On May 6th, I decided to try out the Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe after hearing so much good stuff about it on the internet. At first, I was very skeptical of this series, but I was pleasantly surprised at how amazing Steven Universe is. After catching up to the show’s current episode on May 16th, I wanted to share the top five things I’ve come to love about this show.
Whenever I watch anything animated and see a scene like the one above, I like to say that it has the Hayao Miyazaki touch. Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese director whose animated films have amazing artwork that make you stop, stare, and dream. In fact, this particular scene reminds me of a scene from my favorite Miyazaki film Howl’s Moving Castle. Not many American animated series have replicated Miyazaki’s breathtaking art style and I applaud this series for doing so.
Another aspect of the animation that I really like is how it has references to other Japanese anime. I found myself fangirling whenever I caught a reference to the animated series Revolutionary Girl Utena during Season 1. There are also little anime Easter eggs in certain episodes that are fun to spot.
Garnet, the character seen here, is just one of many examples of the diversity found in this show. She is a Crystal Gem who is a woman of color with a big afro, hips, and thighs. She is also genderless despite the fact that female pronouns are used to refer to her. Other examples of diversity are the other three Crystal Gems, the black people sprinkled throughout the show, and the LGBTQ undertones of certain characters. No matter what race, gender, sexual orientation, or body type you are, there is a character for you to relate to.
From the main characters to the minor characters, every one of them has traits that make the show fun and entertaining. For example, Opal, the woman with the bow, is a fusion of two of the characters known as Crystal Gems. The other character, Connie, is a girl who frequently tags along with Steven and other the Crystal Gems because she loves magic and adventure. My personal favorite characters include Amethyst, Connie, Rose Quartz, Garnet, and Steven Universe.
The music from Steven Universe has instrumental music and musical numbers with vocals. It is a melting pot of different influences that range from video game music to classical to pop. While the musical numbers seemed silly at first, I grew to appreciate them when I realized they are meant to add a unique perspective to a character’s point of view.
Favorite musical numbers so far are “Giant Woman”, “On The Run”, and “Stronger Than You”. When it comes to the instrumental music, the “Arcade Mania” music seen here is one of many favorites! Shout out to the composers Aivi and Surrashu for making such awesome music!
On the surface, this show just seems to be an action-comedy about a ten year old boy named Steven Universe who has adventures with a group of intergalactic female warriors. However, the show goes much deeper than by dealing with themes such as family, grief, self-worth, destiny, and more. When put together with the features mentioned earlier, you have a animated series that is much more than a kids show. It is a work of art that can be appreciated by almost anyone.
I have not loved an animated show from Cartoon Network in years. This show took me back to what I call the glory days of Cartoon Network, back when shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Codename: Kids Next Door were on the air. Thank you Rebecca Sugar for creating this show and thank you internet for persuading me to give this show a chance.