Makoto and Sayaka never officially dated, even prior tragedy, but they did go to the same middle school. When they were in middle school they never conversed but it is revealed that Naegi had a crush on Maizono, and Maizono was touched when Naegi rescued a crane from their school pond.
During Daily Life of Chapter 1, Sayaka dubbed herself as Makoto's "assistant" and helped him investigate the surroundings.
Makoto cheered up Sayaka after the motive of having their loved ones kidnapped was revealed. Sayaka explained to him how important being an idol is for her and how hard she had to work for it. Learning that staying inside the school forever would ruin her dream and career, Makoto promised her to make sure she survives and leaves the school. He was also motivated to do so by Sayaka wishing he'd always be on her side. Their moment together is interrupted by Monokuma who comments that Makoto's "flagpole" is raising.
Even though Maizono attempted to frame him for murder, she wasn't sure about it, and hesitated. This caused her to die. Even after it was revealed that Maizono attempted to betray Naegi, he forgave her.
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 The Animation manga Maizono said to Naegi that she admires him because he saved a bird since he was from the animal care committee.
- “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 and eventually becoming canon 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.
- Sayaka Maizono/Makoto Naegi tag on AO3
- Sayaka Maizono & Makoto Naegi 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
- 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.
- 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), Hinanami, and Saimatsu.