|Birth Date||July 3|
|Age||16 (as of Vol. 5)|
|Eye Color||Reddish Brown|
|Height||165 cm (5'5")|
|First Appearance||Episode 1|
|Voice Actor||Kaori Nazuka (Japanese) |
Cherami Leigh (English)
Mai Taniyama is the main protagonist of Ghost Hunt and is the assistant to Kazuya Shibuya whom she nicknames 'Naru' (short for narcissist). At the beginning of the first volume, Mai is curious about an old school building, which her friends told her was haunted. While investigating the building, she accidentally injured Lin Koujo, Naru's other assistant, and took his place. At the end of Volume 1, she was hired to work part-time at Shibuya Psychic Research.
Later, Mai begins to demonstrate psychic ability herself.
She will be portrayed by Maya Fukuzawa in the Live Action.
When Mai is first introduced, she and her school friends are telling ghost stories. She then meets Kazuya Shibuya, who claims to be a student at their school. Mai doesn't trust him, although her friends admire his good looks.
The next day, on the way to school, Mai passes an old school building that had been featured in one of the ghost stories. She is surprised to see an expensive-looking camera there, so she goes inside to investigate. When Lin tries to keep her from touching the camera, she becomes startled and knocks over a shelf, which falls and injures him. Later, Naru approaches her at school and insists that, because she injured his assistant and damaged the camera, she must work for him.
In the course of the case, Mai and Naru meet more exorcists: Houshou Takigawa (Monk), Ayako Matsuzaki, John Brown, and Masako Hara. Mai seems to have no problem working with these other experts; however, she does berate them for not admitting their mistakes and doubting Naru's abilities. It is at this time that Mai also has her first dream about Naru, and begins to harbor romantic feelings towards him.
Over the next few volumes, Mai begins to demonstrate psychic power, often in her dreams. Naru determines that Mai has latent sensitivity. She often has post-cognitive visions during cases, which help the SPR team locate and determine the motive of spirits.
It is revealed in Volume 6 that Mai is an orphan; her father died when she was very young, and her mother died when she was in junior high. Before working at SPR (where she is unusually well paid), she lived with a teacher, but now she is able to afford a place of her own. She carries a key to their old house as a lucky charm.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Mai is petite, with short brown hair paired with chocolate-colored eyes and thick lashes. She often dresses comfortably, preferring to leave her hair down most of the time.
She often believes the best in people; when Kuroda (a girl at her high school) and Kasai (a student suspected of cursing her classmates) are suspected, she sticks up for both of them, despite knowing neither very well. She is also very compassionate, as demonstrated in Volume 2, when she forms a close bond with the child involved in the case, and Volume 7, when she comforts a kidnapped Masako. Despite this, however, Mai is easily annoyed and can be jealous.
Starting with the very first volume, Mai expresses enjoyment of her work with SPR because it is exciting. This attitude is prevalent in all the cases she ks, but only when no one is being harmed. She is very brave, and asks Houshou and Ayako to teach her spells and counter-curses in order to feel more useful.
Although not dumb, Mai is the least experienced of the group, and appears not to take schoolwork seriously. She is very intuitive and good with people, rather than traditionally intelligent, something Naru likes to poke fun at. She is usually the one who ends up in danger, but can usually take care of herself.
Skills or AbilitiesEdit
Mai has latent ESP. She is able to sense when people and things are dangerous, and has extremely good intuition. When sleeping, she also demonstrates an ability to receive visions and have out-of-body experiences, this is a form of Astral Projection. Mai also demonstrates this when she gives Masako her key to comfort her after she is kidnapped by Urado, in episode 21.
However due to her psychic abilities, she always has visions or experiences what the victims did during a case. This happpened during The Bloodstained Labyrinth case where Mai experienced how a victim was killed by Urado. This was also shown in the White Heart series (The Nightmare Dwelling): she had experienced the last moment of a child who was killed by someone who broke into the house at night and killed the whole family, before he found and killed the child. Because of this experience, Naru had to make sure she was under 'overprotection'. These a pre-cognitive dreams or retro cognition.
From the beginning of their relationship, Mai dislikes Naru's lying and condescending attitude, which leads her to dub him "Naru-chan" (narcissist), a nickname quickly picked up by the rest of the SPR group. He, in turn, looks down on her for her naivete and lack of intelligence. However, they develop a functional working relationship over the course of the manga, with Naru relying on her post-cognitive powers and intelligence and Mai trusting his professional opinion.
Mai begins to develop feelings for Naru when she has a dream of him smiling at her. This dream-Naru continues to guide her during nearly every case in the manga. Her emotions never stop her from criticizing him when she objects to his behavior, however. Naru never notices Mai's romantic desires, although they are obvious to the rest of the characters and often leads to conflict with Masako, who also wishes to be in a relationship with Naru.
Naru's feelings towards Mai are slightly more complicated. In Volume 6, it is revealed that the camera Mai damaged had actually been insured. Therefore, there was no real reason for Mai to work for him, or for him to offer her a job after the case was completed. Furthermore, Mai is the only member of the team whom he addresses by her first name, without any honorifics.
In the light novel series, Naru is made aware of Mai's feelings. However, he questions whether she really likes him, or if she likes the figure she saw in her dreams--his twin brother, Gene.
Monk and Mai have a very close, friendly relationship, and they are often compared to brother and sister. Monk appears to be very protective of Mai. When she attempted to exorcise powerful spirits by herself in Volume 5, it was he who came running to save her, and then gave her a stern lecture about safety. (Earlier, he had been the one to teach her the incantations, although only for self-defense.) In fact, Monk is usually the one who explains complex terms and theories to Mai when Naru doesn't want to be bothered.
Also, when Monk finds out that Mai is an orphan, he (jokingly) offered to marry her, although Mai replied that she would rather work. Monk made a similar offer earlier in the series; Mai was upset when she found out that Masako and Naru saw each other outside of work, so Monk took her on a double date with Ayako and John to cheer her up. Both instances were accompanied by much joking about the possibility of an actual relationship between them. In Volume 10, Mai assigns Monk the role of "Father," when contemplating how SPR is like a family.
Masako and Mai are often at odds throughout the series. They have very different personalities (Masako is quiet and elegant while Mai is expressive and simple), and are both competing for Naru's affections. This causes occasional disputes between the two. Their relationship begins to improve in Volume 7, when Masako finally vocalizes her jealousy; ironically, at that time she also says "Because I hate you" when she asks Mai to give her a moment alone. When Masako is kidnapped in The Bloodstained Labyrinth, Mai has an out-of-body experience, and gives Masako a "charm" (the key to her old house) in order to lift her spirits and to help Masako know that they will find her.
Although there is occasional jealousy between the two after that, they are able to work closely together and begin to behave in a more friendly manner. They both declare their intentions to keep pursuing Naru, but the difficulty of doing so actually serves as a factor in their friendship. When Mai thinks about how SPR is a family, she assigns herself and Masako the position of "daughter".
In direct contrast to Masako, Ayako and Mai have very similar personalities, in that they are both loud and opinionated. The two often bicker, with Mai teasing Ayako about her age and lack of talent, and Ayako mocking Mai for her inexperience and coarse behavior. Mai comes to look up to Ayako as an older sister or mother figure, similar to how she views Bou-san. Ayako also teaches her how to defend herself, in the form of the Nine cuts. She is often shown taking care of Mai after Mai goes though incidents. She deeply cares for Mai.
While assigning familial roles to the SPR crew, Mai assigns the role of the Mother to Ayako.
Mai and Lin have very little interaction in the first several volumes, and they generally don't speak. Lin appears to harbor some animosity towards her, probably in response to the fact that she injured him during their first meeting, but it isn't until the sixth volume that this animosity is addressed. Lin reveals that he doesn't like Japanese people because of Japan's past injustices towards China. Mai responds by telling Lin that he shouldn't hate her because she is Japanese, or because she is an orphan; this makes Lin laugh, as someone (revealed in the novels to be Gene Davis) once told him the same thing. Their relationship thaws somewhat after that, and the two become respectful, if not particularly close. Lin offers to guard Mai in the Bloodstained Labyrinth case, until he realizes that doing so would leave Naru unprotected, and Mai assigns him the role of "grumpy Grandpa" when analyzing the SPR family.
John, who has a very genial personality, gets on well with the entire SPR team, including Mai. They work well together on their very first case, and on several occasions afterward. Mai respects John's talent as an exorcist. John is one of the few who does not tease her about her latent sensitivity, and instead trusts her intuition almost instantaneously. It is possible he has a crush on Mai, which is shown when he collapses after Yasuhara implies he himself likes her.
As the two youngest members of SPR, Yasuhara and Mai get along very well. Yasuhara is extremely helpful towards Mai during Volumes 4 and 5, where he often helps her with administrative or equipment duties. His respect and friendliness is a welcome change to Mai, who had previously been the least experienced and often belittled, however jokingly, by her coworkers. In return, Mai is very impressed with Yasuhara's research skills and intelligence.
- Between Mai and Masako, Mai is older than Masako by several days.
- Out of all the members Mai has been attacked by the most by spirits.
- Mai was able to perform exorcisms after being taught by Gene and Takigawa and Kuji by Ayako. However, although her psychic level was not too strong in the beginning, Takigawa had warned her not to aim it on people.
- According to Madoka in the last novel of the Evil Spirits Series, she was similar to Gene, except that he was quieter than her, which she replied within herself in annoying way.
- According to the author of the series, she considered Naru and Mai to be canon and expected them to be together as a couple eventually. However, she did not want to write that story because it doesn't interest her as a writer, and she did not wish to write romance stories.
- However, in contrast to this fact, the sequel (Akumu no Sumu Ie), has Mai admit that she loves Gene in Chapter 9 when she is reunited with him. She says "I dreamt about you because I love you" and "I guess I am lost in love?". It is unknown if this her explaining her affections towards him, or relief that she is able to see him again.
In Live-action filmEdit
In November 2013, Maya Fukuzawa has been announced to play Mai Taniyama for the Live-action film.