Nuggets of Wisdom

Sunday, July 12, 2015

SU Recap: Sworn To The Sword

Perhaps the most interesting, if not most apparent, character development within Steven Universe has been Connie. When we first met her, she was a shy bookworm who always desired to make new friends but was far too reclusive to do so. In the course of the series, both Steven and the Crystal Gems have helped her to break out of her shell, and now, she is confident enough in herself that she becomes more than willing to undergo sword training with Pearl so that she may one day fight alongside them.

This episode really showcases the development Connie has undergone as a character, and hopefully, serves as a hint of what she will become as a character in episodes to come. And not only do we get a better glimpse of her as a character, we also get a glimpse into her relationship with Steven, if not also Pearl’s former relationship with his mother, Rose Quartz.

Obviously have to address the new intro. With all three gems receiving their new forms, it only seemed inevitable that the intro would also change. Here, we get to see the gems in their new forms, along with a few additional backgrounds characters.

Connie especially reveals how much she's developed as a character in this intro. In the old intro, she was merely standing at a distance, watching the action on screen passively and reclusively; now, she's much more adventurous, rushing eagerly to join the others, revealing her transformation from a shy bookworm to a confident adventurer.

Musical numbers like this show how much charm the songs in this series have. They may not be full-blown spectacles like My Little Pony, but in all fairness, they're not supposed to be. They're sweet and simple, and they feel like the songs someone would make up on the top of their head, exactly how Steven and Connie are doing in this scene. (Also, ukulele and violin sound like they go very well together, like jam and biscuits!)

Of course, Steven would bring jam to a jam session.

Mine. Mine. Mine.

If only one could fight off attacking birds as effectively in the Legend of Zelda. Darn cuccos!

"Please, I want to learn! I mean, I don't know what'll happen in the future, but if something dangerous comes along, I don't want to be a burden, I want to help! I want to be there for Steven, to fight by his side! The Earth is my home too, can't I help protect it?"

The main protagonist training the love interest so that she can defend herself and fight alongside him? What a novel and welcome concept! Why can't we see this more often in media? We could certainly use more strong female characters like Connie, as opposed to the run-of-the-mill Damsel in Distress like Mary Jane or Bella who always needs to be rescued.

For the life of me, the only other instance I've seen this type of gender role subversion has been with April O'Neil in the modern TMNT installments (2003 and 2012), where's she's trained to fight alongside the turtles. I've even used this trope in my own fan fiction with Ninja Star training Fluttershy.

It certainly is more empowering, not only for women, but also for men. I mean, fellas, do you really want to spend all of your time saving a woman who's always unable to help herself? You'd need the perseverance of Mario in order to date a damsel like Peach! C'mon, Hollywood. We need to see more empowered love interests! Join the 21st Century!

Pearl is kawaii when she is sentimental.

Perhaps next time Connie should stuff her mouth with cotton balls to prevent herself from dehydrating. (Anyone who's watched Tommorowland will get the reference.)

It's Final Destination from Super Smash Bros. Brawl!

"I hope you two are taking this seriously." As seriously as Steven will ever take it.

The killer-Pearl hologram has returned!

And Steven has an understandable reaction to it.

This musical number almost sounds like something you'd hear from an old Broadway show or Disney movie. For some reason, it has that vintage sound to it.

Actually, scratch that. You know what this song reminds me of? Mister Roger's Neighborhood. I know, it sounds strange saying that, but there's something about a song being sung with a warm voice accompanied solely by a piano that reminds me of that old kid's show. Listen closely and you'd probably hear what I'm talking about.

Seems like Connie has decided to try Tony Stark's Green Recovery Drink.

A lot of people say that the action scenes are styled after Revolutionary Girl Utena. I haven't seen that anime, so I can't comment on it. Still good choreography, though.

I know there are still fans out there who claim to be on the fence about whether or not Pearl had romantic feelings toward Rose Quartz. This can be absolved with a simple question: if Pearl were male rather than female, would we have any doubts whether or not her feelings were anything but romantic? A "yes" answer simply would be dishonest at this point.

Man, Connie has been training hard core to obtain those blisters.

Who needs a first aid kit when you have a Pearl?

But, of course, orange slices and Capri Suns always make everything better.

Dang, Connie has become a bad ass real quick!

Gender role reversals makes Steven feel awkward.

Growing up with Asperger's, I wish I had this book as a kid!

The funniest joke Garnet has ever made in the show, and we don't get to hear it.

Pearl looks almost like a video game character, dying multiple times, only to come back unscathed.

Oh no! Pearl has transported them to the Forgetful Valley in the Spirit World!

I can only assume Steven is getting so many flashbacks right now.

Holo-Pearl gets her just desserts being "killed" the same way that she "killed" Pearl.

Words really fail me on this excellent dialogue between Steven and Connie. It does so much to not only establish character development between the two while also subverting the concept of "white knighting", demanding a more equal egalitarian approach.

Admit it: sword and shield go really we together. Seems like this matchup was inevitable.

"He's the strawberry, and I'm the biscuit, and that makes us: jam buds." So cute that the two have their own metaphor that no one else can comprehend.

Again, sword and shield is a great combination.

"Why won't you just let me do this for you, Rose!" And with so little words, so much has been said. Again, at this point, there's no excuse being on the fence about Pearl's past feeling's towards Rose.

"Why would anyone want to watch a show about people crying?" That quote is never going to be irrelevant to this show.

Touching callback to Rose's Scabbard.