Kaiou Retsu is one of the most popular characters in the entire ‘Baki‘ storyline because he is part and parcel of Baki Hanma’s growth as a fighter. In that regard, we’ve seen Retsu facing a lot of different opponents that allowed him to grow his mastery of Chinese martial arts. Of course, we saw him facing the odds when he had to fight two freakishly powerful opponents in the storyline. So, what happened to Kaiou Retsu, and is he dead?
In the current ‘Baki-Dou’ manga storyline, Kaiou Retsu is dead. In ‘Hanma Baki,’ he almost died when he lost a fight to Pickle and almost got himself eaten, losing only his leg and a portion of his shoulder in the process. However, in ‘Baki-Dou,’ Musashi Miyamoto fought and killed Kaiou Retsu.
It might be true that Kaiou Retsu is one of the most popular characters in ‘Baki,’ and it is also true that his death didn’t really contribute anything related to Musashi Miyamoto and the other characters in that story arc. Nevertheless, his death was one of the most surprising moments of the ‘Baki-Dou’ manga and is one of the events that may affect Katsumi Orochi’s own storyline. Now, let’s look at what happened to Kaiou Retsu in ‘Baki.’
Kaiou Retsu’s fate explained
Throughout the entire ‘Baki’ storyline, the supporting characters have had their fair share of moments because the manga and anime would also want to spotlight the other forms of martial arts that the other characters could master. One such character that has become one of the most interesting martial artists in the entire ‘Baki’ storyline is Kaiou Retsu, who has become an integral part of the growth of the other characters, including Baki Hanma himself.
As a master of Chinese martial arts, Kaiou Retsu is one of the strongest fighters in the world and one of the brightest young talents in the world of Chinese martial arts. He mastered the art of Kenpo and is an incredibly gifted fighter with the body and skills that could match some of the other great fighters in ‘Baki,’ including Baki Hanma himself.
And one of the things that Retsu wanted to do was to hone his mastery of Chinese martial arts so that he could take this form to the next level and make it even greater in the next thousand years.
In that regard, in ‘Hanma Baki,’ we saw Retsu trying to take his martial arts to the next level by becoming infatuated with the possibility of fighting someone he had never seen before. Pickle, a prehistoric caveman that lived nearly 200 million years ago, became strong as a product of his environment because he had to fight and kill dinosaurs to survive. And because he evolved differently than regular humans, Pickle’s body and physique are superior to the strongest humans of the modern-day.
So, thinking that Pickle was strong enough for him, Kaiou Retsu decided to try his hand at fighting the caveman. Pickle, who only ate creatures strong enough for him to hunt, was fed endangered Siberian Tigers. Retsu used this as an opportunity to challenge Pickle in a fight as he made a deal to allow Pickle to eat him so that there would no longer be a need for the caveman to fight and kill Siberian Tigers for food.
In that regard, Retsu finally got his wish to fight Pickle as he wanted to use the caveman as a stepping stone in his mastery of martial arts. He wanted to take Chinese martial arts to the next level, so he needed to fight a strong foe that could force him to evolve. In fact, his fight with Pickle allowed him to reach new levels he never reached before because this caveman was so much bigger and stronger than him.
But while it may be true that Retsu could find a way to give Pickle a hard time, things changed when the caveman decided to fight more seriously. When Pickle had to go on all fours to emulate the beasts and dinosaurs that he had to fight nearly 200 million years ago, that was when he became stronger and faster. Retsu had no chance against this style, as Pickle could defeat him. And losing to Pickle meant that the caveman could eat him.
Luckily, Pickle didn’t eat Retsu entirely. The first part he ate was his shoulder, which Retsu mistakenly left wide open early in their fight. After losing to Pickle, the caveman feasted on his right leg. He woke up in the hospital, humiliated by his loss but determined to become even stronger as he used his defeat to find a way to elevate his mastery over Chinese martial arts.
Then, in the ‘Baki-Dou’ manga storyline, which came after Baki’s fight with his father, Yuujirou Hanma, a legendary samurai, was revived. Scientists created a clone of Musashi Miyamoto and then used a spirit medium to summon his soul and allow it to inhabit the body of the clone. This allowed the strongest samurai in the history of Japan to walk among men during the modern period.
Of course, Kaiou Retsu was one of the fighters that challenged Musashi Miyamoto in this fight. But because Musashi was much stronger and more skilled than Retsu, the Chinese martial artist ended up getting defeated and killed by the legendary samurai warrior.
What happened to Kaiou Retsu?
As mentioned, Kaiou Retsu fought Musashi Miyamoto in what was a showcase of thousands of years of Chinese martial arts against the legendary style of the Japanese samurai. Of course, Retsu was able to put up a good fight, especially after showing vast improvements in his fighting style ever since losing to Pickle.
But the truth was that Musashi Miyamoto was just too strong for Retsu to handle. The samurai, who were already strong without the use of a sword, cut down Retsu and killed the Chinese martial artist. Retsu admitted that this was a defeat for Chinese martial arts as he died immediately.
Retsu’s death may seem pointless in many ways because it didn’t contribute to the Musashi arc. Of course, some people thought that Retsu’s death was a way for Katsumi Orochi to rise up and become an even better fighter because he got one of Retsu’s arms after he lost his arm to Pickle in their fight. Retsu was also one of Katsumi’s greatest teachers, and he was also looking to combine Retsu’s Kenpo with his mastery of Japanese Karate.
But there’s also the fact that Kaiou Retsu’s death also opened up another opportunity for the author, Keisuke Itagaki, to explore a different kind of storyline. That’s because he basically “isekai-ed” Retsu by featuring him in ‘Baki Gaiden: Retsu Kaiō wa Isekai Tensei Shitemo Ikkō ni Kamawan,’ which is a spin-off manga series involving Kaiou Retsu, who was transferred to an entirely different world after his death.
So, in a way, Retsu’s death created a spin-off manga involving an isekai-style storyline wherein he is now in an entirely different world full of different opponents that he has to fight and defeat. And this was one of the best ways for Kaiou Retsu to go out as a character, as he earned his own spin-off series after dying in ‘Baki-Dou.’