We, are the Crystal Gems!
We'll always save the day!
And if you think we can't,
we'll always find a way!
That's why the people of this world, believe in
Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl!
Young, old, one, one hundred...Steven Universe is and should be for all! Let not the mid-afternoon schedule on Cartoon Network keep you from viewing this heart warming masterpiece, for it explores current moral and social issues in the right way. Creator Rebecca Sugar has provided children and adults alike with a diverse, body positive, just and deeply provoking series that isn't a glorified cat and mouse chase or an alarmingly horrific reboot.
This is a series that shouldn't be shunned into the depths of a children's channel and be controversially targeted by UK Censorship, it should be universally promoted as a role model for other cartoons and shows in this field. I've witnessed far more progression for LGBT representation in one Steven Universe episode than an entire flock of high-budget, worldwide dramas. It's time Rebecca Sugar and her team received some credit!
No introduction, no context, no back story, we first meet the cute and cuddly Steven distressing over the discontinuation of his favourite ice-cream. Think the same level emotion of your favourite television show not being recommissioned. It is this shroud of mystery that lingers as the episodes progress and it is the perfect device to keep a viewer intrigued. You swiftly learn that you have entered a universe in which gems have physical forms and half gem, half human Steven, whose mother gave up that physical form so that he may live, takes his place among The Crystal Gems: Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl.
Garnet, voiced by singer Estelle best known for the song American Boy is described by Steven as the most mysterious of the three. Little is known about her during the first season but she's known for her subtly emoted love for Steven that shines through in the cutest of ways. With mighty gem powered fists she is also labelled as the leader of the group, and loving Garnet is best found in seeing the dangerous, cool gem playing along with Steven's games. Anyone up for a game of Steven Tag!?
Amethyst, voiced by Michaela Dietz is the youngest of the Crystal Gems and therefore the most excitable, messy and fun in Steven terms. Her gem weapon of choice is a whip and despite all of the gems having the ability to shape shift, Amethyst is the one to utilise it more profusely; anytime, anywhere with anyone. She loves Steven as a big sister would love her little brother which naturally is accompanied with more than the odd tease and prank.
Pearl, voiced by Deedee Magno is the mother hen of the Crystal Gems: neat, considerate, logical and constantly worrying over who she cares about. Her gem weapon is a spear, her fighting style is precise and elegant, and being Rose Quartz (Steven's Mother's) closest companion she cares for him deeply. It is near impossible to choose a favourite character but simply because Pearl is a lot like me in many ways, and has recognisable flaws, I just love her and how she reacts to the otherworldly situations.
Steven, voiced by Zach Callison is the forever adorable Steven Quartz Universe and he has an endearing need to make those he cares about proud, has a pure big-hearted innocence, and is talented on the ukulele. His crystal gem which is located in none other than his belly button, powers up a shield and coupled with his protective bubbles demonstrates the loving core of Steven's personality.
Fun Fact: Steven Universe is the FIRST Cartoon Network show to have been created by a woman. You go Rebecca Sugar!
My fondness for Steven Universe stems in how it promotes minorities, gender and a variety of body shapes in a medium accessible for children. The plot is light and fun yet possesses sophisticated and intriguing lines of storytelling that range from themes of love, friendship and sacrifice, and all with a refreshing positive tone. The characters, not even the minor ones aren't one dimensional but each have strengths and flaws that we witness through well timed and developed character arcs.
Gender fluidity, sexuality, different family situations and a plethora of relationship dynamics, all are featured in the series without being overly imposing and is a credit to children's television; an utter importance in this genre. Steven Universe has reduced me to out loud laughter, emotional tears and the simple need to watch more and more. I highly suggest you start watching too!