Introduced as a former part-time co-worker at a liquor store Yūsaku worked at a short time ago, who used the money she made to buy herself contact lenses, she finds Yūsaku with a spare movie ticket, which was originally intended for Kyōko who happened to just start dating Shun Mitaka and he decides to invite her, which eventually set the general tone for their relationship. Kozue gets the wrong idea and thinks that Yūsaku likes her, and she begins to pursue him, which triggers Kyoko’s jealousy over him.
She’d continue to be his steady date ("girlfriend" may be a word too strong, at least in Yusaku's view) and generally serves as an obstacle for him in his pursuit of Kyoko, since he’s afraid to break her heart by admitting his love for Kyōko, and even introduces him to her family, who approve of him and are all too willing to feed the perpetually starving college student. And over the course of the story, Kozue’s relationship with Yūsaku makes Kyōko jealous (which she would not admit as such) and thus possibly end his chances with her, and so Yūsaku strives to maintain some sort of distance from Kozue, and hopes to break things off with her; however he cannot find the right opportunity to do so without hurting her feelings deeply, and he wouldn’t even consider at the suggestion of Sakamoto trying to make her hate him by using bad behavior (which he as a matter of fact has already done to Kyōko) and thus their relationship would remain platonic.
She later becomes a bank receptionist, and much to her surprise, a co-worker proposed to her, which prompted her to go see Yūsaku to make a decision. At first, she kisses him for the first time in their relationship and wishes him good luck for his last teaching exam, then she gets excited when he finally finds the courage to tell her that he intends to make his own proposal once he graduates, believing he means her, which both left an impact on his relationship with Kyoko. However, she thereafter sees Yūsaku escorting a very drunk Akemi out of a love hotel, looking as if they had a night together, which ironically makes his hope to break off with his relationship with her through a degrading situation eventually happen, although it was not Yūsaku's intention at the time as he actually just went there to cover Akemi’s room charge. Later on, she finds out what really happened and apologizes to Godai, who finally manages to confess his love for someone else, to which she actually smiles, revealing that she accepted her co-worker’s proposal after the misunderstanding with Akemi, and the two of them part ways peacefully. She is seen at the end living in Nagoya with her husband.
Kozue has light brown hair that is in a clean bob hairstyle with bangs that come slightly above her eyebrows and reddish-brown eyes that always seem to be rather widely open, reflecting her spacey, oblivious personality.
Kozue is undoubtedly a kind and sweet girl, but she can be scatterbrained and oblivious, especially to the fact that Yūsaku isn't nearly as into her as she is into him, thus she does not recognize Kyōko (or Ibuki) as competition for his affection. Nonetheless, Kozue is always sincere and cheerful.
Kozue is hopelessly devoted to Yūsaku and makes no effort to hide the fact that she is in love with him and would be happy to marry him whenever he's ready. Yūsaku does like her, but as he's in love with Kyōko, he hopes to end their relationship, realizing he should stop leading her on, but he cannot find the right opportunity to do so without hurting Kozue's feelings deeply. Nevertheless, Yūsaku does find Kozue attractive, and admits to himself that he would have fallen for her if Kyoko was not in the picture.
Kyōko does not dislike Kozue despite her relationship with Yūsaku triggering her jealousy (which she would not admit as such) and always responds to Kozue's genuine friendliness in kind.
To be added
- Kozue's surname Nanao means "seven" (七, nana) and "tail" (尾, o).
- Kozue is among the major characters whose name involves a number as her family name Nanao means "seven tails", which is also the name of a city dominated by seven mountain ridges in Ishikawa-prefecture, therefore she is representative of the number 7, although she is one of the characters who does not live in Ikkoku-kan.
- Her seiyu previously voiced a character called Anna Katsuragi from episode 137 of Urusei Yatsura, Rumiko Takahashi's first major manga series.
- Timeline > Early Years: Life at Maison Ikkoku. Furinkan.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2012 .
- Chapter 29, Episode 24
- Chapter 67, Episode 42
- Chapter 139-148, Episodes 88-92
- Chapter 38
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