It was about a year ago that I started hearing rumblings about Steven Universe. It was about two months ago that I noticed that a good chunk of episodes were available on Hulu. It was about two days ago that I got caught up on the series.
Let me make myself absolutely clear on this one friends.
If you like animation, lady type people starring in that animation, empowering pop music and joy you should be watching Steven Universe.
I started watching because it was being covered extensively on The Mary Sue, and I will do pretty much anything The Mary Sue tells me to. (Except quit Game of Thrones…I see their point on that one, but I’m far too deeply sucked in at this point to give it up.)
It took a bit for me to get into the show, but once I was in, I was in. I bought the season pass on Amazon, so I’ll always be a day or 2 behind, but I can live with that.
The idea behind Steven Universe is as complicated as it is simple. (Seriously.) The Crystal Gems are a group of personified gem stones from a distant planet who defend earth for…reasons. They’re murky at the moment, but there are definitely reasons. 11(ish? again murky) year old Steven is the child (and possible regeneration?) of their one time leader Rose Quartz and a human named Greg Universe, and the gems are training him to join the team.
They live in a sleepy beach town, and there is much wackiness. And sooooo many feelings. I feel like even Usagi would tell everyone on Steven Universe to cool it.
The Crystal Gems are Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl, and Pearl is the best because she is, and everyone else is wrong.
I’ve mentioned before that my “favorite” characters tend to be the ones who aren’t like me. The characters that I wish I could be more like. That isn’t the case with Pearl. I see a lot of myself in her and that’s why I love her. She’s overly emotional, while being overly analytical. She’s fiercely protective of the ones she loves, while vaguely dismissive of those outside of it. She’s obsessive, she’s a control freak, and she knows she’s a better follower than leader.
I like Garnet’s cool confidence a lot too, as well as “Xander” team member Connie, and I find Amethyst fun, but she wasn’t even in the “favorite” conversation.
I know the show draws a lot from Anime, which as a genre I know so little about. I am trying to fathom what my engagement with the genre will be in my world post Sailor Moon, but extrapolating from Steven Universe, it’s looking like Revolutionary Girl Utena is one I should look into. (Hulu also pushes that one on me from Sailor Moon, too.)
Steven Universe, the character is my favorite kid on TV and totally filled the Avatar Aang shaped hole in my heart. He’s fun loving and sweet and kind of a badass, even though he’d rather just watch TV and eat Fry Bits, and talk about fantasy books with Connie, he knows he’s got more to do and that his destiny is important.
But this is the best thing about Steven, he’s a kid, and he behaves like a kid. Even when things are intense and the Gems are trying to work, he wants to talk to them about Crying Breakfast Friends (his favorite show)
Oh right, and the show’s humans are diverse in age, body type and race, and has multiple canon queer romances, and gems are an entirely female race, so I’m guessing we’re going to get more of those.
Steven Universe is worth checking out in a big way, and I’m glad of that.