Makoto and Sayaka went to the same middle school. In the short story, "Makoto Naegi's Worst Day Ever" Makoto thinks about Sayaka to cheer himself up after a string of bad luck. He describes her as someone he knows very well but who doesn't know him. However, unknown to him, Sayaka developed a crush on him after she saw him save a crane from the school pond. She's been constantly looking at him since then, hoping for an opportunity to speak with him but, due to her busy life, she never got a chance to until they came to Hope's Peak.
Not much is known about their life in Hope's Peak before the tragedy, but it's heavily implied they started a romantic relationship at some point. The photos of their school life tend to show them either close to each other or looking at each other. In her second Free Time Event, Sayaka admits to having romantic feelings for Makoto, while claiming she can't pursue them due to the killing game, suggesting she confessed the first time, without the killing game to hold her back. Mukuro Ikusaba, who knew them before the memory loss, thinks they're on a date when they meet her in the school shop. In the Despair Arc of Danganronpa 3, they appear close, but it's not made clear if they're just friends or something more.
Early in the killing game, Makoto gets knocked out by Mondo and wakes in in his dorm. In the game, he meets Sayaka upon leaving the room, while in Danganronpa: The Animation, Sayaka is in his room nursing him. In the following conversation, Makoto reveals he feels inferior to others due to his admittance to Hope's Peak being caused by blind luck rather than talent, but Sayaka reassures him he can be amazing even without the ultimate talent. Her smile and encouragement lead Makoto to become much more confident. Sayaka then appoints herself as Makoto's assistant.
The next day, Sayaka suggests they get some weapons for self-defense. They find a decorative sword, which is then given to Makoto. Sayaka is worried that they can't find a second weapon for her, but Makoto promises to protect her, making her feel safe even without a weapon. They then talk about Sayaka's dreams and she reveals how scared she is of losing everything she built due to being trapped in Hope's Peak. The conversation ends with Sayaka making them lunch.
Several days later, Monokuma gives the students videos showing their loved ones in danger, leading Sayaka to panic. Makoto comforts her by promising her to get her out of the school, no matter what. Touched by his undying optimism, Sayaka cries into his chest until she calms down. Their moment together is interrupted by Monokuma who comments that Makoto's "flagpole" is raising. Makoto is furious and attacks Monokuma, ignoring the possibility of being executed for breaking the rules. He misses, avoiding punishment, but the tender moment is ruined. This is one of two times in the game when Makoto physically attacks someone.
Desperate to protect her bandmates, Sayaka makes a plan to murder someone and frame Makoto in order to escape the school. As the rules of the class trials aren't revealed at this point, Sayaka assumes that the frame-up will be temporary, lasting only until she escapes, and Makoto will continue to live in the school. Even so, she's conflicted about betraying Makoto's trust and murdering someone, which leads to her plan failing and Sayaka being murdered in retaliation. As she's dying, she writes a message with her blood to clear Makoto of suspicion.
During the class trial, Makoto initially refuses to believe Sayaka may have plotted a murder due to his complete trust in her, but when Kyoko provides evidence of her guilt, he's forced to accept. He's devastated, but instead of blaming Sayaka for breaking his trust, he blames Monokuma for driving her to it. leading him to try to attack him again in anger. This time, Kyoko physically stops him and reminds him he won't avenge Sayaka if he's executed for breaking the rules. When later Makoto doubts whether Sayaka's love for him was genuine, Kyoko reveals the reason Sayaka left her dying message as well as Sayaka's inner conflict over her betrayal. Makoto promises to keep Sayaka in his heart forever. He then repeats Sayaka's favorite joke to confused Kyoko.
In Danganronpa 2, Makoto leaves several mementos of Sayaka inside the Neo World Program. Among the presents available in the Monomono Yashine there are the sword replica Sayaka gave him and a sword-fighting technique named after her. He also uses Sayaka's dying message as a code to the trial grounds. In his conversation with Hajime, Makoto describes Sayaka as someone close to him and reveals that the code was used to save him. Sayaka's significance to Makoto and the meaning behind the code are later used by Hajime to tell the real Makoto from an impostor.
In episode 10 of Future Arc, in his hallucination, Makoto is told he should be the one to die by the two persons he was the closest to - Sayaka and Kyoko. Sayaka also reminds him of his promise to help her escape from Hope's Peak Academy, which he failed to keep.
In Super Danganronpa 2.5: Nagito Komaeda vs. the World Destroyer, in Nagito's illusionary world, Sayaka shows a clear attraction to Makoto. Makoto is also much more flirty with her. The two are later seen walking together, apparently as an official couple, much to Mukuro Ikusaba's jealousy.
- In Danganronpa IF, Makoto starts recovering his memories from before the killing game early on. One of the first things he thinks about is his desire to protect Sayaka, before realizing he trusts and cares about all of his classmates as much as he cares about her. Sayaka plans to manipulate Makoto as she did in the game, but she drops her plan when Makoto gets sick. She then spends the whole night nursing him. Despite not going through with the plan, Sayaka still feels horribly guilty about considering it. When Makoto gets injured protecting Mukuro, Sayaka is the first one to scream, Her attempts to help him are stopped when Monokura reveals Mukuro's connection to Fenrir, leading her classmates to distrust Makoto. Monokuma also suggests Makoto and Mukuro were lovers to get under her skin. Near the end, Sayaka resolves herself to confess her crime to Makoto.
- In Danganronpa V3's Ultimate Talent Development Plan, Makoto and Sayaka have two events together. In their first event, they eat lunch together at Hope's Peak cafeteria. They enjoy each other's company, Sayaka guesses that Makoto wants to do it again some time, and he admits that he does. They agree to eat together again in the future. In Sayaka's last event, she talks to Makoto at night about her concert. He promises to continue cheering her on in the future, even after graduation.
- Sayaka is one of the possible romantic options in the School Mode of Danganronpa. Among the events that net a good reaction, Makoto can ask her to sing for him or suggest making food together. In her ending, she's happy that she can finally be with him and says she always believed it would happen due to the promise Makoto made to her in the main game.Ben kira
- “Can I...can I believe what you said? That you'll help me get out? No matter what it takes...? Makoto... You're the only one I can trust. So please... No matter what happens, please always be there for me. I need you on my side...”
- — Sayaka to Makoto in Chapter 1 of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc.
Free Time Events
- “Having you by my side really makes me feel a lot better. If you weren't here with me, I just don't know what I'd do. I'd be lost... I hate that we had to meet again under such awful conditions, but... I'm relieved you're with me.”
- — Sayaka to Makoto in their first Free Time Event.
- “Let's get out of here together, Makoto. No matter what... Please don't turn your back on me, okay? I want you to know something, Makoto. And I want you to know that I mean it- I can't fake my feelings... I'm... really glad you're here.”
- — Sayaka to Makoto in their last Free Time Event.
This ship is quite base-breaking amongst the fandom. Some fans abandoned it after it was revealed that Sayaka was going to frame Makoto for killing Leon to get away with murder and escape. Naegiri being hinted soon after also helped. However, there's still a portion of the fanbase that prefers this ship over Naegiri as they feel that Kyoko's feelings towards Naegi are always a little unclear. There are also fans who ship both Naegiri and this ship, often resulting in Naegirizono.
- Maizono Sayaka/Naegi Makoto tag on AO3
- Maizono Sayaka & Naegi Makoto tag on AO3
- Naegi/Maizono tag on FanFiction.Net
- Makoto's relationship with Sayaka on Danganronpa Wiki
- Sayaka's relationship with Makoto on Danganronpa Wiki
- In the official Danganronpa 1.2 Reload artbook, Sayaka is one of two characters Makoto calls cute (the other being Chihiro Fujisaki)
- Sayaka's VA, Makiko Ohmoto, made a song called Monochrome Answer. The song has been stated to be about Sayaka's feelings for Makoto and important to the world of Danganronpa. The song appears to describe their dating life further suggesting they dated at some point.
- Makoto and Sayaka are shown together in the Akudama Drive crossover artwork.
- They stand next-to-next during the Class Trial in the demo version of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and Makoto stands next to Sayaka's portrait during the Class Trials in the main plot. Their rooms are also next to each other.
- Nagito Komaeda apparently ships the two, as they appear to be a couple in his illusionary world.
- They share the fate of the main protagonist losing his implied love interest with Hinanami (AI), Naegiri (albeit temporarily), and Hinanami.
- Class 78th refers to the ship between the two and the other students of Class 78th.
- Naegi Harem refers to the ship between the two, Kyoko Kirigiri and Mukuro Ikusaba.
- Naegirizono refers to the ship between the two and Kyoko Kirigiri.