Marco Bodt was a member of the 104th Cadet Corps, ranking 7th among his classmates.
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|Your skill at recognizing a situation as it unfolds, gives you a clear grasp of what needs to be done now, you know? You made the right call. It's what got me moving. It's why I'm alive now.|
|— Marco praises Jean's leadership|
Marco Bodt (マルコ・ボット Maruko Botto?) was a cadet (訓練兵 Kunren-hei?) of the 104th Cadet Corps and graduated as the seventh highest ranked cadet in his class. He was assigned to fight the Titans 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 Cadet Corps.
His casual attire consisted of a light green, long-sleeved shirt over a white, high-collared 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 Regiment. Unlike those who joined the Military Police Regiment for safety and privileges, his reasons for wanting to join it were genuinely faithful. He was shown to be an excellent judge of character, 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 cadets, whether resolving arguments or keeping them calm during battle.
Following the initiation, Marco joins the other cadets in watching Sasha Braus as she runs laps around the camp as punishment for eating during the ceremony. As they go to eat, Marco notes that Eren Jaeger was not affected by Sadies' harassment, and Eren reveals that he is a survivor from Shiganshina District. The other cadets begin to swamp Eren with questions, and Marco attempts to maintain order as Eren answers them. When the questions become too probing and begin to upset Eren, Marco begins chiding them.
The following night, after the cadets test their aptitude for omni-directional mobility gear, Eren tries asking the others for help due to his poor performance. When none of their peers prove willing to help him, Marco suggests that Eren ask Reiner Braun and Bertholdt Hoover for advice.
Marco and Jean discuss the efficient use of gas in the omni-directional gear, with the latter believing that such an advanced technique would allow him to be ranked higher and join the Military Police. Marco also expresses his desire for joining the regiment, stating how of a great honor it is to be working near the king. He later graduates in the top ten of his class, ranked seventh.
In the year 848, two years before graduation, Marco leads a group of cadets on a wilderness hunt to sustain themselves in times of peace. Marco tries to keep the group moving at a slow pace, but finds it difficult to keep control, as Eren and Jean continually grate on each other's nerves. He also makes a habit of dictating what Armin, who has been assigned to keep a record of their mission, should and should not write, in an attempt to keep the report that Sadies will receive favorable.
During the night, the group is ambushed while they sleep. Held at gunpoint, they are unable to do anything as the thieves carry off their ODM gear and Christa Lenz. Marco suggests abandoning the mission and getting help from Sadies, but Eren convinces the group to help him chase down the thieves before they can get away. Sasha suggests using a higher vantage point to look for the kidnappers, and the group is able to successfully locate where the thieves are camping for the night.
The group devises a plan to confront the kidnappers. After Conny and Sasha successfully block off the kidnappers' route out of the forest, Marco is able to determine which of their carriages they are carrying the cadets' stolen goods in, and alerts Eren and Jean so that they can attack. When Eren and Jean are able to recover the cadets' ODM gear, but not Christa, Marco orders his team to equip their gear and use it to continue their pursuit. The group confronts the kidnappers again, but are left unable to fight when the men begin threatening Christa's life. Helpless, they are forced to hand over their gear again, only to be saved by the timely arrival of Thomas' group, who successfully ambush and capture the attackers. Once the Cadet Corps' instructors arrive, Marco delivers a report on what has happened.
Following the incident, Marco remarks to Eren that he should not have been the leader of their group, as Jean would have made a much better choice.
In the year 849, the 104th Cadets are sent to Trost to participate in a mock defense drill. Marco and Armin attempt to ask Jean if he will be visiting his mother while in town, but drop the subject when Jean becomes angry with them.
Marco is among the cadets who are stranded when the retreat order is given since he does not have enough gas to scale the Wall and escape Trost. As his fellow cadets discuss possible courses of action to take, Marco simply resigns himself to death. Mikasa arrives and decides to blitz the Titans that are attacking Trost's military headquarters so that they can resupply. Marco tries to talk her down, but she ignores him, and when Jean begins rallying the others to follow her, Marco is forced to join them.
Marco is one of the cadets who manages to make it to the headquarters alive, horrified that he had to leave many of his comrades to die. He has to physically restrain Jean from attacking the resupply soldiers hidden inside the headquarters. Armin, Mikasa, and Connie arrive shortly afterward with a rampaging Titan in tow. Armin and Marco devise a plan to clear out the Titans. 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, allowing their soldiers on standby to flank and kill the Titans.
He is later placed on standby with the other surviving cadets. During this time Marco is kept busy trying to maintain order among the survivors. He tries to calm Daz down, singling out Sasha Braus as a soldier that he should emulate. However, Sasha also begins to express her desire to quit the battle, and Marco is forced to physically restrain Daz as the boy tries to commit suicide.
All of the forces in Trost are called together to hear an address from Dot Pyxis, who announces 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. During the operation, he sees that Jean's ODM gear has broken and stranded him in the middle of the district. Working with Annie Leonhart and Conny Springer, Marco enters the district to act as bait to Titans away from Jean. Once Jean is able to replace his gear with a corpse's all four cadets safely return to the top of Wall Rose, where they watch as Eren successfully seals the breach in the wall.
During the battle, Marco overhears a conversation between Reiner and Bertholdt, who mention their roles as the Titans who breached the wall, expressing their concerns about the plan to seal the breach in Trost's outer gate. Marco, thinking that their conversation is only a joke, tells them off before heading off to resume his duty. However, Reiner ambushes Marco and captures him, slamming him into a building and restraining him. Annie shows up at the scene, and 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 cadets, Marco was one of the deceased. Jean reveals the news to Eren, who is horribly shocked, and Eren briefly reminisces about his time with his former friend. Along with the other causalities 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 Scout Regiment, 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.
Annie would continue to have nightmares about Marco's death, and her hand in it, after joining the Military Police Regiment.
Later, during the attempted capture of Annie Leonhart in the Stohess District, Marco's omni-directional mobility gear 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.
While recovering their strength in the Forest of Giant Trees, Bertholdt reminds Reiner that they are both Warriors and not soldiers of the Walls. This causes Reiner to remember when he restrained Marco, which led to him being devoured by a Titan as Annie and Bertholdt watched.
- Jean Kirschtein - Marco and Jean were close friends, despite being vastly different in personalities, 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. Marco's death had a significant impact on Jean and he 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 Arlelt - Marco and Armin appeared to be friends. During the battle of Trost, as Armin devised a plan to clear the supply room of Titans, Marco expressed his faith that it would work when Armin expressed doubt if it would. 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.
- Eren Jaeger - Eren and Marco were shown to be friends. When Conny asked Eren about the Colossal Titan after learning he was from Shiganshina District, Marco tried to stop him so Eren would not have to relive the horror he went through. Marco was quite saddened to learn of Eren's apparent death. After Marco's death, Eren was greatly affected, even briefly disbelieving it to be true, and when he obtained his Scout Regiment uniform he had a brief vision of Marco also wearing the uniform standing alongside him.
- Reiner Braun - For reasons unclear during the battle of Trost, Reiner restrained Marco and left him to be eaten alive by a Titan. In his dissociative state, Reiner would be shown to be haunted by this action.
- His name means, roughly, "Messenger from the God of War," perhaps a nod towards his role in illustrating the cruel reality facing the recruits.