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  #1  
Old 09-10-2014, 05:52 PM
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Default If every porkchop were perfect we wouldn't have hotdogs. The Steven Universe thread

How do we not have a thread for this show yet?



It's so dang good! My top three favorite episodes are So Many Birthdays, Tiger Millionaire, and Steven and the Stevens (the most recent one, which is once again phenomenal). If you're not watching this yet you should start.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:05 PM
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This is the best cartoon on television.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:32 AM
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I haven't watched this yet. It looks good. I don't like the name "Steven Universe" though.

Why should I watch this over any of the thousand other things that vie for attention? What makes it the best cartoon on television?
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:20 AM
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It's funny and good and good.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:40 AM
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It has wonderful music and it's incredibly touching. Before creating SU, Rebecca Sugar worked on Adventure Time. If you have seen any episode with a really good song in it she probably wrote it.

Sam Bosma does the backgrounds:





Tiffany Ford does coloring:



And Ian Jones-Quarterly directs episodes.

Basically, there are tons of crazy talented people working on the show, and it looks and sounds amazing and is ultra sweet.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:17 AM
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It has Humor and Emotion, and excellent music. The show's creator is Rebecca Sugar, formerly a storyboarder for Adventure Time, who directed that show's most touching episodes with the best songs, before moving on to bigger and better things called Steven Universe.

The writing is in turn sweet and dark, with an impeccable sense of comedic timing and extremely strong and endearing characters. The superpowered premise allows for basically unlimited variety of both action and visual comedy, and there are hints of bigger stories to come.

It's part of this decade's wave of cartoons made by a new generation of animators, who grew up watching the artistically ambitious television cartoons of the 1990s and experiencing the initial fascination with anime, and as a result never even considered the notion that cartoons should be shallow or childish. What they're making appeals as much to the adults who make it as to the children the network advertises to, and that fact has a noticeable effect on the quality and substance of the result. Comparing it to the other stand-out products of this wave is useful: it's laid-back where Adventure Time is frenetic, and open where Gravity Falls is guarded, but compared to both I feel like the emotions are more genuine and the long-running mystery more organic.

It's only in its first season, but there hasn't been a single dud episode. The first two episodes, "Gem Glow" and "Laser Light Cannon," more or less define the tonal extremes of the show, the first emphasizing the zanier qualities and the second showing off its more sensitive side, though neither of them gets into the light existential horror elements that also shows up. The best ones run the complete gamut, though. You should watch Steven Universe because one recent episode had a scene that had me, a grown-ass man, simultaneously laughing and weeping, because it was so disarmingly heartbreaking and hilarious.
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Old 09-12-2014, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongo Bill View Post
It's only in its first season, but there hasn't been a single dud episode. The first two episodes, "Gem Glow" and "Laser Light Cannon," more or less define the tonal extremes of the show, the first emphasizing the zanier qualities and the second showing off its more sensitive side, though neither of them gets into the light existential horror elements that also shows up. The best ones run the complete gamut, though. You should watch Steven Universe because one recent episode had a scene that had me, a grown-ass man, simultaneously laughing and weeping, because it was so disarmingly heartbreaking and hilarious.
Yes to the existential horror, and yes to laughing and weeping. It hits all kinds of crazy buttons that you didn't even know existed.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:25 AM
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I haven't enjoyed every episode of Steven Universe, but when it hits for me, it's hits hard. Last night's is possibly my favorite one yet, and like Bongo said, it was a perfect mix of laughing and weeping.

Plus, it re-invents the entire Magical Girl genre in ways no anime and manga have ever done. It's like what Sym-Bionic Titan did with Mecha shows.
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Old 09-12-2014, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R. Bigman View Post
I haven't enjoyed every episode of Steven Universe, but when it hits for me, it's hits hard. Last night's is possibly my favorite one yet, and like Bongo said, it was a perfect mix of laughing and weeping.

Plus, it re-invents the entire Magical Girl genre in ways no anime and manga have ever done. It's like what Sym-Bionic Titan did with Mecha shows.
I wouldn't call Steven Universe a magical girl show. It's just a show about the life of one kid who happens to use magic. I'd compare it more to "slice of life" anime more than anything.

And Titan was just...let's just say I'm probably the only person who watched it all the way through and couldn't care less that it was canceled.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post

Why should I watch this over any of the thousand other things that vie for attention? What makes it the best cartoon on television?
Because we said so.
/cracks knuckles
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  #11  
Old 09-12-2014, 03:52 PM
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I grabbed the first ep of this, not watched it all yet but I watched the opening and flicked through and boy is it gorgeous aesthetically. I'll watch tonight.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:04 PM
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Holy shit Garnet is just my wife. A black, British-accented ass-kicker with, frankly, bangin' hips? Art reflects life!

This show is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to watch! The performances are great, all the characters are likeable and interesting. I'm not laughing out loud yet but I'm very taken with it. What a lovely program.

Edit: Two laughs out loud right after I posted.

Edit 2: Thumbs up. Very funny, quite moving in a couple of places. Preferred the second episode (Laser Light Cannon) to the first, but they were both fantastic! Best part: Fries guy going "what?"

Last edited by madhair60; 09-12-2014 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:58 PM
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The last episode was Dokes.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madhair60 View Post
(Laser Light Cannon)
I'm way behind on this show (I think the cat-fingers one is the most recent one I've seen), but "Laser Light Cannon" definitely sold me on it. The tension between the Gems and Steven's dad is so palatable, but they all keep a happy face on for Steven's benefit. In the course of ten minutes you saw an outline of these characters' lives, and it wasn't all rosy.
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Old 09-14-2014, 08:54 PM
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Steven and the Stevens is definitely my favorite so far.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
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rosy
I get it

"So Many Birthdays" is my favorite.
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  #17  
Old 09-14-2014, 10:52 PM
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For sure.

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Old 09-14-2014, 11:28 PM
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Just saw Monster Buddies. After more than twenty episodes, it was really cool to see Steven intentionally use a gem power correctly!
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Old 09-18-2014, 11:25 PM
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So! The latest episode. Did anybody else notice how hard Pearl was freaking out? I kinda wonder how bad things were gonna get if Amethyst hadn't healed her gem in time. Also, Steven and Connie make a cute couple.

Next week: A special half-hour episode! Yippie!
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Old 09-19-2014, 03:27 AM
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I didn't say before but thanks for the detailed recommendations, folks. This show is GREAT.
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:39 AM
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This show always has a lot going on. Expect more of these. Here's "An Indirect Kiss":

Just as in "Gem Glow," Steven misinterprets his powers by thinking about them mechanistically rather than emotionally. He has a long way to go before he understands his feelings. He's growing up now, and soon will start to discover what it means to be Steven Universe. The Gems have protected him from the world, as a small child should be protected - both the world of gems (by never telling him anything) and the world of humans (by raising him in a temple). But since he is a human and a gem, he'll have to learn that stuff sooner or later, and thereby become an adult and gain the use of his powers. They're going to keep trying, keep building fences to keep him safe, but it's doomed.

Connie introduces him to the idea that the world of gems and the world of humans are mutually exclusive, because she knows very well which one she dwells in. It seems like she'd be eager to leave the human world behind in an instant given the choice, as she's none too fond of her lonely, humdrum existence; but of course she doesn't believe she can, so she immediately hopes for the next best thing, which is that some of that magic enter her life instead (she certainly understands the joy Steven brings her is way more magical than some dumb old shield).

This concern of hers doesn't fully register with Steven, of course; after all, he has yet to see the conflict between humanity and gemness, any more than he sees the conflict between Greg and the Gems. (Indeed, like Connie, ever-humble Greg seems to think humans are nothing special compared to gems.) He will be faced with that dichotomy at some point, and he'll see what everybody else sees that makes them think he must choose between the two. But the mystery of Rose Quartz is that she bridged that gap, and Steven will surely prove himself his mother's son by loving humanity more than humanity thinks it deserves. This will surely be very heartbreaking, as everybody else may expect that Steven will take after Rose by -- absence.

Speaking of Rose, being in a place heavy with memories of her was a very trying experience for everyone. The vines grew wild without Rose's guidance - like the monsters in "Monster Buddies," she used to induce them to show their petals rather than their thorns. The plants have only gone astray, and while they don't know the harm they've caused, they still can't bring themselves to hurt Steven (the bearer of Rose's gem) even when he tries to prick himself. The state of the garden was also a reminder of what was at stake with Amethyst's injury: the pain and desolation of bereavement.

Steven is surrounded by the symbols of the person he constantly compares himself to - and since he never knew her, how is he to know what he's supposed to think he should be? Being in the garden is plainly stressful for Pearl, as she gets (hilariously) ever-closer to a complete neurotic breakdown. It's easy to imagine that she looked up to Rose in a big way, relied on her for reassurance when situations got out of order. But Garnet, too, was upset, angered by the desecration of the garden and the loss of her friend. (Amethyst was a bit too disoriented to respond much to her surroundings.)
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:59 PM
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Tonight's episode was pretty awesome, eh?
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:13 PM
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I love this show. As long as it doesn't get bogged down with trying to explain everything I'm happy. Also, really Dokesy.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:46 PM
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Deep lore here.

Lapis "never believed in" Earth. Gems came to Earth for a reason, and it's a contentious one. Lapis apparently made the trip despite her reservations, either in response to unfortunate circumstances or against her will. Given how powerful - and mobile - she is, and given how Pearl speaks of the history of the mirror, it's probable that she was made into the mirror before coming to Earth, and then brought there as an object.

Gems in general seem to be pretty bad at empathy (apart from Rose and Steven, of course). The Crystal Gems themselves seem almost heedless of the humans around them, and resort immediately to violence against the "corrupted" ones, who are even worse: Lapis didn't hesitate to use all the water on earth in her attempt to reach her home, and of course the more monstrous ones lash out in wanton destruction, reduced to a feral state of mind at best.

Pearl seemed genuinely surprised and unsettled that the gem powering the mirror was conscious of anything. Lapis' prison was not "supposed" to work that way. What else might they not understand (or might Garnet have withheld from them), that has prevented them from finding a better way to help the bubbled gems in the temple?

They find it so easy to just contain problematic magical stuff and resolve to deal with it later, as in "Lars and the Cool Kids." After all, the Crystal Gems "always find a way." Lapis' comment implies coming to Earth was an act of faith (faith that she did not share). Perhaps what they are trying to "find a way" to do is simply live there, in an environment that seems to have "corrupted" hundreds of gems and left their settlements in ruins. Their efforts have not been going so well.

Being a "Crystal Gem" appears to mean something more than just being a name an arbitrary group of them decided to call themselves, and this is surely related to that fresco from "Serious Steven" depicting Rose opposing that spiky-looking triangular gem. The name of a faction in a civil war? Their situation on earth is clearly not what they intended to happen, however.


One thing's certain, however: Steven's not going to be learning about any of this in the immediate future, because school's out for the summer.

Last edited by Bongo Bill; 09-25-2014 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:15 PM
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Everybody should take this opportunity to revisit the lyrics to the Cookie Cat jingle from "Gem Glow:"

He's a frozen treat with an all new taste
Cause he came to this planet from outer space
A refugee of an interstellar war
But now he's at your local grocery store
Cookie Cat!
He's a pet for your tummy
Cookie Cat!
He's super duper yummy
Cookie Cat!
He left his family behind
Cookie Cat!
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Old 09-25-2014, 09:42 PM
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This one was a real game changer for the show. I don't think it can keep the laid back monster of the week formula now that Steven knows the gem monsters all used to be like his friends and his Mom. It certainly casts Monster Buddies in a very different light.

I just realized something. Nearly all of Steven's powers are for healing or protection (healing spit, bubbles, his Gem weapon being a shield) while the other Gems' are focused on combat. This distinction seems like it might be important.
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Old 09-25-2014, 10:18 PM
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Well, it wasn't very monster-of-the-week to begin with. There are more problems that Steven accidentally created his own self than monster attacks.

Steven's powers are basically Rose's powers, and she certainly had no shortage of weaponry.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:12 PM
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It certainly casts Monster Buddies in a very different light.
If you go back and watch that episode, you can even see the monster briefly take human right after Steve frees it.
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Old 09-26-2014, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.R. Bigman View Post
This one was a real game changer for the show. I don't think it can keep the laid back monster of the week formula now that Steven knows the gem monsters all used to be like his friends and his Mom. It certainly casts Monster Buddies in a very different light.

I just realized something. Nearly all of Steven's powers are for healing or protection (healing spit, bubbles, his Gem weapon being a shield) while the other Gems' are focused on combat. This distinction seems like it might be important.
Like I said, its Dokes. Wouldn't be surprised if she was a fan. Though this type of thing has been in a lot of shows and movies. I think? I really can't think of anything besides Dokes. This has to have been done before right?

Last edited by figcube; 09-26-2014 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 09-28-2014, 11:05 PM
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I first learned of Steven Universe when I found out that a cool artist, Aivi Tran, did music for the show. She's actually pretty awesome:



I didn't really watch until I saw this thread, and since yesterday I've watched through the second Connie episode where Universe got some sort of Rose Quartz blade???. I started out feeling like the characters were one dimensional, but the show has a lot of charm and the characters have fleshed out then. Also, I do kind of like that the lore isn't as up and front, it seems to be a bit more in the background and up to you to figure out (and thus it isn't spelled out for you).

Hopefully I'll be able to catch up some more after this school week, but I actually am enjoying this more than I expected. And Aivi Tran's music during the show is great to hear!
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