"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 - AND STEVEN!"
—Steven Universe theme song
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 book series began in August of 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.
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.
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 gets chased out of the shop with a chair.
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.
On the flip side of the above, we have Steven's occasional self-esteem issues, worrying that he may never be able to hold his own in said life-threatening situations due to his lack of powers. "An Indirect Kiss" displays this when, after hoping to have Healing Tears like his mother and finding out he doesn't, he relates the story to Connie as Pearl mocking him for his lack of powers and claiming that the gems want nothing to do with him.
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 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 also 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.
Almost Kiss: Steven and Connie in "An Indirect Kiss", before Connie realizes that her eyesight is restored.
So far it's only thanks to the TumblrCharacter 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.
Alternate History: There are subtle signs. In "Arcade Mania" a modified Department of Justice seal with a broken up snake on it can be seen. Additionally, money will have images of gems on them. Word of God also confirms this.
And I Must Scream: "Ocean Gem" reveals that the gem monsters the Gems fight used to be Gems themselves. To make matters worse, one of these Gems, Lapis, was trapped in a mirror, essentially enslaved and only able to communicate with recorded reflections. One of which happens to be Steven screaming.
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.
Animation Bump: Lapis has far more flowing, graceful animation than most of the main cast, reflecting both her aqueous nature, and how much more serious she is than them. Especially apparent when she's alone with Steven, whose jerky animation and childlike personality contrast hers.
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.
An evil spirit possesses Steven's breakfast in "Together Breakfast", resulting in this.
Garnet: Now it has all the powers of a breakfast!
Frybo. Granted it was an animated costume, but it seemed to grow legs made out of French fries, it 'bled' ketchup when Pearl threw her spear into its eye, and Steven thrust his hand into what looked like mashed potato innards in order to pull out the gem shard animating it.
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.
Also a hint at how different the Crystal Gems are from other gems. Lapis, for instance, is associated with an eight-pointed star, which appears on her mirror and when she first assumes human form.
Arc Words: "If every porkchop were perfect, we wouldn't have hot dogs." It 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.
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.
"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.
"Frybo" features this. When Frybo forcefully attacks people, forcing them down and stuffing their mouths with fries, after being ordered to "make people eat fries."
Beware the Quiet Ones: Onion, on his own, is just a bored little kid. Give him the power of a mystical replicator though, and he will pose a challenge even to the gems, and with a totally deadpan expression.
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: AAHH! 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!": Practically Steven's Catch Phrase, and the first thing he ever says on the show. Generally it's just him being melodramatic, but taken to creepy levels when a magic mirror containing the imprisoned Lapis Lazuli expresses its horror by replaying it on a loop.
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".
Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: In "Joking Victim", Amethyst spices Steven's fries with fire salts that have this effect. When Steven and Sadie use them for a prank on Lars, however, they go overboard and Lars starts breathing flame.
Bloodless Carnage: Magical being like the Gems and the monsters they fight have no blood, merely disappearing in puffs of smoke when mortally wounded, leaving behind a gem which will eventually regenerate into the original being.
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 Bird: Lapis Lazuli. For all her power, she is ultimately a scared girl in a strange place who just wants to go home. On the more literal side, she is introduced with a broken gem that makes it impossible for her to use her wings.
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.
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.
In a later episode, Greg crashes his van into Lapis Lazuli's water clone of Steven to save Connie and Steven from drowning.
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.
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.'
Steven's healing spit. It helps him heal Lapis, so she can return to space and Earth can have its oceans back.
City of Adventure: Beach City. The presence of the Gems and their temple apparently attracts much unwanted magical attention.
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.
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".
The poster that Steven designed in "Tiger Millionaire" can be seen on a wall at the Big Donut in "Joking Victim."
Connie can't meet up with Steven in "Mirror Gem" because she has tennis practice, mentioned in "Lion 2: The Movie."
Cooldown Hug: Steven gives one to the Centipeetle after seeing Garnet's Power Fist (she had hit it earlier before Steven stopped her) causes her to go berserk. Despite the creature's acid burning him, he ignores the pain and calms her down.
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.
The first half of the Pearl VS Sugilite fight was, unsurprisingly, a brutal beatdown in Sugilite's favour. Thanks to a Rousing Speech by Steven though, Pearl eventually manages to turn the tables.
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.
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.
Expressive Hair: The centipeetle's hair changes shape according to its mood.
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.
Fire-Breathing Diner: The fire salts in "Joking Victim" cause this when Lars is tricked into eating a donut covered in them. He sets fire to the Big Donut and some of the town before Steven finally gets it out of him with the Heimlich maneuver.
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.
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. Both Pearl and Amethyst's fusion, and Amethyst's and Garnet's fusion end 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.
One of the locations the Stevens go to in "Steven and the Stevens" is a desert like landscape where nautical vehicles can be seen. This foreshadows the events of "Ocean Gem" where the ocean disappears. So the Stevens went into the future.
In "Monster Buddies", Centipeetle can be seen trying to take the shape of a woman when it is first released. And a few episodes later in Ocean Gem...
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.
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.
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.
Amethyst and Pearl do have to dance it out as well, we are just not shown the full proper dance, but we do see an unfinished failed attempt.
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 then seal this gem in a bubble and teleport to the temple, keeping the monster from regenerating.
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.
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.
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 RROD: Played with. In "Coach Steven," Steven works out so much that he becomes sore and unable to move during the fight in the episode.
Heroic Sacrifice: After showing that centipeetles can be tamed to some extent, Steve's own Centipeetle shoved him out of the way of a falling crystal stalactite, getting crushed in the process.
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.
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.
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.
Similarly, when they learn that the mirror is communicating with Steven they try to put it back in storage. Even though they know that it is alive and fully conscious.
Lampshade Hanging: Keep Beach City Weird stopped posting during the summer of 2014, but returned late that August with the promise of up to six more posts, mirroring Cartoon Network's scheduling of the show through the end of the first production order.
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 Steven was born. "Ocean Gem" reveals that all the monsters they fight are in fact corrupted Gems which they simply have no means of healing. Thanks to Steven's healing spit, he's able to heal Lapis and restore her to her original form.
Last Request: In "Steven and the Stevens," Pompadour Steven returns to the sea shrine. He takes the hourglass from the version of Steven who hadn't used it yet (Hoodie Steven) and smashes it, thus causing the later versions of the hourglass and the other Stevens to never have existed in a massive Ret Gone. Pompadour Steven then tells Hoodie Steven to find another way to create a band besides Greg before dying. Then:
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.
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).
Lyrical Dissonance: The end of "Steven and the Stevens" features him and the Crystal Gems singing a cheerful '60s-esque pop song about Steven killing multiple copies of himself to repair the timeline.
Magical Girl Warrior: The Crystal Gems and Steven's mom (though technically they don't have genders). 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.
Making a Splash: Lapis Lazuli. She can form water arms to use in combat, generate water clones, and use the entire ocean to form a space elevator. Needless to say, she never feels the need to summon her gem weapon.
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". Lampshaded by Greg in "Steven and the Stevens":
Steven: "You're bailing on Beach-a-palooza? But the whole town's gonna be there!"
Greg: "Steven, that's like fifteen people."
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.
"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.
Of course, because of the way that artifact works, it could then only be used by him, only for making comebacks.
All the Gems have shown that they're quick to use their magic for relatively normal matters.
Murder-Suicide: Near the end of "Steven and the Stevens," Steven goes back in time to destroy the Glass of Time before it ever got used, thus destroying all his time clones and himself. He did this because he felt his character became corrupted.
Although in the pilot it was Steven who wrote the song in the first place.
Myth Arc: "Mirror Gem" and "Ocean Gem" hint at a far wider conflict than merely monsters randomly attacking Beach City. All those monsters are corrupted Gems, and the Crystal Gems seem to fear whatever might come from their homeworld.
"Steven and the Stevens" was intended to be a re-work of the pilot and thus contains elements from it. The small hourglass returns and still is a time-traveling device, and Steven uses it to go back in time multiple times (though going back in time creates time clones unlike the pilot). Also, just like in the pilot, Steven smashes it by the end of the episode.
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.
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: The show has no formal villains or big bads. Usually the conflict is within the group or against monsters that show up. Word of God states this was intentional.
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. 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).
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.
Played completely straight in "Ocean Gem", where the potential damage caused by the retreat of the entire ocean for at least a day is mostly ignored.
Non-Indicative Name: Beach City has such a small population that it barely qualifies as a village.
Pearl's duplicator wand is able to make perfect copies of any object, but destroying the wand destroys every copy it has ever made.
In "Steven and the Stevens", Steven destroys the original time device, causing every copy of Steven created through his temporal meddling to vaporize.
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.
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.
Garnet again in Mirror Gem, after Steven accidentally backhands her. Garnet is scary when she loses her temper.
Steven's Mother Rose seems like another example, until the show eventually reveals her full name to be "Rose Quartz". Quartz is also Steven's middle name.
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.
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).
In "Mirror Gem" After refusing to give up Lapis's mirror, Steven accidentally hits Garnet.
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, and the only male Crystal Gem (and only gem with a gender) ever to exist.
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.
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.
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 at the bottom of the ocean.
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.
The Promise: At the end of "Monster Buddies," Garnet reveals that Rose Quartz attempted to "heal" the Gem monsters, but was never able to. Steven promises the centipeetle that he'll heal her once he gets more of a hold of his powers.
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:...
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.
Ripple Effect Indicator: In "Steven and the Stevens," when all the future Stevens return to the Sea Shrine, the oldest Steven destroys the youngest version of the hourglass, making himself and all the other Stevens that have used the hourglass already turn into sand right before the youngest Steven's eyes.
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.
Rubber Man: In "Steven and the Stevens", Garnet uses her shapeshifting to stretch her arm out and grab Steven.
The scene in "Ocean Gem" with the sea tower reaching into space is breathtaking.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Since all the monsters they fight can regenerate given enough time and an intact gem, the Gems bubble them then teleport them to the temple after they've been defeated. This keeps the monsters from regenerating, so long as the bubble isn't breached. "Monster Buddies" hints that the reason they seal them, rather than destroying them, is because these monsters used to be Gems themselves. The centipeetle briefly takes the form of a nondescript woman before mutating into its monster form.
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").
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.
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 Specialseveral 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.
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!"
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.
Theme Tune Extended: Rebecca has extended the show's theme ("We Are the Crystal Gems"), making it even longer than the pilot version. The version that can be found online has some parts censored with "dah dah dah" and such, because those are apparently spoilers.
Time Abyss: The episode "So Many Birthdays" revealed that Garnet, Pearl, and Amethyst are 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.
When Mayor Dewey gives a speech about summer to Beach City, he unintentionally provides bait for several fart jokes.
Mayor Dewey: "A warm summer breeze wafts through the air..."
MD: "We all look forward to the sounds of the summer season..."
Mirror: (as Steven) pfrrrrrrt
MD: "The smells of the busy boardwalk, (pfrrrrrrt) the hot, wet, ocean wind, (pfrrrrrrt) the time to take that pressure that's built up all year and just let it out! (pfrrrrrrt)" *** The mirror apparently found this joke so funny she kept repeating it for hours.
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 Valleyinvoked: 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.
Garnet: 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.
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.
Was Once a Man: In "Ocean Gem", it's revealed that all the monsters that Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl have been fighting were corrupted Crystal Gems.
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.
Wham Episode: The "Mirror Gem"/"Ocean Gem" double episode. All those creatures the Gems have been fighting, destroying, collecting their crystals? All of them are corrupted Gems. Also, a new Gem with a face has been shown in the first time since basically the beginning, Lapis Lazuli. And the setting got expanded to include the depths of space, where there are presumably more Gems.
What the Hell, Hero?: Towards the end of "Mirror Gem", Lapis calls the other gems out on knowing she was trapped in the mirror, and not making any attempt to help her.
Whole Episode Flashback: The plot of "Indirect Kiss" has Steven telling Connie when he and the gems traveled to Rose's healing spring to heal Amethyst.
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. Lapis has dark blue hair