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.
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 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.
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. With Kion trying to find a solution that will work for both sides, Makini is then given some extra time to locate some more yellow paint and she does so, finding some yellow flowers. She shoos 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 apologises. 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 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 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, Makini has repeatedly lost her Bakora Staff, requiring her to keep replacing it.
In Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas, it is revealed that Makini is a newcomer to the Pride Lands.