Steven Universe: a new cartoon to look out for


The other day, I was wandering Twitter looking for something new to watch by checking the multiple animation studios accounts I follow when I stumbled upon a tweet by Cartoon Network about the Annie Awards. Regular Show and Adventure Time were mentioned, of course, but they also talked about a new little show called Steven Universe. To be honest, the show was only nominated for a technical award, but I can be quite shallow sometimes and the simple fact that it was nominated (and that I had nothing new to watch that day) was enough to make me google the title of the show. Don’t look at me like this, we all do it.

The first picture I saw was a poster for the show. The drawings were somewhere between manga and western, reminding me of the great master Osamu Tezuka’s work. “Huh”, I said to myself when I saw that the main characters were apparently a young boy and three teenage girls, “this is not so common.” Then I looked at the designs closely: the boy was short and stout, the girls were white, purple, or black. One of them was skinny, another short and curvy, the third one tall and muscular. None of them was sexualized and they all at least looked fun. Hell yeah.
To be honest, if you don’t read at least a short synopsis, the first two episodes of the show could be quite confusing. Steven, the protagonist, is a young boy who inherited a magical pink gem from his mother, that he keeps in his navel. Interesting. He likes eating. I know nobody cares, but to me it’s important. Also, Steven lives in a house in front of a temple, were the other gem warriors live, which means that he lives with three teenage girls. Their thing? Saving the world. Hm. Already heard that one before but if it’s done in a new way, why not?
What happens in each episode, then? Well, that’s when it gets confusing. Sometimes, a random menace appears from nowhere and threatens the city. Sometimes, it’s just about Steven trying to get a hold of his powers and wanting to truly be a part of the team. Because yeah, he is not really a part of the team yet, which means that he has a lot to learn and to prove. The second pattern is the one that has really gotten me interested so far. The first one is alright, but lacks actual conflict and memorable antagonists that would make it really engaging.
Steven Universe, with its randomness, colourful characters and nice little tunes, reminds me a bit of Adventure Time. Not surprising: the show was created by Rebecca Sugar, storyboard artist and writer for Adventure Time. It is then only natural that the show takes some time to find its own identity. However, I like the characters, I like the world they’re trying to build and I certainly appreciate the fact that on top of having three main characters being awesome badass teenage girls, the protagonist carries a pink gem in his navel without receiving any negative comments about it. Plus the music is fun. Plus, the show is only at its seventh episode and seems to be aiming more at the stuff I like about it. Plus, food.
You know what, guys? I will definitely keep an eye on that show. Give it a try and tell me what you think!
Anais L'

Four screenwriters candidly writing about film, television, novels, comic books, video games, and fanfiction.

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