As an infant (on the cave painting) Makini's face is pink and her fur is brown. 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 is a friendly, spirited, sneaky, perky and curious mandrill, who is very excited about being Rafiki's new apprentice. She admires Princess Kiara and Fuli and has admitted that she is very proud of the latter. Due to her empathetic nature, she is very easy to deceive, particularly if others are friendly towards her.
Her excitable demeanor often leads to excessive talking, though she takes no offense to those who interrupt her. She is a very high energy mandrill and is kind and eager to meet everyone. She tries her best to help out in any way that she can, even though she may be frightened or even not skilled enough to succeed.
Makini worries about her shortcomings rather frequently. From losing her Bakora Staffs to running out of paint for the Ukumbusho, Makini is quick to put the blame entirely on herself or become severely stressed out. So long as she is offered another chance, she will do her best to rectify problems, regardless if she was at fault or not.
Makini relies heavily on shwari to keep her calm in stressful situations.
Someday, Makini will be Royal Mjuzi for Queen Kiara.
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 can bring them back and that they appear in the 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 goes 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 practice. 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 practice 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 practicing, 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 a 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 land 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.
Having been told by Rafiki that she will be painting for the Ukumbusho event, Makini makes her way over to Mizimu Grove, apologizing to Ma Tembo for her tardiness. After being directed to some fruits, Makini gets to work.
As Makini tries to decide which paints to use, Zito and Johari arrive for their paint. Makini overworks herself, unsure of which color she should choose. After reminding herself of shwari, she calms herself and concludes that if there's no wrong place to start, then there cannot be a right place to start either, allowing her to pick a color of her own choice, to begin with.
She overhears Ma Tembo's concerns about the Lion Guard always being lions and offers to paint the other Guard members so that they look like lions. They agree, and, once Makini is finished, she notices the position of the sun, and bounds away to continue working on the elephants.
However, she runs out of yellow paint halfway through Zito's sunburst due to painting the Lion Guard. As tensions rise with Zito becoming aggressive towards her, Kion and Ma Tembo arrive to see what all the fuss is about. Kion tries desperately to find a solution that will work for both sides, and Makini is then granted some extra time to locate some more yellow paint. She leaves and eventually locates some yellow flowers which she believes will be just perfect. She shoo's the bees surrounding them and returns to finish her job.
With several elephants and Simba's Pride all waiting anxiously around Mizimu Grove, the event begins, with the Guard singing "May There Be Peace", and telling the tale of Askari, the first Lion Guard leader, and how he brought peace between the elephants and lions, agreeing to protect each other and everyone who obeys the Circle of Life. Makini watches as the event runs smoothly, until a swarm of bees suddenly arrive, chasing the elephants away, causing Makini to dive out of their way.
Later, having discovered that the bees had attacked due to the pollen from the flowers she had used, Makini apologizes. Ma Tembo assures her that it isn't her fault, and Makini suggests finding more yellow paint to try again. But Kion suggests trying it without anymore paint. Ma Tembo is hesitant to break with tradition, so Simba suggests looking at it as starting a new tradition. Ma Tembo agrees, and the new Ukumbusho begins.
After Kenge paralyzes Beshte, Fuli, and Kion, Ono goes to Rafiki's Tree to ask for his help. When he arrives, Makini tells him of Rafiki's temporary absence and her task of watching his tree. When Ono explains the situation, Makini offers to help instead. She and Ono rejoin the other members of the Guard, and Makini states that Ponya flowers might be able to help heal, but has no idea what they look like.
Ono is able to quickly locates a patch nearby but also notices Kenge and the hyenas returning to the melons. Kion realizes the situation, and sends Bunga and Ono to deal with them, while Makini collects the flowers. When Makini has collected the flowers, she decides to try wearing, smelling and eating the flowers, when Bunga arrives with Ono, who had been bitten by Kenge. Bunga explains that the hyenas had gotten away, but expresses his confidence at being able to deal with them alone. The Guard asks for Makini to help Bunga, and she uncertainly agrees. Kion comes up with a plan, and Makini expresses her hope of it working. Makini and Bunga notice the hyenas and Kenge heading through Embamba Canyon and begin their plan.
While Bunga distracts Kenge and the hyenas, Makini gathers the melons. After Kenge had bitten Cheezi and Chungu, his attention is drawn to Makini. Makini throws her Bakora staff at the lizard and sadly laments upon its loss. Bunga joins her and calls up to Kion. He uses the Roar of the Elders to send Kenge and the hyenas back into the Outlands.
They approach Makini, who is overjoyed that the flowers worked. She and the Guard begin rolling the melons back to the patch. After Bunga jokes about being okay handling Kenge and the hyenas, but the melons were a different situation, Makini joins in as the Guard laughs.
Makini listens to her mentor as he explains Kupatana. He goes on to say that as a Mjuzi, she too, will need to know all Pride Land traditions. She notices a painting of Timon, and Rafiki shows her how Timon is placing a Star Fruit on top of a Christmas tree. Confused, Makini happily accepts Rafiki's offer to explain Christmas to her.
After telling the tale of how Timon and Pumbaa brought Christmas to the Pride Lands, Makini concludes that she believes Christmas to be the very essence of the Circle of Life. Rafiki agrees.
When a drought hits the Pride Lands, Simba speaks with Rafiki about the water shortage, asking if any of the previous Kings ever found a solution. Rafiki states that if they did, they left very few clues, tapping on of one of his paintings depicts to animate it. The painting shows an earlier King leading his animals to a large, unknown watering hole.
Simba asks Rafiki where that particular watering hole is, and Makini pipes up to inform Simba that she has seen the same watering hole in the Back Lands and that it is owned by a herd of zebras. Simba quickly concludes that the watering hole belongs to Dhahabu. When the Guard arrive, Simba asks them to locate her and request that she share her water, urging them to offer something in return.
Makini and the Lion Guard are in The Lair of the Lion Guard, discussing Scar's defeat at the paws of Simba ahead of the Kumbuka celebration, with Bunga arguing that his uncles Timon and Pumbaa were just as responsible for saving the Pride Lands as Simba. Makini becomes visibly annoyed at Bunga for detracting from Simba's efforts and tries to draw the focus back to Simba, but Bunga is still adamant with his belief. They universally agree that if Scar was still around, things wouldn't be very good.
That same day, Makini attends the Kumbuka celebration on Pride Rock, listening to her mentor perform "Good King Simba". When the song finishes, Simba collapses, and they soon discover that he has been stung by a scorpion. Makini and Rafiki quickly start trying some concoctions that they hope will cure him, but to no avail. When Rafiki remembers the cure, Volcanic Ash, the Lion Guard agree to go with Kion to the Outlands Volcano to retrieve it. After Bunga breaks a gourd, Rafiki decides to send Makini along with them, who will take care of the gourd instead. She applies the gourd to her staff with great enthusiasm. With the cure needing to be back before sundown, Makini and the Lion Guard race away to the Outlands.
When they reach the Outlands, Kiburi's float challenges them to a fight. With time fleeting, Kion sends Beshte to move them aside. When they carry on, they discover Reirei's pack waiting. Bunga is up next, who uses his odor to stop the jackals from fighting. Finally, Janja's clan stand in their way, but before Nne and Tano can attack Makini, Beshte slams them away. Fuli calls for Makini to stick out her staff and she does so, albeit unknowingly. When Cheezi trips over the protruding staff, Makini realizes why she was asked to do that. They continue.
When they finally enter the Outlands Volcano, Ono guides them to the volcanic ash, and Makini swiftly pours a handful into her gourd, sealing it shut and re-attaching it to her staff. Just as they are about to leave, Scar rises from the lava. Kion recognizes his evil great-uncle, but refuses to engage with him, reminding his friends that they need to get back to his father. Scar reveals that he was behind the attack, leading Fuli to work out that the other attacks were planned as well. Scar commends them for their cleverness. The Lion Guard start to leave regardless, but the fallen King calls for his army. Suddenly, Ushari, Shupavu and her group of skinks, and Kiburi's float emerge. The Guard change their direction, but Janja's clan block their other pathway. When the final path is blocked by Reirei's pack, the Lion Guard realize they are surrounded. As Kenge joins the skinks and cobra, Makini and the Lion Guard start to back away to a ledge hanging over the lava. Thinking quickly, Kion orders Ono to find a way out, but the egret is knocked down by Mzingo and his parliament, where Makini comments to Fuli on how Scar has a lot of friends, despite being evil.
Trapped, Kion resorts to the final option. Scar warns him that using the Roar will cause the volcano to erupt, but Kion responds by telling Scar that he doesn't know as much about the Roar as he does, before using it on Shupavu's skinks, Kenge and Kiburi's float to clear a partial pathway out of the Outlands Volcano. He continues to use the Roar on Reirei's pack, and finally, Janja's clan. Makini and the Lion Guard make their hasty leave.
But as they leave, Makini stumbles on a ledge and falls behind the rest of the Lion Guard. Not long after, the vultures start to attack her, aiming for the gourd. They manage to separate the staff from Makini, and the fearful mandrill makes a desperate dash to grab the gourd before it vanishes into the lava with the staff. With a bit of help from Ono, Makini is able to recover the gourd, just before Kion arrives to Roar the vultures back into the volcano.
As the Lion Guard race across the savannah back in the Pride Lands, they start to worry about making it back in time. With Fuli being the only one fast enough to reach Pride Rock before sundown, Bunga offers to carry the gourd on her back. The offer is accepted, and Fuli speeds away having received the gourd from Makini. The two reach Pride Rock just in time. When Makini and the rest of the Guard arrive back, they are relieved to find out that Simba will be just fine. Rafiki ushers them out, and Makini makes her way to the edge of Pride Rock. When joined by Kion, the cub announces that they will defeat Scar, as the group peers out over their home.
Having received advice from Mufasa to locate a wise animal in the Pride Lands, Simba and Kion task Makini with locating a Pride Lander named Kongwe, much to her surprise. Beshte mentions knowing Kongwe and, when Makini asks if he knows where she lives, he replies with Urembo River, a half-day walk from their current location. When Simba shows concern, Fuli steps forward to offer her assistance, confident that she can get there faster. It is accepted, and Rafiki announces that she will escort Makini. The trainee becomes excited and starts talking to the cheetah about their upcoming trip, causing Fuli to go on ahead without her at first.
While Makini speaks about her favorite animals, the two soon notice that they have reached Urembo Rivers, but neither of them knows what she looks like, nor what kind of animal Kongwe is. While Fuli laments about not being able to find her faster, she stands on the tortoise by mistake. Kongwe offers her some sage words, leading Makini to realize that this must be Kongwe. She goes on to say that the King wishes to speak with her and they begin to depart, though Kongwe offers advice which goes against Fuli's fast lifestyle. Although Makini is amazed by her wiseness, Fuli is positive that the trip will be a long one.
When Kongwe stops to observe a Gloriosa Superba's bloom, Makini waits behind to inspect it with her. Fuli arrives back reminds her that they also need to see the King, but Kongwe keeps returning to the subject of observation, leading Fuli to explain how she sees things when she's going faster. After her explanation, Kongwe thanks her for sharing it, then recoils into her shell to ponder Fuli's words.
Fuli decides to move the tortoise herself, turning to Makini for assistance. The young mandrill has an idea, and wedges her Bakora Staff into a rock, hoping to lift Kongwe with it. The end result is another broken staff. The two join forces to move her over a small ledge, causing her to be flipped upside down. When she lands, Kongwe finally comes out of her shell, flipping herself the right way. With no other way of getting her back up the ledge, they traverse through the canyon.
They continue along the path until they come across a tree half rooted into the side of the canyon. Kongwe stops to marvel at it, and Makini places a hand on the tree, which causes it to collapse. Fuli swiftly rushes in to save Makini, and the apprentice suggests that maybe fast really is better, but Kongwe isn't so sure. Although safe, she is on the other side of the tree. She also goes on to say that, she had not stopped them, they may all have been crushed. With no other way for her to get over the tree, Fuli and Makini resort to using a path through the Back Lands instead.
Makini and Kongwe are engaged in a conversation when Makucha makes his presence known with sardonic hospitality. Makini mistakes his sarcasm and approaches him kindly, but is taken aback by his roar. Fuli steps between the leopard and her two associates, warning him away and, although Makucha succumbs to her wishes, he warns her that she's in his territory. Makini marvels at Fuli's actions and the group continues moving.
Later, Makucha leaps out at Makini and Kongwe and, once again, Fuli stands between him and the other two animals while Makini ducks behind the tortoise. This time, Fuli chases Makucha away, but the leopard fools Fuli into getting her claws stuck, allowing him to return to the mandrill and tortoise. Before Makucha is able to take a bite out of Kongwe, Makini appears behind her, using her broken staff as a nunchaku. This fails to have an impact on Makucha, who bats her away. He states that she's lucky he doesn't like a mandrill, which causes Makini to cry. The distraction works, and Fuli tackles Makucha again.
After chasing him off again, Kongwe tells Fuli that, in order to defeat the leopard, you must observe the leopard. Fuli angrily retorts that she has observed him, and Makini suggests using shwari to help. With both Kongwe and Makini's advice, Fuli realizes that Makucha always zigzags and that there's no reason for her to mimic his actions. Using her new technique, she is able to defeat Makucha, allowing them a safe passage through.
That evening, they converge paths with the rest of the Lion Guard and continue to Pride Rock, where Kongwe confesses that not even she is sure how to defeat Scar. She claims that "it is the patient animal that eats the ripe fruit", and Fuli explains that what she means is that they will find the solution eventually and that they just need to look. Kongwe assures everyone that she has seen many things, and that good will always triumph over evil, in time.
Makini is first seen helping the Lion Guard find a Cave Painting that will give them the answer to defeating Scar. She claims that there are that there are many paintings in the lair that they have not yet found. Soon Kion discovers a painting that has been cut off by a big boulder. After Beshte does a lot of pushing the bolder moves opening more caverns in the lair. Makini tells the guard that the painting is the Mark of Evil. Makini brings the painting to life and explains how it seems to suggest that Askari's Lion Guard once fought a great evil, and how the secret to defeating that evil lies in a chamber deep within the lair.
Makini stops them from entering at first, showing them a painting which warns them of the dangers within.
Kion decides to go anyways but Makini stays behind to look at more paintings. Later Makini looks at a painting of Mizimu Grove. She moves across to view more paintings but notices how far she is from the entrance. Remembering that the first painting warned her that it was dangerous there, she turns back but soon halts when she remembers that all the paintings would have been painted by Royal Mjuzi just like her. Makini soon notices another painting of a warning when the guard went down to the maze. Makini finally catches up to the lion guard by following their footsteps. They move through a passage and enter a chamber with a large canyon below, and an entrance at the other side.
The gap between the paths is too big for anyone to jump.
Makini calls them over, having found another painting, this time of the bravest lion. When she brings it to life, it shows him walking over the crevasse, seemingly on thin air. Bunga decides to jump and lands on an "invisible bridge." Everyone walks across and Makini says that she'll paint an invisible bridge but Fuli questions how she can do that. In the next area, Makini notices another painting which suggests that they're close to the final chamber. However, a large boulder blocks their path. Beshte considers moving it but realizes that he's already had his test, prompting Bunga to reach the conclusion that maybe it's just a rock.
After he knocks on the boulder, it comes loose, and everyone starts to run. Kion asks Ono to check for an escape route, but the passage is too narrow. Fuli then has an idea. She stops and leaps onto the top of the boulder, reaching her claws in and running across it in order to slow it down. When this fails, she switches around and starts to speed up the boulder, pushing it along the walls in order for it to go around everyone.
Everyone commends Fuli for her quick thinking, and they continue on their journey. Bunga ponders on what Kion's test could be, but in doing so, he accidentally walks into a rock that sets off a small avalanche. With everyone trapped in total darkness, Kion begins to roar softly in order to get a feel for his surroundings. With the others stumbling over one another, Kion asks them to follow his voice, while he uses his roar to determine empty areas and locate a pathway out using his echo. The group finally locate the exit and are in awe at the final chamber, which is decorated with small pillars containing more paintings. They are soon called over by Makini, who locates the story of what happened all those years ago. Long ago a group of evil lions tries to take over the Pridelands so Askari decides to make a great force to defeat them with a group of good lions. They soon find the chamber and the guard finds out that they're the secret to defeating Scar. Makini apologizes, with her belief that she could have noticed the signs earlier and thus saved the Guard the hassle of going through the tests in the first place. But Kion states how much they needed to go through them so that they knew they were ready. Filled with new invigoration, the Lion Guard peer up at the Mark of the Guard painting on the wall and cry out their catchphrase, ready to take on Scar.
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.
Since her debut, a running gag with her is that the keeps losing her Bakora Staff, requiring her to keep replacing it.