|Birth Date||July 3|
|Age||16 (as of Vol. 5)|
|Eye Color||Reddish Brown|
|Height||165 cm (5'5")|
|First Appearance||Are there really lots of Evil Spirits Part 1 (light novel)Case One: "Evil Spirits All Over" Part 1 (anime)|
|Voice Actor||Kaori Nazuka (Japanese) |
Cherami Leigh (English)
"...There's a certain sort of romance to it, isn't there?"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 end of Volume 1, she was hired to work part-time at Shibuya Psychic Research.
Mai is a petite teenage girl with short brown hair, chocolate brown eyes and thick lashes. She often dresses comfortably, preferring to leave her hair down most of the time. In later volumes, it's hinted that she has trouble clothes shopping due to high-prices. Through the course of the manga, her hair grows from a pixie cut to a short bob. In the anime, Mai's hair is a short bob.
When wearing her school uniform, she wears a pleated skirt ending at her thighs with over the knee black socks.
Mai often believes the best in people; when Naoko Kuroda and Chiaki Kasai 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 Hara, despite the two not getting along. Mai is easily annoyed and quite jealous.
Starting with the very first volume, Mai expresses enjoyment of her work with SPR because it is exciting, as she tends to be an adventurous-romantic. This attitude is prevalent in all the cases she takes, but only when no one is being harmed. She is very brave, and asks Houshou Takigawa (Monk) and Ayako Matsuzaki to teach her spells and counter-curses in order to feel more useful. She is also quite impulsive; deciding to exorcise a multitude of spirits last-minute, despite her lack of skill.
Although not dumb, Mai is the least experienced of the group, and appears not to take schoolwork too seriously. She is very intuitive and good with people, rather than traditionally intelligent, something Naru likes to poke fun at. Her sympathetic nature leads her to be a big target for spirits. Mai is shown to be very stubborn in her beliefs. She isn't afraid of expressing her reasoning, regardless of authority. Mai is hinted at to be very lonely, which is why she so eagerly accepts SPR as a family.
When Mai is first introduced, she and her school friends are telling ghost stories. She then meets Kazuya Shibuya (Naru), who claims to be a student at their school. Mai doesn't trust him, due to his perceived insincerity, although her friends admire his good looks.
While walking to school the next day, Mai approaches the supposedly, haunted school a friend of hers discussed. While investigating the building, she accidentally injured Lin Koujo (Naru's assistant) and took his place.
In the course of the case, Mai and Naru meet spiritualists: Houshou Takigawa (Monk/Bou-san), Ayako Matsuzaki, John Brown and Masako Hara. In the beginning, 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 dealing with 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.
Mai has latent ESP. She has extremely good intuition. When sleeping, she also demonstrates an ability to receive visions and have out-of-body experiences, (Astral Projection). Mai demonstrates this when she gives Masako Hara her key to comfort her, after she is kidnapped by Urado, in episode 21.
However due to her psychic abilities, she has telepathic visions, often experiencing what the victims did during a case. This happened during The Bloodstained Labyrinth case, where Mai experienced how a victim was killed by Urado. This was also shown in 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. Because of this experience, Kazuya Shibuya (Naru) had to make sure she was under 'over protection'. Her dreams are often categorized as post or retro-cognitive.
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 naiveté, poor English, and lack of intelligence in the paranormal field. However, they develop a functional working relationship over the course of the manga, with Naru relying on her post-cognitive powers 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. Her romantic emotions never stop her from criticizing him when she objects to his behavior, however. Naru seemingly 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 more complicated. In Volume 6, it is revealed that the camera Mai damaged had actually been insured, which explains her payment after their first case. Naru states he originally just used her as free-labor, however, he claims the reason he hired Mai was because a past employee quit. Later on in the novels, it is revealed by Ayako that no such employe ever existed. Naru trusts her on personal matters; as shown when he asks Mai to keep his spoon-bending activity a secret, early on in the series. Naru also has comforted her whenever they are alone together in a dangerous situation, going as far as to hold her hand or perform magic tricks for her.
Furthermore, Mai is the only member of the team whom he addresses by her first name, without any honorifics, (although this is addressed later on: Naru believed the pet-name "Naru" was Mai attempting to say his nickname "Noll", leading to Naru address her casually as he felt she did him). Mai is also the only character the audience has seen Naru smile and laugh towards. Naru has a tendency to flick or tap her forehead gently, which is odd, as physical contact makes him uncomfortable.
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. 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.
When assigning SPR familial roles, Mai titles Naru as the "Spoiled Younger Brother".
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.
When Monk finds out that Mai is an orphan, he (jokingly) offered to marry her, although Mai replies with a good-natured insult. 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 used by Monk to lighten Mai's mood with platonic intentions. 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 the key to Mai's 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 "Daughters".
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.
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 Eugene 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. 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. John's possible feelings are also implied by the fact that Mai catches him looking at her frequently.
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.
Throughout the series Eugene acts as Mai's spiritual guide and helps her through her psychic visions. Mai confuses Gene with Naru, which leads to Naru later questioning Mai if she's in love with him or Gene. Eugene is very warm towards Mai (smiling at her and holding her hand), and seems to have her best intentions at heart. In the light novels, Madoka Mori states Mai and Eugene are very similar, despite Gene being much quieter. In Akumu no Sumu Ie, Mai admits 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 her affections towards him are platonic or not, or how Eugene views Mai.
- Her name Mai (麻衣) means "linen robe".
- Mai's surname Taniyama means "valley" (谷) (tani) and "mountain, hill" (山) (yama).
- Mai is older than Masako Hara by several days.
- Out of all the members, Mai has been attacked the most by spirits.
- Mai was able to perform exorcisms and a cleansing after being taught by Eugene Davis, Houshou Takigawa (Monk) and Ayako Matsuzaki. Although her psychic level was not too strong in the beginning, Takigawa had warned her not to aim it on people.
- Mai keeps her old family's house-key as a good luck charm.
- Mai has an affinity to kotatsus, and by The Blood-Stained Labyrinth case, is ecstatic that she was able to afford one.
- Naru gave a photo of him with his older brother to Mai in the novels.
- Mai's favorite drink is Green Tea.
In Live-action filmEdit
In November 2013, Maya Fukuzawa has been announced to play Mai Taniyama for the Live-action film.