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"[I]f you ever find yourself wondering if Steven Universe just referenced anime, the answer is almost always 'Yes.' "
Matt Burnett, former show writer

References made by Steven Universe.

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers follow!


    open/close all folders 

  • In the first intro, Connie is holding the book A Wrinkle in Time.
  • The ending theme, "Love Like You" is a light jazz piece featuring a woman accompanied by a piano, set to an image at night, reminiscent of how "Fly Me to the Moon" was arranged as the outro of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
    • Also similar to Evangelion, the outro constantly rotates over episodes; however, unlike Eva, where it was always "Fly Me to the Moon", as sung by different cast & crew members in its entirety, SU's ending is sung by Rebecca Sugar only, but in different parts, slowly revealed piece by piece over the course of dozens of episodes.
  • Pearl in general seems to have a lot of links to Utena. One of her early designs had her wearing an outfit that looked undeniably like the uniform Utena wears.
  • The idea of Gems, particularly Crystal Gems, seems to be somewhat inspired by magical girls. The fact they're an all-female species, Rose's flower petal motif, the impressive clothing style, a dedication to protect the helpless, etc. In an in-character interview, Steven mentions that he's a big fan of Sailor Moon, because he feels it's very "down to Earth", which should give some indication what tropes influence the kid's life.
  • The official Steven Universe Facebook page revealed that the show's use of vibrant colors are directly inspired by Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Not the art style, just the colors.
  • The shot in the second intro where the camera moves backward to show each of the Crystal Gems drawing their weapons is similarly framed to part of the first Pokémon opening.
  • This Anime News Network article gives a pretty detailed list of all the anime references in the show.
  • The combat in most episodes strongly evokes The Legend of Zelda.
  • At the end of "Fusion", there is the heart background that is always seen at the end of episodes of The Powerpuff Girls.
  • Peedee bears some clear resemblance to Tommy from the Italian cartoon Tommy e Oscar, about a boy and his Voluntary Shapeshifting alien best friend.
  • Peedee and Ronaldo's names are both references to McDonald's mascots: their original mascot Speedee, and their current one Ronald.
  • Peridot is obviously based off of Invader Zim. Short green alien invader who's fanatically devoted to her leaders, similar voice and speech pattern, Large Ham, Small Name, Big Ego, and childish behavior. Unlike Zim though, she sees the beauty in Earth and joins the Crystal Gems, along with calling her superior a clod.
  • The promo for the "In Too Deep" event feels very similar to the teaser trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, right down to the creepy background music. Another fan compared it to The Core.
  • Jasper has a lot of parallels to Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z.
  • The title of the show started as a placeholder reference to Tenchi Universe, a spin-off of the harem anime Tenchi Muyo!, which ended up being the main character's full name. Ian Jones-Quartey has joked that Steven Universe is a sequel to a harem anime titled No Need For Greg. Tenchi Muyo! can be translated as "No Need for Tenchi!", and is about a man from Earth becoming involved with a number of alien women, like Greg was.
  • The Cookie Cat ice cream brand is a reference to Carvel's Cookie Puss character.
  • The Iris Out at the end of most episodes seems to be taken from Kirby: Right Back at Ya!.
  • Lapis Lazuli's design is very similar to Queen Penny from Golden Bat, of all places. They both even share a water affinity (Penny is the ruler of an undersea kingdom). To a lesser extent, Gorgo from the same anime resembles Sour Cream.
  • Gems call robots "robonoids", a reference to what the Mini-Mecha in Future Boy Conan are called.
  • Characters usually have simplified designs when viewed from a distance. It possible that the show took influence from My Life As A Teenage Robot, since they often did the same thing.
    RebelTaxi: Another nice animation detail is when characters are viewed from a distance, their bodies are designed to be simplified. Yeah, I noticed a lot of techniques here were also used in Steven Universe.

    Season 1A 
"The Time Thing" (Pilot)

"Gem Glow"

  • Lars: Get off me, man! I'm stockin' here!
  • The Centipeetle Mother's gem bears an uncanny resemblance to a Poké Ball. It even makes a similar noise when it hits the ground.

"Laser Light Cannon"

"Cheeseburger Backpack"


  • The jellyfish ride was called the Jelly Jiggler.
  • The walking, fighting clothes are very Bedknobs and Broomsticks, especially once the military drums kick in. Pearl's description ("semi-sentient drone soldiers with the capacity to follow basic orders, Gems once created an army of these drones, but found their obedience waned as the shards overdeveloped inside their uniforms and turned on their commanders") is basically the final part of that film.

"Cat Fingers"

  • While in the form of a bluejay, Amethyst says "Uhhh, chill it, dude". This is similar to the laidback personality of another cartoon bluejay.
  • Steven's cat tumors growing out of control is a reference to Tetsuo losing control of his powers in AKIRA.
  • One of the promo posters is a direct parody of the covers to most Animorphs books.
  • The Gems are away because they've taken a sloop to a Living Island.

"Bubble Buddies"

"Serious Steven"

"Tiger Millionaire"

  • Steven's wrestling persona is essentially Jim Cornette with a cat nose. His back story is even the same as the one Cornette used when he ran Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He wears brightly colored suits, throws money around and even at one point uses a tennis racket and his teaming with Amethyst is essentially Cornette when he worked with Vader. His giant cell phone, however, is clearly taken from Paul E. Dangerously.
  • Tiger Millionaire's use of coconuts as a weapon recalls the infamous "coconut incident" where Roddy Piper hit Jimmy Snuka over the head with one.
  • The episode name is a shout out to Slumdog Millionaire.

"Steven's Lion"

"Arcade Mania"

  • When Steven, Pearl and Amethyst are discussing where Garnet is, Steven says he hopes she's fighting a giant foot, then phrases it as "fighting the foot", which could be a reference to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles's main enemy, The Foot Clan.
  • Mr Smiley's arcade has a few games that are clearly references to real life games:
    • Teens of Rage has a name similar to Sega's Streets of Rage beat-em-up series, but looks more like a late-80s/early-90s era Capcom fighter, with the game even being made by a Capcom parody named "Carpcom". Taking things further, this Keep Beach City Weird post indicates that Teens of Rage got a 3D reboot in the mid-90s called Virtua Teens of Rage, a clear reference to another Sega franchise, Virtua Fighter (accompanied with a fake screenshot of the game, looking almost exactly like the original Virtua Fighter). Ronaldo Fryman's image macro in said blog post even refers to the Capcom expy as "Crapcom", a common derogatory nickname directed at the real life Capcom by people displeased with some of the company's more recent actions.
    • The game Pearl plays, Road Killer, seems to be a parody of car combat games like Twisted Metal.
    • Meat Beat Mania looks like it might as well be Samba de Amigo with the maracas replaced by meat. The name also brings to mind another rhythm game.
  • One of the arcade cabinets was of Lakewood Plaza Turbo, a Cartoon Network pilot created by Ian Jones-Quartey, the creative director on Steven Universe.
  • Steven's pose as he's directing Garnet to Meat Beat Mania almost looks like he's telling her to come back when she's a little, MMMMM, richer!

"Giant Woman"

"So Many Birthdays"

  • The painting of the Gems is a reference to Watson and the Shark by John Singleton Copley.
    • One of the humans in the painting looks an awful lot like Mako, especially his red scarf.

"Lars and the Cool Kids"

  • The appearance and behavior of Rose's Moss is reminiscent of a certain blob in The Raft.

"Onion Trade"

  • When Steven first gets the wand, Onion advances on him in front of the fire he just created by blowing up his scooter and shrugging off a barrage of capsules in the same manner as a certain robot with an Austrian accent.
  • When Amethyst asks how they're supposed to move in a giant sea of slot machine toys, Steven suggests she "swim like a rich duck".
  • Steven screaming Onion's name and Onion flinging around cars while wearing a red "cape" is reminiscent of Kaneda confronting a newly empowered Tetsuo in AKIRA.
  • When Steven is explaining his "Guys" toys to Amethyst, it's presented like a Mega Man stage select screen, complete with 8-bit music, characters with the naming scheme: _____Guy, and Steven's head in the middle of a 3x3 square of squares, looking at each Guy's head.
  • Onion gets his lunch from a suitcase salesman with an eyepatch and a mustache. He looks almost exactly like one of the pirates from Porco Rosso.
  • Ranger Guy's hat might look a little familiar.
  • It's revealed that Steven marks his action figures by drawing his initials on the soles of their feet — exactly like Andy of Toy Story writes his name on Woody and Buzz.

"Steven the Sword Fighter"

  • Pearl and Holo-Pearl's swordfighting skills bear more than a passing resemblance to Utena's, especially Holo-Pearl's opening attack, which is a shot-for-shot imitation of Utena's finishing move. Not to mention the, uh... back stabbing...
  • Amethyst's inflated form after eating said cloud and the way she has to be carried around by Garnet like a balloon is similar to this shot of Utena and Chu-Chu.
  • Steven's window sill has figures of a Pikachu-Moogle hybrid, a character that looks vaguely like Gitaroo Man, and Sanic. He also has a Cloud-lookalike toy drawn in the same style as The Hero from RPG World, who was based on Cloud: the creator of RPG World, Ian Jones-Quartey, works on Steven Universe.
  • Before she eats it, the way Amethyst rides the cloud around is similar to how Goku would ride the Flying Nimbus, which was itself a reference to the Monkey King's cloud from Journey to the West.
  • When Lonely Blade performs the Boomerang Blade, he's shouting "Kaiten Kenbu!", which is a move from Rurouni Kenshin.
  • The move Holo-Pearl uses to attack Steven is Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth's Hell's Gate move, the same one used to kill Aerith in the original game. Fitting, considering Holo-Pearl stabs the Cloud lookalike toy Steven owns moments prior.

"Lion 2: The Movie"

"Beach Party"

"Rose's Room"

  • Steven's video game Golf Quest Mini is a constant stream of video game references:
    • The first line of dialogue shown in the game is "IT'S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS.", followed by a weapon being handed over.
    • The room the aforementioned line takes place in looks similar to Prof. Oak's lab in the original Pokémon games. The main character even appears to have the same 7-character name limit (since Steven chose the name "stevenU") and paraphrases the series's "Gotta catch-'em-all!" tagline.
      "Don't worry Professor, we're gonna sink-'em-all!"
    • Professors who all follow Theme Naming of the pattern "Prof. [object found on a golf course]" reference the tree themed names of Pokémon professors.
    • The way the party members follow the PC and the Random Encounter with a Windmill resembles EarthBound (1994) (which also has Windmills and other random scenery as enemies) and the line "Windmill Wants to Fight" is yet another Pokémon reference.
    • It also uses some Final Fantasy sounds, and one of the characters is named Wedge (referencing two of the games' recurring characters Biggs and Wedge, themselves named for Star Wars characters).
    • The robot in the game looks like the robots from Laputa.
    • Professor Caddyshack in the game bears a strong resemblance to Dr. Robotnik.
    • The soundtrack of the game is reminiscent of Mario Golf's.
    • The console looks remarkably similar to a Nintendo 64, right down to the controller and cartridge designs.
  • The bunk beds and slide are a reference to three sandwich-themed otters.
  • When Steven realizes he never left Rose's room, he says that "it's all a FAKE-A-ROO!", a line from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "There's No Place Like Springfield", said by Shipwreck upon discovering a similar situation.

"Coach Steven"

"Joking Victim"

  • Mr. Smiley's instructional video is a reference to the musical instructional videos shown to employees at Wendy's, in particular, the hot and soft drinks.
  • The episode title may be a reference to New York punk band Choking Victim.

"Steven and the Stevens"

  • The Glass of Time being the smallest and least impressive of a vast collection of hourglasses is likely a direct reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as is the booby trap that goes off when Amethyst grabs the wrong one (although in the movie, the temple only collapses when Elsa tries to take the real one outside).
  • When Steven walks up to his dad for the first time, Greg and Yellowtail say "Yup" and "mmm-hmm", echoing King of the Hill.
  • Steven's musical style and his band name nudge at Josie and the Pussycats.
  • Fans of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure might notice that the pompadour Steven sports bears more than a passing resemblance to Josuke's. While that alone could be coincidental, coupling it with Jotaro's signature point seems to indicate otherwise.
    • It might not even be a reference, but Handsome Steven's final line to Prime Steven is 'Arrivederci', which is Bruno Bucciarati's catchphrase.

"Mirror Gem"

"Ocean Gem"

  • The Pummel Duel between Garnet and her opponent would make Jotaro Kujo and Kenshiro shed a tear.
    • The beginning of Garnet and Water!Garnet's fight is also similar to Leela's fight with an alternate universe clone.
  • Garnet punching her mirror opponent in the face only for its face to re-form around her fist is reminiscent of a similar scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Steven's Water Clone's attempts to drown Steven and Connie resemble Sloth's attacks in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003).

    Season 1B 
"House Guest"
  • A Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals that Steven reads Sailor Moon. The book even has Usagi on the cover!
  • In another Freeze-Frame Bonus, a Nintendo GameCube can be seen near Steven's bed, which shows up in multiple episodes from this point.
  • The Warp Whistle the Gems give Greg looks just like the original item, except blue.
  • The song "Dear Old Dad" follows the same chord progression as the song "Bombs Away" by Foxy Shazam. This would just be a neat coincidence, were it not for the fact that Amethyst yells "Bombs away!" immediately after the song is over, apropos of nothing.
  • Stevdad saying "You messed with my head!" can be seen as a reference to the English dub of AKIRA. The geode also looks eerily similar to the explosion of Neo Tokyo.

"Space Race"

"Secret Team"

"Island Adventure"

  • Amethyst pranks Steven by transforming her head into that of a fly when he warps the Gems back to the temple.
  • The fight with the Gem monster could be seen a reference to the end of Predator: fighting an invisible monster with sticks while in a mud pit.

"Keep Beach City Weird"

"Fusion Cuisine"

  • The scene with Alexandrite chasing the bus resembles scenes of of EVA-01, and other giant robots running down the angels.
  • Connie's plan to run away from their families on a bus could be a reference to the famous ending of The Graduate.

"Garnet's Universe"

  • Garnet's two animal companions, Hoppy and Hopper, look a lot like Frog and Miyamoto Usagi. It might also be notable that the third talking animal in the episode is a fox.
    • Additionally, the battle music used when Garnet battles Mr. Fox sounds inspired by Chrono Trigger.
  • The device that Hoppy uses is obviously inspired by the Wii U GamePad.
    • It is designed to measure fighters' power levels. At one point Garnet gives it a reading so high, it goes over 7000, then over 8000, then 10,000, until finally "numbers have no meaning!" Bonus points for not only having referenced the original, but by jumping from 8,000 straight to 10,000, it also made painfully obvious that it was referencing the meme from the scene as well.
  • Mr. Fox at one point is browsing Tumblr.
  • Ringo's transformation is Sailor Moon-styled.
  • Garnet uses weighted hair and a Dragon Ball-style transformation into a Super Saiyan-esque form.
  • Near the climax of the episode, Garnet performs what appears to be a Giga Punch Breaker.

"Watermelon Steven"

"Lion 3: Straight to Video"

  • Design and relationship-wise, Rose Quartz being a redheaded, statuesque, magical lady married to a mortal man is comparable to Granmamare.
  • The videotape and Steven and Sadie's reaction to it bears some similarity to the betamax tape delivered to Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop. The opening is shot-for-shot identical, Greg (like Faye) introduces himself and then becomes embarrassed and stops filming, and Rose's words of encouragement to Steven are tonally very similar to the teenaged Faye's. It's even a message from a forgotten past life addressing a wistful present.

"Warp Tour"

  • The idea of "seeing something strange while being teleported, but no one believes you" might be a reference to an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Lt. Barclay saw weird things while being transported (it didn't help that he had a fear of the transporter); it turned out to be people that got trapped in the beam in an accident.
  • The title is likely a reference to the VANS Warped Tour.

"Alone Together"

  • Sour Cream uses several handheld Nintendo consoles (A Game Boy and a Game Boy Advance respectively) to make music for the rave. Also serves as a nod to Aivi and Surasshu's Chiptune-laden soundtrack for the series.
  • One of the rave's patrons looks like Betty Groff.
  • The song that Steven and Connie dance to sounds very similar to the chorus in Estelle's "American Boy".

"The Test"

"Future Vision"

  • Steven takes down a Ninja Squad poster and replaces it with a New Ninja Squad poster with an older (somewhat angsty-looking) character on it, parodying Naruto (Shippuden) and many other anime with Time Skips along the main character's youth.
  • "Master of Ceremonies Bear Bear" is wearing a pair of Kanye West's infamous shutter-shades. A teddy bear known as "Dropout Bear" is a recurring symbol in Kanye's album artwork. Also note that Kanye also provided a couple of verses on a hit single with, who else, Garnet's voice actress Estelle.
  • Garnet and Steven work out to a Suspiciously Similar Song version of music for the 'National Exercise', which is a set of basic exercises educated in Korean schools.
  • Garnet predicts a possible future in which Steven is stabbed to death by "wasps" that have spike limbs like Beedrill.

"On the Run"

  • There's a shot during that has Steven, a raccoon, and Amethyst in a flipped-perspective reference to Simba, Timon and Pumbaa walking across a log in The Lion King's "Hakuna Matata".
  • The "Kindergarten" is a quarry full of human-shaped holes in the cliff faces, much like in The Enigma of Amigara Fault. Amethyst even claims one of the holes as hers (Amigara Fault infamously includes the line "This hole! It was made for me!") and slowly slides into it like in the manga.
  • Steven's favorite book series, The No Home Boys, resembles a mix of The Hardy Boys and The Boxcar Children. The former even had its own failed graphic novel adaptation.
  • During Pearl and Amethyst's fight, Amethyst repeats a line from the 2002 Spiderman movie: "I wouldn't want to fight me neither!"

"Horror Club"

  • Lars refers to Ronaldo as "social napalm", which is a phrase from the anarcho-punk band Crass's song "Punk is Dead".
  • Ronaldo's costume is a mashup of the werewolf, Dracula, and The Phantom of the Opera.
  • Evil Bear 2's Tag Line is "Come Scream with Me Tonight", a parody of Teddy Ruxpin's "Come Dream with Me Tonight".
  • Young Lars wears a shirt with what looks like the Nirvana logo. In the storyboard it looked almost exactly like one.

"Winter Forecast"

  • Another Betty look-alike shows up in a picture at the Maheswaran residence.
  • There's a jar of Lon Lon Milk in Steven's room.

"Maximum Capacity"

"Marble Madness"

  • Marble Madness was the name of one of the first generation 1980s video games.
  • The book that Connie shares with Steven, Unfamiliar Familiar, has an awful lot in common with His Dark Materials — it's set in a world where everyone has animal familiars, the female protagonist has a name similar to Lyra's, and she's searching for her kidnapped father. There are also witches involved, although that could be a reference to a number of young adult novels, most obviously Harry Potter. The name for the series the book belongs to, The Spirit Morph Saga, also sounds similar to Animorphs.
  • Pearl appears to be performing a Rider Kick when she attacks the first Robonoid.
  • On the cover of the first book, Lisa bears a resemblance to a long haired Rose Lalonde.

"Rose's Scabbard"

  • Steven surprises Pearl while she's in the middle of projecting a hologram, causing her to form a floating exclamation point like the guards in Metal Gear Solid. If one listens closely, there's even a distorted version of the sound effect from the games used when Pearl makes the projection of the exclamation point.
  • Pearl is dressed up like the Fourth Doctor with the hat and scarf that Steven puts on her as he's pulling things out of Lion.
  • The little tune Steven sings as he removes Rose's sword from Lion's mane is faintly reminiscent of the chest-opening theme from The Legend of Zelda series.

"The Message"

"Political Power"

"The Return"

  • Jasper's hair is rather Super Saiyan-esque.
  • Her gem "nose" could be seen as a nod to Franky from One Piece, who has a similar-looking one made of metal.
  • A giant floating hand uses a finger-gun gesture to shoot a beam of energy, combining two of Master Hand's attacks.
  • Jasper calling Garnet a "shameless display" could be a nod to the "shamefur dispray" meme originating in Total War: Shogun 2.

"Jail Break"

  • If Amethyst is Sonic the Hedgehog, then Jasper pulling the same move with a Battle Aura makes her Super Sonic, not to mention furthering the Dragon Ball parallel.
  • Two aliens, one huge and aggressive and one small but technologically advanced, come to Earth to investigate one of their own? Dragon Ball Z, anyone?
  • Ruby's design is based on K.O. from Lakewood Plaza Turbo, the short what would later be developed into OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes. She also looks like Ryu from Street Fighter.
  • Before fusing, Ruby picks up Sapphire and spins her around in a fashion that looks extremely similar to a scene in a certain Ghibli movie.
    • It may have actually been a reference to Conan and Lana from one of Miyazaki's earlier works. The scene of them spinning comes shortly after a rescue scene and shares similar dialogue. Future Boy Conan was listed as an influence for Steven Universe by Rebecca Sugar in her AMA as well.
  • Peridot's line "'Go to Earth,' they said. 'It'll be easy,' they said..." is reminiscent of a popular Image Macro format.
  • Jasper emerges screaming "WHERE IS SHE?!" in a very similar style to another character in a very famous movie.
  • The opening riffs, basic rhythm, and general theme of "Stronger Than You" (Garnet's Badass Boast/"I Am" Song) are similar to "Just the Two of Us" by Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr. — so similar, in fact, that someone's made a mashup.
  • Sapphire kisses the tears from Ruby's face.
  • The imagery of a hand-shaped spaceship falling towards Earth and throwing forward a projectile, and that of a giant, pierced hand standing on a hill next to a seaside small town, are both memorable images from FLCL.
  • The scene where Malachite gets water cuffs put on her wrists and then gets pulled into the ocean mirrors the scene from Aladdin where Genie!Jafar gets the golden cuffs put on his wrists and then gets pulled into his own lamp, all symbolizing imprisonment. They both even let out a Big "WHAT?!".

    Season 2 
"Full Disclosure"
  • Pearl distracts Connie at the front door so Steven can escape by jumping out the window directly adjacent to the front door, mirroring a scene in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
  • In keeping with the FLCL references in the previous episode, Steven's song, particularly the guitar portions, is heavily reminiscent of The Pillows, who did most of the soundtrack to FLCL.

"Open Book"

  • Steven's Magic Falcon costume looks like a combination between Gatchaman and Jetman.
  • After leaving the costume shop, Connie's outfit highly resembles a discount Ruby Rose.

"Joy Ride"

  • "I only wanted to see you laughing in the pizza rain." If that wasn't enough, Hilary Florido, the writer of the episode, did fan art of Buck dressed as Prince in honor of the episode.
  • Peridot's escape pod fills up with an apparently breathable liquid when in use, just like the cockpits from Neon Genesis Evangelion. To drive the point home, Steven's initial reaction is holding his breath until it covers his face, directly mirroring Shinji's.
  • Besides the Nintendo GameCube that's been seen in Steven's room since House Guest, the viewer can see boxes for both Animal Crossing and The Wind Waker lying on the floor close to Steven's fanart of Archemicarus and Lisa's wedding.

"Say Uncle"

"Story for Steven"

  • Greg begins the episode telling Steven the bedtime story of How I Met Your Mother.
  • When Rose jumps over to Greg after he meets the other gems, she floats down in a similar way to Princess Serenity from Sailor Moon.

"Shirt Club"


  • There appears to be a basket of yellow pansies from Animal Crossing in Amethyst's room.

"Sworn to the Sword"

  • The attack all four of the Holo-Pearls use to attack Connie and Steven is Final Fantasy VII's Sepiroth's Hell Gate move, the same one used to kill Aerith in the original game.
  • The outfit Connie wears in the second half of the episode bears more than a passing resemblance to the outfit worn by Gohan when he was being trained by Piccolo as a kid, minus the scarf. Fitting as they're both child fighters with alien teachers. However, it appears to actually be a Kalaripayattu outfit, which Akira Toriyama might have used when designing Piccolo's outfit.
  • The cover of Steven's book, How to Talk to People, resembles a version of How to Win Friends and Influence People.

"Rising Tides, Crashing Skies"

  • The atrocious editing and less than great effects and fonts used in Ronaldo's documentary resemble those used in the amateurish editing software Windows Movie Maker. Jones-Quartey even called it "a tribute" to the software.
  • Ronaldo is first seen sitting between two ferns.
  • The giant crab monster resembles Gohma, and even shares a weak point with it.

"We Need to Talk"

"Chille Tid"

"Cry for Help"

"Onion Friend"

  • Amethyst turns into something resembling Migi from Parasyte; Vidalia had painted a picture of it.
  • "Onion, it's full of guys!" Reinforced by the picture of Onion as a space baby in a painting on the wall.
  • The bag of chips that Onion steals from Steven has a chip and barbecue pit wearing the same glasses as Kamina, with the latter's pair sporting a noticeable amount of the Lens Flare famously featured in the show's eyecatches.

"Historical Friction"

"Friend Ship"

"Nightmare Hospital"

  • Connie saying that she has a "Secret Identity" when putting on her glasses frames is an obvious reference to Superman.
  • The mention of a "Dr. West" may be a Re-Animator reference.
  • A hospital door has the label "Dr. Gero, Patient 20", a reference to Dr. Gero/Android 20 from Dragon Ball Z.
  • Next to that door is a poster of mountains whose negative space makes the image of a pine tree, which is the same as one of the promotional posters for the game Firewatch.

"Sadie's Song"

  • In Sadie's room, a Gunther doll can be seen among her plushies.

"Catch and Release"

"When It Rains"

"Back to the Barn"

"Too Far"

"The Answer"

"It Could've Been Great"

"Log Date 7 15 2"

  • The opening card for the Camp Pining Hearts show has a shooting star symbol with a rainbow tails that looks like Mabel Pines' — and it's exactly the kind of thing she would write.
  • Peridot makes a shipping chart after observing her TV show, much like Karkat did after observing the kids' interactions.
  • When Steven asks if Peridot is going to be okay after Peridot turns on Yellow Diamond, Peridot turns around and says "NO". It's subtle, but the way she says it could remind one of Hotel Mario.

    Season 3 
"Super Watermelon Island"
  • The opening shot with the Steven-possessed Stevenmelon waking up on the island is similar to the opening of Lost.
  • A shot of Alexandrite's toothy mouth opening up and roaring is identical to a shot of EVA-01's toothy mouth opening up and roaring.
  • The shot of Lapis and Jasper falling from the sky is reminiscent of a famous falling scene from Kingdom Hearts. Speaking of which, the shot of the light arrow going right through Malachite is identical to another famous scene from that same game.
  • The Stevenmelons on the gliders have a silhouette identical to the Batman logo.

"Gem Drill"

"Same Old World"

"Barn Mates"

"Hit the Diamond"

  • This episode's premise strongly resembles that of the Samurai Champloo episode "Baseball Blues", right down to the high-stakes baseball game and the ridiculous playing levels.
    • It's also similar to Space Jam: aliens invade Earth and are after the heroes, but are tricked into playing a game and if they lose they have to leave forever.
  • The Ruby Squad were all given nicknames by the crew that only appear in the credits. All of them are descriptive of their gem locations except for their visor wearing leader Doc, a nod to Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
  • Doc is wearing a outfit like Mass Effect's Jack, pants with a pair of suspenders going up her chest.
  • When Peridot shouts "You're lying to me!" her head goes square, echoing a gag done by another small green alien.
  • Lapis's slow, somewhat delayed gesture to catch a baseball mirrors the intro sequence to Daria.
  • Sapphire's outfit is modeled on the (real life) uniforms in A League of Their Own.
  • Sapphire hitting the game-winning home run bears a striking resemblance to the end of the fourth episode of FLCL, especially when the ball spins in place on the bat.
  • The words on the box of baseball supplies are "Baseball Joe", the name of an old book series about baseball.

"Steven Floats"

  • The way Steven's emotions affect his floating ability — causing him to stay in the air when he's happy and fall when he's sad — brings to mind the Disney version of Peter Pan.
    • There is also another Cartoon Network character that can use their happiness as a power source to fly.
  • The "!", complete with its trademark sound effect from Metal Gear, appears when Garnet makes her checkers move.
  • Steven's skull in his Imagine Spot still has his hair attached, making him resemble Brook from One Piece, who's a skeleton with an afro.
  • When Amethyst tries to throw a bag of chips up to Steven, she explodes a bird, like Randy Johnson's infamous bird incident.
  • The episode ends with Steven proclaiming "Oh, bother".

"Drop Beat Dad"

"Mr. Greg"

  • In the scenes where she's holding a top hat in one hand and a red rose in the other, Pearl nearly looks exactly like Tuxedo Mask.
  • Pearl's 360-degree turn as she sings "It's Over, Isn't It?" was inspired by the same camera move used during "Crazy World" in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria.
  • The dance number seems to be well inspired by the dance in Adolescence of Utena, including suspiciously similar music at some points.

"Too Short to Ride"

  • Among the applications Peridot scrolls through on her tablet is Neko Atsume.

"The New Lars"

"Beach City Drift"

  • The title of the episode is a reference to The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
    • The "Nitrous Boost" can also be a reference to the film series in general.
  • The big race sequence, with its Eurobeat techno music, car designs, and racing site, is one big homage to Initial D.

"Restaurant Wars"

  • The end of the episode, wherein Fryman and Kofi try the food Steven and Amethyst make, become shocked, and explain in detail how the food is amazing, resembles the way people react when they try food in Food Wars! (minus the foodgasms of course). The title itself could also be a reference to the English name of the series "Food Wars".
  • Kofi's reaction to the pizza bagel Steven makes is a reference to a popular Bagel Bites jingle from the 1990's.

"Kiki's Pizza Delivery Service"

  • The episode title itself is one to the Studio Ghibli movie.
  • A shot when Kiki and Steven are sitting and looking at the sky looks exactly like the famous The End Of Evangelion shot.
    • The way the cheese also attempts to consume Kiki is very reminiscent of humanity in End of Evangelion being dissolved by LCL towards the film's end.
  • Once again, Steven flies around like Astro Boy. He even does some rocket-punches!
  • Steven calls himself a Dream Warrior.
    • This could also be a reference to the completion percentage rankings in Kirby's Adventure.

"Alone at Sea"

  • One of the promos mirrors the famous poster for Brokeback Mountain.
  • The "ayyyy" Greg and Steven say to each other is a reference to the Fonz's famous catchphrase from Happy Days.
  • A very subtle one to Gilligan's Island: Greg is the Skipper, and refers to Steven as his "little buddy".
  • Jasper getting punched so hard she flies off into the distance until she's just a speck on the horizon is reminiscent of the "looks like Team Rocket's blasting off agaaaaaiiiinnnnn...!" Running Gag from Pokémon; Lapis' (water) punch in itself resembles One-Punch Man's.

"Greg the Babysitter"

  • Greg mentions a "mudnado" that rolled through town, a nod to Syfy's Sharknado film series (not that they haven't had many "[something] tornado" movies).
  • Greg's song comments how it's said that "Love is all you need to be a happy man", but he also needs to eat.
  • When Greg and baby Sour Cream are stuck on the Ferris wheel, Greg shouts "Rose, get me off this crazy thing!"

"Gem Hunt"

  • Connie talks about the Gem Mutants dressing up in costume only happens in cartoons, usually over a property dispute, which seems like a playful jab at Scooby-Doo. Promotional art by Colin Howard even shows the Crystal Gems as Mystery Inc.

"Crack the Whip"

  • The scene where Jasper quickly and repeatedly punches Amethyst mirrors a scene from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Stevonnie riding on Lion into a fight seems to evoke the way He-Man would do the very same thing on Battle Cat.

"Steven vs. Amethyst"

  • One of the characters in the "Lonely Blade" video game bears a striking resemblance to Mokujin Tekken. Another is a bear, like Kuma, but white.
  • With the way Amethyst wears her ponytail with only one eye visible, among other things like her clothing, she definitely looks like Leela from Futurama.
  • The name of the game console Steven is playing is on the controller: "Dolphin". This was the codename for the Nintendo GameCube, which his system is obviously an Expy of.


  • The star symbol on Bismuth's shoulder resembles the Renegade symbol from Mass Effect. It certainly fits her personality.
  • Bismuth's Breaking Point resembles Big O's Sudden Impact, using an elbow mounted piston to provide an impact originating from the attacker's fist straight through the opponent.
  • At the beginning of the episode, if you very look closely, you'll see Steven playing Super Mario Kart.


  • As pointed out under General, the fight in this episode has several to the first fight with Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, including the way in which the Corrupted Quartz falls back first on Jasper and crushes her into a crater, just like Great Ape Gohan fell on and crushed Vegeta.
  • A lot of Smoky Quartz's physical mannerisms, namely their near constant Cat Smile and habit of giving out Peace Signs, are based on Maneki Neko dolls.


  • The scene where Crystal Gems recover Steven with the Ruby ship bears a strong resemblance to the scene from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) where the Ravagers arrive to retrieve Star Lord and Gamora.
  • The opening scene, with Steven rotating through space in his bubble, brings to mind a similar scene in Gravity.

    Season 4 
"Kindergarten Kid"

"Know Your Fusion"

  • Sardonyx spends part of her talk show tapping her desk with her pencils, something that David Letterman has been known to do in his talk show.
  • The I ♥ EC logo on Sardonyx's mug is based on the famous I ♥ NY logo designed by Milton Glaser, with "EC" standing for "Empire City".
  • Alexandrite's unique ability is called "Breath of Fire", a reference to a role-playing video game franchise of the same name.

"Mindful Education"

  • One of the promotional images for the episode is in the style of Schoolhouse Rock!'s title cards.
  • Stevonnie floats by rapidly kicking their legs back and forth, a la Luigi or Yoshi.
  • The Butterfly of Transformation motif and using a Mental World to bring up and deal with issues brings to mind Persona.
  • The shot where two butterflies are held in Garnet's hands mirrors a certain famous shot from Lilo & Stitch where Nani and Lilo are holding two hibiscus flowers.
  • The butterflies representing negative emotions and coming in swarms might be a reference to Miraculous Ladybug, where Hawk Moth utilizes them to turn people into Akumas via their negative emotions.
  • The way Imaginary!Rose looks down onto Stevonnie mirrors the scene from The Lion King where Mufasa first looks down to adult!Simba from the clouds.
  • Steven and Connie holding both hands while falling after a revelation, and then a glowing transformation, is similar to Chihiro and Haku at the end of Spirited Away.

"Future Boy Zoltron"

  • The title itself is a reference to Future Boy Conan. The name Zoltron is a combination of the Zoltar fortune teller machine from Big, and the real life Zoltan machine it was based on - It also sounds similar to Voltron.
  • Looking closely at some of the arcade machines show that "Zone of Adventure," OK KO! and (in a bit of Recursive Canon) Attack the Light are arcade games.

"Last One Out of Beach City"

  • The title references "Last One Out of Liberty City" by Less Than Jake.
  • The puzzle Pearl and Steven are putting together at the beginning of the episode has 612 pieces; 612 is one of Homestuck's Arc Numbers.
  • Pearl saying "New Pearl, no plan" while wearing a leather jacket parodies Karamatsu Matsuno and his famous line, "No plan", from the second episode of Osomatsu-san.

"Onion Gang"

  • One of Onion's friends bears some resemblance to the protagonist of Undertale; same hairstyle, same color shirt, and their gender is left ambiguous. This episode also first aired on September 15, the day Undertale was originally released (though this one might've been accidental).

"Gem Harvest"

  • This wouldn't be the first time a character voiced by Dave Willis made his debut complaining that someone messed up his stuff.

"Three Gems and a Baby"

  • The title is a reference to the movie Three Men and a Baby.
  • The Gems bringing presents to baby Steven are an obvious reference to the three Wise Men doing the same for baby Jesus. The reunion in the van towards the end of the episode is totally a nativity scene, with Greg wrapped up in a blue blanket recalling the Virgin Mary's garb.

"Steven's Dream"

"Adventures in Light Distortion"

  • The scenes where the Crystal Gems turn small, big, then tiny, and then so huge that they take up the entire screen most likely parodies the scenes where The Magic School Bus's Shrinkerscope malfunctions multiple times in "Gets Ready, Set, Dough".

"That Will Be All"

"Storm in the Room"

  • Steven tries to kick a football the way Charlie Brown would, and Rose pulls it away just like Lucy frequently does to Charlie Brown, in homage to the Running Gag from Peanuts.
  • Steven mentions that Lonely Arms is an Arm-Wrestling spin-off of a fighting game, a reference to the Spin-Off of Punch-Out!!, Arm Wrestling.


"Room for Ruby"

"Lion 4: Alternate Ending"

  • A book half buried next to one of the refuse piles looks like the book shown in the opening of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (except the star doesn't have eyes, making it look like the Crystal Gem emblem). The layout made for the scene even included a screenshot of the original book so the reference would come across.

"The Good Lars"

"Are You My Dad?"

  • The cover of the "Dream Ghost" DVD that Steven finds in the Big Donut references the much-parodied pottery wheel scene from Ghost (1990), with a Bedsheet Ghost in Patrick Swayze's role.
  • Aquamarine and Topaz resemble Darla Dimple and Max from Cats Don't Dance far too well for it to be a coincidence.
    • You could also argue that Aquamarine resembles an evil version of Cirno.
    • According to an official podcast, Rebecca Sugar initially described Aquamarine as being Cartman-like and that Topaz evokes the feeling of Takeo.
  • Aquamarine repeatedly asks "Are you my dad?" and ignores all other questions. You almost expect her to ask "Are you my mummy?

    Season 5 
"The Trial"

"Off Colors"

  • Lars tells Steven to not move and the Robonoid won't notice them, stating that he saw it in a dinosaur movie.
  • The way Steven revives Lars strongly resembles Eugene's revival from Tangled.

"Sadie Killer"

"Lars of the Stars"

  • The outfit Lars wears in this episode strongly resembles the trademark outfit of Captain Harlock.
  • Lars occupies a Captain's chair reminiscent of those ever-present in Star Trek.
  • The arrival of the Destiny Destroyer is heralded by sirens, large 'WARNING' notifications popping up, and Rhodonite calling "a huge battleship is approaching fast" — exactly how Darius announced its bosses.

"Jungle Moon"

"Your Mother and Mine"

  • The episode is named for a song from Disney's Peter Pan.
  • The style of Garnet's story, with everyone's faces being black silhouettes, is similar to the style of flashbacks in Revolutionary Girl Utena. And like in Utena, the art style is used for flashbacks that are misleading or which don't quite reflect reality.

"Pool Hopping"

  • Garnet offers to model for Vidalia, telling her "Paint me like one of your Amethysts."
  • Garnet and Steven following the kitten through the bushes is very similar to Mei following the Totoros in My Neighbor Totoro.
  • She also wants to name the kitten Steven, but upon being told that would be confusing, decides to name it Cat Steven. note 

"Can't Go Back"

"A Single Pale Rose"

"Now We're Only Falling Apart"

"What's Your Problem?"

  • When Amethyst shrinks her body so that it seems her gemstone makes up a majority of it, she looks like a Squirtle.
  • Sosuke and his mother, Lisa can be seen at Funland as Steven is throwing the flyers from the tea cup ride.

"The Question"

  • When mentioning reading comics, Ruby holds one up called Dolphin Tail. It's a nod to DuckTales, right down to the font.

"Made of Honor"


Ruby: We've been together for 5,750 years.
Sapphire: And eight months.

"Legs From Here to Homeworld"

  • When Centipeetle/Nephrite is temporarily restored by the efforts of Steven, Yellow Diamond, and Blue Diamond, she introduces herself as being from Facet 413.
  • White Diamond's design is inspired by the work of Nell Brinkley. She has the iconic Brinkley Girl's stark eye outlines, eyelashes, and lipstick exaggerated to the point where they're all of her face that is visible.
  • White Diamond's flared hair and shining cape also bring to mind the Whore of Babylon scene from the film Metropolis.


  • The Pebbles construct Steven's Pink Diamond outfit in a manner reminiscent of the mice from Cinderella.


  • The scene where Stevonnie climbs up to take a look out the window of their prison cell is reminiscent of the scene in Castle in the Sky when Pazu was thrown in prison, complete with falling immediately afterwards.

"Change Your Mind"

Steven Universe: The Movie

"Little Homeschool"
  • The shot of Connie studying resembles a still from Whisper of the Heart, famously used as the inspiration for thumbnails for several lo-fi compilation videos on Youtube.
  • According to Rebecca Sugar on the Complete Series DVD Commentary, the whole concept of the Little Homeschool is a reference to Acme Looniversity from Tiny Toon Adventures, as both schools are about people learning to be who they are (gems learning to be gems vs. cartoons learning to be cartoons).



  • The fused state of the two Pearls looks like if Utena and Anthy did a fusion dance of their own.

"Very Special Episode"

  • Rainbow Quartz's similarities to Mary Poppins is played up again: while babysitting Onion, they use their magical umbrella to make toys come to life and clothes to fold and pack themselves, while comparing the chores they do to the bird in front of their window building a nest, just like in "A Spoonful Of Sugar". The bird is even a geographically misplaced thrush speciesnote .

"Snow Day"

  • The character introductions for every Steven-shaped Gem Fusion, including Steven himself, tags them with 'Ultimate Steven'. When Steven!Sapphire tags Steven and the game ends, the screen even shatters like the 'Break!' of an argument from Danganronpa.

"Little Graduation"

"Prickly Pair"

  • Cactus Steven's final form - a hulking green monster with a misshapen leg - visually resembles Lord English.

"Mr. Universe"

  • The song that Greg plays in the car is reminiscent of both David Bowie and Peter Murphy. The person on the cover even looks like a cross of Ziggy Stardust and White Diamond.


  • Steven learns to use his shield by making a flat one in front of him that he pushes forward, much like Urien's Aegis Reflector in Street Fighter III.

"I Am My Monster"

  • Monster Steven is unmistakably based on Godzilla.
  • Connie kisses Monster Steven on the forehead, in the exact same way as Moana kissing Te Ka.

The Classroom Gems
  • The format of all the "Classroom Gems" short is a direct homage to Gunbuster's "Science Lesson" shorts.

"Cooking With Lion"

"Video Chat"

    Video Games 
Attack the Light
  • To show that Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl are more experienced than Steven, he starts at level 1 and they all start at level 9001.
    • "Over 9000" is also the name of the achievement for completely leveling all of the Gems up.
  • "Item, I choose you!"
  • Steven will sometimes say "Neato Burrito!"
  • The gameplay was inspired by Mario RPGs.
  • When Steven gets an item or uses a key, he holds it over his head just like Link does.

Save the Light

Unleash the Light


Alternative Title(s): Attack The Light, Save The Light, Unleash The Light