18 (end of series)
|Bench press||60 kg|
|Year||1st (high school)|
|40 Yard Dash||5.2 seconds|
Reiji Maruko (円子令司, Maruko Reiji) is the quarterback, safety, and captain of the Hakushū Dinosaurs. Stating that his real name sounds like a girl's name, Reiji Maruko prefers to go by the self-given nickname "Marco" (which he believes makes him sound like a suave Italian man). Despite seeming cowardly and unsure in his first appearances, Marco demonstrates his impressive skills and strategic thinking which is likened to that of Hiruma.
Marco possesses a slender, muscular build. He wears his long dark hair slicked back with a curl that hangs in front of his face. He has been mockingly dubbed "Eyelashes" by Hiruma due to his long lower lashes. However, it is also suggested that Marco is rather attractive; he ranks as the second most popular quarterback in the series after Kiminari Harao of the Taiyō Sphinxes.
He is frequently depicted wearing a fashionable pin-striped suit when he is not playing a match, and always wears a black bone hoop earring in his right ear.
Marco is shown to be a relaxed and somewhat sarcastic character. He is also rather shameless; in his first appearance, he attempts to swap lottery tickets with Sena when the Hakushū Dinosaurs are drawn to play against the Seibu Wild Gunmans. However, he possesses a strong desire to win no matter what strategy he is forced to employ: he encourages his teammate Rikiya Gaō to physically cripple opposing teams and pre-emptively sends them flowers in a form of intimidation (not unlike the Japanese yakuza).
However, it is shown that Marco trains hard and only resorted to underhanded methods after witnessing the strength of the Teikoku Alexanders. After which, he developed a strong sense of cynicism and pragmatism that contrasted with his earlier romanticism and earnestness.
Marco is a suave-appearing man who ambitiously dreams of winning the Christmas Bowl, yet when encountered by a strong opponent he acts panicked and frightened, hiding his true confidence and skill. He acts as the mastermind schemer behind Hakushū's horrific playing style, but is ultimately revealed to be a sympathetic character, grinding his way through competition.
In his first year in middle school, he joined Hakushū's American football team, and also dated Maruko Himuro, who is two years older than him. To impress her, he vowed to win the Christmas Bowl and show her the "morning sunshine after a victory." He led Hakushū to the SIC District Championship later that year and then began studying the stronger teams at a high school level. His teammates encouraged him to give up on his dream of winning the Christmas Bowl because of the strength of the undefeated Teikoku Alexanders, and after witnessing the team play, Marco despaired, realizing that the chances of defeating Teikoku were slim. He became determined to defeat Teikoku using strength and recruited Gaō to accomplish this. He even used Gaō's tremendous power to injure opposing players, a strategy that Himuro came to dislike him for.
Marco's skill as a throwing quarterback is never established as Hakushu's offense is based entirely on him taking the snap and following Gaō's block as the large lineman plows through the defense using the "North-South Game". On defense, Marco's skill comes from his ability to follow ball movements and react to them. He can see through a runner's feints, and given the smallest opportunity, can steal an unsecured ball using his signature "Screw Bite" technique. He is also able to act as a "Quarterback Spy", precisely following the opposing quarterback's movements and reacting to them. While his strategies are simple and brutal, Marco is effective at determining how to direct his team's defense to stop their opponents, whether by deliberately injuring the quarterback or by sending a defender to mark a player.
Marco often relies Gaō's strength to win their games, however their relationship is symmetrical. Gaō believes in Marco's strategic thinking and skill as a quarterback while Marco trusts Gaō to break through the opponent's center-line and clear a running path towards the goal. It is shown that, despite having recruited Gaō himself, Marco is still in awe and slightly intimidated by his strength. However, it is his confidence in Gaō's strength that forms a pillar in most of Marco's game plans: to allow Gaō to crush the opposing team's quarterbacks early in the match. In the Youth World Cup arc, it is revealed that Gaō possesses a deep admiration of Marco's tenacity, and considers Marco's willingness to use unconscionable techniques as a further testament to his drive to be the best.
Himuro is Marco's ex-girlfriend and the manager of the Hakushū Dinosaurs. The two share a complicated relationship. Though Himuro cares deeply for Marco and they still have romantic tension, Himuro is unable to fully love Marco as he changed after watching the Teikoku Alexanders play. She dislikes the underhanded methods Marco uses to win and even goes so far as to warn opposing teams to surrender before any players are seriously injured. Other the other hand, Marco abandons his earlier romantic sentiments of winning Himuro's love as his obsession with winning the Autumn Tokyo Tournament pushes her further away.
Marco parallels Hiruma in many respects and both find each other to be troublesome to play against. Both share a propensity to manipulate and hide their true schemes, intelligently crafting complicated plays and underplaying their own skill. However, Hiruma is the more flamboyant of the two, and enjoys taunting Marco throughout the game.
- Ball Handling Expert - Marco can handle the ball in any way, even dangerous ones, without endangering or risking the ball.
- Ball Chasing - Marco only sees the ball without seeing anything else. Not even the Devil Bat Ghost can fool him.
- Screw Bite - Usually in defense, a defender will only aim to tackle or fumble the carrier, but Marco's defense is to steal the ball from the carrier by grabbing the ball and spinning.
- QB Spy - Marco only chases and defends against the opposing quarterback. He will mark the quarterback only while chasing the ball that he carries.
- Spy - Marco will only focus on a single player, whether or not s/he has the ball.
- Marco has played football for 4 years.
- He likes all of the subjects in the schools, especially math.
- Marco's hero is his father.
- Marco can brew his own soda, which is good as he is pretty much always seen having one with him.
- His father is a former member of the mafia and his mother is a fashion designer.
- Yusuke Murata tweeted that Marco was originally going to be set up to be Hiruma's older brother.
In interviews with Riko Kumabukuro, he has been asked these questions:
- Of all the things you have bought until now, what is the most expensive? = "Armani suit." (250,000 yen, 2,500 Dollars)
- Imagine today is the last of Earth! How would you spend it? = "I'd meet various guys."
|Hakushū Dinosaurs Team|
|Manager||Maruko "Maria" Himuro|
|Member||Reiji "Marco" Maruko • Rikiya Gao • Hiromi Kisaragi • Saburo Mitsui • Hanataka Tengu|