A Tale of Two Blondes – Usagi and Minako of Sailor Moon

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.

Sailor Venus
Sailor Venus

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.

Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon

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.

21 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Blondes – Usagi and Minako of Sailor Moon

    1. Really? You are missing out! I don’t know if there are scanlations available of the manga, but you can buy the reprints by Kodansha on Amazon or local bookstores. I have the old Tokyopop translations, and now I’m collecting the Kodansha ones because they include the color art. Also, the translations are infinitely better than the Tokyopop ones.

  1. Confession: I was briefly addicted to the Sailor Moon animated series in college. It was so fun and light-hearted! I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the characters, but I always liked…argh, sorry, other than Sailor Moon I don’t remember the others’ names…she had long brown hair and wore green. She was tough yet funny…and I think she was into cooking?

    I never knew that Sailor Moon had such an incredible following until years later, and I think it offers some of the most creative cosplay around!

    1. I was obsessed with the anime! And the scout you are referring to is Sailor Jupiter. Original Japanese name is Makoto Kino, but in the dubbed version of the anime her English name is Lita. I definitely enjoyed Sailor Jupiter too. I loved how she was the tough girl, but underneath it all she was the soft and feminine girl too.

      Sailor Moon definitely had a huge following. It was one of the bigger and most popular series aside from Dragon Ball Z. Good times.

  2. I used to really like Usagi and Minako’s friendship in the anime – they play off of each other well because they’re both goofy! Minako’s melodramatic yet endearing, and she occassionally shows surprising maturity while Usagi’s the more sensitive of the two.

    1. Yeah, I always noticed that about the two of them. Their personalities are so similar, yet Minako shows an amazing amount of depth and maturity, as you have pointed out. When it’s time to get down to business, Minako is no longer the goofy blonde. Usagi, while not always bad, is highly emotional. She gets teased for being the crybaby, but she is the most compassionate of the two. Still, the dynamic between the two, especially in the anime, makes for a fun friendship to watch.

      1. You were correct about most things except when you talked about being compassionate, Minako does this job no worse than Usagi because she is the Heavenly Queen of Love! Actually, Minako is the friendliest Sailor Moon character I know!

      2. I actually think Usagi is a friendly character next to Minako. I do think they have their similarities, but there are differences in how they approach things, like when dealing with Scout business.

  3. I always noticed how similar Usagi and Minako look, but your absolutely right, they have different personalities. I like how you described it. The thing I love about this series is that all the sailor scouts have qualities that act as strengths in different ways and compliment each other. I really like that aspect because I feel like too often we see one type of strength, but Usagi, Minako, and the other scouts show girls that there’s more than one way to be strong.

    1. You summed up the characters perfectly. I always loved how each scout had their own personality and they all had their strengths and weaknesses. Whatever the other scout lacked, the other one would make up for. This is why I always enjoyed their friendship and team dynamic. As you said, each scout displayed what makes a girl strong in their own way. There is no right or wrong way. It’s who you are as an individual.

  4. But what do you think about episode “Minako’s past”? Minako stopped Usagi, when she wanted to… uhm… kill Katahrina… so they are kind and forgiving both.

    1. Is this from the anime or manga? If it’s the anime, I know I unfortunately never got to finish the entire series to the end. I stopped watching after North America stopped licensing the anime after a certain point. If it’s from the manga, I don’t recall that story very well from Sailor Moon.

      1. Anime. I see… in North America they skipped view episodes (it was in season 1, so they was airing it), and about Minako is one of them 😦
        I’m just huge Minako fan, and don’t like that Naoko made them so look alike.

      2. Yeah, it’s unfortunate how some episodes got cut out completely when they aired it over here. I really would have loved to have seen the episodes they got rid of or censored. I don’t mind Minako and Usagi looking similar in appearance. I just wish their backgrounds and personalities weren’t too similar. Still, there are noticeable differences in the end.

    1. I always liked that idea after Takeuchi made that beautiful illustration pairing the inners with the generals. It was a cool idea to think about!

  5. Oh well, Minako Aino is my favorite Sailor Moon senshi because she is goofy yet she can charming and calculative during the fights. Usagi is maybe not my most favorite Sailor Moon character but I still like her because despite of her flaws, she still can manage to safe the day.

    1. What I love most about watching Sailor Moon is how different each girl is and how their differences end up complimenting each other both as friends and as soldiers fighting together. Minako and Usagi have some similarities, and the anime and manga points that out, but there are distinct differences in how they approach situations or how they think about things. Anyone who watches and loves Sailor Moon will always have one or two scouts they identify strongly with and I think that’s one of the reasons why this anime/manga is as popular as it has been.

      1. Yes, I can see everything you said. And btw, do you think Cardcaptor Sakura also has its emphasis on love and friendship too?

      2. I think so. I’d say the heart of this series are the themes of love and friendship. It’s what makes CCS such a great series to watch!

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