She is a 16 year-old orphan and first year high school student who becomes involved with the Shibuya Psychic Research center (SPR for short) after she accidentally breaks an expensive video camera that was being used by the SPR in an investigation of an old building at Mai's school. In the same incident, she is also saved from a falling bookcase by a man working for the SPR, Lin Koujo, who is injured instead; to repay her debt, she fills in for Lin as a part timer on the investigation, assisting the SPR's manager, Kazuya Shibuya. (It is later revealed that the camera was covered by insurance, and that Shibuya was happy for the help). After the conclusion of the first case, she is offered a paycheck for her work and a part-time position at the SPR. She refers to Shibuya as 'Naru' due to her perceiving him as narcissistic. As the series progresses, it is revealed that Mai has ESP abilities, which include postcognitive dreams and clairvoyance. Mai also demonstrates an instance of astral projection, when she gives Masako a key to comfort her after she is kidnapped by a monster. In Mai's dreams, a person that appears to be Naru frequently appears to guide her. Additionally, the other members of the SPR teach her some useful techniques, which she utilizes in the series. In the anime television series, Mai Taniyama is voiced by Kaori Nazuka in Japanese and Cherami Leigh in English.