Reconfirmed via Facebook today, was some welcome news that many a cartoon fan had been eagerly awaiting: new Steven Universe episodes will begin premiering this Monday, as in tomorrow.
As this newest announcement states, this is in part a present given to the fans in order to celebrate the birthday week of the hero of the show, Steven Universe.
For many, though, Steven Universe may still be an unknown. The show is relatively new after all, with it having only two seasons aired at this point. So for those who have never heard of it, please allow me to enlighten you.
Steven Universe is a deceptively simple series, one which at first glance appears to many (including myself) to be nothing more than yet another silly and over the top children’s cartoon show. The basic concept is that Steven Universe, a human/gem hybrid, journeys around the world and saves the day with his adoptive alien family, the Crystal Gems. The show follows the typical Magical Girl formula, popular in many animes, but just beneath the surface there is so much more.
It has organically hidden within its story arcs and dialogues a multitude of influences and tributes, which when combined with a deep emphasis on natural and emotional storytelling, subtle world building, and excellent music make up the heart of the show.
I was astounded to find that this is the first show in Cartoon Networks entire history to be created by a woman. That lady is Rebecca Sugar, and she began conceptualizing Steven Universe while working as a writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time. Her tenure on one of Cartoon Networks biggest shows shines through in Steven Universe, and I would say that it is fair to call the two distant relatives.
Much to my astonishment, I found that despite my immense love of Adventure Time, when I had viewed all that Steven Universe had to offer, I had to deem it the better show. Steven Universe not only has a more clearly defined and intentional story arc to it but it manages to cover so many intense and intricate issues in such deep and personal ways, there is really nothing else like it.
In order to demonstrate the ways in which the show talks about these things I will need to cite an example so if you are a purist and do not want anything spoiled for you, then please stop reading now.
In the show, the Crystal Gems can fuse, a la Dragon Ball Z (they even do a fusion dance), and turn into new individuals with powers and personalities which are amplified versions of those the fused individuals had. Normally they only do this during emergency situations, but one of the shows main characters, Garnet, is a continuously fused version of the gems Ruby and Sapphire, who are romantically involved.
There are many other instances in which the show brings up things that even material intended for adults treads lightly on, from showing support for non-traditional family structures, LBGT issues, concepts of self and self-worth, and how exactly we define the terms of our relationships all while being extremely positive, imaginative and upbeat and while I would like to point all of these out, half the fun is seeing them occur naturally within the context of the characters, and their interactions with each other in their world. In lieu of spoiling anything else, I would simply advise you give the show a try. Each episode is only around ten minutes long, so why not check out a few?
I would like to leave you with this megamix, to give you a sampling of what is in store for you, musically, in case you do decide to check out the show, however, beware; this mix of songs from the show contains spoilers.
Do you love Steven Universe? Are you excited about the new episodes? Do you think that I am wrong and that the show is completely bunk? Leave a comment below.