In the same story, Pinkie mentions an anime called "Narutrot"
Cupcakes is referenced again in the illustrations for the Bad Future's audio adaptation. This time, it's Fluttercruel who's pulling it off.
After Rainbow Dash snaps at Scootaloo in a short fit of anger, the filly gets afraid that Rainbow Dash will throw her into the "Pegasus Machine". Dash proceeds to reassure that there is no such thing as a Pegasus Machine and never will be except in stories, that if there was one Rainbow Dash herself would have been fuel for it long ago (as she was thrown out of flight school), and also that if the Factory wanted Scootaloo they'd have to go through her, Dash, in the first place. Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Take That! masterfully combined.
In the "Penultimate Beta 1" Chapter (AKA Fluttercruel POV Black Pearl), one of the tabloid articles Luna mentions claims that Luna was turned into Nightmare Moon because she was infested by an evil mind control slug.
The Side-Story, where Luna is in a play, the story she tells is very clearly The Tale ofthe Three Brothers, with a horn standing in for the Elder Wand for the eldest brother, wings for the Resurrection Stone, and a horseshoe that would give him invisibility for the third brother's Cloak of Invisibility.
Turns out, like the Tale of the Three Brothers, this is real. The horn is actually called "The Elder Horn."
The song brainwashed Cherilee sings while battling the heroes, Teacher Teacher, is obviously modeled on Margaret Moonlight'sPhilistine.
Celestia's song that she uses to unbrainwash Princess Gaia/Nightmare Whisper's foals is the G1 My Little Pony theme song.
The title of the chapter "The Foal of Omelas" references the story "Those Who Walk Away From Omelas". Nightmare Whisper actually refers to herself as "the Forsaken Foal Of Omelas" at one point, taking the suffering for all of Equestria on herself.
In "Pearl Necklace Part 4", Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie make these comments about Trixie and Fluttercruel being Elements of Harmony.
Rainbow Dash: Is this gonna be like buckin' DragonEggs Z where everybody get an Element?!
In a more definite shout out to Past Sins, during Origins Celestia compares Shady's raising of the young amnesiac Discord to a world she saw in the Truth where Twilight did the same for a child born of Nightmare Moon's essence.
Discord's brother Anarchy is causing chaos to combat entropy. Sound familiar?
Celestia's speech to Luna before revealing her Orion form is a Shout-Out to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Way Of The Warrior" when Sisko tells the Klingon fleet how they've had a year to prepare for a Dominion attack and are ready.
In "AJ's Dream", many of the Alternate Universes she sees upon looking into herself/the Gate of Truth again are fanfic references.
One of the Alternate Universes shows a What If? scenario where Pinkie Pie becomes Nightmare Granfalloon. This is immediately followed up with a scene akin to one in Episode 10 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, wherein Mami/Rarity freaks out at the Awful Truth.
One of the alternate universes is basically Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, with Surprise as Roxas, Pinkie as Sora, Minty as Xion, and Rainbow Dash as Riku.
A recent edit revealed what AJ ended up becoming the Element of Laughter: G1 AJ.
Another Alternate World has Twilight Sparkle facing off with Nyx from Persona 3.
Oh, and Nyx uses the same line that she uses before she starts throwing Night Queen around.
Trixie makes a joke about Twilight "using a Geass" to make everypony fall in love with her doll at one point. Geasses are mentioned a lot in the series, actually. For example, Fluttershy's stare turns out to be one.
Rarity's thoughts during her discording are reminiscent of a certain game.
Isn't a pony entitled to the sweat of her flanks? 'No!' says Mayor Mare, 'It belongs to the poor!' 'No!' says Canterlot 'it belongs to Celestia!' 'No!' says Pinkie Pie, 'It belongs to everyone!'
It's also strongly implied in the new Epilogue chapters that Discord's Equestria was attacked by alien invaders. After defeating them, Discord went to their ruler to toss a cream pie into his face... only to discover their ruler was a sick old man on life support.
When Discord is explaining to Diamond Tiara that insanity runs in her family and lists a few of her notable ancestors — one apparently wrote the pony version of The King in Yellow, and another wrote the pony version of the Necronomicon. Speaking of which, Discord also offhandedly mentions his "cousin Ponythulhu".
During that same fight, when Cadence asks Rarigreed why she's serving Discord, she responds with a modified version of the fanon Orange Lantern oath.
When Shining is describing his dreams in "ecnarbmemeR-Remembrance", one of them is a shout out to The Avengers (2012) (with Shining himself in the role of Nick Fury), with another being a shout out to Final Fantasy IV. Later on in the chapter, when Twilight is telling him about Nightmare Moon's impending return, he responds with two Big "WHAT?!"-s followed by a Flat "What.", a'la the Doctor.
In "Apple Tree" one of the worlds is Twilight and Discord reenacting the filming of theFinal Battle between GaoGaiGar and Palperapa, with Twilight as Guy and Discord as Palperapa. We also see that Rainbow Dash is playing J.
In Part 8 of Dark World, Fluttercruel and Discord are at one point seen playing Space Invaders.
Derpy's "go sideways!" comment in "Six Points Of Light" was one to this video.
During a flashback in part 3 of Shining Armor's arc, Twilight reads a tabloid story about fears that Hogwarts and the Unseen University will soon surpass Celestia's school.
The head of Cadence's contingent of Air Naval Cavalry is Master Chief Petty Officer Spartan, while the captain of the ship she & Shining Armor are traveling on is a mare named Shepard, whose XO is a Commander Bond (who is later revealed to be in Intelligence).
In Patch's entry into "Gaiden: 7 Dreams/Nightmares", she defeats the dragon Basil and forces him to call her master. When he protests an order she gives him, she responds with "I am the Master, and you will obey!"
In Off Da Rails, Rancor tells the group to watch her "go Dragon Eggs Z" right before she transforms into her adult form. This may have even been a more direct reference to Cell, since Rancor could only mature into an adult by absorbing Destruction's essence.
She may also be a reference to Kriemhild Gretchen from Puella Magi Madoka Magica being the Superpowered Evil Side of the main character, powered up by multiple timeloops into an extremely powerful monster (only in this case, she's responsible for the loops), many of which end in her creation. In addition, she's also a Dark Messiah believing she's working towards a better world, which is also true of Kriemhild Gretchen.
She also resembles Walpurgis Night, particularly the various references to her being 'an Alicorn Witch' coming to destroy the world and being composed of multiple Nightmares merged into one, as well as being the final bady who (if Discord doesn't) causes Twilight to reset time.
Something of an Aircraft theme with some Pegasus names: The Meteor and Shooting Star were the first RAF and USAF jet fighters respectively, Supermarine refers to the manufacturer of such famous aircraft as the Spitfire.
A flashback dream recalls a meeting with Chief Inspector Triggert in Clydesdale. Complete with a near impenetrable Funetik Aksent that even Shining has to be on his guard with despite experience in understanding Baseplate.
Clover's Gaiden Story has Clover tell Shady that she's more brave because she's scared to do what she ultimately does to protect others. According to Godzillawolf this was inspired by The Powerpuff Girls episode 'Boogie Frights', specifically the Professor telling Bubbles being brave is doing what you're afraid of.
Celestia states that spending the Gaia Festival with Twilight in disguise is much more fun than the time she let herself get kidnapped.
The bonus chapter "Nightmare House II" mentions a story about Morning Star pretending to be an innocent prisoner to trick a pony into letting him out, similar to The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Howling Man".
The Hooviets were found performing a poorly-written propaganda piece in the style of the Ember Island players. Celestia's troll tendencies were turned Up to Eleven (and she was also fat), Cadence was a total moron and Luna is obviously evil, while Makarov was a perfect, boring and invincible hero while Shining was the main villain and powerful enough to come back to life again just to give Makarov another chance to kill him in the play. After the play ended, Cadance got the last laugh by ordering her group to remove their disguise spells and teleporting said disguises away to make it look like they had been there the whole time, then walking right up to the stage and telling the Hooviets what an excellent parody they had created, leaving them with the choice of either correcting her, thus revealing how egotistical and jerkass they really were, or agreeing with her and letting everyone see it as the propaganda that it was, but allowing them to save face and potentially attract a bigger audience in future performances.
Several of the alternate realities Shining sees in 21 during his fever dreams are shout outs — among others, there's one where he's Goku, one that's based on On a Cross and Arrow, and one that's a scene lifted straight from Rainbooms and Royalty.
The line "It's still your little thing you can do." The Twilight in Trixie's dream tells her (after effortlessly out classing Trixie at stage magic during a performance identical to the one Twilight did to trick Trixie in "Magic Duel" which hasn't happen in this timeline) is a reference to a condescendingly sympathetic illusion of Caramon Majere that his twin Raistlin Majere witnessed in the book series Dragonlance, who 'revealed' to the physically weak but magically powerful Raistlin that he had always been able to do magic too, he just had no need for it since he preferred swords and shields.
During an ambush, Pinkie Pie says 'It's a trap!' and even apologizes for the meme.
Chrysalis' endgame plan is essentially Father's: perform a ritual using a gigantic rune that will rip something out of an entire country (in Chrysalis' case, all emotions) to become a god. Word of God has even stated that was the inspiration.
During Shining's brainwashed fight with Twilight has this line Word of God has confirmed to be the case:
Twilight: Be twisted into taffy! Can't teleport! See how far I can slide! The audience at this point is just keeping their heads low.
During Scotaloo's rescue of Sweetie Belle. There's a reference to the fastest thing alive. In fact, the whole paragraph is a reference to the theme song.
Turns out a Changeling impersonating Octavia brainwashed Vinyl Scratch by getting her to take off her sunglasses by telling here [[Western Animation/Beetlejuice she has something in her eye and asking her to take a look.]].
Brainwashed!Vinyl tells Octavia that "Ponykind, will no longer have to think!", a reference to an old, obscure cartoon clip from an old Cartoon Network blurb.
The conversation between Chrysalis and Celestia after she is defeated is similar to the one between Pride and Kimblee after the former is defeated. Specially the last two lines.
The Mane Six's confrontation with General Lone Ranger is one long one to Superman vs. the Elite, right down to some of Manchester Black's lines being quoted. Rarity even mentions her pretending to buy into Lone Ranger's mentality was possibly inspired by the pony version of the comic.
At Fluttercruel's Cute-cenara Twillight Sparkle quotes Mark 5:9 almost verbatim.
Sweetie Belle asks Blanky if he plans to switch appearances with her and then trick her sister into drowning her, similar to the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale of the Chameleon".
One of the rumors that try to possess Sweetie Belle involve her being a robot.
In the Finale Arc, the epic duel between Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie borrows heavily from the fight between Homura and Mami, respectively, in Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, complete with Rainbow Dash correctly suspecting that the local mysterious little girl is involved in things being not quite right in Ponyville, but incorrectly assuming that she's at fault and thus trying to destroy her, leading to the fight with Pinkie. Also, the scene where Rainbow suddenly realizes she's Nightmare Manacle resembles the scene where Homura realizes she's the Witch.
"The Smooze" chapter ends with the Green Smooze fusing with the Bushwhoolie Wishful when thrown into Discord's realm, turning it from a sapient cataclysm to the more child-like version it was in G4. Word of God has confirmed this was inspired by Maijin Buu and how absorbing the Grand Supreme Kai turned him from the Ax-Crazy Kid Buu to the happy, redeemable Fat Buu.
The chapter where Golden Tiara is shown how her life would have been if she had never gone insane resembles the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Tapestry", and even paraphrases some of Picard and Q's lines.
The CMC are confronted by Princess Liza Doolots and Truffle, who basically cosplay as Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask and even use some of their powers and weapons.
In "Friends in High Places", among the enemies are expies of Bayonetta, Asura, Kratos, and Demi-Fiend. When Button Mash foolishly tells the Kratos expy he and his friends are gods, leading to Kratos attacking them, Spike chews him out with, "Button Mash, when somepony asks if you're a god, you say 'NO!'", the opposite of a line from Ghostbusters (1984). Fauna Luster's avatar wields a Blue Lantern Ring.
Diamond Tiara paraphrases Shodan's "I don't understand, you weren't supposed to be important!" line from System Shock 2 and Megatron's "Oh well, come on, let's have it. The usual 'destiny and honor' speech." from Beast Wars.
Button Mash and Featherweight reenact Iron Man and Captain America's tag team move from The Avengers (2012).
Trixie references the episode of The Fairly OddParents! where Timmy wished that everyone was the same and everyone turned into a grey blob, and that in such a situation, people would still argue about who was the greyest and the blobbest.
Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer's confrontation resembles Batman and Lord Batman's from the Justice League episode "A Better World".
"Trixie's Back!": History class mentions a time "tombs" full of radioactive waste were discovered, like in The Writing on the Wall. At least here, Princess Celestia was able to cure the excavators of radiation poisoning.
"It's About Time": The Lex Luthor cake meme happens when a dragon steals 40 cupcakes from Sugarcube Corner and Pinkie Pie complains, "That's as many as four tens. And That's Terrible."
"Pony Power Up": After Mother Deer warns the heroes that sometimes, rushing forward and Cutting the Knot is not the best solution, Sweetie Belle compares it to the plot of a certain video game that resembles Half-Minute Hero.
"Round 1, FIGHT!": An extended one to the Justice League episode "Divided We Fall", when Discord summons mooks and then Nightmare Diamond says they can do better than that and turns them into evil knockoffs of the heroes. Some lines from that episode are paraphrased.