Happy Birthday Minako Aino!

Sailor Venus cake by YouTuber DreamChaser

Sailor Venus cake by YouTuber DreamChaser (watch video)

Ah, Minako Aino — part-time lover, part-time volleyball playing, Queen-stabbing Sailor Senshi. Is there nothing this girl can’t do?

Thanks to her dual story arcs in Codename: Sailor V and in Sailor Moon, Minako is one of the few characters sporting character growth nearly on the same level, or possibly even greater, than Usagi herself!

The girl who was once a crime-fighting rookie eventually joins the Sailor Senshi as a veteran warrior and leader of the Sailor Team. The fact that these two arcs blend together so easily is yet another credit to Ms. Takeuchi’s amazing storytelling abilities.

Today in honor of Minako Aino’s birthday (her 40th, if case you’re counting!), we’ll be talking about five interesting facts about her character and the role she plays in Sailor Moon. Be sure to stick her around and wish her a good one!

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Why Are Cats Such an Important Part of Sailor Moon?

Seriously Luna, explain yourself!

Seriously Luna, explain yourself!

When talking about an anime/manga series with a well-developed and passionate fan base, you often have to keep in mind that a lot of the “mysteries” out there are probably already common knowledge to fans of the series.

The rabbit imagery in Sailor Moon is a great example of this. If you asked a random person on the street about the connection between rabbits and the moon, you’d probably be met with a blank stare. A seasoned Sailor Moon fan, however, could talk your ear off about the lunar-dwelling mochi-makin’ rabbit.1

No, if I’m going to be true to my word of working to “unravel Sailor Moon mysteries,” we’re going to need to go deeper, and far more obscure.

That’s why we’ll be talking today about the cats that made Sailor Moon possible… and just why the heck Ms. Takeuchi chose cats in the first place! I hope you’re emotionally prepared for this, because things are about to get down right pawsome!2

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Does ChibiUsa Come From an Alternate Timeline in Sailor Moon?

There can only be one!

There can only be one!

ChibiUsa has always interested me not only for her character — which is certainly enough to win you over in its own right! — but also for what she represents in the series. Her very existence proves that Usagi and Mamoru’s magical romance works out, the Sailor Soldiers will ultimately win, and if your parents leave you crying in the rain, you’re justified in turning evil.

Except for one small, tiny, little catch:

Her existence may not actually prove any of those things.

How’s that? Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked! Today we’re going to be exploring the possibility that the ChibiUsa we know and love may not be one, but several different ChibiUsas coming from several different timelines.

I hope you have a pen and paper handy, because things are gonna get a complicated!

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How Many Sailor Plutos Are There in Sailor Moon?

Won't the real Sailor Pluto please stand up?

Won’t the real Sailor Pluto please stand up?

While some may refer to Sailor Pluto as the Guardian of Time, I find myself typically referring to her by a very different name: the Soldier of Convenience.

It’s not that I don’t like her character — quite the opposite, in fact! — but more that it seems like so little thought was given to her background and motivations that she winds up just filling whatever plot hole the series is dealing with at the time.

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, we also need to contend with the fact that there are actually multiple Sailor Plutos within the Sailor Moon timeline!

… I mean, you knew that there were multiple Sailor Plutos, right?

Well, dear reader, it looks like we have an interesting conversation ahead of us. I hope you’ve had your coffee, because you’ll want to be awake for this!1

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What Power Is Sailor Mars Invoking with Burning Mandala?

The mandala, it burns!!

The mandala, it burns!!

It certainly does seem like we keep coming back to Sailor Mars, time and again, in our effort to answer yet more Sailor Moon mysteries.

And it’s not like we don’t have a good reason for it, either.

While I’m certain that most fans the world over are perfectly capable of figuring out what a “Supreme Thunder” is, or parsing out the meaning behind a “Love and Beauty Shock,” Sailor Mars is something of a different story for the western world. Steeped in Shinto tradition, and yet having nearly no Shinto-inspired powers, the attacks wielded by the Sailor Soldier of fire have a surprisingly deep and convoluted background.

Join me as we dissect the Burning Mandala, and figure out once and for all what those symbols she’s summoning up actually mean. You may want to grab a snack, because this is gonna be quite a ride!

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Are the Outer Sailor Senshi More Powerful than the Inners?

Now girls, no need to fight...

Now girls, no need to fight…

As odd as it may sound, some of my favorite questions to answer on this blog are the ones that seem so obvious that they aren’t even worth asking. Take, for example, the fact that the Outer Senshi are much more powerful than their Inner counterparts. Done deal, right?

Well, kinda.

Taken in context of Sailor Moon, it’s a fair argument to make. Though, when you try to scratch below the surface, it quickly becomes apparent that there are never any specific references to back this up.

What do we mean by “more powerful”? Is this true throughout the entire series, or just when the Outers first appear? And how do the Sailor Soldiers stack up against each other, anyway?

Today we’re going to take a closer look at this issue and see if we can finally answer these questions once and for all!

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What Does Rei’s Akuryo Taisan Chant Mean?

The Magnificent Mars Mantra!

The Magnificent Mars Mantra!

While Sailor Moon definitely had its fair share of character stereotypes, I think that was actually one of the points where the series truly shined. Rather than just sticking with common tropes, it built upon them to make each of the characters into people that stood out on their own merits and that the readers/viewers could really relate to.

One such character, for me at least, is Rei — and especially the Rei that we see depicted in the anime. Though a haughty, strong-headed, and competitive 14 year old girl in her day-to-day life, she somehow manages to make this work with her spiritual side without ever feeling like either depiction of the character is shoehorned in.

Today, I’d like to take a moment to explore a little more of Rei’s spiritual side, and specifically about what some of her chants actually mean. If you happen to be an evil demon, you may want to skip this article. For the rest of you, read on!

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