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Nightmare Fuel / Steven Universe

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There's being a cat person, and being a cat-person.
Here, we have all the chills and spooks that are in Steven Universe. If there's two things that this show is going to teach you, it's that even in the worst situations, there's surprisingly touching moments. And despite how colorful and innocent it appears on the surface, things can unexpectedly spiral into very dark places.

Spoilers Off applies to all Moments pages, so ALL spoilers are unmarked! Proceed with caution.


  • The concept of shattering. Gems are immortal, since their bodies are projections of light from their gemstone. They can regenerate easily enough when injured. But if the stone itself is destroyed? They can no longer project a whole body, leaving them trapped within their shards for eternity note  while trying to rejoin their gem in perpetual agony. To make things worse, The Diamonds dole this out as standard punishment and casually inflict a Fate Worse than Death on any of their subjects who fail or rebel against them.
    • Initially, the show seemingly implies that the shards of a shattered Gem are mindless when they do form, attacking whatever they can detect in their vicinity or at the very least squirming about. One Gem also says that they don't know what's happening around them or what they're doing, only seeking their gemstone's missing fragments, further implying they operate on such a low cognitive level that they might as well be unthinking monsters. And then the opposite occurs; the Cluster, composed of billions of such shards, shows a limited but still apparent sense of self-awareness, with not much if anything at all to rule out the much smaller "fusions" being as aware, and that's on top of a likewise established and even upheld fact that Gems are aware when they're in pieces. This does not provide much relief; rather, it highlights the terrifying prospect of being in a reduced and agonizing state and still having a core functional enough to know it's suffering instead of being too broken to realize it's broken to begin with.
  • The Diamonds. They are ruthless, cold, cruel beings that rule over an empire and have unimaginable power over Gems. We've seen a case in which a subordinate slipped up and Blue Diamond demanded she be shattered. As if that weren't horrifying enough, they've unleashed a weapon upon the Earth that causes gems to be torn apart both in body and mind that's only been described as some kind of blinding flash of light.
  • Some of the music in the series manages to be incredibly eerie.
    • "Yellow Diamond", the theme of the eponymous Diamond, which is first heard in her first on-screen appearance in Message Received. Whilst it can't be heard much in its first appearance, the piece is incredibly creepy, starting with the general Diamond theme first heard in "Blue Diamond" (and later heard during the corrupting flash in Monster Reunion, which only serves to make it scarier), which "glitches" before snapping into an ominous drone. Eventually, an additional lower drone can be heard alongside it, which grows louder and louder each time it's heard until it finally comes to a loud and sudden end, at which point the eeriness briefly stops until the song ends with a crash.
      • The music that plays during White Diamond's debut is droning but ethereal, emphasizing how outlandish and unsettling she is.
    • The second ending song used during a few of the episodes following Bubbled. "Love Like You" was calming and sweet, but in Season 4 the ending song has been replaced with an ambient drone in an otherwise silent background. Three Gems and a Baby keeps the tense droning, but adds suspenseful piano music and something that sounds like gargled, distorted shrieks. As of That Will Be All, we hear another part, with loud squealing that ends on an audible screechnote .
  • The very concept of being a Homeworld Gem is pure, undistilled Nightmare Fuel. From the moment you emerge from the ground, you have to do the job you were made to do for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not. You're immortal, so you better get used to that job, because you're gonna be doing it for a long time, likely hundreds or thousands of years. The smallest misstep, transgression, or failure can be grounds for your superiors deciding to shatter you (and you're more at risk for it the lower you are on Homeworld's caste system). You can never, ever take a different job, for fear of being shattered. You can never, ever step out of line, for fear of being shattered. Exploring your identity? Becoming an individual? Thinking for yourself? Forming a relationship with another Gem? Thinking about anything other than serving Homeworld and your Diamond? You can forget it. Fusion, a symbol of an intimate bond between Gems, is forbidden except for utilitarian purposes, and fusing with a different type of Gem for any reason—even accidentally—is grounds for being shattered. And even if you do everything right, follow every order you're given and remain loyal to Homeworld? You are still expendable, and you can still be shattered or worse, as shown by the fates of Lapis and the Gem monsters on Earth. And if you're unlucky enough to be born with a defect, your only chance to survive is fleeing to the underground catacombs, to live your whole life in fear of being shattered on sight. No wonder Rose and the Crystal Gems rebelled—because this was the alternative!!
  • The Cluster was contained, but, whether due to it likely never appearing in the future or due to other reasons, an artbook showed what it would look like if it emerged. To say it's the most terrifying piece of Steven Universe artwork to probably exist is an Understatement; the entire entity screams of pure Eldritch Abomination, like a final boss from a Role-Playing Game! And if Peridot's statements about it blowing up Earth from the inside out were not just exaggeration, or if this isn't concept art from before the decision to make the Cluster's emergence result in a Earth-Shattering Kaboom, that isn't even its final form.
  • Malachite is most certainly nightmare fuel for three very good reasons. First, let's start with her appearance: She has four eyes, a pair of fangs, and four extra arms on her body that act as her legs. And she's freaking HUGE, about as big as Alexandrite. Second, two seriously unbalanced minds combined into one deformed but extremely powerful body that outclasses Alexandrite in direct combat. Though at range or when destabilized by emotional conflict, still beatable. Third, Malachite is not just a mix of Jasper and Lapis, in theory she is an entirely new individual whose existence is made up entirely of unending emotional turmoil and self-destructive behavior. Even for a show that engages in some of the heaviest nightmare fuel intended for children, that implication is very, very dark.