Friday, May 13, 2016

Steven Universe Segment 11: Rhythm Is A Gamer

So, this episode has three storyboard/writer/whatevers and watching it I have to wonder "Which is the good one?" because the last third of episode is like way better than the rest. Seriously, once the little monsters come back, it gets way better. Did anyone else notice this? Maybe it is just me.

So, this is a very simple episode where Steven, after an adventure with the other Gems decides to bring them into his world - the arcade! A cavalcade of laughs that. So they try out some games and the one who gets the most addicted - and this is gonna shock you - is the deadpan one! Like George Bernard Shaw, this deserves both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar.

Okay, okay, just because a plot outline is a little cliche doesn't mean the episode is bad, and this episode isn't bad at all. I just realized that the evil aliens have all been crystalline, which means I was supposed to realize that all the aliens are gonna be crystals. When they are stalking their enemy, Pearl shushes Steven which reminds me of the tragic early death of Saki, who was killed by a sniper he was loudly warning another soldier about. There's some funny "Pearl is a fuddy-duddy" stuff in this episode and Amethyst even managed to not disappear (though she does nothing of any importance). Because of the simpler plot and the lack of meta-plot reveals, they seemed to generally hit more of their goals this episode. I say that and I'm sure that long time fans know that Garnet's rhythm hypnosis is the secret to life ... or something. That's the risk I take.

I didn't notice any animation "moments" that stood out, but as I said earlier the last third of this episode gets really good direction-wise. Perhaps this is because the episode concentrates more on the deadpan Garnet and not the other more theatrical Gems. The artists seemed to go out of their way to not draw Steven consistently, which is an interesting choice.

To clarify: when I say "direction", I don't mean literally "things done by the director", but all the visual choices that are not specifically animation drawings. Blocking, "lighting", etc. I haven't been mentioning it, but this show has some killer colors. I'm generally not a fan of digital colors, but this show is a strong argument for them. Music was also very good in this episode, especially the sort of Drum N' Bass piece that plays as Steven, Pearl & Amethyst run from the little monsters.

 Overall, I'd say this is probably the strongest episode of Steven Universe I've seen so far. I'd be willing to use this episode as a baseline to judge the others, but I've been told that it is going to improve a lot really quickly.

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