drinkscola: (i'm running out)
Maruko Reiji 「円子令司」 → "Marco" ([personal profile] drinkscola) wrote2016-03-03 11:49 am
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Applicant Info
◎ Name: Ale
◎ Journal: [personal profile] prillid
◎ Contact: [plurk.com profile] slays
◎ Current Character(s): N/A.

Character Info
◎ Character's Name: Maruko "Marco" Reiji
◎ Character's Canon: Eyeshield 21
◎ Character's Age: 16
◎ Canon Point: Chapter 243, "A Truly Splendid Monster"— before the match against the Seibu Wild Gunmen.

◎ Background/History:
This sums up his background succinctly, but I went and tl;dr'd anyway:

Marco's world is the world of Shounen American Football. If you've ever read a shounen sports manga, you should know that the characters' worlds basically revolve around their respective sport. The characters seemingly do nothing but focus on American Football. They live and breathe American Football. It's all about the Football. Of course, Marco plays at the high school level, so it's a bit different from the NFL equivalent or anything like that. For one, obviously, it's much more fictionalized. Rules are slightly bent to fit the story; Marco's team, for example, is essentially a lawsuit waiting to happen. The teammates he has and the opponents he faces are extraordinary. Really, as one character astutely puts it, the high school national-level tournament "is full of monsters". The otherwise impossible in sports is something Marco isn't unused to seeing.

Barring all that, however, his world is as normalized as can be. Going by the manga, Marco's story is first told at an otherwise average Japanese middle school, in the seventh grade. There he pursues the "Queen" of his school, a girl two years his senior: Himuro Maruko. Having played football for a few years now, and anticipating entrance to Hakushuu high school and their corresponding team, he makes a promise to show her the "morning sun after the victory". In other words, he wants to impress her by winning a tournament that's been dominated by the school of the Teikoku Alexanders for twenty years in a row. She remarks aloud that she hopes that he "never loses that spirit, no matter what he might learn in the future". Somewhere within this time frame, they begin to date. However, at the time, he doesn't realize the futility of the promise he's just made to her.

His skill quickly having allowed him promotion to Captain and first-string Quarterback of the Hakushuu Dinosaurs, a team that has consistently ranked bottom tier, he leads the team to champion over the SIC District, where they crush the local "Four Heavenly Kings". He's regarded as the team's savior and, feeling encouraged, Marco mentions to his teammates the possibility of defeating the Teikoku Alexanders at the Christmas Bowl. It's an idea that's quickly dismissed by them as impossible. Obviously, he should see that team in action before dreaming something so unrealistic. And so, after witnessing one of Teikoku’s matches, something in Marco changes that day.

He realizes that he is a "frog in a well": a Japanese proverb wherein frog thinks itself the strongest because it's seen nothing of the outside world. Shaken by their skill, Marco sees himself as presented with two paths: the path of the dreamer, or the path of the pessimist. He decides to take neither, vowing to defeat Teikoku at the championship no matter what the cost. As Himuro is two years his senior, and thus graduating, he only has one chance to fulfill his promise. From there on in, the team undergoes drastic changes. He instructs their methods to focus on damaging the opponent as much as possible. He recruits Gaou Rikiya, a monster of a high schooler that would become known for his inhuman strength and brutality. He recruits Kisaragi Hiromi, a teammate manipulated to believe "strength is everything" and likewise willing to do whatever necessary for Hakushuu to win.

Marco's methods are simple, but effective. Somewhere along the way, his obsession with power and strength morph to a dedication to "destruction". Every single quarterback they face (barring one, whose entire defensive line is annihilated in his place) is sent to the hospital, their athletic careers destroyed. Unsettled by the carnage and how much he's seemingly changed, Himuro breaks up with Marco. Despite this, he still pursues his dream of winning the Christmas Bowl.

◎ Is the character a hacker and/or do they have a sixth-sense? Neither!

◎ Personality:
Marco is, inarguably, a try-hard. He tries hard to look cool. He tries hard at bettering himself. He tries hard to impress his (former) girlfriend. He tries hard to win the Christmas Bowl. Unfortunately for him, and anyone else that happens to get in his way, he tends to try way, way too hard.

Part of this difficulty is the standards he sets for himself. It's a tall order: He wants desperately to be seen as cool, charming and confident by his peers as well as an inspiration to his teammates; he wants to be successful at everything he does. Despite personal insistence to the contrary, Marco is an ambitious dreamer. The standards he sets for himself are exceedingly high, and he demands nothing short of the best of himself. Maruko Reiji only has the best, only is the best. He ambitiously aims to win the Christmas Bowl. He wants to be the best safety in Japan. He pursues the "Queen" of his school. He tells her, point-blank, that there's "no point in doing anything if you don't aim for the top".

Superficially, he's crafted quite the image for himself. He's been inspired by his Mafioso father (whom he, coincidentally, thinks is pretty much the coolest guy around)— that of a "suave Italian man". He dresses in expensive suits, styles his hair back, and touts his name as being "Marco" (it's actually "Maruko", a name that sounds too girlish for his tastes). He even goes so far as to call his then-girlfriend "Maria" to suit this persona, a name she vehemently dislikes. The entire charade is something that, intentionally or not, tends to invoke some unsettling vibes. But that's more than all right with him; his father is a former criminal, after all. In many ways, it's not simply an act; he's heavily implied to associate with the yakuza and other characters recognize some of his habits as likewise being distinctly yakuza-like. For example, he has a penchant for sending flowers to his future opponents, or as someone might mark a grave.

But if Marco is anything, it's determined. At a younger age, he was introduced to the sport of American football; something, as it turns, out, he just didn't have a knack for. However, as is consistent of his character, he wanted to win. And badly so! How impressive would that be, triumphing over a bunch of fellow students? (Even champions have to start somewhere.) Thus, Marco trained and trained and trained, and finally he became decent at the sport. Or else, simply being "decent" at it is what he has others think. He’s figured that if your opponents don't know you're actually really really damn good at whatever it is you have to beat them at, then you already have an edge over them.

This penchant for secrecy is what allows his goal of winning to become that much more real. His team is considered the "dark horse" of the tournament, in that no one had really heard of them, much less knew anything about them. As explained, this is purposeful. However, Marco's disinclination towards sharing information extends further than that. His "image" aside, he's downright duplicitous. After he's been tackled, Hiruma Youichi offers him a hand-up; Marco immediately recognizes that this isn't done in good stead, but rather to generate appeal with onlookers. It's something he, himself, would do. Marco calls Himura a "mujina" (a shapeshifting badger) from the same burrow as him, in that he deliberately tricks or deceives others to get ahead. When first facing him on the field, Sena realizes that he knows nothing about Marco besides the fact that he likes Cola a whole heckuva lot. While Marco is, to an extent, genuinely friendly, much of it is to either lower an enemy's defenses and/or get them to trust him: something that can be taken advantage of.

Still, trust is a tricky issue with Marco. Not once does he apparently vocalize that he has faith in his teammates, that he "believes in them". He's guarded. When he does say that he'll put all his faith in Gaou Rikiya to protect him, it functions as surprising words of empowerment and a pivotal moment in that particular match. He's overly-cautious with his words, preferring to avoid unnecessary, or what could be dangerous, conflict. He punctuates many of his sentences with "I'd say" (or "I'd think" in the official translation) to soften his words. In fact, Marco's a coward. Hiruma calls him a pussy (except, you know, the wording is actually a bit more vulgar than that). Indeed, his cowardice affects a number of plays in the match of Deimon VS. Hakushuu. He spends an excessive amount of time deliberating the motives and potential ploys of the trick team, and even the mere presence of a largely immobile Hiruma is enough to terrify him. Maria states that it's the result of selfishness, with how he's willing to put others in danger while keeping himself out of harm's way. Truthfully, he does think his position of greater importance than the others; he uses the fact that he's irreplaceable. Several of his appearances are marked by his references about how scary the other teams are and how much he would hate to have to play against them. In fact, his very first appearance, at the tournament’s drawing, has him shadily attempting to switch his drawing with the protagonists in order to avoid facing stronger teams. This is, of course, just before he offers them some coca-cola.

While Marco may not be naturally athletically-inclined, he makes up for this in intelligence. He actually likes school, and according to the author, has something of a genius-level intellect (likely meant to be specific to football; to be fair, this isn't an uncommon trait of the quarterbacks of Eyeshield 21). He's able to recognize and see through his opponents strategies, predicting and outmaneuvering, as well as easily memorize information. But really, at the core of this, he is exceptionally cunning. His tendency towards manipulating others into thinking that he's someone he's not is only the tip of the iceberg. All this strategy is just what's necessary to win.

But, as awful as he is, Marco isn't completely villainous. As has been detailed, friendliness seems to be a genuine part of his personality (it just so happens you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, etc). After affirming that Hiruma would have played the same as Marco should he had been in his situation, Marco tells him that he can then "crush a guy like you without any reservations". Marco's aware his methods are reprehensible and worthy of justice. After his team loses against Deimon, he's clearly buttblasted about it— but not because he's a sore loser. He knows he's lost everything, from the tournament to his girlfriend to his sense of morality, and for what? Winning a game? While one shouldn't go as far to say he regrets his actions, at that point he's certainly better recognized the error of his ways.

◎ Powers/Abilities:
  • Screwbite: As a defender, instead of simply tackling the opponent, he steals the football from the carrier. If the football is even the slightest bit unsecured, this can be done by grabbing it and spinning.
  • Ball-chasing: "I'm only chasing after the ball. That's my talent, I'd say!" He's not lured by feints or decoys or anything of the like when the ball is in play.
  • Expert dexterity: Or "ball-handling expert", as it's awkwardly translated. It basically means he can handle the football in any way without risking a fumble and/or it being stolen from him.
  • QB Spy/Spy: A bit of an extension of his chasing ability. He marks one player and one player only to an extremely precise degree and isn't distracted by much else. This is in order to predict that player's actions more quickly and accurately. Particularly useful against quarterbacks, as the name might imply.
  • Being an awesome safety in general: He's touted as the best safety in Japan (at the highschool level, anyway). It's only when the main protagonist actually plows over him that he's able to get past Marco. This is one of the main reasons he's looking to play against Teikoku Alexanders, in order to test his skills against the legendary Eyeshield 21 of that team.
  • Cola hammerspace: It doesn't matter if he hadn't been seen with two or three bottles on him before, nor has the space for it; he always seems to have an extra cola ready for someone.
  • Chugging: Apparently he can finish a bottle of cola in only a few gulps.

    ◎ Weapons & Other Special Inventory:
  • Football uniform.*
  • High school uniform.*
  • A six pack of cola.

    ◎ Element: Water: Fluidity, adapting to situations, the potential for destruction. According to various symbolism websites, it can also represent STRENGTH!! and love, two concepts that characterize him.
    ◎ Sense: Sight: It's sight that his football "abilities" hinge upon. Characters often remark upon his eyes, contemplating just what exactly it is that he sees.
    ◎ Seven Character Traits: {+} idealistic, determined, amiable {-} ruthless, selfish, cowardly {+/-} ambitious

    ◎ Is your character retaining any previous game memories? Nope.