Baki Wiki
Baki Wiki
Kaiou Retsu
Retsu profile
Kanji Name 烈 海王
Kana Name れつ かいおう
First Appearance
Anime Start!
Manga The Festival Has Begun!!
Origin China
Age About 30 (before death)
Hair Color Black
Height 176 cm (5'9")
Weight 106 kg (233 lbs)
Fighting Style Chinese Kenpo
Original Dub Kunihiko Yasui (2001)
Rikiya Koyama (2018)
English Dub Ed Blaylock (2001)
Kaiji Tang (2018)
Relations Kaiou Ryuu (Master)
Kaiou Kaku (Grandmaster)
Genichi Fukamachi (Coach)
There's a saying: the Yellow River does not grudge unto streams. But my view is different.

– Retsu to Katsumi Orochi.

Kaiou Retsu (烈 海王, Retsu Kaiō; Chinese pinyin: Liè Hǎiwáng) is a fictional character in the Baki the Grappler anime and manga series. He was a very accomplished fighter of Chinese Kenpo and a friend of Katsumi Orochi. At first, he was an antagonist in the series, but later became one of the main characters.

His real name is Eishuu Retsu (烈永周, Retsu Eishū; Chinese pinyin: Liè Yǒng-Zhōu). In his training days in Heilongjiang, Bailin Temple he was called Shaoron Retsu (烈小龍, Retsu Shaoron; Chinese pinyin: Liè Xiǎolóng).


Born in a temple in China, Retsu was trained to be the heir to their Chinese Kenpo style. A man of great discipline and skill, he was sworn to uphold the honor and pride of the ancient art of Chinese Kenpo, although in time, Retsu learned to appreciate the diversity of all the worlds fighting styles rather than claiming that Chinese Kenpo was the strongest as he'd done throughout a majority of the Maximum Tournament. Despite his great knowledge in his style, he did not open his mind to the possibility of learning from other disciplines at first, but after striking up a friendship with Katsumi Orochi post-tournament he appeared to wished to both teach as well as learn at the Shinshinkai Dojo.

Retsu is an intelligent person. As a trained martial artist, both physically and mentally, Retsu Kaiou possesses a level of intellect unachieved by most commoners. Like other master martial artists in the franchise, Retsu can easily decipher one's fighting technique, such as how it's utilized and its weaknesses.

While he may seem very composed, Retsu is anything but patient when it comes to combat. He also proved throughout the course of the story to be overconfident in his abilities which, when compounded by his urgent desire to prove his own strength in battle against powerful foes, eventually led to his death at the hands (or blade in this case) of Musashi Miyamoto, who managed to overcome Retsu's defensive Xiaoli and cuts through most of his internal organs as well as his spine.

He is more uptight than the rest of Baki's friends but does some really absurd things sometime, such as throwing a windmill punch out of frustration. While never really an evil person, he grows from an exemplary stereotype to perhaps one of the kindest and most caring people in the series. When Kaiou Dorian became mentally disabled, Retsu took pity on him despite all the things he'd previously done, even promising to buy the now childish man a mountain of candy whilst holding back tears.


Retsu Kaiou was a very well-built man, whose long black hair is tied up into a single pigtail braid. His eyebrows are somewhat thick and reminiscent of small scythes. In a fight, Retsu will most of the time be dressed in dark blue/black shaolin monk pants and boots, with no shirt on. Occasionally, however, he may dress smartly or casually. 

After his brutal battle against Pickle, Retsu's leg was severely damaged, forcing him to wear a pegleg instead. Though it luckily didn't seem to have any negative effects on his daily life nor did it appear to weaken him whilst in combat.


Baki the Grappler[]


Retsu and ryu e e

Retsu and Kaiou Ryuu.

Retsu learned martial arts at the Bailin Temple. During his training days he was called Shaoron Retsu. One day he was forbidden to take part in the Kaiou title test. This title is given only to the best fighters of Chinese martial arts. Retsu was locked up in a cell defended by six armed guards, but he freed himself from there, beat up the guards and appeared on the Kaiou exam. Angry Retsu asked why he wasn't allowed to take part in the test. His master, Kaiou Ryuu, led him to the place where the great tunnel was located. Ryuu told him about the man who dug this tunnel in one night, using only his fists and legs. As it turned out later, this man was Kaiou Dorian. Retsu thought he was forbidden to take part in the exam because of his villainy nature, but Ryuu explained to him that he couldn't make him Kaiou just because of Retsu poor skills.

The truth is that Retsu already had great skills in Chinese martial arts at that moment, and Kaiou Ryuu presumably just wanted to motivate him even more. After this event Retsu probably started to training even harder. For example, he was known for using his hands and feet to carve a perfectly round ball out of stone. One day during training in a temple, Retsu killed his sparring partner. Maybe that's why he started being held in a cell, but it was never said directly. Eventually, Retsu somehow gained the title of Kaiou. In the anime, it was said that Ryuu gave him the title not only because he thought his skills were good enough, but also because of a suggestion from Kaiou Dorian.

Maximum Tournament Saga[]

Retsu vs taktaroff

Retsu defeating Sergei Taktarov.

For the first time, Retsu appears in the series as a participant in the Maximum Tournament in the Underground Arena. He accosts Katsumi Orochi in the locker-room, demanding he to admit karate is a weaker fighting style than Chinese Kempo. Retsu explaining he feels offended that something as "weak" as karate could even be considered better than the 4000-year-old Chinese martial arts on which it was based. Katsumi tells him that he'd never say such a thing in his life and claims that instead of arguing they can both simply check which style is stronger by fighting. Retsu takes up a fighting stance, but Sergei Taktarov, a Russian sambo fighter who is supposed to be Retsu's first opponent, breaks them up. Taktarov tells the Chinese man that if he wants to get beaten up that badly then he can wait until their both in the arena. Retsu gets angry hearing this comment and seems ready to explode, but the whole situation is interrupted by Andreas Regan, a professional wrestler beaten in the first round by Baki Hanma. His appearance distracts both martial artists and eventually Retsu decided to not fight with anyone in the locker-room. When the official match between Retsu and Taktarov begins, it becomes clear the sambo practitioner doesn't stand the slightest chance of winning the fight. He tries to catch the Kenpo master with some grappling techniques, but he fails. Retsu claims he was unreasonable, thinking he can take this match seriously. He provokes Taktarov by approaching him very closely, as if to allow the Russian to perform his technique. After a while, Retsu ends the match with his Spinning Lotus and nearly breaks the neck of his opponent. Baki Hanma and Kiyosumi Katou, who watched the fight attentively, are impressed by the extraordinary power of Kaiou Retsu.

Retsu vs toba

Retsu and Mount Toba.

In the next round of the tournament, Retsu's opponent is Mount Toba, the giant pro wrestling star. Before the start of the duel, Retsu confidently tells his opponent that he will finish the fight in a minute and Toba answer that he has the same plan. At the very beginning, Toba unexpectedly throw his robe at Retsu to block his vision, attacking him with all his might, but Retsu blocks all of the wrestler's strikes. When Retsu pulls Toba's apparel off, the larger man tries to blind him again using the sand from the arena to do it this time. Unfortunately, while Toba does his best during the match and even uses his famous "Bodydrop", Retsu quickly notices the giant's weakspot is his knee, so he brutally smashes his leg when Toba tries to perform his Bodydrop. Retsu says that there are still a few seconds left until the end of the minute and he wants to continue the battle, but Mount Toba decides to give up, clenching his teeth in pain.

Retsu and katsumi

Retsu after his match with Katsumi.

In the third round of the tournament, Retsu fights against Katsumi Orochi, a karateka he's already had a hard time with. The young prodigy of the Karate Shinshinkai is very confident and decides to use his special technique, the Mach Punch, right off the bat. He starts to slowly approach Retsu and the kung-fu expert prepares for a counterattack. After a while, Ratsu blinds his opponent with his Invisible Blinding technique and in a blink of an eye appears before Katsumi, who is confused but desperately tries to use his Mach Punch. Their duel ends unexpectedly quickly as Retsu overtakes his ultimate move and uses a technique known as "Sunkei", a very powerful blow launched from a distance of one-inch, striking Katsumi point-blank and sending him flying into the audience. The young karateka manages to rise up and return semi-conscious to the middle of the arena. Retsu explains to him that his karate is an incomplete martial art that has no chance of winning against his Kenpo. Katsumi, as well as the whole audience, is in heavy shock at what happened. Then Retsu turns his back on him and leaves the ring whilst, Katsumi falls to his knees unconscious as Retsu is declared the official winner.

In the semi-finals, Retsu's opponent is Baki Hanma, the young champion of the Underground Arena and son of Yuujirou Hanma, the strongest creature in the world. Before the match begins, Baki's father meets Retsu in the corridor. Before Yuujirou approached him, Retsu was doing a kind of shadowboxing opposite the wall, in which he made a big hole. When Yuujirou approached him, he smiled and easily made an even bigger hole in the wall using only a single movement. Yuujirou warns him about Baki's strength, laughing at the Chinese fighter and claiming he's afraid of him. Retsu gets angry and tries to attack him, but Yuujirou turns around and walks away, advising the Chinese fighter not to underestimate the "history of Hanma".

Retsu vs baki

Retsu fighting Baki Hanma.

Finally, the match begins and it turns out that Baki prepared himself for the fight by analyzing Retsu's movements and imagined them fighting each other. At the beginning of the fight, Baki easily uses the Spinning Lotus, a specific technique of Retsu, but his comes out of it in one piece. Retsu tries to use Sunkei, but Baki had already figured out how to neutralize the impact. Retsu decides to go all out, taking off his shoes and using his powerful feet, and begins to dominate the fight. Eventually, however, Baki gets into a strangely ominous and relentless mood, which Yuujirou calls an arousal of the "Hanma's blood". Baki manages to return to normal, but not before almost breaking Retsu's neck. Luckily, Retsu save his own life by resetting his neck. In the end, however, Baki wins the match by delivering a powerful kick to Retsu's face. When the fight is over, Kureha Shinogi checks the condition of Retsu and tells Tokugawa that when the head of the Retsu was turned, the fighter deliberately pulled his skull out of his spine to prevent breaking.


Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga[]

Retsu vs katsumi ii e e

Retsu facing Katsumi in the dojo.

Kaiou Retsu is meeting with Katsumi Orochi in the Shinshinkai dojo where they have a short sparring match. After the fight, Katsumi starts telling Shinshinkai's disciples about how he was defeated by Retsu. Both fighters have a different attitude towards each other than at the Maximum Tournament and they don't treat each other as enemies. After a while an American named Dorian, one of the five convicts who escaped from prison and came to Tokyo in searching of "defeat", suddenly enters the dojo. Dorian starts a brutal fight with Katsumi and defeats him. When he tries to leave the dojo, Retsu stops him and challenges Dorian to a duel. The convict uses his trick and sets Retsu on fire. The Chinese fighter is not harmed in the end, but Dorian escapes from the dojo.

Later on Retsu arrives in the Underground Arena with Doppo Orochi, Kaoru Hanayama, Baki Hanma and Gouki Shibukawa. They meet the five convicts in order to settle a war between the two sides. After leaving the arena, Retsu tries to challenge Dorian again, but is overtaken by Doppo who does a surprise attack on the convict, and the Chinese fighter just watches their battle.

There is a meeting with five main fighters at the Tokugawa's house. The meeting is interrupted by Dorian, who appears by surprise and tries to set the house on fire. However, right behind him Katsumi Orochi enters the room wanting to retaliate against Dorian and in an ironic twist sets the convict on fire. After a while Retsu looks at Dorian, who is lying there with a burned body, and notices that the American hasn't lost consciousness at all. Suddenly, Retsu kicks Dorian to prove that the convict has not been defeated yet. The confusing situation ends eventually with Dorian throwing a grenade and causing an explosion at the house of the owner of the Underground Arena, but no one dies.

He later encounters Doyle in a bar and brutalizes him, setting him on fire and stabbing his eye with a knife weapon. After putting him out, he proceeds to throw several more knives into Doyle, ties him up and cuts his back. He continues wailing on him till Jack drugs him and knocks him out.

Great Chinese Challenge Saga[]

After Yuujirou tears off Kaiou Ryuu's face, Retsu prepares to fight him. Ryuu then gets up and stops Retsu, declaring Retsu insulted him. He cooks a meal for Baki that helps him restore his strength. Retsu is paired against Kaiou Son and defeats him after completely overwhelming his grip strength. He fights Jaku in the third fight of the coalition battle. He eventually defeats Jaku, despite the Kaiou's tricky tactics.

Hanma Baki[]

Pickle Wars Saga[]

While the media and public negatively reacted to the news of how Dr. Payne fed a critically endangered animal to Pickle, Kaiou Retsu met and discussed with Mitsunari about Pickle's food problem and how the caveman would never eat anything that doesn't attack him. Retsu, who is filled with his desire to fight "the strongest in history" like Pickle, offered himself as a "food" for Pickle so that he has a chance for a bout with the caveman. Mitsunari at first refused, as he considered cannibalism to be too extreme even for the standard of his Underground Arena, but he then relented after Retsu reiterated his intentions. Thus Mitsunari allowed him to face Pickle and potentially "feed" him.

At first, Retsu seems to be able to overwhelm Pickle with his martial arts skill. However, Retsu is unable to damage Pickle at all, and he ended up being bitten by the caveman on his left shoulder, who then proceed to tear off his flesh and devour it. After several failed attempt to knock out Pickle, Retsu suffered a mental breakdown. In a state of despair, Retsu proclaims that he will gave up using his "useless" Kenpo and starts throwing random punches at Pickle out of desperation. Suddenly, Retsu's body starts to move on their own and defended him from Pickle's attacks. It turns out that Retsu's fighting spirit has manifested to protect Retsu and urge him to never gave up what he has learned. In the end, despite Retsu managed to land an elbow strike on Pickle's back of his head, a move that would be fatal for a normal human otherwise, Pickle shrugs off the attack and knocks Retsu unconscious. Retsu ended up having his right leg eaten by Pickle as a result.

After he has recovered from injuries, Retsu has his missing leg replaced with a peg leg. Retsu became furious after learned that his friend Katsumi Orochi wanted to exact revenge against Pickle for him, as in doing so means that he's disrespecting Retsu's will to accept defeat. Retsu then offers to let Katsumi carry on the 4,000 years of Chinese Kenpo. Katsumi refuses and makes it clear that it has to be Karate that is used to defeat Pickle. Retsu then trains with Katsumi and teaches him everything he knows, and Katsumi uses this to refine his own Karate (the 501st year of Karate). With further help from Kaiou Kaku, Katsumi has created a new technique know as Countless Joints.

Later, Retsu witnesses Katsumi's tragic fight with Pickle. After their battle, Retsu paid a visit to the karateka in the hospital after the match costed him his right arm. Later, Retsu also observes and comments on the fight of Baki Hanma and Pickle.

Warrior's Struggle Saga[]

Retsu decides practice his boxing skills to rebuild his fighting spirit, and to prove that kenpo is superior to boxing.


After his time in the boxing ring, Kaiou Retsu retired from his professional boxing career. This is partly due to he believed that he has "proven" the superiority of kenpo to the world, though this is also because Retsu have watched a video of the recently revived legendary swordsman Musashi Miyamoto causing havoc in Tokyo. When he returned to Tokyo, Retsu visited Katsumi and learned that his father Doppo was completely defeated in a sparring match with the samurai.

Later, Retsu ask Mitsunari Tokugawa to arrange a match with Musashi in the Underground Arena and meet with Musashi in person. Despite Retsu is not sure that he would even have a chance against Musashi in a hand-to-hand combat, he asked Mitsunari to lift the rule that prohibit the use of weapons, so that he will fight the swordsman on equal terms, and therefore people would cast no doubt about his skill should he win. Having heard of Retsu's reasoning, Musashi start to emanate a "demonic aura", which cause Retsu to attack with a kick, but Musashi grabs him by his peg leg and broke it. In response, Retsu kicks Musashi in the face with his other leg, knocking him down. Retsu then explains his reasoning behind the attack to Mitsunari before leaving.

During a three days period before the scheduled match, Retsu train inside the Shinshinkai Dojo with various weaponry. He is then visited by Kaiou Kaku, who teached him the Defensive Xiaoli technique to counter Musashi's swordsmanship. Just as he has finished the training, Retsu is visited by Izou Motobe, who tried to convince Retsu to give up the fight to protect himself by saying that none of the techniques that Retsu has learned will be sufficient against Musashi. Angered by what he viewed as an insult to Chinese martial arts, Retsu and Motobe began a brief fight that ended when Kaku knock out Motobe in one punch to silence him.

In the matchday, the crowd inside the Underground Arena is surprised that not only the ban on weapons is lifted, there are also various weaponry being placed in a sand mound in the center of the fighting ring free of use. As the uncertainty looms over the Arena over how brutal the fight is going to be, Retsu and Musashi enter the Arena and listen to the "special rule" of the match.

As soon as the match begins, Retsu took the initiative and throw dozen of knives hidden inside his shirt at Musashi, who effortlessly dodge and parry all of them. Retsu then took off his shirt and uses it to fling debris at great speed. Musashi is unfazed by this and mock Retsu for keep using ranged weapons. In response, Retsu throw his shirt at Musashi and then caught him by surprise by using a 9-section whip chains to strike his head. Retsu then tries to attack Musashi with a whip chains, but Musashi snatch it from Retsu's hand and destroy it. Musashi then hand over his katana to Retsu so that he would use it to try attacking again. Retsu refuses and strike Musashi down with the scabbard. Retsu then urged Musashi to finally stop holding back and using a sword, as he did not want the match to be hand-to-hand combat like any other normal matches. Musashi ignored Retsu's words and challenges him to a martial arts combat. The two began exchanging blows, Musashi then grab Retsu by his peg leg and striking him into the ground, rendered him briefly unconscious. Despite this, Retsu's body instinctively move on its own and dodge Musashi's attack. Retsu then take the stance of Baki Hanma as Musashi grabs a seiryuu sword from the sand mound. Musashi then strike Retsu in his face with the sword but did not actually cut him (similar to the strike he delivered to Doppo a few days earlier). Realizing that Musashi is still holding back, Retsu angrily yells at the samurai, asking if he looked down on him. Musashi then tried to slash Retsu's face, but Retsu use Defensive Xiaoli and deliver a Roll Kick into Musashi's face. As Musashi lies seemingly helpless on the ground, Retsu jumps and tried to finish him. Suddenly, Musashi gets up and tied Retsu's body with Rope Method technique, rendered him motionless. Retsu again urges the samurai to finish him off. However, Musashi retrieve his katana from the mound and cut Retsu's restraint (and his tied hair) instead, allow him to continue. Musashi then deliver a vertical slash, but Retsu uses Defensive Xiaoli in an attempt to parry it, but Musashi flings Retsu and cut his peg leg off. While Retsu recovers, the wound from the earlier slash opened, leading Retsu to believe that his technique doesn't work. Musashi however confirms that he intended to kill Retsu with that strike, and that had he have not used Defensive Xiaoli, he would be dead by now. Retsu then charged at Musashi, who in return deliver another vertical slash. Retsu then "caught" Musashi's sword with his right fist and is about to deliver a strike. However, Musashi freed his sword from Retsu's hand and throw the kenpo master into the air. Musashi then delivers a decisive horizontal slash across Retsu's stomach. The cut is so severe that it completely destroyed Retsu's internal organs and separated his spine. After a brief moment of reflection, Retsu finally succumbs to his injuries and dies, with his organs and blood spilled out into the ground. The sight of Retsu's gruesome death terrified spectators, who run away in fear as the deathmatch ends.

After lamenting Retsu's death, Tokugawa return to his mansion along with Musashi to discuss about the fight. Musashi praise Retsu's bravery and describe how he "fell in love" with the late kenpo master's technique and fearlessness. Musashi even comparing the battle with Retsu with his participation in the Battle of Sekigahara, as Musashi views that Retsu is so dangerous that he cannot let his guard down at any moment. Musashi's comments on Retsu brings Mitsunari to a closure, as he believes that Retsu would not die in vain for that his legendary opponent recognized him.

Baki Dou[]

It is later revealed that Mitsunari has secretly preserved Retsu's right arm inside his underground lab as a memento. Before the start of the 5 vs 5 sumo bout, Mitsunari offered to implant Retsu's arm to Katsumi as a replacement to the one he lost in a fight with Pickle. During the fight, Retsu's arm would often move on its own and effectively allowed Katsumi to use all of Retsu's kenpo technique as it was his.


Retsu was an accomplished fighter who attained the rank of Kaiou, strong enough to beat Mount Toba in less than a minute and Katsumi with just one punch. In fact, his punch was powerful enough to permanently damage Dorian's brain, reducing his mindset to that of a child. His most impressive feat was pounding a boulder into a perfect sphere using only his bare hands. During his battle with the convict Hector Doyle, Retsu also demonstrated himself to be very skilled with a wide variety of weapons ranging from throwing knives, ropes, a nine-section whips, and even a dao.

Retsu fights with dirty tactics sometimes, such as using his hair to blind his opponent, setting them on fire with alcohol, or using his shirt to throw dirt as projectiles. Retsu once used the "Mushin", a mental state in which he automatically uses his techniques and reflexes to defend and fight. Despite this, he was defeated by Pickle's sheer brute strength, and even broke down in despair after realizing that his technique is no use against him.

Retsu is also notable for possessing "fighting spirit" that can control his body even Retsu has lost consciousness or the will to fight, in order to protect him and knowledge of Chinese martial art. This spirit notably manifests itself during the fight with Pickle and moved Retsu's body to counter Pickle's attack, despite Retsu himself has swore to give up the "useless" kenpo after his mental breakdown earlier. This spirit also helped Retsu to recover from attacks from Musashi Miyamoto despite he Retsu has briefly lost consciousness. According to Yuujirou Hanma, Retsu's own fighting spirit was able to awake the "Hanma spirit" in Baki Hanma.

Ever since the first part of the franchise, Kaiou Retsu has been striving to become more and more powerful, even practicing non-Chinese martial arts. Later, he thrived as China's second strongest, right after Kaiou Kaku, until his death at the hands of Musashi. Even after that, Retsu still fights posthumously as a right arm attached to Katsumi Orochi's body. With Retsu's "spirit" being capable of controlling it at will and even allowed Katsumi to use his kenpo technique.


  • Spinning Lotus – an unusual yet deadly technique in which the user wraps their arms and legs around the opponent's head before snapping their neck; Retsu first used it during his first round of the Maximum Tournament to beat Sergei Taktarov.
  • Sunkei – a powerful one-inch punch capable of sending a grown man flying nearly a dozen meters away; Retsu first used it against Katsumi Orochi in the third round of the Maximum Tournament.
  • Invisible Blinding – used against Katsumi Orochi.
  • Headbutt – used against Baki Hanma.
  • Shocking Footwork – used against Baki Hanma and Kaiou Jaku.
  • Rounding Punch – used once against Pickle.
  • Crushing Fist – used against Pickle.
  • Mach Punch – used once in the Shinshinkai dojo.
  • Musunkei - an improved version of Sunkei; used against Andrei Valev.
  • Ippon Ken – used once against Joe Crasier.
  • Defensive Xiaoli – used against Musashi Miyamoto.
  • Roll Kick – used against Musashi Miyamoto.



  • Kaiou Retsu is based on the real-life Chiinese martial artist Bruce Lee. Retsu's temple name is Shaoron Retsu (Chinese pinyin: Liè Xiǎolóng), while Bruce Lee's Chinese pinyin name is Lǐ Xiǎolóng.
    • He also bears a strong resemblance to Chinese martial arts star Gordon Liu, namely his portrayal as historical martial artist and folk hero Wong Fei-Hung in the film Challenge of the Masters. Liu may also be the inspiration for Feng Wei from the Tekken series, who also bears a strong resemblance to both him and Retsu.
  • Initially, the English dub of the TV series mistakenly pronounces his name as "Retsu Keio". This is later corrected.