Steven Universe: The Movie recently debuted to major success with fans, and a major focal point that fans noticed was that everything in the film was taken to a scope far beyond the original TV series. Along with grander musical numbers, fans noticed how the fights included in the film had a much more elaborate storyboarding and animation brought to them than ever. It turns out that this is thanks to a special collaboration with famed animator Takafumi Hori, who should be notable to anime fans familiar with Studio Trigger works such as Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia, and Promare.
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Steven Universe series creator Rebecca Sugar opened up about the collaboration with Takafumi Hori -- who had previously contributed to the series for the "Mindful Education" episode -- for a few of the fights during some notable music sequences. Minor spoilers for two of the musical sequences below.
As Sugar explained, "The Other Friends and Change sequences are incredible because we got to collaborate with Takafumi Hori. He did the animation for those sequences. It's just phenomenal. Miki Brewster boarded Other Friends...Change was the last song we wrote for the film at the very, very end, and so I worked on that with Jeff Liu as he was storyboarding that sequence."
Elaborating further about how Steven's fight with Spinel at the film's climax evolved from there, Sugar stated, "[Jeff Liu] invented this idea of Spinel just launching Steven into the sky and then jumping after him, and they're just flying through the air. That whole sequence is just so amazing. Brilliant concept from Jeff and then beautifully animated by Takafumi Hori. It just feels so intensely Steven Universe."
Hori's work has been seen not only in many of Studio Trigger's works, but some of the most memorable anime projects of all time such as Summer Wars, Redline, Samurai Champloo, and countless others. While Steven Universe's anime influence has been shown off in the past, the movie appropriately takes this one step further by drawing from one of anime's greatest to amp up some of its most memorable sequences.
This attention to detail is why Steven Universe has such a huge following. You can check out our spoiler-free review of Steven Universe: The Movie here, and here's an excerpt to get you started, "Steven Universe: The Movie is an incredible work of art that combines eclectic, amazing musical numbers with striking illustrations and breathtaking animation to outdo anything the franchise has attempted before. There's nothing quite like it out there, and the film happily plays to its unique strengths to leave you vibrating on an existential level."