Is Usagi Just a Copy of Minako from Codename: Sailor V?

♪ One of these things is not like the other ♪

♪ One of these things is not like the other ♪

Whether Minako is considered a prototype for Usagi or a completely unique character seems to be a matter often debated among fans — and not without good reason. After all, it’s a well known fact that Ms. Takeuchi originally started Codename: Sailor V as a one-shot story meant to tell the tales of a sailor-suited warrior of justice. Only later did that idea get transformed into the Sailor Moon world that we came to know and love.

The anime even played heavily, perhaps too heavily, on this trope, adding further fuel to the Usagi/Minako copycat fire.

And yet, like practically everything else in the Sailor Moon universe, things are not as simple as they seem.

Today we’re going to take a look at Usagi and Minako’s characters in-depth and and see if we can settle once and for all just how similar (and different!) they really are. I hope you’ve got a talking cat handy, because you just may need one to untangle this mess!

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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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Was Codename: Sailor V Inspired by a Volleyball Manga?

Minako plays for keeps in volleyball

Minako plays for keeps in volleyball

When I say “Minako Aino,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? … after “Sailor Venus” … and  “Sailor V” … yeah, after “Artemis” too.

Okay, fine. When I say “Minako Aino” and “favorite sport that you see her engage in occasionally throughout the Sailor Moon anime and manga,” what comes to mind? That’s right, volleyball! Glad we’re on the same page.

While there isn’t really anything terribly remarkable on the surface about the fact that Minako plays volleyball, it turns out that there may actually be yet another of Ms. Takeuchi’s many hidden references when you dig a little deeper.

I hope you’re paying attention, because today we’re going to servevolley of information your way!1

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Why Is Minako Bad at Japanese?

Don't feel bad, Mina-P! We all have weak points...

Don’t feel bad, Mina-P! We all have weak points…

As odd as I’m sure it sounds, this is actually an article I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Quite simply, it combines two of my favorite activities: talking about Japanese and looking at the minutia of the world of Sailor Moon.

If you’ve got a moment, why not join along as I throw out a possible theory as to why Minako seems to occasionally struggle with the intricacies of the Japanese language.

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