Sailor Moon has been my favorite manga and anime for as long as I can remember. Despite the flaws the main heroine Usagi Tsukino has, she does have other qualities a girl can admire. My next favorite character in the Sailor Moon series is Minako Aino, also known as Sailor Venus. Like the Greek goddess she is named after, Mina is a beautiful and confident sailor scout. Put these two together side-by-side, and you have two blonde girls who are similar in appearance and demeanor.
I have touched upon this briefly in my previous post when I reviewed the first volume of Naoko Takeuchi’s other series Sailor V. Usagi and Mina are too similar to really be able to tell the two apart, other than one has a black cat with a crescent moon symbol on its forehead named Luna, and the other has a white cat with the same crescent moon symbol on its forehead named Artemis respectively. These girls are both blonde, blue-eyed, a little boy crazy, and can never be on time for anything. They both have dreams to become idols and are hyperactive teen girls. They act like twins separated at birth, but their approach to confronting battles and evil doers are different.
Usagi has to slowly get herself accustomed to no longer being an ordinary girl, but someone who has a larger calling than most girls her age have to face. Reconciling her new life with her old one requires an adjustment period for her. She lacks confidence in her ability to be the Champion of Justice and needs encouragement from her friends and Tuxedo Mask to vanquish her foes.
Mina always exuded a confidence and a take charge attitude from the beginning. Her first battle as Sailor V, as depicted in the Sailor V manga, leaves her frozen in place. Instincts eventually kick in, and she owns the role of sailor soldier. Part of Mina’s personality is being the type of person to go in with guns blazing and asking questions later. She is both fierce and fearless. These are qualities that make her the natural leader of the scouts and the number one guardian and adviser to Princess Serenity in their past life on the moon.
Being a leader seems to come naturally to Mina. Usagi is plagued with her doubts and insecurities of measuring up to become the kind of champion everyone expects her to be. The anime and manga charts Usagi’s eventual rise into the great leader and ruler of Neo-Crystal Tokyo. Where Mina may be more battle and tactical oriented, Usagi is driven by her emotions and her unconditional love for everyone and everything. If Usagi feels an enemy can be saved, she embraces them with open arms. She gives second chances.
From what I recall of the anime and manga series, I don’t think Mina’s heart is as big and forgiving as Usagi’s. Mina’s strength lies in being the fighter and making more logical decisions, while Usagi’s strength is her ability to love completely and fully. This is why Usagi tends to be associated with being an angelic type of figure throughout the series. She is both pure and kind. Those who don’t deserve her kindness even wonder why Sailor Moon will go so far to be someone’s friend or try to save what little humanity she sees in them. Usagi is a shining example of a girl who doesn’t feel hate. She combats it with love. Some may think it’s foolish and naive, but it has worked to her advantage many times over. Without someone who is as compassionate as she is, all that is left is more fighting and losses.
Takeuchi has made Usagi and Mina near exact copies in appearance and personality, but if you look hard enough, you realize they are far more different than you realize. Their experiences are different, and how they handle situations are also approached differently. What makes these characters great are the qualities they possess. Alone, they can get things done in their own way, but together, they make a great duo who play off of each other’s strengths.