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Base Breaking Character / My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

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With Loads and Loads of Characters and a vocal fanbase, These characters have as many fans as detractors. See here for other fan divides.

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    Starlight Glimmer 
No discussion of Base-Breaking Characters in Generation 4 of My Little Pony would be complete without mentioning Starlight Glimmer, the Base-Breaking Character of Generation 4. She caused more debates, drama, and Flame Wars amongst bronies than any other character by a long shot. Starlight first appeared on Friendship is Magic in Season 5's debut episode "The Cutie Map" as the season's overarching antagonist, eventually pulling a Heel–Face Turn and becoming a main character in Season 5's finale "The Cutie Re-Mark".

From the day she appeared until the day that MLP Generation 4 ended, Starlight split the fanbase into very vocal camps; just bringing up Starlight's name could potentially start an argument. Even though the worst of the vitriol against her would eventually calm down, discussing the finer points of Starlight's Heel–Face Turn remained one of the easiest ways to spark an argument among bronies.
  • In her first appearance, Starlight was a major break from the prior arc villains. She lacked the size and scope of threat that many other Arc Villains did, and her seemingly altruistic motives for her actions painted her as a Visionary Villain. Some fans found a comparatively low-stakes villain a breath of fresh air after the old two-parter villain formula was getting predictable and found her methods interesting. Others found Starlight boring compared to prior villains and felt that idiocy was the only reason she lasted as long as she did. The fact that she was the first major villain to escape punishment in her debut left room for even more divisiveness.
  • In her second appearance, Starlight broke the base even wider with a Heel–Face Turn, and it's where the worst of the fighting truly started. In the Season 5 finale "The Cutie Re-Mark", the reason that Starlight hates cutie marks and special talents is revealed to be that Starlight's childhood friend Sunburst got his cutie mark before Starlight did, causing Sunburst to move away from their hometown of Sire's Hollow. Some saw Starlight as Unintentionally Unsympathetic with a poor excuse for a motive, citing other former villains like Princess Luna, Discord, and Sunset Shimmer taking much longer to earn redemption as an explanation for why they felt Starlight's redemption was rushed, since they tried to cause The End of the World as We Know It some way or another as well. Other fans felt that Starlight was a victim whose motives were understandable, that her redemption fit with the overall theme of Season 5, and that she was appropriately remorseful for her crimes and had the rest of the series to adequately own up to them. A third group of fans ended up disappointed with Starlight, saying she started out as a realistically-frightening villain, and felt the things shown in the montage (her reconciliation with the members of her town being the big one) were great potential episodes of their own flushed right down the toilet. There was very little overlap between the three groups, and the infighting among bronies between the airings of Seasons 5 and 6 got especially bad.
  • The first episode of Season 6 had Starlight gain a newfound status as Twilight's pupil in friendship, essentially making Starlight an unofficial new addition to the core cast. Things got extra rough after that, as some felt it was entirely undeserved and makes her into a Wish Fulfillment fan fiction character. Some were embittered that Trixie didn't get to fill this role, since she was The Rival to Twilight and already starting her own Heel-Face Turn. Others saw Starlight as an Expy of Sunset Shimmer, seeing as how Starlight and Sunset have similar character arcs. Others still saw Starlight taking this mantle as a new and exciting development for Season 6 and beyond.
  • "Every Little Thing She Does" is an episode where Starlight brainwashes her friends sans Twilight to solve friendship problems. This threw even more divisive opinions Starlight's way. Some pounced on this, saying this negates Starlight being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap and that she'll be a Karma Houdini due to the season finale relying on her saving Equestria. A shrinking vocal minority doesn't mind it, claiming that Twilight did this in "Lesson Zero" to the point of getting an entire town brawling and had to be bailed out by her friends. Others felt that "two wrongs do not make it right", I.E., someone else doing a bad thing again shouldn't get special treatment for it, and are quick to point out that while Twilight did do that, she was a national hero who had proven her heroism and good intentions time and time again, not a recently reformed criminal who had spent a lifetime of doing wrong and was already given far more leeway and forgiveness than she deserved. The other side comes back and contends that Starlight had legitimately good intentions as well, and she just messed up and is good demonstration of character flaws she as a real student, still needs to work on. Not only that, but they also point out Starlight took responsibility and actually had to work to earn forgiveness from the others, negating her Karma Houdini status.
  • Starlight being shown to be very good at complex magic from her introduction, and during "Every Little Thing She Does," was treated by some people as a good setup for her knowing how to combine several spells to achieve the effects of Mind Control later on, and a good way to show her confidence/reliance on her magic to solve her problems in contrast to her poor social skills. For some people, Starlight continuing to be able to pull increasingly more powerful spells that were previously considered impossible to do normally, which are otherwise considered very powerful for the setting or which mimic other ponies (even in-universe fictional superheroes') special talents is making these ponies abilities, talents and uniqueness seem redundant, while making her own arsenal of abilities seem even more special and absurdly powerful for seemingly no particular reason and that Social Anxiety isn't big enough of a character flaw to balance it all out.
  • When the synopsis for "To Where and Back Again" was revealed, Starlight became even more of a base breaker when it was revealed she would be taking center stage to rescue the Mane Six from "the return of Equestria's greatest threat". Some were excited at the prospect of the "unlikely team of heroes" she is to assemble, equating it to a pony Suicide Squad and feel this is a perfect finale to her season-wide character arc and will cement her status as reformed and absolved of what she did as a villain. Others feel that having a fourth premiere/finale centering around her is simply too much, especially considering "The Cutie Re-Mark" was focused entirely on her and Twilight Sparkle with the rest of the cast getting bit parts at best and how much prominence she has already been given in Season 6 along with her getting to take the main character slot for an entire two-part finale above the official main characters just reeks of favoritism. Of course, the rift only got worse when the plot essentially involves the entire cast, that is all the royalty and the Mane Six, being thoroughly Worfed without explanation: some are quick to agree that not showing it and/or it happening was a Necessary Weasel to devote time to the actual plot, with others feeling it validates complaints that the narative is shilling Starlight Glimmer by weakening or making other characters look worse.
  • Starlight Glimmer's existence has created a simmering inner fan rivalry between her and Sunset Shimmer. It started somewhere around Starlight's introduction when Sunset fans became very vocal about Starlight, mostly claiming her to be a lousy replacement who "stole" Sunset's role as Sixth Ranger in the show, while the other side argues that Sunset Shimmer has only appeared in the Equestria Girls movies and never in the show proper, therefore making it impossible for her role to be actually "stolen", even if her character arc and personality makes her look like a Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Then somewhere along the line the Starlight camp adopted their oppositions habit of bringing up the other character out of the blue and comparing them, which usually leads to the more diehard fans of the two trying to downplay their own champion's past or recent transgressions, while trying to demonize the other. The constant back and forth has lead to calls of Hypocrisy, biased morals and insufferable self-righteousness being thrown all around the board and the same arguments being repeated over and over again, leaving both sides embittered towards one another, and the people who happen to enjoy both characters (or who don't just give a damn about either) tired of the amount vitrol that mentioning one or the other can bring when discussing the show.
    • ... which segways nicely into her appearance in the Equestria Girls specials, which sparked an explosion of cheers from one side of the fandom who are happy to see her EQG design and a character they like finally appearing alongside the Rainbooms. Of course, this sparked an explosion from the other side of the fanbase who are fearing she's going to replace or overshadow Sunset Shimmer, or are simply embittered because of how much prominence she's already been given in the main series.
    • The argument that Sunset doesn't actually exist because she's never appeared or been mentioned in the main series, which means that Starlight "wins" by default by virtue of being a canon character, is often thrown around by the more vehement anti-Sunset or anti-Equestria Girls crowd. It's notable that a lot of these people don't actually like Starlight either, but they hate Sunset and Equestria Girls in general more and don't want them "infecting" the main show.
  • The writers' decision to make Starlight only appear in episodes she's the focus of. Some feel it's fine and helps not force her into places she doesn't belong, others find it jarring and denies her more chances to show her character and feel like part of the show, and of course her sizeable hatedom is thankful for it because they already feel she's been given far too much exposure and prominence this season and feel it's a breath of fresh air and a return to normalcy. Of course, that hasn't stopped Starlight from making a Cameo in "Spice Up Your Life" and "Top Bolt", so there's that as well.
    • Starting with Season 7, the writers started to give Starlight non-cameo appearances outside her own friendship lessons, but not as the main attraction of the story. In addition to possibly helping her fit in to the show overall, this can also been as an effort to placate complaints that usually whenever Starlight is present in a story, she tends to hog the spotlight away from everyone else. Of course, this is also a double-edged sword since it means even more Starlight than ever, much to the chagrin of her sizeable hatedom.
  • Because the teasers for "Celestial Advice" suggested that the show would finally say goodbye to Starlight, the fact that it ultimately didn't so that has re-ignited the whole discussion across the community.
  • After Starlight's Heel–Face Turn, the staff tried to perform some damage control with the stories that involve her, which has improved Starlight's standing to some extent. Depending on who you ask, these attempts were enough to lead Starlight being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap completely, were in the right direction but not enough, gave rise to new issues, tried to fix them from the wrong angle, or simply didn't work at all.

    Main Characters 
  • Rainbow Dash. The base is split between those who think she's a Jerkass due to her arrogance and constant boasting, and those who think she actually has the skills to keep up with her boasts. She's on many fans' "best pony" lists, but also on just as many "worst pony" lists. The trend of Scootabuse (artwork of Rainbow abusing Scootaloo), Rainbow Factory, Pony.MOV, Friendship Is Witchcraft, and other fanworks that exaggerate Rainbow's attitude into outright villainy have not helped, despite being non-canon. Many early Season 2 episodes which were written before she Took a Level in Kindness and focused more on her competitive drive, which only increased her hatedom. Rainbow's status as the Element of Loyalty has also been called into question, as episodes such as "The Last Roundup", "Three's a Crowd" and "A Canterlot Wedding – Part 1" involve her showing no remorse or having her suffer no consequence for ignoring her friends. She's hated in "Trade Ya!" for the unspeakably heinous crime of accidentally trading her friend away for a book, with very few fans realizing she didn't understand what had happened until it was (almost) too late. That said, Rainbow's also had a few episodes where she's shown genuine loyalty, such as when she was willing to quit the Wonderbolts (giving up her lifelong dream in the process) if it meant that her friends were put in danger. This character development seemed to have worked, as Season 5 onward mellowed her out quite a bit without really impacting her drive and desire to be the best, which turned down the base-breaking.
  • Pinkie Pie. Many love her for being a Fun Personified pony whose driving purpose in life is to make others happy, and find her hyperactivity and fourth-wall breaking antics hilarious. Others hate her for being Innocently Insensitive and getting away with it, being part of the most controversial aesops of the series (Such as "Swarm of the Century", "Feeling Pinkie Keen", "A Friend In Deed”, and “Yakity-Sax”), and find her irritating. This is not helped by the fact she is one of the most inconsistently characterized main characters in the series, ranging from very mature but still Pinkie-like portrayals such as in "The Last Laugh", to episodes where she seems to have no tact at all, with few middle points.
  • Fluttershy. Some fans thought that she was a precious Shrinking Violet who was the go-to character for the show's wholesome moments. Others went through Hype Backlash when it comes to her cuteness, and found her passiveness and cowardice irritating rather than endearing. Fluttershy's willingness to stand up for herself and/or her friends also varies, depending on the episode. Whenever she does something wrong (like hurting her friends’ feelings), she’s quickly forgiven, yet when any of Fluttershy's friends hurt her, they quickly become targets of unrelenting hate. This was seen with Fluttershy's pet Angel in "Putting Your Hoof Down" and Pinkie Pie in "Filli Vanilli", who both got reamed by bronies as evil monsters. Her cemented Character Development in regard to assertiveness in the later seasons also caused some backlash, splitting the base between those who thought Fluttershy's development made her a more dynamic character and those who felt it made her one-note.
  • Twilight Sparkle got a ton of divisive opinions thrown her way after she became a princess at the end of the third season. Some fans love Twilight and think of her as a dorky Badass Bookworm who deserves to be the show's main protagonist. Others see her as overpowered with the writers fawning over her and making her flaws told rather than shown. Even ignoring the issue of her being an alicorn princess entirely, Twilight still gets some flak for having the majority of the show's more dramatic moments focused on her. This has led some bronies to accuse Twilight of stealing the spotlight, especially in the two-part episodes, despite being the main character.
  • While the majority of fans liked Applejack just fine, she broke the base for the amount of Character Focus she got; Applejack was simultaneously accused of getting too much screen time and not enough screen time. The Apple family as a whole were considered a Spotlight-Stealing Squad by those who felt Applejack got too much focus, especially in Season 3 where AJ is the only character to appear in every episode of the season. Some fans got tired of the extra focus Applejack got for the last few years, not helped by later episodes with AJ in a leading or major supporting role getting more divisive reception. On the other side, there was something of a running joke in the brony fandom that Applejack was a "background pony" because of how little focus she got early on, with her few appearances relegating her to a minor role or a tangential appearance to the episode's plot. This caused those who liked Applejack to demand that she get more screentime, and only quieted down once she finally did in later seasons. This left Applejack's reception without a lot of middle ground until a happy medium was found.
  • Rarity got hit with this pretty hard in the earlier seasons. Many people perceived Rarity as dim, shallow, arrogant and useless — a typical Rich Bitch, the very stereotype Rarity was designed to subvert. Just as many claimed that Rarity's focus more on her clothing as art made her much more dynamic, and that her generous nature meant that the accusations of being a Rich Bitch were undeserved. As Rarity was given more time to develop, fans eventually warmed up to her, though others were uncomfortable with her upstaging other characters (like Rainbow Dash in "Sonic Rainboom" and Twilight in "Sweet and Elite"). Finally, Rarity's status as a self-admitted Drama Queen who turns into a Large Ham whenever things go wrong made her either funny or annoying, with not much overlap.
  • A lot of bronies were immediately taken with Spike, who was quickly adopted as the Audience Surrogate of the cast, apparently because he's The One Guy. Some of the tension may be due to the fact that he's written as more of a comedic sidekick. While some fans admire him for his Butt-Monkey status, others don't appreciate how often he is used for Comic Relief, often claiming They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character. It hasn't helped that he is shown to have some amazing abilities, like swimming in lava and fire breath that can melt locks or stadium-sized pieces of ice, Hidden Depths, and a rather mysterious backstory. Many episodes with him as the central character are often disregarded due to him acting like a complete moron, while episodes where he isn't the focus usually have him as The Reliable One. Other fans abhor him being The Chew Toy, referring to the slapstick he goes through as "Spikeabuse" and feeling that the sheer amount of it he's subjected to is unfunny at best and downright mean-spirited at worst. Even series writer Josh Haber said on Twitter that the gag of using Spike in physical comedy had overstayed its welcome. However, many fans are in agreement that Season 6 finally gave him some good spotlight episodes, and his development in Seasons 7 and 8 got him Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in the eyes of most.

    Supporting Characters 
  • Fans are divided on the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Are they a fair deviation from the Mane Cast or are they given too much exposure? Also, their approach to getting their cutie marks has been divided ever since their talents are hinted at in "The Show Stoppers". Their divisiveness has increased with each season with fans getting tired of them getting denied their cutie marks and not being allowed to grow up. However, with them finally getting their cutie marks in Season 5's "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", fans are almost unanimous in believing that it was a good thing. The rift became over whether they should have gotten their cutie marks sooner, and with fans split over whether their talent of helping others find their destiny was a good and creative idea or a cop-out that tossed out established abilities that had been built up since season 1 as potential special talents.
  • Of all the royal princesses, Princess Celestia is probably the most divisive character of the show. Many fans found her boring, uninteresting, and weak which invoked the three common meme trends (Trollestia, Molestia, and Tyrantlestia) in fanart, fanfiction, threads, etc., while others found her to be the most deep character of the series. While there hasn't been much backstory given to her in the show itself, the IDW comics do expand on her character quite a bit, making her The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. Her actions in the Reflection Arc of the comic series also show that she was almost blindly impulsive and selfish in her younger days. This has lead to a split that made some fans question how much Celestia deserves to be the ruler of Equestria, while others say that her status as The Atoner makes her far more interesting.
  • Princess Cadance. Fans either like her personality and overall character or dislike her for her bland characterization and lack of development on the show. And there are also some who are to this day still bothered that she was introduced into the show as an alicorn without explanation. They feel that her alicorn status diminishes the monumental presence of both Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, as well as takes a lot of the impact out of Twilight's ascension into alicorndom. Other times she is disliked for entirely different reasons.
  • Fans are as divisive on Cadance's husband, Shining Armor. In his first appearance, fans either accepted him for being Twilight's Cool Big Bro or weren't pleased that he was introduced as such without any explanation. His Badass Decay has also been questioned with each appearance afterward, especially considering his status as captain of the Royal Guard. While some fans defend that he can't beat every Big Bad, opponents cite his uselessness as wasted potential. His crying at least Once a Season sure isn't helping his case.
  • Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's foal, Flurry Heart, divided the fandom even before the season started:
    • The foal is an alicorn. Fans who don't like this feel it invokes even more Uniqueness Decay for alicorns. There are now five in the show and to make matters worse, such births are now canon, lessening the achievement that Twilight and Cadence earned their ascensions. Fans who don't mind it claim Shining Armor and Princess Cadence have the genetics to produce such offspring, and Celestia and Luna were also born as such.
    • Her appearance. Since Art Evolution has apparently set in and baby ponies now seem to all have large watery eyes rather than the solid eyes they used to, fans have been split into a Fatal Four-Way. Some like the new look claiming the old one was creepy, some like the old look claiming it was cuter, some are just bitter that they changed it at all, and of course some just don't care either way. Somehow Babyjack passed with little fanfare, but this one? Nope.
    • Her name. Some appreciate the name, some wish they had stuck with the name Skyla that was given to a previous alicorn princess foal toy, and some simply wish they hadn't picked a name that sounds just a little too much like Product Placement for a certain fast-food chain.
  • Spitfire, due to her actions in both Wonderbolts Academy and especially Rainbow Falls. There are some parts of the fanbase who demonize and/or laugh at Spitfire and make Soarin a total Woobie who has since been saved by the true love of Rainbow Dash. Though for RD haters, they demonize them both and have Soarin fall for a very kind OC. Look on the comments of any pony video featuring Spitfire and for every "Spitfire is awesome!" comment you see, there'll be a "Spitfire is a complete and utter douchebag." or "Soarin is the only good Wonderbolt." comment. It's gotten to the point where Spitfire has quickly become one of the most divisive characters in the show and is on par with Rainbow for both one of the most liked and most hated ponies.
  • Owlowiscious. Fans are divided whether he's a cool and funny character who needs more appearances or a Replacement Scrappy to Spike's place. Spike fans were also put off by how much better Twilight seemed to treat him (in contrast to how Spike tends to be treated) and feel that Spike was fully justified in feeling jealous and angry. However, "Just for Sidekicks", where he acts more friendly toward Spike, may have redeemed him for some.
  • Even Big Macintosh isn't safe. Fans have quarreled over two Season 5 episodes where he was given feminine characteristics, namely the Princess Macintosh scene in "Do Princesses Dream of Magical Sheep?" and his crossdressing in "Brotherhooves Social". Fans who defend these have said he has had this characterization since "Lesson Zero" where he obsessed over Twilight's old Smarty Pants doll even after he was taken out of his trance. Detractors have seen this uprising as chickification of the cast's most prominent stallion at best and insensitive to transgender people or cross-dressers at worst.
  • Limestone Pie, one of Pinkie's sisters, is a minor case of this. While she's mostly beloved for having a Hair-Trigger Temper with a softer side, certain fans think she is way too much of a bitch to be properly enjoyed.
  • Fluttershy's brother Zephyr Breeze is a manipulative jerk with crippling fear of failure, sure, and no one's really supposed to like him until the end, but the fandom's a little split over whether he's funny enough to justify it or if he's just an annoyance and spoiled the episode. Considering how true to life his situation was, this likewise made a few fans cringe.
  • Despite only appearing in the Ponyville Mysteries book "Riddle of the Rusty Horseshoe" thus far, Scootaloo's aunts have already become two of the most controversial characters in the entire franchise, possibly even more so than Flash Sentry and Starlight Glimmer. In the book, Aunt Holiday and Aunt Lofty are heavily implied to be lesbians, with Holiday giving Lofty an affectionate kiss on the forehead and calling her "dear". Some fans loved the idea of a potentially canon lesbian couple and hoped they made their way into the show proper (which they eventually did), pointing out the large amounts of Ho Yay that Friendship is Magic has and the fact that several other children's shows in The New '10s have included LGBT characters without any issues. Others believe the inclusion of a lesbian couple is a bad idea for a franchise that has largely avoided political themes, and way too risky considering the show airs in countries that condemn homosexuality. Then there's the matter of whether the show did it properly, with Aunt Holiday and Aunt Lofty coming across as either authentic or stereotypical. Mike Vogel's confirmation that Aunt Holiday and Aunt Lofty are in fact a couple only added fuel to the fire.
  • The yaks. Their entire race is boisterous and short-tempered, more than a little stupid, and they have a large arrogant streak in regards to how all yak things are the best, better than the things of other races, and they will loudly and proudly let everyone know how much better yaks are than them. Either you find their schtick hilarious or you find it annoying.
  • Either Mudbriar is funny because of his bluntness, or annoying because of his tendency to over-correct everything. The show's crew seem to be fully aware this would happen, as it's made clear that even after learning her lesson Pinkie isn't fully on board with him.
  • The Student/Young Six. They were either seen as good characters that flesh out the world, or a Spotlight-Stealing Squad that took focus away from the Mane Six.
    • After the show ended, there was debate if the Student Six were underutilized. Most of the episodes that feature them focused on them as a collective, or have one of them tag along with a main character with the latter as the focus of the story. Outside of "She's All Yak" for Yona, none of the Student Six got A Day in the Limelight that focused just on them. What focus they got was mostly done in episodes that featured all six of them. On one hand, this caused a group of fans to say that the Young Six never got enough development to justify their existence, or say that they needed more screen time to flesh them out. On the other hand, some fans think the Young Six were utilized just fine since they were meant as background characters and never intended to replace the main cast, or that they had enough moments past their introduction to still make them dynamic characters. Either way, bringing up the Student Six's role in Friendship is Magic is sure to cause some grumbling.

  • Trixie. She's either liked or disliked for being a pompous, arrogant showmare. Those who defend her claim she's defined by those traits and it's how stage magicians like her make a living. On the other hand, she's an obnoxious jerk who thinks she's better than anypony else. Fans have somewhat became more accepting after her second appearance where she apologizes to the citizens of Ponyville for the way she acted under the Alicorn Amulet.
  • Among the villains, King Sombra is generally the most controversial one. Sombra ended up getting this treatment the most intense of every antagonist thanks to various details about the character that kept changing, depending on both who was writing him and the medium he was being written for.
    • While many fans think Sombra did not get enough screen time to be an interesting character in his debut, and hate the fact that he hardly says a word during his two episodes, others argue that while it is true he does not do much during the episode, the few things he DOES do have a big enough impact on their own. He has since been seen in a much more favorable light and garnered a lot more love as of the Season 5 finale, with many fans agreeing his Bad Future sequence as the coolest one.
    • The Fiendship is Magic story about Sombra ended up painting him in a far different light. In that story, he was presented as The Woobie who tried to be good, but couldn't because he was Made of Evil, and ended up turning to villainy when no one would give him a chance. This characterization was seen as either a good backstory for a character who desperately needed some characterization, or a cheap way to garner sympathy for a bad guy who didn't deserve it. It didn't help that, due to the Loose Canon of the comics, the story ended up being Retconned by the show itself in Sombra's final appearance.
    • Sombra's last appearance on the show was the Season 9 two-part opener, "The Beginning of the End". In that story, Sombra was far more talkative, arrogant, and openly villainous. This contrasted quite a bit with his previous characterization as The Chessmaster who was Crazy-Prepared for anything that could be thrown at him. Also, his voice actor was replaced, which further highlighted the changes. Which of the two characterizations for Sombra was the better one was the subject of fan debate for some time.
  • Upon his introduction, Discord was immediately adored by the fan base for his whimsical villainy, trickster personality and mish-mosh appearance. Being voiced by John de Lancie helped his cause tremendously. Then in "Keep Calm and Flutter on", his second appearance, he underwent the makings of a Heel–Face Turn. This split his fans between those who welcomed it, expecting him to fight alongside the mane cast and those who thought he was better as a villain, thinking such reformation was rushed at best and forced at worse. Every appearance after that has been equally divisive, with some questioning whether or not his crossing over was genuine (especially considering his actions in "Twilight's Kingdom"). A number of later appearances, such as "What About Discord?" and "A Matter of Principals" added fuel to the fire by having him deliberately antagonize the heroes, only for the writing to portray him as the wronged party. Some saw this as a good case of Gray-and-Grey Morality, while others saw it as the writing going out of its way to make him more sympathetic than he deserved. He then tops himself in the Season 9 finale, with the reveal that he was posing as Grogar throughout the season and using the other villains as pawns in a scheme to boost Twilight's confidence. This quickly cemented him as one of the most polarizing characters, as the fanbase was split between those who felt that it was in-character for him and that he adequately made up for what he did, and those who felt that it undermined all of his character development throughout the show, and that he was too easily forgiven for putting all of Equestria in danger. He has still proven himself to be popular enough to get a supporting role in Ponylife, with those hoping for his appearance in G5. His relationship with Fluttershy is generally well-received by many.
  • Diamond Tiara. At one point, she was one of the show's least liked characters with a minority fan base. While she was disliked for constantly picking on the Cutie Mark Crusaders for no apparent reason, her defenders claimed that she wasn't as bad as any of the show's major villains. Then came "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" where it was finally explored why she bullied the Crusaders and even became their friends by the episode's end. In response to her reformation, fans either finally respected the character or thought it was Freudian Excuse that was an even worse Ass Pull than Babs Seed's (mentioned below).
  • Silver Spoon. Fans were divided on whether or not she had her own free will from Diamond Tiara and her Pet the Dog moment in "Family Appreciation Day" amplified that thought. Critics still pointed out "One Bad Apple" and "Flight to the Finish" where she acted just as bad, if not worse, than Diamond. Then in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", Silver Spoon gained the respect of her haters when she finally told off Diamond for bullying the Crusaders. By the episode's end, she and Diamond became friends with them.
  • Babs Seed. Her Freudian Excuse for bullying the crusaders (she was also a bullying victim in her hometown of Manehattan) has been mixed. Some fans feel the way she was treated back at home was bad enough while others think the crusaders should have given her comeuppance for it. Babs appears in one more episode in Season 3, then is virtually unheard from until Season 5's "Bloom and Gloom" where she unceremoniously got her cutie mark, dividing the fan base even further.
  • The changelings' new appearance at the end of To Where And Back Again caused one hell of a fatal-three-way between fans. Some adore the new design feeling it's a wonderful Call-Back / Shout-Out to the Flutterponies and that it reflects their no longer "corrupted" way of life. Others find the designs to be hideous with gaudy features and nauseating color schemes that match the absolute worst OCs the fandom has to offer, with that joke was made within an hour of this revelation and others describing Thorax's new appearance as a "gay fairy moose". The third group feels it completely negates the ponies' acceptance of Thorax despite his appearance and the prior existing "Don't judge A Book by it's cover" lesson inherent to both prior stories involving them, and felt it would have made their Heel–Face Turn far more valid if they didn't have to change their appearance to be seen as "good".
  • Tempest Shadow. She has plenty of fans who adore her for her no-nonsense personality, her backstory, her musical number and her voice work courtesy of Emily Blunt. But many others find her decision to turn evil and help the Storm King subjugate her own kind because she lost two friends as a child to be a Freudian Excuse just as bad as, if not worse than, Starlight Glimmer. These same people deride Tempest for not even trying to make new friends or see a doctor about her broken horn, especially with previous episodes showing that Equestrians have spells to keep unstable magic under control. Coupled with the fact that she was yet another villain to be redeemed and forgiven for her crimes against Equestria.
  • The Storm King. Compared to how much screen time Discord, Chrysalis and Tirek got in their two-parter episode debuts, many bronies found the Storm King underwhelming due to how little screen time he had in a feature-length movie and how dumb he was when compared to Tempest. But he has his fair share of fans who find his straight-up villainy and comedic personality a breath of fresh air after watching multiple redemptions in the show. These fans have pointed out that he still managed to conquer many lands outside Equestria (a feat in which the show’s villains, while potentially world threatening, had not been known to accomplish) while his detractors refute that he still goofed around with the Princesses’ magic like a toy and was defeated very easily.
  • Chancellor Neighsay got this status almost immediately up in his introduction. He's shown to be a xenophobic, speceist, essentially corrupt politician. People think his good intentions help give a good excuse for his behavior, or those who think he's essentially a full on villain whose no better than those he opposes. His reformation in the season 8 finale is also divisive.
  • Cozy Glow is a divisive villain. You either find her a genuinely compelling villain who's incredibly smart and manipulative, or you think she's an annoying character with a firm grasp on Didn't Think This Through. Some find her being sent to Tartarus at the end of Season 8 a welcome break from villains being Easily Forgiven and she showed no remorse for her crimes, while others thought a child being punished so harshly after others much older than her were granted leniency gave away some troubling implications about the Equestrian justice system (in the sense that they were willing to give adults second chances but not children and that they apparently didn't have any other prison besides Tartarus). In the case of her inclusion in Grogar's Legion of Doom, some felt that she didn't deserve to be included given she's just a child and/or isn't threatening enough, whereas others claim her crimes make her more than worthy of being included and/or enjoy her dynamic with Tirek and Chrysalis. Her final punishment has resulted in another hotly debated topic, for the exact same reasons as her imprisonment in Tartarus, with the added implication that it'll be permanent.
  • Grogar. A majority of the fanbase were ecstatic about Friendship Is Magic bringing back another classic G1 villain. And many others love him for how powerful he is even without his bell, his preference for planning ahead and the fact that unlike the other villains, he knows not to underestimate the Mane Six and has some idea of what makes them formidable. But he has his share of detractors who find him to be a boring villain with a bland personality who spends more time planning than actually doing anything. Some have even admitted to preferring the Storm King over him, claiming he at least had an enjoyable personality. Even more so since it turns out the real Grogar never actually showed up, and the one we saw was just Discord in disguise.

    Equestria Girls 
  • Flash Sentry. When he was introduced, the fandom erupted due to Twilight developing a crush on him. Some jumped on what was possibly the first canon pairing of the Mane 6 while others argued that MLP had done just fine without romance and didn't need it now. It didn't help that Flash barely did anything in his debut. This caused haters to accuse Flash of being a Flat Character or a Marty Stu, while fans accuse the haters of being upset that Flash stole their 'waifu'. Fighting further continued with fans wanting Flash to come back and be more developed, while haters wanted Flash gone altogether. The writers apparently noticed the controversy Flash has caused, and steadily moved him further into the background as the series went on.invoked
  • Sunset Shimmer, as her fanbase tended to come hand in hand with fans of the Equestria Girls spin-off, which was a divisive aspect of the franchise in its own right. Some fans loved her character arc and development, enjoying the we got to follow a Big Bad's redemption arc and transformation into a hero. Others found her a boring Evil Counterpart character, and to still be a bland character after she loses what little villainous edge she had. Another point of contention concerned demands to see her cameo in the main series or even permanently join the Mane Six, versus wanting to see her kept contained to the films for various reasons. The addition of Starlight Glimmer to the cast in Season 6 only added fuel to the fire, with some of Sunset's supporters seeing Starlight as a pale copy of Sunset that got the position Sunset should have.

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