I’ve been a fan of Steven Universe (SU) since 2016 when my regular animated dose of Adventure Time wasn’t enough. Rebecca Sugar, the show’s creator, worked on seasons two and three of Adventure Time and I heard SU was cute and fantastically queer, so I decided to check it out. It’s truly so much more. After five incredible seasons, I wanted to write about SU because the movie was recently released on Cartoon Network.

Until Now

Steven is part human, part alien, and all heart. He is raised on earth by his chosen family the Crystal Gems. During the show up to this point, Steven discovers his role in the rebellion of the Crystal Gems and the truth about his mother Rose, all while coming of age in a small beach town. At times the stakes are high, and the future of the universe hangs in the balance, and at other times it’s just another day in Beach City staring a band with Saide, or visiting his friends Lapis Lazuli, and Peridot. 

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Show Me Love, Teach Me to Love

Steven Universe has a way of getting me into my feelings through the central themes of the show, like friendship, forgiveness, family, love, and trauma, to name a few. Empathy is not strong with the Gems. So it’s Steven’s task to teach the Gems empathy among other things that come with living on earth amongst humanity. Whether it’s though a song on his uke, a one-on-one chat, or a special day trip that he’s concocted to lift one of the Gems out of a funk. 

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SU’s approach to magical realism is one of kindness and inclusivity. It’s a universe where Gems can fuse with one another to create a new being. You can look up Stevonnie’s (a fusion of Steven and his friend Connie) bio on WikiFANDOM, and they are listed as intersex. In the show as in life, there’s one thing that takes admitting: life is complicated. Everyday situations are met with compassion and understanding. Perhaps Mr. Universe (Steven’s father) doesn’t have all the tools he needs to raise a part alien boy. Garnet, Amythest, and Pearl are there to complete the family unit. 

Steven Universe: The Movie

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After five seasons the central conflict was resolved in the Steven Universe Universe (SUU). As a fan, I was left questioning what could possibly come next? I was delighted by the songwriting, storytelling, and the opportunity to continue after the “happily ever after” with these characters. The stakes just as high, and somehow we still have more to learn about Rose. There’s even a moment in the movie when Peridot breaks the 4th wall. She says that if the world ends, she’ll lose all her character development.


Spinell, a new character, is introduced. And during the course of the film, she becomes just as layered and integral to the story of the SUU as the characters we already know and love. The movie did not disappoint. It remains radical in its approach to how we can move through the world while staying true to what’s always been at the center of SU: its heart. 

Stop by your favorite Bookmans location, if you are feeling compelled to learn the ukelele, maybe we’ll have a copy of the series on DVD, find a gem in our jewelry section that speaks to you, or there’s always some Steven Universe merchandise around the store.