The ’90s were really a bright time for magical girl anime, with plenty of cute girls in fun outfits fighting bad guys of all kinds. From Cutie Honey to Cardcaptor Sakura, there was a magical girl anime out there for anyone with just about any taste.
Two of the biggies in the U.S. were, of course, Sailor Moon, which was dubbed and aired on American TV, and Fushigi Yuugi, which didn’t make its way to TV in the U.S. but was one of the early anime available on video. Usagi from Sailor Moon and Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi are pretty similar characters, even down to their character designs, which makes it impossible to not compare these magical girls. Here are five reasons Miaka is the best magical girl of the ’90s and five reasons it’s Usagi after all.
10 Miaka: Can Stand Up For Herself
In Fushigi Yuugi, Miaka and her best friend Yui accidentally get transported via a magical book into an ancient Chinese city. That’s probably enough to rattle anybody, but Miaka doesn’t let it freak her out for too long. When she’s suddenly alone and thinks that someone kidnapped Yui, she runs off alone to find him and make sure she’s safe. She uses wrestling moves to try to defend herself from slave traders and generally isn’t afraid to get a little rough.
9 Usagi: Doesn’t Want To Fight
Usagi is the opposite of Miaka in that she’s always trying to avoid fighting. While that sometimes makes her seem like she’s a crybaby, it also means that she often finds other ways to resolve conflicts, which is a pretty positive attribute in itself.
In most fights, the other Sailor Scouts do most of the fighting, but Sailor Moon’s powers revolve around healing and trying to destroy the evil in a person in order to save them.
8 Miaka: Powers Are For Other People
Miaka is prophesied to be a priestess who will awaken a spirit that can grant three wishes. While Miaka initially seeks to fulfill the prophecy in order to return to her own world, she soon starts to feel responsible for the people around her and their wellbeing. Her focus becomes their safety, and as she grows more determined to gain these powers, it’s clear that it’s her selfless love for her friends that she’s working so hard for.
7 Usagi: Is Kind
Part of the reason that Usagi is such a good protagonist is that she collects friends out of people who others have been unkind to. The reason the Sailor Scouts were able to form is because Usagi took a chance on being friends with Ami, Rei, and Makoto, all of whom didn’t have very many friends before this.
Usagi doesn’t really like it when people seem like they’re being bullied, and her kindness makes her a great character to follow.
6 Miaka: Keeps The Safety Of Her Friends In Mind
Miaka understands that her status as the priestess puts a target on her head from other countries that might not want her power to come to fruition. Because of that, she knows that any time she’s with her companions, they’re in more danger than if they weren’t with her. She’s often trying to put distance between them, often at the cost of her own safety or happiness, in order to protect them, the way a true heroine would.
5 Usagi: Sees The Good In People
As discussed in an above interest, Usagi tends to assume the best in everyone, which means that she has been able to foster a lot of loyal and devoted friendships.
But even beyond the Sailor Scouts, Usagi thinks that anyone can be saved and that making a bad choice once doesn’t mean you’re committed to making bad choices forever. She’s able to change the paths of a lot of villains this way, just by believing in them and showing them another way.
4 Miaka: Has A Good Love Interest
Miaka and Tamahome meet almost immediately in Fushigi Yuugi, after he rescues her and Yui from slave traders. They aren’t especially friendly with each other right away, but unlike in Sailor Moon, they learn within a few episodes that they’re both tied to the same prophecy and are therefore linked together through the rest of the series. They’re both very open with each other and passionate about their feelings, and Miaka feels just as protective of Tamahome as he feels of her.
3 Usagi: Has A Good Love Interest
On the other hand, while Usagi and Mamoru have a longer courtship that takes them a little while to get to actually being a courtship, they also have an immediate attraction to each other that results in them constantly teasing and flirting with each other.
Plus, they were a couple back when they were Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion, before their reincarnation, and a love affair that was fated in the literal stars is hard to beat.
2 Miaka: Isn’t Afraid Of Anyone
Miaka ends up in some pretty scary situations when she ends up back in ancient China. There are a lot of ruffians and people who are out to hurt her, but she very rarely seems to actually back down in any situation. Her first instinct is always to stand up to people, no matter how powerful they are, even going so far as to confront the Emperor when she thinks he might know where her friend is. This kind of fearlessness is always good in a main character.
1 Usagi: Always Hopeful
Usagi, on the other hand, is pretty much always afraid. She got shoved into a pretty intense situation with responsibilities she didn’t ask for. She cries a lot during battles and generally doesn’t want to get hurt or for her friends to get hurt. But despite all that, she’s always pretty cheerful, and she generally hopes in any situation that everything’s going to turn out okay. She never gives up, even in the face of certain doom, even when she’s obviously outmatched. There aren’t a lot of qualities that are better to have in a magical girl heroine.
Miaka and Usagi are two of the most iconic magical girls of all time, but which of the two is superior to the other?