Okay, well, people liked my last meta, so I feel comfortable rambling about the other thing that occured to me rereading the Sailor Moon manga!
First of all, this is basically the cutest page ever. Look at that snuggling- it’s so sweet that Usagi still makes sure to look after everyone else’s feelings even while she’s worried about Mamoru.
But most importantly, I think one of the things that contrasts Mina and Usagi’s personalities is how Minako interacts with Artemis vs. how Usagi interacts with Luna.
And I think that’s one of the things the anime really drops the ball on- they gave Usagi a lot of manga!Minako’s characteristics (most importantly a bit of Mina’s temper and bluntness as well as her dynamic with Rei), which made for some problems when Minako was introduced. And a big part of that is they had Usagi treat Luna pretty roughly in the anime- smacking her when she’s mad, disregarding her feelings, snarking off to her- which is exactly how Mina treats Artemis. There’s no differentiation between how those characters treat their guardians and the anime even shows them doing it in sync sometimes.
But the manga shows that Usagi and Minako relate to people, and especially their guardians, quite differently. Minako is the type of person who develops a belligerent relationship to the people who are close to her, because she flings insults with abandon and says what’s on her mind. She’s incredibly rough with Artemis just because she voices whatever thought pops into her head and it gets to the point where there’s an entire chapter of Sailor V devoted to Artemis feeling neglected by Minako- and Mina completely fails to notice these feelings. It’s not that she doesn’t care about Artemis, it’s just how she operates- she’s tough and isn’t hurt easily, so she assumes other people are the same. Also she’s far too driven and constantly off the the next thing to ever bother to worry about being gentle about things.
And this whole deal is actually an important part of Minako’s character arc- it comes to a head when Mina thinks she’s lost Artemis and does realize she’s been hard on him and how much he means to her. (The flashback panels used are even straight from Codename: Sailor V)
But I think it’s significant that Manga!Usagi does NOT ever tease Luna in the way Minako teases Artemis- the closest she ever gets is commenting that Luna’s heavy when Luna jumps on her, which is more stating a fact, probably. And as the above page demonstrates, she’s extremely affectionate with Luna and always notices when her feelings are hurt and is ready to fix it with a hug and an open declaration of love. Mina realizes that she never really told Artemis that she cares for him, but Usagi is open about her love from the very beginning. She definitely never smacks Luna around. Manga!Luna is also a lot less belligerent to Usagi than manga!Artemis in response.
So I just think it’s a wonderful and consistent way Naoko highlighted the differences between these two characters in similar positions- Usagi is naturally all about the *feelings* and affectionate and solicitous towards others- the only people who can piss her off are Mamoru and Chibiusa and whatever villian of the week has the misfortune to get in her way. Mina goes about things in a rough and harsh and expresses her affection through belligerence. The only person she’s consistently gentle with is her princess. It suits who they are and their roles perfectly- Mina’s the leader and the warrior, she’s too driven to treat others with kid gloves and she has to be harsh enough to lead everyone into battle, meanwhile Usagi’s sweetness and embrace of those around her are perfect for her role as the Messiah.