Iimura Mari (飯村 真理, lit. iimura mari) is a recurring supporting character in Hajime no Ippo and reporter for the boxing magazine Monthly Boxing Fan. She is typically seen with Fujii Minoru during public sparring matches and press conferences.
Her surname is Iimura. In Japan, surnames are listed before given names.
|Japanese Name||飯村 真理|
|Occupation||Monthly Boxing Fan journalist|
|Manga Debut||Round 233|
|Anime Debut||Round 67 (The Fighting)|
|Voice Actor||Shinohara Emi|
Mari is a female reporter for the boxing magazine used throughout the manga, Monthly Boxing Fan. She met Makunouchi Ippo just prior to his winning the Japanese Featherweight Title, and was fascinated by him despite her general disinterest in Japanese boxing. After seeing his bout with Takeshi Sendou for the belt, her interest in him piqued. Along with Fujii, she began frequenting the Kamogawa gym for interviews and sometimes just to check on the boxers's progress.
She was the first female fan of Ippo's to get his autograph (much to Mashiba Kumi's dismay), though she was only requesting his signature on behalf of the magazine.
She has provided some moral support to Ippo throughout the story; when he lost his desire to continue boxing, she was the one who talked him back into it by reminding him of how far he had come.
During the chapter 440 of the manga we discover she is romantically interested in Ippo. The rivalry between her, Mashiba Kumi, and Itagaki Nanako is now a recurring gag in the series.
Mari is slim, has long, sleek black hair, and is bespectacled. She usually wears a jacket of some sort, pants (she was only seen once in a skirt), and heels. She has a pearl earring in each ear which seems to vary from hanging from her earlobe to being in her earlobe in the manga and anime.
Iimura is one of the more sophisticated female characters in the series. When she is first introduced, she comes across as a polite and cheery woman, which misleads her co-workers into thinking she was not prepared for her duties as a boxing reporter. As Mari has stated, however, she is quite an aficionado of the sport, and has rarely been impressed by Japanese boxing. She has some experience reporting on boxing in other parts of the world, such as America and Mexico, where she claims to have seen some spectacular matches (presumably those of Ricardo Martinez). In many ways she is even more of a fan of boxing than Fujii.
Like Coach Kamogawa and Takamura Mamoru, Mari possesses a keen eye not only for boxing, but for the character of the boxers themselves, which is where her real passion lies. She is the only character to have figured out Itagaki Manabu's secret challenge to Ippo and is usually the first to question the motives of other boxers, such as Sendou Takeshi and Kojima Hisato.
- Mari can speak English and Indonesian as well as Japanese. She can probably speak Spanish as well since she has visited Mexico. She often acts as a translator for other characters.