Makini is a female mandrill. She is Rafiki's young apprentice, and is currently training to be a Royal Mjuzi.
Makini is a young, dainty mandrill with grey fur covering her body with a pale gray underbelly. Towards her hands and feet are bands of dark brown fur, which are longer near her hands. This same brown fur collars her neck. Atop her head is a slightly lighter yet still dark brown fur. Her hands, feet and muzzle are pink. Her face is grey which rims around the eyes, with blue stripes settling just underneath. On her nose and reaching towards her forehead is a large magenta 'stripe', which ends just before her eyebrows. Her eyes are olive green. Her teeth, whilst petit, are sharp.
Makini has been described as spirited, sneaky, perky, curious and very excited about being Rafiki's new apprentice. She also admires Princess Kiara and Fuli. She is also very easy to deceive, and has a hard time staying quiet. She is a very high energy mandrill, and is kind and eager to meet everyone.
Makini is hiding in a bush, secretly watching Kion talking to his grandfather Mufasa; then she makes herself known to the lion cub, amazed at his ability. She also tells Kion that she is in training to be the next Royal Mjuzi under her mentor Rafiki, and is very excited that she'll be able to hear the Great Lions of the Past. Kion tells her to keep quiet about his ability, and Makini agrees. She starts to sing, but is cut off when Ono arrives, seeking Kion. The two part ways.
She arrives at Rafiki's Tree to receive her first lesson about being quiet, shwari, but she becomes so excited that she can't sit still and even tries to sing to her mentor. So Rafiki suggests that Makini finds her own Bakora Staff and she is directed to some sticks outside of her mentor's home. He tells her that if she listens hard enough the staff will choose her. As she searches for her own staff, Makini comes across Ushari, who lies about being good friends with Kion. They get into a conversation about the Lions of the Past, and Ushari asks her if they can hear the bad lions as well as the great. Makini ponders the question, but suddenly discovers her staff. Ushari leaves, but Makini is still intrigued and, when she returns to Rafiki, starts to ask him.
Rafiki leads Makini to The Lair of the Lion Guard, and introduces her to the full Lion Guard. She is especially impressed by Fuli for being the first ever female member. Then, while Kion gets his parents ready for her arrival, she asks if the bad lions of the past can also be heard. Rafiki explains that the Bakora Staff bring them back, and that they appear in fire as opposed to the clouds. Makini thanks her mentor for telling her but Rafiki adds on talking to bad lions is a really bad idea. Kion comes in and tells them that the Royal Family is ready to meet her.
As Rafiki tries to introduce his young apprentice Makini beats him to it. When Rafiki officially introduces her, Simba places his paw on her staff giving her their blessing and states that she is always welcome at Pride Rock and the young mandrill embraces the King with a hug. When Kiara hears that Ma Tembo is having trouble, she receives her parent's blessing to help and when Makini asks if she go with her, Nala and Simba see it as an opportunity on how the future queen and Mjuzi will work together, and the pair set off.
When they reach Ma Tembo, even more animals are relying on her to find the water source. Makini suggests that she and Kiara start digging for water, and the two start to move away from the other animals. But while searching, Makini is unable to keep quiet. Janja's Clan pounce on her, striking her staff away and stealing Kiara from her. Makini makes a hasty retreat back to the Lair, explaining what happened to the Lion Guard. She watches as they leave.
Later, with Kiara saved, Ma Tembo is still unable to find a source, with many animals chanting 'water water water' all around. Makini then remembers shwari, and asks for everyone to be quiet. With the noise gone, Ma Tembo is able to find the water source. The animals all join together to dig, unleashing a new watering hole. Makini is overjoyed to have found the meaning of silence and starts to sing again, but remembers that her staff is missing. Rafiki tells her not to worry, and that they can get her a new one.
In Rafiki's Tree, Rafiki is teaching Makini how to paint. After hushing his apprentice, he listens to the Great Lions of the Past to hear what they want him to paint. He paints a portrait of princess Kiara, and hands the bowl to Makini. After listening for a while, she starts to paint but a commotion causes her to drop the bowl onto the tree instead. The two drop down to investigate and discover an elephant named Chama, a monkey named Furaha and a sable antelope named Mzaha messing around. After introducing themselves, they tell Rafiki that they're moving in downstairs, but Rafiki insists they leave. Makini, noticing how friendly they are, persuades her mentor to let them stay, provided they stay quiet enough for Makini to practise. After revealing to her that she will be painting for the royal family, Makini is somewhat shocked. Although the animals promise to be quiet, they leave the two mandrills with a loud belch and a fit of laughter before the pair climb back up.
When Rafiki leaves Makini to practise alone in order to get some quiet time, he returns with the Lion Guard in tow. When they arrive, they see Makini, Chama and Mzaha cheering Furaha as he beats his bug eating record. When Rafiki approaches Makini and asks if this is her practising, she tells him she needed a break for inspiration, before quickly crawling back up the tree, satisfied with her inspiration and assuring him that she can now get back to work.
Later, Makini starts to paint again, but her bowl is knocked out of her hands by a familiar commotion. With Rafiki startled, he peers down to see the three animals have returned, discussing their new living quarters. They tell Rafiki that they just don't belong in their herds, which Makini states is 'sad' with mild upset in her voice. However, Rafiki orders them to find their own home, and the disappointed group eventually leave, much to Makini's dismay.
With Makini finally finishing her first painting, she stands back to ask Rafiki what he thinks. He is about to answer, when he starts sniffing the air. Makini wonders if you're supposed to sniff the painting too, and comes closer. But Rafiki reveals that a fire has started, just outside their home. They start crying for help, and Makini notices someone in the distance. Chama, Mzaha and Furaha arrive to help, and after getting close enough, Rafiki lands on Chama and Makini lands on Mzaha, dropping her Bakora Staff in the process. Rafiki refuses her to go back for it, since another staff can be found, but another her cannot. After the mandrills are safe, they express their gratitude, and the three animals return to save the tree.
When the Lion Guard arrive, they heard from Makini and Rafiki about what happened, and quickly assist them in putting the fire out. After thanking the Guard, Rafiki turns to Chama, Mzaha and Furaha, and gives them permission to live near his tree. But they tell everyone that they have found a new home near Big Springs instead. Rafiki insists that they at least be his guest at the ceremony, and they accept. Makini, however, worries a little.
At Pride Rock, Simba makes an announcement about Makini's duties. After listening to the Lions of the Past, she paints an image of Simba, Nala, Kiara and Kion, which amazes the surrounding animals.
Makini was first seen in early January 2017, on a French sticker album due for release in March 2017. The image of Makini was removed before release, but several months later the same image was used on a bucket in Poland. On June 27th 2017, a plush toy of Makini was released, despite her lack of appearances in the show itself.
This makes Makini the first character in the series to have merchandise available ahead of her official debut.