Steven Universe Vlogs: Episode 16 – Steven the Sword Fighter

Hey look, Pearl got stabbed….that’s a little dark.

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.


  1. About Pearl regenerating…. There are two possibilities. First is that it took so long because her magic was focused on maintaining the holo-Pearl instead of really regenerating and that’s why she doesn’t really come back until it was defeated. Kind-of like how if you have a high-quality game running on an older computer, it’s not going to be able to download stuff quickly while running the other thing.

    The second and more interesting possibility is that Pearl is actually damaged in some way. It’s mentioned later on that Pearl had to regenerate quite a bit during the war, so it’s possible that somehow that messed with her gem and now she just takes a stupidly long time to come back after a fatal hit. Which is supported by something that is said in the Season 1 Finale.

    Personally, I’m more for the second possibility because at one point Garnet kind-of tries to explain away Pearl taking so long, which feels sort-of suspicious unless there’s something more going on. But either one honestly makes sense.

    • Or maybe Pearl is just a perfectionist who wants to make sure her next form is best she can possibly be

      • I agree with this version. Her gem isnt damaged in any way, so it can only be her taking her sweet time in character creation mode.

        • Yeah that’s the more accurate version. In another episode, Amethyst is “poofed” and she regenerates much faster than Pearl, and they confirm that Pearl chose to take her time while Amethyst rushed her regeneration.

          • Pearl and Amethyst have similar self image issues, but their approaches are opposite. Pearl tries desperately to be useful, while Amethyst tries to drive people away from caring about her because she feels she doesn’t deserve affection. This is reflected by their regeneration times, with Pearl caring alot for how she presents herself, and Amethyst being overtly devaluing herself and her appearance.

      • I too have always accepted the idea that Pearl is a perfectionist who likes to take her sweet time while regenerating so as to avoid any flaws in her next form, unlike Amethyst who rushes through her regenerations with results ranging from ridiculous to serious.

  2. “Steven, these are real sword techniques. Not those silly things from your movies. It’s about waiting carefully for the perfect moment to stri-HIKE!”

    Pearl getting stabbed is definitely one of the show’s most jarring moments. It must of been pretty traumatizing for Steven to believe that he had gotten her killed, even if it was only for a few seconds. It was also a memorable way to introduce the fact that the Gem’s can regenerate.

    The animation, music, and choreography made what is one of my favorite action scenes in the show. Pearl can seem a little one dimensional early on, but by the time you get the Steven Bomb’s, she’s probably the most multi-faceted character. Honestly, after her regeneration, it took me a while to notice her design change.

  3. I’m still surprised how many people don’t seem to notice Pearl’s outfit change when first watching this episode. In the beginning, Pearl had my least favorite design, not bad just the tutu stood out to me. After she regenerated I immediately noticed the redesign because I preferred the ribbon and color palette change.

  4. Seriously Rob? You mentioned Madoka Magica recently, and yet Timelords is the first thing you think of?

  5. Well the time of regeneration actually depends on the Gem’s personality not the size of the wound… Pearl being a perfectionist of course took a long time to work on hers when she could have went faster if she wanted to… But yeah this was a pretty intense episode

    Also I thought the movies were live-action…

  6. MidnightScreeningsman2014

    *Parle,parle,thrust,thust,chalenger defeated*

    i liked this episode and i lked how amythest was kind of like a watermelon ballon but like doug pearl for me is the lamiest out of the three but now into the three they are even now. But ill have to watch the animaiacs short on power rangers i like that show and haven’t seen that part of the show yet.
    but there’s anothee episode where amythest cracks her gemstone and it’s my leadt favorite out of the show but the episode is ok (but im not talking about the episode where amythest thinks that garnet wants her to be better by the way).

    Next episode is (go’s to google and looks it up) beach party

  7. “Pearl’s timelord. They are all timelords!”

    Yeah, Doctor Who or Caius Ballad (FFXIII-2) would like a word with you Rob on the definition of Timelord.

    Speaking of Final Fantasy, did you happen to notice the Cloud Strife action figure Steven had and the fact that the Pearl projection actually stabbed the Cloud Strife action figure just like in the scene from FF7?

  8. I thought that you weren’t going to upload a Vlog since it’s Tuesday. Glad I was wrong πŸ™‚

    Connie returns on the next episode! πŸ˜€

  9. That stab is such a great scene. I think visually, being impaled through the back is the best way to go in fiction. It can come from nowhere but after the deed is done it’s impossible not to notice. Not in real life. There is preferably minimal stabbing in real life.

    Actually on a slightly more serious note, that scene also dug up some memories. You know when you were a kids, goofing off and having fun with your family/guardians, only for you to accidentally hurt them. It would be so upsetting and you’d feel awful and the whole day was ruined. It’s pretty much what Steven went through there and it was very relatable to see.
    Actually I am glad that Doug and Rob find Steven endearing, I know some found him annoying, especially in earlier episodes.

    Speaking of polarising characters, it’s interesting to see that Doug didn’t think much of Pearl till now. It’ll be interesting to see how they react to some of her later behaviour.

  10. If you thought that was dark wait for the Season Two episodes. Those well…

  11. Little thing to notice that didn’t jump out at me until this rewatching. Pearl has a star on her chest. Holo-Pearl has a diamond. Those who’ve watched the later eps know what that signifies.

  12. I’m finally getting caught up. Follow up comment to come whenever I see this episode.

  13. Pearl is probably one of the most emblematic cases of a character who started off as everybody’s least favourite, but gradually grew into their favourite over time.

    At first, I didn’t like how how fussy and superior she acted, but as more is revealed about her she’s evolved into by far (in my view) the most conceptually rich and emotionally complex character in the show, especially as more and more gets revealed about her backstory and relation to Steven’s mother.

    I particularly like how a lot of people with autism have connected with Pearl for what they see as (intentionally or not) a positive portrayal of a character coded to have their condition – or more specifically Asperger Syndrome. Because yeah, as an aspie myself Pearl is pretty much the most accurate depiction of my condition I’ve ever seen. If you have this in mind when watching suddenly all of her behaviour makes more sense.

    • It’s actually the opposite for me, Pearl was my favorite at first, but over time others started getting ahead of her, and then they did some stuff with her I didn’t like or feel was fitting, it got better, but she still has a long way to go. I feel its cause she reminds me of some of my worst traits, also I feel they contradicted some of Her characterization. I still like her a lot, and agree that she is probably the most complex character, but she currently sits at last place of the main six for me. I understand why a lot of people love her and relate to her, cause I relate to her too… And I don’t want to.

    • Odd. I still relate to her and I’m not anywhere near the autism spectrum.

    • I get the impression sometimes that it’s the people who start off disliking her who grow to her like her in later episodes, and those who liked her before feel betrayed and start to dislike her.
      Ok, there’s a tone of people caught in the middle, myself included.
      It’ll be interesting how people will respond to her in future episodes after Friend Ship.

      • It looks like its mostly tumblr that’s pissed off at Pearl. What a shock. I shouldn’t say that there’s plenty of nice people there too. Still.

        Glad to find more Pearl fans. Hearing praise for Garnet all the time gets old

    • I was more indifferent to pearl. Just left no impact. Then pearl became annoying when a certain gem was brought up. While I dont hate pearl shes in my annoying character pile.

  14. I suspect Doug is going to love “Lion 2: The Movie”

  15. I wonder how long it will take them to realize Pearl’s design changed.

  16. I like how Steven universe dos not go to dark or two light for kids. It’s not to optimistic or pessimistic.

    I thought this was a good episode cause the whole give up your human like form for gems, and then regenerate after being broken, it like how we understand actual near death experience. This episode was kinda dark mainly because holo-Pearl was still just attacking Steven even with out her around. I can’t this episode would be like far to dark, because this one it’s at least the physical forms is not to the real way to wreck the gems. There bodies are actually all in illusion, Projections of there actual gem self. If the Gem are broken completely is the only way to kill them forever. There bodies in this short said it’s like a hologram with mass.

    I thought Pearl’s new outfit is just alight. I was hard the character designs were change in the pilot just to make more animation friendly to draw. But I like the drawing style.

  17. Yeah, this episode shocked the hell out of me.

    My theory on Pearl’s regeneration taking so log is either she hasn’t done it in a while, or she was actually making changes to her outfit to the minute detail. They hint at it more later, but it does need a bit of time for it to happen. She can speed it up, but that “wouldn’t be the proper way to do it.”

    I think you kind of got the jest of Steven and the Gems’ relationship. Fun fact: the Gems and Steven’s relationship are based off of the creator’s and her little brother’s. So they are all older sisters with various traits.
    Stern yet caring like Pearl.
    Friendly and playful like Amethyst.
    Aloof and mysterious like Garnet.

  18. the gems take different amount of time to regenerate, it just depends on when thier ready

  19. Ah Pearl; she was my least favorite Gem up until recent episodes where they characterized the hell out of her.

  20. Get im, Rob! Pearl’s been my favorite of the Gems ever since she was introduced dispensing motherly concern to Steven while simultaneously snapping a Centipeedle’s neck, all without a change in tone or facial expression. She’s still my favorite because of how much depth they’ve given her character compared to the others. In fact, all my rankings of the Crystal Gems have stayed the same relative to one another (Pearl > Garnet > Amethyst), but my absolute affection for each character has only risen.

    The standout detail for me in the Pearl impalement scene is the ghastly sound she makes when she’s stabbed. Probably the first really standout moment for Pearl’s VA, Deedee Magno-Hall in terms of voice acting. She mostly has a background in musical theater, but she’s incredibly impressive as a voice actress, especially considering she’s not a professional. Later episodes will give her even more chances to shine.

  21. I chuckled when pear was stabbed. Mainly cause im sure she was thinking through her mind “ok dont freak the kid out. even though this hurts alot you know you will be ok” so pearl explained the situation rather calmly with the pain.

  22. Yeah that stabbing was dark it actually reminded me a bite of the scene from the 2003 TMNT Cartoon where Leo beheads the Shredder in that yeah no one actually dies in the case of the Shredder we find out that suits just robotic and in this of course Pearls body is just a vessel for her Gem but in both of these shows watching the episode for the first time you would have no idea of that so you would just think that the censors had gone crazy and allowed something really violent to happen.

  23. I think the Lonely Blade movies are meant to be live action. If you watch Japanese live action movies, especially if they’re based on existing manga or video games, they’re pretty damn cheesy.

    And Pearl taking so long because she wanted a break from cleaning up after Steven is highly unlikely since she loves doing that in an OCD kinda way.

  24. This has been my favorite review so far, especially hearing about the reaction from Pearl getting stabbed. Pearl can be a bit of a conflicting character because of certain details (both in and out of the show since it feels like there’s a lot of Pearl-centric episodes), but she means well.

    I think that the movie they were watching was supposed to be more live action, but poking fun at both anime and live action Japanese tropes. There are definitely a lot of anime/manga references in Steven Universe as a whole show, though, since there are some shots in episodes that look like scenes from stuff like Revolutionary Girl Utena and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Also, in a least one episode, you can see that Steven has a Sailor Moon manga over in his night stand.

  25. There headquarters are in a mountain and they use magic
    There body is made out of light
    This is a fun episode

  26. Rob what is with your hands?

  27. This episode is a lot of fun to watch with people who have never seen it before, mostly because of pearl getting stabbed very unexpectedly.

    I think the reason why pearl getting stabbed works so well is because they dont drag it out, it all happens so quick that your brain doesent have time to realize that of course there not going to kill her off.

    Even though pearl is kind of the mother of the group, i would argue that later in the show Garnet becomes the closet thing steven has to a Parental Substitute, even if she is more of a second father figure.

    Next up lion 2, or as i like to call it 2 lion 2 movie.

  28. Funny thing is, Pearls favorite thing to do is clean

  29. Character discussion? No? Well, call me you do.

  30. Yeah, this was a good episode. Even though I saw this V-log before I saw the episode, Pearl’s stabbing still sent a bit of a jolt to me.

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