Before Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon became such a highly successful anime, it started out as a manga. And before the Sailor Moon manga, there was Codename: Sailor V. This prequel manga focused on Minako Aino, a teenager who fought a supernatural organization. She could transform into superhero Sailor V, and she was assisted by a talking cat, Artemis.
When Sailor Moon was conceived, Minako was incorporated into a team of heroes called the Sailor Guardians. She became Sailor Venus, and she was one of Sailor Moon's protectors. And with Sailor Venus' birthday quickly approaching (October 22), fans are bound to celebrate the Sailor Guardian of Love. So, here are ten things you might not know about Sailor Venus!
10 Sailor Venus' true element
Because Sailor Venus' Roman goddess is, of course Venus, fans tend to think her element is love. Love is not one of the five fundamental elements, though. The 1990s anime showed all of her attacks being rooted in light, or they were love-themed.
It's true Venus' active powers involve energy and light, but her actual element is thought to be metal. This could be because the Japanese name for Venus is "Kinsei", which translates to "Metal Star". This is most obvious in the manga, and in turn, Sailor Moon Crystal. She wears a beaded, whip-like chain around her waist, and she has access to the sword that slew Queen Beryl (manga version only).
9 Minako finally became an idol
In all versions of Sailor Moon, Minako's biggest dream was to one day be an idol. In Japan, an idol is a type of male or female entertainer who is marketed for their physical attractiveness and personality. They are expected to act, model, and sing.
Although Minako does not yet achieve her dream in the manga or anime, she is a full-fledged idol in the 2003 live-action drama. In this adaptation, Minako is a popular celebrity as well as the leader of the four main Sailor Guardians. Due to personal reasons, however, she keeps her distance and only fights along her teammates in rare instances.
8 Purple Bow?
Aside from the manga, the two anime series, and a live-action serial drama, Sailor Moon has been adapted as a musical. They are referred to as "SeraMyu" — short for Sailor Moon Musical — by the fandom. These stage shows began in 1993, and as of today, they still enjoy success in Japan. Of course, the cast has changed over time.
Something fans noticed about the early musicals was the very different-looking costumes used for the Sailor Guardians. They were more elaborate and gaudy. This was probably done because these costumes stand out more to audiences during performances. Nevertheless, the early costumes bear little resemblance to the Sailor Guardians' battle uniforms in the manga and anime. For instance, the standard blues in Venus' uniform are purple.
7 Sailor Venus and Kunzite were a couple
Before Sailor Moon Crystal aired, it was only briefly mentioned in the manga that the four Inner Sailor Guardians — Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus — were involved with the Shiten'nō. In the present day, the Shiten'nō — Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite — were Queen Beryl's servants. But in the past when the Silver Millennium existed, they protected Prince Endymion in the Earth Kingdom.
Series creator Naoko Takeuchi intended to show the past Inner Sailor Guardians being in relationships with the Shiten'nō, but that didn't happen. The only visual evidence was a manga-related piece of art depicting the pairings. Crystal, however, made the relationships canon. Other adaptations like the stage musicals have depicted the romances, too.
6 Minako lived in London
If someone has only seen the original English adaptation of the 1990s anime, they would have missed the episode about Minako's time in London. It was cut from DiC's dub. When Minako is approached by an old friend — a London based law enforcement agent named Katarina — Kunzite turns Katarina into a Dark Kingdom ally against her will. Incidentally, Minako shares her past with Usagi.
In London, Minako fought as Sailor V. She befriended Katarina, who helped her learn English. Minako also met a young man named Alan, whom she fell in love with. But when Sailor V was presumably killed in a warehouse explosion, Minako emerged to find Katarina and Alan in each other's arms. She realized they were dating and immediately returned to Japan without letting them know she survived.
5 There was almost a Sailor V anime
Sailor Moon fans are aware of the fact that there was a Sailor V manga before Naoko Takeuchi created the flagship series. But before Toei ever produced the 1992 Sailor Moon anime, there was talks of a Sailor V anime. In the manga Codename: Sailor V, Minako and Artemis fought an extension of the Dark Kingdom known as the Dark Agency.
A Sailor V OVA (original video animation) series was considered when Toei Animation approached Naoko Takeuchi. Moreover, they wanted a team of girls who transformed into superheroes. So, Takeuchi added Minako to a group of five Sailor Guardians. Toei Animation then produced the iconic anime based on that new manga series, Sailor Moon.
4 Minako's Family
Unlike in the 1990s anime, we actually saw glimpses of Minako's home life in the Codename: Sailor V manga. We know Minako lives with her mother and father, and they resemble Usagi's parents Ikuko and Kenji Tsukino. This is because Minako's parents are modeled after Naoko Takeuchi's own family, who later were the basis for Usagi's parents.
Also of note, Minako's father is said to work at a trading company. Perhaps his job relocated him and his family, hence why Sailor V lived in London for a few months in the 1990s anime. Otherwise, it seems odd that Minako's parents let her go off to London all by herself.
3 Sailor Venus Killed Queen Beryl
In the 1990s anime, Princess Serenity and the spirits of the Sailor Guardians defeated Queen Beryl. Yet in the manga, Sailor Venus killed Beryl. Using the legendary sword found in the ruins of the Silver Millennium, Sailor Venus vanquished Queen Beryl.
In the second anime adaptation, Sailor Moon Crystal, Venus was robbed of this great achievement. This new anime was meant to be more faithful to the manga, but one of the most important scenes was altered. In the big fight between the Sailor Guardians and Beryl, it was Venus who plunged that sword deep into Beryl. Instead, Sailor Moon wielded the sword, and she only used it to destroy Beryl's power supply.
2 A different voice actor
In the original Japanese-language version of the 1990s anime, Minako/Sailor Venus was always played by Rica Fukami. Except for one episode. Unlike in other regions' localized dubs, it's not that common for a voice actor in anime to be switched out with another. In the English-language dub produced by DiC and later Cloverway, Sailor Venus was voiced by Stephanie Morgenstern first and then Emilie Barlow.
In the Japanese series, Rica Fukami is credited as Minako/Sailor Venus for every episode she physically appears in. Yet in episode 163, another actor, Nanae Sumitomo, portrayed Venus in some scenes. This was because Fukami was under the weather. Sumitomo previously played a lemures, Toge-Toge Jō, in episode 156.
1 Minako's Name
In Japanese, Sailor Venus' civilian name is Minako Aino. The Japanese characters to spell "Minako" (美奈子) can also be read as "Binasu", which is how one would pronounce or write "Venus" in Japanese. And Minako's surname "Aino" (愛野) translates to "love of". So, when "Aino" is combined with the alternate reading of Minako's first name (Binasu), her name can mean "Venus of Love".
Something worth noting is Minako's family name "Aino" does not use any characters from the Japanese name — Kinsei (金星) — for the planet Venus. This is unlike the other Sailor Guardians, whose civilian surnames all use the first character from their totem planets' Japanese names.