Title: Love and Passion - A Manifesto for Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus
Fandom: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (manga canon only for now)
Pairing: Rei Hino/Sailor Mars and Minako Aino/Sailor Venus
Spoilers: mild spoilers, but I think the unspoken spoiler statute of limitations has long run out
Notes: I'm aware that Takeuchi's art style is appalling at times. Bear with me.
Since the pairing doesn’t exist at all in the anime, this essay will rely entirely on manga canon. As for the live action...that’s a whole ‘nother ballpark. This essay will therefore not be dealing with it...yet.
Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of moving, and the PC for the scanner is on the fritz anyway. So, I'm unable to provide all the images from the manga itself that I'd like to. I was also unable to reread my manga before packing them away and finishing this (since the rough's been sitting on my hard drive for a while), so feel free to correct any mistakes with the canon. THIS WILL ALL BE REMEDIED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
The graphics are made by me.
I also warn you...this could be a small novel. Just sayin’.
I wonder if you remember your first anime. Maybe, if you're from the U.S., it was on the early morning WB program, watching before school started. Or perhaps Cartoon Network and the early days of Toonami, with Dragonball Z and, of course, Sailor Moon. For many, that’s how it all started, time spent awe-struck in front of the TV after school, later to become fond memories. Like most girls my age, it was Sailor Moon that captivated me.
It was my first anime, of course. I was eight, and I loved the idea of girls who were stronger than the boys. What especially drew me in was the strong friendship between all of the Sailor Senshi. (My being a sucker for friendship stories started at a young age, what can I say.) Admittedly, I also loved the sparkles and bright colors. I guess Sailor Moon is what you’d call my One True Fandom – I’m not terribly proud to admit it, but it is the only series that I come back to again and again and again, and love more and more each time. I couldn’t tell you why, really... My tastes have changed dramatically, and by all accounts if I had encountered Sailor Moon now, almost thirteen years later, I would probably have hated it. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe it’s the one exception to my many rules, but I still love it, for one reason or another.
Who hasn’t heard of Sailor Moon? To this day, "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon" remains one of the most popular anime/manga series of all time, being one of the first to have such a high demand that it was actually reprinted for its tenth anniversary, and the anime reruns (including the three movies and four short specials) have never stopped going after its end in 1997. The fan-written spin-off musicals ran for ten years before closing for good, and a Power Rangers style live action drama aired from 2003 to 2004, ushering in a whole new generation of fans.
No matter which version you’re talking about, the basic premise remains the same. Tsukino Usagi (aka, “moon field rabbit”) is one day approached by a talking black cat called Luna, and told that she is Sailor Moon! Champion of Love and Justice. It’s her duty to find her fellow Sailor Senshi, the Princess of the Moon, and the Ginzuishou (known as the Silver Imperium Crystal in English adaptations, but is literally the Silver Crystal of Illusion). Sailor Moon turns out to be the reincarnation of the Moon Princess, Princess Serenity, who had the Ginzuishou hidden within her. Together, she and the other Sailor Senshi face many enemies who are seeking the ultimate power – the Ginzuishou, the source of all energy in the universe.
Sailor Moon is strange for a mahou shoujo manga – a magical girl series. It’s atypical in that it doesn’t often deal with interpersonal relationships, except for specifically that of Usagi. (1) The reasons are fairly obvious; considering she IS the main character, and ten Sailor Senshi is a hefty amount of main characters to deal with. It’s a very plot-driven manga, and any relationships must be pieced together with what context clues and visual clues are given us.
Which, of course, is part of the fun.
My One True Pairing for Sailor Moon is often overshadowed by the open and canon lesbian couple, Haruka and Michiru. Their grace, strength, and devotion to each other is deeply admired by their fans, and I think it’s wonderful too. But Rei and Minako strikes a much stronger chord with me, even though they are not confirmed canon and have very little canon interaction. Though they aren’t confirmed canon, I do believe that they’re on a fine line between fanon and canon; they have an entire extra chapter devoted to the two of them together, which is usually the biggest and arguably the most famous piece of evidence for the pairing.
In my opinion, the pairing goes far beyond that extra story. There’s more to be seen long before its place in the canon timeline. At times you need to squint for it, and at times (I think) it’s almost slapping you in the face, but it’s a pairing that to me is undeniable. I also love it as a beautiful relationship between two peers as girls, and equals as Soldiers.
My spirit is restrained
Our paths divide apart, I know
It's destiny, the stars have decided
The one that you chose
The white route
The future looms ahead
Don't lose your way
. . .
Do not forget
The one I love the most
Even though it's hard
From here I look out
And see the desert daybreak
. . .
I am crying in my heart
Our paths are separate from each other
It's destiny, the stars have decided
The one that I chose
The blue route
The future looms ahead
Don't forget about it
- Route Venus
Aino Minako is, to put it mildly, a flake. She’s a sweet girl, albeit loud and invasively cheerful, and not terribly intelligent. She’s typically overconfident and very excitable, but is rarely vulnerable and cries even less (2). Her lack of motivation and laziness makes her grades in school very bad, and she spends most of her time daydreaming romances about her boy-crush of the day, fangirling the latest idols, and playing volleyball. She’s athletic and energetic, but she isn’t terribly popular; her classmates often make fun of her erratic behavior and poor academic performance. Though she has little experience with romance herself, she’s very nosy about the love lives of others, and always insists on giving relationship advice. She herself "falls in love" with a new boy on a basis fast enough to make others around her dizzy; she's fickle and moves on far too easily.
She seems to come from a home of moderate income; she states on several occasions how she dislikes her mother for nagging her too much, and we never see or hear about her father. Her greatest dream is to become an idol, an odd Japanese culture point where the public becomes entranced by a cute face and mediocre dance routines. She practices her singing and goes to idol auditions as often as possible.
As Sailor Venus, Minako’s more serious and stronger personality shows itself. She’s determined, ambitious, and a strong leader of the Inner Senshi, the group consisting of Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and herself in charge of protecting Sailor Moon. She uses mainly light-based attacks, and rarely hesitates to use them. She’s grown out of the nonsensical and lengthy speeches from her Sailor V days, instead attacking after considering the best method and taking a very practical approach to fighting.
Minako became Sailor V (in the shorter, prequel series to Sailor Moon called Codename wa Sailor V) at the tender age of 13, the first of the Senshi to awaken. She never really agreed to her new job, and for the most part she treated the whole thing more as a game and a chance to stardom. Artemis, the white cat who is her companion, best friend, and the guardian who informed her of her duties, is often at a loss for controlling the girl and her wild impulses. He’s constantly trying to reign her in with reminders of being the Princess of Venus, but his pleas often fall on deaf ears.
Minako got what she wanted and quickly became a sensation as a Champion of Justice, fending off robbery after robbery. These incidents were caused by the Dark Agency, a more eccentric branch of the Dark Kingdom seen in the first story arc of Sailor Moon. Unfortunately, Minako falls a bit for Kaitou Ace, a sort of precursor to Tuxedo Mask, but donned all in white and always carrying a signature Ace of Hearts playing card. When plot finally hits in the Sailor V series, Kaitou Ace turns out to be a traitor, the leader of the Dark Agency...and he did it all for Minako. He tells her about their past lives during the Silver Millennium, when she was protecting Princess Serenity as Sailor Venus, and he, Adonis, was a foot soldier for the Earth. He loved her from afar, but she never noticed because of her infatuation with Kunzite, leader of the Shitennou (literally Four Heaven Kings, the four soldiers who protected Prince Endymion). Adonis joined the Dark Agency just to be reborn and meet her again. Before he dies at Venus’ hands, he “curses” her – he tells her that she will never choose love over duty, though love is the gift she was blessed with to give to everyone as its Goddess (3). This stays more or less true throughout the Sailor Moon series. She may gawk and squeal over cute boys, but never truly pursues them, generally preferring the company of her fellow Soldiers. (4)
I’m going to be honestly biased and say that Sailor Venus is my favorite in this pairing, and in the Inner Senshi as a group. She's one of the few characters in fiction that truly astounds me every time I sit and really think about her and what she stands for. Think about it: this is a girl who deludes you into thinking that her head with filled with air (and boys), that she’s all immediate gratification and fun-loving, living for the present and nothing more. But her epiphany, her partial awakening at the end of her Sailor V era is so much more than that. Though she might say it’s because of Ace’s “curse,” it is only a prophecy because he knows her for who she is: The Goddess of Love, and the loyal leader of Guardian Goddesses for Princess Serenity. She governs love, and yet however many times she chases a pretty face, ultimately denies it for herself because her loyalty to her Princess is far stronger than her desire for romantic companionship. And even that is mollified by the undeniable, peerless bond of friendship and camaraderie between herself, the other Inner Senshi, and Usagi. It’s beautifully hidden and described in her image song “Route Venus,” which sounds peppy and cheerful, but is really a heartbreaking song about her decision. That is her triumph, and it’s her tragedy. But she’ll never falter from that decision. She will never choose love over duty.
Unless the two areas can somehow coincide.
Burning quietly is the way I do it
A preemptive attack is the same in love and war
Even when I'm dreaming my heart burns hotly
When I think I want something I have to grab onto it
When for some reason there is
A thirst inside my heart
I become gentle
And love somebody
- Flame Sniper
Hino Rei is a true beauty, and such an alarming opposite to Minako that it’s sometimes a wonder they get along at all. In fact, they rarely do. She is unobtrusive and quiet, and cannot be approached unless she allows it. She’s quick to anger and impatient, who hates wasting time and is quick to attack without the pretty speeches. Her anger isn’t explosive as you might expect – it’s a more a chill that automatically quiets everyone around her. She’s beautiful and captivating, the kind of person who draws all attention to her without any effort or desire for it. She’s very spiritual, and believes deeply in forces that can’t be seen (which makes sense, seeing as she has strong psychic powers). She therefore lives very simply, with few possessions and distractions of the more frivolous modern world outside her home, a Shinto shrine. She works hard in everything she does, and never gets distracted, working intently toward her goal. And once she sets sight on something, look out - she'll do what she has to to get to it, with a burning intensity.
Rei lost her mother at a young age to an illness that is never specified in any version of canon. Her father, a prominent politician, couldn’t handle a bereaved child, and thus Rei was left in the care of her maternal grandfather, a Shinto priest who runs the Hikawa Shrine. She grew up without friends because of her psychic ability, despite the respect of her many admirers at her private Catholic all-girls’ school. Adults find her creepy, her peers typically find her cold and unapproachable. Rei doesn’t open up and soften a bit until she finds friends in the Sailor Senshi she’s destined to meet. And even then, she’s still an intimidating presence.
Rei is the fourth Senshi to be found, and from the start she has difficulty dealing with being a team with the others. She's a stubborn loner, she isolates herself and is isolated by others, so this is probably why the other girls have a hard time getting through to her. But they do try nonetheless, because she’s an invaluable ally as a Senshi, and a very good friend once you prove your worth to her. I guess you’d call her a tsunderekko – the anime archetype where a character is outwardly cold, but is actually a deeply caring person. Once she finds something or someone to fight for, she gives it everything she has, even if that includes hurting or destroying herself in process.
But she never displays this fierce devotion to lovers, because she never has any. Rei emphatically states that she hates men; once when Usagi suggested she get married, Rei basically said she would only do so in order to use him and make her life easier. She has only loved a man once, and after he broke her trust, she gave up on him and men altogether. She told her fellow Senshi that if she were to take a lover, her love would be so passionate that it would devour them, because she would want them all to herself. In the Dream Arc (manga equivalent of the SuperS series/fourth season), Rei is challenged by visions of a more selfish life she could have; where she sells her grandfather’s shrine, marries a hot rich man, and lives the easy life. Rei defies this enemy-induced temptation and gains her Mars Crystal, after remembering that she had sworn a vow of chastity to Princess Serenity in her past life.
So, Rei has sworn off men, and doesn’t even look at women. She doesn’t want to “burn” anyone with the intensity of her affections, even if she were to give someone bedroom eyes. But what if there was someone who could counter that passion?
There are really only two canon scenes with Rei and Minako interacting together over an extended amount of pages. The first is the most famous piece I mentioned earlier; the Exam Battle extra story. While Makoto and Ami got their own stories, Rei and Minako were put together. (5) Basically, Minako wants to crack the mystery that is Rei Hino, so she disguises herself as a student of Rei’s school and accompanies her to her classes for a day. Minako is too loud and crass to fit into Rei’s very conservative, wealthy Catholic private school, and continues to ruin Rei’s image and get them both in trouble. Minako tries to play volleyball with a bunch of students, but her over-enthusiasm next to the casual players results in the ball flying far out of reach. Minako goes to retrieve it, feeling guilty for the trouble she’s causing Rei, being depressed because she feels she doesn’t know Rei at all, and moping about the idiot she’s making of herself. She finds an old well near the volleyball, and opens it up. Finding nothing but a gigantic cloud of dust, Minako goes back to the school. However, she’s unwittingly unlocked a very friendly ghost, Ghost Sistern. Once she returns, Rei laughs at Minako for being dirty, and Minako runs away in anger. Ghost Sistern possesses Rei as she chases after Minako, and the ghost proceeds to try to kiss a hapless female student. Minako, hearing the student's scream, immediately recognizes possession and transforms into Sailor Venus in order to save the girl. After introducing itself, Ghost Sistern tries to use Rei to kiss Minako, who retaliates by using Rei’s Shinto demon ward spell. After destroying the ghost and gaining a legion of fangirls, Minako finds she really likes the stubborn and prickly Rei, and teases her as Rei glowers back.
So, obviously, this is a big deal for R/M shippers because of the almost kiss and all the sniping between the two. I like it because Minako comes to understand Rei a lot more, and Rei obviously sees something in Minako after that, because she doesn't bite Mina's head off for all the trouble she caused. Something about their interaction in the last panel of the chapter feels vastly different from the beginning; like it's easier and is something that comes a bit more naturally, maybe like a familiar dance routine that they follow. And a different kind mutual respect that wasn't there before; maybe a respect between people, not Senshi. At the beginning of the chapter when Minako asks if Rei farts, what stretches between the two is tense and awkward. Rei misunderstands Minako's honest curiosity (okay, and partial teasing) as something perhaps more malevolent, but by the end Rei understands that Minako just likes to poke fun, and maybe Rei takes herself a little less seriously. Minako, on the other hand, starts to understand the consequences of her high energy personality and how it can trouble others and why it bothers Rei, so she learns that maybe trying to tone things down a bit might not be a bad idea.
The second canon evidence is early in the Stars arc. Mercury and Jupiter have been destroyed by Sailor Aluminum Siren, and their Sailor Crystals were taken. Three mysterious Sailor Senshi from beyond the galaxy have appeared, and they’ve disguised themselves as pop idols and fellow students, the Starlights. Rei and Minako plot to dress Rei up in Minako's uniform (while Minako gets away with her PhysEd outfit) so the two can spy on the Starlights and discover their intentions. As they wait, Rei shows a rare moment of weakness, telling Minako she wishes she could be in the same high school as the rest of the Inner Senshi. She then tells Minako about her doubts; she shows her the tarot card of Death, saying that this will probably be an enemy who will win. Minako hurriedly quiets her, clasping Rei’s hands and putting a finger to her lips. Minako assures her that this is the same routine, different enemy; that they will win and save their friends, and then return to a normal high school life, plus boyfriends. Rei frowns at the last bit, and watches helplessly as Minako gushes about her usual boy-filled daydream. The Starlights appear without warning, saying "don’t kid yourself." As Rei and Minako take defensive stances, Yaten continues that they’ve already chosen who they’ll live for. She refers to Usagi, and Minako clenches her fist and agrees that Usagi is the one they’ve dedicated their lives to. Then they lean into each other, Minako looking determined and Rei with a challenging, seductive look as she touches her lips; “We don’t need men. Is that bad?” Later, Rei and Minako are both destroyed by Galaxia.
This is my favorite bit of canon evidence, and it's not because of the obvious "we don't need men" bit. That sentence has several meanings; one is the obvious meaning that they're Sailor Senshi who will stand by their duties and their Princess for all times. Another possible meaning is that they're lesbians, but I don't think this is true at all (see fanon "Light and Fire" section). My take on the second possible meaning is that they've found solace in each other, a bond that's stronger than it could be if there had been men in their lives. But really, my favorite moment is when Minako is reassuring Rei.
To back up a bit, Rei goes to Minako with the crazy idea of dressing up in Minako's uniform so that she can infiltrate Juuban High. Doubtless, Minako's influence rubbed off from the Ghost Sistern fiasco. You could argue that his is because Rei and Minako are the only two Guardian Senshi left, but Rei knows Minako's the only one in the Inner Senshi group who would revel in such a wild idea. Ami would prefer to watch and wait, Makoto would want to tackle the Three Lights head-on. Admittedly, Minako freaks out when Rei approaches her with the idea, but there is nonetheless an easy feeling of understanding between them as Minako readily accepts the plan. One could say this comes from two years of being fellow destined soldiers, but Rei knows if she went to Ami or Makoto, they'd disagree with her methods. Minako LOVES crazy ideas, but she also knows it's important to find out what the Starlights are up to without wasting time in order to protect Usagi, but bringing as little attention to themselves as possible from civilians. This includes putting themselves in danger first.
And as they lie in wait, Rei has that crack in her guard...something she never shows to others. Whenever we hear of Rei's doubts or fears, she's usually thinking to herself or on her own, possibly being tempted by the enemy (as far as I remember). This is the only instance where Rei confides in another. Why Minako? (Minako herself is surprised.) Rei couldn't talk Usagi; she would worry endlessly about a problem she couldn't fix and fears she couldn't alleviate. Ami would go quiet and share the fears, but not relieve them. Makoto might tell Rei to get over it. But not Minako. She immediately steps in and gently takes Rei's hand, being there and understanding the doubts, and also dispelling them with a confidence that shows her belief in the Senshi as a group as much in Usagi and in herself. And Rei. Minako becomes the optimist to Rei's pessimist.
Another small moment I love is in the very last chapter of Sailor Moon. Usagi sacrificed herself and dove into the Galaxy Cauldron in order to destroy Chaos and rejoin the souls of her loved ones. When she wakes up, she's surrounded by Mamoru and her Senshi, who all apologize for not being there for her. I think it's really sweet how Rei and Minako are holding hands for support, and they're crying together. It's small, but I love it.
From time to time, Rei and Minako appear in artbook images where they interact more closely than usual. Sometimes it's just fanservice, but there are a few images I like to stick with the pairing.
Let's get the most famous out of the way; the title page from the Exam Battle story. This is actually one of my least favorite Rei/Minako images, only because I don't think it visually explains the pairing. Minako is reciprocating none of the fondness and protection that Rei is showing. My favorite Rei/Minako image is actually part of a larger one, this snippet from the fourth artbook cover. I LOVE it. A little bit sexy, a little bit risky; Rei trying to be more secret about her hand wandering to Minako's waist, while Minako's on full display. Minako's hand against the "wall" (oh, Takeuchi, please learn some realism) strikes me as a little possessive. And in the other few "legit" images, it's just the little ways that they touch each other that the others typically don't. At least, not unless they're Haruka and Michiru. For example, in my last favorite image, I love how the Inner and Outer Senshi sort of mirror each other. And that includes how Mars and Venus are interacting as opposed to Uranus and Neptune.
I guess there are a few reasons why I love this pairing far more than the ever wonderful and popular Haruka and Michiru. One, Haruka and Michiru are established as a couple before they appear in the series, but with Rei and Minako you get to watch the subtle things between them as they learn to get along. And unlike Haruka and Michiru, it's a graceless pairing; they're awkward and bicker a lot. And (this is SO shallow, I know), I LOVE how good they look together. I'm a sucker for bright colors (lawl it's the animator in me), especially warm colors. Red and yellow together is pretty awesome.
Considering this is Sailor Moon, the ultimate girly fantasy, I doubt there'd be much angst in this pairing. Sailor Moon is practically made of fluff, and I don't think these two would be much different. Perhaps there'd be a lot of tension at first; since neither of them has ever considered being with another girl before and the idea would take getting used to. But all in all, they're strong apart and even stronger together, and I think they'd be happy. After all, their support system within the Senshi would only get stronger with another level of support. They wouldn't have to hide their identities, because they're both doing the same thing. I doubt the other Senshi would have any problem either, since they all believe in following your heart and all that typical shoujo business.
I just can't gush enough about these two!
What makes me sad the most is that there are so few canon examples, and it is a pairing that sort of wavers in between fanon and canon. I love this pairing so much, and it's almost like there's not enough evidence to back it up; I feel like I'm grasping for straws when I'm describing the little things that help me love this pairing. (Though that never stops anyone.) Rei/Minako is definitely my top favorite female/female pairing from any fandom, and has been that way for a long time.
Within canon, we've seen how they're polar opposites. They do deflect each other in some ways, but in the end they bring balance to one another without repelling each other entirely. They may be very different, but they have similar goals, and that brings them together, and closely. That's another thing I adore about these two together.
Personally, I don't think either of them are lesbians. Rei is more likely to fall into that label because of her unabashed hatred of men, but even then she rarely gives any sign that she ever even considers women, or romantic relationships in general to be a personal priority. Minako, on the other end, rarely shuts up about boys. Even so, I doubt that Minako would ultimately limit herself to one gender should the right girl come along. She is, after all, the goddess of love, which doesn't often follow those kinds of boundaries.
Which is another small subtlety I like placing with these two; their realms of influence. Yes, their powers are fire and light, but the Sailor Senshi all have abstract concepts they stand for as well as their elements of power. Sailor Mars is fire and passion, Venus is light and love. Love and passion typically go hand in hand, don't they? One could also consider that their planetary symbols are also attracting opposites; Venus' is the female symbol and Mars' the male.
Another basis for this pairing I like to elaborate on, but which is probably my own fanon, is Roman mythology. I know Roman deities were renamed and stolen property of Greece, but considering that the planets and therefore the Senshi go by the Roman names, that’s what I’m sticking with.
Venus (Aphrodite) is a goddess who was immortalized in Botticelli's Birth of Venus. According to the most well-known version of myth, she was born of the sea foam (while, actually, the foam had formed like an oyster around, cough, somebody's genitals that had been cut off and thrown into the sea). She is famous for being the goddess of love, lust, and beauty. She's fickle, jealous, and easily offended. Fearing that the gods would fight over Aphrodite's affections, Zeus forced her to marry the stoic mason god, Vulcan (Hephaestus). He made the world's most beautiful jewelry for her, but Aprodite hated the arrangement and often sought the company of others, usually Mars (Ares), the god of savage and brutal warfare.
This affair is mentioned enough in Greek mythology to leave an impression. I'm not saying that Rei and Minako have to fall for each other just because their namesake gods did; but it is an amusing parallel.
Of course, I don't have to place any of these things with Rei and Minako to "prove" that I like them, or why. They stand together as a really good potential couple. I love them because they're great characters on their own, they're wonderful together, and because they're damn well adorable. I love them because I do like a fluffy, happy pairing from to time. I love them because it's not perfect, and they struggle to understand one another at times. I love them because they bicker and snark, which is ALWAYS fun and endearing to watch. And there's no rule that says superheroes have to go the journey alone.
Rainy Day Surprise by sarajayechan - one-shot
Bad Moon Rising by dark_branwen - one-shot
1000 Words - an AU multi-chapter fic, unfinished.
All Must Be Endured - a long one-shot.
Slow Dawning - multi-chapter canon, where the Senshi are a few years older
What Did We Forget? - unfinished one-shot?
The Note - one-shot
Light and Fire - an FST for Rei and Minako by sammywhatammy
1. The anime, of course, deals with almost nothing but. Like most manga that only run once-a-month, when adapted to a weekly anime, the series mostly consists of fillers until the animation staff knows the actual plot when new chapters are published. Not a smart formula, if you ask me…but that, and my opinion of the Sailor Moon anime, is another essay entirely.
2. in the first chapter of Sailor V, a male classmate notes how unfeminine she is…
"Aino..." says a boy. "Look at yourself. Being a rude girl will frighten Higashi-senpai away."
She raises a fist. "What did you say!?"
She jumps at the boy, and beats the stuffing out of him.
"Uhh..." he says. "She really isn't a girl..."
"I'd just like to see her cry once," says another boy.
Minako sticks out her tongue. "I never cry!"
… though she does so at the end of the chapter after destroying her first enemy, who was her current crush in disguise.
3. I keep reiterating the “Goddess” term only for Venus, because Venus is the only for whom the term is reiterated in canon. The Inner Senshi are referred to as Princess Serenity’s “Guardian Goddesses” by Queen Serenity, but this is the only time I can recall that another Senshi was called a Goddess. This is why I think Minako gives love like the Roman deity; though it’s not shown or elaborated on in canon, this title solely given to her implies to me that she has duties coinciding with Aphrodite beyond her Senshi responsibilities.
4. And she's as fickle as love sometimes is. While he was still disguised as a civilian, Ace teases Minako and asks if she loves him, and curtly tells her she's lying when she says yes. Minako comes to doubt if she's ever been serious about a single one of her many crushes, and never really comes up with an answer. She tells herself she was, but is still unsure.
5. If you want to read the full chapter, there’s a very bare-bones translation here. Unfortunately, I don’t have my manga handy (or the time available) to do my own translation. I’ll update this when I do.
The Manga of Naoko Takeuchi
The Mythology of Venus