The first G3 special. Released in 2003 in a VHS packaged within the first release of the G3 toys. Chronologically taking place before Dancing in the Clouds, it shows how the ponies in Ponyville planned a special surprise party for Kimono. It was released later as a bonus episode in The Princess Promanade DVD.
Dancing in the Clouds
Released in 2004, the second special is packaged with a Pegasus Pony toy, Star Catcher. Chronologically taking place after A Charming Birthday and before Friends are Never Far Away, it shows Star Catcher's first encounter with Sky Wishes. Released later as a bonus episode in A Very Minty Christmas DVD.
Friends Are Never Far Away
Friends are Never Far Away is the third special released in 2005 on DVD packaged alongside the Pegasus pony named Hidden Treasure. It's the sequel of the last feature Dancing in the Clouds, as it explains how Star Catcher and Skywishes help the Pegasus Ponies to make friends with the residents of Ponyville. Released later as a bonus episode in Crystal Princess: The Runaway Rainbow DVD.
Released on October 25, 2005 by Paramount Home Video, A Very Minty Christmas is the first feature length special of the G3 series. The special is set after Friends Are Never Far Away, Focusing on Minty as she accidentally breaks the "Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane", which apparently guides Santa Claus to Ponyville. To try to make-up for doing this, Minty gives each pony one of her socks (she hangs them like stockings on the other ponies' fireplaces.) When Pinkie Pie finds out what Minty has done, Minty states that the sock giving is a bad idea, and then decides she should go to the North Pole herself to set things right.It included Dancing in the Clouds as a bonus episode.
The second feature length special released on February 7, 2006 by Paramount Pictures, The Princess Promenade is the first film to promote the Crystal Princess line and debut of the Breezies and the 2006 re-design of Spike. The story focuses on Wysteria, on her experiences of being a princess and how it isolates her from being with her friends.It included both A Charming Birthday as a bonus episode and an epilogue story titled Pinkie Pie and the Ladybug Jamboree, which focuses on Pinkie Pie's band performance.
The second film to promote the Crystal Princess Line, The Runaway Rainbow was released on September 12, 2006 and it features the Unicorn Ponies and the debut of Rarity. The story focuses on the First Rainbow of the Season as everyone in Ponyville prepares and awaits for it. Meanwhile at the magical city of Unicornia, Cheerilee is teaching a young unicorn pony named Rarity about being a Rainbow Princess and her duties to make the First Rainbow of the Season using the magic wand. Rarity is still young and she accidentally uses the wand, which in turn teleports her into the middle of Breezie Blossom. Cheerilee, Brights Brightly and Whistle Wishes venture outside Unicornia in search of her. Rarity befriends the Breezies and they visit Ponyville and later Rarity feels homesick. Pinkie Pie, Minty, Rainbow Dash, Spike and the Breezies help her get home, just in time for the first rainbow of the season.It included both Friends Are Never Far Away as a bonus episode and an epilogue story titled Greetings from Unicornia, focusing on Rainbow Dash's experience in the magical city of Unicornia.
A Very Pony Place
A Very Pony Place is the most unique of all G3 specials. Released on February 6, 2007, it features three different stories. The first one, Come Back, Lily Lightly focuses on Lily Lightly and her ability to make her horn glow when she giggle, forcing her to run away from Unicornia. Two for the Sky focuses on Storybelle and her story about Star Flight and Heart Bright's dreams of flight. The third and final story, Positively Pink focuses on Pinkie Pie, Minty and Puzzlemint on planning Pinkie Pie's birthday in secret.
Core 7 shorts
In 2007, Hasbro, while retaining body shape, has reduced the number of characters to seven: Pinkie Pie, Scootaloo, Toola-Roola, Rainbow Dash, Sweetie Belle, Cheerilee and Starsong. The Core 7 era saw a number of animated shorts, until another change came out; the Generation 3.5, which retained members but changed their body shape similar to Ponyville line of smaller plastic molds that released years ago.
Twinkle Wish Adventure
Twinkle Wish Adventure is the only feature length G3.5 Special. It was released in October 13, 2009 to promote the Generation 3.5 line. The story tells about the Winter Wishes Festival finally coming and all the ponies in Ponyville are excited to see Twinkle Wish, a wishing star who grants each pony one special wish. However, after Twinkle Wish gets kidnapped by a dragon named Whimsey Weatherbe, the entire event is facing a big dilemma and it's up to Pinkie Pie and her friends to get her back before the night of the festival, otherwise, everyone's wishes won't be granted, and the festival would be ruined.It included the prologue story Waiting for the Winter Wishes Festival as a bonus episode.
Adaptation Distillation: Most, if not all of the G3 stories have been released as either picture books, graphic novels, or both. These generally follow the storyline of the video releases, but simplify or leave out certain elements.
Alternate Continuity: From the cartoons preceding and succeeding it. Also, the G3 books line is in an AU from the cartoons.
Anthropomorphic Shift: The first special wasn't really all that different from other gens. They occasionally used their hooves to do things, and moved their forelegs around, but it wasn't that different from, say, Friendship is Magic. Later on they became far more anthropomorphic and starting wearing clothings often.
Anthropomorphic Zig Zag: The ponies can walk on their hind legs as easily as they can on all fours. They're constantly changing between the two, though the books tend to favor the former position compared to the latter.
British Stuffiness: Spike fits this stereotype in this version, mainly in The Princess Promenade. While he isn't exactly reserved, he's certainly quite stuffy and concerned with rules and proper behavior.
Canon Discontinuity: Once the "Core 7" came along, Hasbro threw out several older characterizations out the window and everything became even more feminine. This Dork Age-type change is where the infamous "Fashionista" Dash comes from.
Catch Phrase: More characters than not have one, and many who don't have at least a catch Verbal Tic or speech habit. See the Characters page for individuals.
G3.5 has Waiting for the Winter Wishes Festival and Twinkle Wish Adventure, though these are about the Winter Wishes Festival rather than Christmas.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Hard to define in a series like this with Loads and Loads of Characters and never the same lineup twice in the manner of G1 (Pinkie and Rainbow Dash may be the only characters who are in every story.) However, the first special, which introduces us to everyone, has Razzaroo as the main character and narrator, and Kimono, whose birthday they're preparing for, is named as the wisest pony in the land. You'd expect them to be the main characters, but they're neevr seen again outside crowd scenes. (Mind you, not one of the ponies in the first G1 special was ever seen or mentioned again, so it's not unprecedented.)
Control Freak: Spike has shades of this in The Princess Promenade, but tones it down by The Runaway Rainbow.
Cowardly Lion: Thistle Whistle is afraid of clouds and isn't eager to trust the other ponies, but she's the first one to help out when they're in danger.
In Friends Are Never Far Away, Pinkie Pie and Skywishes chased the Pegasi back to Butterfly Island through a Hot Air Balloon. Their balloon crash lands and is about to break as Pinkie Pie and Skywishes are about to fall to the waters bellow. Luckily the Pegasi saved them.
In A Very Minty Christmas, Minty went to the North Pole to talk to Santa. But it didn't go well for her balloon goes in another direction and Thistle Whistle is following. Thistle Whistle tries to grab the balloon but instead got tied up as the balloon crashed in a cliff. Both Ponies are about to fall for their doom until the others came to the rescue.
The Runaway Rainbow had another dangerous moment. Rarity is chasing the butterflies during their way to Unicornia until she slipped and fell into the river. The others tried to save her but failed as Rarity, Minty and Pinkie Pie are in danger of going down a waterfall. Luckily the Breezies saved both Minty and Pinkie Pie, while both Rainbow Dash and Spike used a Briefcase to save Rarity from falling to her doom, before being brought to shore by the little flying ponies. Also, as the rainbow ceremony isn't fully completed, all color starts to drain from the world, making things very down-to-the-wire at the end. The characters are frequently made to sweat in such a manner even if there's nobody like Tirek trying to kill them. Not only that, rainbows fading put all of Ponyville's food supply in jeopardy, as rainbowberries only grow after the first rainbow.
Even Twinkle Wish Adventure can't escape this trope. All 5 ponies (Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, who caused the whole mess, were left in town to stall for time) were going to Willy Nelly Mountain by a balloon to retrieve Twinkle Wish from the big bad when the weather changes from clear to stormy. With no options, Pinkie Pie decided to land the balloon despite the harsh weather and there's no way to tie down the balloon on ground. Luckily Rainbow Dash used her hair ribbon as a rope to tie it into a tree with the help from Star Song.
A Day in the Limelight: A Very Minty Christmas for Minty, The Princess Promenade for Wysteria, and The Runaway Rainbow for Rarity.
Deconstructed Trope: Princess tropes get examined in The Princess Promanade. Wysteria learned about the stuffy, restricted lifestyle princesses had—and the implication that before her, all princesses lived like that—likely put a damper on young girls who wanted to be princesses. Wysteria wasn't even allowed to sniff flowers.
Also, Wysteria doesn't earn the title of princess; all she did was happen to touch the magic flower. Any one of her friends could've become princess, and it's implied that if she did something to earn the title things wouldn't have gone so sour.
Contrast with G3 Rarity, who had actual responsibilities, power, and was selected from other young pink unicorns for the honor of making the first rainbow—but shirked her duties in favor of having fun.
Everything's Better with Princesses: Played with in The Princess Promenade. At first, everyone is excited to have Wysteria be the princess of Ponyville, but as Spike's rules pile on and restrict Wysteria from doing the things she normally does, including interacting with her friends as equals, the idea of having a princess doesn't seem so great anymore. However, instead of quitting being a princess in name, Wysteria makes everyone in Ponyville into royalty, including Spike, which means that neither she nor anyone else has to follow the princess rules anymore. So it's played straight in the sense that everything is better with LOTS of princesses instead of just one, but in making the title meaningless it's not a typical example of the trope.
Filler: The World's Biggest Tea Party stage show is nice enough, but it also contains a lot of songs that seem to have been placed merely as a way to get the audience up and excited and don't actually drive the plot of the film. The story presented in the stage show probably could have easily fit into a 22 minute television episode.
The Musical: The World's Biggest Tea Party stage show, to the degree that there is actually more singing than there is dialogue. It is not unusual for a song to be almost immediately followed by an entire song, as there a total of 25, running a total of close to 40 minutes. Many of the songs are extended versions of songs from other G3 releases heavily edited to fit the show, including "Positively Pink", "I Just Wanna Have Fun, "Breezies Know" and "Here in Unicornia". In fact, they may have just about recycled close to half of the tunes within the G3 releases, including the My Little Pony theme. Others, however, were created exclusively for the stage show. And two songs aren't original material at all, just traditional tunes that they repurposed for the program: "I'm a Little Teapot" and "Just Leave It Up to Me," the latter of which is based on "I Am a Fine Musician" (which in turn was adapted from the German "Ich bin ein Musikante" for The Dick Van Dyke Show).
In Dancing In The Clouds, Sky Wishes prefaces every wish she makes with "I wish, I wish, I wish...." just like Twilight in G1's Escape From Castle Midnight.
In Friends are Never Far Away, Skywishes is searching for the manual to a hot air balloon so she can find out how to lower the landing gear. Of a hot air balloon. This related to the My Little Pony Tales episode "Up, Up, and Away" which has Patch steal a balloon and immediately find the instruction manual in the basket.
No Antagonist: The closest we get is a canyon is A Very Minty Christmas, stern, stuffy Spike in the Princess Promenade and a waterfall in The Runaway Rainbow.
Off Model: Inverted in that the series was very on-model, to a fault. In many specials, especially post Core-7, every pony essentially looked alike at all times. They all followed the same movement patterns and weren't very expressive. During the Core 7 and G3.5 only Toola-Roola had her own tic, which was occasionally blowing her mane out of her eyes.
Only Known by Their Nickname: In this series, Spike had the full name of Kenbroth Gilspotten Heathspike, but everyone still just called him "Spike."
Only Sane Pony: Kimono shows signs of being this in A Charming Birthday.
Kimono: "That's why I live outta town."
Painting the Medium: Towards the end of the The World's Biggest Tea Party stage show, Spike holds up a useful book that he's found and says that he wishes he would have found it in Act One.
Parental Bonus: "Minty, Minty, Minty" to "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" from The Brady Bunch. Of course, even the title "A Very Minty Christmas" is a reference to "A Very Brady Christmas." Someone was just a fan of the Brady Bunch franchise...
The disco/hip-hop number in The World's Biggest Tea Party includes the line "Shake your cutie!"
Pegasus: Thistle Whistle, Star Catcher, and others, who live on Butterfly Island.
Record Needle Scratch: Used to cut short the "Positively Pink" song in the episode by the same name when Pinkie Pie nearly stumbles in on the surprise party. It was also used to end the song "Disco Dash" in The World's Biggest Tea Party stage show when Minty stumbled.
Title Theme Tune: They use an instrumental version of the original theme tune for the closing credits of most of these releases. They also used a vocal version for the live stage show, The World's Greatest Tea Party, which was later released to DVD. The instrumental version is also used heavily as a sort of Recurring Riff at the end of most songs in this stage show.
You Keep Using That Word: The Newborn Cuties talk, have playdates and are generally more like toddlers than newborns. (This is the par for the whole franchise, where a "baby" anything will act more like an elementary schooler at the youngest.)
You Mean Xmas: The Winter Wishes Festival in G3.5's Waiting for the Winter Wishes Festival and Twinkle Wish Adventure. Even though "A Very Minty Christmas" was about, well, Christmas.