troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Western Animation: Steven Universe
Believe in Steven.note 

Steven Universe is a Cartoon Network show from Rebecca Sugar, an Adventure Time alum who also created Pug Davis. It is also the first Cartoon Network original created solely by a woman.

The show is about the misadventures of a boy named Steven, the ultimate "little brother" to a team of magical guardians of humanity: the Crystal Gems. Steven may not be as powerful as the other Crystal Gems. Or as savvy. And he doesn't have much control over his powers, which originate from the gem in his bellybutton. But that doesn't stop him from joining Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl on their magical adventures and somehow finding a way to save the day!

A comic has been announced starting August 2014 (Announced before the show was even set to air. Yeah, CN was so confident in the show they gave it a comic book right off the bat). A short teaser story was released in the Adventure Time 2013 Spooktacular.

There is a recap page, as well as a Best Episode Crowner. A wiki is here.

This show provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actress: Both Garnet and Amethyst do not appear in "Frybo".
  • Acrofatic: Steve knows how to hoof it when he needs to. His dexterity doesn't suffer much either. He even lampshades this after reassembling his Friendship Breakfast after it flies through the air by catching each piece one by one back on the plate.
    Steven: SKILLS!
  • Action Girl: The Crystal Gems. They're the self-appointed defenders of the universe.
  • Accidental Innuendo: In-universe. In "So Many Birthdays", as Steven enters the donut shop as he fluctuating into middle age, he asks Lars and Sadie if they can "help him into his birthday suit" (actually a crown and cape). He then gets chased out of the shop with a chair.
  • Adult Fear: Of course, because this is a show targeted towards children, Steven doesn't get killed or even seriously injured, but the fact is that a good chunk of the series so far has a young optimistic boy get thrown into repeated life-threatening situations, some more jarringly dark than others, while the Crystal Gems try their best to keep him safe. "So Many Birthdays" and "Cat Fingers" are the most prime examples, but there are plenty of others.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Garnet does this to Steven in the opening, and again in "Cheeseburger Backpack." She does it by rubbing his hair.
  • The Ageless: According to Pearl, Gems don't age, but can get hurt and die if fatally injured. The Gems are shocked to see Half-Human Steven rapidly aging, but even he may not be completely exempt from this trope. Steven's magical powers can allow him to change his physical age. He'll stay young as long as he acts like a child. He's literally only as young as he feels.
  • All Animals Are Domesticated: The lion from "Steven's Lion" is as tame as a house cat, though it's justified since he's a magical being. "Lion 2: The Movie" suggests he has some connection to Rose Quartz, which would certainly justify him being friendly.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Lion is obedient to Steven's commands. To a point. He is a cat.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: One of the pieces from the zine put out by several of the artists from the show implies Sadie has a crush on Lars.
    • They are seen flirting with each other in the original pilot. Though, she told him to lay off when he mocked Steven, so she's aware that he can be a jerk.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • So far it's only thanks to the Tumblr Character Blog "Keep Beach City Weird" that viewers can confirm that the show is set in the Delmarva Peninsula on the United States east coast. This would indicate the show most likely takes place in the state of Delaware, which makes sense given Rebecca Sugar herself based Beach City off of beach towns in that region.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Amethyst is purple, and Pearl is pearly white.
    • Oddly enough, averted by Garnet and Steeven's mother Rose Quartz. Garnet is brown, with a red tint matching her color scheme. While Rose Quartz's hair and powers are colour coded pink, when shown in Mr. Universe's photograph. They both have human skintones.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The lion in "Steven's Lion" is pink.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Lion is intelligent enough to understand English.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: In "Frybo", Steven acquires a gem shard that can animate clothes. He uses it to bring Frybo, a mascot costume, to life so the guy wearing it can goof off with him. However, Frybo turns evil, so Steven uses more gem shards to bring his own clothes to life so they can defeat it.
  • Animesque: Like it's spiritual counterpart, Adventure Time, Steven Universe takes a lot of aesthetic and thematic hints from anime. Fittingly, whereas Adventure Time is an American Shounen series with a large female following, Steven Universe is an American Shoujo series with a large male following.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: An evil spirit possesses Steven's breakfast in "Together Breakfast", resulting in this.
    Garnet: Now it has all the powers of a breakfast!
  • Arc Symbol: The hot dog Steven eats in the opening: see Arc Words.
    • The five-pointed star is implied to have some sort of connection to the crystal gems as it appears in all of their designs in one form or another.
  • Arc Words: "If every porkchop were perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs." Fits with one of the show's themes of embracing imperfection. This a saying commonly said by Greg, but it turns out that the sentence is a pass-phrase which activates Rose Quartz's (Steven's mother and previous holder of his gem) light cannon.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "Rose's Room," Rose, through the tiny whale, asks, "What do you want, Steven?" to make him realize he wants to be with the Gems after all.
  • Asteroids Monster: The bird monster in "Giant Woman" splits into a flock of winged beaks when injured.
  • Attack Reflector: The rose sword in "Lion 2: The Movie" is able to reflect the Fire, Ice, Lightning projectiles of the robot, which Connie and Steven use to destroy it.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Occasionally the show reminds the audience that Pearl and Amethyst don't really hate each others guts.
  • Badass Normal: Even without his gem weapon, Steven's still able to kick ass when he needs to. Well, more like come up with a solution that works despite not having mastered his powers yet.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Steven's gem is located in his navel. His shirt is often lifted, damaged, or removed to draw attention to it.
  • Batman Gambit: Garnet calls Steven a buttface in the pilot, right before the battle with the Atomic Skull. This is so Steven can use the hourglass, which only works to allow comebacks, to go back in time in case they lose the fight. It works.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • "Lion 2: The Movie" pretty much runs on this. Steven mentions he isn't trained when on Lion's back, so Lion takes him to a training arena that seems to have been used by Rose Quartz. Then, while he and Connie are messing around with the arena, he says he wants to see explosions, generating a dangerous training robot that tries to kill them.
    • "Rose's Room" works on the same idea. The room conjures whatever the user asks for, but Steven doesn't voice his desires properly.
    • The earlier "Frybo" features this as well when Frybo forcefully attacks people, forcing them down and stuffing their mouths with fries, after being ordered to "make people eat fries."
  • Berserk Button: Don't let Steven catch you insulting his mom.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Onion, on his own, is just a bored little kid. Give him the power of a mystical replicator though...
  • BFS: The rose sword Lion produces for Steven in "Lion 2: The Movie" is technically about the right size for an adult, but it comes across as this since Steven and Connie are the ones using it.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The centipeetles in "Gem Glow"; the babies are roughly the size of an average dog while the mother is as big as a house.
  • Big Eater: Amethyst, whom Rebecca stated doesn't really need to do so. But just likes doing it. For example, she chases Steven down in "Together Breakfast" to get a bite of Steven's breakfast. A shortened version from the promos:
    Amethyst: Oh, what's that, Steven?
    Steven: It's a together breakfast!
    Amethyst: GIMME GIMME! (chases Steven down)
    Steven: AAH!
    Amethyst: I'M HUNGRY!
  • Big Fun: Steven and Amethyst are both heavyset and the most laid-back and fun loving of the Gems.
  • Big "NO!": Steven's reaction to finding that Cookie Cats are no longer being sold.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst respectively.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The staff have confirmed that the Gems don't bleed (as seen when Pearl was stabbed) but they can blush, as well as cry. They're also seen gasping for air in "Cheeseburger Backpack".
  • Bloodless Carnage: The gem monsters conveniently disappear in puffs of smoke when killed.
    • Likewise, "Steven the Swordfighter" features Pearl being impaled through the chest with a sword, only for her to burst into a puff of smoke and revert to a gem.
  • Blow You Away: The puffer fish monster in "Beach Party" can shoot out an unending stream of high-pressure air.
  • Body Horror: In "Cat Fingers", when Steven's shapeshifting goes wrong his body becomes a throbbing mass of cats.
  • Boredom Montage: In "Frybo" when Peedee rides the seahorse at the arcade. As his face goes in and out of camera range, his expression gradually changes from excited to bored.
  • Brick Joke/Chekhov's Gag: In "Cheeseburger Backpack" Steven pulls out a raft to use to get across a fast-moving river, only for the raft to get swept down the waterfall. The raft shows up again at the end of the episode and the Gems use it to paddle home.
  • British Stuffiness: Garnet is noticeably less uptight than most examples, but her stiff upper lip and accent certainly fit this trope.
  • Broken Aesop: Invoked in "Rose's Room". Just as Steven learns that he can't always do what he wants to do, Garnet tells him that the Gems now have free time and they can go play mini golf.
    Steven: I always get what I want!
  • Butt Monkey: Poor, poor Fryman in "Laser Light Cannon" gets his sign ripped off by strong gusts and his car crushed by red eye debris.
    • Due to the shape of the narrative, this has a chance of happening to Steven himself until he realizes he Took a Level in Badass. While the show is consistently about his development and those Hidden Depths alongside the Tagalong Kid, he doesn't know how to fight, nor does he really understand the scope of the Gems' purpose or role and how to take part in it.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Mostly by done by children.
  • Car Fu: In "Onion Trade", Onion is using the duplicator wand to flood the town with copies of the Dave Guy figurine. When Garnet tries to take the wand from him, he aims it at her, which she blocks with her Power Fist. Onion then turns the wand on a car and starts shooting cars at her instead.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: In "Gem Glow", the Gems chat with Steven while killing a bunch of acid-shooting centipeetles that have invaded the house, topped off by Pearl giving one a Neck Snap without pausing.
  • Cat Smile: Amethyst often sports one as a simple result of her rather plump lips.
  • Cats Hate Water: Steven negates his out-of-control cat shapeshifting in "Cat Fingers" by sending himself through Greg's cat wash.
  • Central Theme: Most episodes tend to converge on themes of mixing magic with reality, accepting or embracing imperfection, and/or finding beauty in the ugly. Rebecca describes the show as "reverse-escapism," where magical beings are fascinated with the mundane. Steven is the epitome of the magic-and-reality theme, as he is half-human (normal) and half Crystal Gem (magic). A standard way they mix magic with reality is solving a magic problem a "mundane" way, like Steven using a glow bracelet (normal/mundane) to lure a worm gem monster (magic) to its death.
  • Character Blog: Keep Beach City Weird, run by Ronaldo Fryman. He mentions it in-universe when he takes a picture of Steven's cat fingers.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The hourglass in the pilot episode. It seems to be useless after Steven "ruins" it, but Garnet finds a way to use it.
    • The glow bracelet in the freezer in "Gem Glow" turns out to be important in the episode "Bubble Buddies", because Steven had been keeping it to return to Connie.
    • Connie mentioning her tennis lessons in "Lion 2: The Movie" comes up when needing to use a sword to destroy a dangerous training robot.
  • City of Adventure: Beach City, so far, though in the pilot the girls come in from their Crystal Palace, which is presumably off-world.
  • Colony Drop: The Red Eye in "Laser Light Cannon" tries this. It gets blown up by said cannon.
  • Comeback Tomorrow: Steven's chosen purpose for the time-traveling crystal is retroactively averting this trope (depending on how you look at it) in the pilot. When Lars insults Steven, Steven leaves the store angrily, only to realize he could have made a comeback to him; however, the crystal allows him to go back in time and make the comeback.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "Cat Fingers", Peedee (who first appeared in "Frybo") returns; he's been promoted (as noticed by Steven), so Steven demands french fry bits, like in "Laser Light Cannon", which leads Fryman to say:
    Fryman: Peedee, it'll be over sooner if you just give him what he wants.
    • In "Bubble Buddies", we see Steven take a glowing ring-shaped item out of the freezer, previously seen in "Gem Glow". It turns out to be a glow bracelet that belongs to Connie — from a year ago.
    • In "Arcade Mania" we see Onion cashing in enough tickets to win a moped, implying he's a great player, but in "So Many Birthdays" it's shown he just steals tickets from the machines.
      • And in "Onion Trade", Onion drives the moped over a bunch of ketchup packets and lets it crash and explode.
    • Pearl's Giant Waist Ribbon becomes part of her permanent outfit after her revival in "Steven The Sword Fighter".
  • Cool House: Their home is explored in "Together Breakfast." The whole thing is a wooden house that is attached to a giant statue (the temple). That wooden house part? That's Steven's room. The girls get the temple, which is a magical, intricate facility with long hallways, tunnels, floating platforms, crystals galore, and even magic waterfalls.
    Garnet: We inhabit the inner sanctums... only accessible through magical, extra-dimensional doors.
  • Cool Old Lady: Nanefua, whose first appearance has some amazing one-liners, and ends with her becoming the leader as the Gems and the Pizzas team up to defeat a giant pufferfish.
  • Cool Shades: Garnet has a nice pair of reflective shades.
  • Cool Sword: The rose-themed BFS from "Lion 2: The Movie".
  • Creepy Child: Onion on occasion.
  • Curbstomp Battle: The Garnet VS Amethyst fight in "Tiger Millionaire". Garnet only needed one Power Fist to handle Amethyst, and likely would have laid a serious beatdown had Steven not stopped them.
  • Cutting the Knot: Steven does this twice in "Arcade Mania" to break Garnet out of her trance. The first time, he pulls the plug on the machine, but Garnet just uses her powers to recharge it. Unable to beat her superior reflexes by playing the game, he smashes the screen to make sure she can't fix it, which succeeds in breaking the trance.
  • Dancing Pants: The clothes brought to life in "Frybo", starting with Steven's own pants.
  • Death by Childbirth: Rose Quartz "gave up her physical form to bring Steven into the world", as Greg puts it. Since he's shown to have been a bit of a hippie in his younger days, so such choice words wouldn't be out of character for him. Technically, it's not death, but the characters treat the situation similarly.
  • Demonic Possession: In "Together Breakfast", Steven interrupts Garnet while she's trying to destroy an evil picture, causing the evil to migrate to Steven's breakfast.
  • Depending on the Artist: Quite visible in "Cheeseburger Backpack", where the art style changes slightly in some scenes.
  • Destructive Savior: The Gems, sometimes. Though it's still better than what would have happened without them.
    Amethyst: Steven! You just saved most of Beach City!
  • Diving Save: Played with in "Bubble Buddies" when Steven saves his crush Connie from falling debris by diving on her, though he didn't move her out of the way; his gem suddenly activated and it made a spherical energy shield.
  • Double Meaning Title: "So Many Birthdays." It can refer to either the series of birthdays Steven has for the other Gems, or Steven triggering rapid aging on himself.
  • Dramatic Unmask: In "Arcade Mania," Steven removes Garnet's shades, revealing her third eye.
  • Eating Optional: The Crystal Gems don't need to eat, but Amethyst does it anyway.
  • Eldritch Location: The Gem Temple has water which doesn't obey gravity, areas where gravity isn't consistent, and is implied to be alive.
  • Exact Words: In the episode "Frybo", Peedee tells the titular Monster of the Week to "Make people eat fries." It does just that. All too well.
  • Excuse Plot: In-Universe, the Cookie Cat ice cream sandwich apparently has a theme song about Cookie Cat coming from space and leaving his family behind.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The Crystal Gems purpose and names are all laid out in the twenty second long theme song, as at the top of the page.
  • Fastball Special: To destroy the Red Eye, Garnet tries throwing Amethyst at it. It fails every time.
  • Fat and Skinny: Several instances, but Amethyst and Pearl are the most prominent.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three older Gems all fit: Garnet (Fighter) depends primarily on her absurd physical strength and durablity, Pearl (Mage) uses her mental talents and projections, while Amethyst (Thief) is most likely to use unusual abilities like shapeshifting.
  • The Film of the Book: In-universe. The Dogcopter films are based on a series of books.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The dangerous machine from "Lion 2: the Movie" is able to attack using fire, ice, and electricity.
  • Flash Step: Used by Pearl for laughs in "So Many Birthdays". When Steven was throwing a party for the Gems because they don't celebrate birthdays, for Pearl's part of the party he intended to trip and fall face-flat on a pie. Pearl caught him mid-fall from a meter or two away to keep him from falling. To respond, Steven just slammed the pie in his face anyway.
  • Foil: Pearl and Amethyst play off each other by being opposites in every respect. Pearl is well-mannered, dainty, hard-working, and protective; Amethyst is a slob, ill-mannered, lazy, fun-loving, and irresponsible. Physically, Pearl is skinny while Amethyst is fat. Their differences can even be seen in the way they sit.
    Steven: Where did you get these? I thought they stopped making them!
    Pearl: Well, we heard that too, and since they're your favorite...
    Amethyst: We went out and stole a bunch!
    Pearl: (annoyed grunt) I went back and paid for them.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the transformations Amethyst cycles through in "Cat Fingers" is her Purple Puma wrestler persona from "Tiger Millionaire".
    • The temple that the gems live in is in the shape of an enormous woman with eight arms. Pearl and Amethyst's fusion ends up having four arms.
    • The bright, pink setting that Steven slides down in "Together Breakfast" ("Hey... This isn't so bad.") is later revealed to be Rose's former room in "Rose's Room." The same background music even plays.
  • Flower Motifs: Magic associated with Steven or his mother Rose Quartz often have a rose theme, like the blast from the Laser Light Cannon, the first use of Steven's bubble shield, and the sword from Lion.
  • Freudian Trio:
    • The Kirk: Pearl. She tries to balance out logic and emotion. Most of the time she's the one to come up with a plan, but she also doesn't mind engaging in cheering Steven on or scolding him in a motherly fashion.
    • The McCoy: Amethyst. She's impulsive, emotional, and often puts having a bit of fun at the expense of others before her own duties.
    • The Spock: Garnet. She's always calm and thinks logically.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The toyline GUYS, Guys Under Your Supervision, from "Onion Trade".
    • Keep Beach City Weird apparently gives us the pewter version, Boys On Your Shelf.
  • Fusion Dance: As shown in "Giant Woman", the Gems can fuse together, forming a giant, composite being that shares their powers. Pearl and Amethyst fuse into a four-armed woman called Opal, able to fuse their whip and spear into a bow. Garnet and Amethyst fuse together in "Coach Steven" to form Sugilite, who also has four arms and is much bigger and more violent in nature than Opal. Bonus points for them actually dancing to do it. The statue that holds the temple is a fusion Gem as well.
  • Gem Heart: One of the Gems' tasks as self-appointed guardians is hunting down or defending against monsters that tend to leave behind a giant gem not unlike their own. They collect them for an unspecified reason and teleport them to an unrevealed location.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: In "Rose's Room", Steven winds up in his mother's room, which can manifest anything the user wants. When Steven poorly words a desire to leave and get doughnuts (since nothing in the room is real), it manifests a copy of the entire town, the scale of which is too much for the room to handle. All the people are thus crude reflections of their real counterparts spouting a mish-mash of things Steven has heard them say before, before the entire illusion collapses.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Steven constantly tries to invoke this in "Giant Woman" because he wants to see Amethyst and Pearl fuse. It ends up being crossed for real when he gets eaten by a giant bird.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Steve's shapeshifting in "Cat Fingers". He shapeshifts his fingers into cats, but it gets out of control and he starts turning into a fleshy mass of cat faces.
  • Goofy Suit: The titular mascot from "Frybo". Once Steven brings it to life, however, it stops being so goofy.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Rose Quartz's light cannon is kept in Greg Universe's public storage locker with all the junk he's accumulated over the years.
  • Growing Up Sucks: A whole episode about it.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Averted: the girls all use melee weapons, while Steven uses whatever he can get his hands on, to compensate for his lack of experience and inability to summon his shield.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Crystal Gems are a separate species from humans; Steven is half-human and half-Gem on his mother's side.
  • Hard Light: Hologram Pearl's name suggests that she is made of light, yet she can hold real objects, such as swords, umbrellas and balloons.
  • Hartman Hips: Garnet, which fits her role as the mature and wise leader.
  • Hero Insurance: While the townspeople certainly don't like the Gems occasionally destroying their property, they don't usually do anything about it. The Gems themselves outright don't care; their job is to kill the monsters, and property is collateral. When Garnet accidently wrecks the Pizza's shop during a battle and takes off without acknowledging it, Kofi tears into Steven about how reckless they are.7
  • Heroes Of Another Story: Since the focus of the show is on Steven, it's left to the viewer's imagination on what the Gems are doing when they're out on separate missions.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In "Coach Steven," Pearl has this when fighting Sugilite after Steven pumps her up.
  • Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: Discussed in "Frybo". Peedee argues that being a Crystal Gem is not a job because they don't get paid. Steven claims that they get paid in the smiles of the people they save. Peedee then confesses that the money he gets doesn't compensate for what the job takes out of him.
  • Hollywood Acid: The centipeetles in "Gem Glow" spit acid that melts through a wooden floor instantly, and wears down stone in under a minute.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: Happens with Hologram Pearl in "Steven the Sword Fighter".
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: Hologram Pearl occasionally fizzles and shows visual static.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Steven has no idea how to activate his Crystal Gem or control the powers that do manifest, and the other teammates don't know how to explain it in words that Steven can understand, either.
  • How Did That Get in There?: In "Onion Trade", Pearl comments on how messy Steven's room is. To prove her point, she opens a window where out flies a seagull holding a pizza crust in it's beak and wearing a banana peel. Steven gives the phrase, and Pearl says it's because he leaves his window open.
  • Hurricane of Puns: At the end of "Cat Fingers", Steven has a stream of cat puns he thought up while waiting for the Gems. Each of them get Lame Pun Reactions.
    • The game Meat Beat Mania in "Arcade Mania" makes a bunch of meat puns.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: The Gems, being effectively immortal, don't actually need to eat (although Amethyst won't let that stop her). Played for Laughs in "Beach Party":
    Nanefua: Aren't you girls hungry? You've barely touched your food!
    Garnet: We don't need to eat.
    Nanefua: Oh, you young people and your experimental diets.
    Garnet: I am much older than you.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: When Pearl gets distracted by Steven during a sword fight, her hologram opponent stabs her through the chest.
  • Improvised Weapon: Steven beans the mother centipeetle with a broken freezer... while it's still plugged in.
  • Indirect Kiss: The title of an upcoming episode.
  • Iris Out: Every episode, in the shape of the star on Steven's shirt.
  • It Amused Me: The reasoning behind nearly everything Onion does.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: Steven tries to show Lion to Kiki and Ronaldo, but he runs off. Kiki accuses him of lyin' and Ronaldo just thinks it's invisible.
  • Jerkass: Lars doesn't particularly take Steven and the Gems seriously, as shown in the pilot; he insults them by calling them the "Crystal Fems," and he makes fun of Steven for working with a bunch of girls.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Pearl is probably the most uptight of the Crystal Gems as well as the one most annoyed with Steven, but she's still shown to be reasonably caring.
    • Amethyst seems to fit this role; she steals, is quick with insults, and is the first one to laugh at misfortune yet pals around with Steven the most.
  • Kill It with Water: How Steven and Greg get rid of Steven's cats in "Cat Fingers".
  • Large and in Charge: The Crystal Gems follow this trope by way of seniority. The two oldest and tallest are Garnet and Pearl in that order whereas the relatively younger and altogether new Amethyst and Steven are squat.
  • Last of Their Kind: It hasn't been stated in the series yet, but one of the first commercials states that Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl were the last gems before finding Steven.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: When Amethyst and Pearl barge into Steven and Connie's relationship, Garnet carries them away so they won't mess it up.
    Garnet: Don't mess with his funky flow.
  • Leitmotif: Various characters have their own:
    • Pearl has a calm and elegant swing theme.
    • Amethyst has a hip-hop beat.
    • When these two characters fuse to form Opal, her theme is an energetic jazz piano theme.
    • Lion has a simple, childlike glockenspiel theme, which becomes more energetic whenever he's doing something cool.
    • Steven and Rose share an instrumental version of the "We are the Crystal Gems" theme song.
    • Greg has a simple, laid-back one.
  • Life or Limb Decision: When Steven's hand gets stuck to a pedestal in a gem temple lion brings him and Connie to, Connie considers that they might have to cut it off. The temple even helpfully produces an array of swords for the task. Steven quickly wills them away.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Subverted in "Steven the Swordfighter". When Pearl is temporarily killed and has to revert to a gem to regenerate, she returns with a new outfit.
  • Lip Lock: The dub of Lonely Blade V that Steven watches in "Steven the Swordfighter" is extremely rudimentary. (Steven doesn't mind.) This is compared to the subtitled version of Lonely Blade IV that the Gems watch at the beginning of the episode.
  • Literal-Minded: In "So Many Birthdays" Steven makes a joke about Pearl throwing butter out a window "to see a butter fly" and the Gems react with confusion, thinking Steven is saying she really did this.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Inverted. Amethyst has hair that reaches her ankles, but tends to be a lazy and careless slob. By contrast, Pearl's hair doesn't even reach her shoulders, but is the most conventionally feminine of the group.
  • Love You and Everybody: After Steven first meets Connie, Amethyst teases him because he likes her. Steven protests that he likes everybody.
  • Luminescent Blush: Pearl gives off a bluish blush from time to time (the blue coloring is likely a result of her skin color being pearly-white).
  • Magical Girl Warrior: The Crystal Gems and Steven's mom. Steven himself may also qualify - he's a boy, but he still more or less fits the mold.
  • Magitek: A lot of the magic in the show seems like a form of technology. For example, Pearl's hologram is a voice-activated hologram that can touch things, but bugs out with static. Rose's room is like a gaming processor that can't handle areas that are too big. The room also responds to voice commands. Rose's armory does as well. Crystal shards (as seen in "Frybo") also respond to voice commands.
  • Malaproper: From "So Many Birthdays":
    Steven: Well, I can't just ignore this tremesty of unjustice!
  • Manly Tears: Greg sheds tears at the end of "Laser Light Cannon" after he sees that the beam from the cannon forms the shape of his late lover Rose.
  • Minimalist Cast: So far, there have been four episodes where the main cast was almost completely limited to the four Crystal Gems (and in two cases, a Monster of the Week) — "Cheeseburger Backpack", "Together Breakfast", "Serious Steven", and "Giant Woman".
  • Monster of the Week: Downplayed. There are monsters with gems in their bodies that the Gems need to stop from reaching the temple but they rarely are the focus of the episode.
  • Mood Whiplash: The "Cookie Cat" theme song has your typical Excuse Plot, then segues into "He left his family behind!"
    • "So Many Birthdays" goes from a highly comedic episode to Steven having a mid-life crisis as he rapidly ages until he almost dies.
    • Pearl tries to teach Steven the basics of sword fighting while demonstrating them against a hologram she created. Much to her displeasure, Steven is more interested in seeing flashy moves. Pearl turns her head to scold Steven and get impaled from behind by her hologram.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Jenny is regularly portrayed as one of the most attractive people on the show, and wears a lot of outfits that accentuate her figure.
    "I don't need sleep to look pretty!"
    • The Gems in general have their moments, in particular during "Beach Party", where Garnet wears a bikini with short sarong and Amethyst wears a tank-top and hotpants.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Opal (Pearl and Amethyst's fusion) has four arms and can make use of both Pearl's swordstaff and Amethyst's whip. She can even combine both weapons into a powerful magic bow.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • In the pilot, Steven gets his hands on something that can reverse time by accident and uses it to make witty comebacks he thought of too late.
    • Of course, because of the way that artifact works, it could then only be used by him, only for making comebacks.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: As shown above with the Theme Tune Roll Call, Steven Zoidberg's himself in.
    • Although in the pilot it was Steven who wrote the song in the first place.
  • Mythology Gag: When Pearl regains her physical form in "Steven the Sword Fighter", a silhouette resembling her original design from the pilot can be seen.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Steven beats the Frybo mascot costume by animating his clothing, underwear included.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, the Gems have said "kill" a few times. Steven's mother is said to have "given up her physical form" to give birth to Steven, but given the magical nature of the Gems that may be more complicated than simple death. In addition, Pearl has explicitly stated that Gems can die, just not from old age (or food poisoning.)
    • During The Cool Kids, Sour Cream says "I think I died," after he and the other cool kids wake up on top of the hill.

  • New Content Countdown Clock: On the day of the premiere, there was a clock in the corner of Cartoon Network's programs counting down to the premiere of Steven Universe.
  • The Needless: The Gems don't need to eat or sleep, but they are still able to. Amethyst embraces both of them with gusto.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In "Cheeseburger Backpack", Steven stuffs practically everything he'll need in his backpack for the trip to the Sea Spire... except for the moon statue which he was supposed to bring to save the place.
    • In "Together Breakfast", Steven's attempt to get the Gems together for breakfast ends up causing an evil spirit to possess said breakfast. Steven at least fixed this one by destroying the spirit.
    • In "Frybo", Steven doesn't pay attention to Pearl's warning about the magic gem shards which animate objects, resulting in a monster born of the Frybo costume which Steven then has to defeat by animating his clothes with the remaining shards.
    • Even Steven himself admits in "Lion 2: the Movie" that he thinks he's a screw-up.
  • No Antagonist: Word of God states that this series won't have any proper villains or a Big Bad. The Gems do fight monsters on occasion, but so far they've just been portrayed as wild beasts that are destructive but not inherently evil.
  • No Body Left Behind: All of the monsters with gems on them disappear in a puff of smoke when they're killed, leaving only a gem behind (which Garnet usually makes disappear with a magic bubble).
    • The same happens to Crystal Gems when their bodies are badly damaged. They regain their physical form once they have finished regenerating. This can be a very slow process, depending on the Gem (Pearl takes 2 weeks to heal, but Amethyst implies it only takes her a couple of days).
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted when the Red Eye in "Laser Light Cannon" is destroyed, as the resulting giant shrapnel causes substantial property damage when it hits the surrounding area. Amethyst lampshades this, saying that Steven saved most of the city.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Pearl's duplicator wand is able to make perfect copies of any object, but destroying the wand destroys every copy it has ever made.
  • Non-Action Guy: Greg is not a Crystal Gem. He does get involved when Steven specifically comes to him for help, though. So even if he's not the action type he's more than willing to stick his neck out for his son.
  • Notable Original Music: "Let Me Drive My Van Into Your Heart", from "Laser Light Cannon".
  • Not So Stoic: In "So Many Birthdays," while the Gems are trying to get Steven to revert to his original age before he dies, Garnet picks Steven up and begins shaking him out of desperation. When Amethyst and Pearl stop her, she is seen walking away crying because she doesn't know what to do.
    Garnet: I thought violence would be the answer.
  • Odd Name Out: Garnet, Amethyst, Pearl... and Steven.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The girls are often off-planet or elsewhere on the planet fighting evil. As Steven isn't ready to join them, they don't take him along. In "Cheeseburger Backpack", for example, they've just returned from fighting a giant bird, and in "Cat Fingers", they journey off to another mission, leaving Steven behind to deal with his own problem.
  • Oh Crap:
    • In "Cheeseburger Backpack," this happens to Steven when he realizes he forgot to pack the statue, which was essential for the mission of the episode.
    • In "Bubble Buddies", Steven and Connie talk Onion into fetching a harpoon gun to pop the shield bubble. Rather than get a handheld one, however, Onion commandeers a ship-mounted one. Both immediately dive out of the way (as much as is possible, anyway).
  • One-Gender Race: The Crystal Gems are naturally all female. Half-human Steven is the first of the entire species to be male.
  • The One Guy: Not only is Steven the youngest of the team and the main protagonist, he is also the only male member of the team.
  • Opposed Mentors: Each of the Gems have their own approach to mentoring Steven, although the only real conflict is between Pearl and Amethyst.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Steven's wrestling persona Tiger Millionaire consists of a business suit and a fake cat nose, and Sadie is still the only person who notices any similarity between the two. Amethyst's persona, the Purple Puma, at least has her shape-shifting powers behind it, but she's still the only person in the city with purple skin and a visible gem in her chest.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Disappeared Dad: Played with. Greg Universe is physically present and emotionally supportive, but the Gems have asked him to stay out matters involving the Gems since he's "kind of a mess". He runs a car wash and lives in his van, while Steven lives at the house in front of the Gem monument. There's nothing stopping Steven from going to see him.
    • Missing Mom: Steven's mother, Rose Quartz, "gave up her physical form to bring [Steven] into the world" — as Greg puts it.
  • Parental Substitute: Even though, as noted above, Greg Universe is still around and Steven has no problem going to him, it would seem Steven spends most of his time with the Gems.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Pearl says this to Steven at the end of "Frybo", Steven having brought his clothes to life to battle the mascot costume.
  • Portal Door: The door at the Gem monument leads to the Gem temple, and opens to specific areas depending on which Gem activates it.
  • Portal Network: The crystal platform in front of the Portal Door links to other platforms of similar construction.
  • Power Glows: The Crystal Gem's respective jewels often glow when they activate their powers.
  • Power Incontinence: Because of his age and inexperience, Steven suffers from this. It is usually played for laughs before being played serious.
    • Steven involuntarily activates a Deflector Shield to protect Connie, but then they're stuck inside because Steven can't turn it off. When it turns off on its own, they happen to be
    • Amethyst teaches Steven to use Voluntary Shapeshifting. He succeeds in turning his fingers into cats, but can't change them back and the cats eventually start multiplying all over his body.
    • When fretting about his age, Steven's shapeshifting kicks in and causes Rapid Aging.
  • The Power of Love: It's not noticed by anyone on the show yet but "Gem Glow" and "Bubble Buddies" make it fairly obvious that Steven has to draw on feelings of love (romantic, friendship, or familial) to manifest his gem powers.
  • Power-Up Food: Steven thinks this is the case with his Cookie Cat ice cream sandwiches in "Gem Glow". Unfortunately, he fails to take the context into account when he tries to invoke it against the mother centipeetle, only managing to give himself an upset stomach from too much ice cream.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode/Pro Wrestling Is Real: "Tiger Millionaire", where Amethyst and Steven join an "Underground" wrestling promotion. Gimmicks are accounted for, but the matches don't appear to have been worked.
  • Pun: Steven says one in "Together Breakfast" about his breakfast (which partly consists of a stack of waffles):
    Steven: It's not exactly healthy, but it's in a stack! So I guess you could say it's a... balanced breakfast?
    Garnet: ...
    • At the end of Steven's golfing-themed game:
      Protagonist: Saving the day is just par for the course!
  • Prehensile Hair: The skull monster in the pilot has this, and uses it to beat the Gems to a pulp.
  • Rant Inducing Slight: Steven and Connie are trapped in a magic shield the near-entirety of "Bubble Buddies," with Steven continually assuring her that he'll come up with a plan that works. All of them fail. When they get stuck in an ocean crevice, Connie finally snaps.
    Steven: I-It's okay, uh...
    Connie: IT'S NOT OKAY!!
  • Rapid Aging: Steven can cause this on himself with his gem powers. This is because his physical age is controlled by his state of mind. Thus, he is literally only as young as he feels.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Gems occasionally allude to being centuries old. Steven, being a child, is the only exception. In the pilot episode, Pearl says that they've been protecting the hourglass for a thousand years.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Steven wears a pink shirt and sandals. His gem is also bright pink, as is the shield it produces.
    • Justified because it's a genetic inheritance from his mother, Rose Quartz.
  • Reality Ensues: The gems use the light cannon to destroy the Red Eye, but it's close enough that the wreckage still rains down on the town. Still, better than a giant crater.
  • Rock Theme Naming: So far, full-blood Crystal Gems are named after various precious minerals/gemstones (Garnet, Pearl, Amethyst, Rose Quartz). The Gems' Fusion Dance forms (Opal and Sugilite) join in the Theme Naming as well.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever Steven makes a particularly lame joke, he usually follows it up with a derpy smile like so.
    • Steven often falls flat on his face after teleporting.
    • The TV in Steven's room has broken several times.
  • Scenery Porn: The series has gained a name thanks to its gorgeous artwork.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Amethyst and Steven shift into smaller/larger forms in "Cat Fingers", each time being as light or heavy as would be necessary for that form.
  • Shapeshifting: The Crystal Gems' can naturally change their shape at will, though Amethyst is the only one that uses it often. Steven tried to do it in "Cat Fingers", but he lost control.
  • She's Got Legs: Both Pearl and Garnet have especially long, shapely legs (Garnet even shows them off in "Beach Party").
  • Shout-Out: A whole page's worth.
  • Sleep Mode Size: If badly injured, the Gems are able to retreat into their gems to heal, which seems to take a week or two normally.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: The Crystal Gems are named after the gems on their bodies, but Steven is the only exception.
  • Spell My Name with an S: The name of the kids from "Frybo" is spelled "Peedee," not Petey.
  • Snobs Vs Slobs: The source of friction between Pearl and Amethyst.
  • Soul Jar: Gem's gems are this: so long as they're not destroyed, their physical body just disappears and will regenerate.
  • The Stoic: Garnet is the aloof leader that never loses her cool.
  • Stout Strength: Steven appears to possess this. He effortlessly catches Amethyst and manages to keep Lars from being crushed; He's is able to offset the imbalance of the laws of physics inside the Gem palace with little difficulty, including hugging onto a pillar that drops into a Bottomless Pit while one of his hands is still holding the plate of pancakes; and he's able to effortlessly rappel up a wall once he gains his footing, even with an exceptionally powerful gravitational force trying to suck him down.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Pearl and Amethyst respectively more or less anytime they're onscreen together.
  • Super Strength: The Crystal Gems seem to possess some degree of this, Garnet in particular. They easily kill the centipeetles in "Gem Glow", and in "Laser Light Cannon" Garnet throws Amethyst in a Fastball Special several miles away (and the latter easily survives the impact and fall) without even using her Power Fist. Even Steven seems stronger than a boy his age should be.
  • Surprise Creepy: The show is usually a lighthearted comedy, which makes the occasional foray into terrifying Body Horror all the more effective.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Played for Laughs in "Rose's Room". When the Gems aren't able to hang out with him and accidently mess up his video game, Steven locks himself in Rose's old room where it seems like his every wish is granted. He ends up in a creepy facsimile of Beach City. After he gets out, he decides that he can't always have everything. The gems then tell him that they now have time to hang out with him, and the episode ends with Steven declaring "I always get what I want!"
  • Symbol Motif Clothing: Steven and the Gems all have stars on their clothing in some capacity.
  • Symbolic Blood: Frybo bled ketchup when it was stabbed in the eye.
  • Tag Along Kid: Steven, he does have a much bigger role than most other tag along kids due to the fact that he has powers that could help, but he's unable to use them. Also, he's the main character so most of the stories center around him.
  • Taking the Bullet: Parodied when Steven dives to protect his together breakfast from Amethyst's Super Soaker.
  • Team Mom: Garnet and Pearl seem to share this role for Steven in helping him find his true powers and abilities while also doing more of the caring for him, while Amethyst plays a more sisterly role simply having fun with him. Pearl in particular, scolds Steven in a motherly fashion more often than not.
    • Pearl definitely has more moments of being a mother figure for Steven, but Garnet is clearly the Team Mom for the other gems. It's implied that that Rose had a lot of Team Mom elements before she faded from reality.
  • Tennis Boss: The machine from "Lion 2: The Movie" is ultimately defeated in a nod to these types of bosses; with reflecting its energy balls back at it with a sword. In a nod to this, the sword-swinging uses tennis moves as a reference.
  • Time Abyss: The episode "So Many Birthdays" revealed that Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst is much older than any human.
  • Title Theme Drop: Happens when Steven summons his shield in "Gem Glow." Actually, the theme song is often played in the background in clever ways, such as just using the basic chords from the theme, or remixing the melody very slightly.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Amethyst resorts to this in "Gem Glow".
    Pearl: Calm down, Steven. Breathe; don't force [your power].
    Amethyst: Yeah... and try not to poop yourself, either!
    Garnet: Please, don't.
  • Too Dumb to Live: While trying to figure out how to pop the Deflector Shield bubble that's trapped him and Connie, Steven suggests rolling in front of a roller coaster. He fails to grasp the obvious problem of what would happen should they succeed. An earthquake knocks them into its path anyway, but fortunately the shield holds.
  • True Companions: As evident from Amethyst's "You're one of us, Steven. We're not the Crystal Gems without you."
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Suggested in the case of Steven's parents. Rose Quartz was a beautiful Gem and Greg is a scruffy, balding man with a paunch. Greg himself even wonders what she saw in him.
  • Uncanny Valley invoked: Pearl's hologram in "Steven the Swordfighter". While it looks like Pearl, it has a one track mind focused on fighting, talks like a robot and while in "wait mode", it just stares at you.
    Garnert: Stop hanging out with that thing. It's creepy.
  • Unknown Rival: In "Beach Party", the Gems barely even know the Pizza family, from whose restaurant they've been banned, nor do they care on account of not needing to eat (and Amethyst says the pizza isn't that good, anyway). Even at the end, they cannot recall what store the family owns after being unbanned.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • Played with in "Lion 2: The Movie". Connie is suitably amazed by the giant pink lion and gem magic, while Steven is used to it and is more excited about the movie with the cyborg heli-dog.
    • "Beach Party" has Garnet explaining to the Pizzas exactly how the Gem Temple works. As she does so, the gem in her right hand sparkles.
    Kofi: What is wrong with your hand?
  • Viking Funeral: Parodied when the Frybo costume is laid to rest by being burned on a boat.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: Pearl can use her Gem to project a hologram version of herself for training purposes.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Pearl and Amethyst spend almost all of their shared onscreen time arguing, but every once in a while there's a subtle indication that they do care about each other.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • In "Gem Glow", Steven has a convenient dirt hill to obscure his face as he vomits up the many Cookie Cats he ate in a misguided attempt to activate his powers.
    • In "So Many Birthdays" after Amethyst eats a 5-year-old, possibly older, burrito, via a Smash to Black.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date: Amethyst casually eats a moldy, 5-year-old tuna burrito without giving any thought about it. A few moments later, she clenches her stomach and doubles over, all while Pearl is explaining that the Gems can never die of old age... or food poisoning.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Rose Quartz's light cannon. It shoots a beam of light in the shape of a flower that blooms into a silhouette of Rose herself.
  • Weapon Across the Shoulder: In "Lion 2: The Movie" Connie holds the rose sword this way after she and Steven defeat the monster.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each Crystal Gem has a specific weapon, summoned from the gem(s) on their body.
    • Amethyst's whip is in the gem on her chest.
    • Pearl's spear is in the gem on her forehead.
    • Garnet's gauntlets are in the two gems on her hands.
    • Steven's shield is in his belly button, as revealed in the first episode, "Gem Glow". However, he doesn't know how to consistently summon it at first.
  • Well Intentioned Replacement: In the comic story from the Adventure Time 2013 Spooktacular. The Gems make a comic book for Steven after destroying Steven's pile of GuyMan (and GuyWoman) variants that a devious shape shifter turned itself into. Steven loves it.
  • Wingding Eyes:
    • Steven's turn into stars whenever he's happy, plus a few other shapes here and there.
    • Connie's turn into diamonds.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: As with Amazing Technicolor Population, this seems to be a thing for the Crystal Gems. Rose has pink hair, Amethyst's is pale purple, and Pearl's is orange. Garnet has black hair in the series, but in the pilot it seemed to be very dark red. Steven averts this.

The Amazing World of GumballCreator/Ka BOOM! ComicsChip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers
South ParkDramedyTotal Drama
Steamboat WillieWestern AnimationStickin' Around
Incredible CrewCreator/Cartoon NetworkClarence
Sonic BoomThe New TensStrawberry Shortcake

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
112421
39