Steven Universe, don't tumblr my rocks!


Takafumi Hori, the fellow from Studio TRIGGER who worked on “Mindful Education,” is I guess leaving Studio TRIGGER in February. But, he seems to have an under-explored online presence, including this:

And, a tumblr.


Something I like about this show is how everyone is always wrong about everything. If they’re talking, they’re wrong. Big things, inconsequential things, random observations: they’re always a little bit off, in ways that are so delightful if you’re paying attention. It’s like a low-key version of Look Around You. Or, you know, real life, I guess. Since how often do we ever really know what we’re talking about?

It helps that the world of the show is just a bit… off, as well.

It’s also so clever, in that the ways in which everyone is wrong always show us something about the way the characters view the world. Connie is always wrong in a smart, dorky try-hard way.

Garnet is always wrong in a confident, authoritative way.

Peridot is always wrong in that very few things are actually about her.

There’s basically no line of dialogue that’s just straight out functional, on face value. Like, direct and accurate exposition is very rare, as is competent direct action just to move the story forward. Instead on both an episodic and a series-wide level the story tends to happen as a result of characters’ actions, yes, but despite what they intend, as a consequence to the limits to their understanding. Which is why the progression feels so genuine, and unforced.

Unless they’re running out of time and just need a thing to happen, so we get clumsy, grand plotty events like “Reunited.”

And the growth of the show is kind of traced in the shifting way that Steven is wrong. How the ways that he has been wrong come back to taunt him…

… and affect the perspective he takes in the future, making him wrong in totally different ways.


(And holy cod, I just realized how that last one foreshadows the events of four episodes later.)


There’s a new chapter here.



(I can’t read back some of this dialogue without cracking myself up. Because I’m just that awesome.)


Something I somehow never clocked until recently: Steven Universe is actually hand-drawn. Like, on paper and everything. Then it’s scanned in and computer-edited and colored and everything. But the line art is all physical.

These days I just sort of assume everything is Flash-based, you know? (Even though Flash is dead now.) And SU uses all these simplified forms, and… I guess I just didn’t think about it. But if this were all a bunch of Flash files, then I guess the animation wouldn’t be so weird and different from episode to episode, would it?


Well even digital animation can be hand drawn now. It just is drawn on a tablet rather than paper, typically. And flash is still used in some places, since it still has a lot of good animation tools. And you can draw in flash too, rather than using purely geometric shapes.

I imagine there is still some testing and storyboarding on paper, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t primarily a digital process.


You should probably watch a few things Masaaki Yuasa has done recently. Science Saru’s whole workflow depends on being flash-based but absolutely nothing they’ve done looks like a stereotyped “flash cartoon”


Sure. True. But, this is done on paper. Which somehow made my brain explode. That’s still a thing people do, in a professional context!

The storyboarding is actually digital. Then in Korea they print that out and do it all on paper.

Though, the storyboarding for the upcoming movie looks like it was done on paper too.



There’s the common perception of what flash animation looks like, but is that just a stereotype from how easy flash made it for amateurs to make videos with simple animation tools or are there particular qualities to the way things move that actually are endemic to the way Flash animates?


Early on it was pretty darned obvious, in terms of the motion, the geometry. Forms would remain curiously static while moving through space with unusual smoothness. Parts of figures were animated separately from the whole, often flipping abruptly from one defined model to the next. At times you’d see weird distortion “effects.” Stylistically, forms were typically simplified, vectorized.

This is a professional studio’s work from, like, 13 years ago. The studio that did Danger Mouse and Count Duckula. The budget was low here, and again this was well over a decade ago. (The stylization is more complicated due to trying to match up with surrounding live-action material.)

The tools and skills got more refined over the years, helping to hide the unnatural seams, making the tool assistance less obvious to the point where eventually it all but vanished, leaving behind just the vectory stylization.

So in my head still when I see a bold, simplified, vectory stylization, my brain goes, oh. Flash. I didn’t think to question it, as the tool (and its descendents) has been so pervasive for so long and has so long been associated with this simplified geometric style.

But nope. Totally trad here, at least for the line work. And for all I know, other shows too? Having to re-open the question box again, which feels weird when one thinks one understands a thing.


Did I post that before or after the Macra Terror animation was announced? I think, before?

Anyway. It’s Kevin time.

Kevin is an irredeemable shit and should never be fully redeemed, but that fundamental shittiness makes him such a powerful dark force in a show like this. It’s like. I never was super into Star Wars, in that even as a kid its broad-strokes black-white good-evil Campbellian narrative never… really gave me anything to grab onto? But, I rather like the new movies. Case in point, Kylo Ren is an awful, pathetic little turd, but in that he’s so much more interesting and so much more real of a villain than the perfectly evil Vader could be.

Kevin is the Kylo Ren of Steven Universe. He’s not some powerful, menacing Earth-stomping villain. He’s just… ugh. And with his psychological poison, he just brings so many interesting, awful, unwanted thoughts into the show, making him one of its biggest existential threats. When Kevin shows up, Steven (or Stevonnie) really has to be careful. He screws with the show at its core, where it matters.


I think this thread needs a retitle.


2 hot 4 tumblr: the crystal nips


currently in the lead


Searching hard, but can’t find the quote from one of the storyboarders to “Alone Together,” in the run-up to that episode’s broadcast, basically dedicating it to Tumblr.

I did find some of the original storyboards, though.

Alone_Together_Storyboard_23 Alone_Together_Storyboard_25 Alone_Together_Storyboard_14 Alone_Together_Storyboard_16 Alone_Together_Storyboard_b Alone_Together_Storyboard_c Alone_Together_Storyboard_11 Alone_Together_Storyboard_1


Here’s a question. So why is Peridot so great but Ronaldo so… Ronaldo?




there it is


… because no one has a tumblr