‘Steven Universe’ Review/Recap: Minisodes

Laina Swatek ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Comic Books Editor

Sometimes, amidst a drought, there comes a cloudburst of hope. Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe served up some showers for their audience in releasing a package of five “minisodes” over iTunes on October 3. Considering the show has been on hiatus since the airing of  “Onion Gang” on September 15, the adorable and endearing set of shorts was welcomed with open arms.

For $2.99, the bundle includes five minisodes—all clocking in at two minutes or slightly higher, and all taking place post-Season Four’s finale.

The shorts open with “Cooking with Lion,” by Colin Howard, at just over two minutes. In this minisode, Steven hosts his own cooking show—alongside his favorite pink feline! Lion and Steven educate the audience on making snack sushi in a style similar to tutorials you’d find on any Youtube channel, even asking the viewer to click on other recipe videos at the end.

Photo Credit: Cartoon Network
Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

Next up is “Gem Karaoke,” also by Colin Howard, in which the Crystal Gems and Steven (plus Connie!), try out some sing-alongs of their own. All five characters get a chance to show off their vocal chops as they pass the mic around, belting out “Haven’t You Noticed (I’m a Star),” the original song debuted in a past episode of Steven Universe.

Then comes “Steven Reacts,” done this time by Jeff Liu, and viewers are given another video from Steven’s channel as he reacts to “Crying Breakfast Friends,” an in-show cartoon. This is followed by “Video Chat,” from Colin Howard, during which Steven video chats with Peridot and Lapis after they’ve settled into the barn. As expected, things don’t quite go as planned with the two Homeworld gems—and let’s just say Connie won’t be happy with what happened to her laptop.

Lastly is “Steven’s Song Time,” another by Jeff Liu that really brings the whole set of minisodes home. Addressing the audience directly, Steven explains that he’s got a lot on his mind and has decided to put his feelings into a song called “Still Not Giving Up” (very fitting for the show). There’s a guitar tab alongside him as he sings, so that any fan can learn it if they’d like, and Steven closes it out with a sweetly inspirational message for the viewers.

Photo Credit: Cartoon Network
Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

Across all five shorts, there carries a common theme: technology—and, for the sake of humor, the misuse of it. In each minisode, viewers are treated either to a video befitting of Steven’s YouTube channel or to a fumble with electronics, like Peridot failing to secure WiFi for the video chat, or Pearl accidentally entering their karaoke song fifteen times over. It’s refreshing to see these characters, who are usually put in perilous situations, just enjoy the time they have with each other.

They’re just fun to watch.

Still, fans see that the show has the ability to keep up with its viewers and current events. It’s-self awareness is astounding. As previously mentioned, Steven Universe is on hiatus with no set date to return—which has happened to the program multiple times before. At the end of “Steven Reacts,” Steven makes a passing comment to this fact, saying, “I can’t wait for the next episode! Whenever that is, am I right?” He completes the joke with a wink.

All in all, the minisodes still hold true to the enchanting and genuine air that full-length episodes of Steven Universe have. Watching them gives a lightness to your spirit, effectively cheering you up like any cartoon should, and the integration of modern pop culture and tech into each short makes them quirky and relatable. It’s not every day that shows release a sing-along complete with guitar lessons, and they’re definitely worth a watch for fans and new audiences alike.


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