— Gou, speaking to Nagisa Hazuki.
|Also known as|| Kou (Kō) |
Matsuoka-san (by Miho Amakata)
|Occupation|| 1st year High School Student (former) |
2nd year High School Student
|Affiliation|| Sano Elementary School (former)|
Iwatobi High School
|Relatives|| Toraichi Matsuoka (father, deceased)|
Rin Matsuoka (brother)
Kyou Matsuoka (grandmother, deceased)
|Light Novel||Chapter 6|
Gou is a petite girl with long burgundy hair, tied back in a ponytail. She has light skin and red eyes, and is usually seen wearing the standard Iwatobi school uniform.
Her usual school uniform consists of light brown skirt, white shirt with red bow tie, light gray long sleeved jumper, dark gray unbuttoned blazer, blue socks and black shoes. During the spring and summer, she wears her summer uniform, which consists of gray skirt, white shirt with dark gray collar, red dotted bow tie, light gray sleeveless jumper, white socks and pink shoes.
Gou has an easygoing and refreshing personality, as shown by the way she talks. However, despite her friendly persona, she can get very angry if someone were to call her "Gou" because it is a rather boyish name for a girl. She prefers being called "Kou" and will always try to correct anyone who chooses to call her otherwise. Nagisa calls her "Gou," despite her constantly trying to correct him.
Gou also seems to be worried about her brother Rin a lot, as she regularly and persistently checks up on him and sees to it that he is all right. She even opted to be the Iwatobi Swim Team's manager, so that they could help in changing Rin back to his old self.
As a manager, Gou can be strict when needed, but at the same time, supportive of the swim team's decisions and feats. She is actually quite efficient in her role as manager and often makes the effort to improve on their training by setting up the team's regimen and organizing joint swimming practices. Gou has an odd tendency to blush and get overly enthusiastic whenever she admires the muscles of men.
Gou's father was a fisherman who died in a fishing boat when she was very young. She appears to have been born in Iwatobi, and to have moved a short time afterward to another school district. Around the age of ten, her grandmother died and Gou, Rin, and their mother inherit the house in Iwatobi where her grandmother lived. At this time, she and her mother become a little worried by Rin's plan to move to Australia to study abroad.
Some time shortly before Gou's eleventh birthday, she briefly meets Haruka Nanase, Makoto Tachibana, and Nagisa Hazuki while delivering to Rin the cookie tin he plans to bury the medley trophy in. Neither Makoto and Nagisa nor herself seem to remember the meeting when they later reunite, but Haruka remembers her identity and name later on and Gou herself remembers Haruka, presumably because he's the one that Rin constantly talks about when at home.
While watching her brother compete in the relay, she watches him smile and laugh while they celebrate victory, and this memory burns in her mind after he leaves to Australia. Although he returns every winter for New Years, she worries over the way he no longer smiles and becomes more withdrawn each year. Eventually, when Rin returns to Iwatobi only to attend a boarding school and refuses to answer her texts, much less visit home, Gou becomes worried enough about Rin to decide to take action to make him smile again.
- Main article: Gou Matsuoka/Plot
- Main article: Gou Matsuoka/Relationships
Creation and ConceptionHiroko Utsumi, the director of the Free! anime, revealed that both Gou and Miho are really supported by the male staff members. "Her expression is similar to Rin’s. Her eye angle is also similar." she said. "Her hair isn't exactly the same color as Rin’s, but they resemble each other’s. Matching siblings are cute, wouldn't you agree? You sense that she really became emotionally attached to her older brother. I didn't want to have her feel like a character who relied on anyone else, so I made her the kind of girl who’s got her own independent will. She’s a kind of girl who does whatever she wishes. She has her own reasons for joining the swimming club. It’s not that she’s weak as a character; she joined because she would enjoy looking at muscles. Thus we also depicted her discovering her own reason to enjoy the swimming club. Her personality is feminine yet clearly cheerful. I requested to Nishiya-san that I wanted her hair to be long. I think she’s a character who splendidly stands out amongst the cast.".
It is also revealed that Gou is really poor athletically. If she and her brother were both athletic and swam, the animators would have to insert differences between them to show weaknesses. She’s also poor at running. So, Gou only joined the swimming club to watch guys swim. The reason why Gou gets into arguments with Nagisa is because he won't change how he calls her. “Don't call me Gou, call me Kou.” They're the same age, so there’s no hesitance for her to speak like that. Gou has some aspects of her that are childish, so the two of them together feel like a couple of kids arguing with each other. At any rate, Gou is in an important position as a character. She’s Rin’s sister, so she acts as a bridge between him and the Iwatobi swimmers. The director also contributed things she clearly wanted in Gou's personality, like how she loves looking at muscles, so it was immediately put in.
- Gou was named after the Sengoku warlord, Nagamasa Azai's third daughter.
- In contrast to the male characters' feminine names, Gou has a masculine name.
- Both Gou and Nagisa's rooms were exactly copied from North American furniture catalogs and blogs.
|Main Characters||Haruka Nanase • Rin Matsuoka • Makoto Tachibana • Nagisa Hazuki • Rei Ryugazaki|
|Iwatobi High School||Gou Matsuoka • Miho Amakata • Chigusa Hanamura • Male Teacher|
|Samezuka Academy||Seijuro Mikoshiba • Aiichiro Nitori • Sosuke Yamazaki • Momotarou Mikoshiba • Shouta Nakagawa|
|Novel-only||Aki Yazaki • Asahi Shiina • Ikuya Kirishima • Kisumi Shigino • Nao Serizawa • Natsuya Kirishima • Nii Satomi • Shota Yazaki • Tomo Yuzuki • Sakuyuki Narukawa • Riku • Kakeri • Kazu • Wataru|
|Others||Goro Sasabe • Ren Tachibana • Ran Tachibana • Mr Tachibana • Mrs Tachibana • Mrs Tamura|