Follow TV Tropes


Characters / My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Sunset Shimmer

Go To

Main Index
The Main Cast: Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Spike, Starlight Glimmer, the Cutie Mark Crusaders
Supporting Cast: The Princesses (Princess Celestia, Princess Luna), Mane Family Members, the School of Friendship, Ponyville, Other Locations, Animal Companions
Antagonists: Major Villains (Queen Chrysalis, King Sombra, Lord Tirek, Cozy Glow), Dangerous Creatures, Jerks and Bullies, Redeemed Antagonists (Discord)
World of Equestria: Races, Historical Figures, the 2017 Movie, Expanded Universe, Toyline Exclusive, Miscellaneous
Minor Characters: One-Shots, Other Characters, Background Ponies (Common Background Ponies, Special Background Ponies, Other Background Ponies)
Equestria Girls: Heroines (Sunset Shimmer), Villains, Supporting Cast
"My past is not today." note 
Click here to see her as a pony 
"You're never gonna bring me down
You're never gonna break this part of me."

Voiced by: Rebecca ShoichetForeign VAs 

Sunset Shimmer was once a student of Princess Celestia, but she had ambitions of power and prestige that she felt she couldn't get from the princess. Sunset left Equestria through a magic mirror that led her to another dimension of humans. Through manipulation and fear, Sunset established herself as the Queen of Canterlot High School, and plotted to return to Equestria and steal the Element of Magic from Twilight Sparkle, and use it to turn the students of Canterlot High into an army to conquer Equestria. Twilight followed Sunset and foiled her plan, and Sunset was humbled and begged for forgiveness.

Sunset eventually redeemed herself in the eyes of her peers and become The Protagonist of the Equestria Girls franchise, working alongside the human versions of the Mane Six to defend the human world against magical threats. She keeps in contact with Princess Twilight through a pair of magical journals that can send messages to each other, and also power the portal between worlds for when she needs Twilight's help more directly.

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes #–B 
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Played-with in Rainbow Rocks. Sunset hangs around the Equestria Girls 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 band at the final battle, turning the tide.
  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Played with. Sunset Shimmer intially served as an Evil Counterpart to Twilight Sparkle, being the previous student of Princess Celestia. However, she's seen behaving more like a traditional Alpha Bitch in her first appearance, with her love of knowledge not made apparent until the third movie in the series, long after she's done her Heel–Face Turn.
  • 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. That said, Sunset is no Rainbow Dash, and winds up collapsing trying to keep up with her in "Stressed in Show".
  • The Ace: As a pony, she was one of Celestia's best pupils and apparently only second to Twilight in magical power and knowledge. As a human, she not only continues to excel at academics, but is also a skilled musician, athlete, artist, and (following her reformation) is one of the popular students at Canterlot High. This is all in addition to her knowledge of Equestrian magic and potentially having the strongest magic among the Equestria Girls.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: In Rainbow Rocks, everyone in the school distrust or outright hates Sunset, including the faculty. The Rainbooms 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 group.
  • All There in the Manual: The Fall of Sunset Shimmer comic gives Sunset's motive (she wanted to become an alicorn princess hence her jealousy of Twilight Sparkle), the reason she fled through the mirror (it gave a vision of her with the power she sought making her thinks she'd find it there) and a handwave for how she knew how an Element of Harmony would behave in the human world (her obsession with the mirror led her to find notes on it that presumably contained that info).
  • All There in the Script: Her Golden Super Mode in Friendship Games is called "Daydream Shimmer". However, this form's name is never mentioned anywhere besides notes from the creators.
  • All Up to You: Sunset tries to get Pony Twilight's advice on how to handle the magic situation in Friendship Games but the latter doesn't respond back due to some offscreen time-travel shenanigans, leaving her to try and resolve the situation herself with the help of the Rainbooms.
  • All Your Colors Combined: In the final battle, when Sunset joins the band, adding a seventh color (red) to the friendship rainbow, the Rainbooms reach full power and break the Dazzlings' spell over the crowd, allowing them to use the additional musical power to conjure up a rainbow-beam-firing alicorn avatar and defeat the Dazzlings once and for all.
  • 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.
  • 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 heroines beat her and she began to see friendship would be the better path.
  • Alternate Self: Averted. Unlike the rest of the Equestria Girls, Sunset doesn't have a human counterpart, and a "Human Sunset" is never so much as alluded to. Show creators were coy on the subject; the closest acknowledgement of this is Word of Saint Paul theorizing Sunset had no counterpart, as she was destined for the human world. There were later plans to reveal human Sunset was displaced by the spell pony Sunset used to open the portal and what happened to them in the rejected Season 2 finale pitch.invoked
  • Always Someone Better: Zig-Zagged. In the first movie, Sunset was sure she was the most brilliant of Celestia's students and looked down upon Twilight. After her defeat, her self-confidence takes a serious hit, and she feels incapable of figuring out how magic in the human world works in Friendship Games and believes Twilight to be far more superior and capable. On the other hand, when it comes to things other than magic, Sunset's physical abilities seem more consistent compared to how Princess Twilight's are (usually) portrayed, and they seem to be on par in terms of general intelligence; as shown by her only barely losing a math competition to Human Twilight, but also being able to beat Twilight at chess, at least seemingly. Board situation 
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Sunset's parents are never brought up, and there is no indication that they exist at all. While this makes sense in the human world where she wouldn't have parents anyway, she never even hints at having any family in Equestria, and the only Equestrian she has any pre-existing relationship with at all is Celestia.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Sunset has dated Flash Sentry in the past, but by her own admission didn't really like him and only dated him to be more popular. In Legend of Everfree Flash briefly brings up the idea of getting back together with her and they became Amicable Exes, but aside from Ship Tease moments of them spending time together, it's vague if they actually did get back together. On the other hand Sunset has a very close relationship with both Twilight Sparkles, and her relationship with the human Twilight in particular is full of Homoerotic Subtext, but once again it's vague if they're anything more than just close friends. Katrina Hadley, a storyboard artist and assistant/co-director for a lot of Equestria Girls media, has stated that Sunset is bisexual, but also stated it's up to fan interpretation and she "[doesn't] get in the way of sailing ships".
  • Ambition is Evil: Her desire to become an alicorn princess drove her to villainy when Celestia refused to make her one.
  • 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.
  • Amnesiacs are Innocent: When all of her memories of Canterlot High are erased in Forgotten Friendship, she would mentally be at the point in her life where she betrayed Princess Celestia to seek power. However, amnesiac Sunset is far too busy panicking over not knowing where she is or even what she is to think about anything evil, even crying out to her former mentor for help. Given Sunset is still able to harness The Power of Friendship while amnesiac, it seems her Character Development survived the loss of her memories, even if she doesn't remember acquiring it. Thankfully, she doesn't have to dwell on the issue for very long.
  • And I Must Scream: The The Starswirl Do-Over, has Sunset Shimmer stuck in "Groundhog Day" Loop. The best ending has Sunset reveal that she spent at least a year trapped in the time loop. The worst endings have her permanently trapped for all eternity, either due to breaking the MacGuffin or one of her attempts causing the time loop to go at hyper-speed around her.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Sunset makes a reference to the Trope Namer (The Wizard of Oz) in Equestria Girls. Subverted, as even though she does have Spike kidnapped by her flunkies, it is mainly to get Twilight where she wants her; she never truly intends to harm the dog.
  • Angelic Beauty: As Daydream Shimmer, she exhibits several traits which are commonly attributed to humanoid angels: light-themed magic, elemental wings, gold and white attire, and only missing a glowing halo (though the glowing unicorn horn sort of compensates for that). Human Twilight even calls this form beautiful in Legend of Everfree.
  • Angry Animalistic Growl: Lets out a doglike snarl when she sees Twilight being praised for not giving up her crown. She does it again after her demonic transformation, as well as a hoglike squeal.
  • 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.
  • Apple of Discord: Long before Twilight arrived, Sunset Shimmer served as this by breaking the friendship of the human versions of Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash through misinformation: Rainbow Dash was given the wrong date for Applejack's bakesale; Pinkie Pie was told via text to throw a huge party that would scare Fluttershy's animals; and Rarity was told via emails that Pinkie Pie didn't need help setting up decorations for various school functions due to having enough volunteers only to learn later Pinkie set the decorations all up by herself.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: On the receiving end of one. Adagio Dazzle manages to shut down Sunset Shimmer with just four words.
    Sunset Shimmer: You're never going to get away with this.
    Adagio Dazzle: Why? Because you didn't?
  • 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. invokedWord of God is that it was done to soften her features now that she's a good girl. Her hair gets another update as of the Digital Series, with more noticeable curls at the back, and two tendrils that reach her shoulders.
  • Ascended Demon: Played with in that she's not a literal demon, but transformed into a Big Red Devil in the first film as a result of trying to claim magic for herself in the human realm. After being restored to normal, repenting and spending time as The Atoner, her next attempt to harness a magical artifact in Friendship Games — done for a noble purpose rather than selfish gain — turns her not into a demonic figure, but an angelic one, symbolizing the sheer extent of her Heel–Face Turn.
  • 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.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: Sunset Shimmer tried to destroy Twilight's reputation and keep her out of the running for Princess of the Fall Formal with an embarrassing viral video done in the style of a political attack ad, including gratuitous use of the Photoshop Filter of Evil.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 her friends.
    • Played for laughs in Holidays Unwrapped, where she angrily joins in on the big snowball fight after Applejack mocks her love of video games by calling them "silly".
  • 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.
  • Big Bad: Of the first Equestria Girls movie. She steals the crown and antagonizes Twilight throughout her high-school experience.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Sunset Shimmer yelling "STOP! YOU HAVE TO STOP!" at the bickering Rainbooms while their magic is getting drained by the Dazzlings. Somewhat mirrors Twilight's use of the same trope in the first movie.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Her sclera turn black after getting a hold of Twilight's crown and she starts turning into a demon.
  • 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 six heroines.
  • Breakout Character: She was intended as a one-shot character, but during the writing of Rainbow Rocks her redemption arc became a major subplot and Sunset herself became a more prominent character than the staff intended. Following that film she became the face of the Equestria Girls series.
  • Break the Cutie: The devastation of seeing the entire school, particularly her six closest friends, desert her pushes Sunset to the precipice of the Despair Event Horizon, which is exactly what Wallflower wants; to leave Sunset a friendless wreck. Only managing to befriend Trixie keeps Sunset's head above water in her fight to reclaim her life. Then Wallflower painfully leeches all of Sunset's high school memories out of her head, leaving her cowering on the ground in a panic not knowing where or even what she is. Thankfully, her friends witnessed this and finally come to her aid.
  • Break the Haughty: Whatever Sunset was expecting the Element of Magic to do when she put it on during the climax of the first movie, it wasn't that it would turn her into "a raging she-demon". Sunset tried desperately to take it off once she realized what was going on, but it was too late. Sunset lost control of herself and did things she would never have naturally done. After that, once Twilight and the others freed Sunset from her demonic form, she was shaken and horrified by what she had done, and eagerly turned her life around. By Friendship Games, Sunset is able to wield the magic of friendship without losing control of herself. Upon using an amulet full of gathered magic, Sunset turns into an angelic form 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 doubts her own abilities well into the third film.
  • 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 Dark Side 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.
  • Brutal Honesty: Sunset resorts to this when she tries to get Rainbow to stop looking for evil magic on the cruise after Rainbow tells her she can take whatever she says. Sunset tells Rainbow that she's ruining it for everyone, and Rainbow says she feels like Sunset's words punched her feelings.
  • Bully Turned Buddy: Starts off as an Alpha Bitch par excellence, ruling Canterlot High with an iron fist and bullying the students. One Painful Transformation and subsequent Heart Beat-Down later, Sunset Shimmer pulls a Heel–Face Turn and befriends the Equestria Girls, becoming their equivalent to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Butt-Monkey: She becomes this in The Science of Magic. All five of Sunset's attempts to investigate the Rainbooms' magic backfire on her spectacularly. Swarmed by butterflies, buried in apples, feet yanked out from under her, plowed into the wall by balloons, and covered in rainbow slop from her computer. And this is despite her efforts to protect herself after each failure, to the point where she has isolated herself in a separate room by the time she gets to Rainbow Dash.

    Tropes C–E 
  • 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.
    • During the closing number of "The Last Problem", the Grand Finale of Friendship Is Magic, Sunset's pony form can be seen in the Crowded-Cast Shot. Notably, this is the only time in the entire run of Friendship Is Magic that Sunset appeared on the main show.
  • Canon Foreigner: Created for the Equestria Girls spin-off series, and remained confined there as she's what made the series distinct. Sunset made only one "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" appearance on Friendship Is Magic in its final episode, proving she's still canon to the parent series.
  • The Chains of Commanding: In Rainbow Rocks, Twilight falls into despair when it seems they've lost and feels she 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.
    • On the Starswirl Do-Over book, in the ending were she breaks time and space, she sabotaged the music festival and didn't need help from the time-loop; she hasn't forgotten her old tricks.
  • Character Development: When you take her previous appearances into account, Sunset has probably seen more character development than any other character in the franchise.
    • The My Little Little Pony Annual 2013 comics show her descend from merely anti-social and arrogant, into outright manipulative and controlling after Celestia disowns Sunset as her student, and she flees through the mirror, and subtly influences the Humane Five of that world to drift apart.
    • The first Equestria Girls movie sees all of her plans fall apart, as she is corrupted by the Element of Magic and swiftly defeated and stripped of all of her power. It is after this that Sunset realizes she had been bad even before this and resolves to change herself while shedding tears of remorse.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, Sunset Shimmer's normally brash, confident, and collected aura has shattered as the events of the first film destroyed her worldview. Now, the whole school except for Twilight and the Rainbooms hate her and are no longer afraid of her. She is uncomfortable being the center of attention, and watches the Rainbooms fall apart without interjecting because she feels that as an outsider it isn't her place to get involved. After helping to defeat the Dazzlings, she reverses her descent and gets over her fears, stepping into the spotlight in a more positive way than before.
    • In the song "My Past is Not Today" Sunset acknowledges what she used to be like as a villain and the difficulty that she had in reconciling with others over her past deeds, but ultimately decides that she is not going to let her past define who she is in the present.
    • In Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, Sunset still questions what her purpose in the human world is, as her Cutie Mark of wanting to surpass Celestia held no meaning there. By the end, she decides to become a "magic investigator" and study her friends' pony transformations in great scientific detail. She also realizes that her purpose is to help others.
    • In Friendship Games, Sunset feels inadequate compared to Twilight whenever it comes to dealing with magical threats. She also confesses that she sees all of the magic incidents around Canterlot High as being her fault since she brought magic to the human world in the first place, leading the Dazzlings to Canterlot High in the second movie, as well as Human Twilight's magic research and the events of the third movie. By the end of the movie, Sunset ends up redeeming Human Twilight after she falls into a Superpowered Evil Side, just as was done to her in the first movie.
    • In Legend of Everfree, Sunset has fully settled into her role as both The Mentor and The Leader of the group, being the one who has the deepest understanding of the magic that has leaked into their dimension from Equestria.
    • On top of this, when the whole group gains superpowers, Sunset gains the ability to see people's memories and thoughts allowing her to connect with them on a more empathetic level. Word of God even spells it out as Empathy being the would-be seventh Element of Harmony. While it initially seems underwhelming compared to the much flashier powers the others got, Sunset is the only one not to suffer Power Incontinence, as she is in fact helping the others get them under control and uses her own to help her fulfill her role as The Leader much better.
    • In "Mirror Magic", thanks to Starlight's advice, Sunset learns to stop worrying too much about the future and instead live in the moment.
    • In Forgotten Friendship, Sunset handles rejection much better than she did in Rainbow Rocks. After everyone has all of their positive memories erased of her, rather than shutting down, Sunset immediately resolves to find out what's wrong and travels back to Equestria to do so. After returning to Equestria, Sunset for the first time in what must be years, returns to Canterlot Castle to ask Princess Celestia for help. Humbled, Sunset finally apologizes to Celestia for everything that she did before running away to the human world, and Celestia forgives her, bringing her arc full circle.
  • Characterization Marches On: Some works between Equestria Girls and Friendship Games portrayed her as a science geek and technical genius. Once Human Twilight Sparkle, whose love of science was one of her central character traits, arrived on the scene, this element of Sunset's character was significantly downplayed, though not eliminated, and her interests shifted more towards art and graphic design.
  • Character Tics:
    • Starting with Rainbow Rocks, Hand Behind Head has become a definitive habit of hers.
    • She also has moments where she curls her fingers up like hooves, much like Princess Twilight does.
    • Later in the series she tends to lightly punch people in the arm as a gesture of affection.
  • 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 main five girls into breaking their friendship. During the movie, she uses Twilight's unfamiliarity with the human world against her and even when the heroines manage to overcome one of her schemes, she has a new plan at the ready and throws another obstacle in their way.
  • Child Prodigy: She had the same position that Twilight Sparkle once had as Princess Celestia's prized pupil. Considering Twilight's level of intelligence as a filly, and that Sunset is shown to be almost as intelligent as Twilight in Friendship Games, Sunset must have been incredibly smart as a young girl as well.
  • 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.
  • Circling Monologue: Both performs one and is the victim of one.
    • In the first movie in the darkened hallway, Sunset Shimmer circles around Twilight Sparkle while gloating that she already rules the place, while Twilight is new here and clueless about this world.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, Adagio and Aria circle Sunset Shimmer while telling her they've learned of her reputation and putting her friendship with the Rainbooms to doubt. Note that there is obviously little space between Sunset and the wall corner, yet they still walk around her for the sake of the trope. Sonata joins in too, although she doesn't exactly master the concept of "circling".
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Functions this way in Rainbow Rocks. She's self-deprecating, has a lot of emotional baggage, rarely speaks up to avoid causing anyone any more trouble, and the Rainbooms are much more popular and powerful than she is. It's through Character Development that Sunset learns to gain any confidence.
  • Class Princess: By the time of Friendship Games, Sunset is just as respected as she used to be in CHS when she was an Alpha Bitch, but for more heroic reasons. She's popular because she's nice to everyone, she encourages other students to be their best selves, relies on The Power of Friendship when she can't do something herself, and is shown to be proactive in school clubs. Sunset never completely loses her Heroic Self-Deprecation and penchant for letting her emotions get the best of her, but Sunset's popularity is shown to be earned through charity and good will instead of taken through fear.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Coconut Meets Cranium: Apple variant. After Applejack finishes playing, a lot of glowing apples fall on Sunset Shimmer's head.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Sunset is Twilight's Foil, and her color palette consists almost entirely of ones that are opposites to Twilight. 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 Eyes: Her eyes are "cyan", right between green and blue, with the symbolism of her being a magically empowered antagonist.
  • 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 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.
  • Color Motifs: Red. When she's powering up with the rest of the Element bearers' human counterparts or using her Empath Powers, Sunset's magic is shown to be red. At first, this red is meant to show her anger, hostility, and abrasion to Twilight Sparkle. Over time, it becomes a more muted shade of red, turning into Red Is Heroic from her empathy and commonality with the rest of the Rainbooms.
  • 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.
    • Unsurprisingly, she and Starlight hit it off almost right off the bat when they meet as a pair of former villains who had undergone a Heel–Face Turn thanks to Twilight.
    • She bonds with Trixie in Forgotten Friendship after Trixie admits to feeling the same as Sunset in wanting to be perceived in a much better way. Granted, Sunset's was due to Laser-Guided Amnesia in the film, but it still forms a genuine bond.
  • Competition Freak: As she says in Rollercoaster of Friendship, "I don't like to lose."
    • After apparently conceding defeat in the first movie, Sunset's anger boils over when everyone else keeps praising Princess Twilight, to the point she snaps and claws for the Element of Magic.
    • In Rollercoaster of Friendship, Sunset gets increasingly angry when she and Twilight keep losing at a ring toss game, despite knowing that the game is rigged. Sunset even rejects a pity prize out of principle. When she later earns a prize for a ball-tossing game, she's seen parading it over her head like a trophy.
    • When she struggles to get a handle on the controls for a seemingly simple video game in "Game Stream" while Fluttershy (a gaming novice) masters it easily, she starts yelling at the screen, burying her face on her bed and unleashing a Skyward Scream. Fluttershy takes it in stride and, when the game is over, Sunset snaps out of it and congratulates Fluttershy.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 an 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. After the Summertime Shorts she gets a third outfit more similar to her original, but with the shirt and skirt colors reversed, and a sleeveless leather vest.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: After Celestia rejected her demand to become a princess, Sunset stormed out of Canterlot and into the human world. In Forgotten Friendship, she has to seek Princess Celestia's counsel in order to learn why her friends have been hit with Laser-Guided Amnesia. Sunset admits she was a "snide little pupil" and says she's sorry, which Celestia accepts.
  • Crowd Surfing: Sunset Shimmer indulges in surfing atop the crowd of CHS students during Rainbow Dash's Punk Rock part.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In Rainbow Rocks, she takes this pose when she rises into the air to "pony up".
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Sunset Shimmer has spent so much time in a human body that she has to re-grasp basic pony behavior, such as walking on all fours and grabbing things with her magic instead of hands, in "Mirror Magic".
  • 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.
  • 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 Rainbooms are Sunset's only friends; by Friendship Games, the rest of the school, including the Principal Sisters, has come to accept her as well.
  • 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 Protagonist and the Rainbooms are the Main Characters, the film is just as much about Sunset regaining her confidence and overcoming her self-doubt as it is the Rainbooms fighting the Dazzlings.
    • In Legend of Everfree, she returns to this role with Human Twilight as The Protagonist. Sunset's 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 more about the two sorting out all of Twilight's emotional baggage from Friendship Games.
  • 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?)
  • 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.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Sunset Shimmer kickstarts one by tackling Rainbow Dash to stop her from showing pony ears which results in them bumping into Twilight, who loses her balance and grab Rarity's keytar by reflex, dragging the latter down in turn and making her involuntarily kick Applejack's bass guitar, which flies over and lands neck-first into one of Pinkie's drums. Then the lights come back, startling Fluttershy into fleeing.
  • Dispel Magic: In her Golden Super Mode, she has the ability to fix the tears in reality made by Midnight Sparkle with magic of her own.
  • Doing Research: In "The Science of Magic" short Sunset decides to look into how the Equestria Girls' 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. [groans, passes out]
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When Sunset threatens the Big Bad after finding out who is responsible for everyone losing their memories, and starts approaching the villain menacingly to possibly rough them up, Trixie stops her and says that maybe threatening the one that can make them forget anything isn't the smartest thing to do.
  • The Dreaded: Was this in the first movie. In her first scene as a human, she scares a student into his locker with little more than a glare. Subverted in the sequels, where she is trying to be liked.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Sunset, when she tries to flee the festival site in the middle of the night. Her terrible driving ruins the RV's transmission, strands the group by the roadside, and fails to break the time loop.
  • 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 Bad Ending: The Starswirl Do-Over book gives the reader the ability to break Sunset's Plot Armor by doing some irrational/bad choices and or just ignore Postcrush and the twirler and do some mundane things like doing yoga for months, sleeping or go mess around ignoring Postcrush and the time-loop. It all culminates with three possible bad endings and two really bad endings, resulting in getting permanently trapped in the time-loop for all eternity.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • She spends most of Rainbow Rocks being hated by everyone in the school except the Rainbooms, 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 of 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 her friends 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.
    • In the book The Starswirl Do-Over, regardless if the reader does a flawless good ending run, Sunset will mention to Pinkie that she's been trapped in the time loop for a year, meaning that she probably did the optional routes and or did some mistakes. It's even worse if the reader takes certain routes; it's shown that she starts to lose the notion of time and develops a slight Sanity Slippage.
  • 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 Rainbooms, 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 Equestria Girls, and the school likes and trusts her at last.
  • 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.
  • Embodiment of Virtue: While the rest of the Equestria Girls more or less share their equestrian counterparts' Elements of Harmony, Word of God is that Sunset represents Empathy, which may or may not be an actual seventh element.
  • The Empath: In Legend of Everfree, she gains a Touch Telepathy version.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Each of the first three films opens with a scene focusing on Sunset Shimmer either before or after the opening credits, to show her Character Development in various stage of progress.
    • In the first movie, Sunset Shimmer is introduced sneaking into Twilight's room at night to steal the Element of Magic, flees when she's caught, and when Twilight teleports in front of her to intercept her, Sunset responds by teleporting past her. Then before entering the mirror portal, she says to Twilight "sorry it had to be this way, Princess," sneering the last word. This sets her up as clever, ambitious, knowledgable about the Elements, powerful enough to rival Twilight (teleportation is a rare skill), and derisive of Twilight and her status. Then when we first see her in the human world, she's picking on human Fluttershy and wheels around and glares at Twilight when she confronts her over it.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, she offers to help the Crusaders with their banner, but is rebuffed. The rest of the Equestria Girls call her over, prompting a smile, but she then shrinks back when the rest of the gym takes notice of her presence and starts glaring and whispering, and she awkwardly walks through them to the girls. Finally, when Celestia mentions the Fall Formal, Sunset is once again on the receiving end of glares and whispering and falls against the wall in a Troubled Fetal Position. This immediately shows her as much more humble and kind than before, repentant and ashamed of her past actions, and while the Equestria Girls accept her as a friend, no one else does yet.
    • In Friendship Games, she runs up to the school having received a text from Rainbow Dash about an emergency, and asks what's wrong. When Rainbow admits it was just a broken guitar string, Sunset makes her frustration at the "emergency" clear, but as the rest of the group leaves she smiles and shakes her head. This demonstrates she has her confidence back, that she's willing to openly show such exasperation at her friends, but that she's still kind and friendly otherwise.
  • 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." Said standards fly out the window after she transforms into a demon, which is implied to be part of what instigates her quick Heel–Face Turn upon reverting to normal — she's driven to tears upon realizing what she became.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Visual Puns and Theme Naming aside, Sunset's songs, transformations and empath magic tend to incorporate a lot of sparkling effects.
  • 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 initially lacked Twilight's understanding of friendship, making her unfit to be crowned a princess of Equestria — something she didn't understand, and wouldn't accept... until her Heel–Face Turn that is.
    • Also served 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 Feels Good: Subverted. Sunset becomes crazed and power-mad once she transforms but right before, when she puts on the crown, her expression suggests the transformation isn't a pleasant one. Her apologetic tone after transforming back implies that she wasn't fully in control of herself as a demon and that, ultimately, she regrets causing all the mayhem and tearfully begs for forgiveness.
  • 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 designs on boots) serves to parallel Twilight's star theme. She also gains Flaming Hair and fireball magic in her demon form.
  • 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.
  • Evil Overlooker: In the poster for the first film, with her eyes peering through the portal. Her eyes take the same shape in the film's opening credits, though they're not actually overlooking anything (except Rebecca Shoichet's name).
  • Evil Redhead: Formerly. Red with yellow-orange streaks, she still qualifies in the first movie.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As a demon, combined with an echoing filter. Also, her normal tone of voice during the first movie is much lower compared to her softer post Heel–Face Turn voice.
  • Evil Wears Black: Zigzagged.
    • It's played straight in the first film, since her black jacket and black boots put her at odds with the more brightly-colored heroes. It's averted past the first movie, since Sunset is no longer evil, yet several of her outfits still use black in their color schemes.
    • Even after turning good, if Sunset has to switch to an alternate costume to fit a certain theme, she'll often be wearing the "bad guy" version of it. For example, when Applejack suggests they all dress up as cowboys, Sunset's wearing a black cowboy hat, whereas the other Equestria Girls are wearing white ones.
  • 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 Equestria Girls 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.
  • Eyebrow Waggle: Towards Human Twilight when they meet after Twilight's dance with Timber Spruce.

    Tropes F–H 
  • 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.
  • The Faceless: Sunset's face is obscured during the first few moments of her in human form. When she turns around after Twilight shouts in defense of Human Fluttershy, her full face is revealed for the first time.
  • 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 sincerely this time.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Sunset Shimmer is the first to understand what happened after she, Twilight, and Rainbow cross the portal, and takes advantage of having recovered her unicorn magic to light up her horn, revealing that the trio have been turned into ponies.
  • Fatal Flaw: Intemperance. 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 and Pride are coupled with her lack of patience. When she was still Celestia's star pupil, things didn't progress as quickly as Sunset 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, Sunset's 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. Sunset 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.
    • In Sunset's Backstage Pass, Sunset hits a Rage Breaking Point after her frustrations with Pinkie reach a peak. Being stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, Sunset has had to deal with Pinkie being unable to focus on anything for more than a few minutes for weeks. Pinkie overhears this rant, causing her to cry. Only then does Sunset have a Jerkass Realization.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Has shades of this in during her time in the first movie. She drops this later, though.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The very first shot of Friendship Games shows Sunset Shimmer's running feet.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Flashy 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.
  • Flight: For the transformations which happen to have wings, she naturally gets the ability to fly.
  • 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 are 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 human counterparts of Twilight's friends apart, in contrast to Twilight forming friends with the other members of the Mane Six.
    • In Rainbow Rocks, both are outsiders to the Rainbooms, 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 Equestria Girls) 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".
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: During Rainbow Rocks, the Rainbooms have forgiven Sunset for her actions in the past and do consider her a friend, but there's noticeable tension between them and her. The Rainbooms unintentionally snub Sunset by not offering to let her be part of the band. Likewise, Princess Twilight is also hesitant around Sunset when Twilight first enters the human world again. Fortunately, after Sunset helps to break up the growing tension between the Rainbooms thanks to the Dazzlings and joins them in the film's climax, Sunset fully integrates with them and is shown jamming with the band at the end.
  • 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.
    • "Mirror Magic" also has Sunset forget how to use her body when she briefly returns to Equestria to get a new journal. She forgets that her native species are quadrupeds, walking on her back legs until she notices Starlight stare at her in confusion. After Starlight tries handing over the book, it hits the floor and Sunset repeatedly tries picking it up with her hoof, also forgetting how those work until Starlight reminds her that she has unicorn telekinesis she can use instead.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Sunset Shimmer in her demon form, along with Snips and Snails have four-fingered claws.
  • Frame-Up: Sunset Shimmer frames Twilight for trashing the gymnasium to get her out of running for the Fall Formal crown. Fortunately, Flash is able to clear her name at the last minute.
  • 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: In Rainbow Rocks there's still some tension between her and the rest of the Rainbooms. They're friends, but the Rainbooms are a little uncomfortable around Sunset after years of abuse. And even that's better than what she gets from the rest of the students, who openly hate Sunset for her years of bullying and abuse. But by the end of the movie, this state of affairs is thoroughly dispelled.
  • 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.
  • Full-Name Basis: It isn't until Friendship Games that someone just called her "Sunset". In the first two movies, she was always referred to by her full name.
  • Gamer Chick:
    • "A Fine Line" short details Sunset waiting in line for the next installment of a popular game series, and she's shown to be very excited to get her hands on the game, because the previous one was so great.
    • "Game Stream" reveals that she has a livestream gaming channel. She plays a video game with Fluttershy about squirrels collecting nuts, expecting to win easily. Instead, Sunset ends up on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • In Holidays Unwrapped, Sunset gets a Berserk Button pushed when Applejack calls her favorite video games "silly" during a snowball fight. Sunset even gives out a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner before launching a snowball right into AJ's chest.
  • 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.
  • Genius Slob: Sunset's smarts are well-established, but her apartment shows her to be a bit of a slob. Notably in the webisode "Costume Conundrum", when rummaging through her closet, she's seen throwing away a moldy slice of pizza in Ziploc.
  • Glory Seeker: She abandoned Princess Celestia and left for CHS when Sunset demanded to be made a princess immediately, despite not having earned it. She mellows out after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Glowing Eyes: When Sunset is using her Touch Telepathy, her eyes glow white.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Her demon form has these in her teal magic color when she launches a fireball at The Protagonists.
  • Going Native: Although she originated from Equestria, she's fully acclimated to the human world by now and considers it her home, where her friends live. This is especially true after Rainbow Rocks where she starts being accepted by the rest of the school beyond the Rainbooms. She's even taken to some fully human-world hobbies like video games. It is most evident in Forgotten Friendship, when both her and Twilight refers to the human dimension as "her world".
  • 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.
  • 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 speech in Friendship Games confirms it when Sunset admits the magic in the crown overwhelmed her.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Alluded with the title for episode 4 of the Sunset shimmer's Saga version, "Good Cop, Great and Powerful Cop", since it's the part where Trixie and Sunset Shimmer investigate the mystery at CHS. In the story itself, though, it is more Trixie as the "obnoxious cop" and Sunset as the "eye-rolling cop".
  • 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 and the power of friendship without losing control, 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 Is Not Dumb: She's one of the smartest people in CHS. While Twilight is clearly more book-smart, Sunset is more street-smart, able to navigate social graces much easier. Also, while both Princess Twilight and Human Twilight are smarter than her, Sunset is at least able to keep pace with the two of them by experimentation.
  • Good Is Not Soft: In Legend of Everfree, she bluntly tells Flash Sentry that he needs to forget about Twilight and move on with his life. Flash replies that Sunset doesn't pull her punches when it comes to Brutal Honesty; Sunset admits it's "not my style".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Graceful Loser: Played with. When Twilight refuses to give up the crown just before the first film's climax, Sunset responds by dropping her sledgehammer to ground, seemingly having given up. It's not until she overhears Twilight's friends' praises of her that she becomes overrun by jealousy of Twilight and she tackles her for the crown.
  • Grasp the Sun: In "My Past Is Not Today", she does this to a shooting star.
  • 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: After Sunset's Heel–Face Turn, her guilty conscience over bringing magic to the human world becomes a plot point multiple times. Sunset says that the magical goings-on around the Rainbooms are her fault, because she brought magic to the human world in the first place. This is in spite of multiple characters either forgiving Sunset or confiding in her that they don't find her at fault anymore.
    • Rainbow Rocks sees Sunset refrain from speaking up about what she knows of the Dazzlings because Sunset feels like it isn't her place to say anything after what happened in the first movie. This allows the Dazzlings to manipulate Sunset with her guilt in order to keep her quiet.
    • In Friendship Games, Sunset confesses that she sees all of the magic incidents around Canterlot High as being her fault. Sunset brought magic to the human world in the first movie, which lead the Dazzlings to Canterlot High in the second movie, which in turn lead into Human Twilight's magic research and the events of the third movie. Sunset even apologizes to Principal Celestia for the magic incident at the motocross event, even though the portals came from Human Twilight's amulet and Sunset actively tried to prevent anybody at the event from getting hurt.
    • Spring Breakdown has Sunset going after Rainbow Dash during a major lightning storm because Rainbow claimed to see evil magic around the boat. Sunset says (once again) that her friends wouldn't even be in this mess if she hadn't brought magic to the human world. This ends up leading to Sunset, Rainbow, and Human Twilight being sent to Equestria through a hitherto unknown portal.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Sunset has a tendency to snap as things get further out of her control. This was especially bad when she was a villain, as she spent a good chunk of the first movie perpetually angry. Sunset even lambasted Pinkie Pie's decorations and Applejack's refreshments for the Fall Formal dance because they weren't exactly what she envisioned. It's still a defining characteristic post-villainy, most obviously when her Competition Freak tendencies come into play (e.g. lashing out at a pity prize for repeatedly losing a ring toss in Rollercoaster of Friendship and screaming at a video game in "Game Stream").
  • 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.
  • Hated by All: Rainbow Rocks has no-one, save for the Rainbooms, caring for her—and even then there can still be tension between them. After defeating the Sirens, this goes away. It briefly returns in Forgotten Friendship when the Big Bad of the special removes all the memories of Sunset's development from the school.
  • 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 Rainbooms defeat the Dazzlings at the end of the film.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Whatever Sunset was expecting the Element of Magic to do when she put it on in the first movie, she wasn't expecting it to turn her into a "raging she-demon". Before her transformation, she hadn't been willing to threaten a puppy; after it, she tries to outright kill Twilight. After the Equestria Girls 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 other five are (Rarity, who Sunset wronged more than the others, is particularly forgiving), and directs a great deal of scorn and sarcasm at herself.
    • Forgotten Friendship reveals that she's been unintentionally feeding Wallflower Blush's Shrinking Violet tendencies by accidentally ignoring her. Trixie even says that it isn't enough that Sunset was just not mean to Wallflower Blush; Sunset has to be actively nice to her.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Three of her casual outfits come with a leather jacket or a vest. In the first movie, her leather jacket is a sure sign of her being a bad girl and 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 and Equestria Girls: Digital Series has her wear a leather vest instead.
  • 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.
    • At the climax of Forgotten Friendship, Sunset takes a proverbial bullet for her friends by sacrificing all of her memories of Canterlot High School and of being human to make sure the same fate doesn't befall the other Equestria Girls. The Big Bad of the film, who had accused Sunset of never moving past the Alpha Bitch stage, realizes that Sunset's reformation was sincere and stops attacking.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In Forgotten Friendship, she takes a memory-stealing blast from Wallflower Blush's Memory Stone that was directed at the Equestria Girls. Thanks to her friends finding out Sunset really was their friend, all seven of them recover after destroying the Memory Stone.
  • 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, Sunset is shown to easily get down on herself, taking the blame for all magical problems and negatively comparing herself to Princess Twilight, with Sunset even saying that everything relating to magic is somehow her own fault. This is despite the rest of the Rainbooms telling Sunset that they don't blame her for what's going on.
  • Heroism Motive Speech: Sunset gets two. The first when she realizes it is her place to step in and help the girls stop bickering and resolve their issues. The second comes in song when she joins the Final Battle with the Dazzlings, announcing she's not going to let herself be beaten down when she's trying to change. This leads to her gaining a hybrid form of her own.
  • Hero of Another Story: Basically this in relation to Pony Twilight past Rainbow Rocks. With Twilight dealing with her duties in Equestria while Sunset covers magical matters and trials in the human realm.
    • Issue 79 of the comic doesn't reveal why she suddenly shows up in Equestria to perform in a rock band with two other ponies we've never seen before or since.
  • 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.
    • Several of the Equestria Girls shorts have shown Sunset to be quite the artist. She's a great painter, as shown when she was in an art class with Pinkie Pie. She draws comic books in her spare time, and does graffiti art under the pseudonym "Flanksy".
    • She's also apparently in the Fencing Club.
    • She's just as fascinated by the technical aspect of music production and staging live shows as she is by the music itself.
    • "Costume Conundrum" indicates she's a fan of horror and, while her villainous days might be behind her, she does enjoy scaring people.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: For a magical pony turned human, Sunset slips into 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, but she does that on purpose. When her memories of the human world are briefly erased in Forgotten Friendship, she slips back into "somepony".
    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.
  • 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.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Sunset isn't willing to threaten Spike, but she is willing to threaten to destroy the portal to Equestria if Twilight doesn't surrender her crown.
  • Hot Wings: As part of her phoenix motif, at the end of the music video "My Past Is Not Today" she sprouts a pair of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Humanizing Tears: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Tropes I–L 
  • "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.
  • 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.
    • In the book Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, which is a direct sequel to Rainbow Rocks, Fluttershy actually asks her if she misses Equestria. Sunset replies that apart from trying to taking over the pony world and studying, she never did anything in Equestria and thus doesn't actually miss Equestria (at least in the book 'verse).
  • 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 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 was trying to take the easy way to get it. Ironically, once Sunset puts this attitude behind her, she eventually does legitimately earn much of what she wanted.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Going by her facial expressions, it's obvious being left out of the group'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.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Parodied when Sunset has Pinkie abandon her after being hit in the eye by a snowball. Sunset speaks in pain at first, but the only reason that Sunset's speaking that way is because she fell on her keys. She then properly tells Pinkie to go on without her while Sunset gets revenge on whoever hit her in the face with that snowball.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Informed Ability:
    • She was apparently Princess Celestia's most prized magic pupil before she went to the Human World and Twilight came along. But in the series she never, without external sources, displays any more advanced magic than teleportation which is normal for unicorn prodigies. It's only in her Loose Canon prequel comic where she demonstrates unique spells.
    • In the first move she was supposed to be a cunning manipulator given how she was able to divide the school and breaking up the human counterparts of Twilight's friends, and remain in power despite her cruelty. But all her malfeasances there were transparent or easily exposed/dealt with, said breaking friend coming off as them being too dumb to clear thing up rather than Sunset's skill. The Loose Canon comic prequel showed her cunning enough to get how break said friends up out of them, but this was implied to before she got her reputation to overcome.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Her human form bears an uncanny resemblance to her voice actress, Rebecca Shoichet.
  • 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.
  • Inopportune Voice Cracking: In later entries, this tends to happen any time she yells or hits a Rage Breaking Point.
    Sunset: All right, what's next? What are we doing? How are we going to win this?!
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: She starts as the arrogant antagonist to Princess Twilight's Fish out of Water insecure protagonist in Equestria Girls; she then becomes the insecure protagonist (due to her peer rejection and self-doubt) to Adagio's arrogant antagonist in Rainbow Rocks.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Sunset Shimmer gets Snips and Snails to record Twilight as she's first figuring out how to move and act as a human, and then uploads the results to discredit and humiliate her.
  • 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.
  • Interclass Friendship: The perspective switch between Sunset's and Twilight's respective morning routines at their homes shows that they have quite a contrast going on: Sunset has a cozy but smallish two-story home, sparsely furnished and with things such as a microwave oven and minifridge (with no proper stove really visible). Twilight's room is immense, and she lives in a Big Fancy House befitting such a big fancy bedroom. Justified because Twilight most likely still lives with her parents, while Sunset, coming from Equestria, doesn't have parents in this dimension and has to pay for her flat while still going to school.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    • Sunset Shimmer yelling "It wasn't a fit of jealous rage!"... very angrily, right in Trixie's face, in Rainbow Rocks.
    • She does it again in Forgotten Friendship, after everyone loses their good memories of Sunset and thinks she is still a bully. She loses her temper at Micro Chips and shouts she isn't mean, causing the other students to run away.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Sunset hits a Rage Breaking Point after being caught by the Dazzlings, yelling about how Pinkie can't control her impulses. Pinkie overhears this, causing her to cry. But the straw that broke the camel's back was Pinkie leaving to get some churros while she was supposed to be standing watch to keep an eye out for the Dazzlings. Pinkie admits that it's understandable why Sunset would be frustrated and that she deserves to have a good time.
  • Jerkass Realization: She has this after Twilight and her friends blast her with their rainbow laser while she’s in her demon form.
  • 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 Equestria Girls 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.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: She uses a beam attack as Daydream Shimmer against Midnight Sparkle, which ends in a Beam-O-War between the two them.
  • 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: She gives one to the Drunk on the Dark Side Human Twilight at the climax of Friendship Games.
    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!
  • Kung-Fu 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.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Sunset Shimmer wears one while attempting to measure magic.
  • Lack of Empathy: As a villain she showed little interest in people except as tools to further her own ends, and had a heavily-implied bad case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. Amazingly, she manages to invert this after her Heel–Face Turn, eventually developing full-blown into an All-Loving Hero and The Empath.
  • The Lancer: Becomes this to Twilight in Legend of Everfree, by way of Supporting Leader.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: A victim of multiple forms of it in Forgotten Friendship. First, all of Canterlot High forgets her Heel–Face Turn thanks to a stone that steals memories. Then, in the climax, all of her own memories of Canterlot High get taken when she takes a memory-erasing spell meant for her friends.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When Sunset confronts Trixie in the hallway and accuses her of erasing everyone's memories, there is a short pause after she calls her "manipulative" before calling her a "blow-hard". Trixie is still shocked at first, as if Sunset used another word that starts with "B".
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: She not only becomes a good guy, but an essential member of the central group to boot. While Rainbow Rocks conceals it slightly by not featuring her in posters, Friendship Games has her front and center with Twilight Sparkle and later works prominently feature her in promotional material.
  • The Leader: Starting from Friendship Games with her being the one most experienced in magic, everyone puts their trust in Sunset figuring out how magic in the 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 of Levelheaded and Charismatic Types, Sunset is the most mature and responsible girl in the group. She knows how to offer moral support and rein in the others if they step out of line, or just 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' decisions when they want to let things be for now.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While in her demon form Sunset Shimmer somewhat staring at the audience says "Spoiler alert!"
  • Lethally Stupid: Gets an instance of this in "Constructive Criticism" when she insists on trying to shout a needless comment to Applejack while the latter is working with a hammer, causing her to slam it right down on her finger due to the distraction.
  • 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.
  • 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: Subverted compared to the rest of the Equestria Girls cast. Aside from special occasions, the rest of the cast keeps their same outfit up until the Digital Series and Forgotten Friendship, when they then switched to new outfits that they stick to afterward. Sunset, however, swaps between her three outfits in different works, and has subtle variations between them as well, such as what type of footwear she's wearing.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Like the rest of the Equestria Girls, her anthropony transformations come with pony ears, tail-like hair extensions and sometimes a horn or even wings.
  • Love at First Sight: A non-romantic example occurs when she spots Ray, her leopard gecko pet. It comes complete with a big smile and a background of red hearts.

    Tropes M–R 
  • MacGuffin Melee: More than willing to get into a physical scuffle in order to get her hands on something she needs both before and after her reformation; she tackles Princess Twilight for her crown, tries to seize the Memory Stone from Wallflower and gets in a brawl with PostCrush for the Time Twirler.
  • 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.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: She and the other girls 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.
  • Magic Skirt: Non-underwear example; when Sunset sits down at the beach with her legs in front of her, her sarong somehow holds its position covering her groin and thighs.
  • 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.
  • Marked Change: Her Golden Super Mode in Friendship Games, Daydream Shimmer, has a red horizontal line going across her eyes.
  • Martial Pacifist: After her Heel–Face Turn, Sunset tries just talking to her enemies first if it looks like they aren't genuinely evil. She tries this with both Human Twilight and Wallflower Blush, both without success. It's only when reason and empathy don't work that Sunset resorts to physical force.
  • Masquerade: Sunset Shimmer has to hide the existence of magic from the Shadowbolts during the Friendship Games to avoid accusations that Canterlot High is cheating in the games. In fact, she is tasked with doing this by Vice-Principal Luna. Fighting carnivorous plants from the Everfree Forest which find their way through the portals, along with Rainbow Dash flying around the arena, pretty much shatters that illusion.
  • The McCoy: Sunset has an outgoing and sympathetic personality, which has made her really good at connecting with people and offering them the right kind of emotional support when they are in a funk — like in Legend of Everfree, helping both Twilight and Flash deal with their issues in their own ways. Even when it comes to misunderstood antagonists like Gloriosa and others like her, more often than not Sunset first tries to just talk to them if it looks like they aren't genuinely evil, and fight only when they are no longer willing to listen to reason. However, her emotions do sometimes get the better of her when she's distressed or when her anger hits a breaking point. In Rainbow Rocks she made their situation worse when she hastily decided to tackle Rainbow Dash in the middle of their show. Much later, in Friendship Games Sunset ends up lashing out at Human Twilight after she's had it with the magic incidents endangering everyone's lives. She blows up again in Forgotten Friendship when people keep treating her like she's still the school bully. She can still be quite rational if she needs to, as she does listen to her friends when they don't wish to make an issue out their newly awakened powers or when Trixie points out that Sunset should calm down when she's about to do something rash again.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 others 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.
  • Mind Control: After turning into a demon in the first film, she mind-controls the entire student body (sans Twilight and her friends), declaring her plan to invade Equestria.
  • Mind over Matter:
    • Uses telekinesis 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 move items with unicorn magic when back to Equestria.
  • Mirror Character: Sunset Shimmer goes from being Twilight's Evil Counterpart in the first film to being a more direct counterpart. She even starts writing Twilight friendship letters at the end of Rainbow Rocks.
  • 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 and the Equestria Girls versus 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 her friends looking encouragingly towards Sunset while Twilight's teammates are looking away.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Mythology Gag: Her name, appearance, and Cutie Mark are very similar to G3 Sunshimmer.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Twilight is framed for destroying the gym by Sunset to be kicked out of the ballot for Fall Formal Princess, but she is saved by Flash at the last minute. If Flash hadn't found the pictures in the trash to prove Twilight's innocence, Sunset would have won.
  • 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:
    • Both her and Twilight’s actions at the climax of the first film are what gave the Dazzlings the clue that the power they needed exists in the human world, and thus the motivation to become the antagonists of this film.
    • She tells the Dazzlings about the band event, and even suggests that they visit Principal Celestia. (Although they might have already known, and precisely chose this day to enroll for this reason; their expressions at this moment are ambiguous.)
    • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If Sunset Shimmer hadn't returned to Equestria to steal an Element of Harmony in the first place, CHS would still be divided into cliques, the Equestria Girls would still be ex-friends, and Sunset herself would still be a Manipulative Bitch.
  • 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 bed hair on the way out. It certainly makes sense for someone named "Sunset" to dislike the morning. Confirmed in "Wake-Up!", where Sunset is sleeping like a log in the morning and Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash compete with ideas how to energize her.
  • Note to Self: Before Sunset Shimmer confronts a classmate she suspects of possessing the Memory Stone, she turns on a nearby camera before confronting her and preemptively leaves a note in her own pocket telling herself to check it. The note and the footage do indeed help her when her memory gets wiped.
  • No Time to Explain: When Sunset Shimmer pushes Rainbow Dash deeper into the quicksand (actually a portal to Equestria), Twilight is shocked, but Sunset only responds "I'll explain later." With a Man-Eating Plant closing on them, held at bay only by Twilight's telekinesis, they really have no time to waste on exposition.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Sunset tackles Rainbow Dash and stops her song to prevent her from ponying up and blowing their plan to the Dazzlings. While the audience knows that Sunset's doing it for the right reason, the school thinks she's gone back to being an Alpha Bitch.
  • 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, though it is indicated that time between worlds passes by differently so Sunset could have only aged a couple years since coming to the human world with Twilight overtaking her in age by the end of the series. Word of God states "age wise she's like a senior, who was held back a couple years!"
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: 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 recapping their previous adventures, it's become apparent the whole thing has rather become a little in-joke between them more than anything.
  • 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.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: When Sunset tries to use the Element of Magic against Twilight, it does not work as it is able to tell she is not the true bearer, giving Twilight and her human friends the power to defeat Sunset and return everything to normal.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • The only one to point out that the perils of uncontrolled magic is more important than winning the Friendship Games.
    • In "Text Support", when Twilight receives a text message from Timber Spruce that is rendered illegible by emoji overuse, she is the only one to think to ask him for clarification.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Across the series, her various outfits plus her hair gives her a general red, orange, and yellow color scheme. The two Twilight Sparkles on the other hand favor blue, purple, and lavender.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pep-Talk Song: In Legend of Everfree, when the newly super-powered Equestria Girls 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In "Monday Blues", she stops on her way to school just to pet a stray cat, even though she's running late and it's raining.
  • Photoshop Filter of Evil: Sunset Shimmer's attack ad meant to discredit Twilight Sparkle as a candidate for Princess of the Fall Formal features putting a negative filter over footage of Twilight's clumsy attempts to do research in the school library.
  • The Phoenix: Sunset takes on a similar form as one with flaming bird-like wings at the end of "My Past Is Not Today", after singing about atoning for all her sins. The imagery literally demonstrates putting her old life behind her as part of completing her full Heel–Face Turn. The lyrics even directly mention the phoenix.
  • Picky Eater: Sunset has some strong dislikes when it comes to food and drink, including fizzy apple cider (in Equestria Girls) and churros (in Sunset's Backstage Pass).
  • Pillar of Light: When she puts on the crown containing the element of magic in Equestria Girls, she is briefly surrounded by pulsating energy rings which turn into a full pillar. At the end of it she emerges as a demon. In Friendship Games, she travels down another such pillar following her confrontation with Midnight Sparkle, this time emerging as a human from her Daydream Shimmer form.
  • Playing with Fire: Her magic manifests with a fire theme.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Power Echoes: Her voice becomes booming after she turns into a demon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Equestria Girls 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.
  • Power-Up Full Color Change:
    • Compared to her normal greenish/teal unicorn magic, absorbing the power of the Elements of Harmony from Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy turns her magic and attire golden.
    • Her regular ponied-up transformations and empath powers have a red theme going for them.
  • 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.
  • Prayer Pose: Sunset shimmers while holding her hands to her chest in Legend of Everfree during the song "Embrace the Magic". It's time to synchronize with "let it out".
  • 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.
  • The Protagonist: 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.
  • 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 Protagonist in the third.
  • Pseudo-Romantic 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 contrast 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.
  • 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.
  • Psychic Powers: Although it's magic, it functionally is this. Her power set includes...
  • Psychometry: In the "Blizzard or Bust" segment from Holidays Unwrapped, Sunset reads the history of a snowflake by holding it in her hand. She witnesses how the snowflake progressed throughout the water cycle.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until She 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 some hapless person nearby.
    • 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.
    • In Forgotten Friendship, Micro Chips hands her his lunch money when she offers a hand to help him up. She snaps, screaming in the hallways that she isn't mean. Later, she nearly reaches that point again when she finds out the identity of the culprit behind the stolen memories, who calls her by her old title of "Biggest Meanie". Sunset responds with a very menacing threat, but Trixie manages to calm her down.
    • Being trapped in the loops slowly starts to get on Sunset's nerves. She becomes more sarcastic and gives deadpan responses to those around her and lashes out at her friends over various annoyances, which they don't understand because they do not remember the loops like she does. The final straw is when Pinkie Pie abandons her guard duty of watching for the Dazzlings to go get churros, and Sunset rants about how Pinkie keeps ruining her various loops and screams she hates churros, which Pinkie overhears.
  • 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 Equestria Girls 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.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: As a human, she wears a black jacket and boots with a primarily red and bright purple outfit. After her reformation, she's more the next trope.
  • Red Is Heroic: Her hair, outfits and magic often have a red color scheme, and while she was initially a villain, she becomes heroic after the first movie.
  • 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 Not Tamed: After the first movie Sunset really does try to be a better person, but a lot of her flaws that led her to villainy are still present and a good chunk of her Character Development is dealing with these issues in a more healthy way.
  • 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 Rainbooms willing to stand anywhere near her. By the end of the film, however, more students have been shown to forgive her.
  • 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), motocross, as well as pictorial arts, notably as "Flanksy".
  • 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.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Both Sunset Shimmer's cutie mark and T-shirt art prominently features a Yin-Yang Bomb, symbolizing her potential for either remaining a villain or turning good.
    • "My Past is Not Today" has a lot of symbolism and references revolving around The Phoenix as Sunset casts off any lingering sway from her dark past and rises into the air with Hot Wings as the sun comes over the horizon.

    Tropes S–T 
  • Sadist: In Sunset Shimmer's demon form, she throws a fire ball at Princess Twilight and her human friends. Sunset Shimmer Laughs evilly at their supposed deaths and is proud of what she has done. That is until Princess Twilight and her friends are revealed to have survived by the magic of their friendship.
  • 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. Making it all the more impressive that she pulls a true Heel–Face Turn, deeply uncommon for anyone who fits this trope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serious Business: Sunset sees working on the Canterlot High yearbook as this, which is lampshaded by Applejack moments before she starts making a speech about it.
    Sunset Shimmer: The student body has entrusted me with the responsibility of gathering their memories into the pages of this book. In thirty years, we might not remember everything, but we will remember what's in the yearbook.
  • The Shadow Knows: The Music Video Title Card for "My Past Is Not Today" shows Sunset Shimmer's shadow shaped like her grinning demonic form.
  • 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, teasing Twilight about it a few times.
  • Ship Tease: She gets more than a few moments showing that she and Flash Sentry have some genuine affection for the other.
    • In Spring Breakdown, she playfully winks at Flash during the Rainbooms' performance, causing him to blush and Squee.
    • In the webisode "Cheer You On", Sunset is shown blushing just before the start of Flash's song, apparently having been teased by Twilight.
    • In "Do It for the Ponygram", Sunset and Flash are briefly shown walking through the mall, with Flash sheepishly invoking Hand Behind Head.
  • 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 Rainbooms, 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 heroines 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!
  • Sigil Spam: Like the rest of the Equestria Girls, 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 Double Casting: Her actress provides Twilight's singing voice, and she's essentially proto-Twilight in terms of her being Celestia's former protégé and their names being similar.
  • 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.
  • Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy: In Rainbow Rocks she tells Rarity not to feel bad for her when she talks about Flash's obvious feelings for Twilight, noting she only dated him for his popularity.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Flash Sentry is popular because he is a Nice Guy and while Sunset insists she dated Flash because he was popular, it becomes pretty clear that she ended up genuinely liking him more than she planned and even now as Amicable Exes, there is a lingering affection.
  • 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.
  • Sixth Ranger: Becomes this to the Equestria Girls 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.
  • 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 in Rainbow Rocks.
    • Her new outfit from Equestria Girls: Digital Series includes a leather vest over a t-shirt.
  • 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.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Twilight and Sunset are the two most academically inclined girls in the group and are seen playing chess with one another outside their studying sessions.
  • 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 to put on a smile like this once again, if the occasion calls for it.
  • Smug Snake: In the first movie she has an almost perpetual smug grin, is completely convinced that she's going to win, and has a major breakdown when her plans fail. She grows out of it by the end, though her smirk in Rainbow Rocks is still pretty obnoxious.
  • 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.
  • Sore Loser: Good or bad, Sunset admits "I don't like to lose" and takes losing pretty hard.
    • In the first movie, she snaps upon the others praising Twilight for sticking to her morals and not giving in to Sunset, but it still crops up after her reformation. In Rollercoaster of Friendship she and Twilight become obsessed with beating Flim and Flam's rigged ring toss game, and she violently rejects a pity prize; she doesn't want a prize, she wants to win.
    • Averted when it comes to competitions against her own friends, as shown in "Game Stream"; as enraged as she gets when she can't get a handle on the game controls when playing against Fluttershy, she never turns her anger on her friend and happily congratulates Fluttershy when the game is over.
  • Sour Supporter: Even after getting superpowers and being accepted by her friends and Canterlot High, she constantly worries about the future, and thinks the Equestria Girls are going to face an even greater challenge.
  • 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 Rainbooms to combat them (albeit with help from Spike and DJ Pon-3), and it's Sunset that gives the band their Heroic Second Wind when the Dazzlings nearly overpower the heroes in the final battle.
  • Sphere of Power: She becomes enveloped a glowing sphere of magic when she unleashes the Element's power from the amulet in Friendship Games, as Twilight did moments before her. Her Beam-O-War with the transformed Twilight becomes a giant one that swallows both of them after Sunset wins, which collapses into a Pillar of Light that they descend down after Twilight accepts her offer of help and friendship.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Sunset is either a protagonist or Deuteragonist for every Equestria Girls film except the first one. And in the first film, she's the Big Bad, so she's still an important character. After her Heel–Face Turn, Sunset eclipsed Twilight as the main character of the franchise as a whole. The more episodic Summertime Shorts and Digital Series sees the screen-time is distributed evenly between the whole group, but Sunset remains a focal point in the films.
  • Start of Darkness: Sunset was once an ambitious 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.
  • Stationary Wings: As Daydream Shimmer her wings don't flap as they are made of light, but she's able to float in the air nonetheless.
  • Stealth Pun: Her cutiemark is a sun, and she's a former student of Celestia who left and returns years later in Forgotten Friendship. She's a Prodigal Sun.
  • 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.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Sunset Shimmer certainly tries, but she has as much success measuring magic as Twilight Sparkle did figuring out the "Pinkie Sense".
  • 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. Her demon form has no such moral limitations and tries to fry Twilight and her friends without a second thought.
  • 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 Protagonist proper of the movie.
  • Supporting Protagonist: In Legend of Everfree. While Twilight is The Protagonist proper 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.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Gets a few moments of this in the first film thanks to Snips and Snails acting as her henchmen. Ironically, the biggest moment of this comes from them doing too thorough of a job wrecking the preparations for the Fall Formal to frame Princess Twilight, to the point where the event nearly gets postponed.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Sunset is quick to deny actually having had feelings for Flash Sentry when they were dating, and that she doesn't have a problem with him crushing on Twilight, but her down face when Rarity lampshades the crush implies otherwise. However, when Twilight arrives, she seems to go along with the idea of Flash and Twilight being together.
  • Swapped Roles: Sunset is able to use The Power of Friendship to defeat and help Human Twilight after she went mad with magical power, just like how Pony Twilight did the same for Sunset in the first movie. Lampshaded by Sunset herself.
    Sunset: Take my hand, Twilight. Let me show you there's another way, just like someone once did for me.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Taking the Bullet: Does a non-lethal version for the rest of the Rainbooms in Forgotten Friendship. Sunset dives in the way of a spell that would have erased all of her friends' memories of high school and each other, losing her own memories of them all in the process, because Sunset refuses to let their friendship be broken up again.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Does this in "Wake-Up Shake-Up" when Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Pinkie Pie find her sleeping in at the festival.
    Sunset Shimmer: Five more minutes, Princess Celestia... I don't wanna go to magic school.
  • 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.
  • Tareme Eyes: Compared to her pony model, her human model's eyes lean towards this, especially after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • Taught by Experience: She 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.
    • In Forgotten Friendship, when Sunset reads through the restricted section of an Equestrian library, she ends up bored out of her mind. Twilight, meanwhile, is having the time of her life.
  • Team Mom: From Friendship 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 has stated that, were Sunset to have an Element of Harmony, it would be Empathy or Forgiveness.
  • 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.
  • 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, a 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.
  • 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.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Sunset Shimmer saying "I'm not a monster..." can be seen as this, considering that a few minutes later she does become a monster, both in appearance and behavior.
    • In Friendship Games, when she's pointing out that the stakes of the event aren't as high as her friends make it out to be.
      Sunset Shimmer: It's not like we'll be fighting the powers of evil magic.
  • 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.
  • 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: When Sunset uses her Touch Telepathy to read Pinkie's mind, Sunset sees Pinkie skipping through a large pink field full of sentient candy. After breaking off the telepathy, Sunset says, "That explains so much..."
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Sunset's Touch Telepathy comes in handy during a rescue sequence when she needs to figure out the identity of a lost child's mother.
  • 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 its 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.
  • Took a Level in Cheerfulness: In Legend of Everfree. After spending most of Rainbow Rocks wrestling with guilt and her peers' rejection, followed by a lot of Heroic Self-Deprecation in Friendship Games, her friendship with the human world's Twilight Sparkle seems to have increased her self-confidence quite a bit by Everfree, to the point where she's the most optimistic of the group when it comes to dealing with the magic they encounter at the camp. Making it all the more devastating when that cheerfulness is crushed during the events of Forgotten Friendship, though she largely bounces back in later works.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: She takes several between the first movie and Rainbow Rocks, though only the Rainbooms 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.
  • Touch Telepathy: The power she gains in Legend of Everfree. Touching someone lets Sunset see their memories and emotions. Rainbow's overuse of her own power in one of the later webisodes allows Sunset to read thoughts merely from proximity.
  • Tough Love: After Sunset sees Flash acting awkward around Human Twilight (who looks almost identical to his actual crush and is also crushing on a different guy) in Legend of Everfree, Sunset brings up his relationship with Pony Twilight. Sunset points out how as a Princess, Equestrian Twilight has too many responsibilities back home to keep visiting the human world all the time and that a long-distance relationship between her and Flash might not even work out. Flash asks Sunset if this means that he's just going to have to forget dating Twilight, to which Sunset bluntly answers yes. Flash thinks her advice is harsh, which Sunset doesn't deny and apologizes for it. However, Flash does later thank her for the tough love further into the movie.
    Flash Sentry: Ouch. You're not pulling any punches.
    Sunset Shimmer: Not really my style. Sorry.
  • Transformation Ray: How Demon Sunset turns her Co-Dragons Snips and Snails also into demons.
  • 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 six other heroines, 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.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The events of Forgotten Friendship are this to her. In a matter of three days, she learns her friends have forgotten all positive memories of her and see her as a cruel bully once again, ends up in front of Princess Celestia asking for her forgiveness, gets rejected by her friends again even after providing hard evidence of their relationship, finds the whole school turned against her, can only acquire one human ally and nearly sinks into despair, plus learns a Celestial Deadline is set to doom her to isolation. When she finally finds the culprit, she's hit with a Laser-Guided Amnesia blast that tears out her memories while she screams in agony, subsequently having no recollection of where or what she is and cowering in terrified confusion on the ground, begging for help. It's resolved moments later when her friends finally come to her aid, but woof.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: After seeing her friends at the beach, Sunset Shimmer returns to CHS, crosses the portal to Equestria, travels with Princess Twilight to Canterlot's castle to speak with Princess Celestia, then goes to the restricted section of the Canterlot Library and spends time doing research. While it's not specified how long Sunset studied, it was long enough to check mountains of books and get Sunset bored out of her skull. Afterward, Sunset returns to Twilight's castle, crosses back to the human world, and returns to the beach. Even after all of that, the rest of the girls are still enjoying their day out.
  • Troubled, but Cute: An anti-social troublemaker before her redemption. She wears a leather jacket, to boot.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Sunset Shimmer slumps into one after Principal Celestia mentions the Fall Formal, and every student in the gym (save the Rainbooms) starts glaring at the former school queen.
  • Tsurime Eyes: Her pony model has upward-facing eyes similar to Rarity's, but with some minor differences like slightly thicker eyeliner.
  • Twisted-Knee Collapse: Sunset Shimmer slumps to the floor with her knees awkwardly spread after finding out her memories erased and that she and Trixie are locked up in the photo lab.

    Tropes U–Z 
  • Uncatty Resemblance: Briefly teased with the fish sharing Sunset Shimmer's hair color, but she doesn't choose it as a pet in the end.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: As seen in Forgotten Friendship and the shorts "Monday Blues" and "Good Vibes", Sunset has both her own apartment and a job as a waitress, despite presumably not having the documentation one would need for either of these. She also is able to legally live on her own, despite still ostensibly being a teenager.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: As seen in the page image, Sunset usually changes outfits every movie, and wears several more during the series and webisodes. Her hair can change too, but not nearly as frequently.
  • Unusual Ears: Like the rest of the human heroines, Sunset eventually gains her own anthropony form, which replaces her normal ears with pony ones.
  • 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 Rainbooms call her out on not using something less drastic that would have handled the issue.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Her theft of the Element of Magic and subsequent usage of it during the Fall Formal would set the entire Equestria Girls franchise into motion by exposing the world to magic and giving the girls their powers, making their school a sort of hub for magical goings-on. Throughout the rest of the series, Sunset develops a Guilt Complex around magic, feeling like everything relating to magic is her responsibility. Sunset 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.
    • Her lashing out at Twilight in Friendship Games, while understandable, has the unfortunate effect of leaving Twilight despondent and easy prey for Cinch's manipulations. By the time Sunset realizes what Twilight's about to do, she's too late to stop her from opening the pendant and becoming Midnight Sparkle.
  • Vague Age: It implied by her being Twilight's predecessor and confirmed by Word of God that Sunset is older than Twilight, but there's contradictory evidence on how muchnote . While their human forms are seemingly the same age, Twilight also suffers Vague Age and many characters have been aged down or up to fit the high school setting.
  • 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.
  • Villainous BSoD: Her defeat in the first movie has definite shades of this. Between being overwhelmed by the power she stole and subsequent friendship-flavored beatdown, she's reduced to a sobbing wreck, utterly aware of how bad a person she had been up to this point. She gets better, after that.
  • 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.
  • Vocal Evolution: Rebecca Shoichet's voice for Sunset is noticeably lighter and softer in Rainbow Rocks, as a sign of Sunset's more heroic character. Rainbow Rocks also featured Sunset's first singing role, and her singing sounded nearly identical to Twilight's, whose singing voice is also provided by Shoichet. In subsequent appearances, Rebecca learned to better diverge the two singing voices; singing for Sunset is noticeably darker and fuller in comparison to Twilight's clearer and gentler range.
  • Waistcoat of Style: At the beginning of the web series, she trades her leather jacket in for one with orange spikes on the collar.
  • 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.
  • Walking Spoiler: Her status as the main protagonist of the Equestria Girls sub-franchise spoils her Heel–Face Turn and subsequent redemption arc in the first two films of the series.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Sunset Shimmer frames Twilight for the destruction of the Fall Formal decorations through an incredibly crude forgery using cutouts and a photocopier. Even MS Paint would have produced equally convincing forgeries without leaving evidence for Flash Sentry to find. It gets doubly weird when you remember that she's already used a video editing program comparable to Adobe Premiere. The Novelization has them using photo editing technology, but they still leave evidence behind in the form of the original photos so Luna can compare them to the altered ones.
  • 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.
    • When she gets fed up with Pinkie Pie during her "Groundhog Day" Loop in Sunset's Backstage Pass and abandons her to see the PostCrush concert on her own — leading to some Sanity Slippage on Pinkie's part — the rest of the group calls her out. Subverted in that Sunset's too busy riding the high of the concert to care, and the nature of the time loop means no one else ends up remembering (though Sunset does end up realizing the error of her ways anyway).
    • In Holidays Unwrapped, Twilight calls her out over her heist-style plot to break into Canterlot High, both for the fact that it's a crime to do so and for her idea to use Fluttershy's powers to sic a Feathered Fiend on the school janitor.
  • 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.
  • 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 high schooler, or if she really is still relatively young and time between the two worlds simply flows differently (though it is implied to be the latter due to her dance photos in the first movie indicating she has only been in the human world for a couple of years at that point).
  • 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.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Not even at her worst. 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 Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Despite successfully earning everybody's trust 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 Twilight's 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Concerning Princess Celestia, this is how she feels about returning to Equestria. Largely trying to avoid her former-teacher instead of reconciling. The events of Forgotten Friendship forced her to humbly return, begging forgiveness and guidance, not realizing Celestia already forgave her and missed her terribly.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Sunset Shimmer

After being blasted with the power of friendship and being purified of her monstrous demon form, Sunset Shimmer emerges from the ensuing crater broken, remorseful and crying.

How well does it match the trope?

3.89 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / TearsOfRemorse

Media sources: