Why Do Minako and Rei Always End Up Together?

What's going on here??

What’s going on here??

Alternative title: What Is the Relationship Between Sailor Venus and Sailor Mars?

Whenever the Sailor Soldiers split up in the anime or manga, you’ll notice that the breakdown generally ends up with Makoto and Ami and then Rei and Minako. Today, we’re going to take a look at why that may be, and if there’s any deeper reason as to why Ms. Takeuchi decided on this break down.

Riding a Bike!

Riding a Bike!

Before we continue, I really should be clear on one point: before you get your hopes up on finding irrefutable evidence for your favorite shipping relationship, this isn’t the article you’re looking for.

There’s a lot to be said about the sexuality of the Sailor Soldiers, but outside of Usagi & Mamoru’s questionably legal relationship and the Haruka and Michiru pairing, the series doesn’t really say much about any of the characters’ sexual preferences. I don’t have an opinion either way, so we’ll leave that aspect of this article open to interpretation.

So, back to the focus of today’s question!

Since the Sailor Team is essentially a group of five, and with Sailor Moon as the strong lead, whenever you need to split them up either to go exploring Scooby Doo-style or to pose them in promotional artwork, this leaves you with the problem of figuring out which pairings work best.

Though it may not seem that way at first glance, pairing Ami and Makoto together actually makes a lot of sense for several reasons:

  • their personalities compliment each other pretty well
  • their powers are also complimentary (offense + support)
  • their sizes are complementary

Yes… their heights. What am I talking about? Stick with me – I’m not completely grasping at straws here.

That classic pairing

That classic pairing

You see, Makoto’s towering figure is due in part to her namesake planet, Jupiter. On the other side of the coin, Ami’s smaller form is also attributable to her place in the solar system as the smallest planet.1

Not only does it seem natural for the strongest member of the Inner team to be looking after her more fragile and intellectual teammate, they also balance each well personality-wise and… frankly… on the page, in an artistic sense.

So does that mean that Rei and Minako get clumped together by default, like an unwanted Velma thrown along with Fred and Daphne out of pure convenience? No, not quite! I think there’s still a good case to be made for Rei and Minako coming together.

The proper split?

The proper split?

As with Makoto’s intriguing connection to the Greco-Roman mythology surrounding Jupiter/Zeus, I think there may be something to say about the relationship between Rei and Minako through Mars and Venus. We all know that Ms. Takeuchi is a sucker for tying back into small references, so I don’t think it’s much of a stretch.

What can we say about Mars and Venus, then? Well, as you probably know, Mars and Venus are the Roman adaptations of the Greek gods known as Ares2 and Aphrodite3 – the god of war and the goddess of beauty and love, respectively.

They were also… you know… lovers. And that’s where things get interesting.

Like all relationships in the Greek tragedies of yore, the relationship between Ares and Aphrodite wasn’t quite meant to be. In the Odyssey of Homer, Aphrodite was married to Lord Hephaistos, the smith of the gods. When he was away, Ares would sneak into their home and engage in some an extra-marital relationship with Aphrodite.4

Needless to say, their affair was uncovered (by Helios, the sun god, of all people!) and this all ended poorly for the two of them, but not before they had the opportunity to have several children together. Eight, in fact. And their names are:

  • Phobos
  • Deimos
  • Harmonia
  • Adrestia
  • Eros
  • Anteros
  • Himeros
  • Pothos

That’s right! The twin brothers Phobos5 and Deimos,6 the personifications of fear and terror, were the love children of Ares and Aphrodite – Mars and Venus.

So when put into that perspective, I think it’s not all that surprising that Ms. Takeuchi would see fit to put these two together. After all, the Greeks were already convinced that there was an undeniable attraction between love and war, so it only makes sense that she would see the same draw!

There should be some joke here about not having kids...

There should be some joke here about not having kids…

As for if there were any deeper meanings to this? Well, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. But for me, it at least helps explain a bit why it is that we so often see Rei and Minako ending up together when, to be totally honest, they don’t on the surface seem to have a lot in common.

Of course, if you have any other insights into this or thoughts on the subject, please share! I love to hear other opinions on this sort of thing.

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  1. Now that Pluto isn’t a planet, at least.
  2. See Ares (Wikipedia)
  3. See Aphrodite (Wikipedia)
  4.  See Aphrodite and Ares
  5. See Phobos (Wikipedia)
  6. See Deimos (Wikipedia)

32 thoughts on “Why Do Minako and Rei Always End Up Together?

  1. I really like this article! From a color perspective, Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus go together quite pleasingly, too, since their main colors (red and orange) are analogous. I thought that their pairing was mainly done for this visual effect, but your ideas seem very plausible!! XD And because I can get behind a Rei/Mina ship!

    • The colors really do work well together, don’t they? They also are pretty similar when it comes to clothing and hair style, so regardless of the reason, they definitely go well together artistically! =D

  2. First, thanks for writing about this; I was the one who posed the question on Twitter the other day. Secondly, I can’t believe I never thought of the Ares/Aphrodite connection (I love mythology)! Very smart theory.

    • Thanks for offering up the suggestion! More often than not, most of the articles on this site come from starting with a question, then working backwards to find out what the answers might be. The hard part sometimes is thinking of what’d be interesting to look into in the first place!

  3. A good read and nice thoughts about them. Try to watch the Sailor Moon Live Action Series, Mars and Venus’ pair is visible. Add the Rei and Minako Exam Battle side story and the Stars arc, both are in the manga.

    • I love the Live Action series, and it’d be awesome to go more into depth on it. x_X Unfortunately, it deviates so much from the anime and manga that it’s kinda hard to talk about in this blog without separating it out as a totally separate beast.

  4. I personally have always found the Mars/Venus pairing horribly forced.

    Any so called ‘evidence’ for them being a couple is really just (often annoying) shippers seeing what they want to see. And then trying desperately to pass it off as canon.
    Even in the Live Action series it just doesn’t work for me. Largely because Keiko and Ayake had zero on-screen chemistry.

    Yes, Mars/Ares and Venus/Aphrodite were lovers in mythology. But then Jupiter/Zeus was their father, so what does that analogy say then?

    Too me, it always came across as Naoko trying to replicate the Rei/Usagi relationship from the anime (replace one goofy blonde with another), minus all the things that made that endearing.

    Of course, I’ve never been terribly interested in shipping or slash. I just don’t see the appeal in it at all. Especially when it’s between characters who aren’t even officially recognized as a couple.

    • While I understand that everyone has their own hobbies and interests, I have to agree that I don’t really see much appeal in the “shipping” idea. On one hand, everyone makes a big deal out of how revolutionary and important it is that Haruka and Michiru are lesbians… and in the same breath, proceeds to then go and say that every female character is shipped with every other female character in the series? I’m not sure it works that way.

      No offense to those who enjoy these kinds of pairings, of course. But while I do enjoy digging deep into the series and trying to see what kind of pearls of information you can uncover by reading into the information at hand, I’m firmly against making stuff up. I feel the vast majority of “shipping” is about making things up and trying to shoehorn your ideas into the series.

      As for why I don’t really like the idea of a Rei/Minako pairing? I mean, they don’t really seem to show any care for each other. They’re friends and team mates, sure. But I never really felt any sort of bond between the two. Besides, Rei always felt like more of a loner, and Minako would need someone just as outgoing and social as she is.

  5. One of the things that always struck me about Minako and Rei are their opposing personalities. Rei, in the manga at least, prefers the traditional: she’s a priestess who somewhat dislikes the modern world.
    Minako is… Minako. Chasing idols, dislikes authorities (her mom), loves snacks and pop culture.
    It feels like a bond of traditional and modern society joining together.

  6. Sometimes I think Ami and Minako don’t like each other so much and they are friends just because they are in a team, they don’t have a lot of moments and episodes together, and they are so different (Ami is so quiet, shy studious and Minako is so loud, crazy), not that they hate each other, but they just aren’t sooooo close like Ami is with Makoto and Minako is with Rei.

    • It definitely wouldn’t surprise me to find out that not all of the Sailor Soldiers were “friends,” but spent time together due to mutual friends (Usagi) and their professional respect for each other.

      And I honestly don’t see that as a bad thing. I work with a lot of people professionally that I respect highly, but I don’t think of them as “friends.”
      Minako and Ami are definitely incredibly different people!

      • Can’t you believe that people can be very close to each other and not see each other romantically at the same time? Even outside the context of feminism and the idealization of friendship in Japanese culture. I don’t understand why even the show’s strong emphasis on friendship still doesn’t stop people from devaluing it.

        • I think you may have misunderstood me. What I meant by saying that not all of them were friends were that they were professional toward each other but not necessarily always best friends with each other. For example, I honestly don’t believe Rei and Ami would ever hang out with each other if it weren’t for both being Sailor Senshi.

          I don’t believe that there are any romantic relationships between any of the Sailor Senshi other than Haruka and Michiru.

  7. Well….I’m a huge Reinako shipper however I do agree that both Mars/Venus are quite different but if you look at their Fokus together they just stand out! The same goes for Jupiter/Mercury it’s soothing. In my opinion is the old adage “opposites attract” and when you look at both pairings they are opposites to each other and I think that’s what makes it appealing.
    However if I’m being totally honest I do prefer the Usagi/Rei thing going on in the Anime a bit more it felt more real.

  8. I always assumed that they fit together because their personalities match as well. If you go past Rei’s sharp manner and Minako’s flirty nature, they’re both similar. They both carry themselves with authority and are headstrong. Both are soured on love, and of course, their utter devotion to Usagi goes without mention. There is a ferocity there that makes them a wonderful pair, no matter what!

  9. Well if you look at it another way, mars is the ruling planet for Aries (and the only reason why I didn’t mention Scorpio is because it has two ruling planets) and Venus is the ruling planet for Taurus and Libra. If you ship Aries and Libra, they usually (not all the time) go together. And if you ship Aries and Taurus, they usaually (again, not all the time) do not go together. So, this comment supports both sides.
    And I don’t know about Mercury and Jupiter.

  10. It’s pribably mentioned in a comment I haven’t read yet but, men are from mars, women are from Venus, and opposite attract. They compliment each other extremely well and are best friends in the manga. I love their relationship a lot in the manga and wish it would have come through better in the anime.

    There is a lot of hope for me in Crystal.

    • Yeah, I’m not personally into this ‘pairing’ either. Not only does it come right out of nowhere in the Manga, there’s barely any interaction between the two outside of a comedic side story, and one very brief moment in Stars, before they are casually killed off.
      And I found the Live Action series clumsy attempt to include it in some form rather cringeworthy and superfluous to the plot.

      I find myself in agreement with the above about how it just feels like a half-assed attempt to copy Usagi and Rei’s friendship, and incidentally I don’t support that as homosexual either.
      They just don’t compliment each other at all.
      I’ve seen plenty of Manga that throw in Yuri/Yaoi-bait like this for no reason other then to titillate readers. And it never goes anywhere beyond that.
      Shippers do like to find any kind of link possible, no matter how flimsy or vague it might be in order to support their one true pairings. And take it really personally if you don’t agree with them.

      And I’m firmly against the concept of ‘opposites attract’ as well. In my experience, relationships like that in reality never go well.
      I’m sorry, Ryan (and others). But you’re all living in a dream world. Friends of mine who are the happiest, found that in people who share similar interests or personalities.

    • Crystal was originally created as a completely faithful adaptation to the original, I don’t think they will change it that much for the sake of shippers. Don’t turn this into a second Eupho.

      • It was started as a faithful adaptation and then went absolutely crazy when they 1) removed Minako killing Beryl, 2) forced the Shitennou and Senshi scenes in, and 3) made the Senshi play completely subordinate roles to Sailor Moon.

  11. I’m totally against the shippers who take these pairings as canon to the point they call others homophobes for not agreeing. I’ve seen that happen before.
    As for fan art and just fun, I see no harm in it. Naoko teased it, but I don’t think she ever took it serious herself.
    In fact, the line where they state they “don’t need men” in Stars seemed more akin to “we don’t need that kind of love” more than that they were in any kind of romantic relationship.
    It would have honestly made more sense in many ways than Uranus and Neptune, mythology wise, though.

    As for Jupiter and Mako, I see zero evidence there was anything going on outside of doujinshi manga. I’ve seen people go as far as pointing out that Mercury blushes when she sees Jupiter’s panties in the Rhett Butler episode…which is a ridiculous reach.
    Pairing them together is aesthetically pleasing but that’s about it.

    The others I’ve seen listed as lesbian pairings are Lethe and Mnemosyne. I am unsure if they are or if they are sisters or close friends.
    Also, while Taiki and Yaten seem rather unromantic, Seiya is most likely a lesbian.

    • To anyone trying to see the implication that the original Mars and Venus were lovers, I want to point out that the only canon lesbians among the Senshi are Uranus and Neptune. Who in the original mythology were father and son and were never romantically linked even in a hint.

  12. Venus is the leader and Mars is the second in command of the Inner Soldiers during the Silver Millenium and Crystal Tokyo eras.

  13. I like this post! On the anime I always felt that Makoto and Minako had a closely friendship than Minako and Rei, Minako and Makoto even had like 2 episodes together about their friendship … the ships are fun but people always take them to an extra point, personally as you can see I’m more of a Makoto/Minako ship but I do understand why people ship Minako and Rei so much and I think is for the aesthetic, also the background with the Roman mitologic and in the manga is more evident than the anime… I would even say that Amy and Makoto aren’t that “shippable” for me

  14. I think Takeuchi grew watching the original series Beverly Hills 90210 in the early 90s where the two of its main characters are distinctive for their physical features that somewhat became the antithesis for each other: a beauty with long straight blonde hair (Jennie Garth) and another beauty with long straight brunette hair (Shannen Doherty) – and I believe she took the idea from there.

  15. I don’t want to be a Ship Sinker, but I don’t think either Minako or Rei can ever be in a romantic relationship with anyone, men, women, or each other.

    This has more to do with Minako and her core character. At the end of the Sailor V comics, when Ace, her nemesis (and the guy she loved) dies, he leaves her with the prophecy that she will never find true love for all eternity, and therefore she will never have to struggle between choosing between love or being a soldier for the greater good; she can freely dedicate herself to the latter. She then embraces the identity of Venus as her true self, and it’s stated that Venus CAN’T have romance of her own, because it’s her responsibility to protect the love of others.
    It’s literally like the most major plot point of the Sailor V comics, because it’s Minako realizing her identity, what she must dedicate her life to, and exactly what she has to sacrifice to do that.
    To just say, “But then she found True Love with Rei (or Kunzite, or anyone else) and lived happily ever after,” would completely defeat the purpose of her character arc. She’s not SUPPOSED to find love. And that’s perfectly okay.

    As for Rei, I believe that she could totally have an interest in Minako that way. She disdains men, she’s really touchy-feely with Minako… but then again, she took a vow of chastity (twice technically lol).
    So I feel like “pairing” her with Minako would damage part of her character, since a core part of it seems like she’s adverse to romance in general.

    I do like Rei and Venus as a pairing, and I like the intimate art of them together.
    But I’d like to note a few things I think are very important: 1. People can be physically intimate and emotionally close with each other without it being sexual or romantic, and 2. romance and love are not always necessary or the “ideal.” Not everyone needs to be “paired off” with someone else. Asexuality, aromanticism, and close platonic friendships are JUST as valid as romance.

    I like to think that they are so close and intimate because they can relate to each other; they have both sworn off romance (for different reasons) and dedicated themselves to Usagi and being soldiers. So they’re the closest, in that way.

    That’s just my two cents.

  16. It’s weird, I was just thinking about this. I am a huge Minako/Venus fan so I scrutinized a lot of what happened with her in the episodes I saw. I grew up with the dub in the 90s, before realizing there were more to just the 80-ish eps we got.

    I’m in the middle of watching S, and as far as pairing goes, although I wished that Rei and Minako would have somesort of special relation, I don’t really see it. My memory is fuzzy after the 2nd season, that’s why I’m watching it again, but I have a hard time finding scenes where they interact directly together. I’m not even sure there are many scenes where it’s just the 2 of them together. I can only think of one in Stars where they are together to pick up Usagi and go to school.

    No doubt in my mind they are really good friends and teammates, like all Senshis are. There are multiple examples of it during the anime :
    – In what I think is one of the most serious episode of the entire anime, they are all clearly concerned about Minako when we learn about her past life as Sailor V.
    – Rei and Minako show up together in the 2nd season while hiding from a thunderstorm where they meet Ami and Mako.
    – Minako is chatting with Rei on the bus in the opening of the R movie.
    and many more I surely forget…

    So they are clearly good friends. But it stops there.

    Weird fact : Like I said, back in the 90s, I knew practically everything about all episodes of the dub, and in the first batch of episodes (65), Mars/Rei never says once Mina or Venus in the entire run. Rei finally says “Mina” in the Nurse Venus episode, which was in the 2nd batch f the dub (last 17 eps of the 2nd season)

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