Back at my apartment, I don’t watch that much television. This is mostly because I don’t have cable, which you have to admit puts a damper on that kind of thing. However, since I’m currently visiting the rest of my family, I’ve finally gotten a chance to catch an episode of a show I’ve been more than excited for: Steven Universe. Let me just say, I was not disappointed. The Adventure Time-eqsue magical hero show is as charming as it is funny, and I could go on like this, but I feel as though this would be a perfect opportunity for a list.
The most vital part for any animated show, other than the actual animation, is the voice acting, and Steven Universe is in possession of an amazing collection of voices. Zach Callison, the face behind Steven, has that kind of voice where you know the character is going to be a bit of an idiot, but a well-intentioned idiot. Michaela Dietz, Amethyst, brings a certain rawness to her party-animal character that I wasn’t expecting, while Deedee Magno, Pearl, has the perfect tone for a by-the-books stick in the mud. The voice I love the most is Estelle’s Garnet: deep and warm, perfect for the mama bear of the group.
An important aspect of this cast is that it’s super diverse. In the main cast, Steven is the only person voiced by a Caucasian. This problem of overly-white casts may not be as much of a problem in animated shows, but I’m glad to see that, at least behind the scenes, this show stars three ladies who break that mold. Also, Nicki Minaj is rumored to be in a future episode. Any show that has promises of Minaj is all right by me.
The story behind Steven Universe is that Steven’s mother and leader of the Crystal Gems, Rose Quartz, has passed on. With her powers now passed on to her son, the remaining Gems have taken it upon themselves to raise him to be a warrior like his mother. However, when I first saw Steven himself, I was certain he was going to be the typical bumbling character who makes everyone’s lives harder due to his own incompetence, but doesn’t learn anything from his mistakes. In other words, the worst kind of character. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Steven is a character who makes mistakes—which, given his situation, who wouldn’t—but he always tries to learn from them. And although unlocking the secret power of his gem is important to him, it’s clear that keeping up the spirits of Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst is his true number one priority.
Another worry I had going in was that he’d be a ‘fat kid’ trope; that his whole character would focus on him eating, not being able to keep up with the others because of his weight, and being made fun of for similar reasons. Again, a needless worry in this case. True, he does eat a lot, but the comedy doesn’t come at the expense of his physique. Steven’s humor comes from his naiveté and good nature: not once does his weight cause his downfall, which is something I appreciated.
3) The Crystal Gems:
Magical girl shows aren’t typically known for their diversity in body shapes. Look at Sailor Moon, Wedding Peach, or even Jem and the Holograms (she transforms. She’s a magical girl): all stereotypically and uniformly thin, beautiful girls. But god, the Crystal Gems are just so visually interesting to look at, even though I do admit that not making a distinction between human and alien (is Amethyst a purple human?) isn’t exactly progressive from a racial standpoint. It’s not only interesting designs, but the stark contrast in said designs that tells girls watching the show: no matter what you look like, you can kick some butt. Hell yes.
Outside of my design boner, the characters themselves are wonderful. Each of them has a distinct personality and a well thought out motto by which they live. And they’re never made to feel like less of a hero for what they like. Pearl is a bit more reserved in her actions, a bit more bookish. Amethyst is a glutton and a party animal. Garnet is a stoic brick wall of few words. The characters may have differing ideas of appropriate behaviors for heroes such as themselves, but no one is made to feel like they don’t deserve to be where they are. What could easily devolve to cattiness and fighting never does because they all hold a respect for each other—a respect that is important to pass down to a new generation of kids.
4) Relationships Between Steven and the Other Gems:
Steven is not the first choice of people you would want to be on your superhero squad. Not only can he not access his powers, but he also doesn’t seem to grasp how serious a job it is to protect the world. And while this could become a basis for hatred between the two groups, it never does. The Crystal Gems are completely devoted to helping Steven access his powers. They never doubt that he won’t be able to eventually do it. This mentor-student-family relationship between the Crystal Gems and Steven is one of the most important relationships in animation right now—much like the relationship between Adventure Time’s Finn and Jake.
There’s a post going around Tumblr that expounds on the characteristics of each member of this group, but more importantly, why Steven is actually a vital component of it. And I agree. There’s an important responsibility that all good superhero shows should uphold, and that’s to expose the heroes’ humanity. Sailor Moon had the girls in school—as does just about every other magical girl anime/manga—but Steven Universe doesn’t have that luxury, since the Crystal Gems are, for all intents and purposes, aliens. Steven is the force that lets the girls show their humanity, and the girls, in turn, help Steven grow. It’s a wonderful give and take and honestly a joy to watch.
5) Supporting more shows like this being made:
Shows like Steven Universe are excellent in theory and good for gifs for reaction images, but all this means nothing without actual numbers on the ratings. If this show sounds as excellent to you as it does to me, I implore you to find out when it’s on your local Cartoon Network station—or if it’s on a Cartoon Network-endorsed website—and watch it. I know how easy it is to watch things online, but it’s important to give the show the support and love it deserves on its home channel. With any luck, we’ll get more seasons and even more shows like this will be given a chance.
Have you seen any episodes of Steven Universe? Got the notion to try it out, but haven’t yet? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you think of the show.
I’m a huge fan of this show. I cannot wait till it comes out on DVD!
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Well.. i must say this is great cartoon show. but if they publish it to dvd,thats was awesome.. i have watch a few episode but i doesn’t satisfied because its only show at monday(on my country). so i hope they quickly publish the steven universe cartoon on dvd.. thank you.
If you are not satisfied watching it live on the show on tv cables go to kisscartoon.com and there you will find steven universe season 1,2,3,4 all episodes full complete collection and also adventure time and your favorite cartoon shows! Hope this helps to make your day brighter 🙂
My son and I watch this show. It’s funny, teaches some good people lessons. I have it recorded on my DVR and watch it when it’s on. Good times.
‘Steven Universe’ is a cartoon that really makes me feel fine after watching it in a way that ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Regular Show’ simply cannot do it. I think it’s basically because Steven and his mentors have a tv show where the appeal of the bizarre aspect isn’t largely used, unlike AT and RS, which have both a lot of incredibly freaky situations and characters that small kids shouldn’t watch. SU is one of that very special cartoons where is proved that naivety when is smartly used can be very pleasant even for grownups.
I find this show to be beautiful. Everything from the animation to the music to the character design is simply stunning. The story is charming and the characters are strong and well written. The show sends good messages for young girls and boys alike without being specific to either gender, with things like strong women, caring and gentle characters, and self care. The characters are diverse in almost every aspect imaginable, race, body type, personality, etc. I’ve never seen a characters design repeated and theres no default for background characters. Each episode is as individual as the characters in it, with a fun new story and charming new characters. The show avoids stereotypes all together for instance Steven is not very skinny but he never has trouble keeping up and all though he is male he does have a pink lion and no one says anything about it. Those asre just some of the reasons I love this show.
Stenen Universe is an awesome show! there is this guy at my school who ha the exact same voice as steven. and he kind of looks like steven too. when i watch this show it makes me feel all fuzzy inside! and it also inspire me to draw new ideas every time i watch this magnificent show.
Garnet in the newest epesoid around this time, is actually a fusion, or two gems in one. She is Ruby and Sapphire, and in this episode she sings an incredible song right after the to are fused together thanks to Steven since they were split apart by……. I’ll let you watch that episode. It’s a great show with lots of twists and turns a hopefully will last a long time.
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I love this show and plan on buying it (legit of course) when it comes out! I want them to know, with my dollaz, that I love and want more of this show!
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Me and my sister love Steven universe we love the episode when garnet sings. We watch the episode all the time.
I do have one problem with the show – Steven.
Not for body issues, but because he’s… well, an idiot.
He’s naive, yes, but he’s also not very bright. I don’t think that’s a very encouraging thing. I’d prefer to see intelligence idealized rather than blind naivete.
Steven is NOT an idiot. He’s actually very smart, and it shows in the show. He figures out strategy a lot of the time, and he is also intellectually-curious (check out his insightful questioning of Garnet in the episode “Keeping it Together”). Just because he’s not showcasing intelligence in a more stereotypical way doesn’t mean he’s an idiot. He’s not. Steven and Connie (as evidenced with how they approached the book series they both enjoyed in “Open Book”) illustrate there is more than one way (or even two) to understand concepts. He’s also 11 years-old and has a different life experience from other children, so his personality is shaped by that. Most importantly, he also has real emotional intelligence and can read people well and sees the best in things. I think you’re confusing having a naturally goofy (not bumbling), funny, and at times corny personality that is “only sometimes obnoxious” (thanks Pearl) with idiocy, and that’s a very intellectually-narrow way of thinking. Ironic considering you’re judging his intelligence or at least the show’s value of intelligence.
Also, Steven is not blindly naive either. As the show progresses, he actually grows and learns from his experiences. Furthermore, he reflects on them. The episode “Joy Ride” shows he’s aware of how the other Gems may view him. Plus, when something doesn’t work for Steven the first time, he doesn’t make the same mistake again. That’s not “blind naivete.”
There are different kinds of intelligence. ie emotional intelligence
That is the way of a protagonist personality you dont really follow the storyline and its because this is not your taste of story of comedy, also he is not an idiot the way he ussually do that was because his personality is friendly and does not like to see someone fighting and hurting each other, i like steven cause he is smart when he uses his bubble shield and the powerful shield he use to protect the gems but if you still hate the show im not gonna complain im just explaining the story about it so you dont have to be insult
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I also really appreciate the body diversity and lack of body shaming. The music is a really fun aspect, too. I like that none of the characters are perfect. Steven’s dad reminds me a lot of my dad, and I think it’s a great thing to send the message out to kids and adults alike that one doesn’t have to have magic powers or be a superhero to be a hero, especially to your kid. Thanks for this post. It was/is awesome. 🙂
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I’ve seen seen a review on this series recently is it really worth it?
Here’s the link: https://animatingperfection.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/steven-universe-review/
Oh, how I love Steven Universe. I already been it’s fan since I saw it the first time. the perfect combination between comedy, drama, psychological, beauty, and semi-dark story. and the conflict!!! get out of here, Sugar! the conflict between Rose and Greg, oh my!!!! it’s all about a wonderful amazing unbeatable lady like Rose Quartz was able to be beat by love. AAAAAAAAH…..!!!!! ❤ ooooh…. and the song. I love almost every song of SU. especially It's over isn't it. how Pearl put her feeling into the psychological conflict between her, Rose, Greg, and Steven. It is total amazing.