|Also known as||Kou-chan (by Narumi)
|Height||176 cm (5'9")|
|Weight||58 kg (127 lbs)|
|Occupation||2nd Year High School Student|
|Function||Student Council Representative|
Yoichi Tanaka (older brother)
Futaba Yoshioka (girlfriend)
|Manga Debut||Chapter 1|
|Japanese Voice||Yuki Kaji|
Kou Tanaka (田中 洸 Tanaka Kō), formerly Kou Mabuchi (馬渕 洸, Mabuchi Kō) before he changed his family name back to Tanaka in the last chapter, is the male protagonist of the Ao Haru Ride series. He is a 2nd year High School student whose first love is Futaba Yoshioka.
Kou is a handsome young man with fluffy black hair and fairly sharp brown eyes. In middle school, he looked more innocent, but as the years past he changed into looking more mature and serious. He tends to keep more of a straight face and his expressions make it hard for people to read what he's thinking, especially Futaba. Kou doesn't laugh a lot, but when he does, it's very lively and welcoming. It is made aware that he is slowly losing weight and becoming anemic.
When Kou was younger, he was a very kind and outgoing boy, which made Futaba Yoshioka fall in love with him. After his mother's death and other issues he ran into, Kou changed, which was hard for Futaba to accept (it even took her a little while to call him by his new last name Mabuchi, because he wasn't Tanaka anymore). He is now more masculine, sarcastic, and rude. He can come off very harsh, even when he doesn't mean to, which sort of makes him hard to talk to (Aya Kominato sometimes helps Kou with clearing up quick misunderstandings of Kou personality with his own very happy and bubbly atmosphere). In addition, he has extremely pessimistic views about himself and about his brother. Despite these changes, it is evident that Kou is still an overall kind person.
At first, Futaba didn't like Kou's new personality, she found him very harsh and hard to understand but later falls in love with not "Tanaka Kou", but "Mabuchi Kou". Kou lightens up more around his new found friends such as Futaba, Aya, Yuri Makita and Shuko Murao.
It is shown that after coming to terms with his true feelings for Yoshioka, he becomes a more happier, open person and starts to resemble his old self in middle shcool.
During Kou's time in middle school with Futaba Yoshioka, Kou was rather small and gentle who became very fond of her throughout their experiences together but seemingly disappeared during a summer break. Making an appearance in Futaba's High School, it is revealed that he was unable to attend the summer festival because of familial issues. He is no longer "Tanaka Kou" as he is now referred to as "Mabuchi Kou".
Kou liked Futaba ever since middle school to the extent of even performing a very "girly" act by writing her name down in his notebook. When he entered high school, he is bothered by the fact that Futaba keeps comparing his new self to the old one she knew back in middle school. He stated that she was just someone he used to like, but later on expresses many times that his feelings for her haven't changed but in fact increased (yet he doesn't actually express this in words).
Kou appears to be very flirty with Futaba (just like she is with him), but just more blunt about it. On many occasions, he tries to kiss her but usually pulls back pretending that wasn't what he was trying to do (when he is finally able to embrace her, he gets very blushy and eager, instead of treating it as just something he decided to do because of the mood). Despite Kou's obvious feelings he shares with Futaba, he never fails to tease her about wearing make-up and how unfeminine she is.
After Futaba's confession, he rejects her, but gets very flustered about the situation he's put in. Although he's very much is in love with her, he is confused on whether he should pursue his feelings or stay by Narumi's side out of some misguided sense of responsibility. Later on, Kou realizes he's been staying with Narumi not for her, but for himself. With this being said, Kou has decided to tell Yoshioka that he's in love with her, but is faced with the problem of Futaba pushing him away and getting involved with Toma. After finding out from Yoshioka that she breaks up with Toma, they try to rekindle their promise from middle school, only to be faced with Kou getting hit by a car on the way and getting admitted to a hospital. When visited by Yoshioka, he confesses to her and expresses she's the only girl he can love and the two share a passionate kiss twice. They then become an official couple and meet at their promised place for a date. Surprisingly, Kou swallows his pride and buys Yoshioka flowers, because seeing her smile is more important than being embarrassed.
Kou met Narumi in the middle school that he transferred to, in his mother's hometown, Nagasaki, during the second term of his first year. He initially found her to be a kind and a friendly person, because she helped clear up misunderstandings with their classmates about Kou's surname, "Mabuchi", and his parent's divorce, when he had trouble opening up to them. Since Narumi's parents were also divorced, they found that they had things in common and understood each other. The day Kou is about to leave Nagasaki for high school, Narumi confesses to him and gives him a kiss, however, Kou remains indifferent to these feelings.
Two years after middle school, long after he moved back to his hometown, Kou is faced with the news of Narumi's father's death, who had suffered from cancer, similarly to Kou's own mother. After his death, Narumi moved to Kou's area during the summer holidays. He later discovers, from his middle school classmate, that Narumi was unwanted by her mother, who had a new husband, and was living with her relatives instead.
This leaves Kou in a situation where he feels obliged to be there for Narumi, who has very little support for her situation, and he is someone who could relate to what she was going through. Narumi has feelings for Kou, and had confessed to him when he visited for her father's funeral, but her feelings were not reciprocated. As a result of comforting Narumi, he is forced to sacrifice any potential relationship with Futaba. Kou is unsure if he is doing the right thing by choosing to be by Narumi's side, despite wanting to be with Futaba.
It is shown that Kou is calling Narumi in order to break things off with her due to the fact that he wants to be with Futaba. When the day finally approaches for Kou to have the talk with Narumi, Narumi is walking away from him (trying to find Futaba and Toma). He then notices the hug between Toma and Futaba. In later chapters, he finally sums up the courage to face Narumi properly and end things for good. After one last futile attempt at protests from Narumi, he completely cuts ties with her and leaves with no turning back.
Yoichi, or Tanaka-sensei, is Kou's older brother and a teacher at his high school. He has sort of a "tuff love" relationship with his brother, where he gets very annoyed by him asking too many questions, inviting him to eat dinner together, or just even Tanaka-sensei trying to make conversation with him. Some of this behavior most likely comes from the fact that Kou might resent his brother for not being there when he had to go through a hard time all alone, like their mother being deathly ill. Despite this, he still cares for his brother (like when he had to vouch for him to clear a misunderstanding the principal had between Tanaka-sensei and Futaba's relationship).
Aya is a good friend of Kou. He brightens up Kou's atmosphere, which allows other people to feel comfortable to talk to Kou. Kou is sometimes shocked by how defensive Aya is towards him, yet thankful of how much Aya cherishes their friendship. Aya is one of the first people to know that he likes Futaba, but Kou gets a little pissed (probably because he knows Aya is right) when Aya is scolding him on how although he thinks Narumi needs him, as Kou's feelings are also important.
Kou sees Yuri as just a friend, and doesn't necessarily have a lot of interaction with her. Yuri was the first one being told about his mother's memorial room, but Kou didn't have the intentions of doing this to make Yuri feel more special than Futaba. Kou was surprised by Yuri's confession, but rejected her nicely with a "thank you", knowing that Futaba is the one he actually likes. After this situation he still treats Yuri the same as he did before.
Kou doesn't hate Toma, but he doesn't really like him. At first Kou didn't have an opinion on him, because he didn't know the type of person he was. He gets really uneasy when Toma is talking to Futaba, because unlike her, he could see that Toma has feelings for her. Later, Kou gets annoyed that Toma is trying to interfere with his and Futaba's relationship and nearly gets into a fight with him. When Toma and Futaba starts going out, and when Kou sees the two of them talking in the hallway, Kou laughs out loud to hopefully distract Futaba and also to interrupt their conversation (due to jealousy).
- (to himself) "Yoshioka, I want to see your happy face."
- (to Futaba) "I have never loved anyone else besides you."
- (to Futaba) "The fact that it makes you depressed to do that is proof that you want to do something."
- According to Ao Haru Ride Character's File, Kou:
- is good at Social Studies, but bad at Classic Literature.
- likes eating Chicken Nanban and Potato chips (his usual snack), but dislikes celery.
- likes drinking coffee.
- likes listening to Dave Matthews band.
- likes the blue and black color.
- his hair is actually, naturally messy, part perm
- Kou's class is 2-2.
- Ranked 15th highest score for his final exam. Also score the highest amongst his friends even though they were the ones helping him to catch up with his studies.
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 27, Chapter 29, Page 40
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 27, Chapter 29, Page 42
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 8, Chapter 30, Pages 7-12
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 8, Chapter 30, Page 12
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 8, Chapter 30, Page 38
- Ao Haru Ride Manga Series: Volume 8, Chapter 30, Page 42
- Volume 3 Extras
|Main||Futaba Yoshioka • Kou Tanaka • Yuri Makita • Shuko Murao • Aya Kominato • Toma Kikuchi|
|Supporting||Yui Narumi • Haruhiko Uchimiya • Kiyun Tachibana|
|Teachers||Yoichi Tanaka • Peach|
|Others||Yuri • Naito • Asumi • Chie|