Masaaki Yuasa’s fourth TV show wraps up in a fairly satisfying way with a briskly paced and nicely animated climax that brings emotional closure to the story with a cathartic showdown and thread-tying coda.
Peco and Dragon battle it out in a fierce match, and Peco’s victory paves the way for a climactic showdown between old friends.
Peco blazes through the tournament, but his knee begins to act up, leaving his future in question. Only Peco, Smile and Ryuichi remain at the end.
Peco catches everyone off guard at the High School Championship Qualifiers with his newfound skills, skunking Kong in a reversal of the events of the previous championship.
Kaio finally tries to poach Smile, Peco gets into the National Training Center with a little help from the old lady, and we learn about coach Koizumi’s storied past. This episode was largely devoted to character development, and finally brought into focus just what a complicated web of character interrelations Yuasa has woven out of the original source material, much as he did in Mind Game. There was no single major driving plot element, but rather various themes and plotlines gradually converging. By this point it feels like what we are seeing is more Yuasa than Matsumoto.
Half a year on from the events of the previous episode, it’s a winter of the soul for the various protagonists. We see just how much has changed in the intervening months through the kaleidoscopic lens of one Christmas Eve.
Reading beforehand what this episode was supposed to be about, my mind completely went somewhere else. Steven’s at that age when boys want alone time for a very specific reason and while I was 99.9% sure Cartoon Network wasn’t going to go that far, I thought they’d at least allude to that idea of adolescence and growing up. Instead we dived into the real reason (sort of) that Steven wanted to be left alone, and dug a little deeper into the idea of his parental units via a room and a weird, very strange world created by said room.
Ryuichi Kazama continues his victorious streak with a singles win at the Youth Olympics, while Sakuma and Peco realize they aren’t cut out for the sport after witnessing Smile’s continued improvement. At the halfway point in the story, we seem to be in a transitional stage in which the relationships of the players to one another and their attitude towards the sport are changing. The episode didn’t have much tension to it partly as a result of that. There was no strong driving narrative force. That made it one of the less memorable episodes so far.
While this week’s “Steven Universe” opened a lot of doors as far as characterization and parallels, it was simply okay. Mr. Pizza was comical relief but other than that you had to dig for the entertainment.
Tensions run high during the high school championships, and all eyes are on the showdown between Kong and Smile. The third episode jumps abruptly from Smile’s training in episode 2 right to the championships, and to a Smile who has begun to gain the confidence to show his true potential.
This week’s “Steven Universe” dived into the whirlwind that is the mindset of an insecure youth, in ways that were similar to the episode “Lars and the Cool Kids.” At first, the episode didn’t really make any sort of impression on me. It took another viewing for me to grasp its depth—or at least theorize things in the whirlwind that in my own mind at 3am.
Determined to unleash Smile’s potential, Coach Koizumi devises a relentless schedule of training that culminates in a death match pitting old veteran versus young hopeful. Smile’s resistance finally cracks under the pressure, and he begins to get serious. Meanwhile, the appearance of a new rival – the tough-looking Ryuichi Kazama – sets the stage for a later showdown.
It’s been a few weeks but the last few times in Beach City we witnessed a lot of growth in the series. Steven had an anger revelation after he hung with the cool kids and really showcased the father-son relationship thanks to little Onion. Now we’re back and “Steven Universe” went and explored the maternal dynamic within their group after Pearl took a blade through the chest.
A recap of the first episode of Masaaki Yuasa’s new series “Ping Pong.”
There’s something about Steven’s dad Greg that doesn’t add up. Will we ever really know why Greg distances himself from his son? This week in “Onion Trade,” we explored a dad’s horrible ability to remember things, witnessed Steven’s lack of male role models, and learned a lot more about Onion, a character who revealed quite a few new layers.
Last week Steven put Garnet on a pedestal”and quickly learned she has flaws. This week in “Giant Woman,” he was fixated on the idea of what Amethyst and Pearl could be if they fused and became the “ultra powerful being” known as Opal.
Admiration was the theme this week and it was only coming from Steven and heading towards Garnet. She can do no wrong – a point on which I think we can all pretty much agree.
The notes were taken and everything was going fine. Then my laptop turned off and all lost. So now I’m sitting here with pieces of this week’s “Steven Universe” in my head hours after the fact.
It’s been over a month since we’ve seen Steven, the Gems, and the rest of the Beach City and that’s really made me forget a lot about this show. Well, not the characters and what they’re all about, but the humor. This week with “Serious Steven” I was way more annoyed by the pudgy little guy than anything else.
Do you realize it’s been over a decade before Spongebob Squarepants aired “Bubble Buddy?” That’s all I could think of as Steven Universe started this week. With that Spongebob still imprinted in my mind (booboo keys…) and Steven’s history of having minimal acquaintances, I assumed he too would be making poppable companions. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. There were earthquakes, a couple of new characters, and a budding romance.