Minako, Minako, Minako.
Aino Minako – We get to see Sailor V long before we saw any of the other Senshi, which was cool. And she’s a fine Venus and all, but it’s in her interactions with the Senshi – particularly Rei and Usagi – that really makes this Minako a yuri top-runner.
Usagi’s natural lovableness threatens to eat through Minako’s cool exterior almost immediately. Every time she’s with her Princess, this very competent and self-acknowledged leader of the Senshi is forced to remind herself, repeatedly, not to succumb to her charm.
But her interaction with Rei is completely different. Rivals right from the start, Minako and Rei shoot lightning bolts at each other for the first few times they have to interact. This changes to a kind of grudging mutual respect, as Minako quite evilly forces Rei to do things she might otherwise avoid in order to become stronger. It takes a strong person to do that – and to not care that the other person might hate you for it. As Rei gets stronger, Minako pushes the boundaries of their relationship. Rei’s reaction is to bind herself even closer to their enigmatic leader, coming to care about her as an actual person. Even as the climax approaches, Rei is carrying the heavy burden of the truth about Minako. Not that we’re worried, mind you – they won’t kill our darling golden girl off. But it’s fun to watch Rei suffer. ^_^
Komatsu Ayaka is, in my very personal opinion, breathtakingly lovely. She makes a faboo Sailor Venus, and an even better Aino Minako, all tragic and bearing up under the pressure. She seems less natural as Aino Minako the idol, but then, we hardly ever see her just being an idol. Still – every time we do see her “in concert” it seems a little forced. She is, otherwise, quite wonderful in the role.
Minako’s Yuri goggle rating is the highest of the bunch – 9 – just for her concerted torture of Rei. ^_^
In conclusion, there’s plenty of sweet-cute-snuggliness between the Senshi, with a specific statement that no boys will be ruining the sisterhood, so overall, the Senshi have a rating of ‘8’ in the ole Yuri goggles.
Please do join us on the Yuricon Mailing List and join us in our prayer for this particular version to do well, just long enough that we get those bastions of Yuri-ness, the Outer Senshi. ^_^