Mark Watches ‘Steven Universe’: S04E03 – Buddy’s Book

In the third episode of the fourth season of Steven Universe, Connie takes Steven on his first trip to the library. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe

I LOVE LIBRARIES. THEY ARE MY EVERYTHING. This is certainly not the first time I’ve written about them (THANKS, AVATAR), but I love every opportunity to talk about them. True fact: it’s how I discovered the “outside” world during my strict upbringing. The main branch of the San Francisco library is where I started researching and plotting my first novel back in… gods, 2013! I started my second novel in the downtown LA branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, which also happens to be one of my favorite buildings in the whole city. Libraries are, point blank, magical places for me, and I’m so glad that they’re also magical places within Steven Universe.

But not literal magic; instead, the writers show us how powerful the experience of discovery is in those hallowed places. There’s nothing quite like finding a book in the “wrong” section and discovering what a treasure it is. Or wandering out of the kids section and realizing there’s a world of books out there, just waiting to be read. Or finding a cover that’s intriguing or alarming or arresting and burying yourself in the words and emotions and images that it gives you.

The book that Steven and Connie find is magical, both because they didn’t know it existed and because it gave them an insight into the formation of Beach City. This episode features a hilarious flashback to Buddy Buddwick’s exploration of the world after landing in Beach City as William Dewey’s first officer. In that sense, it’s like a sequel to “Historical Friction,” only this time, Buddy’s legacy is the conflict. Again, this episode isn’t nearly as intense as the recent batch of episodes, but I’m perfectly fine with that. I NEEDED A BREAK, EVERYTHING WAS HURTING.

Yet this is still a cool story about identity because Buddy puts so much energy into being the perfect explorer and adventurer, despite that this isn’t really a goal you could believably meet. His concept of an explorer is someone who “discovers” something for the first time, and being “first” is the most important part of this experience. Yet he’s not the first person on Earth, and thus, his goal is impossible. How can he “discover” things in this context? However, he’s still seeing things for the first time himself, and that’s an important experience all on it’s own! You can’t replace that kind of discovery, you know?

I did enjoy that “Buddy’s Book” provided us with a visual confirmation of where many gem sites were on Earth, so there’s a value in this episode aside from Buddy’s story and the way that Connie and Steven imagine it. Seeing the Crystal Gems hundreds of years in the past was a delight (ESPECIALLY THEIR RIDICULOUS OUTFITS), but Y’ALL. ROSE QUARTZ. She made friends with lions??? Did one of those lions become Lion??? Did she create lion or simply turn one of those lions into her companion? LOOK HOW NICE SHE IS TO BUDDY. Her kindness is what inspires him to become a writer, which is why the library is so important. He got to leave a mark on the world. It’s a touching end to this story, especially since it says that even the smallest moments can have an impact on people years into the future. What we do matters!

The video for “Buddy’s Book” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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