Initially, Maki was annoyed and irritated by Kaito. Her first interaction with him started with her sarcastically pointing out that he claimed he could take down the Monokuma Kubs singlehandedly, even pushing him to attempt this when the Monokuma Kubs appeared in their Exisal form (which terrified Kaito). Kaito also angrily shouted at Maki for blaming Kaede Akamatsu for the conflict between the students, while Maki successfully pushes the blame onto Kaito during the first trial. Despite this, Kaito seems to have taken an interest in Maki following the events of Chapter 1, even nicknaming her "Harumaki" (or "Maki Roll" in the English version), much to her displeasure.
In Chapter 2, when Kokichi attempts to make the two of them fight each other when both are considered the only suspects for Ryoma's murder, Kaito denies involvement in the murder. Additionally, he drags her and Shuichi Saihara with him to train nightly.
During the investigation of Angie and Tenko's deaths in the 3rd Chapter, a frightened Kaito forcefully pulls Maki into a hug (as she was, coincidentally, the person nearest to him at the time), although this only resulted in her angrily punching him.
However, Maki soon starts to show more care for Kaito during Chapter 4. She is angered when Kokichi Oma knocks down Kaito following Gonta's execution, threatening Kokichi repeatedly, and is shocked when Kaito suddenly begins coughing blood. It's shown that Maki had developed romantic feelings for Kaito over the course of the game, but there has been no confirmation that he reciprocated her feelings. He also becomes one of the few people Maki will actually listen to, as shown when she attempts to strangle Kokichi in front of the other students, halting only when Kaito tells her to stop.
In Chapter 5, the two join in the group effort to take down Kokichi, who was believed to be the mastermind at the time. When Maki barges into the hangar during Kokichi and Kaito's fight, she first attempts to torture the former man with a poisoned arrow from a crossbow. She then attempts to kill Kokichi by shooting him with a second arrow, but is stopped when Kaito purposely takes the hit to prevent her from doing so. It is implied that he did it to avoid making her the blackened.
Kaito finishes what she started, and crushes Kokichi under the hydraulic press. This causes Maki to attempt to steer suspicion away from him during the class trial by stating how she "killed" him. However, she is forced to stop when he confesses to it during the class trial, despite her protests. She even threatens to fight Monokuma and the Kubs, but is stopped by Kaito, who asks her to promise him not to cry, something that Maki couldn't bring herself to follow through on. During their voting time, Maki had no choice but had to vote for Kaito as a culprit still due to his final words before his execution started. This shows that Kaito had become the only one of Maki's companions who she had any genuine care for. Kaito is one of the few people Maki truly cares about. Additionally, he is the only participant to make her cry, and the first person she's ever been attracted to, as evidenced by the line: "... And...I've never...fallen for someone before."
Later, at the beginning of Chapter 6, Maki becomes grateful to Kaito for saving her life, and resolves to end the killing game with the remaining survivors. During the final class trial, when she was told that her feelings for Kaito were all just fabricated by Tsumugi, as well as learning that both of them were fictional characters only serving as entertainment to the outside world, Maki became shocked and felt hopeless. However, she rejects Tsumugi's words, believing that her feelings for Kaito are real.
The ship sailed as a result of a lot of canon ship tease between the two throughout the game, with most noticeable examples being Kaito coming up with a nickname for Maki, him constantly taking her side, and Maki confirming her feelings for him in Chapter 5. Additionally, this ship appeals to many because of the Opposites Attract trope that the ship fits into.
It is one of the most written ships in Danganronpa, as well as the most written one for both characters on Archive on Our Own.
- Kaito's relationship with Maki on Danganronpa Wiki
- Maki's relationship with Kaito on Danganronpa Wiki
- They're pictured together on one of Danganronpa V3's Steam cards, specifically, the one entitled: "Training."
- Double Date refers to the ship between the two, Kaede Akamatsu and Shuichi Saihara.
- Training Trio refers to the ship between the two and Shuichi Saihara.