|Mariko "Mari" Kumakura|
Weight: 106 Ibs
|Third||Birthday: February 20th
Most Wanted Item: Her Own Computer Blood Type: O
|Fourth||Hobbies:Reading, Cooking for Akko|
|Fifth||Occupation: Student at Oohana High School, Nutritionist|
|Sixth||Status: In a relationship with Akko
Friends: Satoko Sugiyama, Tamami Sekine, Urara Taguchi, Chiharu Kuno, Harada, Akiko Akko Oohashi
Mariko Kumakura (熊倉 真理子 Kumakura Mariko), also known as "Mari"/"Mari-chan"/sometimes "Mari-Chin" and "Kumakura" (by most people), is a character from Girl Friends, one of the protagonists of the manga, as well as the love interest of Akiko "Akko" Oohashi.
Mari is a beautiful and very cute young girl who is nearly the same height as Akiko "Akko" Oohashi. She has big black-grey eyes and initially has long, straight, silky black hair, but later gets it cut at Akko's recommendation, only to later grow it out again at the very end at Akko's request, but her hair is slightly shorter in length and a different style by then.
Mari is the exact opposite to Akko, as she is shy, quiet, gets good grades in class constantly, and was usually a loner until she met Akko. After her hair got cut, she began to come out of her shell a bit but still mostly stayed the same, only changing with the fact that she now enjoyed activities Akko introduced her to, such as shopping and hanging out with friends. Mari also has a tendency to lie, as she lied to Akko about liking Harada and about the kiss she had with her, however, it is shown that it was only so she could remain friends with Akko, fearing that if her feelings were known, Akko wouldn't want to be her friend anymore. This shows a very caring side to Mari. In addition, she also has a brave side to her, as she was willing to stand up for a classmate of hers who became her friend after Mari saved her from bullies, and for both kindly breaking up with Harada and confessing directly to Akko her feelings.
Her relationship with Akko is by far her most important one. Akko began as her best friend, and later, Mari got strong feelings of love for her. Mari cares so much for Akko that she is willing to go to great lengths to spend as much time with her as possible, and does not want to ever be apart from her. An example is when Akko had chosen Beauty school and Mari, despite not wanting a career in beauty, nor having the skills, tried to go into the same school, but later decided that it was right for her to be a nutritionist and that it is okay they go to separate schools. Mari often accompanies Akko on her shopping trips and the two are often seen sitting together in class and lunch, talking. Mari always meets Akko at the train station in the morning to travel to school with her, and after both realize their feelings for each other and finally begin dating, the two meet on the train platform much earlier, so it is just the two of them for awhile. Mari also expresses great concern for Akko as she is worried about her health due to her not eating healthy at all, often buying various quick foods from the convenience store or eating at Mc'Donalds and Mr. Donut all the time So she decides to make Akko Bento lunches all the time, to give her a balanced and healthy diet, which Akko loves and is the reason Mari strives to become a nutritionist, as she wants to continue making meals for Akko. It is shown that Mari always carries a photo of her and Akko in the battery compartment of her phone, which further shows her love for Akko.
She and her friend gave him chocolates in elementary school and he never forgot her. Years later, the two would meet again on the train, where he would tell her which train to catch to get back home, as she had missed her stop. Later, they would meet again in the train station, where he confesses his feelings for her. They date briefly, though Mari is distant from him, as she doesn't feel the same for him, nor is she attracted to men. Mari later breaks up with him, but they part on good terms and remain good friends. While they dated briefly, they mostly studied together, which caused Harada's friends to note that his date seemed more like a study group than anything.
Like everyone else, Mari shares a good relationship with Sugiyama, and often get's advice on things from her, but much less than the others. One instance is when Sugiyama suggested she talk things out with Harada rather than just simply cutting off all contact, which in the end helped the two part on good terms. Another instance is when she gave Mari dating advice with the help of Tamami "Tamanin" Sekine. Sugiyama is the only one that is aware of Mari's feelings for Akko, and later is the only one with knowledge on the two dating. She is supportive of the two, and during the last chapter, even tells the two that they should take a photo booth photo together alone, seeing that they wanted to take one with only the two of them.
She is on good terms with Tamamin, and besides Sugiyama, Mari is the person Tamamin speaks to most of the time. The two ate at Mc'Donalds together once, and spoke about how Akko first met her, and of how Sugiyama was doing in her new stream. Tamamin was also comfortable enough to tell Mari of her secret desire to have a plug in suit like the one from one of her manga, when they bumped into one another in the bathroom.
Of their new friends, Kuno is the one that interacts with Mari the most. When she began dating Harada, Kuno was very excited and tried to help Mari out in her own ways, giving her perfumes and a bit of dating advice, though coming from her, it was often not always the best advice. She also often exchanged stories to Mari about her boyfriend Ouji, and asks Mari about Harada in return.
Mari is one of Naru's best students, and Mari is comfortable enough around her to seek out advice from on her relationship with Akko, though Mari hides that she is referring to Akko from her. Mari is also the first of her students to know that she had married and had gotten pregnant, as she had told Mari the secret. It is thanks to the talk the two had that Mari went for the career she wanted all along and become a nutritionist rather than force herself into beauty school.
- The name Mariko means "real, genuine" (真) (ma), "reason, logic" (理) (ri) and "child" (子) (ko).
- She is often called by her nickname that Akiko "Akko" Oohashi gave her, Mari-Chan, or sometimes, Mari-Chin rather than her whole name, which initially causes her surprise.
- Mariko's surname Kumakura means "bear" (熊) (kuma) and "warehouse" (倉) (kura).
- Most people call her Kumakura.