Steven Universe: A Post-Series Review

Michael Olderr, Staff Writer

Steven Universe is an animated series on Cartoon Network created by Rebecca Sugar which premiered on the network on November 4th, 2013, and ended on March 27th, 2020. The show follows Steven Universe and his 4-ish mystical guardians called the Crystal Gems. The show follows Steven and his journey how to use his own mystical powers as he goes on adventures to discover himself–all the while spending a lot of time on other characters that you will have no chance but to fall in love with.

The characters in the show are a lot of fun. Every one of them is fun and quirky within their own way and almost every single one of them changes and grows throughout the entire series. And while Steven himself is a wonderful character to watch and follow, the Gems, his guardians, are deserving an equal amount of praise. The Crystal Gems are sworn protectors of the earth, but they are quite content with their little understanding of humans and are not really bothered by them. But as time goes on, and with little help with Steven, they come to appreciate everyone around them and become more than just stoic warrior women. 

Each one of the gems has their own story, their own problems and their own trauma that they deal with, and the show deals with each one of them with absolute respect and justice. Their problems aren’t something that is dealt with overnight, nor is it a one track recovery. But together with Steven and everyone else, they make progress and become better people because of it. All respect for the character writing has to be given to Rebecca and the writing staff; all the character writing of the show is perfect, and by far, the show has some of the best-written character development I’ve seen in a long time.

Steven Universe has a long overarching story; it has 5 seasons, a movie and an epilogue series, and it has plenty of time to tell it. The characters and their personality are at the forefront, particularly Steven. The show is often about Steven encountering dangerous and hazardous situations and seeing how he and others fare in them. Steven by nature is a kind-hearted soul, and does his best to help others around almost to a fault. And while watching Steven overcome monsters, villains, and human interaction and bonding is great, it is not without its faults. It is not a joke when it’s stated that every character gets development of some kind. Almost every minor character in the show has an episode dedicated to them. And while it is nice to have everyone’s issues out in the open so they can learn to heal themselves, it also can be burdensome to watch, as sometimes it might get in the way of the overarching story–though that should be expected from a character-driven story as Steven Universe. The show is about having everyone’s problems getting out in the open, so there is a path to growth and healing. And a cartoon focusing so much on mental health is unheard of, and it gets better when the series transitions to Steven Universe Future.

Steven Universe is a show unlike any other, and the character writing and story has solidified it as one of the greatest cartoon shows of this generation.