Characters / My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Sunset Shimmer

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"My past is not today."
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Post-Rainbow Rocks appearance.
"You're never gonna bring me down
You're never gonna break this part of me."

Voiced by: Rebecca Shoichet

Once one of Princess Celestia's most promising students, her ambition to become an alicorn and her mentor's refusal to abide by her arrogant demands eventually caused her to go rogue and flee through a magic mirror to another dimension: the human world. Through manipulation and fear she establishes herself as the Queen of Canterlot High School, but still craving power and dominance in Equestria, she returns to steal the Element of Magic from Twilight as part of a plan to take over Equestria. Twilight follows her back to the other world, fixes the friendships she's sabotaged, breaks her control over the school and turns the The Power of Friendship back on her when the Element of Magic overwhelms Sunset and turns her into a demon. Lying defeated and horrified of the things she's done, she begs for forgiveness and with the Humane Five looking over her, she starts working her way into a better person.

Reformed, Sunset struggles to restart her life while facing extreme mistrust from everyone at school. She eventually becomes a friend of the Humane Five as well as Twilight, playing an instrumental role in helping them defeat the Dazzlings. After that, she takes over The Protagonist role for the Equestria Girls spin-off movies, using a magic journal to write Twilight back in Equestria and keep in touch about the state of the two worlds.

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    Characterization and Background 
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Played with. Sunset Shimmer is a Shadow Archetype to Twilight Sparkle. A former student of Princess Celestia who underwent a Face–Heel Turn and sought to use her powers for evil. But in the first movie she's seen behaving more like a traditional Alpha Bitch and her love of knowledge isn't as prominent until the third movie in the series (where she has undergone a Heel–Face Turn).
  • The Ace: As a pony, she's Celestia's star pupil that could implicitly match Twilight in magical prowess, and accordingly she's also very intelligent and studied. As a human she not only gets great grades at Canterlot High, but is also a guitar player and singer, a good athlete, and following her reformation is socially popular among the other students. Not to mention she has the most understanding of Equestrian magic in the other world, and may have the strongest magic among the Humane Seven.
  • Action Girl: She proves instrumental in defeating the Dazzlings in Rainbow Rocks and draws on her friends' magic to gain a Golden Super Mode called Daydream Shimmer with which she fights Midnight Sparkle in Friendship Games.
  • Adorkable: Now that she's reformed, since Rainbow Rocks she looks and acts endearingly awkward at times. Legend of Everfree has a field day with this, notably her excitement over the group's new magical abilities, Wake-Up Fighting moment after Twilight's Catapult Nightmare, pretending to look for an earring after Flash catches her spying on Gloriosa and Timber Spruce, and attempting to use her mind to levitate a bottle of sunscreen (to no avail). Her getting used to her old unicorn body when she visits Equestria after such a long time in the human world leads to much adorable awkwardness.
  • All-Loving Hero: Starting from her Heel–Face Turn in Rainbow Rocks, with traits like Empathy, Forgiveness and her supportiveness of others becoming more prominent with each movie, she begins to look more and more like this.
  • Alpha Bitch: She was the queen of Canterlot High for three years and treated everybody in school as beneath her. She stopped being this after the Humane Six beat her and she began to see friendship would be the better path.
  • Always Someone Better: In the first movie, Sunset was sure she was the smarter one of Celestia's students, compared to Twilight. After undergoing a Heel–Face Turn, she feels weighed down by not being able to figure out how the magic in the human world works in Friendship Games, and she now actually feels that Princess Twilight is always going to be better than her, as she thinks Twilight could have already solved the issue. She also loses a math competition to Human Twilight, although just barely.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Her desire to become an alicorn princess drove her to villainy when Celestia refused to make her one.
  • Animal Motifs: Her "I Am Becoming" Song "My Past Is Not Today" ties her with The Phoenix, rising from the ashes of her old life to make a new start for herself as a better person. It also fits her color motif and general association with fire and the sun. This continues in Friendship Games where, after absorbing magic from her friends, her transformation has energy wings and her magic is distinctly fire-looking. The very end has a phoenix rise up from a hill before showing stars representing Twilight and herself.
  • The Atoner: In Rainbow Rocks, she's repentant for her behavior in the first film and is making an effort to become a better person.
  • Badass Biker: She participates in the motocross competition with Rainbow Dash in the third movie. She shows great control over her bike and with a little help from Rainbow Dash, she manages to cross the finish line first and win the event for CHS.
  • Badass Bookworm: While the movies don't focus too much on the "bookworm" aspect, she is a former student of Princess Celestia and the prequel comic shows she was just as studious as Twilight. The Dazzlings found out the hard way you shouldn't underestimate her. The novel Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine establishes her as the top student in her class, and she goes head-to-head against Human Twilight in the Academic Decathlon during Friendship Games.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Her jealousy hits a breaking point when Rarity calls Twilight a real princess.
      Sunset Shimmer: Oh, yes. She's so very special!
    • While it doesn't quite drive her berserk, she gets a little steamed in Rainbow Rocks as the other main characters keep talking about how they've beaten dark magic before, forgetting that the (involuntary) dark magic user is literally right there in front of them. She's sort of over it by Friendship Games, and her friends have learned more tact; at one point in the movie, she playfully does this to herself.
    • A part of Sunset's old self breaks through when Trixie suggests her interrupting the Rainbooms when Rainbow started to pony up was out of malicious intent.
      Sunset Shimmer: It wasn't a fit of JEALOUS RAGE!
    • In Friendship Games she rather frighteningly explodes at Human Twilight for her use of magic without knowing what she was getting into. She has several motives for this: she herself didn't dive into this sort of thing unprepared; even with her preparations, she wasn't able to control magic or keep it from ending badly; and she knows from her personal experience that Twilight is endangering her friends/followers. She was protective of Snips and Snails in the first movie, and in this one she's just as protective of the Humane Five.
  • Big Bad: Of the first Equestria Girls movie. She steals the crown and antagonizes Twilight throughout her high-school experience.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Applejack says one of her plots is acting nice and then humiliating the person she "befriends". She gets over this by Rainbow Rocks.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After her redemption. She may be nice, but you DON'T want to piss her off. Human Twilight learned this the hard way.
  • Breakout Character: Following her reformation in Rainbow Rocks and associated increase in popularity in the fandom, Sunset became the face of the Equestria Girls series.
  • Break the Haughty: She wasn't expecting the Element of Magic to turn her into a demon, and she tried desperately to take it off once she realized what was going on. She lost control of herself, and did things she would never have naturally done. After that, once Twilight and the Humane Five freed her from her demonic form, she was shaken and horrified by what she had done, and eagerly turned her life around; by Friendship Games, she's able to wield the magic of friendship herself, turning into an angelic being instead of a demonic one.
  • Broken Ace: Her smugness goes away after her defeat at the hands of Twilight Sparkle and she spends her next appearance being doubted by nearly everyone, including herself. Then, despite regaining everyone's trust and still being one of Canterlot High's best students — both academically and athletically — she's still guilt-ridden by her past deeds and doubting her own abilities.
  • The Chains of Commanding: In Rainbow Rocks, Twilight falls into despair when it seems they've lost and feels the doesn't have the solutions everyone was hoping for. Sunset talks Twilight out of it at the climax, assuring her that no one has all the answers. Later in Friendship Games, Sunset herself is put in a position where she feels all of the responsibility rests on her, because the only other person who would have the answers — meaning Twilight, ironically enough — is out of their reach.
  • Character Check: She unexpectedly loses control of herself when she put on Twilight's crown, and the experience leaves her badly shaken. After the first movie, she's no longer so arrogant, she's not pushing herself so hard, probably much more law-abiding, and definitely not so nasty towards those around her. But she's still quick-witted and sarcastic, impetuous, short-tempered, and not really able to control her anger when she gets angry enough.
  • Character Development: Gets some more with each film. Rainbow Rocks sees her repentant after the first film, but still haunted by what she's done to the point she's become a Shrinking Violet, afraid to be in the spotlight or confront others. Friendship Games and Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine sees that she's gotten over these problems, but she's still a bit hesitant about how she fits into the group dynamic of the Humane Five, and is still learning to understand the magic of friendship without Twilight to help her. In Legend of Everfree she's become much more independent and takes on a mentor-like role towards the other girls, particularly Twilight. Her new power is even revealed to be that of The Empath and her ability to connect with friends on an emotional level, further showing how far she's come since the first movie.
  • Character Tics:
  • The Chessmaster: Before the events of the movie, Sunset established herself as the Queen of the school, made everyone too afraid to challenge her and manipulated the Humane Five into breaking their friendship. During the movie, she uses Twilight's unfamiliarity with human word against her and even when the heroes manage overcome schemes, she has a new plan at the ready and throws another obstacle in their way.
  • The Chosen Wannabe: Back when she was Celestia's pupil, she was very talented and had a desire to become an alicorn princess, but her own arrogance caused her and Celestia to have a falling out. Once Twilight enters the picture, Sunset steals the Element of Magic from her as Sunset considers herself more deserving of everything Twilight has achieved under Celestia's tutelage. When she finally tries it on, its power overwhelms Sunset, turning her into a demon and it ends up returning to Twilight, leaving Sunset defeated and humiliated. By the time they meet again, Sunset has started working on becoming a better person and has cast this attitude aside.
  • Composite Character: Sunset Shimmer has similarities with several antagonists from the original show. She was once close to Celestia and is beaten by the Elements of Harmony like Nightmare Moon, is a smug Evil Counterpart to Twilight Sparkle like Trixie, drives the Mane Six apart like Discord, attempts to discredit Twilight like Queen Chrysalis, and using magic to enslave the school in a manner similar to how King Sombra took over the Crystal Empire.
  • Dark Magical Girl: Originally, she was a unicorn and Celestia's personal pupil, but she turned "cruel and dishonest" and broke up friendships seeking power. It fell to Twilight (her magical girl foil) to defeat her, befriend her and help her redeem herself. Rainbow Rocks shows them develop a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
  • Dénouement: In Friendship Games, after her own efforts get them nowhere, she spends most of the movie trying to contact Twilight for help instead. She also begins to feel very upset about the responsibility she feels for bringing magic into the world in the first place, and her own inability to solve their current problems — all of which she thinks are either directly or indirectly her fault. She really begins to despair when Twilight is unable to answer her calls and the portal to Equestria gets closed off. In the end, she ends up taking the hero mantle, giving Midnight Sparkle her Kirk Summation and proceeds to stop her. After the Climax, she has a talk with her friends and concludes that, as a Princess with responsibilities herself, Twilight can't always drop everything to come to their aid. Thus, they don't have to rely on her and can actually solve their problems on their own.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: In Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, she tries to figure out what to do with her life in the human world, since her Cutie Mark symbolized her desire to become like or surpass Princess Celestia, but is meaningless in a world mostly without magic. At the end, she realizes her purpose is to help others.
  • Deuteragonist: In Rainbow Rocks. While Twilight is still The Hero and the Rainbooms are the protagonists, the film is just as much about Sunset regaining her confidence and overcoming her self-doubt as it is the Rainbooms fighting the Dazzlings. She's practically promoted to The Protagonist in Friendship Games in Princess Twilight's absence. In Legend of Everfree she returns to this role with Human Twilight as The Protagonist. Her role in the movie is more about looking after everyone and finding out the secret behind Gaea Everfree. While Twilight's arc sometimes overlaps with hers on the latter, it's is more about the two sorting out all of Twilight's emotional baggage from Friendship Games. Ultimately Twilight is the The Hero and saves the day.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: In the first film, she's a massive jerk and doesn't bother to hide her dislike for anyone, yet still manages to come off as a well-meaning student to the principal and vice-principal. (Perhaps because she takes her studies seriously?)
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Sunset takes a few levels in psycho and hamminess when she finally gets the crown and is transformed by its magic. Prior to it, she was nasty but had some standards and operated on a more rational level. She confirms in Friendship Games that the power of the crown was so great that it overwhelmed her. The climactic fight with Midnight Sparkle has her able to control the magic she's using that time around, instead of this happening.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • She spends most of Rainbow Rocks being hated by everyone in the school except the Humane Five, and being forced to watch from the sidelines as her friends fight. And yet, through it all, she tries her very best to shed her old self and become as supportive to her friends as possible. This eventually works out by the end when she joins the Rainbooms in defeating the Dazzlings, leading to her bad reputation beginning to dwindle and her staying in touch with Twilight through her book.
    • In the Comic Holiday Special, after the Crusaders make it seem like she's spreading gossip about everyone at Canterlot High, making even the Humane Five turn against her, she really earned her happy ending.
    • Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine has her wondering what to do in the human world now that she wants to be better. In the end, she decides that her purpose in life is to help people.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: While the rest of the Humane Seven more or less share their equestrian counterparts' Elements of Harmony, Word of God is that Sunset represents Empathy/Forgiveness, which may or may not be an actual seventh element.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • In the first movie, Sunset Shimmer's first actions when we see her in the human world is her picking on human Fluttershy.
    • In the sequel, she's shunned by the Crusaders when she offers to help them with a poster, walks across the gym amid nasty whispers, and sinks into the same Troubled Fetal Position that she reduced Fluttershy to in the first movie... and then wipes the frosting off Fluttershy's face (it's Pinkie Pie-related).
    • In Friendship Games, we see her rushing to help with an emergency, then making her frustration clear when the emergency isn't actually as serious as all that. She's still a good person, but (or "and") now she has her old confidence back.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She has Spike kidnapped in order to lure Twilight to her — and then lets him go as soon as Twilight asks. Most pony villains would have tried a Hostage for MacGuffin here; Sunset didn't like that idea, and explicitly told Twilight, "I'm not a monster."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Sunset threatens to destroy the portal to Equestria if Twilight doesn't give up her crown, but this fails because Twilight would rather be stuck forever in an alternate reality than give Sunset the power of her element.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • A prodigy like Twilight, but lacks Twilight's understanding of friendship, making her unfit to be crowned a princess of Equestria — something she doesn't understand, and won't accept
    • Also serves as one to Princess Celestia. She's a social butterfly who's good at manipulation and politics, but she has few actual friends and struggles to open up emotionally. Her temper is slow-burning, but explosive when she's angry enough — and she and Princess Celestia both get enraged by irresponsible use of magic. Sunset also possesses a very clear light/solar/fire theme, and several of her transformations are almost identical to ones Celestia has demonstrated in expanded universe works.
  • Evil Is Easy: When she realized she wasn't going to get what she wanted as easily if she stayed as Celestia's pupil, she "turned cruel and dishonest", eventually leaving her studies and running to the human world from where she tried to steal the Element of Magic from Celestia's new protege, Princess Twilight Sparkle.
  • Ex-Big Bad: She was Twilight's predecessor and the Big Bad of the first Equestria Girls movie. In Rainbow Rocks she transitioned to an atoning Deuteragonist and became their last minute Hero. By Friendship Games she has become The Leader of the Humane Six and more or less the Hero Protagonist of the spin-off series.
  • Expy: Her design and name are similar to those of G3 Earth pony Sunshimmer, while her status as an arrogant unicorn who believes herself superior mirrors Trixie, especially since both are presented as Evil Counterparts to Twilight. She also takes it upon herself to drive the human counterparts of Twilight's friends apart so they can't unite against her, similar to Discord.
  • Facepalm: When she realizes her "Reason You Suck" Speech towards Human Twilight's carelessness about magic went too far as Twilight runs away crying, she shamefully facepalms. Later, when Fluttershy points out that despite the incident, Twilight wasn't meaning to cause harm to anyone, Sunset does the gesture again with both arms.
  • Fallen Princess: She was the Alpha Bitch of Canterlot High, but loses her social standing along with her attitude when Twilight and her friends knock her down. Following her reformation in Rainbow Rocks she becomes one of the school's socially elite students again, hanging out with the popular crowd and being close to the faculty, but is far more pleasant than before.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • In general, whether she's good or bad, Sunset quickly loses her temper as things get further out of her control. If her frustration keeps growing for long enough, she'll explode at whoever happens to be close by, even though this always makes things even worse for her.
    • In the first movie and the 2013 annual, Greed, Pride, and a severe lack of patience. When she was still Celestia's star pupil, things didn't progress as quickly as she wanted them to, so she became bitter and angry. Sunset eventually found the magic mirror and disappeared from Equestria. She was initially genuinely happy at Canterlot High, but she went bad again, establishing herself as Alpha Bitch of the school; then she infiltrated Equestria and stole the Element of Magic, not realizing that acquiring its power would end badly for her.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, her fear of speaking up due to a vast amount of Heroic Self-Deprecation causes numerous problems to grow worse. Sunset feels like it's not her place to say anything after the things she did, which is exploited by the Dazzlings to keep her quiet.
    • In Friendship Games, her Heroic Self-Deprecation is approached from a different angle. She often compares herself unfavorably to Princess Twilight; Sunset doesn't have the confidence to tackle magical problems alone, and blames herself when things go wrong, even when no one else is blaming her. She also continues with the Poor Communication Kills in places, still noticeably reluctant to express her true feelings and enlist the help of others, even when she's clearly in over her head.
  • Foil: To Twilight Sparkle, as another student of Celestia's with great magical talent. Twilight is timid, neurotic, and insecure, and tends to beat herself up when things go bad; Sunset is brave, confident, and dangerously short on introspection, and when things go badly, she beats up other people. There's a few hints that Princess Celestia was probably grooming her to bear the Element of Magic and defeat Nightmare Moon, but it didn't work out.
    • In the first Equestria Girls, she's a straight Evil Counterpart to Twilight, plotting to use the Element of Magic to invade Equestria and presumably overthrow Celestia. She also drove the Humane Five apart, in contrast to Twilight forming friends with the other members of the Mane Six.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, both are outsiders to the Humane Five, and both have expectations placed on them. They expect Twilight to solve all their problems, and so she's too busy to notice the group's tensions. They expect Sunset to cause some of those problems; she doesn't entirely feel welcome in the group, and she doesn't feel that it's her place to confront them about their bickering.
    • Friendship Games continues the parallels with Sunset and Twilight's human counterpart, as both are trying to study the magic of the alternate world but don't fully understand how it works. The tie-in short "The Science of Magic" also has Sunset mention that under Celestia she had been a hands-on student and didn't like to sit around reading to learn things, a direct contrast to Twilight who very much prefers to stay inside and study.
    • The trend continues in Legend of Everfree. Sunset is excited about Twilight (and later on the rest of the Humane Seven) discovering their new powers and wants them to embrace and figure it all out. Twilight on the other hand, is terrified and wants to keep it a secret, later on blaming herself for her friends being "infected" and the strange things happening at camp. However, when an already unhinged-sounding Gloriosa wants to gain more power, they are both against it because Sunset knows it's going to overwhelm someone if their heart isn't pure.
      Sunset Shimmer: Did you—? How is this possible?
      Twilight Sparkle: I can't believe this! It's...
      [at the same time]
      Sunset Shimmer: Amazing!
      Twilight Sparkle: Terrible!
    • By the fourth movie, both girls have had Image Songs ("My Past Is Not Today" and "Midnight in Me", respectively) touching on their past mistakes and regrets. Sunset's uplifting song about turning her life around mentions how important her friends' support has been for her to get rid of her inner demons, while Twilight's is more melancholic in tone, even wanting to keep her problems away from her friends because of those lingering fears. Both songs also happen to show the girls their old Superpowered Evil Sides in a reflection.
  • Forgiveness: A key point of her Character Development, and shown differently in each movie.
    • In Equestria Girls she learns to ask for forgiveness after realizing how evil she really was.
    • In Rainbow Rocks she learns to forgive herself and accept herself, through which she gains the forgiveness of the school.
    • And in Friendship Games she learns to forgive others who are in situations like hers.
    • In Legend of Everfree she has to mentor Human Twilight to help her overcome her fear of turning back into Midnight Sparkle, basically facilitating the same development Sunset herself got in Rainbow Rocks while also giving her someone to commiserate with regarding becoming a "raging she-demon".
  • Forgot About Her Powers:
    • In the "Movie Magic" episode, Sunset admits she could have used her crystal's Touch Telepathy powers to help determine who keeps stealing the Daring Do artifacts, but didn't bring it.
    • Sunset forgets that she needs to use unicorn telekinesis to pick things up in "Mirror Magic" when she briefly returns to Equestria to get a new journal. After Starlight tries handing it over, the book hits the floor, and Sunset repeatedly brushes over it with her hoof until Starlight reminds her.
  • Generation Xerox: Like her former teacher Celestia, she ends up using the Magic of Friendship to defeat a night-themed villain driven to evil by a lack of friends.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: It's pretty obvious from her expressions that turning into a horrifying demon, enslaving the school, and deciding to take over Equestria is not what Sunset originally intended to do with the Element of Magic. Her "World of Cardboard" Speech in Friendship Games confirms it when Sunset admits the magic in the crown overwhelmed her.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Although initially giving off a smug air of superiority in front of Twilight, it's later made pretty clear she actually resents Twilight because she got everything Sunset was denied.
  • Guilt Complex: In Friendship Games she confesses that she sees all of the magic incidents as somehow being her fault, since she was the one who first brought magic to the Human world in the first movie, which lead the Dazzlings to Canterlot High and causing the events of the second movie, which in turn lead into Human Twilight's magic research and the events of the third movie. This combined with the fact that she was put in charge of keeping future incidents in check. She even apologises to Principal Celestia for the magic incident at the Motocross event, even though the portals actually came from Twilight's amulet, not (directly) from the girls' magic.
  • Hand Behind Head: Sunset Shimmer starts doing this in Rainbow Rocks, showing her insecurities. She notably puts a hand behind her head while admitting that she dated Flash Sentry just to get more popular, and again in Celestia's office later. It's still a frequent habit of hers in Friendship Games and the specials.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After she is defeated in the first film, she tearfully admits that she knows nothing about friendship, and accepts the chance to make amends. This lasts into Rainbow Rocks, where she actively tries to overcome her bad reputation, and even helps the Humane Five defeat the Dazzlings at the end of the film.
  • Heel Realization: A pretty dramatic one. Whatever she was expecting the Element of Magic to do, she wasn't expecting it to turn her into a demon. Before her transformation, she hasn't been willing to threaten a puppy; after it, she tries to outright kill Twilight. After the Humane Six stops her, she understands that she had been the bad guy even before this, and promptly repents. Rainbow Rocks shows us details; she's harder on her past self than the Humane Five are (Rarity, who Sunset wronged more than the others, is particularly forgiving), and directs a great deal of scorn and sarcasm at herself.
  • The Hero: In Rainbow Rocks she plays as the Deuteragonist to Twilight's Decoy Protagonist. Come Friendship Games, with Princess Twilight absent, Sunset becomes the de facto main character of the series.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: She struggles with her school and friends distrusting her for most of Rainbow Rocks, but in their darkest hour she finally gets the courage to come between Rainboom's arguing and tell them why their magic hasn't been working, and realizing why the Dazzlings have been getting stronger for the whole movie. At the end of the movie, she steps on the field with her friends, giving them their Heroic Second Wind.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: After her Heel–Face Turn, Sunset suffers from this quite a bit. In Rainbow Rocks, Sunset is riddled with guilt over her actions in the first movie. This leads to her not being as assertive as she should be, and questioning if she is even worth forgiveness, as she often states she understands why everyone dislikes her. In Friendship Games, she still easily gets down on herself, blaming herself for all magical problems and negatively comparing herself to Princess Twilight, even when her friends are telling Sunset that they don't blame her.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: Celestia's student before Twilight, who fled Equestria once she thought she could no longer achieve her ambitions there. She has the advantage of years of experience in the human world manipulating others, and enough magical knowledge to know that taking the Element of Magic to an Alternate Universe would bypass it only working for its bearer and let her use it. Twilight's knowledge of friendship trumps all that. After Sunset's Heel–Face Turn, she's actually taking Twilight's role in regard to their friends after making up.
  • Hidden Depths: She's an excellent singer and guitarist; she's a genius-level intellect who's a natural at math and science, and she's very good with technology. Her ability to improvise and switch plans on the fly the moment circumstances change is also worth a mention. There's also the fact that while she kidnapped Spike and held him hostage, she didn't actually hurt him and let him go when Twilight showed up to confront her. She'll do whatever it takes to get what she wants, but physically harming others is a limit for her.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: For a magical pony turned human, Sunset slips to using an Equestrian equivalent for a human term only once, when reminiscing about her old studying habits under Celestia's tutelage in "The Science of Magic" short. In the first film, she does use "somepony" and "hooves" when talking to or about Twilight, though, but that is intentional.
    Sunset Shimmer: Studying ancient books is fine for some people, but I like to solve magical mysteries by rolling up my sleeves and getting my hooves... uh, hands dirty.
  • Humble Pie: Her defeat at the end of Equestria Girls (and her loss of control before then) leaves her begging for forgiveness at the bottom of a crater. By the sequel, her haughty tone has reduced considerably.
  • Hypocrite:
    • In her origin story "The Fall of Sunset Shimmer", she proclaims Celestia as selfish for not granting her the power of an alicorn, despite Celestia trying to tell her numerous times it has to be earned; at the time, Sunset is in no position to be talking about who is selfish, much less worthy of said power.
    • She points out to Twilight Sparkle a couple of times in the first movie that she doesn't belong in the human world, while ignoring the fact that she herself is a pony from Equestria.
    • After Human Fluttershy finds Twilight's crown and takes it to Principal Celestia, Sunset Shimmer tells her that she shouldn't be taking stuff that isn't hers. Fluttershy briefly comments on this before Sunset shouts her down.
    • When Sunset confronts Twilight in the hallway, she quizzes her about what happens when you bring an Element of Harmony into an alternate world and mocks her when she can't answer. As shown in her Gone Horribly Wrong moment, she herself wasn't completely aware of the effects the Element would have in the human world or how much damage it could do in the wrong hands.
  • I Choose to Stay: After the events of Equestria Girls, she decides to stay in the human world rather than return to Equestria, largely to atone for her actions (and possibly too ashamed to face Celestia again). Celestia even mentions this in the comic during the "Reflections" comic arc.
  • I Hate Past Me: She expresses disdain for her pre-Heel–Face Turn self, even referring to her old persona as a "raging she-demon". Her "I Am Becoming" Song, "My Past Is Not Today", is all about her rejecting her old self.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: She has shades of this in Legend of Everfree. While she doesn't angst about it too much, she's clearly not happy when it seems like everyone but her have gotten magical powers, and she's thrilled to discover that she does have some of her own. She's also the one to encourage the others to accept and appreciate their new magic. This is in contrast to Human Twilight's I Just Want to Be Normal attitude towards her own powers.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Going by her facial expressions, it's obvious being left out of the Humane Six's school saving efforts in Rainbow Rocks bothers her. The Dazzlings exploit this by pointing out she seems more like an outsider to the Rainbooms, since she didn't get the same invitation Twilight did. By the end, the group and the whole school begins to accept her again and her situation has greatly improved by the next movie.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: In the first movie, she was sneering at Twilight that she was the best that Celestia could come up with as a replacement star pupil. Once Sunset gets knocked down a peg or two, she begins to feel it's she herself who can't ever measure up to Twilight as a replacement leader and magic expert.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Smugly confident in her own abilities and status at Canterlot High when Twilight first runs into her. Throughout the first movie she insists she's the superior pupil, that the crown really belongs to her and she aims to prove it. The switch is flipped when Twilight refuses to hand over the crown under the threat of Sunset destroying the portal and her friends call her a true princess. Sunset then proceeds to lunge at Twilight.
  • Innocently Insensitive: She shows shades of this in Legend of Everfree. Once the girls begin showing signs of magic, she wants to investigate and find out what's causing it, but human Twilight just wants to ignore it and is completely scared of becoming Midnight Sparkle again, something Sunset has a hard time picking up on. She also tells Flash that he needs to "get over Twilight" without adding much else to the matter, especially since she supported Flash and Twilight before and doesn't consider how Princess Twilight feels about Flash.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Sunset was ambitious and arrogant where Twilight was neurotic and uncertain, and unlike Twilight, she never got an order to go find friends. Sunset ended up parting ways with the Princess, moving to another world, and figuring as the Big Bad of the first movie (and becoming socially isolated once again), but like Twilight, she gets better about it once she makes genuine friends.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Sunset Shimmer yelling "It wasn't a fit of jealous rage!"... very angrily, right in Trixie's face.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: In the book Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, she mentions that subjects like math and chemistry are simple for her because all she has to do is memorize the formulas, which is not that different from memorizing spells. At the other's shocked reactions, she realizes that not everybody can do this so easily and apologizes.
  • It's All About Me: She initially believes she deserves power and recognition and is willing to call out or stomp out anyone who thinks otherwise.
  • It's All My Fault: In Friendship Games, despite having worked hard to gain the forgiveness of everybody at CHS, she blames herself for the magical shenanigans even when nobody else does.
  • Jerkass: Starts out as this. She's prideful, arrogant, and acts stuck up and rude towards her peers. At least until her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Jumped at the Call:
    • It's implied Celestia planned for her to become a Princess once she was ready, but she was too ambitious and power-hungry, and her eagerness to claim the title made her unsuitable.
    • When the Humane Seven begin to discover their new superpowers one by one, she gets excited and wants to figure it out, but when the rest of them (Twilight especially) want to keep it low profile, she respects their decision.
  • Kick the Dog: Sunset Shimmer pulls off this trope a few times in the first movie, ranging from bullying to framing Twilight to attempted murder.
    Sunset Shimmer: [to Fluttershy] You really are pathetic! It's no wonder your best friends are all stray animals!
  • Kirk Summation: Comes as a part of her "World of Cardboard" Speech as she tells Drunk On The Darkside Human Twilight that "Even with all that magic and power, (she) will still be alone!" Because she's been there too, and she was still beaten because The Power of Friendship was stronger.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Zig-zagged. On the one hand, she's much less intimidating and threatening than most other major villains in the show. On the other hand, her bullying and manipulation of Canterlot High's students is just as cruel and malicious. Played straight once she gains her demon form: she turns Snips and Snails into demons, mind-controls the entire student body as her own personal army to invade Equestria, and comes dangerously close to actually killing Twilight.
  • The Lancer: Becomes this to Twilight in Legend of Everfree, by way of Supporting Leader.
  • Love at First Sight: A non-romantic example occurs when she spots Ray, her leopard gecko pet.
  • Mage in Manhattan: What initially looks to be Sunset Shimmer's goal in the human world. Demon Sunset later makes it clear that her ultimate intent was to conquer Equestria with her mind-controlled army as well.
  • Meaningful Look: Gives one to Human Twilight when she sees her come back from her dance with Timber Spruce. Her look seems to convey either encouragement or amusement, complete with Eyebrow Waggle. It makes Twilight blush and she gives Sunset a playful punch to the side, which makes Sunset slightly blush in turn.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: In Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, she tries to figure out exactly how magic works in the human world, hoping this way, she and the Humane Five will be able to activate it at will and be more ready to face future threats. She attempts to do this by gathering empirical data and trying to break it down into pure math and science (similar to what Twilight Sparkle tried to do with Pinkie Pie in "Feeling Pinkie Keen"), but gets no results. At the end, Princess Twilight writes her a note urging her to accept that some things just can't be explained with logic.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: A few times with Twilight, and often at different movies' openings:
    • At Rainbow Rocks' opening, where we're shown a recap of the events from the first movie.
    • In Friendship Games' opening, between Sunset plus the Humane Five and Human Twilight plus the Shadowbolts. Also at another point during the "ACADECA" song, where they're both climbing to the stage for the math phase of the competition, with the Humane Five looking encouragingly towards Sunset while Twilight's teammates are looking away.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • A somewhat delayed one in Rainbow Rocks after her Heel Realization and reflecting what she became after donning Twilight's tiara. She really beats herself up over her actions and is more than happy to agree with the other girls when describing her former selfish self... though she makes it clear she'd rather it not be brought up.
    • In Friendship Games, after blowing up at Human Twilight upon seeing she is (unintentionally) responsible for the portals that nearly brought harm to the competitors during the motocross event. She calms down and instantly regrets her words after seeing Twilight run off crying.
  • Nice Girl: Becomes this by Rainbow Rocks, though she retains a bit of an edge thanks to her short temper.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In Rainbow Rocks, her trying to maintain the Rainboom's cover by tackling Rainbow Dash when she's about to pony up ends up messing with the whole performance.
    • In Friendship Games, she harshly calls Human Twilight out on recklessly tampering with powers she doesn't understand and endangering her friends. Twilight runs away in tears and once Rainbow Dash brings Sunset down from her immediate anger with a gesture, she feels sorry about doing it. Twilight's peers and teacher then proceed to pressure her into unleashing even more magic.
  • Not a Morning Person: In the "Monday Blues" video, she repeatedly hits the snooze on her alarm to sleep in, then rushes to get ready once she realizes the time, noticing but not stopping to brush her bedhair on the way out. It certainly makes sense for someone named "Sunset" to dislike the morning.
  • Only Sane Woman: The only one to point out that the perils of uncontrolled magic is more important that winning the Friendship Games.
  • Origins Episode: An 8-page short story comic from IDW details her origins in Equestria. It was first available in the San Diego Comic Con 2013 version of Issue #9 of the main comic series and then released to a wider audience in that fall's comic Annual. The origin comic was also included with the Equestria Girls movie in a Walmart exclusive release appropriately named the Sunset Shimmer edition. This version also features a variant cover with yellow, orange, and blue added to the normal cover's purple.
  • Personality Powers: She's a bit hot-headed and appropriately has a fire theme going for her magic. Later on, it's shown she's also good at connecting with people, eventually gaining Empath powers.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: She admonishes Snips and Snails for wrecking the Fall Formal decorations. Not because it's evil — she'd ordered them to do it, in fact — but because they overdid it, and in doing so, endangered her plans.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain:
    • Her tie-in comic shows Sunset going from a cocky but ultimately talented pony to an obsessed megalomaniac who demands rewards she hasn't earned.
    • The movies invert this. Sunset is the Big Bad in the first movie, the Deuteragonist in the second, and The Hero in the third.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: She is Princess Celestia's former pupil, and Twilight Sparkle's predecessor in that role. When Celestia's tutelage did not turn out to be the easy path, she "turned cruel and dishonest," abandoning her studies and pursuing power in more unsavory ways.
  • Rage Breaking Point: One of Sunset's flaws is her inability to cope with things going out of her control, even after she's reformed. If things get too far out of hand, Sunset is likely to explode at someone who doesn't deserve it.
    • Sunset snaps after Twilight calls her bluff on destroying the portal to Equestria and the others praise her as a princess, making a physical bid for the crown in a fit of jealous rage.
    • After all the shunning she's got during Rainbow Rocks despite truly trying to make amends, she finally boils over when Trixie compliments Sunset on her tackling Rainbow to the ground in a fit of jealous rage. It wasn't a fit of jealous rage this time, but the accusation stings nonetheless — and Sunset's outburst in response is fierce enough that Trixie cowers under it.
    • Sunset had grown increasingly frustrated during the course of Friendship Games for her inability to understand magic and keep it under control as well as her being unable to contact Princess Twilight in Equestria. However, when Human Twilight's meddling with magic starts endangering the lives of others, including her friends, Sunset snaps at her, driving the poor girl to tears.
  • Rage Quit: When she's put in charge of keeping the magic incidents at the school contained, she goes to the library to try and look for information. She's at first seen finger-tapping the table with a confused look on her face, then she angrily tosses the papers off the table and just tries to contact Twilight.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Upon realizing that Twilight has followed her into the human world, Sunset smugly tells her that she's had more than enough time to take over the school, and Twilight can't hope to stop her in a world she is utterly unfamiliar with. Twilight then returns the favor, telling Sunset that despite having the Element of Magic on her head, she completely failed to understand and wield its true power, a power which the Humane Six were able to use even without Twilight wearing the crown.
    • The Dazzlings deliver a cruel one to Sunset Shimmer when she confronts them on their true nature. Unimpressed, they mock her claims to be turning over a new leaf, claiming she simply didn't have the power to become a threat, and that for all her talk of friendship, none of the Rainbooms have really warmed up to her.
    • Sunset herself explodes at Human Twilight Sparkle when her messing around with magic endangers everyone's lives, tearing into her lack of knowledge and recklessness for tampering with what she doesn't fully understand.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Sunset Shimmer takes this position in a dark hallway to wait for Twilight Sparkle in Equestria Girls, and again for the Dazzlings in Rainbow Rocks.
  • The Resenter: It's brief, but the way she reacts when Twilight is praised as a princess by her friends, as well her constant insistence that the Element of Magic is her crown, shows that she resents Twilight for achieving everything she could not. Made more apparent by the IDW origin comic, which shows that she desired the same power Twilight earned.
  • Satanic Archetype: Rebels against her world's Physical Goddess; ambition and pride leads to her falling out of said goddess's favor; and transforms into a powerful red-skinned demon who wants to launch an all-out war against the goddess.
  • Shrinking Violet: She's normally brash, confident, and collected, but she was certainly this in Rainbow Rocks; the events of the first film destroyed her worldview, and left the whole school still hating her but no longer afraid of her. As a result she has no friends (or that we see, a social life at all) outside the Humane Five, is uncomfortable being the center of attention, and watches the Rainbooms fall apart without interjecting because she feels it isn't her place to get involved. It's telling that when she shrinks down, she gets slightly knock-kneed and starts rubbing her arm, just like Fluttershy in the last film. Her Character Development has her reverse her descent and get over her fears, stepping into the spotlight in a more positive way than before.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Delivers this in song format towards the Dazzlings, which is in response to their Breaking Speech towards her earlier in the movie.
    Sunset Shimmer: You're never gonna bring me down, You're never gonna break this part of me!
    My friends are here to bring me 'round, Not singing just for popularity!
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: When the Humane Six affirm that they are still going to stop her, even without magic, Demon Sunset makes a face and just opts to throw a fireball at them.
    Demon Sunset: Oh, please! What exactly do you think you're going to do to stop me? I have magic, and you have nothing!
    Rainbow Dash: She has us!
    Demon Sunset: Gee, the gang really is all back together again. Now step aside! Twilight has tried to interfere with my plans one too many times already! She needs to be dealt with!
  • The Smart Gal: Only implied in the first movie, with her being Twilight's predecessor as Princess Celestia's student and her rubbing that fact in Twilight's face. Post-redemption movies, shorts and books show that she indeed is one, but far more of a hands-on learner compared to the generally more bookish and theoretical Twilight Sparkle.
  • Smug Super: She mocks Twilight as an inferior replacement when Twilight doesn't know what effect her Element of Harmony will have on the human world. Twilight turns this back on her when Sunset proves she doesn't really understand the Elements of Harmony, and thus cannot control their power.
  • Sour Supporter: Even after getting superpowers and being accepted by her friends and Canterlot High, she constantly worries about the future, and thinks the Humane Seven are going to face an even greater challenge.
  • Start of Darkness: Sunset was once an ambituous and skilled student, but when Celestia wasn't being upfront with what the magic mirror could do and refused her arrogant demands, Sunset abandoned Celestia to seek power on her own and fled to the human world through the mirror.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Sunset in the first film is a nasty person, but she still has limits; she doesn't kill Twilight when she has the chance, and she lets Spike go rather than trade him for the Element of Magic when she has her chance. Her demon form has no such limitations, and tries to fry Twilight and her friends without a second thought.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In Legend of Everfree. While Twilight is The Hero with Sunset acting as her moral support, the story arc is as much about Twilight's inner demons as it is about Gaia and Camp Everfree, and both the investigation and pep-talking is, by and large, shown from Sunset's point of view. At the end Sunset helps Twilight overcome her fear of Midnight Sparkle, being integral in defeating Gloriosa.
  • Take Over the World: During the climax of the first movie, she reveals her plan is to use the Element of Magic to brainwash the students of Canterlot High and turn them into an army to march through the portal and conquer Equestria.
  • Talking the Monster to Death:
    • She stops Midnight Sparkle at the climax of Friendship Games by offering to show her another way.
    • Tries this with Gloriosa in Legend of Everfree. It fails.
  • Teen Genius: In Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, she can create computer apps that link various devices of her design to phones and computers. She created a biometrics-measuring wristband, camera that can see a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and others. She also made an app that allows one to see how they would look in a certain outfit.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Played-with in Equestria Girls. As far as MLP's Big Bads go, she isn't some monster with world ending magical powers, just a high-school Alpha Bitch who knows how to manipulate people and someone who stole the Element of Magic. Then at the last minute, she does turn into a demon.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She takes several between the first movie and Rainbow Rocks, though only the Humane Five believe it is genuine. She retains a bit of an edge and can still have rather frightening outbursts of anger if pushed too far. There is a notable moment after she crashes Rainbow Dash's performance when even they seem to doubt her sincerity. The Dazzlings try to exploit this and fail.
  • Troubled, but Cute: An anti-social troublemaker before her redemption. She wears a leather jacket, to boot.
  • Unwanted Assistance: When Rainbow Dash begins ponying up during their performance in Rainbow Rocks, Sunset tackles her to prevent them from blowing their cover to the Dazzlings, but ends up messing their whole performance. The Humane Five call her out on not using something less drastic that would have handled the issue.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Averted; as a shallow Alpha Bitch who is motivated by petty jealousy and acts like a bully, Sunset is a major step down from previous villains and much more in-line with what would be expected from a typical "girl" show. Played straight when she gets her hands on the Element of Magic, transforms into an absolutely nightmarish demon, and reveals her plan is to brainwash the school's students into an army to invade Equestria.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Her smirk of confidence almost never leaves her face in Equestria Girls and Sunset manages to pull out a new obstacle and stay one step ahead of the heroes, despite them making a short work of it together. But when Twilight forces her to withdraw her final threat and Twilight's friends praise her as a true princess who's earned her crown, Sunset goes ballistic.
  • Villains Blend in Better: Sunset is able to navigate the human world much better than Twilight initially can. Justified as Sunset is implied to have already spent at most several school years on the other side of the mirror and so has had plenty more prep time compared to a first timer like Twilight.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: She's much more mature than most teenagers at Canterlot High. While she left equestria when she was somewhere around Twilight's age, the series has been unclear whether she's now actually an adult passing as a highschooler, or if she really is still relatively young and time between the two worlds simply flows differently.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: When she first tries to forcibly take control of all the power within The Element of Magic, just for the sake of power. Later on — after her Character Development and Heel–Face Turn — her heart is in the right place and tapping on to the Elements' magic doesn't backfire on her.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: In the Friendship Games towards Midnight Sparkle, just before their fight.
    Sunset Shimmer: This isn't the way! I know you feel powerful right now, like you can have everything you want! I've been where you are, I've made the same mistake you're making! I put on a crown and, just like you, I was overwhelmed by the magic it contained! I thought it could get me everything I wanted!
    Midnight Sparkle: Oh, you're wrong. Unlike you, I can have everything I want!
    Sunset Shimmer: No, you can't. Even with all that magic and power, you'll still be alone! True magic comes from honesty! Loyalty! Laughter! Generosity! Kindness! I understand you, Twilight, and I want to show you the most important magic of all...
    Daydream Shimmer: ...the Magic of Friendship!
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: She kidnaps Spike, but instead of using him as a Hostage for MacGuffin, she just lets him go once she draws Twilight out.
  • You Are in Command Now: In Friendship Games, as the only person available with magic knowledge, she is put in charge of figuring out how the human world's magic works, as well as keeping Canterlot High's magic shenanigans out of the title competition, as to not get accused of cheating. She doesn't progress too much and begins to feel like she's going to be an Inadequate Inheritor to Twilight's position from the previous movie. By the next movie she has graduated to a much more confident leader.
  • You Are Not Ready: When Sunset Shimmer demands that Princess Celestia make her a princess, Celestia's response is that being a princess must be earned.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Sunset is enraged and humiliated when The Great and Powerful Trixie praises her for tackling Rainbow Dash in an alleged fit of jealous rage.

    Abilities 
  • Academic Athlete: A former personal student of Princess Celestia (and confirmed for a genius in Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine), who runs like the wind, handles a sledgehammer like a baseball bat, and launches herself through the air like a javelin. She shows this off in Friendship Games: she's a good enough academic to face Twilight Sparkle in a math-off, and a good enough athlete to compete in, and ultimately win, a motocross event. Twilight is a better scholar, barely defeating Sunset in the math-off, but she's a complete liability at sports.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Before transforming into her winged Golden Super Mode, Sunset uses the same amulet Human Twilight used to collect the magic from her friends. She even name-calls all of the Elements of Harmony in a way worthy of Captain Planet, causing them to converge into the amulet one by one as if on cue. The whole ordeal is somewhat reminiscent of the time when Princess Celestia referred to all of the Mane Six and Pony Twilight gained understanding of their different Elements, which lead to her ascending to alicornhood.
  • Aura Vision: In Rainbow Rocks, she seems to be the only one able to see the green smoke people give off when the Dazzlings feed on them. It's what tips her off that they're using magic in the cafeteria.
  • Beam-O-War: Gets into one with Midnight Sparkle. At first Midnight has the upper hand, but Sunset is able to surprise her when Spike distracts her, and thus win the struggle.
  • Blasting Time: After materializing a fireball between her palms, Sunset Shimmer in demon form throws it by raising her arms above her head before bringing it down on the Humane Six.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Like every (living) thing that goes through the portal, she initially loses all of her magical powers when in the human world (apart from her moment of being Drunk On The Darkside with the Element of Magic). Once she embraces The Power of Friendship and the magic spreads around the human world, she starts gaining new powers.
  • Cloth Fu: Sunset sends her cape flying into Twilight's face when teleporting past her, while fleeing the crime scene. However, Twilight still manages to catch up and tackle Sunset.
  • Dispel Magic: In her Golden Super Mode, she has the ability to fix the tears in reality made by Midnight Sparkle.
  • Elemental Punch: As Daydream Shimmer, her first attack towards Midnight Sparkle is a Rasengan-esque palm strike as both girls thrust their magic charged hands forward and crash into each other in mid-air. Incidentally, a similar type of clash is also a very iconic occurrence between The Hero and his Rival in Naruto.
  • The Empath: In Legend of Everfree, she gains a Touch Telepathy version.
  • Fireballs: Going with Sunset's fire/sun theme, this is Demon Sunset's form of attack as she charges one between her palms and then makes an overhead throw at the heroes.
  • Flight: For the transformations which happen to have wings, she naturally gets the ability to fly.
  • Golden Super Mode: Her "Daydream Shimmer" form in Friendship Games gains a glowing horn and bright golden magical wings. In addition, her magic turns from teal-green to gold.
  • Good with Numbers: According to Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, she is excellent at topics like math and chemistry, as she comments it is similar to spell-work. In Friendship Games she only barely loses to Human Twilight in a math competition.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Unlike the other Rainbooms who have trouble just keeping their powers under the radar, Sunset doesn't initially even realize she has them too, despite unknowingly using them a few times before the others (sans Twilight) even displayed any signs. Once Sunset finds out she had Touch Telepathy all this time, instead of having to learn to control them, she focuses on helping Twilight and the others with their Power Incontinence.
  • Incompletely Trained: Word of God is that, while she's "pretty strong", her magical power is well below Twilight Sparkle due to leaving Equestria while she was still a student.
  • Informed Ability: Her ability to manipulate people is not shown explicitly, but the IDW annual comic fleshes out her preparations a bit more.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: She uses a beam attack as Daydream Shimmer against Midnight Sparkle, which ends in a Beam-O-War between the two them.
  • Kungfu Wizard: A former magic student of Celestia, and shown to be physically quite capable in various areas, possibly even karate if her Wake-Up Fighting stance is anything to go by. It makes sense how the story has been focusing on her more physical capabilities, since she's now living in a world that does not normally have magic in itself.
  • Light 'em Up: As Daydream Shimmer, she can fire beams of light from her hands, as shown during her Beam-O-War with Midnight Sparkle.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: She and the Humane Five at first try to deal with their problems and villains in a more Slice of Life kind of way. But at The Climax of the story, they are usually accompanied by transformations which give them wings, pony-ears and sometimes superpowers. At the end of Friendship Games, Sunset achieves a Golden Super Mode and fights Midnight Sparkle. Legend of Everfree plays the whole magical girls with superpowers aspect about as straight as it gets for all of them.
  • Make My Monster Grow: In her Origin Story comic "The Fall of Sunset Shimmer", she uses what appears to be a growth spell on a small plant as part of a test. She makes it grow gargantuan in size, to the point where it wrecks the building they're in, just to show off. The situation draws parallels to Twilight's entrance exam to Celestia's school, where she hatched Spike from an egg and caused him to grow into adult size.
  • Mind Control: After turning into a demon in the first film, she mind-controls the entire student body (sans Humane Five and Twilight), declaring her plan to invade Equestria.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • Uses this in her demon form to tear open the front of Canterlot High.
    • Notably, when Human Twilight is discovered to have this power without undergoing a transformation, Sunset herself tries to lift a sunscreen tube in her normal state, to no effect.
    • It takes her some time to remember she can normally moves items with unicorn magic when back to Equestria.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: When Sunset and Twilight first step into the Crystal Cave in Legend of Everfree, Sunset immediately picks up on the presence of Equestrian magic at work.
    Sunset Shimmer: There's... Equestrian magic here. I can... I can feel it!
  • Painful Transformation: From the look of it, her transformation into a demon is not a walk in the park. The moment she put the crown on, she looks worried, then starts crying and screaming as she raises into the air. Friendship Games has Sunset admitting she was "overwhelmed" by the magic in the crown, so it's likely she was in pain as well.
  • Playing with Fire: Her magic manifests with a fire theme.
  • Power Floats: Before her transformation and as Daydream Shimmer. Like Midnight Sparkle, she has wings in this state, which don't seem to flap because they are made of light.
  • The Power of the Sun: Implied by her cutie mark, at least, which also helps to further her connection to Princess Celestia. When she attacks the protagonists at the end, she uses a bright golden fire attack. In "My Past Is Not Today", she sprouts her Hot Wings as the sun rises.
  • Psychic Powers: Her power set includes...
  • Renaissance Man: Shown to be knowledgeable in Equestrian magic, she also displays skills such as: musical talent (singing and guitar playing), app development, the scientific method in her magic research, academic success (mathematics especially) and motocross.
  • Taught by Experience: She pretty much spells it out in "The Science of Magic" short, when she tells her friends that she prefers a hands-on approach to reading books. In Friendship Games, her trying to find a solution to their magic problems by going to the library to read books about it only makes her grow visibly frustrated when it doesn't give her any answers.
  • Telepathy: Her powers in Legends of Everfree manifest as being able to hear thoughts. Direct contact lets her perceive the contents of someone's mind.
  • Teleportation: She shares Twilight's ability to teleport when in unicorn form. In fact, she pulls the same trick on Twilight that Twilight herself used on Nightmare Moon in the pilot.
  • Touch Telepathy: The power she gains in Legend of Everfree. Touching someone lets Sunset see their memories and emotions.
  • Transformation Ray: How Demon Sunset turns her Co-Dragons Snips and Snails also into demons.
  • Wake-Up Fighting: In Legend of Everfree, she springs out of her bed to Twilight's Catapult Nightmare, doing karate moves, while still having her eyes closed and drooling a little.

    Appearance 
  • Art Evolution: A subtle one to go along with Costume Evolution, but post-Rainbow Rocks her hair is much more desaturated in color. Notably, the yellow is more a natural blonde color instead of the mustard yellow from the first two movies.
  • Biker Babe: Her leather jacket already made her look like one, but in Friendship Games she takes part in the motocross competition. And she's very good at it, too.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Sunset has a tendency to begin shimmering when she's really getting into her musical numbers, such as "My Past Is Not Today" and "Embrace the Magic".
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Her sclera turn black after getting a hold of Twilight's crown and she starts turning into a demon.
  • The Coats Are Off:
    • In Rainbow Rocks, she flings her coat off when she prepares to join the Rainbooms in fighting the Dazzlings.
    • She does it again with her new jacket in the post-Rainbow Rocks music video "My Past Is Not Today", for seemingly the sole purpose of showing off her fire wings.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Sunset is Twilight's Foil, and her color palette consist almost entirely of ones that are opposites to Twilight's. Also keeping Sunset Shimmer's Theme Naming in mind, her greenish-teal eye color (and original magic color) is likely referencing a very rare and brief visual phenomenon called the "green flash" that occurs during sunrises and sunsets.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Her original unicorn magic aura is a greenish teal that matches her eye color. Her Golden Super Mode appropriately changes it to a bright gold. It's red when she's powering up with the rest of the Element bearers' human counterparts or using her Empath Powers. In "Mirror Magic", her unicorn magic aura has also changed to red.
  • Cool Mask: Though all the basic brushables in the Crystal Princess Celebration line have masquerade masks, she's to date the only character who's appeared as a pony solely in those waves. Notably her first appearance as a pony toy on display had her wearing it, which concealed the fact of whether she was a earth pony or unicorn until her toy box was revealed.
  • Costume Evolution: She has an entirely new outfit in the post-Rainbow Rocks music videos featuring a teal shirt with a semitransparent skirt and blue leggings, along with a new pair of boots and a new jacket, both with orange chevron stripes. Again, when she tosses aside the jacket in "My Past Is Not Today", the lighter color scheme is all the more noticeable. This becomes her default outfit in Friendship Games.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In Rainbow Rocks, she takes this pose when she rises into the air to "pony up".
  • Cry Cute: She breaks down after her demonic influence is purged and she lies defeated and humiliated in a crater in front of the school, begging for forgiveness.
  • Declarative Finger: In Legend of Everfree, Sunset opens her mouth with this gesture as if she's about to say something regarding the nightmare Twilight had in the bus, but she's cut off by Pinkie before she gets to say it.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Visual Puns and Theme Naming aside, Sunset's songs, transformations and empath magic tends to incorporate a lot of sparkling effects.
  • Evil Is Bigger: After the Element of Magic turns her into a crazed demon in the first movie, she becomes about twice the size of a human being. In contrast, as Daydream Shimmer and in her ponied-up forms she retains her normal size.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Her sun motif (sunburst cutie mark, red/yellow hair and flame design on boots) serves to parallel Twilight's star theme. She also gains Flaming Hair and fireball magic in her demon form.
  • Evil Redhead: Formerly. Red with yellow-orange streaks, but she still qualifies in the first movie.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As a demon, combined with echoing filter. Also, her normal tone of voice during the first movie is much lower compared to her softer post Heel–Face Turn voice.
  • Eyebrow Waggle: Towards Human Twilight when they meet after Twilight's dance with Timber Spruce.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: In "My Past Is Not Today" music video, right before it cuts to a flashback from the first movie to her time as a she-demon.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Sunset Shimmer shortly takes this posture while turning into her demon form, surrounded by a black flames aura.
  • Fiery Redhead: Downplayed. She's ambitious and proud and has a nasty Berserk Button, but avoids being straight Hot-Blooded.
  • Finger-Tenting: Sunset does this in the first movie, while she monologues her plan in front of Snips and Snails, not realizing they haven't gone to their assignments yet.
  • Fist Pump: Does one with both hands once she manages to read Human Twilight's mind and becomes excited as she realizes that out of their friends she isn't the only one to not have powers in her normal state after all.
  • Frills of Justice: Sunset's costumes often have spikes/metal studs, a Sun motif and tend to be either the same shade of teal as her eyes or red and black. In the fourth movie, their new costumes are materialized on top of their current ones and they also get personal Transformation Trinkets.
  • Glowing Eyes: Sunset's Touch Telepathy manifest this way.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her demon form has these in her teal magic color when she launches a fireball at The Protagonists.
  • Good Costume Switch:
    • A downplayed but thematic version, in Rainbow Rocks she flings her coat off when she helps the Rainbooms fight the Dazzlings, also making it clearer she's wearing a different top than her typical sun-emblem one underneath. The loss of the black clothing makes her look significantly more benevolent than with it. She also gains an anthropony form in contrast with her demon form in Equestria Girls. The shirt reappears later on, but the costume switch is shown to be "complete" when she gets her anthropony form as the skirt she's wearing suddenly gains her cutie mark.
    • Her Super Mode in Friendship Games, Daydream Shimmer. Now that she understands friendship, she can use the Element of Magic properly, giving her a Golden Super Mode instead of turning into a demon.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: When turning into a demon, her sclera first turn black and then swirly when concentrating for a Mind Control spell. Her subsequent post-Heel–Face Turn transformations have her with normal eyes.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Her demonic form has bat-like, evil-looking wings; while when she powers up at the end of "My Past Is Not Today", she gains beautiful fire wings reminiscent of a phoenix's. Her Super Mode in Friendship Games, Daydream Shimmer, also gains bright golden wings made of light.
  • Grasp the Sun: In "My Past Is Not Today", she does this to a shooting star.
  • Green Eyes: Strictly speaking her eyes are "cyan", right between green and blue, but she errs more to the green side with the symbolism of her being a magically empowered antagonist.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Downplayed, but her leather jacket is a sure sign of her being a bad girl in the first movie. She keeps it post-redemption presumably for the Rule of Cool. She even gets a new one starting with the Rainbow Rocks Encore music videos.
  • Horned Humanoid:
    • In the novelized version of Equestria Girls and Rainbow Rocks, her demon form has a gnarled horn while her normal ponied-up form has a regular unicorn horn, both of which are absent in the movies.
    • As Daydream Shimmer she does have a horn made of light, the same as her wings.
  • Horns of Villainy: The novelization of the first movie gave Demon Sunset Shimmer a gnarled horn.
  • Hot Wings: As part of her phoenix motif, at the end of the the music video "My Past Is Not Today" she sprouts a pair fiery wings. There's also a "Time to Shine" doll that features Sunset with fire wings, and an upcoming novel of the same name featuring the doll artwork. She then has a transformation in Friendship Games that also has wings made of light.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: In Equestria Girls her demon form has these along with Pstandard Psychic Pstance while casting a spell to mind control the people at the prom.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Her human form bears an uncanny resemblance to her voice actress, Rebecca Shoichet.
  • In the Hood: Wears a cape with a hood when she's sneaking into the Crystal Empire to steal the Element of Magic. She lets it fly at Twilight's face when teleporting past her, while she's still running.
  • Large and in Charge: Sunset's demon form is about twice the size of a normal human being (something many fan-artists seem to forget) and she controls all the brainwashed students and school staff of CHS as her army.
  • Light Is Good: Her Good Costume Switch post-Rainbow Rocks includes more light colors, her hair colors are desaturated, invoking this. Her transformation in Friendship Games also has her outfit change to white, gold, and pink, is sporting light wings and her magic turns a bright golden color.
  • Light Is Not Good: Bright yellow and her cutie mark is a sun, much like her mentor Princess Celestia. She's a thief and a jerk. She also has a teal aura. With her Heel–Face Turn in the sequel, she's now the opposite.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Her standard outfit stays the same for the first two movies; we don't even see her in formal clothes (except for the previous Fall Formal pictures). It isn't until the post-Rainbow Rocks shorts that she gets a new attire.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Like the rest of the Humane Seven, her anthropony transformations come with pony ears, tail-like hair extensions and sometimes a horn or even wings.
  • Marked Change: Her Golden Super Mode in Friendship Games, Daydream Shimmer, has a red horizontal line going across her eyes.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In her Image Song, Sunset Shimmer sees her reflection in the glass dome of the school library becoming that of her demonic form, before angrily chasing it away.
  • Morphic Resonance: Compared to her true unicorn appearance, her human form has many similarities. Her skin, eyes, and hair colors are the same, as well as her hairstyle, and her cutie mark usually shows up somewhere on her clothes.
  • Multicolored Hair: Has red and yellow stripes in her hair..
  • Off-Model: Following Rainbow Rocks, her hair color was changed to be more desaturated, and her outfit was changed. The summertime shorts released in 2017 put her back in her old outfit for several of them, at which point her hair color changes back as well.
  • Older Than They Look: She was an adult, or at least a teenager, when she was Celestia's student before Twilight. Given Twilight was a filly when she became her student, this means Sunset is considerably older than Twilight is, despite the two looking the same age in both worlds.
  • One-Winged Angel: In the climax of Equestria Girls, she puts on Twilight's crown and transforms into a raging she-demon with wings, Flaming Hair, Black Eyes of Crazy, fire powers, a booming voice, and the power to turn others into demons.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast:
    • Her initial color scheme is primarily orange and red with some yellows, contrasting Twilight's lavender, violet and blue.
    • Her post-Rainbow Rocks outfit plays this up, with her mainly wearing teal and blue with flashes of orange to compliment her orange coloring and teal eyes.
  • Palette Swap: The blind-bag toy of her pony form is a recolor of Rarity. In order to facilitate this, her pony form's animation model seems to have been intentionally designed so that her mane and tail have similar silhouettes to Rarity's.
  • Pillar of Light: When she puts on the crown containing the element of magic, she is briefly surrounded by pulsating energy rings which turn into a full pillar. At the end of it she emerges as a demon.
  • Power Echoes: Her voice becomes booming after she turns into a demon.
  • Power Gives You Wings:
    • In the Rainbow Rocks Encore Shorts, Sunset gets a pair of symbolic Hot Wings as she finishes singing "My Past Is Not Today". Word of God is that it's a metaphor, not an actual power.
    • She gets a set of wings made of light as part of her Golden Super Mode.
  • Power-Up Full Color Change:
    • Compared to her normal greenish/teal unicorn magic, absorbing the power of the Elements of Harmony from the Humane Five turns her magic and attire golden.
    • Her regular ponied-up transformations and empath powers have a red theme going for them.
  • Prayer Pose: Sunset shimmers while she does this in Legend of Everfree during the song "Embrace the Magic".
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: As a human, she wears a black jacket and boots to accent her fire theme. This changes after the first movie.
  • Red Is Heroic: Her hair, outfits and magic often have a red color scheme, and she's The Leader of the Humane Seven and The Hero.
  • The Shadow Knows: The Music Video Tittle Card for "My Past Is not Today" shows Sunset Shimmer's shadow shaped like her grinning demonic form.
  • Sigil Spam: Like the rest of the Humane Seven, she has her cutie mark on her magic journal, regular outfit, formal clothes, camping gear, pajamas and as part of her transformations. The one exception is her post-Rainbow Rocks default outfit which doesn't have her cutie mark on it.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: She's the main antagonist of the first film, an aspirant to the title of Princess, and Twilight Sparkle's dark foil.
  • Skirt over Slacks: Part of her new outfit in the post-Rainbow Rocks shorts and movie, with a slightly translucent skirt over blue leggings.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Sunset Shimmer wears a sleeveless purple top when she throws her jacket aside to sing with the Rainbooms in the final showdown.
  • Smug Smiler: Her cruel smile is a constant of the first movie until her Heel–Face Turn — but there are three photos of her as Princess of the Fall Formal from past years, and in the first, she's genuinely happy and grateful. After growing out of her meekness and regaining her confidence at the end of Rainbow Rocks she's able put on a smile like this once again, if the occasion calls for it.
  • Sphere of Power: She becomes enveloped a glowing sphere of magic when she unleashes the Element's power from the amulet, as Twilight did moments before her.
  • Stationary Wings: As Daydream Shimmer her wings don't flap as they are made of light, but she's able float in the air nonetheless.
  • Symbolic Wings: According to Word of God, the Hot Wings she sprouts at the end of "My Past Is Not Today" are meant to be symbolic and not some type of power.
  • Tareme Eyes: Compared to her pony model, her human model's eyes lean towards this, especially after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tears of Remorse: After being blasted with the power of friendship and being purified of her monstrous demon form, she emerges from the ensuing crater broken, remorseful and crying.
  • Transformation Sequence:
    • At the climax of the first movie, she starts her transformation into a demon by rising in a Pillar of Light; then the change courses over her body, she curls into a fetal position surrounded by black flames and it concludes with a blinding light. From the look on her face, it's a Painful Transformation.
    • She gains a new one at the end of Rainbow Rocks to turn into an anthropony form. Notably, the style of the sequence is very close to the one used in the first movie for the Humane Six, rather than the Rainbow-Power-augmented transformations of this movie.
    • She gets yet another at the end of Friendship Games, when she uses the Magic of Friendship collected through Twilight's device to transform into Daydream Shimmer.
    • And yet another in Legend of Everfree along with all her friends, with a change of wardrobe and hairdo typical of a Magical Girl.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Her pony model has upward facing eyes similar to Rarity's, but with some minor differences like slightly thicker eyeliner.
  • Unusual Ears: Like the rest of the Humane heroes, Sunset eventually gains her own anthropony form, which replaces her normal ears with pony ones.
  • Vague Age: Even more so than the Mane Six. She's been in the human world for what's impliednote  to be Twilight Sparkle's entire student career (filly to young adult), yet there's no visible age difference between them as ponies or humans, seemingly passing for the same grade as the latter (not that grades were given). Anything that could rationalize this (Older Than She Looks, Narnia Time) aren't touched on.
  • Vocal Evolution: Rebecca's voice for Sunset is noticeably lighter and softer in Rainbow Rocks, as a sign of Sunset's more heroic character. Since she doubles as Sunset's character and Twilight's singing voice, singing for Sunset is noticeably darker and fuller in comparison to Twilight's clearer and gentler range.
  • When She Smiles: The first photo of her winning the formal crown shows her having a very pretty smile; now that she's been reformed, we get to see a lot of that smile in Rainbow Rocks.
  • Winged Humanoid: In the Rainbow Rocks — The Mane Event novelization, she is described as having a horn and wings, which she doesn't have in the movie. At other times her wings are usually either demonic, made of light or symbolic.
  • Wings Do Nothing: Zig-zagged. She is certainly able to float in the air when her transformations give her wings, but they don't seem to flap to keep her in the air. In some cases they are said to be there just for the symbolism or the coolness factor, according to Word of God.

    Relationships 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Rainbow Rocks has no-one, save for the Humane Five, caring for her — and even then there can still be tension between them. After defeating the Sirens, this goes away.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In Rainbow Rocks, everyone in the school distrust or outright hates Sunset, including the faculty. The Humane Six are the only ones to keep her company and not give her a cold shoulder, although not all of their interactions go entirely smoothly and even their trust is tested when Sunset makes a bad call which nearly costs them the competition. The Dazzlings even lampshade that her "friends" still obviously don't trust her enough to let her actually be part of the Rainbooms.
  • Amicable Exes: In Legend of Everfree, Sunset and Flash are shown to be on quite good terms, despite some rough history from the previous films. Flash Sentry broke up with her sometime before the events of the first film, and it's later implied that Twilight showing her crush on Sunset's ex while around her wouldn't be a good idea. Then in Rainbow Rocks, albeit seeming a little down at first at the mention of their history, Sunset assures her new friends that she never liked him that way and smiles with the rest of them when Twilight's crush on him becomes obvious. Flash, on the other hand, throws a verbal jab at Sunset while he's under the Dazzlings' Hate Plague. However, by Legend of Everfree they seem to have patched it all up, as they are able to hold a conversation and offer support to one another. In the end, Flash even suggest they could start over, as friends.
    • She later acts on this in the "Good Vibes" segment of the Summertime Shorts, where she offers to eat her lunch with him after seeing how depressed he is.
  • Birds of a Feather: Unsurprisingly, she and Starlight hit it off almost right off the bat when they meet.
  • Commonality Connection:
    • In Rainbow Rocks, Sunset starts to bond with Twilight over the different expectations lingering on their shoulders. Both are also former students of Celestia and the only two (good) Equestrians in the human world.
    • Sunset uses her own past experiences to help Human Twilight fit in and open up about her problems.
  • The Confidant: She's the primary source of support for Twilight throughout Legend of Everfree. In the beginning she reassures Twilight that the previous film's events were not her fault, and when Twilight's new powers are first discovered, Sunset promises to keep them a secret at her request, while still supporting her through the experience. Sunset also talks Twilight out of leaving the camp for (supposedly) being the cause for all the trouble there and near the end of the film, she finally convinces Twilight to use her magic willingly to help defeat the villain.
  • Cool Big Sis: Vacillates between this and The Mentor in Legend of Everfree. Sunset spends much of her time at camp looking after Human Twilight and trying to help her cope with her new magic and the lingering self-doubt from Friendship Games, often by referring to her own experiences.
  • Cool Pet: In the Summertime Short "Pet Project", she adopts a leopard gecko and names it Ray.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: This is standard policy in Equestria, but it is particularly promising in Sunset's case at the end of Equestria Girls; she is appalled by what her actions led to, and she has the strength of will to change. In Rainbow Rocks, the Humane Five are Sunset's only friends; by Friendship Games, the rest of the school, including the Principal Sisters, has come to accept her as well.
  • Easily Forgiven: Zig-zagged. After being the Alpha Bitch in CHS for quite a while, breaking up the human counterparts Mane Five, stealing Twilight's Element of Magic, and becoming a demon and brainwashing the students to invade Equestria, she asks for forgiveness at the end of the first film, and Twilight and her friends grant it, her rebuilding the front of school she blew up being an afterthought. But in Rainbow Rocks, she's an outsider to the Humane Five, they're still leery of her (even Twilight is hesitant to take her hand when she returns to the human world), and the rest of the school hates her. Even Principal Celestia, who had been more tolerant of her in the first film, has it in for her now. By Friendship Games, she's more or less the leader of the Humane Six, and the school likes and trusts her at last.
  • Friendless Background: She admits at the end of the first movie that she doesn't know anything about friendship, only knowing how to drive others away. The prequel comic shows that ponies did try to be friends with her, but she brushed them off as being frivolous and irrelevant, more likely to slow her down than to help her. In the Equestria Girls holiday comic, she tells Applejack that she was always alone on the holidays, both in Equestria and in the human world.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: They don't dislike her, but in Rainbow Rocks there's still some tension between her and the Humane Five. They're friends, but the Humane Five are a little uncomfortable around her after years of abuse. But by the end of the movie, this state of affairs is thoroughly dispelled.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Twilight got everything that Sunset wanted to obtain, Sunset aimed to take it all from her. The thing is, Twilight earned the honor; Sunset felt she should have it but obviously was trying to take the easy way to get it. Ironically, once Sunset puts this behind her, she eventually does legitimately earn much of what Twilight had and she lacked.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Apart from Twilight herself (both of them), she seems to hang around Spike the most when the group and/or Twilight herself is off doing something else, regardless of whether it's Spike the Dog or Spike the Dragon.
  • The Leader: Starting from Friendship Games with her being the one most experienced in magic, everyone puts their trust on Sunset figuring out how the magic in human world works when Princess Twilight isn't around. Despite self-doubt and feelings of guilt she manages to resolve the conflict and develops to a much clearer case of this for Legend of Everfree, appearing much more confident than before. A combination between Levelheaded and Charismatic Types, she's the most mature and responsible girl in the group — possibly for being technically older than the other highschool students. Knows how to offer moral support and rein in the others if they step out of line or just to remind them of what's important. Takes interest in new problems right as they appear and with an analytical mind, but is able to respect others' decision when they want to let things be for now.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, the school has not forgotten her previous evil ways, especially the fall formal. Though she's a genuinely better person now, a mere mention of the event brings Death Glares beaming down on her from all over the gym. It doesn't help that her friends end up bringing the incident up by accident throughout the film, since it's an important part of how they became friends (though ''they'' at least realize what they're doing and how much it makes her uncomfortable and apologize). Even after Rainbow Rocks, her time as a "raging she-demon" is still brought up, though she takes it in stride, particularly Applejack's joke about world-dominating creatures coming from Equestria. By Legend of Everfree, with her easy-going attitude towards her friends casually mentioning it Once Per Movie when recaping their previous adventures, it's become apparent the whole thing has rather become a little in-joke between them more than anything.
  • Not So Different:
    • In Rainbow Rocks Sunset and Twilight have a bonding moment at a sleepover in the middle of the night, talking about the opposing expectations everyone has about them, but how in the end neither of the two wants to let everybody down. They finnish the last sentence in unison and smile at one another. She also begins writing Twilight friendship letters through her book at the end.
    • Sunset empathizes with Human Twilight in both Friendship Games and Legend of Everfree over their mutual history of turning into Demons while trying to acquire magic they couldn't yet understand and trying to wreck the school with it. In the latter she uses this to encourage Twilight to go easy on herself and let her friends help her.
    • This gets also played up between Sunset and Human Twilight in the deleted/uncut version of "What More Is Out There". Both girls are a little unhappy with their High School life, despite finding success in many areas, and are left feeling like they are missing out on their true purpose.
  • Open Secret: After the first movie, it's common knowledge that she's from another world of magical talking ponies. It's even a plot point in Friendship Games; Luna tasks Sunset to investigate the magical events occurring because Sunset knows more about it than anyone else due to her Equestrian heritage.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • She explicitly refuses to hurt Spike, a dog, saying "I'm not a monster, Twilight."
    • A sure sign she's reformed in the sequel; in her first scene, she helps wipe off Fluttershy's face. Throughout the rest of the film she's shown watching the Rainbooms perform while holding Spike — we even see her (in silhouette) pick him up during the opening credits.
    • Stops on her way to school just to pet a stray cat, even though she's running late and it's raining.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In the second movie, numerous troubles with the Rainbooms grow worse because Sunset is afraid to speak up and address them, feeling like it isn't her place.
  • Reality Ensues: After years of being a manipulative Alpha Bitch, breaking friendships, and brainwashing the students into an army, a vast majority of the school (everyone save the Humane Five) still fear and hate her in spite of her Heel–Face Turn. It took all of Rainbow Rocks trying to make up for her actions in spite of her continued bad rep and saving the day from villains at least as bad as she was for her to even begin to earn their approval.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Being her Foil, Sunset is the ambitious and brash red oni relative to the humble and timid blue oni Twilight, both figuratively and literally in terms of hair color, though later on they do mix some traditionally red or blue traits like both being very studious and tending to worry about things when under pressure. While Sunset does mellow out quite a bit after the first movie, she's still much more outgoing compared to Human Twilight and is still somewhat rage prone if pushed too far.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Even though she turns over a new leaf at the end of the first movie, most of the students of Canterlot High School continue to hold a grudge against her in Rainbow Rocks, with only the Humane Five willing to stand anywhere near her. By the end of the film, however, more students have been shown to forgive her.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Twilight Sparkle.
    • In Rainbow Rocks their growing trust in one another, finding and relating to their shared backgrounds as Celestia's students has them do a lot of bonding. They're often gazing into each others eyes, complimenting one another, blushing at each other, and even sing a duet together in the battle against the Dazzlings while holding hands. Whether platonic or not, it's very easy to assume that they care more about each other than one would think.
    • Friendship Games takes this further with the native human Twilight. Her shy personality and inquisitive nature contrasts with Sunset's brashness. Being younger than her, Twilight has something of a Sempai dynamic, Sunset seeing many of her own qualities in the younger girl she admires and dislikes. After giving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Twilight, calling out her dangerous use of Equestrian magic without any understanding of the consequences, it eats Sunset inside seeing her cry. In the climax, Sunset helps a corrupted Midnight Sparkle to see that she doesn't have to be alone, and takes her hand, forgiving her mistakes just as Twilight's pony counterpart had done for her.
  • Security Cling: Sunset and Twilight do this to one another when they run into an axe-wielding Timber Spruce (who was just chopping wood) in the forest at the middle of the night.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • She smiles and giggles a little when Twilight and Flash hug at the end of Rainbow Rocks.
    • For human Twilight and Timber Spruce in Legend of Everfree. The other girls and Spike ship it too, but Sunset is the most active in her support.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: The only reason she dated Flash was to increase her popularity, which is why in Rainbow Rocks she tells Rarity not to feel bad for her when she talks about Flash's obvious feelings for Twilight.
  • Sixth Ranger: Becomes this to the Humane Six after becoming good. It's in full effect in Rainbow Rocks; she's their friend but is clearly an outsider to the group and isn't fully comfortable around them, or vice-versa. She finally manages to overcome the mutual awkwardness by the climax of the film. By the time of Friendship Games her (mane) color is officially the seventh color of the friendship rainbow symbolizing the Mane Six.
  • Spanner in the Works: She's the main reason the Dazzlings lost, due to the fact that they thought nothing of her. It's her that helps rally the Humane Six to combat them (albeit with help from Spike and DJ Pon-3, but still), and it's Sunset that gives the band their Heroic Second Wind when the Dazzlings nearly overpower the heroes in the final battle.
  • Supporting Leader: In Legend of Everfree Sunset takes the most interest in the girls' new magic, acting as the guiding moral support when their Power Incontinence leads to their overcautiousness hampering with their enjoyment of the camp. She's also the most active in investigating the strange things surrounding the camp and Gaea Everfree, but in the end Twilight is The Hero of the movie.
  • Team Mom: From Equestria Games onward, she adopts this role, providing moral support to her friends and being the one they come to with their problems. She even gains the ability to see into the minds of others and read their feelings in Legend of Everfree. Word of God even states that her Element of Friendship would be Empathy or Forgiveness.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Rainbow Rocks, her trying to maintain the Rainbooms' cover ends up looking like sabotage in everyone's eyes when she opts to tackle Rainbow Dash as she's about to pony up, which ends up messing their whole performance. The others immediately call her out on it and point out she could have just as well closed the curtains or unplugged her amp instead of doing something that drastic.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Despite successfully earning everybody's trust back in Rainbow Rocks, Sunset feels responsible for bringing magic into the world and powerless in keeping it under control. She needs to be reassured several times on the course of Friendship Games by her friends and Principal Celestia of her worth.
      Sunset Shimmer: Magic came into this world when I stole Twilight's crown! It's taken a lot for me to earn everyone's trust... if we have to forfeit the Games because I can't think of a way to keep things under control...
      Fluttershy: Oh, Sunset, I'm sure you'll be able to figure things out.
      Applejack: You're the one who helped us understand what was goin' on with the Sirens, remember?
      Sunset Shimmer: I guess. But Twilight was the one who really figured out what we needed to defeat them.
      Rarity: Don't you remember, darling? What we needed to defeat them... was you.
    • Throughout Legend of Everfree Twilight thinks Midnight Sparkle is still part of her and the nightmares and the sudden appearance of her magic make her really afraid of losing control. When Sunset reads her mind, Sunset tries to assure her that her magic in itself isn't a bad thing and opens up about her own past experiences with it, offering her support.
  • You Are Not Alone: When Twilight starts feeling down about her part in Friendship Games Sunset assures her the rest of the group don't hold anything against her and they will be with her through anything. When Sunset realizes Twilight's issues are really about her fear of Midnight Sparkle coming back and taking over, Sunset assures Twilight that she's still her and no-one else is in control now. She also tells she can empathize with her better than anyone on how having history about loss of control feels.

    Other 
  • All There in the Script: Daydream Shimmer, her Golden Super Mode, never gets named in Friendship Games.
  • Alternate Self: Notably, she doesn't have one so far. There hasn't even been a hint that there's a "Human Sunset", unlike the Mane Six. For now, it's a truckload of Fanfic Fuel.
  • The Cameo:
    • She first appeared at the 2013 New York Toy Fair as a pony toy, overshadowed by all the Princess Twilight merch and fan-favorites getting toys. Kind of ironic, when you consider her motivation.
    • Her second appearance as a pony, between the release of the Equestria Girls trailer and the premiere of the Equestria Girls movie, is in Gameloft's My Little Pony Licensed Game, after being hinted at in promotional clue images for the game posted by official Facebook pages.
  • Canon Foreigner: Created for the Equestria Girls spin-off series, and unlike Flash Sentry — who has made a few cameos — she has not yet made an appearance on the parent show.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Sunset sought Twilight's crown to gain enough power to get back at Celestia and Twilight. Turning into a demon when she put it on wasn't part of it.
  • Doing Research: In "The Science of Magic" short Sunset decides to look into how the Humane Six's new magic works, with science. She ends up battered by magic and the results themselves are inconclusive.
    Sunset Shimmer: Finally, after all this testing, I've come to a definitive conclusion! [cough] I have no idea how magic works in this world. [groan]
  • Eleventh Hour Ranger: Played-with in Rainbow Rocks. Sunset hangs around the Humane Six and provides vital input on defeating the Dazzlings, but plays more as their supporter and doesn't get on the stage with them. It is even Lampshaded by the villains that Sunset is barely playing second fiddle in relation to the Rainbooms. Sunset steps in as actually part of the Humane Six's band at the final battle, turning the tide.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: In Rainbow Rocks, Sunset's and Twilight's bonding moment during the Midnight Snack at the sleepover is finished with Sunset joining in on the last sentence.
    Sunset Shimmer: Well, that doesn't stop them from expecting it.
    Twilight Sparkle: Which only makes things harder because the last thing you want to do is...
    Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer: ...let everybody down.
  • Full-Name Basis: It isn't until Friendship Games that someone in the human world just calls her "Sunset".
  • "I Am Becoming" Song: A song from the shorts that followed Rainbow Rocks, called "My Past Is Not Today". It is about her resolve to become a more heroic and friendly person.
  • Image Song: "My Past Is Not Today" goes deep into Sunset's disgust at her previous Ambition Is Evil self and her determination to redeem herself going forwards. It is a rare western example.
  • Meaningful Name: She's Twilight Sparkle's Evil Counterpart (or was), so naturally her name is approximately synonymous with "Twilight Sparkle". At the same time, unlike the more neutral "Twilight", "Sunset" specifically invokes her grudge against Princess Celestia, the solar alicorn.
  • Mythology Gag: Her name, appearance, and Cutie Mark are very similar to G3 Sunshimmer.
  • Opening Monologue: Friendship Games' Discovery Family broadcast is preceded by an additional scene of Sunset narrating the two previous movies and parts of "The Science of Magic" and "Pinkie Spy" shorts in a letter to Princess Twilight.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: She happens upon Timber and Gloriosa arguing, and combined with all the evidence they've gathered so far it leads her into thinking Timber has been feeding the Gaea Everfree rumors to make people afraid and make the camp lose its customers. It's actually Gloriosa who's Gaea and Timber was trying to protect her.
  • Pep-Talk Song: In Legend of Everfree, when the newly super-powered Humane Six begin acting extra careful out of fear of using their powers by accident and causing trouble, Sunset helps her friends overcome their Power Incontinence with a song, "Embrace the Magic".
  • Plot Tumor: Writer Meghan McCarthy said Sunset wasn't very important in earlier versions of Rainbow Rocks. Then while writing the second draft, she realized how important Sunset really was going to end up because she had a character arc to be told. In the final product she's a full-fledged Deuteragonist and seems to have taken Twilight's place as the main heroine of the Equestria Girls spin-offs.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: A variation. Starting from the post-Rainbow Rocks shorts, Sunset's silhouette is added next to Twilight in the Mane Six's ponies-to-humans Eye Catch shown at the end of each short.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance:
    • When Demon-Sunset brainwashes the Canterlot High students into becoming her zombie army.
    • She takes the pose again in Legend of Everfree when trying some telekinesis, to no avail.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Though not used during the actual scary storytelling around the campfire in Legend of Everfree, Sunset earlier toys with a flashlight for this effect.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: The teasers and trailers for Rainbow Rocks show her plenty enough, but the initial posters and covers for the theatrical release, various DVDs and music album leave her out, even though she plays a major role. The Netflix poster and some Official Music Video covers (which came after the film's TV release) avert this and put Sunset at the forefront.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: After her Heel–Face Turn in the first film, she becomes the main hero in later films, surpassing Twilight.
  • Stellar Name: "Sunset Shimmer" calls to her being a former student of Celestia — a sun goddess more or less — and carries much of the same meaning as "Twilight Sparkle" does, with emphasis on the sun, rather than the stars on early/late night sky.
  • Tempting Fate: In Friendship Games, when she's pointing out that the stakes of the event aren't as high as the Humane Five make it out to be.
    Sunset Shimmer: It's not like we'll be fighting the powers of evil magic.
  • Thinking Out Loud: In Equestria Girls she monologues a part of her plan out loud in the hallway after confronting Twilight and giving her Co-Dragons Snips and Snails a new assignment. She then realizes the two are still there and yells at them to get going.
  • This Explains So Much: Sunset's reaction after using her Touch Telepathy to read Pinkie's mind on her request.
  • Today, X. Tomorrow, the World!: At first it seems that Sunset took the element of magic to the human world just so she could use it's power to gain power over that side of the portal, but once she turns into a demon and mind controls everyone at school, she reveals her real plan was to take that army through the portal and conquer Equestria.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her theft of the Element of Magic and subsequent usage of it during the Fall Formal would set in motion the entire Equestria Girls franchise by exposing the world to magic and giving the Humane Five their powers, making their school a sort of hub for magical going-ons. She notes during Friendship Games that, even if she's reformed, most of the trouble she and her friends face can somehow be traced back to her.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsSunsetShimmer