King of More than One thing

Context:

The King of the Sky was created by Chowder Creator, CH Greenblat. His design was inspired by one of the main characters from the Katamari series, The flamboyant King of the Cosmos. Within the context of show The King of The Sky is one of many personified forces. Both the Sun and The Moon have been personified, as well as version of Atlas (whose’ kind of like a personification of gravity), who holds up Marzipan City (the main location of the show). There are other characters who personify even stranger things like different mediums. The King of the Sky himself is the personification of weather and sometimes time, but he also pernsonfies more subtle harder to describe elements of the world of Chowder.

Visual Description:

In terms of Visual design the king of the sky has a kind of ethereal magical quality to him. His overall design meshes well with the kind of magical Moroccan theme of the show but in his design the magical aspect of the show are emphasized. For example he’s almost always siting atop a cloud in the sky. His cotton candy hair is held back by a bronze band that rises into a single star, and he wears a patterned V neck shirt tucked into un-patterned pajama pants. The belt around his waist has a silver moon as a buckle. In terms of his physical character, it changes slighty between the season of the show, but most often he’s short with a squarish head and pronounced torso, sort of like a barrel chest. He has small eyes that sit close to one anther and below his round nose is a wide mustache.

Color:

In terms of color, his color scheme is centered around dark and pale purples rising into soft blues. His face and skin are a light teal color, while his hair is pink as are the accents on his cheeks. The primary color of his shirt is a lighter blue while the hems are accented in a darker shade of blue. His pants are a solid purple and the cloud he sits on changes color depending on the time. During the night its a mix of dark blues and purples, and during the day it’s a softer brighter version of those shades. I like his color scheme overall because it works both in the daytime and the night. In the day it feels like a hint of the mystical imaginary quality that permeates “Chowder” as a whole. A bit like like how you can still see the moon in the sky on a bright day, like the wonder of the cosmos is still out there even when the everything earthbound is illuminated. And at night that same mystical magical imaginary quality is heavily emphasized, like when there is a full moon at night and the stars of space twinkle around it.

Meaning and Being: Levels of cohesive meaning, each more esoteric than the one above.

What resonance with me about the king of the Sky is that he personifies several things that don’t have an immediate attachment to one another. What he personifies foremost is the weather. He sits on a cloud in the Sky and from time to time actually changes the weather in accordance with his mood. I think in one episode he actually throws a lightning bolt, hankering back to Zues another weather based deity. But beneath that layer, he comes to personify something like imagination, which is a major element withing Chowder. And his visual design accomplish this using a few of the same elements that convey his affinity for weather. Like the Cloud that he sits on, as well as the crescent moon on his belt, but more acutely the teals, purples and blues of his color scheme. All of which evoke a sense of imagination.

Maybe a second thing I like about the character and the show in general, is how close not only the King of the Sky, but all the personified forces sit in relation to the earthbound character. The king of the Sky is literally right above the city as is the Sun and the Moon, and right beneath the City is Giant Atlus holding everything up on his shoulders. The all stand so close to the city that the series Main characters especially Chowder often encounter them directly, and in turn those forces respond, usually with disgust at Chowder misadventures, but sometimes they just happen to be visiting the same places.

A Recipe for Creation

Context:

Within the Context of the show “Chowder,” the Oven is usually an ancillary object. Through the entire series, it’s never been intertwined in an episode as a significant object. But in relation to the theme of the show overall, which is on the joy of creation conveyed through cooking, the oven, as a metaphor and as a hearth of creation is so important it’s featured in the intro sequence of every episode. All the episodes of chowder begin from within the oven looking out, where the series main characters are passing by on their latest misadventures. But more immediate, that the characters running around outside the oven, are dishes being created within, developing their character and personality.

Visual Description:

The oven itself doesn't have a lot of visual elements. It’s made of brick, and within there’s a grate that sits right above a heat source that powers the oven. In the center is a window through which we can see the series main characters including the title character Chowder, apprentice chef as well chowder’s master chef Mung Daal, and beyond them every other character in the series. Although not part of the oven proper the most interesting thing about the oven is what’s cooking inside. The oven itself is a static fixture in the intro sequence, but the dishes cooking within change from episode to episode, and each has a personality, color, and character of its own.

One of my favorites in terms of Visual design is the superior cannoli, whose sitting in a bathtub, reading a book with a fez hat on his head, like the image of sophisticated austerity. Another is the loaf of bread that can’t stop touching himself. He just sits there rubbing his hands across his loafy body.

Color:

The color of the oven itself is a pretty tame palette of reds, browns, and embers. The brick is a reddish brown color, the metal of the door is a dull grey, as are the grates above the heat source. And from beneath the grates, a warm orange color is pouring upward. Again, the true variety in color here comes from the dishes cooking within and they touch on every color. One of my favorite dishes In terms of its colors are the muffins begin floating out of their tray as the spend more time in the heat of the oven. They’re colored in bright blue, pink, red, green and yellow. The wide spectrum they represent meshes well with the animation of them floating upwards and the smiles on each of their faces. Another dish I like in terms of its color are the fluffy little blue and red cream puffs, that press against one another so hard that they become one purple puff.

Resonance: The Hearth of Creation and the element of development

What resonates with me about the oven, is in part that it’s so simply designed. Its color isn’t extraordinary and its visual design is mostly to communicate to the viewer that it is an oven. But despite its simplicity, the oven is an element of creation within the show and beyond that the creation of living dishes. It’s where inert elements combine and coalesce to become more that separate ingredients but something whole and alive. And after they come to life, the oven serves as a developmental space where each dishes marinates in the heat and pressure of the oven to mature in its character and personality. The ethics of eating a living dish are iffy though.

Sun Baked in Ocean City

Context:

In the context of the show “Steven Universe” Beach City is where most of the characters live work and spend their leisure time. Aesthetically it’s a very soft and bright town. The combination of the cities color scheme and it’s proximity to the beach, the waves, as well as the sugary, salty vendors by the boardwalk, give the city a kind of tranquil levity. But similar to the post-apocalyptic setting of adventure time, just beyond the city is evidence of it’s supernatural history and relationship to otherworldly beings.

Visual Description:

Beach city is located on a kind of peninsula, where the beach and the ocean lie to three sides of the town. The town has a lot of interesting attractions, the largest of which is probably the Amusement park that sits on the boardwalk north of the city. The main attraction of the park is the large Ferris wheel but beyond that there are few carnivals stands. On the southern side of the city is another boardwalk, along which are a few of the major shops featured in the show. One of which is a Donut shop with a glass storefront called The Big Donut. Two others are Beach City Fry, a fried food shop run by the Fryman family and a pizza parlor called Fish Stew Pizza run by the Nanafuea family. Steven the main character of the show lives with his guardians a distance away from the city, on its remote eastern shore, in a kind of beach shack. The beach shack itself sits in the hands of a statue carved into a mountain. Atop the mountain is a lighthouse that looks out into the ocean.

Color:

At the brightest and least articulated end of the spectrum, The buildings of Beach City, as well as the planks that make up the boardwalk often take on textured white color, which fall into the near white yellows of the beach itself. Upon that base pink and blue pastels are colored throughout the city. So, for example, most given building will be white, but the doors may be a pale pink or blue. Or if the building or structures are patterned, like the Beach City Water Tower and Sign, the patterns are often colored in the same pale pink or blue. Combined with the very pale blue of the water, and the bright greens that color the landscape outside the city proper, Beach City comes off as spacious and relaxing. The only element of Beach City that’s consistently richer in color is the Sky which is usually a deeper shade of blue than seen throughout the series palette. But even the sky is broken up by bright white clouds.

Resonance: Background Levity lifting characters into Space ... and Aliens.

What resonates with me about Beach City is how as a background it emphasizes the personalities of the show’s characters. Primarily through the use of color itself. Every aspect of Beach City, from the building to the boardwalk, to the shore are all colored in very bright pale hues. And those bright hues give the show a kind of levity and spaciousness, that contribute to the lighthearted feeling of the show. But they also help emphasize the colors that the characters wear and by extension the personalities of the character. Steven Universe, the main character of the show illustrates this idea well because, by comparison to the pale palette of Beach City itself, the colors he wears are rich and vibrant like his character. Even characters like the young Fryman illustrate this idea in a more subtle way. Despite Fryman's shirt being white and his pants a darker tan, the bright pale background emphasizes Frymans french fry yellow hair, which being the fry cook of the show is a large element of his character.

What I also like about the show is that just outside the town proper is evidence of this ancient and alien culture that’s existed alongside the town since it’s inception. But where the people of Beach City have built a conventional city according along a grid, that supports very square (albeit beautiful) buildings. The Crystal Gems (The Aliens of the Show and Steven Universe's Guardians), built there home in the shape of a four-armed alien, into the side of the mountain.