Hump Day Husbandos: Marco (One Piece)

Hump Day Husbandos

With how big and extensive the worldbuilding of One Piece continues to be, the more we have to talk about any time we look at Oda’s flagship creation. And since I have only ever discussed a couple of its characters in detail here at Rice Digital, it’s high time we had a third character spotlight. So to round up my top three characters of One Piece, let’s shine a spotlight on Marco, one of its best boys who tends to too easily fly under all of our radars.

Who is Marco?

Marco from One Piece

Marco, “The Phoenix” of One Piece is the first division commander of the Whitebeard Pirates. Coming more into focus within the series during the massively significant Marineford Arc, the tragic events that would occur in this arc specifically would quickly shuffle up the arrangements of his found family.

As the wielder of the Phoenix Mythical Zoan Devil Fruit, he has expertise in the medical field as well as being able to both heal and hold his own as a powerful fighter. This makes him a force to be reckoned with – and an absolute joy to fly around as in the Pirate Warriors video games, while we’re at it.

Why you will love him

Marco from One Piece

But back to the anime and manga now that his basic information is out of the way. Marco is an all-round good guy. He’s not afraid to become more vocal when it comes to defending his friends, despite his seemingly stoic attitude, and he tends to banter with his opponents, quelling the rising tensions before everything hits the fan.

Much of what we really get to see of Marco tends to highlight these specific traits of his, but it’s not just that surface level. Marco’s playful, cheery and encouraging sensibilities can also be seen whenever his past involving the many, many years he’s spent in the Whitebeard Pirates is explored.

And it’s quite the extensive amount since this covers at least 20 years of his life. The fact that the Whitebeard Pirates are so family-oriented puts emphasis on how important and impactful their bonds and fates are. While these dynamics are simple at best – Whitebeard acts as an adoptive father to all of his crewmen, Marco functions as both mentor and older brother to Ace and Thatch further unites this brotherly bond as a group – Marco’s part in One Piece has quite the tragic angle to it the further you get into it.

The sidelining of Marco, despite him being both a popular minor character having clear strengths, is quite purposeful. As Whitebeard’s right-hand man, a capable fighter and even a doctor instead of just a healer, Marco has many unique merits that should understandably make him a bigger deal. He’s seen not only holding his own against all three admirals during his first key appearance within the Marineford Arc, but he continues to prove his worth even after taking such a lengthy break from pirate activity.

For example, he can be seen holding down the fort for an impressive amount of time – see his fight against King and Queen – and making a surprise appearance after disappearing from the series for some time, resulting in quite the grand entrance and putdown – see his encounter with Big Mum. But the deal to his character and actual value of his place in One Piece is what his powerful and rare mythical zoan fruit actually represents for him as a person.

Why we love him (spoilers)

Marco from One Piece

Without mincing our words, Marco has lost it all. His guilt traces all the way back to Thatch being killed by Blackbeard, an increasingly threatening opponent that continued to trample his spirit down time and time again. The loss of both Ace and Whitebeard follows on from this during the Marineford Arc, thereby leading to the eventual disbandment of the Whitebeard Pirates when Marco decides to attempt to take revenge for his fallen comrades. But he fails.

It’s all genuinely heartbreaking and tragic, even down to the minor detail that Marco was always second best to Ace, an even more promising fighter who never reached his potential during his short life. Despite Marco being a leader, being more than capable of fighting against the most challenging of foes and as the closest and even supposed longest member of the Whitebeard Pirates, Marco never seems to get the kudos he so rightfully deserves. Why exactly his character is so endearing and touching is quite simple – the man is doing his best and he keeps going.

Regardless of the pain that his body is put through continuously during combat, with his healing ability making him more than able to tank damage time and time again, the guilt he must be experiencing by continuing on to live when his purpose has been lost is surely immense. But he’s the Phoenix, and he continues to rise to the occasion despite everything that has been against him. Even now, despite his more bubbly and playful side being lost to time in place of remaining all that more cool headed and laid-back, Marco chooses to still assist Luffy and protect Sphynx Island – all in the name of staying true to the values and morals of the Whitebeard Pirates.

You love to see it. If you haven’t already then you should probably get to watching the anime at some point.

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Lilia Hellal
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