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Woobie / Steven Universe

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"I never asked for it to be this way! I never asked to be made!"

In a series that loves to show characters' good and not so good qualities and regularly puts them through the emotional wringer, you can be sure a page was needed to list them.

  • Connie. She constantly moves from town to town because of her dad's job, and, as a result, has no friends to keep in touch with, something which drives her to tears when she thought nobody (but her parents) was going to miss her if she drowned in the ocean. Which makes Steven reaching out to her another one of the particularly poignant early Heartwarming Moments.
  • Steven. He tries so hard, and it's impossible to not feel bad for him when he messes something up (especially since he's self-conscious about it). There's also the fact that he never got to know his mother. Additionally, one can feel for the fact that he constantly feels pressured to measure up to her. He also thinks that Gems might resent him because he is the reason Rose is no longer around. And in "Steven's Birthday", we also learn that his physical age seems to be a state of mind, making it possible that he may never grow up, which could seriously harm his relationship with Connie in the long run. Also, despite it all being self-defense, in "Mindful Education" it's revealed he outright blames himself for doing what he did against Bismuth, Eyeball, and Jasper, and is suffering from a severe Broken Pedestal a la his mom. He has a serious Guilt Complex because of this. And then he discovers that Rose was Pink Diamond, so now he feels like he has to live up to the expectations of the rest of the Diamond Authority too. Overall, underneath that sometimes genuine cheerful smile and attitude is a sad, traumatized, possibly depressed little boy who hates himself.
    • Steven is put through the emotional-ringer in the movie. The Earth is under threat from an injector that will kill all organic life, Steven loses his powers, the Crystal Gems all lose their memories a revert back to when they first formed, and the gem responsible for this whole mess, who's the only one who can stop the injector, Spinel, has lost her memories too! So now Steven has to restore all of their memories, without any of his powers, with the knowledge that the world will end if he doesn't. That sounds bad on its own, but then Steven learns that Spinel was once Pink Diamond's playmate, but Pink abandoned her when she got her colony and forced Spinel to wait for her return, which never happened, for 6'000 years! Once again, Steven is forced to face the consequences for his mother's actions. Steven effectively has to relive all of the terrible things that happened in his life throughout maybe one full day, if that long. Steven puts it best himself:
    Steven: I don't get it! Why aren't my powers back?! Aren't I reliving every horrible thing that's ever happened to me?! A Gem I barely know is trying to kill me! I'm paying for stuff my mom did that had nothing to do with me! I'm struggling with my powers! The worlds about to end! What piece could I be missing?! THIS IS THE STORY OF MY LIFE!
    • Just when it seems like Steven can finally catch a break in Future, problems just keep popping up that he either has to or feels like he needs to deal with, including Jasper still being against him (at first), continuing to have his mother's past and mistakes smack him in the face, Eyeball and Aquamarine seeking Revenge against him and attempting to use his own father against him, and everybody moving on and changing without him. In addition, his going through the typical trials of growing into an adult and dealing with change are complicated by his powers overreacting to the wild emotional roller coaster that comes with being a teenager, as well as the trauma he acquired throughout the original series, making his very feelings dangerous and him even more unwilling to try and handle them.
    • In “Growing Pains” it turns out that Steven is suffering from a severe case of C-PTSD, due to his untreated trauma from everything that happened to him in the original series, that causes him, because of his Gem-half, to glow pink and to randomly swell whenever he is in a emotional distress, and his body reacts as if he is in a life threatening situation, even when it’s just a minor problem. He tries to solve his issues in his own ways, but they all fail and put himself and everyone around him into danger (like crashing the van after a fight with his dad, shattering Jasper by accident, and trying to shatter White Diamond only to injure himself), as his mental state gets worse. It reaches a breaking point in “Everything’s Fine”, when he, at first, goes into manic state, and then after the Crystal Gems, Connie and Greg finally decide to confront him about what’s going to him, he confesses everything and, after hearing his mistakes aloud, he comes to the conclusion that he’s no longer the sweet kid he used to be, but he thinks himself as a fraud, and a monster just like his mother. Unfortunately, this belief corrupts him and turns him into a literal monster resembling a pink Godzilla. He gets better, thanks to his loved ones (and therapy).
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  • Amethyst on occasion. This first started in the episode "Tiger Millionaire". She doesn't act like it, but she clearly takes Pearl and Garnet's criticisms to heart. Even more so in "On The Run". She was a by-product of a horrible event on earth, and as a result, has a major case of self-loathing until Pearl reassures her that the event was not her fault, and she sees Amethyst as the one good thing that came out of all this.
    "I never asked for it to be this way. I never asked to be made!"
  • Definitely Lapis Lazuli, and very much of the destroyer-of-worlds variety. She was trapped in a mirror for who knows how long and wants to go home so badly that she tried to use the entire ocean as a tower to reach it, but ultimately can't due to her damaged gem. When she finally arrives home, she discovers that she's now a Fish out of Temporal Water, and that her home is nothing like she remembers it. Soon after she gets taken prisoner by Jasper and Peridot, forced to obey Jasper, and coerced into a fusion dance. Rather than get shoved around anymore, she decides to take control of the fusion, and trap both herself and Jasper at the bottom of the ocean to keep Steven safe, since he's the only person to ever show her any kindness. "Chille Tid" revealed that Lapis has been constantly struggling with Jasper for control, slowly but steadily losing her identity to Malachite.
    • Enter "Same Old World", we see how Lapis got there: She was visiting Earth when war broke out, got caught in the crossfire of a battle, got poofed, and was picked up by a Homeworld soldier. Then Homeworld mistook her for a Crystal Gem, and put in the mirror for interrogation about them (which she knew nothing about). Then, when it was clear that Homeworld was going to lose the war, she was dropped at the Galaxy Warp and her gemstone was cracked when another Gem stepped on it while running towards the Warp Pad. Then she spent the next thousands of years trapped in the mirror, unable to move, until Pearl (who was wearing her "eighties" outfit from the Rose and Greg flashbacks, which should give you an idea on how long Lapis spent alone trapped in the mirror) casually found her. "Alone At Sea" also reveals that she has a lot of self-hatred over the things she's done in the past, and can't forgive herself, even if Steven can. Throw in all the back-and-forth abuse she had with Jasper as Malachite, and it's no wonder why she believes she doesn't deserve to be happy.
      Lapis Lazuli: I'm terrible! I did horrible things! I-I broke your dad's leg, I stole Earth's ocean! Go on! Tell me I'm wrong!
  • Given the reveal that accompanies Lapis' appearance, i.e. that the monsters the Gems are fighting are Corrupted members of their species whom the Gems are incapable of healing, the Crystal Gems qualify. Later episodes also show that they're the last survivors of a massive Gem war and that they are protecting Earth to try and act as The Atoner for their entire species.
    • Made even worse by the revelation that most (but not all) of the corrupted gems are former Crystal Gems.
  • Pearl in "Space Race". She so desperately misses her home that she flies Steven up to space in a rickety rocket that is falling apart around her but refuses to give up until Steven talks her down. Made worse in "Rose's Scabbard", where it's revealed that she stayed behind on Earth because of Rose, and Rose says that if they win, Pearl will never be able to go home. Pearl asks "Why would I want to go home when you're right here?" Of course, Rose eventually dies/gives up her physical form and now Pearl has neither her Homeworld or the woman she so looked up to. Her complete and total breakdown cements it. Pearl's woobism only increases as we learn more of her relationship with Rose and just how deep her feelings of inadequacy go. In "Sworn to the Sword" it is revealed that despite being far weaker than Rose and the Gems they faced, Pearl would throw herself at their enemies to defend her, getting "poofed" time and time again. After Rose started dating Greg, she and the other Gems seemingly ignored or laughed off Pearl's toxic jealousy. Then in "Cry for Help" Pearl becomes obsessed with fusing with Garnet into the strong, confident, charismatic Sardonyx to escape from herself, to the point that she lies and betrays Garnet's trust, making her so angry as to stop talking to her for several episodes; this is something she clearly regrets with all her being. Then in "Back to the Barn" we discover that Pearl is one of a Servant Race of Pearls on Homeworld, where they're treated as an object or slave than as an individual if Peridot's mindset is the norm.
  • Greg. The dude lost his wife, doesn't have custody of his own son, his musical career never took off, and he seems to be a loser in general, living all alone in his van. In spite of this, there's not a mean bone in the guy's body, and his constant upbeat attitude makes him incredibly endearing. It helps that eventually he hits the Karmic Jackpot in season three and has enough money to settle him for the rest of his life; everyone agrees that he earned that ten million dollar royalty check, and deserved a night out.
  • Lars, of the jerkass variety, especially in "Island Adventure" where he breaks down crying because he thinks they're going to be stuck on the island forever. There's also Sadie in that episode who went so far as to hide the warp pad because she thought Lars needed a vacation, and later risked her life to save Lars after he yelled at her. Same goes for "Sadie's Song", where she's constantly been pressured to live up to her mother's high expectations. It's implied she's given up trying her own interests and hobbies in fear that Barb would find out.
    • Both of the get this taken Up to Eleven in "The New Lars". Sadie has been jerked around by Lars so long that when Steven (in Lars body) tells her he loves her in a misguided attempt to bring Lars and Sadie together, she assumes he's either trying to get into her pants or hurt her. Lars meanwhile gets accidentally possessed by Steven and is understandably angry when he wakes up... only to find his friends and family defending Steven and saying they preferred Steven's version, leaving him utterly dejected the next day that almost no one in his life likes him.
    • The Wanted special just skyrocketed his Woobieness through the roof. After being unluckily left behind in Aquamarine's ship, Lars understandably freaks out at the thought of never being able to go back home. He talks out his fears with Steven, derides himself for being a coward his entire life, and is then separated from Steven after they arrive on Homeworld. He's reunited with Steven and the two escape the custody of the Diamonds, and they later befriend the Off Colors - Gems that are considered unwanted and defective by Homeworld for their nature and choices. Their moment of peace doesn't last long, as the roboboids quickly locate them, and Lars, Beach City's resident Jerkass, fights them off to save Steven and the Off Colors from being shattered and ends up dying because of it. While he is brought Back from the Dead, Lars is clearly disturbed by the implications of how Steven may have changed his life forever, and is desperate to find redemption in his new life, claiming that he never appreciated his life on Earth while he had it.
  • Rose Quartz. She knew she'd cease to be when Steven was born. And despite her obvious happiness with Greg, there's an underlying current of sadness to the whole thing. The end theme implies that she always had self-doubts and considers herself a worse person than Steven.
    • As of "A Pale Rose," with the reveal that she happened to be Pink Diamond, this theory seems to be a lot more likely. After what her mistakes and misunderstandings led to, it's possible that Rose gave up her existence for Steven because she believed that an Earthling, raised by those she loved, would be better suited to use her powers and look after her adopted family than she ever could.
  • The Centipeetle. Sure, she was already corrupted, but she's clearly not aggressive like most of the monsters the Crystal Gems fight. She only attacked when she was scared of the Gems' weapons. She was really warming up to Steven, even enough to perform her final sacrifice to save him. Watching the Gems beat it up when it meant no harm, even though they're just protecting Steven, is extremely saddening to watch.
  • Centipeetle after Steven manages to partially heal her, at least temporarily restoring her sanity. The poor thing just seems lost and confused. However, when she starts recounting how she ended up how she did, she breaks down crying, revealing the reason she was caught in the Diamonds' Fantastic Nuke was that she was desperately trying to find her crew. Her corruption begins to force her back into her monster form, and she non-verbally begs Steven to help her. When Steven can't, she spends the rest of her time in a partially uncorrupted state trying to reunite with what's left of her crew, even as her body painfully reverts to her corrupted state. While she's able to at least keep her partially restored sanity and has finally found some members of her crew, it's impossible not to feel bad for the poor thing.
  • The Gem Cluster Mutants. They are the corpses of Crystal Gems that were shattered in the war and then collected by Homeworld. As punishment for the Rebellion Homeworld decided to forcibly fuse various shards together to form eldritch like creatures made up of multiple body parts crammed together. Not only does the show stress that fusing with a partner under false pretences in not okay it's shown that the Gem Shards seem to retain some form of who they once were and are in perpetual agony. The Cluster may also count as this since it's not only made up of millions of Gem Shards (although some of them are stated to be artificial) by merely waking up it will destroy earth meaning the Crystal Gems have to effectively kill it before it's fully hatched.
  • "The Test" basically cements all three Gems as this. They're still lost without Rose to guide them and have some deep insecurities about whether they can raise Steven.
  • Peridot gets elevated to Jerkass Woobie status in "Catch and Release". Her increasing desperation to get off-world is fueled by the fact that whatever The Cluster is, it has the potential to destroy the planet and she doesn't want to die on some cold forgotten rock far from home. She has a striking similarity with Lapis in that regard. It also isn't helped that without her limb enhancements, she is basically as powerless as a child, is barely taller than Steven, and may very well be the Gem equivalent of a child. She hasn't even once shown to possess any kind of power, meaning that even Steven has more ways to defend himself from harm than her. One who was serving in the military and feels like she's been forgotten about on an unknown rock where the only people who even know she's there have wanted to kill her every time they see her. Kudos to her for holding together this long, but she was gonna snap eventually. Additionally, that she reverts to animalistic movements when parted from her limb enhancers carries some disturbing implications about her life on Homeworld.
    • And as of "Message Received", it's gotten even worse for her. After having been treated probably nicer than she ever has been before by Steven, she dials up Yellow Diamond in full expectation that she can see the value in keeping humans and maybe even the Crystal Gems around...only for Diamond's own psychotic hatred of Rose to get in the way, with all of her dreams of finally getting home thrown back in her face and deliberately crushed. Small wonder she spends the next episode in a Troubled Fetal Position.
  • Ronaldo, while a Jerkass Woobie due to past actions, gets this in "Restaurant Wars", losing his girlfriend over a scheme he didn't even want to be apart of, with the rest of the cast—even Steven—showing him No Sympathy.
  • As of "Earthlings", we may add Jasper (of all people) to the list. She's revealed to be a vengeful, loyal soldier who had everything taken from her by Rose Quartz: her colony, her planet and even Pink Diamond, and is desperately lonely when everyone she fuses with leaves her—and she doesn't understand why. Losing herself to Corruption, she's then bubbled by Amethyst, who sadly acknowledges her as a sister for the first time. On top of this, it's implied she's nothing more than the equal of a grown-up Child Soldier who's been indoctrinated from birth to think the way she does. And if that isn't enough, Rebecca confirmed in an interview that Jasper hates herself for being too weak. Then certain revelations in A Single Pale Rose shows that a huge chunk of her motivation is entirely pointless, as not only did Rose not shatter Pink Diamond, but Pink Diamond was Rose all along, and that the rebellion was started by Pink herself in an attempt to dodge responsibility as well as save the Earth.
  • Andy DeMayo is a Jerkass Woobie. An anti-immigrant traditionalist who treats everyone except Steven with abrasive distaste? Yes. Regretful uncle who saves Steven's life and cries when calling him out for being reckless? Also yes.
  • The "Famethyst" Gems from Earth are an Iron Woobie group. Born in the two Earth Kindergartens (with many of the Beta Gems being clearly defective, not unlike our Amethyst), shunted off to a Zooman containment area with a harsh Holly Blue Agate as their boss, they nevertheless remain cheerful and help their sister Amethyst rescue Steven and Greg from the zoo.
  • Topaz, who is forced to do missions she hates and accept abuse from the likes of Aquamarine out of fear of being separated and shattered. Steven and Lars' friendship is enough to get her crying and willing to help them escape, and is only stopped by Aquamarine's sudden arrival.
  • The Off Color Gems hiding out on Homeworld. They're a group of 'defective' Gems consisting of a two-Gem Fusion, a six-Gem Fusion who is willing to add more Gems to their Fusion if they find "the right one", a conjoined Gem, and a Sapphire who can only see the immediate past, and as such is always lagging behind. However, they go out of their way to help Steven and Lars, and immediately accept Lars as one of their own after he is resurrected and turned pink by Steven. And when it's found out that Lars' hair is a portal to the same pocket dimension as Lion, they refuse to use it to go to Earth if it meant leaving Lars behind and alone.
  • Bismuth. She wanted to win the war for the Crystal Gems and liberate Homeworld from the Diamonds' tyrannical reign, and while her methods were unethical, she was just trying to do what she thought was right. During her fight with Steven, she angrily rants that Rose's decisions caused the deaths of nearly all the Crystal Gems—many of which were her friends who she fought with and would have died to save, and after Steven stabs her, she states that she would rather have been shattered then bubbled and forgotten for thousands of years, because if she was in pieces, she wouldn't have to know how little she mattered to "Rose", the Gem who taught her that she could be something more than another nameless, faceless individual in the first place. She also never knew that "Rose" and Pink Diamond, one of her oppressors, were the same. Her calling Rose a liar seems much more on point than it already was. Upon her return in "Made of Honor", she becomes The Atoner and fears that she will become Reformed, but Rejected by the other Crystal Gems. Ultimately, they accept her back and are overjoyed to see her again.
  • Arguably, Yellow Diamond, of all people. While she is extremely cruel towards her low-ranking subjects and wants the Earth destroyed out of spite, she very clearly mourns Pink Diamond, and lashes out at Defense Zircon because the latter accused her of murdering her own "sister". Even more so with The Reveal that Pink faked her own death, meaning that, like Jasper, Yellow's motivation is entirely pointless. "Reunited" even reveals that she blames herself for Pink Diamond's "shattering".
  • Blue Diamond is an obvious example, despite being the destroyer of worlds type. Having spent 6000 years grieving for her sister Pink Diamond, it's almost impossible not to sympathize with her, especially considering the result is that she's become so broken inside that just about anything pertaining to her sister can and will make her cry. So much so that Yellow, the only person that could open her eyes, doesn't cause she's afraid of breaking Blue even further. discovering that Reunited even reveals that, despite her unreasonable aggression towards the crystal gems, it only worsened her desire to see Pink again.
  • Pink Diamond is a Jerkass Woobie type. As shown in the flashback during "Jungle Moon", she seems to be very young, and all she wanted was to get attention from her "mother" Yellow Diamond. Yes, she is a Spoiled Brat and demanding a colony and armies while stamping her foot, but it's clear that she looks up to Yellow and wants to spend time with her. There's also the fact that she (allegedly) died before she could complete her first colony. The Reveal ends up being worse: Pink on receiving a colony had a Heel Realization and wanted to spare the Earth, but her sisters wouldn't let her even when she started up a rebellion and pretended she was losing. She thought faking her death and becoming Rose Quartz permanently would save the Earth, only for the other Diamonds to send a Corruption Beam that wiped out most of the Crystal Gems and loyal Homeworld soldiers. Cue several thousand years of Pink poofing and bubbling Corrupted Gems, taking on human lovers alongside Pearl, and trying to change into a better person but still being a reckless Womanchild on the inside.
    • The "Diamond Days" Arc makes her a straight-up, Woobie: it's not so subtly implied her first Pearl was taken from by White because the two were too friendly - and White turned said Pearl into her Meat Puppet. That and it's made abundantly clear that Blue and Yellow Diamond's love for Pink isn't unconditional and only goes so far as they still don't see her as an equal and become straight-up abusive when Steven/Pink doesn't conform to Homeworld's ways— it's not hard to see why she betrayed them, faked her death, and became Rose permanently.
  • The corrupted gems themselves count. It was some time ago, but at the time it was quite the revelation that every Monster of the Week had been a sentient gem no different from our main cast, their minds are broken (by what was eventually revealed much later to be the Diamonds' Fantastic Nuke.) Some of them were completely loyal homeworld soldiers, as well, the Diamonds either not caring what happened to them or considering it punishment for failing to protect Pink. They're all in a perpetual state of confusion and fear, just sentient enough to suffer from losing what they were. The same goes for gem shards, which we didn't know at first were formerly-living gems, each piece of their shattered gemstones containing too little life to become a full person but enough to need to try, resulting in once-humorous moments like a killer french fry costume defeated with weaponized stripping becoming incredibly tragic. The Cluster and the experiments leading up to it are worse - described as 'artificial fusions,' but less Alexandrite and more a macabre Frankensteining of shards, shown in agony fighting to free themselves as they took form, rightfully horrifying even The Stoic Garnet. The same also goes for "gem-powered" items like the constantly-restructuring temple or the Desert Glass - sentient gems trapped for centuries and suffering (as with Lapis Lazuli who was still alive within the mirror) as their power is forcibly used in the object. A lot of gems are suffering a Fate Worse than Death with little that can be done for them - some friends of our heroes that they can't save, and some who were rewarded for their loyal service to the Diamonds with centuries of hell by their uncaring leaders. There's a reason this show falls under What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? a lot!
  • Another Woobie Species are the bubbled Rose Quartzes in the zoo. They had nothing to do with the rebellion; it wasn't their fault Pink Diamond and Pearl impersonated one of them and faked her death! When three of them visit Steven in "Rose Buds", the Crystal Gems unintentionally make them feel unwelcome.
  • If we take one of Steven's visions at face value, White/Pink Pearl becomes this. According to the dream, she once belonged to Pink, and they loved each other but had to hide their fun from the Diamonds, this later gets confirmed and somehow made worse in Future as it's revealed that Pink caused her damaged face accidentally, not to mention that she tries to act out that everything is fine despite that she was psychologically traumatized by the experience as shown in the Reef scene.
  • The two Jades who saw Stevonnie, Garnet and Opal forming and thus thought it was a good time to come out as a permafusion. They're briefly happy that they're finally not the only permafusion on Homeworld, only to get poofed by Yellow Diamond in less than 3 seconds.
  • Spinel from The Movie wanted to make her only friend, Pink Diamond, happy. Pink abandoned her when she got her colony, leaving Spinel to wait for her return for 6,000 years. When she learned the truth, that Pink had moved on without her, she snapped and gunned it for Earth so she could destroy it. Even she recognized how far she's fallen and admits that she doesn't want to be so full of rage towards someone who wants to be friends with her.
    Spinel: (in tears) What am I doing? Why do I wanna hurt you so bad? I'm supposed to be a friend. I just wanna be a friend...

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