I remember seeing the TV ads for Steven Universe last year when it aired, but never got around to watching it like I wanted. I finally got my chance when the network collected twelve of the episodes together and sent out the Steven Universe: Gem Glow DVD. While it’s sparse on special features, the show itself more than makes up for it as it’s easily one of the best action/comedy series on the channel since Adventure Time. Yes, it’s that good.
Well that comes as no surprise really, seeing that series creator Rebecca Sugar got her start working on Adventure Time and helped make some of the best episodes on there. Now we enter into her crazy creation, Steven Universe, that follows the adventures of a young boy named…you guessed it…Steven Universe that’s part of a team called the Crystal Gems who fight against any evil that threatens Beach City where they live and the world. Why are they called the Gems you ask? Well it’s because they have magic gems on their bodies that give them magical powers to summon weapons, shapeshift and more to fight off evil. Besides Steven and his gem (which he got from his mother who was originally part of team) there’s Garnet who is somewhat the leader of the team thanks to her calm and stoic demeanor, Amethyst who is the wild and spunky one that always down for some laughs and action, and Pearl who is the smart and classy one but is easily angered by any kind of shenanigans Steven and Amethyst cause.
With that being said, all of them get into all sorts of crazy adventures, whether it’s saving the world from evil monsters or helping Steven find a lost toy, there’s always something wild going on in Beach City. I also enjoy how there are some serious parts in the show as well, as it’s implied Steven’s mother sacrificed herself so that he could be born. So there are moments where the viewer (along with Steven and his fun-loving human Dad) gets to learn more about her and what kind of things she did. As with Cartoon Network’s other shows, the art style is simple but effective here, coming off with a sort of retro anime / Scott Pilgrim look. The voice work is also done well and surprised me when I learned British singer/rapper Estelle voices Garnet, which she does perfectly and reminds me of a female version of Ferb from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb show.
The special features are sparse but good. There’s only one, which is the pilot episode that has Steven trying his best to fit in with the Crystal Gems and ends up helping to save them and the day. It would’ve been nice to have some other extras, but the pilot and twelve episodes more than make up for it.
The Steven Universe: Gem Glow DVD was a nice and welcomed treat from Cartoon Network that I found myself enjoying it the more I watched and I’m sure any who view it will feel the same. I felt it could’ve used some more extras, but after watching the awesome episodes collected here, my biggest gripe is that they fly by so quickly, I wish this was a complete first season release instead. I hope that will be on its way soon (a Blu-ray release too, please) as this is easily one of the best new shows airing right now.