There are stories about magical gems that can walk, talk, and do explosive magic? I’d watch that.
When I was a kid, I loved watching shows that let me explore the worlds that were in that universe. Having self contained stories were one thing, but have a story that expands its lore was another.
As entertainment’s renaissance grew more powerful over the years, I had trouble keeping up with it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to grab some popcorn, turn the AC to 60, curl up in a small blanket and watch Game of Thrones. The overarching problem of my life was time management.
It started around the end of middle school and it has been a constant struggle ever since. For example, I could curl up in a blanket and watch Game of Thrones, but I risk getting an zero for not doing my homework. So I stepped back for a while and concentrated on school.
3 years later, I missed out on several shows that had already ended or were in its second stage of life. Back then I knew I would never be able to catch up, so I didn’t watch them and went on with my life. However, the internet had a close on a particular eye on a show about talking gems doing some magic that would make Harry Potter and Criss Angel crap themselves into oblivion. That little show was called Steven Universe. It premiered on Cartoon Network on November 4th, 2013. Fans were amazed at the characters, world building, and animation. The show follows the titular character, who’s half-gem, half-human boy trying control his developing powers with the Crystal Gems. The Crystal Gems take the form of humans and go on missions, protecting the world from evil. This pretty much sums up the basic plot of the story but it goes even deeper than that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with what I thought about the first episode (not the pilot). It starts with Steven wanting to eat a special brand of ice cream sandwiches, Cookie Cat. Unfortunately, it was taken off the market. It starts off with a simple dilemma. I like the kind of stories that goes this route because it gives us a good look at who the characters are. Most shows start off with a prologue about the way they live in that universe. The prologue serves as a guide to the world we’re viewing, but changes our thought process. When you hear or see prologues, they act as guides to the entire show. Half of the surprise is taking away. Look at the episode of Breaking Bad.
The opening scene is set in the desert, you see the cacti, the mountains, and a pair of pants flying to the top of the ground. The director of the show wanted the viewer to be dropped into their world, much like Steven Universe does with their show.
The scene start with a view of Big Dount, a small shop for snacks and other things. He finds out that his ice cream sandwich had been discontinued by Lion Lickers. After that, he has a tiny rant about the kids not appreciating the Cookie Cat brand.
“Nobody like them! They don’t even look like lions”, Steven said. “Kids these days. I tell you what!”
The male vendor sarcastically asked, “Well, if you miss you wimpy ice cream so much, why don’t you make some with you magic belly button.”
“That’s not how it works, Lars.” Steven defends.
A little curious if it did, Steven lifts up his shirt and we see a giant rose gem.
Steven’s dismay over the lost of his favorite ice cream sandwich shows his character to be positive but overly dramatic, making his reaction hilarious. Seeing the gem made me think that we were going to see some magic stuff before the episode ended.
Going by the first episode, Steven gets really emotional about the things he care about, albeit his favorite ice cream sandwich or his friends and loved one.
After he spends a few seconds hugging the empty Cookie Cat fridge, a female asks if he wants to take it with him. He sadly nods yes.
I’m not going to give too much away, so I’ll show you the first scene.
As I continue to watch the show, I grew invested in Steven Universe. I wanted to learn a bit more about the world of the show. That’s what good shows do. Prologue are slowly becoming an trope that I feel limits the imagination while simultaneously decreasing your expectation without knowing it. Yes, in some cases, you do need prologues. RWBY, one of my favorite shows had a prologue, but that was after tons of trailers/shorts featuring the main characters. It’s important to entertain your audience, but let the audience take a look inside your world before explaining how it functions.
So that was what I thought about my first viewing of Steven Universe. As you watch the show, the introduction to the Crystal Gems are pretty much self-explanatory and the first episode is about 4 years old.
I’ll just say that I like the episode and I want to watch more. However, there was a point in my life where I decided not to watch the show because of the fandom. Went into details in another blog post, but I’ll explain it again. The reason why I decided to hold off on Steven Universe was because a part of that fandom was hostile towards people who drew fan art of the main characters the “wrong” way. Some fans on Tumblr would go as far as harass a person online because they drew a character with the wrong nose. Does that feel stupid to you, cause it does to me. No show is worth harassing someone’s fan art. However, this came to a head when a teenage girl attempted suicide for drawing a certain character the wrong way.
Some of my friends told me the show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar threaten to cancel the show should this ever happen again.
That’s well and dandy, but by the time I found out about that, the show was already in the midst of its second season. I didn’t have time to watch all those episodes in one sitting. But the girl and the suicide made me leave Tumblr for a very long time. It was not an environment with healthy arguments and well thought out criticism and by the looks of 2016, I left just in time. And I know that I shouldn’t be judging the fandom based on a rotten few, but I don’t like people getting hurt for loving a show. No one deserves to be driven to the point where they have no where else to go because of their love of the show and it ticks me off that some people would put their time and effort to make that person fell bad for trying to share that love. It’s that type of environment that gave Tumblr a bad rep and I hope in the people at Tumblr do something about it in the near future. But for now, I can’t continue to judge a fandom by a few’s actions. It’s not the fandom’s fault that people are jerks.
This is the first time watch Steven Universe. At the time of this blog post, I would have watched about 10-12 more episodes of what is slowly becoming one of my favorite shows. I love the Studio Ghibli-esque atmosphere that’s included in Steven Universe and I hope that maybe the show will continue to evolve as we continue the golden age of entertainment. And I hope that maybe the next generation of shows will be inspired to be more creative and immersive as shows like Steven Universe and Game of Thrones continue to be.
Especially Power Rangers because that fandom needs helps. But that’s a story for another time.
Until we meet again my friends, peace.