oceanicbutterfly: ([k] Serious Business)
[personal profile] oceanicbutterfly
Character Name: Minazuki Karen, a.k.a. Cure Aqua
Canon: Precure/Pretty Cure, specifically Yes! Pretty Cure 5/Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo!


Karen is ~*Really Smart(tm)*~, and has an unusually sharp memory--she's explicitly stated to have memorized the names and faces of everyone in her school, and also to never actually study because she can accurately remember everything that's said in class. Between these and being in good physical condition, she's able to pick up new skills easily.

Oh yeah, and the magical girl thing. Using a cellphone-like device called a CureMo, Karen can transform into Cure Aqua, a powerful magical girl with several water-related attacks: she can shoot water from her hand in the Aqua Stream or slightly stronger Aqua Tornado, and fire ice-tipped "Sapphire Arrows" (great for one-shotting the Monster Of The Week in the first half of the series). She's no physical slouch, either, with the ability to jump really high, run really fast, and hit really hard, limited only by the demands of the plot her determination. By far her most-used power is her ability to get up without a scratch after things that really should have seriously hurt her, or even outright killed her; while things can still cause her pain, and some things (bladed weapons, electricity) are fairly consistently portrayed like actual threats, only transformative magic has actually been shown to work as advertised (on various occasions she's been shrunk, petrified, and turned into a mermaid).


Under normal conditions, Karen is a normal-looking (if rather pale) human teenage girl, assuming you consider blue hair to be normal. Said hair is long and straight, coming down to the middle of her back; in front, her bangs are combed to the left side, and she has a distinctive little strand that falls down in front of her left ear onto her chest. She is most commonly seen in her school uniform, consisting of a white shirt, lavender dress, and purple jacket-overshirt-thing tied with a red bow (colors are rearranged in the summer); the rest of the time, she almost exclusively wears white and shades of blue. And just in case we hadn't figured out that her theme color is blue, that's also her eye color.

Cure Aqua still looks human, but no normal human would have a giant ponytail that extends down past the waist and spreads out to the sides with a "wingspan" of over twice the width of her waist, nor a weird outfit that appears to consist of a blue sleeveless jacket over a ruffly white dress with poofy shoulder sleeves. The large blue butterfly-shaped ornament on her chest with an unidentified red gem in the center isn't particularly normal either. And those weird sleevy-glovy-things that just cover her forearms are just plain weird. At this point you'd be forgiven for not noticing the butterfly-shaped hair ornament with a rose in the center, or the also-butterfly-shaped earrings, or the blue shorts under her skirt. When you get right down to it, she just looks silly.


Karen was never really an ordinary girl, born to ludicrously wealthy musician parents, but she was probably at least a well-adjusted little girl for the first few years of her life, until one day (she looks about three or four to me in the flashback) her parents went to perform in a foreign country, leaving her behind in the care of their butler Sakamoto ("Jiiya"). Not wanting to cause trouble for her parents by making them feel like they needed to come home, she lied to them in a phone conversation, claiming she was fine without them. Encouraged, they stayed away for long periods, until by the time Karen was in middle school, they were away year-round, only coming home to visit on Christmas. Jiiya effectively acted as a father to Karen, raising her to be polite, kind, and responsible, but she still missed her real parents.

Years later, fourteen-year-old Karen Minazuki was the president of the student council and widely regarded as the smartest and prettiest girl at school, kind-hearted and helpful, but always distant. Unable to stand by and watch people struggle when there was some way she could help, she'd developed a tendency to take on extra projects to help others at her own expense. This was what Karen was like when a series of mysterious incidents occurred around the school, with people hearing loud crashes, and in one instance, part of the school library being torn up and then mysteriously repaired. Investigating with her friend Komachi, Karen discovered that a girl named Nozomi Yumehara had been at the scene every time.

When asked, Nozomi explained that... she and two of her friends were magical girls, known as Pretty Cure, who fought an evil organization called the Nightmare Group. Not only that, but after a weird explanation of how Karen was "really intelligent" and Komachi was "tranquil," the trio asked the pair to join them. Karen did what anyone would do: she got pissed off and left. So naturally, when another incident occurred, Komachi was at the scene and revealed that she'd joined them. The four-person group now set their sights on Karen again, following her home and ambushing her there, just in time to witness Karen taking a phone call from her parents, during which she once again assured them that she was just fine.

Karen had had just enough time to be confused by their attempts to prove their story when a businessman from the Nightmare Group (named Bunbee) appeared. He turned Karen's gazebo into a monster, which Karen quite sensibly ran away from while the others turned into magical girls and fought it off. Things went badly for them, though, and a large, blue, glowing butterfly (yes) fluttered over to Karen from seemingly nowhere, which a talking plush toy (it makes sense in context) told her would let her transform into Pretty Cure, too. Karen didn't really want to do this, but it was just one more instance of her having to do things for others, and with that resolved, she held out her hand, and the butterfly landed on her wrist... and then just kind of disappeared.

So, the magical girls eventually beat the monster, but the bee guy got away with the tiny plot-coupon creature, and Karen spent the next week feeling worthless and depressed and intentionally avoiding the others. Nozomi, far too stubborn and pigheaded to give up on her original pick for the fifth member of their team, continued to pester Karen, and caught her off guard with an observation: she'd picked up on how much Karen really cared about her parents. Surprised at someone actually understanding her feelings, Karen relented a bit, saying that even if she couldn't help Nozomi as Pretty Cure, they could still be friends. Naturally, Bunbee picked that moment to come back, and the magical girls were hopelessly outmatched in the ensuing fight. Genius that she is, Karen ran out in front of everyone, proclaiming that even though she was powerless, she still wanted to help everyone. As it turns out, genuinely wanting to help was what the butterfly had been waiting for, and it reappeared and turned into sort of a watch, allowing Karen to transform into Cure Aqua and easily turn things around.

When the topic came up, Nozomi suggested that Karen be the leader of Pretty Cure, but Karen said "no u" and Nozomi became the leader instead, which proceeded to not matter for the rest of the series anyway because basically everyone gave everyone else orders. Karen was able to get along reasonably well with the others, but with strong opinions and surprisingly weak social skills, she was a source of some friction early on--first having difficulty adjusting to her equally opinionated teammate Rin, then attempting to help Nozomi improve her grades but pushing her too hard and upsetting her. It was never anything too bad, and her apologies were sincere.

Things took a turn for the worse, though, when Milk, a plush rabbit who had a crush on Nozomi's teacher/boyfriend (again, it makes sense in context), came to town. Milk and Nozomi basically failed to get along in any form whatsoever, and one of their altercations ended in a disaster that led to a shouting match that left everyone feeling awkward the next day. With the five Pretty Cures emotionally split apart for the time being, the Nightmare Group took their chance to strike, forcing Karen into a creepy mind-rape sequence where a copy of herself forced her to acknowledge her deepest fear: that in always pushing herself forward, she'd left everyone else behind, and didn't have any real friends. The resulting soul-crushing despair left her vulnerable to a "Mask of Despair" which put her under the Nightmares' control. After three more such sequences, Nozomi (the last remaining Cure) did some stuff we don't care about and then managed to snap Karen and the others out of it using the Power of True Friendship, and after some exchanged reassurances and apologies, Milk finally decided to start being useful and they all gained the ability to kill giant crazy guys by crashing a giant mechanical butterfly into them. Seriously.

The mid-season upgrade thus secured, Karen demonstrated her brand new Aqua Tornado attack on a Nightmare who'd screwed up Komachi's plans for a summer festival, and gradually befriended Milk, encouraging her to not be such an asshole all the time. This eventually led her to defend Milk by riding on horseback and fighting with a sword. The sword came pretty much completely out of nowhere, but we don't care because it was awesome. At some point presumably after this, there was a movie that does not fit into continuity, but if we pretend it does then Karen fought her evil twin, and she felt really bad about killing her but still did it because that's what Karen does to evil people.

After a few more months of running around having episodic adventures, the writers realized "oh yeah, we need an ending," and they finally found the last plot coupon creature they needed to activate the MacGuffin. So naturally the Nightmares immediately stole it, and they had to go on the offensive to get it back, and Nozomi ended up turning their leader good with the power of friendship but then the Nightmare leader insisted they had to kill her anyway so they did. And all the talking plush toys went back to their home dimension and took the glowing butterflies with them, so Karen and the others were de-powered...

...for all of one week. Then a pretty lady from an infinite garden of roses (oh-so-creatively named Cure Rose Garden) sent Nozomi another MacGuffin in the mail, and they all teamed up with the mailman (who was secretly a penguin) to protect it from another evil group called Eternal. (Which was, incidentally, Bunbee's new workplace, because he's awesome and the fans demanded he come back.) Karen got a new costume and a new attack called Sapphire Arrow which I already described earlier. Then a ~*mysterious*~ girl named Kurumi who could transform into a magical girl named Milky Rose started appearing, and she turned out to be just Milk with a new ability to take human form. And they were all really just way too powerful at this point, but so were the bad guys so it kind of evened out.

Karen stayed friends with everyone, and they got trapped in various storybooks together (yes, this was a thing that happened on a regular basis). Karen got dragged into competing on a game show that turned out to be rigged and run by Eternal, and the whole thing almost ended really badly but Karen saved everyone by exploiting loopholes in the rules and therefore winning a coin flip on a technicality. They all went to downtown Tokyo, where Karen visited a hospital (she wants to become a doctor when she grows up) and met a little boy who gave her an apple. But Karen's personality was pretty much set in stone by this point so none of this really matters as much. Eventually the five Cures got turned to stone by a Medusa knockoff who promptly got killed by her boss, but they got better and all six magical girls teamed up to kill the leader of Eternal by--I swear this actually happened--summoning a giant woman to give him a hug. And they all lived happily ever after, unless you count the crossover movies in which she fought more bad guys and experienced no particular development and in some of them she wasn't even voiced.


Karen is kind-hearted and responsible to a fault, willing to help people well beyond what could reasonably be expected of her and blaming herself when her help isn't quite enough. She places a very high value on doing things "correctly," whether that's with respect to rules, traditions, or just what seems right to her, and gets frustrated easily when other people don't meet her standards. She is very persistent (some would say "stubborn"), and has a strong competitive and somewhat arrogant streak that surfaces quickly when people question her or her ability; on the other hand, it's easy to go a long time without seeing this side of her at all. Karen vastly prefers to feel that she is in control of a given situation, not in an "in charge" sense so much as an "agency" sense.

Also, she thinks of stalking people as a perfectly normal way to find out what they're up to. It's a YPC5 thing.

Other: Everyone is in Karen's harem.


oceanicbutterfly: (Default)
Karen Minazuki/Cure Aqua/Caroline Banks (Recollé)

January 2017

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