Usagi in her school uniform, as drawn byNaoko Takeuchi. Takeuchi consistently portrays Usagi as a lazy daydreamer, but one with an enormous heart.
The meta-series introduces Usagi Tsukino as a schoolgirl living in 20th-century Tokyo. It initially depicts her as a well-intentioned but underachieving crybaby who prefers the life of a normal teenage Earth girl. Nevertheless, she continues to fight the evils of her past life and protects the Earth with the Silver Crystal, as the Champion of Justice, Sailor Moon, which provides for most of the conflict within both the manga and the anime.
Her journey begins when, while running to school, she sees some neighborhood kids abusing a cat and rescues it (in the manga she accidentally steps on the cat, and trips over it). Later, the cat comes into her room and reveals herself as a talking cat named Luna, who serves as the mentor archetype for Sailor Moon. Luna gives Usagi a magical brooch which helps her transform into Sailor Moon (the "soldier for love and justice"), and tells her that she is a Soldier who must fight for peace. She also tells her that she must find the rest of the Soldiers, as well as their princess. Though at first Usagi is portrayed as a "reluctant heroine" (in the anime she often is rescued by Tuxedo Mask) as time goes on her character grows more confident and mature. However, she still has her crybaby moments late into the meta-series.
Usagi lives in Azabu Jūban (a real district of Tokyo) with her mother Ikuko Tsukino, her father Kenji Tsukino, and her brother Shingo Tsukino. Usagi's family take their names from the real family members of the metaseries' creator, Naoko Takeuchi. Out of all the Sailor Senshi, only Usagi and Minako Aino live in conventional nuclear families. Usagi is also the only one known to have a sibling.
Usagi does not perform well at school, and often seems unintelligent (especially in the anime), though the storyline generally attributes this to naïveté and laziness rather than to stupidity. She spends her time eating, playing video games and reading comics (including RunRun, which published the Sailor V manga in real life) rather than studying. She is often portrayed as a character that is better at art than science, as with her inability to answer that apples fall from trees because of gravity.
Usagi has a boyfriend named Mamoru Chiba. Mamoru and Usagi's relationship forms an important part of Usagi's life, as well as of the series. The love they share helps Usagi make it through many challenges. Mamoru becomes Usagi's boyfriend after many trials, and they date for a long time during the series. In Sailor Stars Mamoru gives Usagi a promise ring in a shape of a heart at the airport just before he leaves for America. The ring represents a promise to Usagi that they will eventually get married.
A number of connecting episodes at the end of the first series reveal one of the biggest secrets about Sailor Moon: she realizes that she is Princess Serenity (the "crown princess" of the Silver Millennium) reborn. In the second series, Usagi learns that she will give birth to a daughter (Chibiusa) by her boyfriend and future husband. Usagi will also become a "sovereign of the Earth", known as Neo-Queen Serenity, by the 30th century.
The series shows how Usagi loves sweet foods and how easily they distract her. She loves ice-cream so much that it appears listed as her hobby in the manga, and her favorite subject is listed as Home Economics. She is also said to dislike carrots (although she eats them in the anime), and is terrible at both English and mathematics. In addition to being a genuine friend, Usagi is extremely good at brown nosing when it's needed and, of course, crying to get what she wants. She is afraid of dentists , ghosts and lightning, and her greatest dream is to be a bride. Usagi loves rabbits as well as the colors white and pink, and is apparently a member of the Manga Drawing Club at school, though her skill level varies widely when shown in the anime. She stands 150 centimeters (4 ft 11 in) tall. She also often appears bad at writing using Kanji to the point that even as Neo-Queen Serenity she still has problems.
In the manga and anime, Mamoru gives Usagi the nickname "Odango" (a kind of rice dumpling), based on her distinctive hair-style. At first this is always accompanied with the suffix -atama, meaning "head", but as time goes on it is left off. Usagi hates the name at first, but as they become close it develops into a sign of affection. Later in the series, other important male (or androgynous) figures in her life, Haruka and Seiya, adopt the name as well. Because there is no North American equivalent to odango, the English dub almost always uses "Meatball Head," once "Donut Head," and, somewhat incongruously, "Moon Face." In the English manga, Mamoru calls Usagi "buns", which is both an approximation of odango and short for Bunny.