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|I mean... most humans are weak, including me... but if I got an order from someone who saw things as I do... no matter how tough it was, I'd do my damnedest to carry it out.|
|— Marco to Jean Kirstein|
Marco Bott (マルコ・ボット Maruko Botto?) was a member of the 104th Training Corps and graduated as the seventh highest ranked trainee in his class. He was assigned to fight Titans during citizen evacuation after the breach of Trost District and was given command of his own squad.
Marco was of average height with a broad, muscular build. He had short, parted black hair, freckles, and light brown eyes. He wore the typical uniform of a member of the 104th Training Corps.
His casual attire consisted of a light, button-up shirt and dark pants with a dark vest, very similar to Jean's. In the anime, this is changed to a light green, long-sleeved shirt over a white, high-colored shirt and brown pants.
Marco was an idealistic person, valuing the good of the group above his own interests as well as understanding and coping with his own shortcomings and limitations. The others respected him greatly and considered him to be a natural leader suited to his dreams of joining the Military Police Brigade. Unlike those who joined the Military Police Brigade for safety and privileges, his reasons for wanting to join it were genuinely faithful. He was shown to be an excellent judge of others, as he recognized Jean's potential as a leader and encouraged him to believe in himself. He was also shown to have a talent for preserving order among the other trainees, whether resolving arguments or keeping them calm during battle. Even when frightened, he still retained a relatively calm demeanor. Marco was often a voice of reason, even trying to talk things out right before his death.
Marco is first introduced during the initiation of new recruits and is intimidated by their instructor after he expresses his desire to join the Military Police. He later attempts to maintain order when the recruits question Eren about the attack on Wall Maria, which Eren experienced firsthand. He chides the others when their questions become too upsetting for Eren.
During his time as a trainee, he befriends Jean Kirstein and the two are often seen together. He seems to have been one of the only people to recognize Jean's potential, as well as spotting his weaknesses and how to improve them and encourages him to embrace his natural abilities as a leader. They become good friends and are rarely seen without the other.
He is eventually among the trainees stranded when the retreat order was given since he does not have enough gas to scale the Wall and escape Trost, which has become a death trap for the trainees. When Mikasa and Jean rally the others into charging headquarters, which has become surrounded by Titans, Marco is quick to join them. Inside the station, he is vital in Armin's plan to reclaim the overrun supply room and leads the main group in the operation. Armed with rifles, the recruits act as bait and lure the seven Titans who occupy the room into position. Marco maintains order in the group and keeps everyone calm until they fire and blind the attacking Titans.He is later seen among the regrouped forces and attempts to once again keep order when people like Daz are giving into their fear, as Dot Pixis has announced that he will need the soldiers in an operation to retake Trost District, which Marco himself will participate in. Marco does his best to comfort them and keep morale high, even when they are ordered to return to Trost. He joins the other recruits up on the Wall and acts as bait to distract the Titans from the main operation involving Eren. Later, he is among the recruits that go into the city to battle the Titans. There, he helps to rescue Jean when his equipment malfunctioned and eventually joins the others in battling the Titans while Eren is close to sealing the breach in Wall Rose.
Marco had overheard a conversation between Reiner and Bertolt, where they mentioned their identities as Titans as they expressed their concerns about the plan to seal the breach in Trost's outer gate. After Marco is partially convinced that their conversation was only a joke, he sets out to help the mission. However, Reiner ambushes Marco and captures him, slamming him into a building and restraining him. Annie then appears and, despite being horribly upset, is ordered by Reiner to remove Marco's equipment. She reluctantly obeys, and the three leave him for dead in tears as he begs to talk the matter over with them. They then watch in horror as Marco meets his demise, all with a look of remorse on their faces. After Marco is bitten in half by the Titan, Reiner's expression changes and he appears to only be noticing Marco being eaten after it has happened.
He is later found dead after the Battle of Trost, discovered and identified by Jean, who wonders how he died. Jean realizes he had not seen him around recently and does not believe out of all the trainees, Marco was one of the deceased. Jean reveals the news to Eren, who is horridly shocked, and Eren briefly reminisces his time with his former friend. Along with the other casualties of the battle, Marco's body is cremated on a communal funeral pyre.
After Marco's death, Jean is inspired to abandon his selfish ways and join the Survey Corps, claiming that he does not want to meet a "disappointing end with someone burning his bones without knowing who they belonged to", referencing how Marco "died alone" and went unnoticed for days. Marco's death continues to motivate Jean to continue fighting despite the death and disarray surrounding humanity.
Later, during the attempted capture of Annie Leonhart in the Stohess District, Marco's vertical maneuvering equipment is found to have been taken by Annie, as Armin remembered the little tweaks it had as he and Marco performed their equipment maintenance together. Though she admits she "found it," she fails to elaborate. This leaves the implication that his death may have involved foul play of some kind.
Marco Bott's Statistics :
- Jean Kirstein - Marco and Jean were close friends, and he often served as a confidant and voice of reason. He was the one who recognized Jean's potential as a leader and encouraged him to believe in himself. When Jean found Marco's body, he went into a partially catatonic state. After Marco's death, Jean underwent a significant change and made the decision to honor his memory by joining the Scouts.
- Daz - During the battle of Trost, Marco actively encouraged and comforted Daz. They struggled briefly when Daz considered trying to kill himself and was later shown giving him encouragement when Daz decided to continue fighting.
- Armin Arlert - After his death, Armin mentioned that they usually performed equipment maintenance together. This became important, as it allowed Armin to recognize Marco's stolen equipment when Annie presented it as her own.
- His name means, roughly, "Messenger from the God of War", perhaps a nod towards his role in illustrating the cruel reality facing the recruits.
- He is the one out of the two soldiers from the 104th Training Corps Top 10 that is currently deceased. The other one is Bertolt Hoover.
- Marco's birthday was made June 16 ironically as it is half way through the year, and only half of his body remained after his death.
- In the manga, Marco is killed before Eren can seal the breach in Trost. In the anime, he is alive long enough to see Eren push the boulder into the breach.
- Marco's death was one of the biggest mysteries for a while until his demise was revealed in Chapter 77.
- Isayama has stated that he was going to kill Marco in a later volume, but decided to kill him earlier due to his unpopularity with fans at the time.