Minako Aino was the present-day incarnation of Sailor Venus and the civilian identity of Sailor V. She appeared in all versions of Sailor Moon and was the protagonist of Codename: Sailor V.
Anime and MangaEdit
In both the anime and manga, Minako was shown to have both silly and serious sides. In the manga, Minako's serious side manifested more often when she was Sailor Venus (as was true for many of the Sailor Senshi), but she was still strongly devoted to her friends and her duties as a Senshi. Similar to Usagi, she was an academic underachiever, and would refer to Usagi at times as her "make-up tests partner." She was, however, much more athletic than Usagi, especially when it came to volleyball.
In the anime only, Minako was shown to be competent in speaking English (or at least more so than Rei, Makoto, and Usagi). This was best demonstrated in episode 108, in which she was able to converse with relative fluency in English at the party. It was possibly because of the time she spent as Sailor V in London in the anime.
In the anime, Minako was a very silly character at times, but she could be more serious; this was especially true in the first season in general, and specifically in episodes 42, 100, and 109 (wherein she worried that she did not have a Pure Heart and tried to prove she was pure hearted in some very bizzare ways). She was also infamous for using mixed up proverbs in the anime, and sometimes referred to herself as "The Goddess of Love," a title which she used to try to solve others' love woes.
Pretty Guardian Sailor MoonEdit
Live-action Minako was notably more serious than her anime and manga counterparts. This was not surprising, because even though she presented a cheerful image for the public, Minako was constantly living a demanding double life, first as Sailor V, then as Sailor Venus. Her life as an idol meant that she was isolated from the general public, and she seemed to have no parents; the only constant people in her life were Artemis and her manager. As a result, she was more mature than most girls of her own age, and found Usagi rather irritating upon first meeting her (a complete contrast from their easy relationship in the manga and anime). However, on further contact, Minako warmed to Usagi's friendliness and open nature (and often protected Usagi from Mio Kuroki in later episodes).
She had most contact with Rei Hino, since she trained her to be the leader in her absence. Minako had high standards and was constantly challenging Rei and giving her unusual tasks. At first, Rei was both irritated and puzzled by Minako's behavior. Gradually, however, they developed respect and friendship for each other. Minako was completely dedicated to her mission and was determined to accomplish her goals. This led to her making some desperate measures, such as working with Zoisite to erase Usagi's memory of Mamoru, and often using herself as bait. Rei and Artemis were often critical of this tendency, but when Minako made her mind up, she did not listen to anybody.
Minako's illness meant that she only had a certain amount of time in which to accomplish her goals and stop the past from repeating itself, which added more pressure to her already heavy burden. Later in the series, she began to have blackouts and her powers started to fade because of her physical condition. Despite all this, she occasionally showed flashes of a mischievous humor with Artemis, Rei, and Usagi that was familiar from her manga and anime incarnations. This, together with her more girlish behaviors shown in Act Zero when she first met Artemis and became Sailor V, indicated that her original personality would have been more in line with the other incarnations, had her double burdens of special duties and fatal illness not been inflicted upon her. When the world was restored after her death, she was revived thanks to the power of the Silver Crystal. In the Special Act, she continued with her idol career and even won international awards for her work; despite this, she remained friends with the other girls.
Minako had a mother and father who appeared in Codename: Sailor V. Minako's mother looked rather like Ikuko Tsukino, but her personality was much more abrasive, and she was always yelling at Minako. This in itself might not have been too bad, but she was shown to be dissatisfied with her life as a housewife and complained about her husband for being pathetic and not earning enough money. Minako's father was much quieter and tended to give in to his wife. In the third Exam Battle story of the Sailor Moon manga, Minako listed her mother as one of her dislikes, complete with an illustration of her yelling.
Her family was never mentioned in any other incarnation of the series, and in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, it was implied that she was living alone.
In the story "Parallel Sailor Moon," she was married to an assistant director for a sitcom and had one child, Mina, who was also a Senshi.
Anime and MangaEdit
In the anime and manga, Minako wore a different school uniform from the other Inner Senshi while they were in middle school because she went to school in Shiba Koen instead of Azabu Juuban. She later joined Usagi, Ami, and Makoto at Juuban Municipal High School.
Pretty Guardian Sailor MoonEdit
Live-action Minako was an idol singer with an unclear medical condition that was slowly killing her. She dedicated the remainder of her life to being a Senshi and following the mission of her past life, since once Minako died she expected she would be reborn in another form. She first appeared as Sailor V, then in a variation of her Sailor Venus costume as the presumed princess (acting as Princess Serenity's decoy), and finally as Sailor Venus herself.
In the manga, her hobby was given as "chasing after idols," and in both the anime and manga, she loved to follow different celebrities; in "Parallel Sailor Moon," she even took her daughter with her as sort of a "field trip." Many of the enemies' plots were foiled just by her being a groupie. Her anime profile listed Minako's hobby as "messing around" or "wasting time." She was also athletic and enjoyed playing volleyball.
Minako was rather boy crazy and, in the anime, manga, and Codename: Sailor V, she had many crushes. All of these crushes ended without Minako getting a boyfriend, and some even ended tragically. For example, both Higashi-sempai and Kaitou Ace ended up being enemies Minako had to kill, and Alan being in love with Katarina seemed to emotionally scar Minako. Kaitou Ace/Danburite/Adonis even predicted that her "love will be hopeless for all eternity" and that she would always choose duty over love.
In the Senshi/Shitennou pairing picture drawn by Naoko Takeuchi, Minako was shown together with Kunzite, possibly because both of them were leaders of their own respective groups. The only time this pairing has been shown in canon was in some of the musicals, but it is a popular one in fanfiction. Another popular fanfiction pairing is with Kou Yaten of the Three Lights, though there is no canon evidence for it.
In the musicals, Minako was played by Nana Suzuki, Sakae Yamashita (CD only), Chizuru Soya, Kanatsu Nakaya, Akiko Miyazawa, Miyu Otani, Nao Inada, Yuki Nakamura, Ayumi Murata, Mizuki Watanabe, Momoko Shibuya, and Erica.
- Minako was the only Senshi of this Solar System whose civilian family name did not begin with the Japanese kanji character(s) directly denoting the corresponding celestial object. However, her family name began with the character meaning "love" (愛), which still indirectly represented the planet of Venus, as Venus was the goddess of love in Western mythology. She was also one of the two Solar System Senshi whose given name was written with kanji, the other one being Ami Mizuno.
- Her last name is a pun on a phrase meaning "of love" (愛の), making her name sound like "Minako of Love."
- Her sailor-style school uniform during her junior high period was the most classic or orthodox among those of the Sailor Team. Such style reflected the Japanese militarized schooling system of the past, which could be traced back to the Meiji (明治) Period. However, it actually originated in Europe, where it was also worn by school boys and was not exclusively for girls as in Japan.
- Minako's membership number in the Three Lights Fan Club was 278.