Tag: review

SU Review: “Room for Ruby”

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Well, that was interesting—and much better from the show. Navy comes crashing down to Earth and asks to be taken in. She apparently has no hard feelings about the past and Steven takes her to see Lapis and Peridot. Peridot is willing, but Lapis, not as much. Ruby is apparently getting used to Earth very quickly, which upsets Lapis given how long it took her to get used to things on this planet. Steven and Peridot manage to calm her down on that end.

Navy confesses that while she loves the Earth, she misses her ship. They still have it and Navy takes them for a ride. And then Navy asks Steven to press a button at the other end. The little trickster gets Steven to press the eject button and out goes Steven, Lapis, and Peridot from the ship. Lapis takes some comfort in confirmation in her beliefs that no one could be that well-adjusted, but Garnet is there with a pair of balloons. “It was still worth a shot,” says Garnet.

Well, I guess it was a matter of time that someone took advantage of Steven’s nature to make friends with everyone, wasn’t it? I also guess at least one of the rubies is much smarter than I gave them credit for (read:  not much). It does make the arc with the rubies well worth continuing as well as the one with the odd couple at the barn. Steven also gets more food for thought in someone taking advantage of him. We’ll see where everything goes from here, but it was much better compared to the last couple of episodes.

GRADE:  A

StatManDan

SU Review: “Tiger Philanthropist”

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Amethyst (aka “The Purple Puma”) and Steven (aka “Tiger Millionaire”) are tag team champions of the Beach City Underground Wrestling Federation. They retain their titles after winning another fight when Purple Puma suddenly announces that she is quitting because she doesn’t need it anymore—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least). Steven still wants to wrestle, so he becomes “Tiger Philanthropist” and is a bit of a John Cena (the wrestling fans among the show’s fans should know where I’m going with this one)—much to Lars’s chagrin (to say the least).

Steven confides to Amethyst that he enjoyed the wrestling because it was something they did together—not just because of Amethyst’s inferiority complex which she doesn’t have anymore. “Tiger” decides to give up the belts—much to everyone’s chagrin (because the natural state of a pro wrestling fan is bitter disappointment). “Purple Puma” comes back to help Steven….put over one of the tag teams—all of whom look like fugitives from wrestling video games.

It kind of seemed like the idea was to do away with this sort of angle. “Tiger Millionaire” was episode 9 and here we are 113 episodes later. There are better more interesting arcs deserving of a sequel (*cough* “The Lion Series *cough*). To that effect, the episode succeeds in what it’s trying to do. Amethyst is no longer being put down like she was earlier in the series, so why continue to wrestle? Steven is being Steven while being “Tiger Philanthropist,” so why continue to play the Ted DiBiase persona (especially against a couple of cheap I.R.S. knockoffs).

Oh, by the way, the next episode is also a sequel of sorts.

GRADE:  B

StatManDan

SU Review: “Rocknaldo”

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Um, what was the point of this episode? Are the writers trying to make Ronaldo even less popular than Lars? After Ronaldo is given a reality check in his hunt for “rock people” (since Steven is half-rock), Ronaldo wants to become a Crystal Gem himself. Steven tries to humor him, but Ronaldo spends most of the episode telling Steven how he is doing things wrong.

So yes, Ronaldo is a self-absorbed (take your pick of two words that rhyme with brick). This was just an awkward episode from start to finish. It is in Steven’s nature to see the best in everyone including people like Lars and Ronaldo. And yes, Steven has lashed out at Lars before (“Lars and the Cool Kids”) and does the same here with Ronaldo. Yet, they are still jerks and Ronaldo is doubly so here. Ronaldo calls himself “Jerknaldo” towards the end of the episode after the way he treated Steven, but you would be justified if you yelled at your TV or digital device, “THANKS, CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!”

This was simply a terrible episode featuring an uninteresting character who comes off as even more of a jerk than he was previously.

GRADE:  D-

StatManDan

SU Review: “Storm in the Room”

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Admittedly, I find Steven Universe a bit more complicated to review at times than MLP. Mostly, the former puts quite a bit into 11 minutes while the other runs 22-minute episodes at a more fluent pace.

Steven has very conflicted feelings regarding his Mother, so he goes to the room for some answers. Out comes a mirage of his mother as what he wants to feel about her. Things take a turn after the Peanuts reference as Steven lets loose about Bismuth and Pink Diamond and wonders if he merely exists as an excuse for Rose escape her mistakes.

Many of the episodes of SU in recent times have acted as setup for future arcs and this is one of them. This arc will be Steven coming to terms with how Rose lived–both the good and the not-so-good.

This episode could be divided into three parts. The first is to setup the second where Connie talks about her Mom and it leads to Steven thinking about his. The second part in the room leads to the tempest in the room–and then it kind of ends abruptly.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but this is why I’m more comfortable with the 22-minute format. This show have proven it could do it (read:  “Bismuth”). The sudden ending just makes things a bit awkward.

The one thing to take from this episode is that Steven, who likes to see the best in everyone he meets, has to come to terms that not everyone is perfect–not even his own mother.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

SU Review: “The New Crystal Gems”

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So while Steven and the Crystal Gems were in outer space rescuing Greg, Connie went to Steven’s house where she meets Lapis and Peridot. They try to fill the roles of the Gems. Connie will play the part of Steven, Peridot will be “The Garnet”, Lapis will be Amethyst, and Pumpkin will be Pearl. Their first misson:  Clean the head on top of Mayor Dewey’s van. Despite trying to act out the Gems’ roles, Peridot does her thing levitating the van while Lapis waterbends to wash the car and Connie and Pumpkin dries. That works out well, but when half the town comes to see the spectacle, things unravel.

Peridot slips into Peridot mode because she feel Lapis is not fully performing as Amethyst. A quarrel ensues and Yellow Tail’s truck ends up in the sign. Since Connie is not Steven, she settles things with an angry speech instead of a typical Steven speech (which could be angry at times) and says it’s okay that they are not the Crystal Gems, they are the Crystal Temps and fix the mess and present Greg with a new sign for the car wash.

It was nice to see the dynamic between Connie, Peridot, and Lapis. Peridot and Lapis are a great comedy tandem whenever they are together. While Lapis may go a bit Dory in remembering Connie, she does do a reasonably well Amethyst. This was really a breather episode after last week’s arc, but was a pretty funny episode featuring the neat collection of secondary characters.

GRADE:  B+

StatManDan

SU Review: “That Will Be All”

In this fifth and final part of the arc, Steven and Greg are taken to a a group of amethysts which include Amethyst and a jasper and a carnelian. Everything’s cool and they’ll help Steven and Greg break free. Meanwhile, Blue Diamond has arrived and goes to a room of quartzes that have been bubbled when Yellow Diamond makes a visit. Yellow wants Blue to shatter the gems, but Blue is hesitant since the gems are still representative of Pink Diamond.

We get our first villain song where Yellow misses her too, but wants Blue to move on. It’s a setup for perhaps the remainder of the season. However, that part of the story will have to wait as we still need to get Steven and Greg back home. Blue Agate ultimately discovers the ruse, but is stopped from doing anything by fusion again Garnet and Pearl who tells “Holly Blue” to keep her mouth shut as the Diamonds probably wouldn’t go for rebel gems infiltrating a facility and escaping with a pair of humans.

So, what to think here? We get some midseason world building (we’re still in the middle of Season Four) with the introduction of Blue Diamond and what she is all about. She seems to be a bit more merciful if not still mourning the loss of Pink Diamond. We are certain to know more about this as the season progresses. Steven will still probably seek some answers into the story behind his Mom shattering Pink Diamond. To me, all of this is midseason setup for what is to come the rest of this season.

Overall, the arc as a whole was good, though it really doesn’t do anything more than to set up the remainder of the season and beyond and to introduce Blue Diamond. Steven is returning to a weekly schedule at least for the rest of this month on Friday nights at 7pm ET/6pm CT on Cartoon Network.

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  World building
  • +  Introduction of Blue Diamond
  • +  Gems:  How do the work in the gem world?
  • –  Zoo humans are one-dimensional and made mundane
  • –  Does little else but build up for later

GRADES:

  • Steven’s Dream:  A-
  • Adventures in Light Distortion:  B+
  • Gem Heist:  A
  • The Zoo:  C
  • That Will Be All:  A-
  • Average:  B+

StatManDan

SU Review: Four Episode StevenBomb Catchup

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SU Review: “Steven’s Dream” and “Adventures in Light Distortion”

Welcome to “Steven Bomb 5” where five episodes in four days essentially make a five-part episode a la Thundercats, He-Man, Ducktales, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers, etc. the only difference being that Steven’s episodes are 11 minutes in length. Also, I managed to avoid seeing the leaked episodes and this review is for fellow people who managed to wait until the airings on Cartoon Network in the US.

We start with “Steven’s Dream” which doesn’t appear to be sad, but it ends with Steven in tears. He recognizes a structure that in one of Connie’s books is a palanquin. When he tries to ask the gems about, Amethyst doesn’t know, Pearl is evasive, and Garnet says “DON’T GO THERE.” Frustrated that he feels he’s being lied too and the Gems’ lack of transparency in regards to Rose and Pink Diamond, Greg and Steven go to South Korea to see this palanquin. They see it, but they also see a blue one. They also encounter a pearl for whom Steven’s tears are flowing from and, drumroll please, Blue Diamond!

Greg approaches and tries to sympathize with Blue Diamond with the former losing Rose and the latter at the site where Pink Diamond was shattered. Blue Diamond then takes Greg to outer space which leads to “Adventures in Light Distortion.”

Steven and the Gems plan to use the Ruby ship to pursue as they deduct that Greg is being take to Pink Diamond’s Zoo to be an exhibit. After hitting the Rubies on the way, they go warp speed using the gravity engine. Since the Gems’ bodies are made of light, they are distorted to the size of the Rubies. Steven tries to make adjustments, but can’t get it right and they go super warp speed towards the zoo. Steven then feels despondent because he was rushing to rescue Dad and wanting to know more about the palanquin. Steven gets out of the BSOD, the Gems are back to normal, and we will continue with Tuesday’s episode (“Gem Heist”).

Here I’m going to do something different with grading. I’ll grade all five episodes after Thursday’s episode since this is de facto a five-part arc much like certain shows in the 1980s did. We are formally introduced to Blue Diamond and she is a bit despondent about losing Pink. Certainly we’ll get to know more in the next three parts, but I have to say that “Adventures in Light Distortion” is one of those where it’s exactly what it says on the tin. I’m not sure if they were going for a bit of a breather before the big battle coming up, but there was really nothing much more than that.

Again, grades for all five parts will come Thursday.

StatManDan


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SU Review: “Gem Heist”

In Part 3 of the “Out of this World” arc, we travel to the Human Zoo where the Gems must play the parts they were meant to on Homeworld not to arouse suspicion. Garnet will break up into Sapphire and Ruby while Pearl acts like a pearl and Ametyhst as a guard to blend in with two other amethysts. They come across what presumable is the head of the prison Blue Agate. They take the nickel tour of the facility, ultimately “Esteban” gets separated from the group and is sent through the assimilation chamber where he does get to his Dad while the Gems await Blue Diamond’s arrival.

This is a world-building and exposition part of the arc it portrays Blue Diamond as someone who dedicating her life to carry on Pink Diamond’s legacy by maintaining the prison. We’ll see if the ‘merciful’ part holds up. Again, this part was setup for parts 4 and 5, the former of which comes on Wednesday.

To repeat, no grades until after the fifth and final part.

StatManDan


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SU Review: “The Zoo”

Steven meets with Greg in the Zoo and they are not alone. There are other humans who are descendants of humans captured by gems thousands of years ago. They have never seen Earth before. (Sure, this isn’t creepy.) Steven and Greg do through the daily routine which is similar to how a master commands a pet to sit up, roll over, and fetch a stick (Good dog!).

Steven and Greg to find a door that might lead to the way out. They are told that “long ago” gems entered through the door after humans were ‘hurt’. It’s not the kind of hurt that Steven gives Greg (seriously, I am not going to call him what the other humans are calling him). Before another plan, it’s time for “the choosening” which is gem for Spin the Bottle. Two humans are “choosened” to live together. Greg is selected to be “choosened” with a girl, but tries to get out of it because that’s not how things work on Earth (like when Rose and Greg chose each other).

When the rest of the humans attempt to choose Greg, Greg refuses and the other humans are “hurt”. Amethysts come left and right through the door to try to console the humans and one of them captures Steven and Greg before they could escape.

So we get to see how humans are held captive in the Pink Diamond Zoo, and it was done better in “The Cutie Map” with Starlight’s Village. It might have been the point to make these humans one-note since they have never seen Earth before, but not since the TV show Dinosaurs have we seen humans as pets (101 Dalmatians doesn’t count) and well, that’s how it looks here and it actually makes things a bit mundane. Hopefully, things will pick up in the fifth and final part of the arc.

StatManDan