LGBTQ: Steven Universe, Season 3 (English)

September 12th, 2016

sulogo-300x194Season Three of Steven Universe is some of the most amazing animation I’ve ever sat though.

With one exception, every episode of Season 3 is strong…and they build on each other to an amazing extent. Which is why the first episode of the season is so damn annoying.

In Season 1, we’re introduced to the characters, and start to get a feel for their personalities and back stories. In Season 2, even as we start to truly understand the alien nature of the Crystal Gems and the war for Earth’s independence which isolated them from the Gem Homeworld, we come to appreciate their essential “humanity.”

The first episode, however was a misguided attempt by Cartoon Network to promote the unwatchable Uncle Grandpa. To salve our annoyance a genuine plot point is added, which moves the entire story forward in a leap.

From that point on, this season is two steps forward and one look back. We learn key backstories and by doing so, we can see just how much the Crystal Gems have changed from their days with Rose Quartz, in which they were far more alien than they are now.

Which makes it that much more poignant as the story forces every single one of them to confront their own fears, relationships and bonds. And just as they seem to come out the other side, Peridot joins the crew, which really highlights the changes they’ve gone through.

We now can say with complete confidence that Garnet is a fusion of two gems who are in love, that Pearl’s feelings for Rose go beyond a mere crush and that Amethyst is, at heart, a surprisingly fragile Gem. In the center is Steven, who is more like his mother than anyone has yet admitted – inspiring cooperation and fierce loyalty in others.

The humans in Beach City are not immune to this, either. Steven brings a little humanity to several of the town’s bored teens and we get to see a side of Greg we hadn’t really recognized – his ability to weather crises with a calm perspective. Maybe, we think, he was a good match for Rose, after all.

Let me once again wind up with Connie. Two of my favorite episodes in the series are in this season and both focus on Connie. In “Sworn to the Sword,” in Connie decides to train to be Steven’s knight. Steven’s affection for Connie brings about a shockingly raw admission from Pearl and in the resolution, we can see all three of them maturing as a result of the conrontation.

This is followed by “Nightmare Hospital,” in which Connie is forced to use her newfound strength to face the greatest monster of all – parental disapproval. Again, the resolution is satisfying on all levels.

At this point, I should probably note that the music for Steven Universe is as catchy as can be. I’m really hoping they just put together a soundtrack album, because I’d love to have all the music in one place. In the meantime, Season 2 has a “best of” songs episode, episode 101, “Steven’s Greatest Hits.”

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story- 10
Characters – 10
Service – Not visually
Yuri – 7 (“That’s my Laffy Saffy”)

Overall – 10

I’ve posted this here before, but it’s worth mentioning again, because once I start singing it, it takes a week to get it out of my head. Here’s “Do It For Her/Do It For Him” from “Sworn to the Sword.”

6 Responses

  1. It took me a half dozen episodes or so, in the first season to really start to like this show, but I am currently a serious fan. I love Sapphire / Ruby, and the episode where Garnet celebrates Steven’s birthday by telling him about how they met and fell in love is awesome.

    So is the episode where Pearl fuses with Garnet… The naked need that both Pearl and Amethyst display is so intensely Human that it takes my breath away.

    And I love that Connie is allowed to be the active ass-kicker, while Steven is is the passive, defensive healer type.

  2. Chris says:

    I enjoy the fact that we can see the Crystal Gems in their currently evolved state, and then watch Peridot and Lapis start down a similar path.

  3. Will says:

    One thing I really never considered before someone pointed it out to me is that there really is a wide breadth of stories you can tell when you have multiple LGBTQA characters in your story.

    Like, my friend mentioned that she was initially a little put off of the show because all she knew about it came from gifs, and she said the Pearl and Rose stuff reminded her a lot of the “Queer woman who pines for a girl who ends up with a dude” trope that is so prevalent in fiction, which she hates.

    But then when she found out about Garnet or even all the shippy stuff with the other Gems who appear later, she was much more enthusiastic and said she was much more appreciative of the Pearl and Rose stuff in the context of a show where it’s obvious that there is a commitment to diversity and a broad range of queer characters and experiences.

    It’s so weird to see a show where the burden of representation is not entirely on the shoulders of a single pairing or character, if that makes sense?

Leave a Reply