Minazuki Karen, occasionally called Cure Aqua, is a member of the elite Pretty Cure guard unit that serves Lord Lumieres. She's nice except when she's bitchy, and she misses her mommy.
Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that, at her core, Karen wants to be a good person, which works out well because she is. Karen wants to help people, so she finds ways to put herself in positions where she can put her various talents to good use. She's very intelligent, and spends a good amount of time increasing her knowledge so she can better help others. She does her best at everything she does, and is always looking for ways to make her best better. She loves her parents and her friends, is intensely loyal to them, and wants them to be happy.
The bad news is that, after years of being like this, Karen's inner feelings have grown and interacted in some not-so-fun ways. Helping people is what she wants to do, but she's also started to feel like she has to, and she ends up getting overstressed. She has an unreasonable sense of responsibility, and blames herself for anything that could conceivably be even partially her fault. She feels a need to conform to her image of the version of her that would be best for everyone else (particularly her parents), leading to her feeling the need to hide aspects of herself that don't fit that image--including things that you'd think would be important, such as that she really misses her parents. Her high standards for herself and her desire to see others succeed combine into her setting unreasonably high standards for her friends, just as frequently dictated by her opinions of what's "right" as by anything objective, and getting frustrated when they aren't met. So while she's still nice and genuinely out to help you and would like to be friends, you'd be forgiven for not being entirely sure of this.
Karen is the daughter of Erealian nobleman Minazuki Taro and his wife Minako. For the first few years of her life, she lived happily with her parents, who were constantly impressed by their daughter's intelligence. When she was six, Karen's parents decided she deserved better education than their area could provide, and after her father made use of some connections, she was invited to study under the famously excellent tutors employed by the Lumieres family at the other end of the island.
Karen had reservations about leaving home, but seeing her parents' high hopes, she decided to accept the offer. As part of her education, she was trained to protect herself; as she showed promise in fighting, she received additional training and joined the palace guard. Of course, she also spent years missing her parents terribly and rationalizing her decision to leave them while trying to act the way she thought they'd want her to, leading to a pattern of putting her perceptions of other people's expectations ahead of her own feelings.
When Karen was twelve, Lord Lumieres was approached by Coco and Nuts, a pair of small demihumans whose village had been attacked by monsters. Lumieres agreed to help them rebuild in exchange for their service, and the two quickly became well known around the palace. He also enlisted the services of Milk, from the same village, who began creating magitech weapons for the guards. Karen and Milk got along well, and became friends. Through their conversations, Karen learned about the various abilities of the different weapons they used; with this knowledge, she became more proficient with them. When one Yumehara Nozomi was made the leader of an elite guard squad called Pretty Cure, she selected Karen for the squad as Cure Aqua for her skill and intelligence.
Karen was almost fifteen when things started to go south. Milk had just recently completed the Symphony Set, a set of five weapons for Karen and her fellow Pretty Cures. Karen was feeling homesick, and was heading towards Milk's workshop to distract herself by talking about the Aqua Ribbon, when a shower of rose petals caught her off-guard. A mysterious woman calling herself Milky Rose made a big show of bursting out of Milk's workshop and bragging about her stealing ability. Karen had a clear shot at her--but she was particularly homesick that day, and she'd never attacked another human before (outside of practice), and she wanted to forget about fighting and see if Milk was okay. With no strong feelings to back it up, the Aqua Ribbon failed entirely, and Karen watched helplessly as Milky Rose escaped. In a panic, she rushed into the workshop, and discovered that Milk was nowhere to be seen.
Karen's self-confidence was crushed into tiny pieces. Milk had apparently been kidnapped (and some mana crystal was stolen or something, but that was clearly not the most important issue here), and as far as she was concerned, it was entirely her fault for not being able to get the Aqua Ribbon to work. She was depressed, she felt useless, she wanted to go home. Depressed, she gave the Aqua Ribbon to Nozomi, telling her not to bother her again because she (Karen, that is) was a failure as a Pretty Cure. Nozomi emphatically denied this and stated her confidence that Karen was the right choice.
A week later, Karen had gone for a walk on her own when Nozomi approached her, carrying the Aqua Ribbon as well as her own Dream Torch. Karen's initial hostility was cut off when Nozomi mentioned that they both loved their parents, and went on to describe the lengths Karen had gone to to conceal her loneliness. Karen was shocked, not only because Nozomi had seen through her, but also because she'd even tried. She admitted that, setting aside the issue of Pretty Cure, she wanted to be friends with Nozomi, who readily agreed.
During this conversation, the two were attacked by a monster, which Nozomi was unable to defeat on her own. Determined to do something to save her new friend, Karen made a second attempt at using the Aqua Ribbon, and was successful. Together, they pretty much beat the crap out of the monster. Karen realized that Nozomi had been right about her not being as useless as she'd thought she was, and asked her to accept her back as Cure Aqua, which she did.
With that settled, Nozomi asked her what she really wanted to do. Karen said she wanted to bring Milk back, and thus set out to find and rescue Milk with Nozomi's blessing. After a few months "on the road," she heard rumors that Milky Rose had been spotted in the same area as the Winding Way a few times, and eventually managed to catch up with the ship.
Then she found out that Kurumi is Milk and ended up joining the crew herself.
- Milk Palmier: Canonmate! Nice person from home! HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY A MYSTERIOUS THIEF. That last part's been resolved, fortunately, and now they're traveling together. Milk and Karen are good friends and like each other a lot, and that's not going to change any time soon. Yes, I pretty much copied and edited this from Milk's page. Deal with it.
- Meeting "Milky Rose" for the first time. Oh btw Karen you're going to live on an airship now
- Karen was able to convince the parents of a six-year-old girl that she didn't miss them and was fine with them being gone for a whole year. When she was the six-year-old.
- Karen is able to notice all the stupid plot devices like magically self-repairing floors that normally allow anime magical girls to keep there identities a secret.
- Karen was offered leadership of Pretty Cure. She turned it down, but acts like the leader anyway.
- Karen maintains a greenhouse on her own. In the series finale she is revealed to be capable, with some assistance, of taking care of an infinite field of roses.
- Karen can fight giant monsters effectively by punching and kicking them. Unless they are gazebos. (It's too late. You have angered the gazebo. It pounces and kills you.)
- If you need a house, just tell Karen about it and she'll give you one. It'll be bigger than Rin's house. Karen will think it's not big enough.
- Karen knows the history of green tea off the top of her head.
- Karen has a boat, which she uses to go water skiing. Oh, and sometimes she uses it to visit her summer home on her island.
- Karen can run almost as fast as the resident super-athlete.
- Karen can fight on horseback.
- Karen has awesome medical skills.
More to come in a few eventuallys.
PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE: Karen is technically part of a (relatively) elite guard squad known as Pretty Cure, and as such has the title Cure Aqua. She's the daughter of Erealian nobles Minazuki Taro and Minazuki Minako. SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE: Attempted to resign from her position immediately after Milky Rose appeared in Erealia. Since then, Karen asked about the thief everywhere she went prior to joining the crew of the Winding Way. POP CULTURE PHENOMENON?: She was the first person to encounter Milky Rose, and as such is probably mentioned in general-knowledge trivia games on a fairly regular basis (but not really anywhere else).