The Magical, Misshapen Formula for Anti-Zumai
***Please note: this is not an argument or rebuttal. This is just a philosophy and observation (and also taking the piss)
Being in a fandom where the most of the fans prefer the ostentatious crack ship Zutara more than canon, I can’t grasp why I seem to find anti-Maiko within the realms of the Maiko tag, quite recently actually, though promptly removed.
Do you not have enough? Why must you steal the little joy we have? We are a small people, lacking in numbers despite what is canon. This negativity is not what I want when I ask for Maiko as a tag.
To be clear, I don’t dislike Zutara. My feelings for the ship are pretty neutral (I mean maybe once upon a time the cave scene seemed fantastic and drove my heart to palpitations) but I’ve wandered from those waters. I actually like all, or at least most of, the ships.
This random hate is unnecessary, unwanted, and ridiculous. At some point you must realize we are talking about fictional characters. But let’s delve into the slightly overhyped business of Shipping.
The Bitter Zutarians Hatred of Mai
In a lot of these arguments I’ve seen (that are really all based on speculation…and sometimes even just wrong), the Zutarians are dead set on all the reasons Maiko wouldn’t work. And so this obviously implies that Zutara would definitely work.
It’s just that the thing is, this ship as a couple…is a theory. You take Zuko’s personality, Katara’s personality, and make theories on how their relationship might be realistically (and their relationship as just friends doesn’t really count because the way people are together as a couple & the way they are platonically are two very different things). The result is apparently much healthier for Zuko.
According to these aforementioned rants, the poor soul needs endearment and a motherly figure to love ‘cause of his - all the way up to and including his mommy - issues.
Alright, alright…I can get with that. Psychologically speaking, it’s pretty accurate, I guess. But do these long tangents have to contain the Maiko bashing?
Maiko is my OTP, so on behalf of my people (lol), I am saying that we have actually seen our OTPs interacting as a couple, we already know their dynamic. It’s beautiful.
Why? Because the thing is, most given reasons that Maiko are unsuitable to one another are a little true, but not by much and only Zutarians give a fuck about them because it mostly revolves around how Mai is just a batshit bitch subconsciously manipulating Zuko into a relationship. Pffft, nobody is absolutely perfect for their S.O, anyway.
Also in a lot of these arguments, non-believers point out that Mai is a poisonous cunt with no concern about Zuko’s feelings ( I think that when Zuko messed on her skirt with ice cream, and she replied sarcasticaly with “Refreshing” instead of “Thank you” it really highlighted this fact, actually).
Firstly, she is not, she is just neutral by nature, but she isn’t unfeeling, nor is she insensitive, just hella sarcastic. And despite that Zuko is more expressive about how he feels, he is not sensitive (more so than Mai in the series but in the comics Mai is actually mostly on par with him). A more apt description would be that Lady is more level-headed where Prince is hotheaded. And she has shown time and time again that she cares for the well-being of her beloved. You guys don’t actually believe she abuses him. Right? Let’s provide pictures.
Now…Zealous Zutarians (ZZ) might say: “She left him in his time of need! They are an unhealthy couple! She does not give him what he needs! She just doesn’t understand him…”
Guys, Zuko is not the bruised little plum you are making him out to be. His personality is not only emotional depth and the deprivation of fatherly love and familial normalcy.
He is also just a person (and a guy), as such he makes mistakes in his romantic life (i.e. screwing the fuck up and then wanting her bad as ever). More pictures!!
The relationship doesn’t revolve around Zuko. It takes two. He did not go to her in his time of need, twice. The first time they seriously broke up, he dumped her over a letter…and of course she didn’t understand (obviously they grew up on the same set of ethics then he went on a life changing journey and that. She on the other hand could only learn through him. Did they talk? nahh). It was their communication…actually, what communication? The second time around, when 'Zuko loved his secrets more’, their relationship was quite probably beginning to feel one-sided cause he never told her anything (
and a zz would probably talk about how she disregarded him that one time when they were dating for like a minute, buy let’s not get into that). And so, Mai ended it. You know, even poisonous bitches have feelings.
He could not get what he needed from her. But he didn’t even talk to her.
Zuko was the - main - reason they broke up - thrice, one in which he did the dumping.
Lots of people disregard that because…Mai’s aloof? She’s blunt? She’s sarcastic? Well. That would be absolutely tragic if Zuko was a pussy. Luckily Prince Honor has thicker skin (he messed ice cream on her skirt and offered her a gift she didn’t want, all he got was sarcasm and honesty. Get over it.)
But I guess it begs the question from the ZZ: “Doesn’t all this breaking up, and according to you, with Zuko as the instigator, just prove that they are not meant to be?”
Yeah, no. Guys, relationships aren’t a breeze. They both have to put in work. That’s just the way it is.
She does not emotionally torture, blackmail, drain, or abuse him, and vice versa (I have actually seen all of the above, don’t test me). She does not completely disregard his feelings. I’m fairly certain that Zuko also just knows her and is accustomed to her ways and he still loves and wants her. They had known and had feelings for each other for a really long time, it would be sad if he didn’t take it all with a pinch of salt. Same for her, because Zuko went through a shit load of character development. I’m sure it takes getting used to.
Love isn’t all rose petals and sunsets. Maiko is rocky…but unhealthy? That’s reaching a bit too far (have I mentioned the over-speculation? 'Tis hectic).
ZZ: “Mai loves Zuko more!”
But I think the untruth in the statement had been established in Smoke and Shadows parts 2 and 3. It oozed with Zuko’s jealousy, hurt, and confessing how he wants her back. Even going so far as to pull out the “does he make you feel how I made you feel?”. Lmao. So cliché.
Used to? There is no “used to” about the way she feels about you.
There are a lot of arguments regarding this couple, but I’m not going to mention many more.
I am aware of one more that is just…like…calm down.
Zuko has been through more than Mai. She cannot comprehend his journey, blah blah bullshit.
Yes. Zuko has grown, he’s matured, and wizened in his three years of searching for Aang. But I’m sure Mai didn’t vegetate. And in some ways she’s hella mature, more than Zuko. In some aspects he will know what she can never. In the end, Mai had to change for them to work out. For the better. She had to betray all she’d been taught, face her fears, and trust him. And she did. I’m sure that took a lot.
I also think that a great show of her maturity was their break up. And it’s different to their other break ups because there is no war, no Azula, no immature reason (like Zuko freaking the fuck out over her conversing with a boy) keeping them apart. This tune’s undertone hums with finality. This is because what stands between them are Zuko’s demons. She cannot help him overcome them, he must do that alone. I’m sure she understood that for a time, and could show concern and offer her support. It took it’s toll - being a side thought of the one you love.
And it must’ve felt like a slap in the face when he wouldn’t confide in her. Obviously it seemed that her support was not something he needed or wanted. Ouch.
Non-believers (of Maiko) might -want to- think that she left him in his hour of need.
Guys, a woman is not the backbone of her man. She can support him, but Zuko never wanted that. She is not an unfeeling alien. She is a *coughcartooncough* human being. She can only take so much. They were in a relationship, one that no longer seemed to have mutual trust. And so she left him, and he went to sort his shit out. He had deeply rooted familial issues, daddy issues, issues with him being a teenager running a fucking country, issues in places you’d never imagine.
They’d run into a large boulder in their relationship situation. Zuko has to learn to open up a bit more, as well as finally get a hand of this running a country business. And Mai…needs to learn to be able to deal with issues in a relationship without going to extremes like say…breaking up with the love of your life. Srsly. Swift severity is not the only way to deal with things. Matter of fact they should both just learn to deal with things in better ways.
But I have no doubts that the troubled teen lord and his stiletto-shooting angel will work it out.