These are by no means all of Mnako’s best battle moments, but this is a good assortment of ones that first came to mind (kind of in chronological order, except for my favourite, which is last):
1. Minako’s Entrance (Ep 33)
Girl knows how to make one. This is after her cutting the shit out of Kunzite’s hands from such a distance away that they can’t even fucking see her, Minako nails Kunzite straight across the knuckles of both hands to save Tuxedo Kamen. Then a few minutes later, while she’s running around behind the scenes still staying hidden and doing helpful shit to wait for THE EXACT BEST MOMENT, she reveals herself. By dropping in out of nowhere, posing TWICE, then whipping off her mask and revealing herself in all her glory.
IN BATTLE. THEY ARE STILL FACING DOWN TWO MINI-BOSSES.
2. Flip Out (Ep 42)
I am absolutely in love with Minako’s casual displays of badassery while in civilian form. I hate Episode 42 a lot (A LOT), but this moment was a bright spot. Minako is going through some shit right now. She’s reliving all of her pain about Allan and the surrounding trauma, and there’s some really disturbing crap going down with Katarina. But still, in the depths of all that, she’s so fantastic that she sees something unusual, senses danger, and does this amazing jump roll one-handed flip insanity. AS A CIVILIAN, she’s not even Venus right now. Minako is just THAT AMAZING.
3. Zombie Kick (R Movie)
Another great one for just Minako being inherently fantastic is this moment from the R Movie. While checking out the hordes of bodies on the street, this plant zombie guy grabs her ankle and tries to knock her down. Minako though? Screams that the guy is a pervert from trying to look up her skirt, reverses his hold, kicks him in the face so hard he flies off-screen, then lands like it ain’t no thing and takes the time to toss her hair like the fucking goddess she is. Again, IN CIVILIAN MODE.
4. Disarmed (S Movie)
Snowdancers are everywhere. They are tough and they are kind of fucking annoying. Minako could kill it. OR SHE COULD JUST LASER ITS FUCKING ARMS OFF. Screw you, snowdancers. You lie there all armless and think about what you’ve done.
5. Chain the Moons (Ep 130)
I love this moment so much for showcasing Minako’s versatility in combat. She has both the powerset and the mentality to be whatever is needed at the time. This moment, in and of itself, isn’t particularly spectacular, but it does stand as one of the (too) few times that we get to see her reacting defensively, in a split-second, to save her teammate’s lives.
6. Saving Jupiter (Ep 123)
This one, though. This is my absolute FAVOURITE Minako battle moment. Not because it looks great. It doesn’t look great. What’s even happening here, you can barely tell. But it’s my favourite for all that it implies. I’m pretty much just going to quote myself from that liveblog, because I can’t say it any better.
Rei and Mako lead the two witches through this maze of fog, splitting them up pretty easily and respositioning them. But it looks like Mako’s going to be caught. She’s leapt, but can’t possibly change her momentum in mid-air, and she isn’t moving fast enough to not be hit.
I don’t think that was part of the plan. The girls had NO time at all to discuss tactics. They’re acting out of instinct here, and the hours of training that we don’t get to see but you know is happening. Ami lays down cover, Mako and Rei take the front lines, and Minako and Usagi hang back for support.
It looks like things are going wrong and Mako is about to get herself killed.
Then that gif happens. And it’s so quick and it’s so small that I actually missed it at first.
As Mako is sailing through the air, Minako shoots across the screen to tackle her in mid-air and get out of harm’s way.
The reaction time Minako needed there. All the crap she had to consider. She’s flying parallel to the ground, at great speed and over an extended distance, in the middle of fog so thick you can barely see your hand in front of your face. And she makes it. More, she makes it look EASY.
See how it’s going wrong then perfectly judge a thousand different details in the blink of an eye to save my friend?
DUH. I’M SAILOR FUCKING V.
And now, a BONUS!
Bonus 1: Eat Wall (PGSM Ep 12)
Minako’s manager is possessed by a monster. He comes at her in her hospital room, where she is recovering from a car accident. Minako notices he’s being weird and kicks the dude so hard he breaks the fucking wall. Again, if it needed specifically pointing out? AS A CIVILIAN.
Bonus 2: Screw You, I’m Saving Myself (PGSM Ep 12)
After the “Princess” reveals herself, she’s too wound up in finally seeing the Senshi, and them seeing her, to notice that Zoicite has appeared and is about to attack. That’s when Tuxedo Kamen comes in and tries to protect her. But he’s going through some stuff too, and he and Zoicite just kind of stand there.
Without taking her eyes off of Zoicite, she steps out from behind Tux and, without one single word, shoots off this badass laser and totally roasts a mini-boss.
The very important lesson we should take from all of this today?
MINAKO AINO IS A FUCKING BADASS, KIDS.