Marco Bott was a member of the 104th Training Corps, ranking 7th among his classmates.
|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 trainee (訓練兵 Kunren-hei?) 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 brown 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.
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 to the king. 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 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.
Following the initiation, Marco joins the other trainees in watching Sasha Blouse as she runs laps around the camp as punishment for eating during the ceremony. As they go to eat, Marco notes that Eren Yeager was not affected by Shadis' harassment, and Eren reveals that he is a survivor from Shiganshina District. The other trainees 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 trainees test their aptitude for vertical maneuvering equipment, 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 Bertolt Hoover for advice.
During a training session in which the trainees practice their maneuvering skills against Titan mannequins, Marco forgoes eliminating the targets to increase his score in favor of locating mock Titans for other trainees to eliminate themselves. Eren takes notice of this, and after the exercise is over approaches Marco and inquires about the strategy. Marco explains that he wanted for the exercise to be like a real battle, reasoning that in a fight with actual Titans it would be a smarter idea for him to draw the attention of Titans so that faster soldiers could slay them. Hearing this, his fellow trainees begin commending him and claiming that they would like to serve in a squad under him, prompting Marco to argue that Jean Kirstein would make a better leader than him.
During his time as a trainee, he befriends Jean and the two are often seen interacting together. He seems to have been one of the few 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.
Marco is among the trainees 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 trainees 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 trainees who manage 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 trainees. During this time Marco is kept busy trying to maintain order among the survivors. He tries to calm Daz down, singling out Sasha Blouse 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 Pixis, 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, Marco overhears a conversation between Reiner and Bertolt, 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 trainees, 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 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.
In a conversation between members of the Anti-Marleyan Volunteers, the Warrior Unit, and the Survey Corps, Yelena calls out Annie for her part in Marco's death. Annie begins to explain her part in the death, but Reiner reveals that she had acted under his orders. Reiner begins to tell the group what happened, and when Jean asks, relays Marco's final words. Reiner then explains how Marco's death had affected him and repeatedly apologizes, despite Jean telling him to stop. Eventually, Jean reaches his limit and viciously attacks Reiner, only stopping when Gabi Braun is kicked while placing herself between them.
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 Survey Corps.
- 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.
- Reiner Braun - Reiner and Marco were supposedly friends before the battle of Trost. However, when Marco overheard his conversation with Bertolt about using their Titans, Reiner ordered Annie to remove his gear. The three of them left him to die, as he cried out in betrayal and shock. Marco's death would still haunt Reiner four years later.
- Marco ranked twentieth in the First Character Popularity Poll.
- 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 shares a birthday with an unnamed Survey Corps soldier.
- In November of 2020, Hajime Isayama released a sketch of what Marco would look like if he had lived to the year 854.