Zuko and Mai knew each other since they were children. Mai developed a crush on Zuko and Azula and Ty Lee noticed this. Azula decided that it would be funny to create an awkward moment between them and convinced her mother to let Zuko play with them. Azula placed an apple on top of Mai's head and lit it on fire. Zuko immediately tackled her into the fountain in order to save her. Azula and Ty Lee laughed at them and remarked that they looked cute together. Mai was embarrassed while Zuko was simply annoyed that he got wet.
Zuko was banished for a while but was eventually allowed to return home after he helped Azula defeat Aang. He and Mai began dating while they were still in Ba Sing Se. They kissed there while they were on a date and again while they were on a ship that was returning home. Zuko complained about his uncertainty in life but Mai simply stated that she only asked if he was cold. The two later went on a romantic picnic until Azula came to interrupt them.
Vacation at Ember Island
Zuko and Mai would later take a vacation to Ember Island along with Azula and Ty Lee. Mai was fitting in well while Zuko was not since Azula had decided that they should hide heir royal status. They were later invited to a party and the strain between Zuko and Mai began to show. Zuko was irritated when another man was flirted with Mai. This led to a screaming argument and Zuko called Mai a "blah" which caused her to break up with him. However, after Zuko revealed that he was mad at himself at a bonfire on the beach, they got back together.
Zuko and Mai continued their relationship for a while until Zuko decided to leave the Fire Nation and train Aang. He broke up with Mai over a letter in order to protect her. However, she would later confront him over this at the Boiling Rock. The warden attempted to have the line cut on the gondola while Zuko was escaping so Mai saved him and explained to Zuko that she loved Zuko more than she feared Azula. At Zuko's coronation as Fire Lord, he was having trouble with getting dressed due to his injuries so Mai arrived to help him put his robe on. They got back together but Mai warned Zuko not to break up with her again.
Harmony Restoration Movement
Over a year later, Zuko was having trouble with sleeping as there was a crisis in Yu Dao. He also visited his father Ozai in prison without telling anybody. Mai eventually found out and asked Zuko why he kept secrets from her. Upset at being kept out of the loop, she decided that Zuko loved his secrets more than he loved her and broke up with him yet again.
New Ozai Society incidents
After their break up, Mai left the Fire Nation Royal Palace and accepted her Aunt Mura's invitation to work at her flower shop as her assistant. While working, she met a young man named Kei Lo and began dating him.
Zuko left to find his mother and returned after doing so. By this time, Mai was dating Kei Lo, who warned her of an assassination attempt on the Fire Lord. She helped with a mission to protect Zuko, who was happy to see Mai and learned about her dating Kei Lo. Later, Mai's brother Tom-Tom was captured by the Kemurikage. Zuko told her that he would get her brother back and called Avatar Aang for help. Mai made repeated jabs at Zuko during the mission with Aang and Kei Lo, but when left alone, sparks flared between the former couple. While Zuko expressed lingering affection for Mai, she was adamant that she would never let herself be hurt again and that she needed someone who would love her more than she would love them.
After the children are rescued and order is restored, Mai breaks up with Kei Lo, who leaves her shop in tears.
Maiko is a popular ship within the Avatar fandom. Many fans ship it as an endgame ship since they were together at the end of the series. Shippers appreciate the subtle "opposites attract" nature of the ship- with Zuko running hot and Mai running cold- yet also being "birds of a feather" with their common background. When The Legend of Korra was announced and it was revealed that Aang and Katara got married, fans assumed that the same thing would soon happen with Zuko and Mai. While Zuko was revealed to have a daughter, the mother is still unknown; though the daughter does greatly physically resemble Mai.
However, nothing between Zuko and Mai was ever revealed in the show, and in the comics, the ship was toyed with so much that it tested its supporters' patience, mostly during the fifth comic, "Smoke and Shadow." Mai's relationship with Kei Lo has little to no support but the ship threw Maiko greatly off balance anyway. On top of this, Mai using Kei Lo for his political connections and the fact that he gave more to the relationship than she ever planned on doing soured fans against Mai. On Zuko's end, Suki- one of Zuko's bodyguards and friends- was strongly hinted to have developed feelings for Zuko and is regularly there for him when he needs someone to rely on. During the comic, Maiko- despite showing lingering affection from both sides- was marked by Mai repeatedly choosing her own interests over Zuko and consistently believing in the worst in him while he did everything within his power to help Mai.
Quite a few Maiko fans turned against the ship in response to Mai's behavior. Some rejected the comics' controversial handling of the ship and characters or chose to ignore the comics' depiction and focus on what they consider the inevitable reunion of the "on-again-off-again" Maiko, ignoring the process of how they reunite.
- At Emerald City Comic Con 2017, Gene Luen Yang implied that Mai and Zuko rekindled their relationship three years after their break-up in The Promise Part Two.
- Maijinko refers to the ship between Jin, Zuko and Mai
- Maikotara refers to the ship between Katara, Zuko and Mai
- Mai Luko refers to the ship between Ty Lee, Zuko and Mai
|SHIPS||het||Azaang • Chanzula • Hakya • Harutara • Jetara • Jinko • Junko • Kakku • Kataang • Kummi • Maang • Maiko • On Jaang • Ra Min • Satoph • Sokkla • Soko • Sukka • Taang • The Doph • Tokka • Toko • Ty Laru • Ty Lokka • Ty Luko • Urkem • Urzai • Yukka • Zuki • Zutara|
|slash||Jetko • Rozin • Sokkaang • Zukaang • Zukka|
|femslash||Azutara • Katoph • Mai Lee • Maizula • Tophuki • Tophzula • Tyzula|
|CHARACTERS||male||Aang • Sokka • Zuko|
|female||Azula • Katara • Toph|