Mai was first brought into the fold as part of Azula's team, along with Ty Lee. Just being associated with Azula already made you scum, the character is one of the worst in Avatar: The Last Airbender, doing horrible things throughout the series. Only Ozai topping her as far as bad guys.

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As the series wore on, however, we got to see more of Mai's personality, seeing the attachments she had, particularly to Zuko. It helped show she was more of a victim of upbringing rather than a true evildoer. Despite this, there's a lot people don't know about her, a curse of being a side character.

10 She's The Only One To Wear Nail Polish

It's a strange menial fact, but a true one. It's not really a surprise when you consider the series as a whole rarely has any posh or vanity-driven characters. The only other potential candidates would have been Azula or Ty Lee, neither of which were particularly vain, Ty Lee in particular. That just leaves Mai, who makes sense given her standing in society.

She got everything she ever wanted because of it. It'd make sense for her to try occupying her time with something vain or self-absorbed, rarely seeing beyond her own needs, unless it pertained to Zuko.

9 Fighting Style Censored

This is fairly common with cartoons, even ones targeted more for adults. Since she used blades, the showrunners couldn't ever have them actually strike someone, always having them hit the sleeves or be dodged. It's the same reason Samurai Jack always fought robots rather than actual sentient humanoids.

Closest her blades came to striking someone was her battle with Katara, where she needed to knock wooden boards into the air with her water bending to stop the barrage of knives. Thankfully, doing this never took away from the action or story. Avatar was never meant to be a dark fantasy.

8 Her Name Means Sleeve Of A Robe

Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender

As the header says, Mai's name in Cantonese means sleeve of a robe, the very same place she hides many of her weapons from foes. It can also refer to the place many of her weapons strike on opponents, disabling them from combat. Beyond just that definition, it is very similar to meimei, which is Japanese for dark and gloomy.

If that doesn't sum up her personality, we don't know what does. From childhood on, dark is the best word to describe her, never seeing the bright side of anything. Only Zuko manages to pull other emotions out of her at first.

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7 Combat Abilities Came From Boredom

Unsurprising, given how she acts when we first meet her, but Mai's combat ability and subsequent marksmanship come from her being bored in her room. She started tossing knives at her wall to stave off the boredom, finding she enjoyed it. From there she became one of the premier users of Stilettos and all manner of long-range weaponry.

It's crazy what can trigger a hidden talent and how often that trigger is simply being bored one day. It's how many athletes find their talents when they are younger, just kids trying to fill their free time in the day.

6 On Again, Off Again Zuko Relationship

Mai's relationship with Zuko is complicated, to say the least. During the show Zuko was her greatest weakness, her love for him leading to her betrayal of Azula, showing she was one of the few unafraid of the princess. By the show's conclusion, it looked like the pair were set to be the king and queen of the fire nation, sealing it with a kiss.

That turns out to not be the case as she dumps him in the comics, stating he loves his secrets more than her. She sticks by this, even dating another man during the comic run, but Gene Yuen Lang told everyone in 2017 that she rekindled her relationship with Zuko three years later.

5 She Has A Second Battle With Azula

This was a true fight, unlike Mai's act of defiance in the show, where she was imprisoned immediately afterward. As within the show, the difference in power remained vast, Azula's powers dwarfing Mai's, but it doesn't stop her from trying. Some things are worth dying for, in the show that was Zuko and in the comics, it's her brother, Tom-Tom.

Much of the battle is Azula taunting Mai, even grabbing her then-boyfriend Kei-Lo, using him as a way to continue to needle her former friend. Zuko eventually steps up to protect Mai, an attempt that Azula only belittles further. Fight truly showed how depraved and off the deep end the Azula was.

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4 Strained Family Relations

The show touches on this a little bit, showing how bored Mai is of the life of a Governor's daughter, longing for adventure. It's the main reason she even agrees to join Azula on her quest for Iroh and Zuko. Comics flesh this out far more, however, having her father Ukano be a main antagonist in the series. He's hoping to put Ozai back on the throne, feeling Zuko is unfit to wear the crown.

He even tries to coax Mai into joining him, knowing her closeness to Zuko could get him the information he needs. It shows some of the lack of care he had for his family, shown even further by letting Tom-Tom get kidnapped. Even despite all this, Mai tries to hide Ukano's involvement until she couldn't anymore.

3 Learned To Be A Big Sister

During the show, Mai is a less than a stellar sister, letting the Avatar group keep Tom-Tom after Azula said how stupid it was to trade a powerful earth bender for a mere toddler. Strategically speaking, Azula is right, it's a poor trade, but Mai shouldn't care about that. She should care about getting her brother back.

Thankfully she grows into being a better sister, scolding her father for having his son in a home filled with weapons of war. She even asks Zuko for help getting back Tom-Tom from Azula, putting her anger for the fire lord aside.'

2 She Could Only Ever Confide In One Person

While she loves Zuko with all her heart, despite all the spats the pair have, her true friend and confidant will always be Ty Lee. No one understands her the same way as Ty Lee does, understanding her upbringing and how she was as a child. Their difference in personality letting them be completely open with each other, even if they clash at times.

You need that clash from a friend, need to know they will tell it like it is and not sugar coat it. Ty Lee showed that in the comics when she called Mai out for feigning interest in Kei Lo just to get information, calling her fake.

1 Forced Into Being Distant

There is no telling what type of person Mai could have been had she been born to a different family or under different circumstances. She might have even been as upbeat and cheery as Ty Lee was. Unfortunately, she was born into a family that demanded perfection from her. Sure, she got whatever she wanted from them, but at what cost?

Material items don't make up for a life of always being perfect. It's why she became so distant, knowing that no matter what she did, it was never going to be good enough. There's only so much you can take before you cut people off.

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