I’m having trouble digging too much into Minako’s deeper feelings and reactions in this manga for an assortment of reasons. For one, it’s mostly a comedy, and so emotions that aren’t just being played for laughs are few and far between. The format isn’t on my side either, as it’s moving along at such a hurried pace, there’s not a lot of time for much depth. Another part working against me is that it’s a fluffy romance in a lot of ways, and I think we’ve long established by now that the way to my heart is pretty much never going to be romance. So I glossed over this at first, because it’s Minako and First Love #2981, and most for me her antics with guys she has a crush on is just something I have to endure.
But as I got to the end of the story, this did stick with me. Not because of the karaoke toothpick, but because this is a burst of ACTUAL FEELING from Minako that isn’t being played for laughs. The fact that she’s saying it in relation to Today’s Random Love Interest is irrelevant. It’s a sentiment from Minako, and it would be true no matter who she was yelling at.
This works so well for my view of Minako. A girl who has been asked to sacrifice so much, and somehow has to continue giving up more and more, and yet still manages to cling desperately to the things she wants most. I’m going steer this back toward the anime for a moment. It’s where I live, of course, but there’s also not much else in the manga for me to hang on this on yet.
In other words, Minako will never say that she gives up.
This resonates with me even more for Minako because it’s one of the core struggles we see her have over the course of the series. We never see the others wrestle with these ideas. When Ami decides to stay in Tokyo rather than go to school in Germany, it’s a decision she’s entirely comfortable with once she’s made it. Mako generally seems perfectly content to be a Senshi first and foremost forever. Rei never has a moment of doubt that she can be and do every fucking thing she wants. It’s only really Minako who we see conflicted. And that makes sense, because it’s only really Minako (of the Inners) who had to give up so much simply to be a Senshi in the first place.
So I love this for Minako, that she has to actively choose to be a Senshi, far more so than any of her friends. That makes her tearful fury here at the words “giving up” so vivid for me, because it’s the one thing she constantly combats, the one thing she outright DEMANDS of herself that she never do. Even if sometimes it’s the one thing she truly craves more than anything else in the world.
This is an idea for Minako that I’ve always loved, which the anime, very unfortunately, never gets into: that a huge driving force for her is in not making the same mistakes they made before.
WHICH I ABSOLUTELY EXTEND TO HER FEELINGS TOWARD MAMORU BY THE WAY
I’m not sure how far the manga will take it (certainly it wasn’t a factor in Sailor V), but as an idea, I really do enjoy it, and it’s implications for Minako. It’s not just about stopping the bad guys, it’s about ALL the mistakes they made, and I think that’s a fascinating concept to leave to Minako to determine about herself, her friends, and their world.
The same idea about fate and destiny is just SO much more compelling from Minako, here. I know I’m supplementing a lot with my own headcanon, but the thought of how much Minako sacrificed, how much she struggled, just to keep Usagi safe. Only to watch her Princess run herself through all over again. I love that you can take that last line, “Is our fate to repeat this totally unavoidable?” and hear it as “Is it our curse to relieve this?” and it still works. WORKS BETTER, for my tastes.
I’m not sure how much this’ll be followed up on (I suspect not much if at all), but it’s a delicious set of ideas.
It’s funny to see that Minako keeps a volleyball on her shelf.
NOT A TROPHY
NOT A PICTURE
AN ACTUAL FUCKING VOLLEYBALL
It’s funny … until you realize how not funny it is. Minako’s not interested in trinkets marking her success. She’s not interested in the memories of what used to be. The memento Minako has chosen to put in clear view – to be passed every night as she’s aching and tired and crawling into bed, to hover behind her every morning as she’s covering up bruises to go to school – is the actual physical volleyball.
It’s literally so close that she could reach out and take it, could play again, at any time.
Minako could’ve put there any reminder of volleyball, of the life she used to have, Minako could’ve put that ball anywhere in her room rather than perfectly in line of her mirror so she’d have to see it even when she looked at herself.
Minako forces herself to make that decision, every single day, to leave the volleyball gathering dust on her shelf.
Look at fucking Mako, oh my god. she’s SO CERTAIN.
“Between us and that club you can’t even use yet, we have got this shit covered. Nobody can even THINK about hurting you!”
Confident, NATURALLY, but look at that smirk, that little glint in her eye.
Minako’s not just sure that they’ll protect Usagi, SHE’S KIND OF LOVING THIS. This is a DIRECT CHALLENGE. Of her Senshi. Of HER. And they’re all doing SO WELL at meeting it head-on, Minako feels. That is the satisfied, anticipatory look of preparing to crush the arrogant dickwaffle who dared to think they could get the better of you.
Of course you do, Anon! This is a pivotal chapter in your ongoing education, and one whose study I cannot recommend enough. This is a complicated topic, but with dedication and effort, you’ll find yourself breaking the obvious surface to depths oft-neglected but always worthwhile.
This is The Minako.
The Minako does not so much exist in nature as she brings nature with her and bends it to her will.
Often dismissed and criminally mischaracterized, The Minako hides herself under layers of chaos and absurdity, which is only a distraction from the painful truth always lurking just underneath.
There is no way to truly prepare for The Minako, one simply must hang on and enjoy the ride. And what a ride it is! This is a true and accurate picture of The Minako:
As is this:
The Minako is a born warrior, absolutely devoted to her duty and to her girls. She is typically ten steps ahead, and her mercurial nature makes her an unpredictable and deadly opponent.
Even allowing for The Minako’s different shades, there are variations to be aware of. These differences are crucial to properly identifying The Minako in the wild.
There’s even a version that sparkles! Here, too, you can rest assured that you are seeing pure The Minako. You may have to wait a few extra moments for her to arrive, but you have my professional guarantee that it’s worth it.
Please note that the sparkly variant on The Minako can often be seen with a special attachment.
You won’t want to miss out on this activity! But don’t worry, you need only keep your eyes open and it will happen in front of you constantly.
As difficult as The Minako can be (and all who have encountered will assure you it is very difficult indeed), the experience is among the most satisfying. Think silly of The Minako, as it’s how she prefers you would. Think well of The Minako, because she has earned your thoughts.
You know this was HER PLAN, this was HER INFALLIBLE PLAN. I have no doubt at all it was a group effort, but Minako would’ve started building it, Minako had to sign off on it. And it was Minako’s attempt to be so fucking clever and cut Usagi’s argument off that shattered the whole thing.
This was supposed to help keep Usagi from harm, and it’s done the exact opposite.
And Minako is CRUSHED.
Minako who, beyond feeling she fucked up and feeling guilty and all of that, now ALSO has to tell REI of all people that they’ve fucked up. Imagine the planning stages for this. Rei checking everything not just twice but three, four, ten times. Minako assuring her they’ve thought of everything, and have multiple answers to each of those things. Minako making it clear that she’s humouring Rei as she launches into another scenario and starts insisting they test their answers. Minako rolling her eyes at Rei and saying she’s being silly. Minako telling Rei to go to school; don’t worry, I’ve got this, you can trust me.
Once again, the attention to detail, They could’ve drawn them all the same, they could’ve presented a unified “We’ve fucked up” front. But it runs so much deeper than that for Minako, and you have all the evidence undeniably right there in front of you.
I originally read this as WHERE they feel safest. I’d been mulling over that question for like a week on and off and had a pretty well-reasoned answer.
BUT YOU DON’T GET IT BECAUSE THAT WASN’T THE QUESTION BECAUSE I CANNOT READ PROPERLY
WHEN they feel safest it is, then.
The time when Minako feels safest is in the immediate aftermath of a huge fight. I don’t mean Monster of the Week stuff, but the boss battles. The Big Bad is defeated, they’re all wounded but breathing, and they limp home (where “home” is The Shrine) and cling to each other for a few days.
It’s never the end. Usagi always whispers it. “Maybe this is the last time, maybe we’re done now.” Mako, in her tired half-asleep voice agrees, and Ami confirms that her scans aren’t showing any activity right now. Rei doesn’t say anything as she hugs Usagi harder.
Minako knows it’s not the last time. There won’t ever be a last time. But there is, at least, the end of THIS time. In that exact moment, there’s nothing to worry about. Minako starts weaving a tale of impending adventure and debauchery with their new-found freedom, and before long, everyone is joining in.
It’s not the last time. But they’re together and they’re alive and it is the end of THIS time. Minako embraces it.