Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist Duel 5: "Fate on the High Seas!!"
Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 3: "Journey to the Duelist Kingdom"
1.75 m175 cm
114.64 lb52 kg
"Kujaku" means "peahen". Her name in the English anime is a pun of "My Valentine".
At the beginning of the series, Mai is a self-absorbed woman who is only set out for prize money, personal satisfaction and power.
Mai is extremely lonely and convinces herself she doesn't need friends at first. At one point she believed her "Harpie Lady" cards were the closest she would have to friends.
Mai's selfish attitude and outlook on life continues until she meets and finds meaning with Yugi Muto and his friends (of course, she also has a soft spot for Joey). After she meets them, she seems to start caring more for her friends and the deeper meanings of the game. Later on in the series, Mai's wins become empty and her feelings of loneliness return. However, as the series continues she appears to regain her self-esteem and pride as a true duelist.
In the Japanese version; Mai typically uses a quite informal manner of speech. She commonly omits honorifics when speaking with others, but addresses Anzu and Shizuka as "-chan." She uses the informal and potentially condescending "anta", a contraction of the more formal "anata" (similar to the English "hun" from "honey"). She uses the personal pronoun "atakushi", which tends to be a more elegant, if not older, form of self-reference.
Mai's character design was overseen by Kazuki Takahashi. In the anime, in Duelist Kingdom, Mai wore a short-sleeved purple coat over her white tube top. From Battle City on, she changed to a sleeveless light purple vest and a white tank top and wore long white fingerless gloves. She wears a dark purple mini-skirt and a deck holder strapped to her thigh in the Duelist Kingdom and Battle City arcs, but in Waking the Dragons, she wears dark purple shorts and now wears purple gloves.
In the manga, in Duelist Kingdom, she largely wore the same outfit as the anime, but her top was open, revealing the middle of her chest and held together using strings, like a corsette. In Battle City, she changed to wearing a black leather vest and mini-skirt, and wore a similar tube top as her Duelist Kingdom self, but with the front closed.
In the English anime her cleavage and lines of cleavage have been digitally reduced and erased and her skirt has been lengthened.
Prior to debut
Mai once worked as a card dealer on a ship-board casino, where she first discovered the "Harpie Lady" cards. A lot of men, who she described as boring, would pay money to get with her. Using her "aroma tactics", she pretended she had psychic powers, as she could tell what her cards were without looking at them, since they were sprayed with different perfumes. With these tactics she defeated such men, winning their money. Although she made a lot of money, she got bored and quit.
According to the anime, she met Jean Claude Magnum while working there. The two dueled, ending in Jean's defeat. Jean proposed to her, to which she refused and told him to come back when he became a good duelist.
Mai was invited to participate in the Duelist Kingdom tournament.
At the Duelist Kingdom island, Mai watches Yugi's Duel with Weevil Underwood and comments on how Yugi doesn't stand a chance - criticism that was clearly in contrast with Yugi's friends' encouragement. She later duels Joey Wheeler, psyching him out with her aroma tactics while powering up her "Harpie Lady". Joey wins after exposing her "Psychic Powers" as fake.
She wins a few off-screen Duels, and is later challenged to a rematch by Rex Raptor. She didn't want to face Rex, since she had already defeated him, but still wanted to beat Joey. She thought it would be immature to challenge Joey again, so she offered to duel Rex, provided he defeated Joey first. If she could beat Rex after he beat Joey, that would be like beating both of them, she thought.
She caught up with Joey and his friends and got Joey to face Rex. She got mad, when Rex made a bet to try and get Joey's "Time Wizard", as he would be able to use it against her later. However, Joey managed to win, and Mai, without thinking, cheered for him.
She shared her food with Yugi, Joey and their friends, saying they could be friends tonight, but enemies tomorrow. In the manga she assumed Anzu (Téa) had a crush on Yugi and set the two of them to meet up.
That night, she was targeted by Pegasus' eliminator, Panik. Yugi and his friends hear her scream and rush to help her, finding she has lost all her Star Chips to Panik. Yugi defeats Panik and returns Mai's Star Chips.
After Yugi loses to Kaiba, Mai offers him some of her extra Star Chips claiming she owed him them. In the manga, after some encouragement, Yugi accepts the Star Chips. In the anime, Yugi cannot accept them, so Téa duels Mai for the Star Chips. Mai begins to greatly outplay Téa. But after Téa makes a comeback, Mai, impressed by Téa's spirit and eager to repay her debt to Yugi, surrenders so Yugi can take the Star Chips.
In the finals, she is paired against Yugi in the first match. Yami Yugi was distracted by the prospect of dueling Pegasus to win back the souls of Yugi's grandfather and the Kaiba brothers, and was not taking Mai seriously as an opponent, forcing Yugi and Mai to help convince him to face Mai out of principle. In the English anime, Yugi was in fear of what happened in his Duel with Kaiba and wouldn't let Yami duel. Mai initially dominates Yugi, but helps him face his own fears, allowing Yami to make a comeback, that leaves Mai at a complete disadvantage with just her Harpie Ladies, Mai chooses to surrender rather than seeing them destroyed and losing the match.
After her loss, she gives Joey one of her entry cards, to prevent him being disqualified.
In an anime only arc shortly after Duelist Kingdom, Mai Valentine was invited by The Big 5 to test out the new, reprogrammed version of the Virtual Game that Seto Kaiba has built. Yugi, Joey and Mokuba searched for Kaiba, on the way Joey was forced to duel Mai. When she finds out her opponent is Joey (as they were both masked), she joins in the search for Kaiba. On the way, they were attacked by a "Sand Stone" monster, trapped in a Maze, fought an army of Winged Beasts and Insect monsters and fought the Big Five's "Mythic Dragon". Each of the five Legendary Heroes had to summon a dragon-type monster in order to defeat the Big 5. Mai Summoned her "Harpie's Pet Dragon". Mai sacrificed her Dragon so that Yugi's "Black Luster Soldier" can stay on the field therefore losing all her Life Points. She was later revived by the "Mystical Elf".
During Battle City, Mai wins enough Duels off-screen to qualify to the quarter finals. She assists Yugi and Joey's friends (Serenity, Tristan, and Duke) by driving them to Yugi and Joey's Duel at the pier. She explains how she knows about the Rare Hunters as a group who lie, cheat, and steal rare cards. She also wonders what is going on in the piers.
In the anime, before proceeding to the quarter finals she meets Jean Claude Magnum. She does not recognize him at first, but comes to remember him proposing and her telling him to come back when he became a better duelist. Magnum holds her to that and Duels her again. This time if he wins, she marries him. Mai wins and Magnum tries to kidnap her in desperation using a hang glider. Mai nearly falls to her death but is saved by Joey.
After Joey becomes unconscious in his Duel with Odion Ishtar, he has a dream involving his friends which helps him regain consciousness. In the anime, when Mai asks if she was in his dream, Joey lies and says that she wasn't (however in the manga she was not present). This infuriates Mai and she proceeds to duel Marik Ishtar in the next round ignoring any help or support her friends try to give. Mai takes a clear advantage in the Duel, outplaying Marik and even stealing his Egyptian God Card, "The Winged Dragon of Ra" with "Amazoness Chain Master". However, Marik uses the powers of his Millennium Rod to take the Duel to the Shadow Realm (or make the duel a Yami no Game in Japan), where whenever one of Mai's Monsters is destroyed, she loses the memory of one of her friends (in the manga, she feels the pain of whatever injuries her monsters receive, and Marik plays monsters designed to torture her) and when Mai tries to summon Ra it appears in it's Sphere mode, as she isn't one of the chosen ones with the power to control it. Since she couldn't read the text to unlock Ra Marik does so to use it's ability to swap the card back over to his side. Her feelings of loneliness and emptiness return, despite encouragement from Yugi. Just as she is about to lose, Joey rushes onto the field, trying to stop the Duel. After Joey talking to Mai, he eventually manages to break through to her and her memory of Joey is restored, much to the shock and upset of Marik, who comments in the Japanese version that he is surprised their bond is actually strong enough to break though his powers. She then loses to Marik. In the English anime, she is sent to the Shadow Realm after she loses to Marik, while in Japan she is trapped within her own mind, subjected to brutal mental assaults. In the manga she is trapped within her mind while flesh-eating insects fall on her and slowly devour her soft tissues. After Marik's defeat, Yugi saves her. She parts ways with Joey and the others after the tournament, realizing that while they are her friends, she must ultimately move on.
Waking the Dragons
Mai continues her Duel Monsters career by herself and wins several minor tournaments, but is outshadowed by Yugi, Kaiba and Joey, and without her friends to show her the way again, her fear of defeat still persists. She also suffers recurring nightmares of Yami Marik (In the English anime, Mai dreams of Yami Marik trapping her permanently in the Shadow Realm; while in the Japanese she dreams she's trapped again and Marik is trying to kill her, while she helplessly calls on her friends to help out, but they don't).
After winning one particular tournament she shatters the trophy after hearing the runner-up and his friends say how embarrassing it is to lose to someone like her, or in the Japanese version they say that she isn't a strong enough duelist like Yugi, Seto and Joey are, who, unlike her, are still eons above them in strength. Afterwards she meets Valon, who recognizes her as a fellow "loner", or as a fellow duelist who wants nothing more than to always win in the Japanese version. He encourages her to forget about her friends and gain the power of "The Seal of Orichalcos", by joining Dartz's henchman, or in the Japanese version, saying for her to stand by his side and he'll keep on winning, just for her, against anyone she wants. He says that she is "his" reason to keep on winning. 
On Dartz's orders, Mai ambushes and defeats Pegasus, trapping his soul. Under Dartz's influence, Mai believes that it was Yugi, Joey, and her other friends that abandoned her. She particularly despises Joey and wants to defeat him for herself. Valon, who has developed feelings for Mai, believes Joey to be the source of Mai's suffering and aims to take out Joey himself, although Mai doesn't agree to this.
Mai saves Joey and his friends from a gang of motorcyclists by throwing cards at them. Although the gang does not get a clear view of their rescuer, Joey gets a glimpse of one of her "Harpie Lady" cards as well as a glimpse of her in her helmet visor and begins to suspect her.
Yugi, Joey and their friends arrive at the Industrial Illusions headquarters to meet Pegasus but instead find Mai and are locked in. Mai faces Joey in a Duel, using "The Seal of Orichalcos", putting both players souls at stake. Although Mai dominates most of the Duel, Joey makes a comeback after acquiring his Legendary Dragon. When it becomes apparent Joey is about to win (when he actually is trying to end it in a draw to save them both), Valon intervenes using his fragment of the Orichalcos to break the seal, saving Mai. This greatly angers Mai as she claims to have had the Duel under control.
Valon takes matters into his own hands and tries to defeat Joey, before Mai manages to face him again. Joey manages to win and change Valon's attitude. Mai catches the end of the Duel and Valon tries telling her that Joey is a good guy. Regardless, Mai gets possessed by the powers of the Orichalchos again and faces Joey again, Joey accepting by realizing that he can never truly get through to her 'til she is freed from Dartz's control through a duel. Joey tries to convince Mai that Dartz has deceived her. Exhausted from both Duels, Joey nearly passes out as Mai is about to win. Mai finally sees through all of the deception and remembers everything that they went through. She doesn't declare her final attack and rushes over to catch Joey. The Seal however proceeds to take Joey's soul, because he's fainting, says he's lost already, and no longer has the strength to continue, and therefore, loses the Duel. She holds onto Joey and tells him she won't let the Orichalchos take him away, as the Seal closes in. Before losing his soul, Joey pushes Mai away and throws her fragment of the Orichalchos in the air, where she screams in agony as Joey loses his soul, breaking the fragment, and her strong emotions finally freeing her from Dartz's influence.
In an attempt to pay back Joey and Valon, she tries to take on Dartz to beat him and win back their souls, but is instead confronted and defeated by Rafael at their headquarters, resulting in the loss of her own soul. Rafael later saves her life by pulling her unconscious body from the wreckage of the collapsing headquarters.
After Yugi, Kaiba, and Joey defeat Dartz, Mai's soul is freed along side Valon's, as well as all others who were victim to the Orichalchos.
Mai spends the rest of the series alone and out of the picture, reevaluating her life, and trying to rediscover her passion for dueling. In the English anime, Mai claims she cannot face Joey and the others until she can "face up" to what she's done. Mai leaves one of her Harpie Lady cards with Valon (in this case, Cyber Harpie Lady); she also promises to return one day to both Joey and Valon. However, in the English version, Mai and Valon's relationship seems to end, and she doesn't say whether she will go back to Joey.
She is on the invitation list to participate in the KC Grand Prix but only attends the final duel. She is seen in passing a few times, including the ending credits in the Japanese version, where she is dueling alongside Vivian Wong against the Meikyū Brothers (Paradox Brothers) on top of the Great Wall of China. However in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there is no record of this Duel, as it was said that the Paradox Brothers' had only ever lost once, which was in their last Duel, before facing Jaden and Syrus. This referred to their Duel with Yugi and Joey.
She is often paired up with her friend, Joey Wheeler. There is no clear cut indicator that they are romantically interested in one another throughout the manga or anime. However many Yu-Gi-Oh! fans still like to believe that they have deeper feelings for one another, as shown in fan fiction. But, like all other pairings in the show, this one has not been resolved. Creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kazuki himself, has said before on numerous occasions the two are 'close friends', and refuses to reveal whether or not any of his characters are in a canon relationship. Mai is viewed as a role model by Serenity Wheeler.
- Main article: Mai Valentine's Decks
Mai runs a Harpie Lady Deck, occasionally with several other female-related cards included within. During Duelist Kingdom, her Deck focused mostly on multiplying the amount of Harpie Ladies she controlled via cards like "Elegant Egotist", while another tactic of hers boosted her Harpies' ATK with cards like "Rose Whip" and "Cyber Shield". On occasion, her Harpie multiplication strategy would serve toward strengthening her "Harpie's Pet Dragon".
During the Battle City tournament, she included Amazonesses in her Deck, as well as several of their support cards, like "Amazoness Archers" and "Dramatic Rescue". In her Duel with Yami Marik, the multiplication of her "Harpie Ladies" would serve the purpose of Summoning Marik's "Winged Dragon of Ra" (although she did not know how to release it from its Sphere Mode at the time). During Waking the Dragons, her Deck still focused on the multiplication of her Harpies (using a card called "Nightmare Tri-Mirror"), but it had changed to a half Beatdown, half Burn theme, focusing on "The Seal of Orichalcos" and cards like "Harpie Lady Phoenix Formation" and "Sparrow Formation".
In the English anime the Harpie related cards are given more clothing and sexual references are removed.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mai Kujaku's profile Yu-Gi-Oh! Character Guide: The Gospel of Truth (Japanese)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist - Duel 021
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 080
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! Duelist - Duel 020
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 152
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 151
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 153
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 154
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 155
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 224
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode 10: "Tag Team Trial, Part 1"
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! - Episode 021
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode 40: "A Lying Legend"
- ↑ Yu-Gi-Oh! GX - Chapter 001