Adventure Time vs Steven Universe

Steven Universe and Adventure Time are currently some of the most popular cartoons on television – and they’re both really good. Kids are lucky to have good, mature shows like these on TV these days. Now it’s only fair to pit them against each other and determine which one is the superior show.

Animation
Steven Universe is a beautiful show with gorgeously detailed and crisp backgrounds. The fluidity of the animation is fantastic as well, and not something commonly seen in cartoons these days.

Adventure Time too is colorful and memorable, but the art style is more simplistic in a lot of ways. It’s still fun to watch, and the simplicity makes for some great, fluid action scenes, but it doesn’t quite compare to the unique, stylized look of Steven Universe.

Winner: Steven Universe

Steven Universe background animation

Music
While most of all of the voice actors in Steven Universe have a musical background, the show doesn’t spam musicals every other episodes. In fact, the first time I heard a song sung by a character, I was thrown off because it’s not a huge, prominent aspect of the show. It’s used more sparingly, which does make it well appreciated too, and Garnet’s “Stronger Than You” solo at the season finale of the first season is awesome.

Adventure Time is more grounded in the musical aspect of things, namely the songs sung by the characters. The songs are always great and appropriate to how the characters feel in the moment, and the voice talent is great too. I especially love the ingenious reference to the 70’s sitcom Cheers in the best episode of Adventure Time, “Simon and Marcy”, in which Simon sings the opening theme song from Cheers. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, go. It’s amazing. As a result of my bias, Adventure Time takes the cake for music.

Winner: Adventure Time

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Humor
Steven Universe’s comedy is pretty balanced in that it’s never over the top or overwhelms the emotional aspects of the show too strongly. The comedy is much more subtle, and is aimed at older audiences who can appreciate the clever jokes.

Adventure Time relishes in the random humor it throws at the audience. Nothing makes sense, and that really makes the show hilarious to watch. This type of humor makes Adventure Time extremely appealing to younger audiences.

Winner: Adventure Time

Adventure Time Humor

Story
Steven Universe commits to an overarching narrative very early on, and even though it only has two seasons, its commitment to the underlying story is simply too wonderful to miss, and it only continues to get more complicated and nuanced as the seasons progress.

Adventure Time does have a core story, but the show doesn’t commit to it until much later on the show, meaning that in the beginning, much of the show is random and episodic on the surface. It makes most of the show very casual to watch.

Winner: Steven Universe

Steven Universe

Characters
Steven is perhaps one of the most likable child character I’ve come across in a cartoon. The fact that he’s not afraid to be sensitive and compassionate makes him strong, and teaches kids that it’s okay for boys to be emotional, something that our culture seems to have a problem with. The rest of the cast – Pearl, Amethyst, and Garnet in particular – are each unique and each have their strengths and flaws that complement the team dynamic.

Finn’s dad is an a**. Enough said. But besides him, the rest of the cast is memorable and strong. In particular, the gender swapped iterations of the characters are hilarious. The designs for the core cast are memorable and distinct as well. But in terms of flaws and strengths, these characters are rooted more in their personality quirks, rather than having dynamic, lasting character development at the same level of the Steven Universe cast. Therefore, Steven Universe takes the point here.

Winner: Steven Universe

Steven Universe

The Verdict
I adore both of these shows immensely, but I think Steven Universe is ever so slightly a stronger show, and the one I would recommend for people to watch.

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