Last month I binge-watched both of the most popular animated shows on Cartoon Network in the 2010’s “Adventure Time” and “Steven Universe”! I was already aware of the popularity of the two animated series and no thanks to the internet I was already spoiled by most of the plot details in both shows, so I had to pretend to be surprised, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t fully invested in these creative worlds I was immediately captivated by and immersed into. But even still, there are some aspects that I enjoyed more in one show more then the other with one created by Pendleton Ward and the other by Rebecca Sugar (whom used to work on Adventure Time, until she left after the early seasons). Spoiler Alert!
The Adventure Time is set in the fictional “Land of Ooo”, in a post-apocalyptic future about a thousand years after a nuclear holocaust called the “Great Mushroom War”. Steven Universe is set in the fictional town of Beach City, Delmarva, where the Crystal Gems live in an ancient beachside temple and protect humanity from monsters and other threats. The Gems are ageless alien warriors who project female humanoid forms from magical gemstones at the core of their being. What I enjoy most about Adventure Time is that it takes the post-apocalyptic future trope and puts a whimsical spin on it providing us with a colorful cast of characters in the process. But the show isn’t afraid to delve into the darker side of this world, which does takes time for the show to explain in detail. However the world of Steven Universe is so rich and vibrant alongside giving us the most unique alien race or characters I’ll ever see in an animated show. So I’ll give this round to Steven Universe!
Since these shows came out in the 2010’s its no surprise that they both relish in their LGBT Representation, which if I’m being honest is not the main reason I watch these shows, but I can at least say I’ve give credit to Cartoon Network for breaking new grounds compared to other animated networks such as Disney or Nickelodeon who are more subtle. Steven Universe’s LGBT Themes is what the animated show is most proud of since the very beginning, but Adventure Time has always been subtle and vague about it until after the series was over following the sequel series, which makes it easier for me to digest as a viewer. Plus it also follows other subject matters, that Steven Universe doesn’t focus on until its sequel series. So I’ll give this round to Adventure Time!
#3 Action Scenes
Both animated shows stand out from Cartoon Network for being more action-packed than most of their other programs. Adventure Time has given us plenty of action scenes during the shows run, although they’re not as memorable or impactful as they should be. However Steven Universe’s fast-paced action scenes are known for their style and substance alongside the occasional music to back it up and its choreography. So I’ll give this round to Steven Universe!
Although Adventure Time has given us plenty of memorable songs throughout its run especially from a certain vampire, but after Rebecca Sugar left the show, the soundtrack wasn’t quite as good as it used to be. But Steven Universe’s songs are awesome and its stellar soundtrack can even rival Disney itself believe or not as far as quality goes alongside singles such as “Stronger Than You,” “Here Comes a Thought,” and “It’s Over Isn’t It” as the clear standouts. So I’ll give this round to Steven Universe!
What I appreciate about Steven Universe is that it has an overarching narrative alongside storylines that last for many seasons, while Adventure Time mostly follows a more non-linear storytelling format, which isn’t a bad thing as it gave us memorable experimental episodes such as “A Glitch is a Glitch,” “Bad Jubies,” or “Food Chain”. So I’ll give this round to Adventure Time!
Adventure Time follows the adventures of a boy named Finn and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake; a dog with the magical power to change size and shape at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, where they interact with Princess Bubblegum, the Ice King, Marceline, BMO, and others. The show tells the coming-of-age story of a young boy, Steven Universe, who lives with the Crystal Gems; magical, humanoid aliens named Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl; in the fictional town of Beach City. Steven, who is half-Gem, has adventures with his friends and helps the Gems protect the world from their own kind. Well this is certainly a tricky one, because both animated shows have a likable male lead and fun cast of supporting characters. But I’d follow the distinct residents of the Land of Ooo any day over the Beach City residents. So I’ll give this round to Adventure Time!
The comedy aspect is arguably the most important draw for both shows from Cartoon Network. I’d say Steven Universe excels better at drama then comedy, while Adventure Time excels better at comedy then drama. Sometimes Steven Universe can feel a little heavy at times because of that fact, which can overshadow the humorous moments. While Adventure does have plenty of sad or dark moments, it always remembers its a comedy first which is why I feel this world is much more inviting. So I’ll give this round to Adventure Time!
Winner: Adventure Time