Aang is not abusive to Katara,he is a 12 year old having his first crush and doesn't know how getting together with someone is supposed to be like.Katara is only two years older than him so she's just as much of a child as he is and is not 'too mature' for him and the fact that this is a widely widespread mentality in the atla fandom shows that they see brown girls as Actual Adults™ just because they're responsible and caring
Zuko and Mai are not abusive to eachother,they are two teenage abuse victims who had barely had healthy friendships in their lives when they first got together so they couldn't have known how to properly be good for eachother because of all their trauma that they never got therapy for.Teenagers-who are children-should be allowed to mess up and then apologize and be better without being demonized,especially if the adults in their lives screwed over their mental development,which is literally what happened to Mai and Zuko
The word 'unhealthy' exists for a reason.Use it instead of treating KIDS like monsters
Canonical evidence of Mai and Zuko’s unrelenting love for each other
I’ve seen many claim that in Zuko’s flashbacks we see Mai have a crush on Zuko, but that feeling wasn’t shown to be reciprocated, thereby emphasizing that their relationship came out of nowhere and was a late stage addition by the creators. But there are several details that hint otherwise, the most prominent one being that Mai was mentioned in Zuko’s flashbacks, was associated with happy memories with his mother, and was important enough to him to be an integral aspect of his childhood. And also, Zuko blushing back when talking about knocking an apple off of a head, while practicing his knife skills in front of Azula.
And of course when Azula mentions how Zuko and Mai have had childhood crushes on each other in the Going Home Again comic:
Speaking about the Going Home Again comic, Zuko explicitly mentions that “he missed seeing this side of Mai” - in reference to her carefree, outgoing emotions. Zuko’s banishment, Mai’s isolation from those her own age, and her repressive household have caused her to become a shell of what she once was. But she will always fondly remember the times she used to throw mud in Zuko’s face.
Now let’s talk about the Legacy of the Fire Nation book, which is surprisingly cited as “anti-Maiko” “pro Zutara” material as some users on the app. (As a separate aside, Iroh absolutely understands the powerful friendship between Zuko and Katara, and the other Gaang inserts can be interpreted as equally romantic (Was that all you were, or were you something more - something Iroh said about Sokka and Zuko)).
Also keep in mind the author Joshua Prett stated that he wasn’t allowed to introduce any new plot resolutions, which is why Izumi and Mai are mostly omitted save for this one golden piece of information.
I’ve seen many try and use this excerpt as hard evidence that Iroh absolutely detested the idea of mai and zuko. But the thing is, Iroh is explicitly referencing his and Zuko’s journey involving Ba Sing Se and the search for the Avatar, which is why he mentions the desert, Zuko having trouble sleeping, and finally, his relationship with Mai.
Although it’s a small mention, it’s an important one. It shows that throughout his exile, Zuko was thinking about Mai. So much so that he confided in Iroh about it.
Ive seen some try and make the argument that “living through something” means an explicit negative connotation. But let’s objectively analyze this. When Zuko feels something, he feels it deeply. So much so that the people around him are also enveloped in those feelings, like we saw in The Beach. Zuko missing and agonizing over Mai, even when she’s not there, and so much so that Iroh lives through his feelings, shows that she’s always been on his mind. Living through something means vicariously experiencing the other persons thoughts and emotions.
My personal, not so head canon: When Iroh suggests Zuko go on a date with Jin to experience being a normal teenager and shake him from his pessimism, it’s quite in line with canon to interpret this as him wanting to stop pining over Mai. Of course, that doesn’t work mainly because of Zuko’s guilt and hesitation (he will never be a normal teenager, so why the pretense) but also because Zuko isn’t over Mai. I mean we saw how he acted when Mai broke up with him and dated Kei Lo :)
Couple this with the fact that in the uncut script of the Avatar the Last Airbender cartoon, Mai gave Zuko a heart shaped rock for him to hold onto during his banishment. (Cr. Minireklamo)
But perhaps the most amazing part is when Mai is shown to be enjoying tea and pai sho with the rest of the Gaang members. The Gaang is an undeniable, essential part of Zuko’s life. He chose to share that part with the love of his life. And mai, despite being reserved and reluctant to enjoy things most times, is an active participant in this intimate part of Zuko’s life. She’s engaging with his friends. She doesn’t scoff or turn away. Zuko’s friends become her friends. She is so important to Zuko that he chooses to share this happy, comfortable moment with her. They might be from different backgrounds, opposite sides of the war, but they all love Zuko. Also Mai and Aang are besties by the way, and Aang (Zuko’s best friend and most important ally, and the most important part of his redemption and reckoning) canonically describes Mai as Zuko’s soulmate.
“I’m happiest of all for Zuko. He is the new firelord. And it seems he found a real soulmate in Mai. She’s so much prettier now that she smiles.”
Being a fan of Mai and Maiko means you are at a distinct disadvantage - Mai is not one of the main members of the Gaang and therefore has 1/8th of the screen time of everyone else. She’s not subject to the same emotional, groundbreaking journeys that the rest of the Gaang embark on with Zuko. Very little is shown of her childhood and upbringing, so the audience is left to reconcile with what we are given in canon. While the show is limited, the Avatar universe expands a great deal on the budding relationship between two childhood best friends, lovers, and soulmates. It is up to the reader individually to determine how much they want to recognize in their interpretations - but it does not change that in the canonical universe of Avatar the Last Airbender, Mai and Zuko were destined to be together and forever. PS: Seeing as fans of other ships pick up what they want to from these in universe materials as insurmountable evidence for their ship, I want to see more Maiko fans appreciate the nuggets of information we have from them.
The point is, Mai and Zuko were never written by the creators to be a random ship that suddenly popped up in Zuko’s life. We see explicit evidence of their reciprocated crushes in the show itself. We see that Mai was such an integral aspect of Zuko’s happy childhood that she’s mentioned in his fondest and deepest memories. She was introduced to the show outside of her relationship with Azula , in contrast to Ty Lee, who we see only when she joins Azula’s team. Her character was given arguably one of the coldest, rawest lines in the whole show. In universe canonical materials suggest that Mai never stops loving Zuko, Zuko never stops loving Mai, and their breakup was only temporary, given how Bryke themselves said “I wish we could turn the comics into an in between show. We were going to show a mini clip of old Zuko and Mai.”
Aparantly it has been confirmed that Mai is Izumi’s mum and she (Mai) married Zuko
Daily dose of “I don’t like this ship so I’m literally just gonna make up things about the characters”
Xmas is arriving, and I always wanted to see a Maiko version of “kissing under the mistletoe”.
I guess it is cliche, but asking doesn’t hurt!
I love your art! Even when they are about fandoms I do t know, they are so beautiful that I still appreciate it!
"A day before Christmas megpeggs gave to me: One Maiko Mistletoe Comic"~
Also thank you so much 💕
The great work of Zutara is finding ways to pretend that Boiling Rock never happened so that they can continue to call Mai selfish and abusive and pretend that Mai didn't sacrifice herself for Zuko.
Not just The Boiling Rock, but also The Headband, Nightmares and Day Dreams, the finale, and, of course, all the times Zuko was being a bad boyfriend during The Beach - which was half the episode - giving Mai a valid reason to be cold, distant, and angry.
Pretty much the only anti-Maiko argument that make any sense is that the romance went from childhood crush to serious romance too fast. Everything else is them looking into every little thing Mai does, looking for and making up bad things about her because she commited the crimes of not being Katara and of loving Zuko without living solely for him.
My VERY LATE submissions for maiko week. i didn't know how i was going to put them all in fics so here is an artistic rendition. I just sort of played around with the prompts just because i wanted some cute fanart of these two.
People always seem to underestimate how Mai is the other person outside of Iroh that has always loved Zuko, she loved him before his exile, she never stopped loving him when he was gone, she loved him when he was on their side and she loved him even when he left her and sided with the enemy. Mai's relationship with Zuko is one of the most precious things for Zuko because not only she's the only part of his childhood that was not bad, but she also understands him better than anyone and always calls him up whenever he's being stupid.
I go through some Mai related tags and I can't believe the amount of hate Mai is getting from the fandom and for what? Because of MaiKo and them claiming she don't deserve Zuko. Mai didn't betray my good sis, Azula for Zuko to be shitted on like this 😭. Hate the ship if you don't like it but don't pour your hatred on Mai just because she's in the way of your ship.
I have my doubts you like Zuko because anyone who loves him knows Katara is the best for him and Mai is the worst. Even if you don't want to admit it to yourself, it's facts.
Really anon? Really?
Okay, I'll play. You want to talk about facts? Okay! Let's talk facts.
It's facts that Mai was willing to die for Zuko and did get thrown in the slammer for him
It's facts that Mai supported Zuko when he thought he wanted to get back into Ozai's good graces, and she still supported him when he realized that wasn't what he wanted after all
It's facts that as soon as she was sprung by Uncle Whoever, she made a beeline to Zuko and he was thrilled to see her
It's facts that Katara threatened Zuko with instant death if he so much as breathed on Aang wrong
It's facts that after Katara healed up from the confrontation with Azula, her thoughts were on Aang
It's facts that Katara didn't pay a second of attention to Zuko once Aang went out on the balcony of the Jasmine Dragon
It's facts that Katara and Aang married, had three children, and a lovely life together
It's facts that Katara didn't say word one to Zuko for MUCH of the time after Aang's passing, and she definitely didn't pull a Kanna. Aang was the love of her life. FACT
Have a nice day!
Love of Zuko's life
Love of Zuko's life
Love of Zuko's life
Love of Zuko's life
Love of Zuko's life
Love of Zuko's life
In Defense of Mai and Maiko, Let’s talk about seashells
Mai has been criticized and villainized relentlessly over her comment to Zuko when he gives her a seashell at the beach. Anti maikos consider her to be selfish, inconsiderate of Zuko’s feelings, and a toxic girlfriend out of this one action. But a key detail that most viewers forget is when Ty Lee snuggles up to the seashell bedspread in Lo and Li’s place, Mai explicitly verbalizes her disdain for seashells. And Zuko was there and heard her say this.
Ty Lee: Ooh, I love the seashell bedspread. [Rubs the pillow admiringly.]
Mai:[Frontal view.] Are you serious? It looks like the beach threw up all over it.
Zuko was clearly not in the right state of mind throughout the Beach episode. He was frustrated with himself, his surroundings, and caught in a moral disarray. There is no wonder as to why he would have remembered this small but important detail. But one thing remains clear. Mai does not like seashells, and she makes sure to show it, and Zuko hears it.
Later, Zuko gives Mai a seashell on the beach. It’s a sweet effort, but it shows Zuko was not paying attention to what Mai had said a moment earlier. He might have heard it, but he didn’t listen to her. Mai has every right to be upset with him. She isn’t privy to Zuko’s turmoil and moral dilemma yet. But in the actual interaction, she isn’t shown to be overbearingly upset or angry. She maintains a mellow demure and clearly states “Why would I want that?” And why would she? She makes it abundantly clear she hates most things, especially things that appeal to normal girls. She expresses her frustration rather simply to Zuko.
Zuko: Here. This is for you.
Mai: why would I want that?
Zuko: I saw it and I thought it was pretty. Don’t girls like stuff like this?
Mai: Maybe stupid girls.
She told Zuko, Azula, and Ty Lee that she hates seashells. Zuko offers her a seashell, making it clear he wasn’t paying attention or listening to her when she said this. She later expresses her well justified frustration in a mostly calm way. She doesn’t hold it over Zuko. She doesn’t break up with him on the spot. She’s shown to still be enjoying her time with him under the umbrella.
It’s so puzzling to me when I see anti-Maiko arguments - demonizing Mai for something that isn’t her fault. Take a look here (I also mentioned in my previous post that I will be quoting directly from other posters, if you are uncomfortable let me know and I will remove the tag)
Now, if you’re in a romantic relationship with someone and your S/O gives you a gift and you throw it aside like it meant nothing to you, and then you proceed to act like a petulant child when they were just trying to do something nice for you — that’s unhealthy. - @seapruncs
Mai was treating him like garbage the entire flipping time. Every time he tried to please her, she acted like he was the scum under her shoe. I mean so you don’t like seashells, we get that, Mai, but would it kill you to thank him for trying? It’s the thought that counts. I see people justifying her reaction on the basis that Zuko really ought to know what she likes. How? - @daughter-of-water
This comment is really funny because Mai disliking seashells isn’t some unspoken fact that Zuko should have been magically aware of. She literally says it.
Friendly reminder that even when Zuko tried to do little things for Mai like give her sweet gifts, she spat them back in his face in mockery - @steambend
I fail to see how Mai spat a gift back in his face and mocked him when all she does is express genuine discontent that he gave her a gift that she explicitly says she doesn’t like.
These comments are a small sample of dozens of takes on why mai is an evil, toxic, even abusive girlfriend for disliking the seashell on the beach. Do you see the misogyny here? Do you see how a female character is being mischaracterized based on an important part of an episode that is conveniently ignored?
In the next episode, we see how Mai and Zuko learn from their previous mistakes and grow as individuals and a couple, notably after the Beach revelations. Zuko cares so much about Mai that he asks her what she wants, listens to what she has to say, and gives her a gift that he knows she will enjoy. Mai graciously accepts the gift, acknowledges and appreciates Zuko’s effort.
Zuko: Tell me, if you can have anything you wanted right now, what would it be?
Mai: Hmm. A big fancy fruit tart, with rose petals on top.
Zuko: You know, being a prince and all, I might just be able to make that happen.
Mai: That would be impressive. I guess there are some nice perks with royalty.
Anyone can see two traumatized teenagers learning from their mistakes and becoming better individuals for it. It’s a dynamic, growing relationship. Whats not to love about that?
i’m not going to @ the person who made this post or reblog the post with my addition because it was appropriately tagged and i was the one who came across it. however, since i did happen to come across it, i just want to add my two cents in the form of a question: why are zk shippers always so adamant on villianizing all of the people in katara and zuko’s life, particularly all of the women that are either potential or canon love interests of his? why wouldn’t mai or anyone else that zuko ended up marrying be proud over the fact that her husband committed a selfless act for someone he had once considered to be an enemy? why wouldn’t his wife gladly and openly explain to baby izumi that taking lightening for katara was a shining example of how her father had become the heroic individual that they all knew today, whom izumi should strive to become and view as a role model? i ask again: why would there be any need for jealousy and rivalry?
before anyone decides to come to op’s defence saying that it’s just a text post, it’s not that deep: it is that deep. or rather, zutara shippers made it that deep. there is canonically no animosity between katara and mai (evidence: avatar the last airbender). and yet somehow, content after content over the last 15 years has orchestrated this nonexistent rivalry between the two of them over zuko’s love. aren’t y’all the same fandom that claims to be pro-women all the time? so what’s with this constant desire to pit these two amazing women of colour against each other? what’s with the desire to make katara out to be someone who is jealous and petty and bitter over someone she canonically harbours no ill will towards? doesn’t sound very pro-katara to me either, lmao.
lastly, if anyone’s jealous in that nonexistent love triangle between zuko, katara, and mai/zuko’s wife, it’s zuko over the close bond that katara has with his wife. better watch out zuko, or katara’s going to steal your girl!
Funny how Zutara shippers stan what would be the most problematic relationship in the franchise yet they’ll bend over backwards to call even the smallest thing between canon ships “aBuSiVe”
It's funny how anti Mai people hate Mai because she is mean happen to be the biggest ice queens I have ever seen.
The seashell and ice cream scenes from The Beach are meant to be humorous in nature but people took it too seriously and branded Mai as abusive.
And the show acknowledges this...Azula reveals that Mai had a lousy childhood and because of that it's hard for her to be passionate.
Afterward, she learns to be more passionate and gets enthusiastic about fruit tarts...But once again Mai antis take that and make fatphobic remarks.
Mai develops as the series goes on and she learns she can be passionate and happy...You haters can be so mean.