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    N - O 
  • Naked People Are Funny:
    • Amethyst has this as an in-universe opinion.
    Amethyst: Humans should just stop wearing clothes. It'd be a lot funnier.
    • Beachapalooza has a rule insisting all participants remain fully clothed. It's one year old, and its formation is entirely due to Steven.
  • Nature Tinkling:
    • Steven is forced to pee outside in "Keystone Motel" when Sapphire freezes the toilet.
    • "Catch and Release" has Steven unable to use the bathroom because Peridot is locked inside it. Amethyst suggests that he pee in the sea.
      Steven: What's with you guys and making me pee outside?!
  • The Needless: Because Gems get all the energy they need from their gemstones and their bodies are more or less physical holograms, they have no need to eat, drink, sleep, or even breathe. It is implied in "Chille Tid", however, that they do become stressed when overexerted, and while still not necessary, rest is beneficial to them in these situations.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Characters do say "die", "death", "killed" and other synonyms, but when it comes to Rose Quartz, they say that she "gave up her physical form." This was actually because Rose didn't exactly die, but she became half of Steven. The specifics as to whether or not she could be considered alive are more philosophical than anything, since Rose almost certainly can't come back unless Steven somehow dies without damaging his gem, which is vastly unlikely in a PG cartoon.
    • The threat of "destroying", "breaking", "shattering", or, in Peridot's case, "harvesting" a Gem carries the same threat as killing a human.
    • In "Off Colors," Lars dies. However, Steven is able to bring him back to life with his healing tears. Throughout the episode, the characters do not use the words "die" or "death" at all, instead opting for phrases like "away from life." However, in "Lars of the Stars", Lars does say "Does [Sadie] even know I died out here!?" referring to his death.
    • Played straight in the Italian dub.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Do not let the goofy episode teasers fool you. There are some seriously dark undertones to this show and a fair share of heart wrenching moments.
    • Similarly, fans have learned to become suspicious of any episodes which are given particularly innocuous seeming promos or episode summaries, since those are usually used to deliberately disguise some of the heavier episodes.
    • Inverted by the promo image for "Friend Ship", which depicts the Crystal Gems, Lapis, and Jasper as chess pieces with Peridot as The Chessmaster turning Pearl against her friends. Peridot's behavior in that episode is more like panic than strategy, as the only reason the Crystal Gems walked into her trap and had any trouble escaping it was due to a conflict between Garnet and Pearl that Peridot had nothing to do with and wouldn't fully understand from briefly seeing them earlier in the episode. Also, Lapis and Jasper do not appear at all, and Pearl ends up resolving her conflict rather than escalating it.
    • Any promo image by Lamar Abrams should not be taken seriously, as they usually have nothing to do with the actual episode.
  • New Content Countdown Clock:
    • There was a clock in the corner of Cartoon Network's programs counting down to one of the premieres of Steven Universe.
    • Steven Universe: Future had one for the first airing of a new episode.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In the first two seasons, the Crystal Gems often nonchalantly reveal abilities they haven't shown before without much comment and would sometimes never use them again (or at least wouldn't be seen again for a long time).
  • New Season, New Name: The sixth and final season is called Steven Universe: Future.
  • Noble Bigot:
    • Rose Quartz was this toward humans, despite being seen by everyone as kindhearted and good-natured. The most attention is drawn to this when Greg confesses to her that he fears she doesn't respect him, and she interprets it as a joke. Their relationship following this did seem to dial this back a bit though.
    • Pearl has some shades of this. She'll gladly protect the Earth and its inhabitants, but she'll still occasionally come across as smug and superior when interacting with them personally.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. The episode "Catch And Release" takes place in Steven's bathroom which he has to use by the end. An offhand comment by Amethyst also confirms that if a Gem chooses to eat, they have to deal with the results.
  • No-Harm Requirement:
    • The main reason the Gems couldn't fight Topaz and Aquamarine effectively. Topaz had all their friends in her body so the gang couldn't cut loose on her without hurting them. Too bad for them, Aquamarine didn't feel the same about their friends' safety...
    • Exploited by Lars who takes advantage of Emerald's desire to capture them without hurting her ship to escape.
  • Non-Residential Residence: Peridot and Lapis living in a barn.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The Big Donut used to make its donuts on-site, until "...the accident". And all we see of its aftermath is a burn mark on a wall, shaped like a human outline. Months later, Sadie mentions that the workplace lawsuit that resulted was thrown out, but we still don't get to know what happened.
    • In "Full Disclosure," Amethyst suggests that the Gems build a moat surrounding the temple, and offers to shapeshift into a crocodile in order to help guard it; Pearl's comments imply that she has made the same offer more than once in the past, but "never commits."
    • A year before the start of the series, Steven entered into Beach City's Beachapalooza festival. After that, a new rule was then added stating that all participating acts must wear clothes.
    • Amethyst offhandedly mentions that she, at one point, attempted to flush herself down the toilet.
    • Onion has set something in Funland on fire before, and Mr. Smiley is still paying off a (possibly related) lawsuit.
    • When starting up Greg's van, Amethyst mentions that she's never started a car with a key before, implying she's hotwired them in the past.
    • Apparently the last time Yellow Diamond's Ruby Squad failed to double check an area, something happened. However none of them elaborate on exactly what it was, but apparently it was both comedic and memorable (which is saying a lot since the Ruby squad aren't known for their memory at all).
    • Every time Ocean Town is brought up, it comes with a mention of some sort of disaster. Even the welcome sign for Ocean Town in "Last One Out of Beach City" refers to the incident, claiming the town is "no longer on fire".
    • Prior to "Three Gems and a Baby," Amethyst spent an unspecified length of time shapeshifted as a toilet.
  • Noodle People: Pearl seems to be designed with the ideal physique for a ballet dancer: slender, and long-limbed. Combine this with the show's art style, and she's basically made of broomsticks.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond:
    • On Earth, the Crystal Gems are nigh-immortal magical warriors with advanced technology and magical artifacts, all of which is completely standard for their society. Standard for six thousand years ago, that is, and wildly obsolete by the standards of modern Gems. The Crystal Gems are also on the weak side of average when it comes to physical power (as the only remaining members consist of a glorified servant, a defective warrior, and, while powerful in her own right, a fusion whose component parts are an average Mook and Seer), compared to proper warriors from the Homeworld.
    • Garnet is this compared to the other Crystal Gems in two different ways:
      • The show established pretty early that Garnet is miles ahead Pearl and Amethyst in terms of power. However, the source of Garnet's strength and power is being a fusion. Compared to other two-Gem fusions like Opal or especially Malachite, Garnet comes out as rather unimpressive instead, and might as well be the weakest fusion shown so far, not counting Stevonnie. Her components, Ruby and Sapphire, don't look to be very strong on their own either (as stated above, Ruby is a literal Red Shirt, while Sapphire is a seer with little combat ability).
      • Also, Garnet is shown to be very well-adjusted, as opposed to Pearl and Amethyst, who have a truckload of issues and a hefty amount of self-loathing, each for their own reasons regarding their perceived role and origins. However, once again, the reason for this is that Garnet is a fusion of two lovers. On their own, Ruby and Sapphire can barely function, and are so co-dependent that they become complete wrecks (especially Ruby) if they're separated for more than five minutes.
  • Notable Original Music: The show features quite a bit of this, with Rebecca Sugar previously doing most of the songwriting for Adventure Time. It's even justified in-universe, where Steven's dad Greg Universe is a former traveling musician, with Steven inheriting his father's ear and taste for music.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • "Mirror Gem"/"Ocean Gem" has this effect: Steven releases the Mirror Gem, revealing her to be another Gem named Lapis, which prompts the reveal that all the Gem monsters were corrupted Gems, turning the dynamic on its head. At the end, Steven heals Lapis and she goes into space, but the Gems imply this might have repercussions in the future and it expands the setting from just Earth to space.
    • "Warp Tour" takes the above even further, where we see another Gem, Peridot, for the first time and whose presence indicates that the Crystal Gems are renegades from their kind and that wherever they're from has more Gems who are powerful, unfriendly and have plans to do very nasty things to planet Earth.
    • "On the Run" puts nearly everything in regards to Amethyst in a whole new light. She was born on Earth in the Kindergarten to be a "bad," parasitic Gem, and she still has negative feelings about this, which were not addressed until "On the Run."
    • "Jail Break" does the same with Garnet. She's a fusion between Ruby and Sapphire.
    • "Message Received" has Peridot committing high treason towards Yellow Diamond, which makes Peridot a Crystal Gem and caused Earth to come more into Yellow Diamond's focus.
    • This becomes more evident in season 5, with Word of God even stating that things are going to change for the characters.
      • After his death, Lars is brought back to life via Steven's healing tears, turning him pink like Lion and possibly being granted powers similar to Lion.
      • Dewey has stepped down from being the mayor of Beach City and Nanefua replaces him.
      • Sadie quits her job at the Big Donut to join a band with the Cool Kids.
    • And perhaps the biggest, most Status Quo destroying reveal of them all: Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond were the same person the entire time, which essentially changes the entire series completely and utterly. It also means that Steven is a half-Diamond, not a half-Quartz.
    • "Reunited" and its episodes leading up to it is perhaps the most important episodes in the series to date.
      • Ruby and Sapphire are now officially married, and form back into Garnet because they want to be with each other, not because they feel they need to because of Rose.
      • Bismuth is welcomed back with open arms after Steven tells her the truth and is once again a member of the Crystal Gems.
      • Lapis Lazuli comes back and accepts that if she's going to be shattered, it should be with the family who accepted her.
      • The Cluster breaks loose, but proves itself to be Steven's ally in their time of need. All worries about it being a threat are gone for good.
      • The biggest, and most important change: Blue and Yellow Diamond come to accept the truth that Steven is Pink Diamond. Just like that, they're no longer on hostile terms. Just like that, they've opened a dialogue with the Crystal Gems in an effort to understand their goals and what Pink Diamond saw in Planet Earth in the first place.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Pearl constantly tries to shelter Steven from aspects of Gemhood and Gem history that she considers too mature for him to handle.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: At first played straight with the Crystal Gems and Steven, then averted big time due to Character Development.
    • In "Warp Tour", the three older Crystal Gems refuse to believe that Steven saw something in the warp stream, to the point of teasing him, arguing with him about it, and then flat-out shutting him down. Steven eventually takes desperate, dangerous measures to catch the unknown creature, which turns out to be one of Peridot's plug robonoids, heralding her arrival and much bigger problems for the Crystal Gems. They not only admit their mistake, they learn from it...
    • By the time "Chille Tid" happens, the Crystal Gems are surprised that Steven might be able to make psychic contact with Lapis Lazuli, and by extension Malachite, in his dreams, but far from tearing him down, they encourage him to try again and accept the information he brings back at face value.
    • Played with but ultimately averted again in "Catch And Release": while Steven tries to tell the Crystal Gems that Peridot was trying to say something bad was going to happen, Garnet gently dismisses him at first, convinced that Peridot was lying to save her own skin. Steven doesn't discuss what Peridot was trying to say to the Crystal Gems because he himself doesn't understand it that well, so he takes the question directly to Peridot, who tries to escape and then gets trapped in Steven's bathroom. When the Gems find out that Steven released her from her bubble, they're shocked at first, but once he articulates what he was worried about, they not only immediately understand, they agree with his idea of keeping Peridot imprisoned but un-bubbled so they can convince her to share information about the mysterious Cluster.
  • Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: After Steven's return from Homeworld, Pearl holds a short, panicked monologue.
    Pearl: We'll never get that dropship to fly and we're losing time! Who knows what they're doing to Steven?! Hi Steven. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO D- (cuts herself off as she finally registers Steven's return)
  • Not So Above It All: Sapphire is called out for this almost word-for-word by Ruby in "Keystone Motel".
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Navy of Ruby Squad demonstrates that in spite of how she acted in the past, she's much more competent and manipulative than she lets on.
  • Odd Couple: Pearl and Amethyst are a textbook example, with Pearl as the uptight neat freak and Amethyst as the fun-loving slob (not unlike the Trope Namer), although Garnet and Steven usually help smooth things out.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Big Donut's only known employees are Sadie and Lars, who work there every day, all day, and more or less run the entire place by themselves. A manager or owner has yet to be seen. By Season 5 the Big Donut has lost all its employees — Lars is having adventures off in space, while Sadie quits since she's utterly miserable working by herself without Lars. It's minor plot point the story actually closes without anybody to work there. Garnet works there briefly on a whim, before Ex-Mayor Dewey gets a job, running it by himself.
  • Off-Model: This happens in the show very often and Ian Jones-Quartey has actually stated that the show creators are aware of this and make no apologies about doing so, because cartoons are meant to be fluid, expressive and funny. After the first half of season one, this was dialed back significantly, but as the former post can attest, it still happens in minor variations in many places.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The Crystal Gems are often elsewhere on the planet fighting evil. As Steven in the early episodes wasn't ready to join them, they didn'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 problem himself.
  • Older Than They Look: The Gems, since they don't age. Also Steven, who is fourteen but hasn't grown since he was eight.
  • Once a Season:
    • Although episodes getting shifted around messed with this, each season has a Whole Episode Flashback about Greg and Rose's relationship and later, about Greg and the Gems adjusting to Steven. Greg lampshades in "Greg the Babysitter" that he ends up singing a song each time too.
    • Counting Season 1A and 1B as different seasons, each season always has one Crystal Gem poofing. Season 4 is the first to break the pattern.
  • One-Gender Race: With the exception of Steven who is half-human and male, all Gems are genderless but look like and are referred to as women.
  • The One Guy: Steven is the only male Crystal Gem (and the only one in Gemkind as a whole).
  • One Of The Girls: Justified, Steven's Parental Substitutes are gems coded as women, his best friend and later partner is a girl, and many of the people/gems that have made an impact on Steven have been female/female-coded. The series is already pretty heavily dominated by female characters (the number of main male characters including Steven can be counted on one hand), though technically the gems have No Biological Sex. Steven doesn't have a complex on being/acting masculine since he was kept away from much of regular human life; he's fond of the color pink, cries openly, and his greatest strength is his empathy.
  • Only Flesh Is Safe: Played with by Rose's Sword: It's a weapon specifically design to never damage a Gem's stone, which is their the closest equivalent of flesh, being the only part of them that suffers permanent damage. It'll cut through a gem's constructed body with ease and, though not commented on, we're left to assume it would slice through human flesh just fine.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Steven is normally a kind, cheerful and friendly little boy. While he can and does get angry at things that warrant such feelings (hurting his family and friends, insulting his mother, etc.), he is never angry as a default. Most of "Warp Tour" has him extremely surly and argumentative with the Gems, especially Pearl, because he is sleep-deprived and just that afraid of the thing he saw in the warp stream. Similarly, in "Keystone Motel" he finally ends up breaking a plate and storming out over the way Pearl, Ruby and Sapphire have all been fighting.
      • While it's not the only time he's gotten angry, the way he snaps at Lars in "Lars and the Cool Kids" for insulting his mother is especially noteworthy in that it got him to call Lars a jerk without any hesitation. For comparison, he struggled to call the Homeworld Gems "mean" after they destabilized Garnet, knocked him out, captured him and his friends, and voiced plans to destroy the planet, and Lars is somebody he actually wants to be friends with.
      • Steven normally wants to make everyone his friend, that is, until he meets Kevin for the second time. He's not just some guy who trash talks his mom or tries to conquer the planet; no, Steven can overlook that. Kevin is a guy who pushes others' boundaries and makes them feel uncomfortable. While Steven could barely contain his anger the time Marty—Greg's jerky ex-manager—came to town, Kevin is such a creep that it sends Steven into a mini-rant and say he hates him.
    • Amethyst, at her best, is laid-back and personable, and at her worst is cocky, hotheaded, and rude. She expresses her negative emotions almost exclusively through anger, to the point where even when Steven was on the brink of death from rapid aging in "So Many Birthdays", her futile attempts to save him only caused her to get more and more frustrated, which contrasted hard with Pearl's Inelegant Blubbering. Because of this, her breakdown in "On The Run" where her backstory is finally laid bare and she releases all the self-hatred she's been bottling up for the last six thousand years has to be seen to be believed.
    • Pearl's breakdown in "Rose's Scabbard". She is a perfectionist and has a tendency to get a little full of herself from time to time. However, she gets increasingly bitter as she learns she wasn't Rose's sole confidant, and lashes out at the other Gems and Steven out of sheer anger and vindictiveness, something she has never really done before. She even failed to help Steven after he fell from a floating island, despite voicing concern. Fortunately, Steven saves himself and still forgives Pearl for everything.
    • In "Keeping It Together", Garnet is so traumatized by the existence of The Cluster and its implications, she nearly unfuses from the shock. Even after she pulls it together long enough to poof the monstrosity, she has a moment where her two halves, Ruby and Sapphire, are arguing with each other through her, complete with changes in emotion and inflection, just like split personalities.
      • Contrast with her reaction when she first sees Stevonnie in "Alone Together" and Smoky Quartz in "Know Your Fusion". She stands in awe, smiling ear to ear and if it weren't for her visor you would probably see the stars on her three eyes. That shows how much fusion is important to her.
    • In "Cry for Help", Amethyst learns Pearl was repairing the Communications Hub, but when Garnet gets mad when she finds out, Amethyst defends Pearl, despite the two rarely getting along and Amethyst not minding seeing Pearl get in trouble once in a while.
    • In "Future Boy Zoltron" Mr. Smiley stops smiling when hearing about Mr. Frowney. Mr. Frowney, in contrast, starts smiling just from seeing Mr. Smiley after so many years.
  • Out of Focus: The Beach City humans with the exception of Greg and Connie got much less screentime during Season 2, given that the episodes started to become more plot-driven, with more focus on the Myth Arc and Gem characters, and thus there was little they could do in these kind of episodes (Season 1 was more episodic in nature and had more mundane plots). They were completely pushed away after Peridot made a truce with the Crystal Gems to stop the Cluster, and it doesn't seem that we're going to see them again until this arc is resolved. Among them, Lars is worth mentioning, given that he used to appear a lot in Season 1, yet in Season 2 he only got a handful of non-speaking cameos.
    • Inverted in the first half of Season 3, where the Beach City humans get several episodes focusing on them while the Crystal Gems take a backseat.
  • Overly Long Scream:
    • In "It Could've Been Great", Peridot screams for 20 seconds straight when riding on Lion, who is going at Super Speed.
    • In "Know Your Fusion", Garnet screams for 16 seconds straight when Smoky Quartz reveals themself and their destructive powers. Not out of fear mind you, but sheer glee.
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    P - R 
  • Pac-Man Fever: The show's creators are clearly video game fans, but this trope is still applied most likely for practical reasons: Nearly every video game seen in the show (such as the arcade at Funland, or the Nintendo 64 and GameCube in Steven's room) has simplified graphics, probably most akin to the SNES or 90's arcade machines, but have gameplay mechanics that make sense, are portrayed believably and are reflective of real gaming trends.
  • Parents as People: A central tenet of the show: just because someone has become a parent/caretaker, it doesn't stop them being a person with their own goals, virtues and hangups — and it doesn't mean they're reduced to the role of bystander while the next generation go off and do important things. However, as the show progresses it also becomes clear that even the best parental figures are imperfect: their jealousy, insecurity, emotional distance or irresponsibility won't magically vanish because a child has turned up. Even parents have to address their own issues. Vidalia, for example, is the loving mother of Sour Cream and Onion, but she still finds the time to pursue her goals of being a painter.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: This is the Aesop of "Historical Friction", that everyone makes mistakes, and the important thing is to keep on trying.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: The gems require no sustenance to continuously project their Hard Light bodies and can live forever provided their gems are not shattered.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: With the exception of the replicator wand in "Onion Trade", Gem technology (most obviously Warp Pads) can only be activated by gems and lays dormant otherwise. It's unclear if this is a deliberate feature or accidental, but the result is ancient-looking high technology sitting around the Earth unguarded for thousands of years without any human reverse-engineering.
  • Plot Parallel: In the episode "Reformed", it's implied that the characters in "Crying Breakfast Friends!" are each a counterpart to one of the characters in Steven's life. The few other glimpses we've gotten of this show seems to relate to the main plot of the episode, in particular "Cry for Help" (see Crystal-Ball Scheduling).
    • In the "Steven Reacts" short, Steven watches an episode where the Crying Breakfast Friends are invaded by the Angry Lunch Enemies, and the conflict is resolved by the two meals coming together to form "brunch". This would appear to be an analogy for the Homeworld Gems, and the show's ongoing theme of fusion/love being the answer to all conflict; how much of this is an actual forecast remains to be seen.
    • Not the first time that the show has used snack foods to foreshadow plot elements. "Gem Glow" has Steven describe Cookie Cat as "a refugee from an interstellar war", and an Imagine Spot in "Future Vision" has him encounter an antagonistic Cookie Cat and exclaim "I never imagined that you might be evil!"
  • Point of Divergence: While the world portrayed in Steven Universe looks remarkably similar to ours, there's a number of hints that the arrival of the Gems and their subsequent civil war over Earth's resources have... changed certain things. One of the most telling is that while the dollar bill we've been shown as currency in Steven Universe says "United States of America", instead of the pyramid-and-crest design, it has a diamond on the left and a partitioned snake (thought to be a reference to Benjamin Franklin's "Join Or Die" political cartoon urging the Thirteen Colonies to unite) on the right. This is borne out by the names of the two states we've seen so far, Keystone and Delmarva. Matt Burnett has also stated that Christmas and Halloween do not exist in-universe. Seen from space, Florida has apparently been detached from the rest of North America and is now an island. (However, Ghana still exists in this universe as Ian Jones Quartey has stated that the Pizza family is from Ghana.) There is also a large portion of northern Russia that's just not there, either somehow flooded or outright obliterated. We've also seen "Jersey" (not New Jersey") and "Empire City" a combination of Paris, New York, and Vegas. Word of God is that Kansas City is this universe's version of Hollywood.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Jenny and Kiki Pizza. Jenny is outgoing and is always with the other cool kids - Buck and Sour Cream. Kiki is more calm and focused on her work ethic at the family restaurant.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Peridot's conversation with Steven at the start of "Message Received" may at first seem like she's given up on working with the Crystal Gems and that she's merely stolen the communicator to contact Yellow Diamond so she can finally escape Earth. However, after watching the rest of the episode, it turns out that Peridot had actually taken the communicator because she was going to try and convince Yellow Diamond to not destroy the planet by showing how it was still useful without being a test site for a geoweapon.
  • Portal Door: The door at the Gem monument leads to the Gem temple, and opens to specific areas depending on which Gem activates it.
  • Portal Network: The Gems employ Warp Pads that connect to each other to get around from place to place on Earth, crystal pads activated by a Gem's thought or by a convenient whistle. They transport more than the Gems themselves, but a normal human can't activate one on their own. A larger version exists that allows for interplanetary travel; the only known Galaxy Warp on Earth is inactive, and the Crystal Gems have a vested interest in making sure it stays that way. Those who are transported by a pad go through "Warp Space", a space where all the streams from the warp pads run through. The other streams are visible if one sticks their head out, but as warp space lacks heat, air and gravity, it is not advisable.
  • Post-Script Season: The sixth and final season, titled "Steven Universe: Future", is meant to be an "epilogue season" since many arcs were essentially wrapped up in Season Five.
  • Power High: "Cry for Help" implies that this is why fusing with Garnet can be addictive. Because Garnet is already an incredibly powerful and perfect fusion, the considerably weaker Pearl and Amethyst find fusing with Garnet to be remarkably pleasant.
    • Earlier, in "Coach Steven" Suigilite does not defuse, even after the threat is over, because Garnet and Amethyst enjoy the power.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: It is implied that many gem artifacts, including the Desert Glass and the pyramid in "Serious Steven", are powered by sentient Gems. Lapis Lazuli herself powered a magical mirror.
  • The Power of Friendship: A central theme of the show is that friendships are very important, and even though there can be hardships, they are still worth having.
  • The Power of Love:
    • The show's central theme is the love and relationships between characters. Steven in particular is primarily motivated by the need to care for and protect others. Fusions between Gems also work far better if the Gems legitimately love and care for one another.
    • Garnet is the embodiment of this, since Ruby and Sapphire love each other so much they can't stand to be separated. Garnet even sings a song about how she's made up of love and that makes her stronger than her opponent.
    • The defining trait of Homeworld is that they don't understand love; the way Homeworld Gems relate to each other appears to be based on fear and obedience rather than respect or compassion, and it's strongly hinted that this will be Homeworld's downfall.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Peridot tries to invoke this in order to convince Yellow Diamond to spare Earth in "Message Received", pointing out that Earth has unique resources for the Gem Empire, making it more useful intact than smashed up for a single geo-weapon. Unfortunately, Yellow Diamond really wants the Earth to die, proving to Peridot that she's not as rational as she thought.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: From the end of "Super Watermelon Island", before defeating Malachite:
    Alexandrite: You two should spend some time apart.
  • Protagonist Title: Steven Universe is the name of the main character.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: The episode "Tiger Millionaire", in which Steven and Amethyst begin a secret career as a pro-wrestling tag team, presents the whole thing as a real sport; nothing is staged and the two win all of their matches legitimately. Wrestlers still use fake names and identities (Steven's being the titular Tiger Millionaire) and play Heel and Face though, so there's still a small level of Kayfabe. Interestingly, no one seems to assign these roles; judging by Steven, each wrestler apparently gets to decide for themselves whether the Heel or Face role looks like it would be more fun.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Gem abilities and their use seem to be keyed to the user's emotions. Steven loses control of his shapeshifting when he starts to get upset and has difficulty summoning his shield because each of the Gems gives him a different explanation for how to do so: Pearl suggests mental focus and rigorous discipline, Amethyst advocates 'just feeling it' and Garnet talks about tapping into the harmony of the universe. Steven's method, while not verbally espoused, seems to stem from compassion and a desire to protect.
  • Puny Earthlings: Gems are the only sapient alien species besides humans, and are superhumanly strong, tough, and agile, capable of Voluntary Shapeshifting, don't age, don't need to eat, drink, or sleep, can replace their entire body if injured, have built-in weapons, and possess several other inherent advantages even separate from their incredibly advanced technology. Their only real disadvantage compared to humans is that creating gems is much more costly, resource-wise, than raising humans.
  • Put on a Bus: Many characters in this show, particularly gems, are just dropped from the show once they serve their purpose, or disappear for sometimes multiple seasons. A big example of this is how once the Cluster was bubbled, Peridot was stuck at the Barn, only rarely appearing on the show. When the same happened to Lapis and almost to Navy, fans actually came up with a term for this - "Barning". Other characters placed on the bus include Centipeetle, Mystery Girl, Topaz, Aquamarine, the Zircons, Bismuth, the Off Colors, and Jasper is DRIVING the flippin' bus.
  • Putto:
    • Aquamarines are a gem-type who are aesthetically similar to the idea of cherubs. They are about the size of a human toddler (though all gems are all born as adults) and are characterized by having small fairy-wings made of water which gives them flight-capabilities. The exact details of their intended purpose are never given, though the Aquamarine introduced in "Are You My Dad?" implies that they all have good memory and are aristocratic members of Homeworld's caste system and considered retrieving humans from Earth for the Human Zoo to be beneath her. More Aquamarines are seen in "Together Alone" pulling up the curtains for the Diamond's formal introductions, evoking imagery of putti accompanying goddesses (which gems see the Diamonds as).
    • Vidalia's painted depiction of Garnet and Steven from the episode "Pool Hopping" portrays both of them floating in pink clouds, Steven himself portrayed as a nude winged-cherub throwing rose petals on Garnet. Considering Steven is a Messianic Archetype who acts as a positive influence on everyone around him, this is likely deliberate symbolism by the animators.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Rose Quartz was able to stop the Homeworld Gems from destroying Earth, but at the cost of her entire army (it's mentioned that she was only able to save her closest friends).
  • Race Name Basis: Gems are referred to by their Gem type, although Homeworld does use serial numbers describing a Gem's facet and cut that helps identify individuals. This means that all Rubies are referred to as Ruby, all Peridots as Peridot, all Pearls as Pearl, etc. Doesn't help that each member of each type is nearly identical.
  • Rage Quit: What the Cluster amounts to: the Crystal Gems won the war, so the Homeworld decided to plant an Eldritch Abomination in the planet's mantle to destroy it. "Message Received" makes this more clear as Yellow Diamond's bitter way of talking about the Earth and refusal to accept any suggestion to spare the planet even if it'd be Pragmatic Villainy makes it clear she holds a grudge, even for thousands of years later. "Monster Reunion" reveals that the Diamonds basically used a Fantastic Nuke on Earth while retreating in defeat to corrupt all the Gems remaining there (including their own who hadn't been able to escape in time), infesting it with vicious, powerful Gem Monsters rather than just letting the Crystal Gems have it.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Crystal Gems, in the eyes of Homeworld Gems, are this. As detailed in "Back to the Barn" and "Too Far": Pearl is a member of a Slave Race and is considered defective for doing anything more than standing around, looking nice and holding her owner's possessions; Fusions like Garnet are only supposed to be used for combat, and never supposed to be formed from two different types of gems, and her actions were considered punishable by death; Amethyst, though fully functional as a soldier, is also considered defective as far as Quartz Gems go because of how short her Shapeshifter Default Form is and Steven, being a Half-Human Hybrid, is something completely new and unheard of.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: In "What's Your Problem" Steven and Amethyst decide to take a lunch break at Fish Stew Pizza. The conversation starts out calmly, until Steven asks how Garnet feels, and Amethyst loses her cool:
    Amethyst: [slams her hands down on the table in frustration at the mention of Garnet]: But what about you?! She's your mom! You were always under all this pressure to be like her! But... Was she even like her? Was anyone ever like her? She was supposed to be so great! She was supposed to know everything... And... ugh... She was supposed to make everything better! It's not fair! We shouldn't have to deal with any of this, we shouldn't have to fix any of this, we weren't around for a stupid war! This... This is everyone else's problem... This has nothing to do with me... And you! This has nothing to do with you!
    Steven: Amethyst... Hold on a second... Are you okay?
    Amethyst: No! I mean... Yes! Of course, I'm okay! Ugh... I'm trying to find out how you feel about all this! Ugh! She... Your mom, okay? Doesn't really affect me.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Amethyst, Greg, Rose Quartz, and Jasper all have this. What's left of Greg's hair goes to the backs of his legs (it was floor length when he was younger i.e. shorter). Amethyst made her hair floor-length apparently to match Greg since she was seen fawning over it when they first met. Rose Quartz has extremely thick, luscious hair styled in thick Regal Ringlets that go down to the backs of her legs, and it would probably be even longer if it were straight. Jasper's hair looks similar to Amethyst's and also goes to her knees.
  • Reality Ensues: Has its own page.
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder: Discussed and then Zig-Zagged in "Chille Tid," when Steven has to explain to Pearl that dreams don't generally make sense, and gives a rambling example of a seriously random dream he had about Lion driving Greg's van. Later on, Pearl has a similarly mixed-up dream that nevertheless reveals some of her jealousy issues about Greg and Rose... while Steven discovers he has Psychic Dream powers.
  • Really 700 Years Old:
    • Gems do not age, ever, nor do their appearances ever seem to naturally change unless they want them to. For bonus points, even if their current form is destroyed, unless their gem is shattered they will always reform. Consequently, pretty much every Gem we meet is at least thousands of years old, while appearing middle-aged at most.
    • Downplayed with Steven himself. He's fourteen, but looks and acts noticeably younger, which is presumably a result of him being half gem. Birthday photos show that his physical aging has been negligible for the past six years.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Bismuth goes on a rant as she attacks Steven for rejecting her "Breaking Point" weapon (as it is used to shatter Gems rather than poof them). As she believes Steven to actually be Rose Quartz, the speech is about Rose's actions.
    Bismuth: DON'T lie to me. You can't expect me to believe you now after you lied about everything! You're lying about this new form, just like you lied to the others about ME! But I didn't just disappear, did I? YOU know what happened to me! [...] I offered you the secret to victory and you refused. The Breaking Point would have changed everything! I didn't want to fight you, but you left me NO CHOICE! What type of "Leader" doesn't give her army the best chance to WIN!? How could you value the gems of our enemies more than our own?! And look what you've done without me, without the Breaking Point! You've LOST! [...] All that talk about how Gems can take control of their own identities, how we've been convinced to ignore our own potential? That's all it was, wasn't it?! Just TALK! You should've listened to me, Rose! I would've taken the war to Homeworld and shattered the Diamonds, I would've liberated EVERYONE! [...] You should've shattered me back then... At least if I was in pieces I wouldn't have to know how little I mattered to you... You didn't even tell them... You bubbled me away and didn't even tell your friends. MY friends...
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Amethyst and Pearl, respectively - the former being anarchic and energetic, the latter being reserved and obsessed with details.
    • Steven and Connie would also qualify, Steven being a Cheerful Child and the Keet and Connie being calm, shy, and duty-bound.
    • Ruby and Sapphire (the former is Hot-Blooded and lives in the moment, the latter is stoic, introspective and has precognitive powers - notably, they usually share the same feelings but express them differently) are a nearly literal example of this trope. For bonus points, their roles on Homeworld were a Red Shirt and a Blue Blood, respectively.
  • Redshirt Army: Rubies. Small, cheap, expendable and, well, red.
  • Regional Redecoration: It's not yet confirmed if the major geographic divergences in Steven Universe are due to the Gems' alien interference and advanced terraforming technology, but it's been heavily implied. These changes include: Florida being an island; Australia divided by a winding trench; a large chunk of western Africa seemingly moved across the Atlantic and stuck onto South America with an island chain between them; and Russia being largely replaced by a massive sea. Gem activity has also been shown to have created large swathes of rugged, infertile terrain in the process of incubating new Gem soldiers.
  • Rescue Romance:
    • A mutual case in "The Answer". Ruby saves Sapphire from Pearl, but accidentally fuses with her in the process. Sapphire saves her from Blue Diamond's wrath by escaping with her to Earth.
    • Steven finally gets a chance to talk to Connie after he rescues her from falling rocks (and subsequently traps her in the bubble with him).
  • The Reveal: After all of Season 5 hyped up the question of what happened to Pink Diamond, we finally get an answer. Initially, it seemed like Pearl shape-shifted into Rose and shattered Pink, but then we see a bit further in and realize that Rose Quartz was actually Pink Diamond all along. Which by extension, means that Steven is the reincarnation of Pink Diamond herself.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Steven Universe often has hints in the dialogue and background that can be connected to things that are revealed later.
    • A surprising number of Ronaldo's crazy theories turn out to be oddly close to the truth. Jasper's hand-ship may not be "coming to abduct humans for a human zoo"
    • The episode "Alone Together" provides some interesting hints at Garnet being a fusion of two gems, Ruby and Sapphire. Garnet is the most gleeful and encouraging of Steven and Connie fusing into one person, calling it an experience that is meant to be enjoyed. Also, when the other Gems say that fusion is hard for them to comfort Steven's initial failed attempts, Garnet deadpans that it isn't for her. She's right, it isn't, since she spends her entire life as a fusion.
    • In the episode "Message Received", all of Peridot's dialogue from the beginning of the episode takes on a new meaning when we learn that her plan was to try to convince Yellow Diamond to spare the Earth.
    • Following the big season 5 twist of Rose Quartz and Pink Diamond being the same person, Cartoon Network's official Youtube channel uploaded a compilation of various scenesWarning!  that contained hints towards the reveal.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: In "Open Book", before Steven realizes that he's been talking to Cloud Connie:
    Cloud Connie: How do you want this story to end?
    Steven: I don't know! I just wanted to do this for you. This isn't really like you I- [sighs] I don't want you to just do what I want.
    Cloud Connie: Uh, you want me to not do what you want?
    Steven: Connie, are you all right?
    Cloud Connie: I want what you want, what you want-want-want-want...
    • By the time he realizes he hasn't been speaking to the real Connie, Cloud Connie ignores what he says, and pins him down until he tells the real Connie that he enjoyed the Archimicarus novel ending with a wedding and he was afraid to tell her because he didn't want to hurt her feelings.
  • Right Behind Me: At the end of "A Single Pale Rose", Steven quietly voices the truth that his mother was in fact Pink Diamond, completely oblivious that Garnet and Amethyst were standing right behind him the whole time.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Any time Steven is captured, there's a good chance that the Crystal Gems are going to show up and have something to say about it. Ronaldo found this out the hard way when he kidnapped Stevennote  only to have all three Crystal Gems blast a huge hole in his wall. Considering that he's an ordinary, out-of-shape teenager and they're immortal space aliens with magic powers, it goes about as well for him as you'd expect until Steven intervenes.
    Pearl: "WE KNOW YOU HAVE OUR STEVEN!"
  • Robinsonade: Steven, Sadie and Lars become trapped on a tropical island in "Island Adventure."
  • Rock Theme Naming:
    • All Gems are named after their gemstone, which resembles their namesake and is their actual body. Their full designations further include the type of cut and the location they were grown.
    • Fusions between different gem types are heavily implied to choose their own name rather than being assigned one, but keep the gem-themed naming.
    • Characters do sometimes give each other non-rock-themed nicknames to distinguish them from similar gems, like Skinny the Jasper (nicknamed for her build), Eyeball the Ruby (nicknamed for where her gem is located), and Squaridot the Peridot (nicknamed for her hair style). A group of Amethysts refer to each other by their cut (like "8XJ").
  • Romantic Fusion:
    • Stevonnie, the fusion of Steven and Connie, is stated by the Crewniverse to be metaphorically similar to a couple's awkward firsts. The two rather enjoy being fused, except for the fact that it means they've literally become one and the same person, without another person to depend on, and thus "Alone Together" (the title of Stevonnie's debut episode).
    • It later turns out that Garnet is the fusion of two gems named Ruby and Sapphire, who were romantically linked and fused together permanently. This is treated as basically Happily Ever After for the two of them.
  • Rousseau Was Right: With a couple of very rare exceptions, the show seems to fall into this, especially among the human characters. Even Lars and Ronaldo are shown to be mostly scared, alone, and/or awkward. The Gem monsters and corrupted Gems who attack Steven and the Crystal Gems are insane with corruption and attacking out of desperate madness rather than actual malevolence, as proved by the Centipeetle, and Lapis Lazuli lashed out from fear and misery and feeling trapped. Apart from Marty, Jasper, Peridot, and the above examples, everyone in the show has been shown to be essentially good people trying to do the right thing, to greater or lesser degrees of success. Peridot's redemption began as an Enemy Mine to the Crystal Gems, as she tries to help stop the destruction of the planet she's stranded on. She has shown us some unexpected sides of her character before finally cementing her reputation as a Crystal Gem. And if some of Matt Burnett's tweets can be taken at face value, even Jasper has Hidden Depths that the viewers have yet to encounter.
  • Rule of Funny:
    • Per Word Of God, the reason the people of Beach City take the magical goings-on around them in stride.
    • Pearl's exaggerated Sanity Slippage in the Uncle Grandpa crossover.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The series often uses motifs from Hinduism, such as the multiple arms seen in the Gems' temple statue and fused Gems (including Opal and Sugilite). Opal was also originally planned to form a clockwise swastika symbol with her hands when summoning her bow, a symbol associated with Vishnu. Sugilite, with her four arms, scary-looking fangs and Blood Knight personality, strongly resembles the Hindu goddess Kali (who is associated with the counterclockwise swastika).
  • Running Gag:
    • Steven often falls flat on his face after teleporting, though he gets the hang of it later on. Connie, not having Steven's experience, does the same thing in "Sworn to the Sword".
    • When something magical happens to Connie and Steven, Connie will usually say something along the lines of, "Is this usual?" to which Steven will reply, "No. This is new."
    • Mr. Universe's van suffering abuse.
    Greg: No! Not the van!
    • Steven's TV is also regularly destroyed. So far, it's happened in "Gem Glow" (shattered by Steven's shield), "Steven the Sword Fighter" (hacked by Holo-Pearl's sword), "Rose's Room" (wrecked by the Wailing Stone), "Back to the Barn" (propelled by Peridot), and "Know Your Fusion" (smashed by Smoky Quartz's yo-yo). Thankfully, the Gems have plenty of spares.
    • The Gems ground Steven by forbidding him to watch TV for 1000 years in "Fusion Cuisine", and it keeps coming up again in future episodes. In the episode "Joy Ride", Garnet ungrounds Steven from TV.
    • Steven expressing frustration at Lion for not informing him of his various magical talents (pocket dimension in his mane, walking on water, able to create portals in space and time by roaring, etc). Lion is the Team Pet and can't talk.
    Steven: "Lion! Why don't you tell me you can do these things you do?"

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