Daring, original, and dynamic are just some of the words that can be used to describe Cartoon Network’s massive hit, Steven Universe. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with the show’s characters and world after watching an episode. Creator Rebecca Sugar has crafted an instant classic that goes beyond the silly kiddie fare you’d expect to find entertaining young audiences. Utilizing music, action and comedy, Sugar and her talented team not only deliver eye-catching animation but also infuse the tight 10-minute episodes with emotional depth that many children’s shows wouldn’t dare touch.
The titular Steven Universe learns about himself and life as he saves the world alongside his not-so-average family, the Crystal Gems, three magical superhero aliens. At its core, the show is about relationships as an array of diverse and memorable characters explore identity, gender and love through their interactions with one another. That rich storytelling is why fans young and old have created a rabid fandom around the series.
Through Steven’s adventures living in Beach City, audiences have met outrageous aliens, funny creatures, and eccentric humans. Picking out the most beloved personalities, here are the 15 Best Steven Universe Characters.
The Darth Vader of the Steven Universe world is Jasper. She’s a true villain who is consumed with destroying the Crystal Gems. A large quartz soldier, she was created on Earth and originally served under Pink Diamond, having fought in the Gem war against Rose Quartz’s rebellion. Thousands of years later Jasper returned to Earth as Peridot’s escort, serving as the muscle for Yellow Diamond. Strong and violent, Jasper sees the Crystal Gems as traitors to their kind and also has a strong disdain for each one personally. She considers Gems like Amethyst and Garnet mistakes and defective that are unworthy of existing.
Stranded on Earth after being defeated by the Crystal Gems, she gets imprisoned under the ocean by Lapis in their fused form of Malachite. After separating from Lapis, an even angrier Jasper vows revenge as she starts building an army of corrupted monster Gems. Like many cartoon baddies before her, she’s always on the losing end which drives her crazy. After a failed fusion with a corrupted Gem, Jasper’s hatred overtakes her as she herself becomes corrupted. She might be currently bubbled and stored away at the Temple, but we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of Jasper.
14 ROSE QUARTZ
The show may be called Steven Universe but the foundation on which the entire series is based is Rose Quartz. Steven’s mother is the founder of the Crystal Gems and the key initiator of the Gem rebellion. The series' entire premise of having the Gems protect the Earth from Homeworld is Rose's idea. As important as she is, Rose is still a very mysterious character. With each new season fans have learned that while being a loving and good being, Rose kept many secrets connected to her origins and the war with Homeworld. Having only appeared in some flashbacks and through stories shared by other characters, audiences along with Steven are slowly piecing together who Rose was.
Fans have applauded Rebecca Sugar for giving Rose a full, plus size appearance. Body weight and image are key design factors for all characters of the show, making each more relatable. Greg has called his love a “giant woman” because of her height but her amazing pink hair and soft, pleasant look also matches the loving personality she’s known for. Giving up her physical form to give birth to Steven, many of her traits are very much present in her son, guiding him as he grows up.
Most little kids have dogs, cats, turtles and birds for pets. Steven takes it to the next level by having his very own giant pink lion! The massive beast spends most of its time lounging around eating snacks, but he’s also Steven’s favorite form of transportation whether it’s heading down the boardwalk or using one of Lion’s portals to head to a foreign land. Where lion comes from or how he got his magical powers is still unknown. What we do know is that he has a connection to Steven’s mother Rose Quartz.
Besides the shared pink motif, Lion’s mane is actually an entrance to a special dimension which Rose used to store personal items. Think of it as her own safety box. In that special pocket dimension, Steven’s found his mother’s sword, a treasure chest, a picture of Greg, and Bismuth’s bubbled Gem, amongst other items. Lion also has a variety of useful magical powers such as a sonic roar (which open portals or serves as a weapon) and the ability to run on water. It’s safe to say that the more we learn about Lion, the more will be revealed about Rose.
Looking at Lars you would never guess that the actor who provides his voice is Matthew Moy, better known to most as Han from 2 Broke Girls. Moy gives Lars just that extra tinge of agitation that he’s known to give off interacting with other characters. Lars has been described as a bit of a jerk, self-centered and mean to others, specifically to Steven and Ronaldo. At his core he’s just an insecure teenager with low self-esteem that yearns to be cool. He’s constantly trying anything and everything to be part of “The Cool Kids”, a group of teens consisting of Sour Cream, Buck Dewey and Jenny Pizza.
When he’s not busy trying to be part of the “in-crowd”, Lars works at the Big Donut alongside Sadie whom he likes and has feelings for but will never dare admit such a thing. The tension between them manifests as constant bickering with usually Steven stuck in the middle. Lars may be cold to Sadie and insulting to Steven but he appreciates their friendship even though he has a strange way of showing it.
11 SADIE MILLER
A resident of Beach City, Sadie works at the Big Donut providing the service of a good donut clerk: listening to her customers while selling them tasty treats! A good friend of Steven, she’s always there to listen to his outrageous but true stories, as he stuffs his mouth with donuts. Voiced by uber-talented Kate Micucci, Sadie not only works alongside Lars, but is involved in a constant love tug-and-war with him. Steven playfully teases them about their feelings, but the pair have yet to give into their emotions and become an official couple.
Sadie’s not a Gem or a warrior but that didn’t stop her from taking down a corrupted Gem monster. When she was stuck on Mask Island with Lars and Steven, she protected her friends by destroying the monster with a spear. In the episode titled “Sadie’s Song”, we learn that mail carrier Barb is Sadie’s mother and that Sadie has a hidden talent of singing. With her low-key, shy personality, Sadie continues to surprise Lars, Steven and viewers as she reveals hidden skills.
10 LAPIS LAZULI
If you were stuck in a magical mirror for thousands of years, you’d also be dark and gloomy. Poor Lapis, she’s had it pretty rough so far. She was introduced as a prisoner in a mirror that created her misguided dislike towards the Crystal Gems. After that, she fused with the big baddie Jasper forming the giant Malachite. She used that fusion as a trap to save Steven and the world from Jasper’s destructive ways.
As much bad luck as Lapis has dealt with, things have finally started to turn around for her. The blue colored Gem with the power to control water, has become an ally to the Crystal Gems and a resident of Earth. Living in a barn with Peridot, she’s slowly come around and created a friendship with her smaller and talkative roommate. With Steven having freed her from the mirror and fixed her cracked Gem, Lapis’ connection and respect for him is strong. Her adventures with fellow Gem allies Peridot and Connie has made them a sort of B-team for the Gems as well.
9 GREG UNIVERSE
Steven’s magical Gem powers come from his mother Rose, but his happy-go-lucky, good-natured personality comes from his father Greg. The ultimate hippie parent, Greg may not fully understand his son’s destiny as a Crystal Gem and everything that goes along with that, but he’s there for Steven no matter what. Living out of his sweet 80s van, Greg owns ‘It’s a Wash’, Beach City’s best and only carwash. With a minimalist lifestyle, Greg can usually be found lounging at the carwash playing his guitar. His beach bum gear is a pair of raggedy shorts, flip flops, and a tank top that gives him some unflattering tan-lines.
He may suffer from male pattern baldness now, but as a young man Greg had a full glorious mane that went perfectly with his dream of being a rock musician. Known as “Mr. Universe” back then, he met Rose Quartz at a failed concert. He may not have achieved his dream of being a rock star but he fell in love with the greatest Gem of them all and subsequently had Steven as a result. Caring deeply for his son and his adoptive family, the Crystal Gems, Greg is constantly offering Steven sage advice that helps him tap into his human side.
8 CONNIE MAHESWARAN
There aren’t many humans that the Crystal Gems trust and are confident enough in to include in their battles to save the Earth. Connie Maheswaran is the exception. She doesn’t have any magical powers per se but with the guidance of Pearl and the use of Rose Quartz’s sword, she’s turned into a skilled fighter. She’s basically a muggle living in Steven’s wizarding world.
Connie started off as a shy loner with no friends, but that all changed when she met Steven. Not only is she his best-friend/crush, but Connie’s also grown into a confident, assertive and smart character that is Steven’s equal. In addition to helping others and doing good wherever she can, her connection to Steven is so strong that even though she’s not a Gem, she has the ability to fuse with him forming Stevonnie. The fusion of two human bodies allows both Connie and Steven to share Stevonnie’s personality, as opposed to one clear fusion. A strong, minority female character, she’s grown into one of the series most popular characters, seen as a positive role model for girls.
If you’re going to a party or want a wild night out, the Crystal Gem you turn to is Amethyst. Wild, a bit of a slob and loud, Amethyst brings passion and attitude to the team. She’s that cool, rebellious older sister figure for Steven, that’s trying to figure out her own stuff, as she grows up as well. Out of the original trio with Garnet and Pearl, Amethyst is the only one that was created on Earth at the Kindergarten Gem site.
She was the youngest member before Steven and her short stature is an abnormality for quartz solider Gems that are commonly tall, ala Jasper. What she lacks in height she makes up for in spunk and a fearless attitude. Voiced by the just as carefree Michaela Dietz, Amethyst certainly stands out with her purple skin and her rockstar lavender mane. Through her gemstone, she’s able to summon her weapon of choice, a multi-tailed spiked whip and also has the power to shapeshift into animals, objects and her favorite professional wrestler alter-ego, Purple Puma.
Through the act of “fusion’ she turns into two fan favorite beings. The first is the giant woman known as Opal when she merges with Pearl; and the second is the destructive Sugilite whom she forms with Garnet.
There’s no such thing as a bland or plain Steven Universe character. Randomly pick out anyone and you’ll see that they’re each quirky and strange in their own right. Arguably the most mysterious and unique is Onion, the one character that hasn’t said a word on the show. Even though he doesn’t say anything, that doesn’t stop Onion from being a constant thorn in Steven’s side. Steven’s guaranteed to yell out at least one “Onion!!!” every time the troublesome tike pops up in an episode.
Who could have guessed that the form of anarchy and delinquent behavior in this series would take form in a small weird looking child, with an onion-like head?! Onion’s got a bad case of sticky fingers as he’s always taking things that he shouldn’t, mainly Steven’s stuff like his Ranger Guy action figure or his Chaaaaps potato chips. Onion may not look human (he’s got no ears) but he is, and turns out he has a family. He’s the son of Yellowtail and Vidalia, and his older half-brother is Sour Cream. Despite his constant run-ins with Steven, the two have unusual and friendly bond.
5 RONALDO FRYMAN
The Fox Mulder of Beach City is Ronaldo Fryman. He may be a minor recurring character but when Ronaldo is onscreen, he steals the show. Documenting all of the town’s strange occurrences through his blog “Keep Beach City Weird”, the resident conspiracy theorist is nothing but pure entertainment for viewers. Working for his father Mr. Fryman at Beach Citywalk Fries alongside his brother Peedee, Ronaldo is single-minded when it comes to the supernatural and otherworldly.
Good hearted but misguided is how most would describe the purveyor of truth. Voiced by Zach Steel, Ronaldo serves as comic relief not only because of his aloof and over-enthusiastic demeanor but for his appearance, which is part Sammy Hagar and part Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Just like other members of his family, his curly hair looks like fries. You’ll always find him wearing cargo shorts, sandals and a burgundy shirt covered with flames that would make Guy Fieri proud. In short, Ronaldo is that obnoxious person you run into at comic-cons or the one who is always on social media with a big case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
The den mother of the show is the neurotic, elegant and always dependable Pearl. A skilled fighter with her spear, Pearl was part of Rose Quartz’s original rebellion against the Gem Homeworld, fighting alongside Rose to protect the Earth. Pearl’s devotion to Rose goes beyond the average friendship, as she was head over heels in love with Rose. Over the course of the series, we learn more about their relationship and the deep loss Pearl’s kept of having lost her greatest love. In the tear-jerker song “It’s Over, Isn’t It?”, Pearl conveys all of her emotions and struggles lamenting not being with Rose.
Rebecca Sugar has been applauded for creating a gay character that not only is a positive representation but one that continues to deal with complex issues of self that viewers can sympathize with.
Voiced by former Mouseketeer and Broadway star, Deedee Magno-Hall, Deedee’s strong singing voice is continuously highlighted as Pearl gets her share of musical numbers. When Pearl isn’t being Steven’s overprotective mother-figure and teacher, she’s trying to get adjusted to life on Earth as having fun or relaxing aren’t her strong suits.
The stoic and soft-spoken current leader of the Crystal Gems is the powerful and ever-so-cool Garnet. Garnet’s not-so-little secret is that she’s actually a “fusion” of two other Gems: Ruby and Sapphire. The hot-headed Ruby and the cool, calm and collected Sapphire love each other so much that they decide to exist in fusion form as Garnet.
After the reveal of Garnet being a fusion towards the end of season 1, her character has really blossomed. Voiced by British singer, Estelle, Garnet has gone from being a mysterious warrior that never said much, to being a more vocal and caring member of the team, even dropping jokes here and there. Aside from having “future vision” and wielding some pretty powerful gauntlets that help her be a skilled fighter, Garnet’s funky appearance is what catches your eye. She’s basically the cool mom figure for Steven. From her cube-shaped afro, to her ‘1980s throwback shades and her disco inspired bodysuit, Garnet has an intergalactic look that can’t be topped!
The strong Gem’s breakout song is “Stronger Than You” which she sung in the episode “Jailbreak.” Not only does it showcase Estelle’s beautiful voice, but it’s also Garnet’s first song layered with emotion and depth.
Peridot’s transformation from villain to hero has created everyone’s favorite “clod!” and our number two character. She may be rude, socially awkward and a bit dastardly, but at the end of the day Peridot has proven to be a valuable member of the Crystal Gems. Appearing late in Season 1 in the episode “Warp Tour”, Peridot was introduced as a recurring villain, annoying and battling the Gems at every encounter. Sent from Homeworld to Earth to monitor the status of the world destroying weapon The Cluster, Peridot instantly became a popular character with fans.
Voiced by Shelby Rabara, the green-skinned and small Peridot finally joined the good side after insulting her Homeworld leader, Yellow Diamond and helping the Gems save Earth. Her arc is just another perfect example of how strong the show’s writing is, endearing her to viewers and the Gems alike. Peridot has become a breakout character, dominating message boards, YouTube clips, and fandom art thanks in large part to her outbursts. If Steven is the happy-go-lucky kid, then Peridot is the know-it-all, obnoxious teenager, with good intentions even though she may call you a “clod.”
1 STEVEN UNIVERSE
It’s starts and ends with Steven, so of course he’s going to land in the number one spot on our list. Half-human, half-alien Gem, and 100% loveable, Steven’s the heart of the show. Finding such an honest and pure character on any television series, let alone in animated form, is refreshing. Ever the optimist, not only does Steven look for the best in people, aliens and situations, his infectious energy and smile is just what you need when you’re having a bad day.
Voiced by an actual youth in the form of the talented Zach Callison, Steven’s that quirky goofball that we may know or that some of us once were. He loves donuts, Cookie Cat, his ukulele, fry bits, and hanging out with his crush, Connie. Getting to experience adolescence through his eyes, not only do audiences get to see him grow into his powers, but younger viewers get an amazing role-model that always tries to do the right thing. As Steven’s journey continues into future seasons, he’ll cement his position as one of the greatest animated characters ever!
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