Kozue Matsumoto is the girlfriend of Baki Hanma, the titular character of the Baki the Grappler manga series. Matsumoto is Baki’s neighbor, and they first became friends before commencing a romantic relationship.
Kozue is a simple girl with no martial arts skills. She, however, proves to be very supportive of her boyfriend, a great martial arts fighter who wants to gain the title of the strongest person in the world. The duo’s relationship makes up a prominent part of the initial sagas in the Baki The Grappler.
Baki’s girlfriend’s appearances became limited in subsequent arcs leading to rumors that she may have died or broken up with her boyfriend. However, nothing of such happened. Kozue Matsumoto remains the girlfriend of Baki as the contrary has never played out.
Baki’s Girlfriend, Kozue Matsumoto, is the Daughter of Baki’s Landlady
Kozue Matsumoto is a young teenage girl of 17 years old who attends school like any other kid. She is the only child of her parents, as there is no mention of any siblings. The name of Kozue Matsumoto’s mother is Kinuyo Matsumoto. She is the owner of the premises that they occupy.
The name of Kozue Matsumoto’s father is Taizan Matsumoto. Taizan is a fearsome underground martial arts fighter who is later killed. His death makes Kozue wary of the brutal world of underground fighting, and she detests anything or anyone associated with it.
I’m late posting about this, but better late than never! 💁🏻♀️ I play Kozue Matsumoto in the @sentaifilmworks home video release of Baki. This show was such a blast to work on. The Netflix dub is also great, so make sure to check that out as well. Hope you guys enjoy it. 🌸😘💖🥰 pic.twitter.com/EwCcPFROeA
— Christina Kelly (@ChristinaMarieK) October 15, 2021
She is a Teenage Girl that Maintains a Simple Appearance
Kozue Matsumoto is a teenage girl of average height. She is 5 feet 3 inches tall. She has brown eyes and straight long black hair. Kozue Matsumoto experiments with her hair in the course of the show. Sometimes, she wears it in a fringe and at other times, pushes the fringe to the sides for a center part. Kozue wears simple clothes including her school uniform.
She Has a Shy but Courageous Personality
Kozue Matsumoto has a soft, quiet, and shy personality but she is no pushover by any means. She dislikes the lifestyle of underground arena fighting that Baki has chosen for himself and takes every opportunity to tell him to leave the fight.
Also, during one of his fights, where he was losing badly, she begs him to quit. Kozue Matsumoto also intervenes during the vicious but ridiculous fight between Baki and his father and tells them to get on with it and not be messing around.
Our ship in the Best Couple category comes from the normally brutal fight show #Baki, titular hero Baki Hanma and his girlfriend Kozue Matsumoto. pic.twitter.com/j0tUjB5I4F
— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) January 17, 2020
Kozue Matsumoto and Baki are Initially Friends But Later Become Lovers
Kozue Matsumoto first met Baki because they are neighbors. They live in the same compound that her mother owns. From the get-go, Matsumoto exhibits a caring attitude towards Baki. She assists him in caring for his beloved dog, Musashi, when he is not around. She also brings him food sometimes. Kozue is also concerned that Baki seems to be abandoning his schooling for his fights and advises him to change his ways.
Baki does not heed Matsumoto’s advice, but he nevertheless appreciates her caring attitude toward him and reciprocates it. They become friends, and he asks her to come and witness one of his underground arena fights. Kozue Matsumoto initially balks at this because her father died in the underground fighting. Baki remains adamant though, and she eventually comes.
Kozue Matsumoto witnesses Baki’s first match at the underground arena and is quite scared for his safety. After the whole thing is over, Baki confesses his love for her, and they end up sleeping together for the first time. It is believed that this encounter increases Baki’s strength.
Does this loving couple, Baki and Kozue have your vote for BEST COUPLE? #AnimeAwards
👊 VOTE: https://t.co/CuKsgxa8Uw pic.twitter.com/ZK98NZceMf
— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) January 13, 2020
Kozue Matsumoto Helps Save Baki’s Life After He Was Poisoned
Once they confess their love for each other, the romance between Kozue Matsumoto and Baki blossoms. Therefore, it forms a major arc of the manga for a significant time. During this time, Baki cares for and protects Kozue. He also rescues her when a bunch of school thugs kidnaps her. Kozue Matsumoto, on her own part, attends and supports Baki during his fights despite the fact that she is scared for his safety.
Kozue Matsumoto also helps to save Baki’s life. In the 4th saga of the manga, known as the evilest death row convicts saga, Baki embarks on a fight with a Japanese ex-convict known as Yanagi. He defeats him, but Yanagi infects him with a strong poison. The poison leaves Baki shriveled and weak, and it is decided that he will compete in the great Raitai Tournament to see if he can regain his strength.
During the tournament, Baki comes up against a feared Chinese fighter with poisoned hands named Sea King Li. He beats Li comprehensively but is left on the ground battling for his life. Matsumoto is shocked by all this and runs down to cradle Baki’s body. She weeps over him and her tears that fall on his body set off a chemical reaction that helps him to recover fully.
Baki’s Girlfriend Gets Involved in a Love Triangle with Kozue Matsumoto and Mohammad Alai Jr.
Although Kozue Matsumoto ended up with Baki Hanma, there could have been another outcome because she had another love interest in the shape of Mohammad Alai Jr. Mohammad Jr is the son of a great boxer named Mohammad Alai Sr and grows up to inherit his father’s skills. He hopes to fashion out a form of martial art that involves punching and engages in several fights.
During his activities, Mohammad Alai Jr encounters Kozue Matsumoto and comes to like her almost immediately. She also returns some of his affections. They go on coffee dates. He also consoles her when Baki is poisoned. Kozue Matsumoto develops some feelings for Mohammad Jr, but the one she has for Baki is much stronger. Nothing, therefore, comes out of their relationship.
Mohammad Jr is pained by this and declares to Matsumoto that Baki has two things he wants most – the title of the strongest person in the world and the woman he loves. Mohammad Jr asks Kozue to marry him, but she turns him down. He embarks on a brutal bout with Baki, but Baki defeats him, and this marks the last time he is seen.
Kozue Matsumoto’s Love Story With Baki Receives Little Attention in Subsequent Sagas of Baki
Kozue Matsumoto’s relationship with Baki formed a major part of the story arch in the first six sagas of the manga: Underground Arena Saga, Childhood Saga, Maximum Tournament Saga, Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga, Great Chinese Challenge Saga, Godlike Clash of the Kid’s Saga. However, in subsequent sagas, such as the Combat Shadow Fighting Saga and Great Prison Battle Saga, her appearance is quite limited, with Baki focusing more on his fights.
Kozue Matsumoto’s seeming disappearance from the Baki manga and anime series has become a hot topic amongst fans, with many seeking to know what happened to Baki’s girlfriend. Some stated that she may have broken up with him, while others stated that she may have finished school and gone to college.
The most likely explanation is that Kozue Matsumoto and Baki never broke up. She is likely to make more appearances after Baki returns from his sojourn to America in the Great Prison Battle Saga.