While we know that the Baki storyline has always focused on Baki’s quest to become stronger than his father, we also know that he has a great girlfriend that motivates him to become better. As such, Baki and Kozue have been an item for a while already, and she seems to be the person that Baki spends the most time with whenever he’s not training. But what happened to Kozue in Hanma Baki: Son of Ogre?
Baki and Kozue are still together in the storyline. It’s just that the story has now focused more on Baki’s preparation for his fight with his father, Yuujirou Hanma. As such, Kozue has been written off from the story so that the plot could focus more on Baki and the other fighters.
Even though Kozue was always important to Baki as a character, she was never the most important character in the story. The story of Baki can proceed with or without Kozue as she was always more like a plot device instead of an actual character that was necessary to the story’s development. So, with that said, let’s look at what happened to Kozue in Baki.
Does Baki Save His Girlfriend?
The storyline of Baki may revolve around Baki Hanma and his quest to become the strongest fighter in the world. But we also know that a subplot in the story includes his personal relationships outside the fighting world. And the most important person in Baki’s life whenever he isn’t fighting, or training is Kozue Matsumoto, who he met when he started living with his dog in his apartment.
Baki and Kozue met when they were already around 17 years old, and they started hitting it off when Kozue took the responsibility of feeding Baki’s dog whenever Baki was off training. Kozue was the first to notice that Baki was always away from home and was hardly going to school. And that’s because Baki was likely to train instead of doing anything else.
During one of the earlier storylines of Baki, Kozue was abducted by a group of thugs. Mai, Kozue’s friend, tried to tell the police about it, only for them to ignore the situation. As such, it was up to Baki to help Kozue. He easily defeated the thugs and saved Kozue as their relationship improved.
Shortly after Baki rescued Kozue from the thugs, they became an official couple. During the Most Evil Death Row Convicts saga, Baki and Kozue had sex for the very first time to Yuujirou’s delight, as he said that having sex strengthens a person because it makes him more of a man.
Does Kozue Stay with Baki?
Kozue played a big role in the Baki anime, which continued the Baki the Grappler anime of the 2000s. As mentioned, Baki and Kozue had sex during the Most Evil Death Row Convicts saga, and this incident only made Baki a more powerful fighter. Nevertheless, during their entire time together, Kozue always worried about Baki pushing himself to the limit and getting hurt in his fights.
During the battle with a convict named Yanagi, Baki got poisoned. His body weakened due to the poison, and he became a shell of his former self. Because of this, Kozue became even more concerned about Baki but never left his side despite the young fighter still pushing himself hard. And it was when the poison of Kaiou Ri’s poison interacted with Yanagi’s poison that Baki recovered to his full strength, as Kozue’s tears and love for Baki were credited for the fact that the young Hanma was eventually able to get back on his feet.
After that, the storyline shifted to Mohammad Alai Jr., who challenged Baki to a fight. Hanma easily defeated Alai Jr. in their fight. Baki turned his attention toward his father to challenge him to a fight because he felt that he had already reached a level that would have allowed him to become the toughest fight his father had ever had. And we know that Yuujirou is called the Ogre because he is the strongest creature on the planet.
Nevertheless, Kozue stayed with Baki even though he now focused on his fight with his father. There wasn’t anything in the story that indicated that Kozue had left Baki or that they had broken up. It is possible that Kozue was simply written out of the story so that the spotlight could focus more on Baki’s preparation.
As such, Kozue was noticeably absent in the Arizona Prison and Pickle arcs, which were very important in Baki’s rise as one of the world’s strongest fighters and the only fighter that could give his father a tough fight. And Kozue seemingly had no place in those story arcs, as including her in the plot would have only complicated things.
Keisuke Itagaki was never known for his talent in writing female characters, which explains why there are hardly any women in the Baki storyline. In Kozue’s case, she was always a plot device in the story but was never one of the most important characters in the entire Baki plot. And that is probably why she suddenly disappeared during the arcs of the Hanma Baki: Son of Ogre manga and anime.
What Happened to Kozue After Baki?
As mentioned, Kozue seemingly disappeared from Baki’s life after he challenged Yuujirou to a fight. Baki did many things, such as kidnapping the president of the United States to get a chance to fight Biscuit Oliva in the Arizona State prison. He also fought a gigantic caveman named Pickle. But where was Kozue this entire time?
Kozue’s absence in the events leading up to Baki’s fight with Yuujirou was never explained. Itagaki never said anything regarding Kozue simply because she was unnecessary to the story. As such, we can speculate where Kozue was the entire time, as it is possible that she focused more on her studies or went off to college, all while Baki was training to become the strongest fighter in the world.
It is also possible that Kozue understood that Baki would be so busy, so she stayed in his apartment to take care of things there. Anything is possible, but the fact is that she was never necessary for the Hanma Baki storyline, which focused more on Baki and the new fighters that were introduced.
However, Kozue did appear in the middle of the fight between Baki and Yuujirou to tell them to keep fighting. This is probably one of the few instances where Kozue pushed Baki to fight even harder even though he was already tired and hurt. As such, she was seemingly a background character in Baki’s life, as the storyline was never about Baki’s relationships.