch an Akatsuki full of monsters. However, this could’ve massively influenced the plot and their morally grey stand in various instances.
Kishimoto perceived the Akatsuki as Anti-Heroes rather than Villains
As we have seen in Naruto Shippuden, the actions of Akatsuki painted them as nothing more than the most dastardly of villains. However, the Mangaka has a different perception of these villains. In an interview with Naruto publisher Shonen Jump(via YouTube), Kishimoto said they were more like a group of antiheroes than other antagonists, as their tough, emotional backstories somewhat justified their criminal actions.
A very prime example of this is members like Itachi, Nagato, and Sasori. However, other organization members, like Hidan and Deidara, are nothing more than a bunch of villains. However, this proves how well Kishimoto can write characters with immersive and empathetic histories. Some Akatsuki members still managed to earn sympathy from viewers and readers despite their evil actions.