Follow TV Tropes


My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic / Tropes A to B

Go To

Tropes A-B | Tropes C-D | Tropes E-K | Tropes L-P | Tropes Q-S | Tropes T-Z

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

  • Aborted Arc:
    • A couple episodes early in Season 4 were dedicated to the Mane Six exploring and fixing up the original Castle of the Two Sisters in the Everfree Forest. This was dropped after the sixth episode, and from then on when the Castle reappears it's in the same state of disrepair as before.
    • The Season 4 finale had the Mane Six acquire "Rainbow Power" as a seeming replacement for the Elements of Harmony after they had been given up to the Tree of Harmony. Aside from a Dream Sequence in Season 5 and a throw-away joke in Season 8, it was never brought up again, and when they've needed the Elements since they've just gone to the Tree and taken them back.
    • The Season 5 finale seemed to imply that the Cutie Mark Crusaders had something special about the way they got their cutie marks, as it's unheard of for three ponies to have it happen at once, and the only other time Twilight heard of it happening was her and her friends, who became the Elements of Harmony. This was supported by the "Cutie Mark Magic" toys that were being produced at the same time. Nothing of it has been mentioned again since Season 5.
    • "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" ended with the implication that the griffons could maybe start to rebuild their kingdom if they started being nice and helping each other out more, and Gilda was going to spearhead efforts. Every time we've seen Griffonstone since it's still the same dump it was before, and the griffons we see aren't any nicer either.
    • The end of Season 5 heavily played up Starlight Glimmer's magical power, with Twilight surprised at what she did to Star Swirl's spell and that Starlight could match her, an alicorn, in magical prowess. While Starlight remains a powerful spellcaster, any plot significance hinted at was forgotten in Season 6, and her powers are merely abnormally strong.
  • Abridged Series:
  • Absent Animal Companion: The early episode "A Bird in the Hoof" introduces Philomena, Princess Celestia's pet phoenix. Philomena plays a major role in the episode, which establishes her as Princess Celestia's longtime and immortal pet, but she is never seen nor mentioned again for the rest of the series, with no explanation given for her absence.
  • Absurdly Long Stairway: The show has Twilight Sparkle confront a long, long circular staircase leading to where the McGuffin is. She manages to get past this obstacle by reversing gravity and dropping up to the staircase's bottom side, which is smooth and allows her to easily slide up.
  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Rarity's cat Opal cuts off half of Sweetie Belle's mane with a swipe of her claws.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal:
    • Everypony living at Sweet Apple Acres wears exactly one accessory each: Applejack's cowboy hat, Big Macintosh's yoke, Apple Bloom's hair bow, and Granny Smith's bandanna.
    • All ponies occasionally wear some accessories. Most notably, there's the mane six's dresses for the Grand Galloping Gala. Other accessories are mostly used for visual gags and tend to be gone in the next scene. Meanwhile, the ponies in Canterlot are shown wearing a lot of different outfits and accessories, possibly related to the difference in wealth between Ponyville and Canterlot.
    • Celestia, Luna, and Cadance all just wear crowns, necklaces, and shoes.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • The Big Bad Discord makes Pinkie Pie laugh by doing a little dance on the head of an image of Twilight Sparkle. The fans certainly found that animation amusing.
    • In the episode "Baby Cakes", Pinkie Pie becomes the victim of a Running Gag. The only way the foals she's baby sitting will quiet down is if flour gets dumped on her (in one case while she was soaking wet). At the episode's end, the foals do the flour gag to themselves to cheer up Pinkie. She admits they were right, that is funny.
    • In an earlier episode, "Griffon the Brush Off", Pinkie applies this to her love of pranks by pranking ponies in such a way that it evokes this reaction. She won't pull a prank on someone who's sensitive enough to take even a harmless prank seriously, which is why she aborts a prank when Fluttershy winds up the one it would have hit.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Tirek admits Discord's stained glass window of the two of them is quite amusing.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The series is seemingly more action-oriented than previous generations, especially in most season premiers and finales. Most of the ponies aren't afraid to charge against danger or throw punches (or kicks) against villains. When that's not enough, the certain pony groups, including the Mane 6, can unleash Friendship-powered rainbow beams to defeat, and even destroy the deadliest of monsters.
    • Applejack and Rainbow Dash are near-unrecognizable compared to G1 Applejack and G3 Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash goes from basically having FIM Rarity's exact personality, dahling, to being much more athletic and competitive, and does things like demolishing an old barn by flying into it at Super Speed causing a rainbow-colored mushroom cloud. Applejack is also pretty much The Big Guy of the series, being a tomboyish cowgirl. Sweet Apple Acres' apple harvesting method is basically "Applejack kicks the tree so hard that all the apples fall at once while everyone else runs around with buckets."
    • The original Tirek was no pushover by a long shot, in the original Vile Villain, Saccharine Show, but his main threat was being the wielder of the Rainbow of Darkness and having an army whom he mutated with it at his command. Lord Tirek? He has no army and is still such a massive threat that sending Discord after him is considered the best means of defeating him. Somewhat played with, though — he starts out far weaker than G1 Tirek due to his imprisonment, and Discord was sent out because his abilities let him sense Tirek's magic and track him down effortlessly. It's only after he drains enough ponies that he becomes a real threat.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Could be considered one for the previous generation cartoons. This show combines the fantasy and adventure elements of the original G1 cartoons, the Slice of Life style of Tales, and most of the mane cast are re-imagined G3 characters.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: This show does this a lot.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The Changeling Mooks from the Season 2 finale. They're insectoid little shapeshifters with Cute Little Fangs and really big blue eyes.
  • Adoring the Pests: In "Swarm Of The Century", Fluttershy finds a cute Parasprite, feeds it, and brings it home. On the way, it multiplies. The Parasprites keep multiplying until they eat most of Ponyville (the buildings, not the residents!).
  • Adult Fear:
    • An episode where Rarity has to spend a week with her much younger sister Sweetie Belle, with her essentially taking a parent role for in every scene they have together. They get on each other's nerves until they declare that they don't want to be sisters anymore, and Sweetie Belle runs away. Rarity soon has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and heads out to find her, and while the next scene has her doing just that, the fact that her epiphany happened in the daytime and the next scene is at night indicates that she's spent quite a long time desperately searching everywhere in town, worried about what might have happened to her baby sister.
    • Then there's Season 1 episode "The Stare Master". The Cutie Mark Crusaders venture into the Everfree Forest, in the middle of the night, to find a missing chicken. Fluttershy, who was entrusted with their care, goes after them and bumps into a petrified Twilight Sparkle; she then realizes that a Cockatrice, a very dangerous chicken-shaped monster, is near...
    • "Secret of My Excess": Twilight gets to watch as her surrogate brother/child, Spike, goes through an unknown health problem before maturing into a monster and becoming a threat to everyone and everything around him. Spike finds out that growing up will involve destroying everything around him and abandoning or hurting everyone he holds dear.
    • The "Baby Cakes" episode featured a scene that's every parent's and babysitter's nightmare. Pinkie turns her back on the babies she's taking care of, and when she checks on them again, the babies have disappeared. To emphasize the Adult Fear, the following tense minutes where she's looking for them are even shot like something straight out of a horror movie.
    • "Dragon Quest":
      • The episode has Spike falling in with the wrong crowd. There's also a recurring theme of an adopted child rejecting his foster parents as not his "real" family.
      • Spike's not the only one to get a dose of this trope in the episode. He finally realizes that his fellow adolescent dragons are "the wrong crowd" when he finds out that they make a regular activity out of stealing phoenix eggs from their parents' nests and smashing them, purely because they find it fun. If that revelation doesn't prove them to be evil, their willingness to take the newborn babies after they hatch definitely does.
    • "The Cutie Pox" has Apple Bloom contracting a life-threatening illness with no known cure.
  • Adults Are Useless: Episodes featuring the Cutie Mark Crusaders tend to use this trope. For instance, the adult ponies rarely do anything about Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's bullying, even when it happens right in front of them.
  • Adventure Towns: Early episodes have predominantly taken place in either Ponyville or Canterlot. With each passing season, more episodes have been taking place outside of those two cities including the Crystal Empire and Manehattan.
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders had a bit of a Running Gag in the early seasons where they ignored any moral about not trying to force their cutie marks to appear. They eventually grew out of this, especially when they finally got their cutie marks — ironically, around the same time they decided to stop caring about them so much.
    • Almost every episode that involves trying to keep a secret from someone to spare their feelings ends with them learning that telling a hard truth is better than an easy lie. Usually with Applejack yelling how she's been saying that from the beginning.
  • Air Quotes: Despite having hooves, the ponies can manage this gesture on occasion.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Most of the characters speak Ponish, which is exactly like English (or English translated the other languages the show is dubbed into). Written language on the show is mostly various indecipherable symbols.
  • Alliterative Family: Cup & Carrot Cake and their children, Pound & Pumpkin Cake.
    • Griffons appear to be an entire species of this with every named character starting with 'G'.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: The Canadian live show.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Any of the gems Rarity finds.
  • All There in the Script: Besides several character names (see the Characters pages for those), some other names have only come up outside of the show: Crusaders Clubhousenote , Day Spanote , Golden Oak Library/Golden Oaks Library/Golden Eagle Library/Books and Branches Librarynote , (Sweetie Belle's) Ice Cream Train Catnote , (Fluttershy's) Nursery Train Catnote , Pie Family Rock Farmsnote , Pony Joe'snote , Pony Princess Wedding Castlenote , Ponyville Schoolhousenote , (Applejack's) Sweet Apple Barnnote , and (Twilight Sparkle's) Twinkling Balloonnote . Additionally, "Glimmer Wings" may be the term for ponies with wings like the ones Rarity gets in "Sonic Rainboom", as they're similar to those of the Glimmer Wings toy ponies.
  • All Your Colors Combined:
    • The Care-Bear Stare-esque attack at the end the two-part pilot is a partial example; the multi-colored gems associated with the Elements of Harmony (red, orange, pink, purple, magenta, and blue) don't comprise all the colors of the rainbow, but they form a traditional six-colored rainbow when their powers combine.note 
    • "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2":
      • When the Mane Six unlock the mysterious chest at the Tree of Harmony and gain access to the Rainbow Power form of the Elements of Harmony. The traditional six colors of the rainbow are replaced with the colors of the mares' fur.
      • Additonally to the above, when post-empowerment Twilight fires magical blasts at Tirek, the blast is purple (the color of Twilight's magic), but also streaked with golden yellow, dark blue, and sky blue, the colors of the magical auras of Celestia, Luna, and Cadance respectively.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Lauren Faust once stated that Princess Celestia (and thus presumably any Winged Unicornnote  in the show's universe) embodies the traits of Earth ponies (strength), Pegasi (wings), and unicorns (magic). The first series of trading cards listed Princess Celestia as well as her sister Princess Luna/Nightmare Moon and niece Princess Cadance as being Pegasi and unicorns but not Earth ponies; the second series corrected that.
    • When Twilight Sparkle becomes an alicorn, Celestia tells her:
    Since you've come to Ponyville, you've displayed the charity, compassion, devotion, integrity, optimism, and of course, the leadership of a true princess.
    (As she is talking, the camera moves to show Twilight's friends: Rarity, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, then back to Twilight Sparkle - i.e. the elements of Generosity, Kindness, Loyalty, Honesty, Laughter, and Magic.)
    • "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2":
      • Celestia, Luna, and Cadance transfer their magic energy into Twilight for safekeeping. This gives Twilight the power to control the sun and the moon, though not with the same level of skill.
      • Tirek provides a villainous example. His goal is to absorb all the magic in Equestria, including from unicorns, pegasi, Earth ponies, and alicorns. He would supposedly gain the ability to control the environment as ponies do, but he's never seen using it except to enhance his own powers.
  • Alpha Bitch: One of the most important lessons Lauren Faust seems to want to teach girls is how to deal with bitches without becoming one yourself. Examples include:
    • Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, the two fillies who bully Apple Bloom at school. Or so they think.
    • The Discord-corrupted Rarity and Fluttershy act like this in the two first episodes of the second Season.
    • The two mares who hassle Fluttershy at the asparagus stand in "Putting Your Hoof Down", who also talk like valley girls.
    • Gilda, of course, of whom Faust's comment was originally directed at. Also, Trixie.
  • Alternate Continuity: At least four of them, as the Novelizations (including the storybooks and the magazine stories) and the Canadian live show adapt some of the same episodes.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • Daring Do's nemesis, Ahuizotl, is actually not something made up for the show - Ahuizotl is actually the name of an Aztec creature. On top of that, it's actually a fairly accurate portrayal in terms of appearance.
    • A few people unfamiliar with the concept of a greenroof (or Sod Roof) thought Fluttershy's house was impossible - actually, Nordic people have done this for centuries.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • While real horses and ponies come in a variety of colors, the ponies of Equestria seems to come in color combinations ranging from believable to flat-out garish (like Merry May, a Pegasus with a lime coat and a magenta mane).
    • While griffons don't exist in the real world, one would assume they would have colorations similar to real-world lions and eagles. And yet we have these.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Since ponies are made of Flash objects, they—or parts of them—often appear mirrored. It's more complicated than a simple flip, though. The ponies seem to have a "good side" that, in nearly every shot, starts out facing the camera. When a pony turns around while visible in a shot, all of their features remain left-right consistent, and the other side shows—unless they turn around very quickly, in which case the Flash object gets flipped, and the "good side" stays to the fore.
    • This is especially prominent in the case of Fluttershy and Rarity, whose manes can obscure their faces. They always begin every shot with their bangs out of their faces, whether facing right or left, except when the shot calls for Fluttershy to look extra shy or Rarity to look worried or depressed. The highlights in Twilight's hair also change sides depending on which direction she's facing, with the pink highlight closest to the camera. On head-on shots, the pink highlight seems to default to being on Twilight's left (the viewers' right) side of her hair.
    • Another fairly obvious one is Zecora, as she has her gold ringlets on the left side of her forelegs. However, whenever her flash object is flipped, the gold ringlets flip with her, putting the ringlets on the other side.
    • A mild case occurs with Spike, who is usually shown writing letters with his right hand. On occasion, he's shown writing letters with his left hand, and in "Dragonshy" is shown alternating hands while writing the friendship report.
    • This is also apparent in short gags such as the telescope in "Griffon The Brush Off", as the smudge on Dash's eye is first on her left eye, then on her right when she looks in the pond.
    • Subverted with Discord, whose concept art by Lauren Faust indicate he was supposed to have limbs that change position; to further support his role as the spirit of chaos and confusion. Averted as the artists did not follow this concept, presumably because it would be too difficult to animate and still look good.
    • One building in Ponyville (presumably a joke shop) has a sign shaped like a pony's head, wearing a fake arrow. The arrow always points away from the camera.
  • Ambiguously Gay: The sea serpent.
  • Ambiguously Related:
    • The background ponies who participate in "Sisterhooves Social", "Brotherhooves Social", and "The Cart Before the Ponies" are paired with foals of varying degrees of resemblance. The main characters participating have done so with established biological siblings (Rarity and Sweetie Belle, Applejack/Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom) and honorary (Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo), leaving the nature of those pairings open to interpretation.
    • Cloud Chaser and Flitter often appear together, have the same blue pelts, similar eye colors, and similar mane colors. It's not clarified if they're fraternal twins, of another relation, or just similar looking friends.
    • In "Pinkie Apple Pie", some genealogical records appear to reveal that Pinkie Pie is a distant cousin of Applejack's, but one of the names is smudged on the relevant page. Pinkie goes with AJ's family on a journey to the Apple family historian to clear the issue up—but those family records are smudged as well. At the episode's end, Pinkie and AJ still don't know if they're related, but decide Pinkie can be a member of the Apple family if she wants to.
    • In "Grannies Gone Wild", the stage magician Jack Pot looks and acts a lot like a male version of Trixie, and he's old enough to be Trixie's father. For what it's worth, the Loose Canon "My Little Pony: Ultimate Guide" does specify that they're father and daughter and it came out a year before the episode aired. Word of God is that the implications were intentional but "Hasbro may decide to change their minds down the line somewhere".
  • Ambition Is Evil: Notably, admirably, and satisfyingly subverted or averted at almost every opportunity. Rarity in particular has not received karmic punishment for daring to want to succeed, except when such desire cuts ahead of her friends. Equally impressively, the invertion of the trope is also averted - while the three "ambitious" protagonists (Rarity, Twilight and Dash) enjoy some well-earned success over the course of the series, the three "unambitious" ones (Pinkie, Applejack and Fluttershy) stay in more or less the same situation as they started out as, and seem perfectly happy with it.
  • Amusing Injuries: Rainbow Dash's (and others') exaggerated crashes qualify.
  • Anachronic Order: A consequence of the episodic nature of the series. Word of God says that "The show is made up of both 'adventure' and 'slice of life' episodes. There is a loose time line for the show, but many of the episodes (especially the 'slice of life ones') are written in such a way that they can fit almost anywhere in said time line." The show also seems to have some Comic-Book Time going on, and there is more than a little bit of Negative Continuity going on.
    • One brony tried to order the first Season's episodes correctly, but goodness knows whether he's even close. Some key points stand out:
      • "Fall Weather Friends", which takes place at the beginning of fall, aired after "Winter Wrap Up", which takes place at the end of winter. Word of God says their main priority was to make sure young viewers understood how the world works with the ponies being in charge of changing the seasons, and that little—if any—effort went into ensuring a coherent timeline.
      • The dresses Rarity makes in episode 14, "Suited For Success", appear very briefly in episode 10, "Swarm of the Century". Perhaps the parasprites ate them and forced Rarity to start over.
      • Pinkie Pie's rant about Rainbow Dash in the beginning of "Griffon the Brush Off" seems remarkably similar to Rainbow's Sonic Rainboom during the episode of the same name, an event that happens a full ten episodes later.
    • According to one of the layout artists, episodes 1 through 36 were aired in production order (the same numbering that Hasbro's website and My Little Pony YouTube channel, The Hub and its website, Google Play, Netflix, and partly the iTunes Store have gone with)—episodes 37 through 39 and 60 through 63 are Out of Order in broadcast order ("Hearth's Warming Eve" being moved from after "Family Appreciation Day" & "Baby Cakes" to before them, and "Just for Sidekicks" being moved from before "Apple Family Reunion", "Spike at Your Service" & "Keep Calm and Flutter On" to after them).
    • The Sparkle World story The Magic of Friendship implies that "Sonic Rainboom" takes place when Twilight and Spike were still new to Ponyville. The story states that Twilight and Spike hadn't lived in Ponyville very long and refers to the rest of the mane six as their new friends, yet later in the story Rainbow Dash performs a Sonic Rainboom for what would have to be at least the third time, placing "Sonic Rainboom" early in the series' chronology.
    • None of the seasonal episodes could have happened in the order that they were made or aired. Every annual event also seems to be the first since Twilight moved to Ponyville, meaning that seasonal episodes from the second and third television season should have happened concurrently with events from the first.
    • The fourth Season premiere seems to commemorate the one year mark of the series, and is the first time that an annual event recurs, making it the first event that can't be put into a single year. Whether the writers will pay more attention to a timeline in the future is unknown, but unlikely.
    • The order of the acquisition of the Keys in the friendship journal in "Twilight Kingdom" is totally different from the order of the episodes with the acquisition of the Keys.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The Ponyville Schoolhouse toy has a picture that shows present-day fillies Sweetie Belle and Sunny Daze alongside the filly versions of Pinkie Pie, Cheerilee, and the pony who was dressed as a flower for the play in Rarity's flashback during "The Cutie Mark Chronicles". Not necessarily an error, since the picture isn't stated to be a real photo.
    • Consider the fact that Equestria possesses technology from several different centuries. The houses of Ponyville are straw-thatched cottages lit primarily by candlelight; the Kingdom of Canterlot has architecture based in Medieval Stasis while advancing in all other aspects; and Cloudsdale appears to be more technologically advanced, having the abilities to control weather and develop a modern military, despite having architectural motifs from ancient Greece. Appleloosa is a Wild West town, while Manehattan is a modern metropolis. The creatures range from a Cerberus and phoenix, associated with ancient myth, to farm animals and domesticated pets. Characters might use a wooden cart, a chariot, a feather and quill, or non-electrical farm equipment in daily life; others might use a jackhammer, a record turntable, an anemometer, or even a laboratory meant to monitor vital signs and natural phenomena.
  • An Aesop: Virtually every episode has some kind of lesson about friendship.
    • The first two seasons had Twilight and her friends spell out the moral in the form of a letter to Princess Celestia, but this was dropped after Twilight became a princess at the end of Season 3, the focus shifting to Twilight teaching others what she and her friends had learned.
    • Literally in the case of "Suited For Success". "If you try to please everypony, you oftentimes end up pleasing nopony — especially yourself", was the moral of an actual Aesop's Fable.note 
    • Twilight's letters to Celestia are actually a plot point in The Return of Harmony, Part 2": Celestia sends all of them back to Twilight to remind her why she should be fighting for her friends, instead of giving up, packing her bags and leaving Ponyville and Equestria to Discord's mercy. Also, the Aesop of the episode ends up being used in Twilight's speech.
    • Subverted in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000". The usual "letter to the princess" Aesop-delivery is set up... and then Applejack points out that she knew the aesop already, and didn't need to learn a thing. Then Double Subverted, as she proceeds to explain what it was she was right about all along.
    Applejack: Dear Princess Celestia, I wanted to share my thoughts with you. (Clears Throat) I didn't learn anythin'! Ha! I was right all along!
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Nightmare Moon was banished into the moon by her older sister for one thousand years before being able to escape. She's at least aware of how long she's been gone.
    • Discord was imprisoned in stone by Luna and Princess Celestia, and outright states that it's quite lonely being encased in stone, implying he was entirely aware of his time in there (which was upwards of a thousand years). He gets put back in short order. This is mentioned again in "Keep Calm and Flutter On". Discord tells us that even while stone he can hear everything Celestia says. So he's definitely conscious and aware. Though it didn't seem to bother him that much as when he turned back (both times) he treated it as an minor inconvenience/annoyance rather than torturous suffering.
    • King Sombra was kept in a state of suspended animation in the glaciers north of Equestria after Celestia and Luna deposed him.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom", we have Tirek, who joins the ever-growing ranks of villains imprisoned for a thousand years by Celestia. This time, he was locked away in Tartarus (essentially hell in Classical Mythology). As most saw coming, he goes back there at the end of the two-parter — until the last season, when he's released by Gregor who's actually Discord, along with Cozy Glow and Sombra.
    • The final fates of Tirek, Queen Crystalis and Cozy Glow, who are all turned into stone. Suggested by Discord, who thought it would be ironic.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • The rewards for earning points in Adventures in Ponyville.
    • Also pops up in the cartoon proper a few times. In "Winter Wrap Up", Twilight is rewarded with a special team vest for her efforts (she was left out of the initial planning because she's new in town, so she didn't have a team vest).
  • Angrish:
    • Rarity lapses into this in "Sisterhooves Social" when Sweetie Belle's attempts to help her go awry.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Tirek's dialogue during the fight with Twilight consists largely of enraged roaring and growling.
  • Animals Lack Attributes: It's a family show, so the ponies' genitalia are never visible even when logic dictates they should be.
  • Animation Bump:
    • The show took a bump in quality towards the end of the first Season as Top Draw Animation took over from in-house, but it wasn't too noticeable at first. "Lesson Zero" really showed what they could do, with crisper colors, complex fluid animation throughout and refinement and outright changes to character models.
    • A very notable instance goes to this shot from "Putting Your Hoof Down", where the camera does a beautifully animated 3D pan while Rarity tells Fluttershy that she can utilize her assertiveness without being a Jerkass about it.
    • This extends to the "Madame Pinkie" scene in "It's About Time!" and the first couple of minutes during "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2".
    • During longer musical numbers (especially in Season 2), the animation has a notable improvement. For example, you can see the pony's hair flowing and bouncing better, instead of a single object being stretched and moved around.
    • Season 3 seems to have improved on the animation even more, if "The Crystal Empire - Part 1" is any indication. The way Twilight's mane and tail flow in the wind during "The Failure Song" is something that was rarely seen even during Season 2.
    • Season 4 develops things even more. Even from just the first few episodes, different types of shading get used more often, and the animators really seem to be going for broke in designing facial expressions for the cast. By the time Season 5 started, nearly every episode showcased a new animation trick and new facial expressions.
    • The battle between Twilight and Tirek in "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2".
    • In general, the show's Flash animation has become far more fluid and less marionette-like as it has continued. The use of cheaper animation tricks like mirrored sprites or static "talking head" scenes decreased as the seasons went on, and far more angles and expressions are used with each shot change, making it closer and closer to the level of traditional hand drawn animation. The movie skips the formalities and transitions from Flash to Toomboom.
  • Animesque:
    • Friendship Is Magic continues the precedent set by the G3.5 cartoons, with even bigger eyes and smaller snouts (but less humanlike qualities for the ponies, see below). It's particularly noticeable with the Magical Girl theme of the second episode, the use of Quivering Eyes and Speed Stripes, and the "n_n" expression the characters often get when they smile.
    • The style of this show is very reminiscent of something else too.
    • The Japanese version takes it to the next level by giving it an Anime Theme Song, and adding Boss Subtitles to character introductions.
    • The Italian version also gave it an Anime Theme Song. This theme song can even be found on YouTube with a watermark that says "anime fun".
  • Answer Cut:
    Spike: If that was an Ursa Minor... what's an Ursa Major like?
    Twilight Sparkle: You don't wanna know.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", when Tirek screams "Where is your magic?!?", immediately cut to Twilight blowing the door off her library, blowing a crater in the town square, and blowing past Rainbow Dash with a sonic boom.
    • In "The Summer Sun Setback":
    Discord: Well, it really does seem like you just might be ready for whatever comes next, your majesty.
    (Cut to Grogar)
  • Anthropomorphic Shift:
    • Inverted. In predecessor incarnations, ponies were gradually becoming less horse-like and more human-like; walking on their hind legs, using their front legs as hands, wearing human clothes, etc. In this series, they are much closer to original form; using mouths to manipulate objects, hauling carriages, eating hay and sugarcubes, and halters and saddles are fashion items. However, there are still instances where they take on human poses when it's awkward otherwise or if it's part of a gag (hoof gestures, sitting upright on benches, etc.).
    • And then of course there's Lyra Heartstrings. To explain, fans latched onto Lyra sitting upright like a human in one scene as meaning that she is obsessed with all things human, including that she wants hands and to walk upright.
    • Played straight on Season 2. That season had seen more human like behavior and poses and less pony like behavior and poses compared to Season 1. Former show runner Lauren Faust has shown a couple of responses regarding to this change like her reaction to the Bridlemaids billboard ad and the "put up your dukes" scene in the episode "Dragon Quest".
    • Though, the G4 ponies' faces are the most human-like of all the generations, most female and younger ponies even having noticeably smaller noses.
    • Lampshaded when the Ponies are getting gussied up for the Gala and Rarity doesn't let Spike in because "they aren't dressed". Applejack points out that being ponies they don't normally wear clothes.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: The ponies are sometimes more human-like in The Merch and the Expanded Universe. For example, some of the German comics have them act more like bipeds, to the point of running around on their hind legs to play soccer or have a Snowball Fight. And then there's this Spin-Off Babies toy commercial...
  • Anti-Hero: Despite being reformed, Discord is shown to be one. This is most evident in the Season 4 premiere "Princess Twilight Sparkle Parts 1 & 2", in which he lies back and comfortably watches Ponyville and its residents get attacked by Plunderseeds, and doesn't bother to give the Mane 6 any direct help (until later, when he reveals that he planned this before his original imprisonment and was just trying to teach Twilight a lesson through his trolling). However, he is shown to really care about Fluttershy, and he shows genuine remorse for his actions in the season finale. Though he'll occasionally help out the ponies and is shown to want to bond with them (through his own odd, unconventional methods), he would never miss out on a good chance to mess with them, as he frequently does to them throughout the show.
    • Even the "good" guys are occasionally driven to being villains in a sense; "Owl's Well That Ends Well" involves Spike fearing that the owl will take away the admiration Spike's become so accustomed to, and eventually resorting to trying to make it look like the owl dismembered and ate a mouse on the library floor. He's caught in the act, leading Twilight to give Spike a "The Reason You Suck" Speech so harsh that Spike ends up thinking she doesn't love him anymore. He runs away, ending up near a hostile dragon, only to be saved by Twilight Sparkle and the owl.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: In the episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well" Spike does this to himself when the dust from the library book Twilight sent him to get starts bothering him. It doesn't work, and his fiery sneeze destroys the book.
  • Anti-Villain: A number of antagonists on this show are portrayed sympathetically on some level or another.
    • The dragon whose snoring causes Ponyville to be clouded in smoke breaks down in tears after Fluttershy explains why what he's doing is wrong. Fluttershy later follows this up by saying "you're not a bad dragon; you just made a bad decision".
    • The cockatrice Fluttershy confronts backs down on hearing that his mother might find out what he's been up to.
    • A common sub-variety of these cases would be "creature who seems vicious but is just angry".
      • The Ursa Minor from "Boast Busters" causes a lot of damage to Ponyville, but is only angry because Snips and Snails woke him up and Trixie's efforts to stop him only made him madder.
      • Episode 2 has a thrashing sea serpent who's just upset about his mustache being cut in half, and a manticore who's just in pain from a thorn in his paw. The former calms down after Rarity cuts off half of her tail to replace the severed part of his mustache, the latter after being comforted by Fluttershy, and they each show signs of thankfulness for this.
  • Anyone Can Die: Gummy's belief, according to his internal monologue in "Slice of Life".
  • April Fools' Day:
    • In 2014, the Hub Network posted two parody trailers for upcoming shows. My Biggest Pony featured a giant Sweetie Drops rampaging around Ponyville, and Dragonfire featuring a human Spike set in a Space Opera.
    • From 2012, WeLoveFine's hoof-hands. Trying to add them to your cart rewarded you with a 15% off code that lasted until Monday April 2nd 11:59pm.
    • New episodes of Season 1 normally aired every Friday. April 1st, 2011 fell on a Friday, but that day a rerun of "The Ticket Master" aired. "A Bird in the Hoof", which cemented Celestia's reputation as "Trollestia" to the fans, aired the following week, on April 8th. Draw your own conclusions.
  • April Fools' Plot: While not set on April Fools Day, "Griffon the Brush Off" has the elements of the trope.
  • Arc Words: "Friendship is magic", used repeatedly. It isn't just a saying; in this world, The Power of Friendship is a form of magic, and the most powerful magic of all at that.
  • Arc Number: The number six has great importance throughout the show. There are six Elements of Harmony, distributed among six friends. In Season 4, there are six Friendship Keys. In Season 7, the Mane Six's predecessors are the six Pillars of Equestria. And by Season 8, there are six main students at the Friendship Academy.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: This exchange that exposes the villains Evil Plan in "A Canterlot Wedding":
    Impostor!Cadance/Chrysalis: Why does she have to ruin my special day?
    Cadance: It's not your day!
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Rarity does this to her sister Sweetie Belle in "Ponyville Confidential" upon discovering that, in their pursuit of their talent and destiny-declaring Cutie Marks, Sweetie Belle and her friends have been writing a slanderous gossip column.
    Rarity: Do you really think that writing nasty things and making everypony feel horrible is your destiny?
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Discord notably pauses and looks uncertain after Shining Armor is drained and asks him "How could you do this?"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Discord's listed offenses are turning Ponyville into "the chaos capital of the world", turning the protagonists into their polar opposites, and making it rain chocolate milk without whipped cream.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • In "The Cutie Mark Chronicles", everypony mentions hearing the boom caused by the sonic rainboom before seeing the rainbow; in reality, it should be the other way around, since light travels faster than sound.
    • "Sonic Rainboom":
      • Rainbow Dash did supersonic speed dashing, including a tight turn at that high speed, and everypony involved survived with all of their internal organs intact.
      • She was going Mach 10. Logically Rainbow Dash shouldn't have survived even hitting that speed.
    • There's a video on Know Your Meme with a physics student doing a presentation on the show, specifically about three physical impossibilities he noted. The Sonic Rainboom was one — only on the basis of the Mach Cone that was shown — but the rest involved gravity physics. He noted that Applejack could not have catapulted Rainbow Dash any higher than the point she jumped off of (unless she happened to be made of dark matter), and that small cloud of butterflies could not possibly save Fluttershy from falling to her death (unless the butterflies were also made of dark matter). However, Dash's wings were spread during the moment of catapultation, most likely adding more lift than just the catapult alone... which was exactly Dash's plan in the first place, making this situation internally-justified.
    • By realistic standards, pegasus ponies would have to weigh almost nothing to walk on clouds. This one is at least Hand Waved as an ability they possess which other ponies do not, which means it's probably magic. This may also justify Fluttershy's ability to survive a fatal fall by landing on butterflies.
      • One could also argue that due to their ability to fly, pegasi must have extremely hollow bones, like those of a bird. Rainbow Dash would be extremely light, making it possible for Applejack to catapult her the way she did.
      • It has been shown on several occasions that Rainbow Dash is very durable and resistant to pain. While hollow bones would explain Applejack being able to toss her in the air on the seesaw, they would likely shatter when she hits something full speed, which happens every other episode.
      • Hollow bones like those of birds are specially structured, and in fact aren't any more fragile than non-hollow ones. That said, bones of any description would still likely shatter when hitting something at the speeds Rainbow Dash achieves.
  • Art Evolution: Generally, the animators seem to really have hit their stride in Season 2.
    • With the animating work more or less finished for regular-bodied ponies, the team appears to be putting in an effort to introduce new body types.
    • Character animation becomes more fluid and the backgrounds much more detailed.
    • The animating quirk of Applejack losing her freckles when running has been corrected as of Season 2. Unfortunately, it still seems they forget to keep her hat on every now and again.
    • It's a rather subtle difference, but Celestia does not have a magical levitation aura over the letter she receives in the first season's opening. In the second season's opening however, she is clearly levitating the letter with her yellow magical aura. The letter also has a glossy sheen added in Season 2.
    • Spike's proportions have shifted slightly to make him less chubby-looking, and as of Season 2 his coloring is a bit richer, with darker purple and brighter green.
    • Infant/newborn baby ponies have fully-rendered eyes rather than the original "shiny button" look.
  • The Artifact: Early episodes almost always ended with Twilight (and later her friends) writing their lesson to Princess Celestia. However, later episodes rarely feature letters at all, to the point that it's almost forgotten. The letters were officially discontinued, with the replacement being a diary that allows others to write their lessons. The final episode to feature a letter to Celestia was "Apple Family Reunion".
  • Artifact of Doom:
  • Artifact Title: Subverted. In "Bloom and Gloom", it was noted when a Cutie Mark Crusader got their cutie mark, they technically wouldn’t be a Cutie Mark Crusader anymore. The fandom had already realized this, and had speculated the show might just keep calling them the Cutie Mark Crusaders as it would be weird to stop after five seasons. But when they actually get their cutie marks, it’s revealed their special talents are cutie marks. So they’re still the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but instead of crusading to find theirs, they’re crusading to find and help others understand their cutie marks.
  • Art Shift: The two Spin-Off Babies toy commercials and the commercial for the Princess Cadance talking toy are traditionally animated, as opposed to the Adobe Flash animation used by the series itself (and the other TV ads).
    • Also, the episode "A Friend in Deed" has a felt animated sequence, crossing over into the main animation due to Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie.
    • "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" does this when Pinkie Pie is giving her theories about who took a bite out of MMMM. The first shift is to an old silent picture, the second is noticeably brighter and paler and is a parody of James Bond movies, and the third becomes slightly darker than usual to reflect that of a "ninja movie".
    • In "Pinkie Pride", during the big contest, they show clips of Cheese Sandwich's rubber chicken as a real puppet, and Gummy is shown as a realistic lizard on a log.
  • Ascended Meme: This promo from The Hub uses "bronies".
    • After popping up in a live-stream and fighting the Wonderbolts in a video from one of the show's animators, Magneto (or Magneighto, at least) eventually got some official recognition on a licensed shirt & hoodie, though these eventually stopped being available.
    • This Hub promo name-checks "DJ Pon-3". One of the apps is called Derp-Zam (a riff on the Shazam app), most likely after fan-named character Derpy Hooves, and there's a Shout-Out to fan blog Equestria Daily.
    • Several ponies who appeared early but went unnamed have been officially dubbed with their fan names, to the point of changing the names after announcements. These include "Dr. Whooves", who was initially dubbed Time Turner, and Derpy Whooves, who was initially named Ditsy Doo.
    • Derpy's love of muffins was made canon as an ending credits gag of the Equestria Girls movie.
    • In "Pinkie Apple Pie", when Applebloom picks up the map she starts dancing around and singing something that sounds like her own version of Twilightlicious.
    • From the Season 4 premiere, the "Twilicane" or "Twilight Scepter" went memetic for its goofy grin. It got its own card in the tie-in Trading Card Game as "The Twilicane".
    • Fans have long been making jokes about how Rainbow Dash compares to the G3 pony of the same name. A 2014 marathon of the show on The Hub had bumpers featuring the G4 cast reacting to G3 footage; Rainbow Dash is embarrassed by how her counterpart acts.
    • In the Equestria Girls - "My Little Pony Friends" Music Video the the phrase "love and tolerate" is used.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror:
    • The episode "Secret Of My Excess" applies ascended fridge horror to the implications of a dragon living in a pony community, even though most other episodes before it stepped around it. Later, though the issue isn't explicitly dwelt on for very long, "Dragon Quest" addresses the fact that Spike is an orphaned child and neither he nor Twilight knows where his egg came from or who/where his real parents even are. Ouch.
    • It's been suggested by some that Fluttershy's Shrinking Violet characteristics are at least partially the result of childhood trauma. "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" establishes that she was bullied, but Rainbow Dash seemed to get it about as badly as her (at the hooves of the same bullies, no less), and look how she turned out. But then "Hurricane Fluttershy" shows us just how pervasive the problem really was, and how it affected her to the point that its resurgence is enough to provoke graphic, demonic hallucinations well into her adulthood.
    • "Keep Calm and Flutter On" confirms the popular theory that Discord is still aware of everything while in his stone prison.
    • "Princess Twilight Sparkle" revolves around how Discord, a massively vindictive Reality Warping Manipulative Bastard, left a few nasty surprises around for his captors even after he was defeated the first time, an idea that fanfiction writers used constantly ever since his debut.
    • Despite the show itself glossing over it, fans quite reasonably speculated that Celestia being forced to banish her sister to the moon for a thousand years, to save Equestria from Nightmare Moon, would have been devastating to her. Cue Twilight's vision of the past in "Princess Twilight Sparkle", which shows Celestia desperately pleading with Luna to stop, tried to stop her by herself, only using the Elements of Harmony when it was clear Nightmare Moon was too powerful, and when she makes that decision she starts crying.
    • When "It's About Time" introduced the realm of Tartarus, where various monsters and villains were sealed away, many people feared that someone may have been able to escape it while Cerberus was away from his post in that episode. In Season 4's finale, it turned out Tirek had.
      • The same episode also addresses the fan-theory that Discord may not have been completely sincere in his turn to good.
  • As Himself:
  • Aside Glance: Pinkie Pie does this in the final shot of "Bridle Gossip", when she's supposed to be looking at Rainbow Dash. She does it again, this time intentionally, in "Lesson Zero". There's also a random instance of her looking at the camera in "Elements of Harmony".
    • Spike gives one complete with a raised eyebrow in "Simple Ways" when Rarity says he can't know what it's like to obsess over someone only for them to obsess over someone else.
  • Ass Kicks You:
    • Rarity does it to Twilight in "Sonic Rainboom".
    • Twilight does it to Spike in "The Cutie Pox".
    • Pinkie Pie does it to Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy when dancing in "Party of One", and later does it to Rainbow Dash during her "Crazy Town" party.
    • Fluttershy, after being corrupted by Discord, pulls off a particularly malevolent one on Pinkie in "The Return of Harmony, Part 1".
    • Derpy's ass, according to "The Last Roundup", is a force of destruction upon Ponyville.
    • Rainbow Dash does it to Rarity in "Dragon Quest", although as it is not fully shown (as they are under a dragon costume at the time) some might debate whether she used her tail instead.
  • Assurance Backfire: "Family Appreciation Day" features this, when Apple Bloom is worried about feeling embarrassed when her grandmother shows up at school.
    Applejack: I'm sorry Apple Bloom, but don't you fret. Granny Smith's got no shortage of entertaining stories to tell.
    Apple Bloom: I know. That's what I'm worried about.
  • Asymmetric Dilemma: All of the ponies are prone to this, but Rarity tends to be especially vulnerable due to her Large Ham status.
    Rarity: "All right, I admit it! I have false eyelashes! Oh, and I took a bite of the cake."
  • As You Know:
  • Attack Backfire: Pinkie Pie throwing cakes at Spike in "Secret of My Excess".
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • In "Secret of My Excess", Spike undergoes an abnormal growth spurt when he gets greedy on his birthday and his draconic "hoard-building" instincts kick into overdrive. He ends up the size of a full-grown dragon before finally being brought back to normal.
      • He's also turned giant in the Sparkle World magazine story The Hero of Ponyville!, in this case due to having brushed against a magic plant. As a giant baby dragon, he retains his usual appearance (read: the illustrations use resized stock art of regular Spike).
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", once Tirek gains Twilight's power, he grows to giant size.
    • In "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?", the Tantabus takes on the form of a huge spectral pony when it starts to break out of the dream world. Also, Derpy dreams of herself being gigantic when the whole town fights the Tantabus in the shared dream.
  • Attack of the Town Festival:
    • In the two-part pilot, Twilight is sent to Ponyville to make sure the Summer Sun Celebration goes well... only to have it coincide with Nightmare Moon's return and subsequent attempt to bring about The Night That Never Ends.
    • In the Season 2 two-part finale, changelings invade Canterlot, right when they're celebrating a royal wedding, no less!
    • In the Season 4 two-part premiere, Ponyville comes under attack on the eve of the Celebration again, this time by killer vines planted by Discord before the princesses first sealed him in stone.
    • Happens once again in the movie, this time on a friendship-themed festival in Canterlot. Can't an ungulate throw a party without it being invaded?
  • Attention Whore:
    • Rainbow Dash can slip into becoming a real attention whore at times, up to the point that in the episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" she puts people in danger by insisting on shouting her new catchphrase instead of saving them from accidents.
    • Rarity spent pretty much all of the episode "Sonic Rainboom" attempting to get more attention than her mystically-created butterfly wings already did, culminating in her going too close to the Sun and doing an impression of an equine Icarus.
    • Although normally a Genki Girl, Pinkie Pie will slip into this if anyone dares to ignore her or reject her friendship. There are two episodes dedicated to this, where Pinkie uses copious amounts of Cartoon Physics and borderline reality warping to mercilessly chase them all over Ponyville.
    • Then there is Trixie who has turned this kind of behavior into an income source.
    • Played with in "Equestria Games"; Ms. Harshwhinny assumes Spike is one for wanting to do "something really worthy of the Crystal Empire's admiration", when he's just attempting to make up for what he sees as a failure in the torch lighting ceremony.
    Ms. Harshwhinny: Next thing you know you'll be asking to put on a rock concert! Ugh, celebrities.
  • Audible Sharpness: The scale Rarity pulled off of the sea serpent.
    • Same for Pinkie Pie's brass cymbals during "Swarm of the Century".
    • And, the wings of Princess Celestia's pegasi guards.
    • When the Wonderbolts were fighting off Spike-zilla.
    • Opalescence, slicing Sweetie Belle's mane.
  • Audio Adaptation: There's a series of German albums in CD and MP3 formats, each album containing two Freundschaft ist Magie episodes. Volume 1, Ein Auftrag von Prinzessin Celestia, contains "Ein Auftrag von Prinzessin Celestia (Teil 1)" and "Ein Auftrag von Prinzessin Celestia (Teil 2)". Volume 2, Apfelschüttelernte, contains "Eine Freundin hat's nicht leicht" and "Apfelschüttelernte". Volume 3, Angeber-Trixie, contains "Gilda, die Partybremse" and "Angeber-Trixie". Volume 4, Die Pyjama-Party, contains "Drachenscheu" and "Die Pyjama-Party". Volume 5, Das fremde Zebra, contains "Das fremde Zebra" and "Fürchterlich niedliche Tierchen". Volume 6, Etwas ganz Besonderes, contains "Frühlingsanfang in Ponyville" and "Etwas ganz Besonderes". Volume 7, Die Modenschau, contains "Das Blätterrennen" and "Die Modenschau". Volume 8, Pinkie Weisheiten, contains "Pinkie Weisheiten" and "Rainbows großer Tag". Volume 9, Die Showstars, contains "Babysitter Fluttershy" and "Die Showstars". Volume 10, Fluttershy auf dem Laufsteg, contains "Diamanten-Hunde" and "Fluttershy auf dem Laufsteg".
  • Author Appeal: Word of God is that the show's adult-oriented in-jokes and references are included simply due to the creators' personal entertainment.
    • To sum up:
      So as to who they're performing for, it's not us, it's not 6-year-old kids, it's themselves. They're just doing what they think makes the show as great as they can, to entertain each other as best they know how. In other words, the creative team on this show really is just having that much fun making it. Best thing I could ever have heard.
  • A Wizard Did It: This is what Lauren Faust told herself every time an electrical device had to show up.
    • Observed in "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", where said machine is actually shown to be powered by the Flim-Flam brothers' magic.
    • Also, note the color of the aura on Tank's helicopter rig. Who do we know with yellow magic?

  • Baby's First Words: At the end of "Baby Cakes", the Cake twins say their first words: "Pinkie" for Pound and "Pie" for Pumpkin because Pinkie Pie had been babysitting them.
  • Babysitting Episode:
  • Back for the Finale:
    • Derpy Hooves makes a few cameo appearances in the Season 3 finale after practically an entire season of being absent.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", we briefly see the other key givers — Coco, Spitfire with the Wonderbolts, Cheese Sandwich, Seabreeze, and Silver Shill.
    • Similarly, in the Season 5 finale, several of the ponies who appeared in the Season 5 premiere show up near the end.
    • Almost all of the series' most notable background characters come back for the climactic battle of "The Ending of the End". This includes characters that, until this point, were exclusive to the movie.
  • Backing Away Slowly:
    • In "Call of the Cutie," a recurring background character known as Dr. Hooves slowly backs away from Apple Bloom when she gets a bit pushy while selling apples.
    • Similarly, in "Party of One", Rainbow Dash has a similar reaction when she witnesses Pinkie Pie's Sanity Slippage while throwing a one-person birthday party.
  • Badass Bystander:
    • In "Equestria Games", the pegasi from the stands who rushed in to help avert catastrophe via giant spiked ice-cloud, at least from the perspective of the ponies sitting next to them, unable to do anything. Imagine you're at a sporting event and something horrible happens on the field/track and the guy next to you immediately runs down to help while you feel comparatively useless, then multiply that feeling by the Olympics.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 1", during the montage of Tirek and Discord steamrolling over Equestria, quite a few background ponies are shown bravely trying to fight back. Notably, a mob of pegasi (including the Wonderbolts and Derpy) try to swarm them.
    • Bon Bon, believe it or not. Apparently, she is a secret agent in the Equestrian Special Forces, if "Slice of Life" is anything to go by. Yet she never once lent a hoof to help the Mane 6 during their battles.
  • Badass Mustache: One of Twilight Sparkle's spells is to make these grow on people. It doesn't help Spike woo Rarity, but he assumes that if he had a beard as well...
    • This comes back in the episode "Magic Duel", but the target is Trixie.
    • There are plenty of them in Appleloosa as well, especially Sheriff Silverstar.
    • There was also the tennis-playing pony from "Call of the Cutie".
    • Steven Magnet prides himself on his mustache. Could be an inversion of Badass Mustache, because it just makes him even sissier and only Rarity appreciates it, or it could be in-universe Values Dissonance if he's a Chinese river dragon, in which case, the mustache does effectively represent this.
    • Leaves form the effect on Applejack in "Secret of My Excess" when she stoically asks Twilight to get her rope to go after Spike.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: This has been the premise of three episodes: "Stare Master", "Baby Cakes" and "Just For Sidekicks".
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • A few times in the show. In a flashback, Twilight's Power Incontinence turns her parents into potted plants. In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", people keep interrupting her as she's practicing her Apples to Oranges spell, resulting in unfortunate orange/animal hybrids of a bird and a frog when her aim is thrown off.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", a party clown gets turned into a waiter and a mariachi pony gets turned into Octavia!
  • Balloon Belly:
    • In the pilot episode, Twilight Sparkle is overseeing preparations for the annual Summer Sun Celebration. One of the tasks on her checklists involves visiting the owners of Sweet Apple Acres, who are in charge of the food. Applejack (and her enormous family) invite her to brunch. Gilligan Cut to her walking with a bulging belly, groaning, "Ugh...I ate too much pie..."
    • Spike gets one after pigging out on a stash of gems he finds in "Owl's Well That Ends Well".
    • Pinkie Pie gets an even bigger one in "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" after swallowing a large cake in one gulp.
    • Pinkie Pie has the rest of the Mane Six become bloated when they gorge on her rock candy samples in "Maud Pie".
    • Subverted in "Inspiration Manifestation". In spite of all the ice cream Rarity eats in the midst of her depression, she doesn't gain any visible weight.
  • Bambification: The entire franchise is the equine equivalent. The animators often have the cute ponies do cute things for cuteness sake.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Rainbow Dash wears a yellow crop top and pink shorts in "Tanks for the Memories" despite she usually never wears anything like the most of the ponies.
  • Barrier Warrior:
    • Shining Armor has this as his cutie mark. Not only can he set up a barrier around the entirety of Canterlot, but he can combine a force field with Cadance's love magic to expel Queen Chrysalis and her changeling army from the entire country with a single blow.
    • His sister Twilight Sparkle can create Anti-Magic barriers and shield her library to keep undesirables out, but they are much smaller than her brother's.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Twilight uses magic barriers to absorb some otherwise devastating hits from Tirek, including being thrown into and tackled through a mountain. Tirek, likewise, uses a magical barrier to defend himself against Twilight's massive beam attack.
  • Bathos: The writers have often stated that they can count on Pinkie Pie to lighten the mood if a scene gets too serious, beginning with her response to Nightmare Moon's introduction in the series premiere.
    Nightmare Moon: Am I not royal enough for you? Don't you know who I am?
    Pinkie Pie: Ooh! Ooh! More guessing games! Um...pokey smokes. How 'bout...Queen Meanie? No - Black Snooty!
  • Batman Gambit: Princess Celestia's response to Twilight Sparkle's first letter sets one up.
    • Later, Celestia's inviting Twilight's friends to the Grand Galloping Gala so they can mess it up.
    • "The Return of Harmony": After Discord has stolen the Elements of Harmony, he tells the ponies a riddle that Twilight figures must have the nearby labyrinth as the solution. Once there, he tells them they can't use wings or magic as they go through it. As it turns out, the Elements aren't even in the labyrinth, and Discord wanted the ponies in it only so he could separate them from each other and corrupt them.
    • "Keep Calm and Flutter On": Discord falls prey to a gambit himself. Fluttershy wanted Discord to believe he was using her to break up the Elements, when in reality she was slowly wedging her way into his heart; as a result, when she takes her friendship away from him, he realizes how much he wanted and appreciated said friendship… and he promptly sets everything back to normal to appease her.
  • Beam-O-War:
    • In the final episode of Season 2, Princess Celestia tries to defeat Queen Chrysalis of the Changelings by shooting out an arcing beam of magic from her horn. She tries to counter with one of her own and, to even her own surprise, is able to push back and stun Celestia, due to the strength of the love she has been feeding on.
    • The climax of Twilight and Tirek's battle in "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2". This results in a stalemate that forces Tirek to try a different tactic, since brute force isn't getting the job done.
  • Bear Hug
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ursa Minors/Majors are large bear-like creatures with starry pelts. By "large" we mean building-size - and that's the baby Ursa Minor. The Ursa Major makes it look like a bear cub by comparison.
  • Beary Friendly: One of Fluttershy's recurring friends is a bear.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Cutie Mark Crusaders is composed of Sweetie Belle, who has a lovely singing voice; Apple Bloom, who knows how to build things; and Scootaloo, an agile skateboarder.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Rarity cuts off her own tail at one point, reassuring the others that it will grow back. It gets restored by the end of that episode via a different Hand Wave, when Rarity gains the reawakened Element of Harmony, Generosity.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", Rarity looks very good for someone who's spent the day crying and devouring ice cream, and only very slightly below her usual standards. Of course, this being Rarity, she immediately fixes her mane to its usual pristine state when she perks up.
  • Bee Afraid:
    • Twilight Sparkle has disturbed a bee's nest and been covered with stings twice: in "Winter Wrap-Up" and "Feeling Pinkie Keen". Rainbow Dash was chased by a swarm of bees in "Fall Weather Friends", but managed to get away from them. Interestingly, there's a beehive hanging from one of the upper branches of the library where Twilight lives.
    • Totally averted in "May The Best Pet Win", where Fluttershy offers Dash a pet wasp. "The bat would be awesome, but the wasp I'm diggin' too; do you have something in a yellow-striped bat?" It actually makes it past Dash's initial 'inspection' and was pretty darn nice.
    • "Slice Of Life" features the Mane 6 fighting against a Bee-Bear (referred to as a "bugbear" in the show), combining two tropes to horrifying effect.
    • "Campfire Tales" features the menacing fly-ders: flying spiders that swarm like bees. Applejack, Rarity, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo are all bitten a few times by the creatures, while Rainbow Dash gets absolutely decimated by them midway through the episode. This is Played for Laughs, as Rarity struggles to contain her disgust at the sight of her friend's grotesquely swollen face.
    • In "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place", Rockhoof unwittingly delivers a tree containing a beehive to Zecora. Of course, she is immediately swarmed and stung.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A recurring theme in the series, though this series uses it in a more lighthearted way than it's usually used.
    • The first two episodes of the first Season seem to have a hint of this, with Twilight Sparkle at first not wanting to make new friends, only to find out later that "just when I learn how wonderful it is to have friends, I have to leave them." That is a milder case, though, as it turns out Celestia lets Twilight stay in Ponyville with her new friends anyway.
      • Princess Luna is this, too; she wished to exceed her sister, to be appreciated like her, and then she became Nightmare Moon as a consequence.
    • In "Green Isn't Your Color" the theme has been doubled! Rarity getting what she thought she wanted earlier on left her making the same mistake in the opposite direction later on.
      • Earlier, Rarity insists that she wants Fluttershy to become a model. As a result, Fluttershy becomes so famous that Rarity gets very jealous.
        Rarity: I'm the one who should be mobbed by strangers wherever I go!
      • Later, Rarity explains this was her reason for standing up for Fluttershy; in her jealousy, she thought she wanted something embarrassing to happen to Fluttershy on-stage, but she felt extremely guilty when it actually did.
    • "Sisterhooves Social" has Rarity wanting to get away from Sweetie Belle earlier on but missing her later on.
    • In "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom uses a magical flower called "Heart's Desire" to finally get her Cutie Mark. Unfortunately, over the course of the day she gets several more cutie marks, each of which brings both a new talent and a compulsion to practice that talent endlessly, whether it's window-washing, tap-dancing, speaking French, or lion-taming.
    • A hint of this also shows up in "May The Best Pet Win", with Rainbow Dash insisting earlier on that she wanted a fast, agile, flying animal for a pet... and after putting the animals through competitions testing these (among other) traits she found out that the falcon met her standards the most... but by the time she found this out, she had evidently changed her mind about what she wanted in a pet after all, as she clearly wasn't happy about being told that the falcon won. Of course, she found out a loophole in her rules that allowed her to adopt a tortoise instead, in a clear contrast to what she at first wanted.
    • Pinkie Pie runs into this trope head-on in "Baby Cakes". She begs the Cakes for a chance to babysit their newborn twins, but ends up running herself ragged after they let her do it.
    • Pinkie Pie wishes in "Too Many Pinkie Pies" to have a clone to be able to have fun in two places, but then she makes more clones to have more fun, and then the clones clone themselves further, which ultimately obscures who the real Pinkie Pie is. Now the real Pinkie can't have any fun at all.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", wishing for a spell that will make one's imagination come to life might cause them to want to inflict it upon the town.
  • Because Destiny Says So:
    • Ponies get a "cutie mark", a symbol that magically appears on their rump, when they realize their destiny.
    • In "Ponyville Confidential", this is discussed when Apple Bloom confesses that the Cutie Mark Crusaders think their gossip column will help them get their cutie marks.
    Rarity: What is important is that you understand how your column makes the ponies that you're writing about feel!
    Sweetie Belle: I do understand! And we've all been feeling guilty. But we just want our cutie marks so badly!
    Rarity: Do you really think that writing nasty things and making everypony feel horrible is your destiny?
    Sweetie Belle: Well, when you put it that way...
  • Befriending the Enemy: In "Keep Calm and Flutter On", Fluttershy's plan for redeeming Discord amounts to treating him like a friend. It works.
  • Behind the Black: Excited characters also have the strange ability to stick their heads in from behind the black, often in positions where they would have to be hovering several feet above the ground. Nopony questions this. Pinkie Pie in particular takes this to ridiculous levels. At one point, it's subverted as she promptly falls down.
    • Originally only Pinkie was able to do this. When other, generic ponies do it in "Winter Wrap Up", Rainbow Dash is surprised by it.
    • It's also taken to a ridiculous extreme in "Call Of The Cutie" as an entire party appears out of nowhere while the camera is zoomed in on Apple Bloom's face.
    • Also done to a rather extreme level in "Bridle Gossip" when Twilight and Spike first duck into Sugarcube Corner with Pinkie Pie. Twilight asks why she's sitting alone in the dark, to which Pinkie replies she isn't. At that, the camera zooms out to reveal all of the other mane cast are also in hiding.
    • In "Secret of My Excess" Spike is able to steal everything in Zecora's hut when the camera zooms in on her and Twilight, including a brewing pot in front of them.
    • And now, in "Baby Cakes", Pinkie Pie is looking at the new twins, and phases under the window. In this case, the other ponies notice it.
    • In the 20th episode of Season 2 "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle fails to notice the entrance to the Star Swirl the Bearded wing of the Canterlot Library until Pinkie Pie points out that it is right next to them (just behind the viewer's point of view), right next to where they entered. Twilight Lampshades this by wondering how she could have possibly missed that, though to be fair she had been awake for almost 3 days.
    • In "Equestria Games", after melting the giant ice block, Spike pulls an umbrella from just below the bottom of the screen. He opens it to shield himself from the brief downpour, then puts it back where it was, below the bottom of the screen. The camera cuts to a wider shot of Spike in the middle of the field. There's no umbrella, and nothing it could possibly fit behind.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge:
  • Berserk Button:
    • Fluttershy:
      • Animals running from her and not wanting to be her friend will send her off the deep end.
      • In "The Return of Harmony - Part 2", the idea of Discord emerging triumphant is enough incentive for Fluttershy to stop crying and push herself to her physical limits while the ponies are chasing Rainbow Dash.
      Twilight Sparkle: If you can't catch her, Discord wins!
      Fluttershy: That. Big. Dumb. MEANIE!
    • Whatever you do, NEVER, EVER break a Pinkie Promise.
    • Normally, the Cutie Mark Crusaders don’t take kindly to being pushed around, but when their clubhouse was taken, that finally set them off.
    • After Rarity states that she's above challenging Trixie:
    Trixie: Ooooo; what's the matter? Afraid you'll get a hair out of place in that rat's nest you call a mane?
    Rarity: Oh, it is ON!
    • Winning against Discord’s mind games. In which case he will promptly cheat to win.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Twilight tries to avoid Tirek when he first tracks her down... until he blows up the library. After that, she turns all her magic on him.
  • Between My Legs: A rather strange example of this trope. In the episode "Bridle Gossip", after Pinkie Pie sings her Evil Enchantress song, there are two shots framed by her legs showing Twilight, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's (somewhat confused) expressions.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Fluttershy is the nicest character around — too nice, in fact, timid and prone to let others push her around. She almost never gets angry... and you'll already have guessed this entry is about those times that necessitate the "almost" in that sentence. Hurting or threatening her friends can make her angry enough to forget to be afraid and instead bring out a will strong enough for Staring Down Cthulhu. At least then she's still being good, just extremely stern. But a momentary nervous breakdown she suffers in one episode when her ability to befriend animals inexplicably fails causes her to snap and go berserk hunting the animals. ("You are going to LOVE ME!") And bad assertiveness training in another episode turns her temporarily into a highly effective bully. This is ironic in itself because she could already at best be genuinely assertive enough to make a dragon stop attacking and start crying just by talking to it, and it makes perfect sense when you see it.
    • Normally, Princess Celestia is very calm and collected, and seems to enjoy having a little fun with her subjects now and then. Then we have the first part of "The Return of Harmony", where she smacks the villain with a Shut Up, Hannibal! twice, and then tells him point-blank to quit screwing around and answer her questions. He begrudgingly tosses out a riddle and leaves before she can grill him any further. It's one of the few times she's ever been seen not only genuinely angry but faced with someone who outright defies her and seemingly gets away with it.
      • In the Season 2 finale we finally see Celestia fight, complete with Pre-Asskicking One-Liner. True, she loses, but that surprised everyone, including the villain.
      • In the Season 3 opening episode, we see Twilight entering the main room of the Canterlot Castle, only to find a very pissed off Celestia, going as far to practically bring Twilight Sparkle to tears! Granted, it's just Sombra's dark spell creating an illusion, but still... assuming that's how she really sounds when angry, it makes you want to not anger the Demigod in the first place!
    Princess Celestia: It doesn't matter to me, (Face turns to Twilight, angered) you FAILED the test, Twilight!
    • Flashbacks of Celestia in the Season 4 opener also show a few of the other times in her past where she's had no other option to deal with rampaging magical beings except to (sometimes reluctantly) fight them, a reminder that she's the ruler of Equestria for a darn good reason.
    • Twilight Sparkle is the poster mare for Endearingly Dorky and No Social Skills, whose passion for knowledge is only challenged by her desire to be a good friend. She's also the most powerful unicorn in Equestria with an incredible well of magic at her disposal, and is entirely capable of unleashing the hurt on anypony she desires. "Lesson Zero" even shows that she's just as capable of sowing chaos and disharmony as Discord. "Twilight's Kingdom" shows off just what she's capable of when she's got the combined power of all four alicorns within her magic well.
    • You'd think that the perpetually cheerful Genki Girl with borderline Reality Warper powers would be an excellent candidate for this trope, but Pinkie Pie repeatedly subverts it. In "Griffon the Brush Off", her reaction to proof that Gilda is a grade-A jerkface is to throw her a party, because she thinks Gilda is just stressed and needs to unwind. In "Party of One", when she thinks her friends have abandoned her she avoids them altogether and throws her own party with various Companion Cubes, in stark contrast to the far more destructive Sanity Slippages of Fluttershy and Twilight. And when Applejack breaks a Pinkie Promise in "The Last Roundup" she breaks out the scary voice, leads a pursuit across the desert, and when she finally catches her she... demands Applejack apologize.
    • Princess Cadance (the real one) is a kind and sweet Love Goddess and used to work as a babysitter. However, when she is kidnapped and her husband-to-be is about to marry her evil double, she shows nothing but determination, repeatedly defies the changeling queen (even after said queen defeats Princess Celestia), and then helps deliver a blast that blows the changelings across the continent!
      • Then in the Season 3 opener she maintains a field of light and love around the Crystal Empire that manages to keep King Sombra, a unicorn Evil Overlord that took both her aunts to defeat the first time, out for what was likely days. This, combined with his horrific treatment of his subjects, leads to her setting up another love-powered blast with the Crystal Heart. The end result is King Sombra being obliterated.
    • Rarity is Element of Generosity, an empathetic and helpful friend, and The Fashionista (and a Drama Queen and Large Ham besides) with some rather stereotypically girly/princess-y behavior, but she has been seen spin-kicking Applejack, far and away the strongest of the Mane Six, uppercutting Changelings, and bodily threatening adolescent dragons who dare to threaten Spike.
  • Beyond the Impossible: This is a cartoon with the occasional Acceptable Breaks from Reality by Rule of Funny... but there are exceptions
    • Pinkie Pie can do much more cartoonish and impossible things than anyone else.
      • One time, she appeared places that were too small for her to fit and finally appeared in a mirror without being in the room.
      • Besides Offscreen Teleportation, she has appeared briefly in more than one location at once.
      • There's her disregard of the fourth wall. Outside of a one-off gag or two, Spike is the only other character to engage in this, and does so far less overtly or consistently.
      • In the episode "A Friend In Deed", Pinkie Pie has Fantasy Sequence done in felt as she runs through her checklist of friend-making activities. After coming out of the spot, she resolves to complete her list, and punctuates it by holding up a green felt checkmark from her Fantasy Sequence.
      • In the same episode, she also sprouts an extra pair of limbs, which disappear just as suddenly. ...Yeah.
      • In "Too Many Pinkie Pies", Rainbow Dash is trying to nap by the lakeside. Pinkie, who still wants to jump and splash around, compromises by doing a huge cannon-ball - only to slow herself down just as she reaches the water, and gently float the rest of the way down. Rainbow stares and asks "How did you do that?" Though it gained less attention, she did the same thing while bouncing on a trampoline at the beginning of "The Best Night Ever".
      • "Too Many Pinkie Pies" also has her (or rather, her clones) perform feats like inflating her hoof so that working fingers pop out, or making a "crazy face" by morphing her face to resemble that of a G3 pony.
      • The "Pinkie Sense" is an ability of Pinkie's that, according to Twilight Sparkle, breaks the Magic A Is Magic A rules of the world.
    • The Everfree Forest is considered an Eldritch Location because everywhere else in Equestria requires ponies to manage it but the Everfree Forest takes care of itself.
    • Everypony thought that the Sonic Rainboom was impossible until Rainbow Dash performed it.
  • Big Bad: The show doesn't have one overall villain (though certain villains seem to crop up from time to time in finales and call-backs), since it operates on a Monster of the Week basis. Even the serious villains (Nightmare Moon, Discord, Queen Chrysalis, and King Sombra) each only get to be Big Bad for one two-episode story (and share smaller roles during the Timey-Wimey Ball episode "The Cutie Re-Mark"). This actually means that the biggest Big Bad so far is... the Grand Galloping Gala, the big party the ponies are looking forward to, which causes trouble in a whole three episodes ("The Ticket Master", "Suited for Success" and "The Best Night Ever").
    • Lord Tirek in the Season 4 finale, who incidentally is a revamp of the original MLP Big Bad.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Numerous times. Lets face it. This show loves this trope.
    • Applejack and Rainbow Dash's fight at the end of "Fall Weather Friends".
    • Spike versus a chicken in "Owl's Well That Ends Well". Spike loses.
    • The Cutie Mark Crusaders in the Season 2 premiere.
    • Twilight gets into one with greyscale Applejack and Pinkie Pie over a book... and wins.
    • Fluttershy slugs it out with a stallion who tries to cut ahead of her for a taxi in "Putting Your Hoof Down". She wins easily, having taken her assertiveness training a little too seriously.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with almost all of Ponyville forming into dozens of violence balls in "Lesson Zero".
    • The Mane Six get into a massive one when fighting the changeling horde in "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2".
    • Averted in the Season 5 finale, in the alternate futures that have wars with Sombra or Chrysalis. We actually see some of the fighting, not covered up with a giant animated ball.
  • Big Dam Plot: In "The Mysterious Mare Do Well", a burst dam threatens to destroy Ponyville.
  • Big Eater: Spike, Pinkie Pie, and Snails are no slouches in this department, but the Parasprites, swarming insects not unlike locusts, beat them all by a landslide.
    • Applejack fits this one to a lesser extent. She can stuff an entire apple in her mouth, chew it up (core and all), and swallow it in one bite. During "Look Before You Sleep", she does the same with one of Rarity's s'mores and demonstrates lousy table manners by burping afterward. In "Apple Family Reunion", baby Applejack reveals she has the appetite of a full grown stallion, eating all the apple fritters on one platter.
    • Rarity's and Sweetie Belle's performance in the pie-eating leg of the Sisterhooves Social might qualify them for this when they are properly motivated.
    • As of "Twilight Time", turns out Twilight is this too.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Though not actually pointed out at any point, plenty of houses in the show are roomier than their petite appearances would suggest. In general, the exterior shapes don't match the interiors of the houses and buildings shown in the cartoon. With very few exceptions, one could fit the exterior of a building inside one of the inner rooms and have room to spare.
    • To name two examples: during the pilot, Pinkie Pie stuffed almost the entire population of Ponyville into a single room of Twilight's library, and the size of Sugarcube Corner doesn't match the inside (Pinkie Pie's room being the biggest offender).
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", the Round Table-like throne room in Twilight's new crystal tree-castle, and the corridor leading up to it, seem to be much too big to fit into the castle's exterior.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Lauren Faust says that the city of Canterlot, built into the side of a mountain, is a Shout-Out to Minas Tirith.
    • Cadance's castle in the Crystal Empire is literally a castle made of crystals that towers over the center of the city.
    • Twilight's own castle is a crystallized tree created by the Tree of Harmony that towers over Ponyville.
  • Big Good: Princess Celestia is ruler over the whole setting, Twilight's mentor, the one who more often than not tells the mane six they need to save Equestria and easily the most intelligent character on the show - and armed with the massive power that comes with being a Physical Goddess, to boot. The major villains see her as their chief opponent, and she's always the one to send out the heroes against them. Her less-often-seen younger sister, Luna, is technically equal in rank and power potential but has learned from personal experience to defer to her older sibling's superior wisdom.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Spike does this twice in "A Dog and Pony Show" — once just after Rarity is kidnapped and again after he and the other ponies fall into the lair of the Diamond Dogs and realize they have no idea which way to go. Both of them were right before the commercial breaks, too. Maybe he just doesn't like commercials.
    • After putting up with lots of "cute" things and conversations, Scootaloo does one at the end of "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" when her crusader friends give her a group hug and Fluttershy announces she's going to sing another "cute" song.
    • Every major villain (except King Sombra) has given one of these shortly before their defeats.
    • Rainbow screams a Big No in her flashback in "Games Ponies Play", and Pinkie Pie does two Big Nos later on, but (as part of the joke) they are used incorrectly; with the first, she is just answering a simple question, the second seems to be used correctly, as the ponies have just realized they had made a mistake, but it turns out that Pinkie was agreeing with them, and meant to give a Big "YES!" (of course, knowing her - it could have a Trope Awareness based joke).
    • The Crusaders scream a Big No in unison at the very end of "Hearts and Hooves Day" when they are tricked into believing Big Mac and Cheerilee are still under the love poison.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Rarity, Applejack, and later Rainbow Dash have this for Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom, and Scootaloo respectively. In the first two cases, they are sisters, whereas Dash starts out as just Scootaloo's hero before she becomes her friend and pseudo-mentor.
    • Sometimes Applejack can get carried away...
    • Maud Pie has this for her little sister, as seen when she crushes an enormous boulder to dust within seconds before it falls on a trapped Pinkie Pie.
  • Big "WHY?!": Spike does this in "Just For Sidekicks". Also, being a overreactive drama queen that she is, Rarity in "Lesson Zero" when she lost her ribbon can be this.
  • Bilingual Animal: The ponies mainly speak, but occasionally whinny. For instance, Rainbow Dash whinnies in her sleep in "Sleepless in Ponyville".
  • Bindle Stick: Spike carries one after running away from home in "Owl's Well That Ends Well".
  • Binomium Ridiculus: In "Feeling Pinkie Keen", while Twilight is observing Pinkie Pie, she describes herself as observing the Pinkius pieicus in its natural habitat, and she totally didn't just make that up.
  • Birthday Episode: Four of the main cast have had a birthday in the first four seasons.
    • "Party of One", where Pinkie's birthday party served as a pleasant twist ending.
    • "Sweet and Elite" was a Rarity-centric episode, focusing on her having to decide between making social connections and attending Twilight's birthday party.
    • "Secret of My Excess", during which Spike's birthday inadvertently turns him into a kaiju.
    • "Pinkie Pride", wherein Pinkie Pie finds herself in an existential crisis when Cheese Sandwich steals her thunder in planning a birthday bash for Rainbow Dash.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The episode "Call Of The Cutie". Apple Bloom doesn't get her Cutie Mark, but she makes new friends and they form "The Cutie Mark Crusaders".
    • In the Grand Finale, Twilight becomes the new ruler of Equestria, but she has to leave Ponyville to do so, and she can't live with her friends anymore. But no matter what, they will always be friends and establish the Council of Friendship and meet up once a moon, and their friendship will never fade.
  • Black Magic: Can be used by unicorns, and manifests with their horns (and eyes) glowing black and green, instead of their usual aura color. Known users are King Sombra, Celestia and Twilight.
  • Blanket Tug O' War: Applejack and Rarity have one of these in "Look Before You Sleep", when they are forced to share the same bed at a sleepover at Twilight's house.
  • Blessed With Suck: Representing the Element of Honesty means that Applejack can't lie to save her life. However, she knows other methods of not telling the truth.
    • To an extent for Twilight Sparkle - her high education is considered something of a second ability, however her intricacies also lead her to be Super OCD and neurotic to extremes on occasion, not to mention her diligence to education kept her isolated and socially inept for most of her early life.
  • Blinding Bangs: The pegasi bullies seen in "Sonic Rainboom" flip between this and Peek-a-Bangs; close-up shots reveal the leader's eyes, but most of the time their eyes are obscured.
    • This trope was played quite literally on Rarity in "Bridle Gossip".
  • Bling of War:
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Ponies seem to consider being mind-controlled as something that just kinda happens, and if the controller has your best interest at heart, so much the better. Nopony bats an eye at Twilight's constant use of such magic (including one instance that reduced the town to shambles and another that sparked a riot), and Cadance is likewise allowed to brainwash an arguing couple into dropping the matter.
    • Similarly, nopony seems to have any problem with anypony (usually Twilight) magically preventing others from moving and then dragging them places.
  • Blue Boy Pink Girl: Played straight and inverted with Shining Armor and Princess Cadance. His color scheme is a regal white and blue hair, while Cadance is thoroughly pink with tricolor hair. At the same time, His unicorn magic is bright mauve-pink and his bride's is pale blue.
  • Blunder-Correcting Impulse: Derpy Hooves is this in her speaking roles. While setting up decorations it's implied she's responsible for serious damage to city hall, knocks over a support beam and, when Rainbow Dash begs her to just sit there and do nothing, she breaks the floor she sits down on. When she gets to speak again in "Slice of Life", she's desperately trying to make up for her blunders in her part of preparing for Cranky and Matilda's wedding.
    • In another episode, Spike insists on being Applejack's helper to repay her back for saving his life, but he's so terribly bad at everything she asks him to do that she is immediately forced to figure out how to let him go.
  • Blunt "Yes": When discussing the apple orchard harvest in Season 1 Episode 4.
    Applejack: I'll take a bite out of this job by day's end!
    Big Macintosh: Biting off more than you can chew is just what I'm afraid of.
    Applejack: Are you saying my mouth is making promises my legs can't keep?
    Big Macintosh: Eeyup.
  • Blush Sticker: Not having distinct outlines or failing to adhere to the skin, but blushes still consist of two ovals on cheeks.
  • Book-Ends: There are oh-so-many of these...
    • The first three seasons both begin and end in Canterlot.
    • The episode "Sisterhooves Social" opens and closes with shots of the same two birds in a tree outside Carousel Boutique.
    • Season 1 starts with Twilight Sparkle in charge of overseeing the rest of the Mane Six prepare for a celebration, and Season 2 ends the same way.
    • Season 3 begins with "The Crystal Empire", where Princess Cadance ascends to her role as the Crystal Princess. Season 3 ends with "Magical Mystery Cure", where Twilight Sparkle ascends to her role as princess.
    • The first song in the Season 3 two-parter "The Crystal Empire" has Twilight worry about her test and proclaim, "I Wasn't Prepared For This." The second part ends when she passes and her friends tell her "You Were Prepared For This."
    • The first and last songs of Season 3 ("Twilight's Failure Song" and "Life in Equestria") end with a long zoom-out from Twilight standing on the parapet of Canterlot Castle.
    • Season 5 begins and ends with Starlight Glimmer as the Big Bad, and the ponies from the first episode she appears in return briefly in the finale.
    • The final season begins with a two-parter called "The Beginning of the End", and the two-parter of the three-part Grand Finale is called "The Ending of the End".
    • The series began with Twilight moving to Ponyville and ends with her leaving and moving back to Canterlot.
    • The last shot of the entire series is the same book seen in the opening of the very first episode, only it closes instead of opening, signalling the end of the series. It also ends with Twilight sending her student, Luster Dawn, to Ponyville to make friends the same way Celestia did with her so long ago.
    • In a meta example, the series premiered on a Sunday morning, and ended on a Saturday night.
    • In the two-part series premiere, Nightmare Moon is defeated with the Mane Six glowing and floating in the air with the magic of the Elements of Harmony and shooting her with a rainbow beam, and Twilight gets Glowing Eyes for a moment. In the three-part Grand Finale, Tirek, Cozy and Chrysalis are defeated the same way: Twilight, her friends, the Pillars and students glow and float in the air, she gets Glowing Eyes and they shoot the villains with the exact same rainbow. Both battles are also preceded by a Rousing Speech by Twilight about the Magic of Friendship: the first was about what Elements her friends represent, while the last is her realizing the Elements were just symbols and their real friendship is each other.
  • Boring, but Practical: Speaking on a general level, unicorns can do magic, pegasi can fly and build cities from clouds, earth ponies... can grow food.
  • Boss Subtitles: In the Japanese version, whenever a major character makes their first big appearance, their name pops up underneath them, much like in Japanese anime.
  • Bowdlerize: When aired on Treehouse TV, all instances of the word "loser" are silenced from "Boast Busters", "Call of the Cutie", "Party of One", and "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies" (including one instance of the word "stupid") (though not from "Sonic Rainboom", "The Return of Harmony Part 2", or "Hearth's Warming Eve"). "Griffon the Brush Off" is rarely played.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • "Elements of Harmony" closes off with a scenery shot of Ponyville, at which point Pinkie Pie pops up and repeats her "Are you excited?" rant to the camera as the Iris Out begins. When she gasps, the Iris actually widens again.
    • In "Bridle Gossip", Twilight and her friends are suffering the nasty aftereffects of a "curse". Immediately, Spike makes silly nicknames for them, but when it's Twilight's turn, he gets stumped, claiming "I got nothing". Then he turns his eye against the fourth wall and says "'Twilight Sparkle?' I mean, seriously. I can't even work with that".
    • At the end of "Bridle Gossip", when the ponies are enjoying the bath and laughing as the screen zooms out to the credits, Pinkie Pie stares at the viewer with a curious expression on her face.
    • In "Fall Weather Friends, Spike repeatedly looks at the camera during Pinkie's strange commentary.
    • In "A Dog and Pony Show", Rarity appears to grab the camera when she throws a hissy-fit over one of the Diamond Dogs calling her a mule.
    • This toy commercial opens with Princess Celestia introducing herself to the viewers and inviting them to come fly with her.
    • At the end of "Over a Barrel", during the Iris Out, Pinkie Pie grabs the closing border and briefly holds it open as she complains that Twilight's moral was what she was trying to say earlier, during her song.
    • Even Fluttershy does this in "A Bird in the Hoof". When she pours birdseed over a pill she's trying to feed to Philemena, she turns to the camera with a smug look and says "Always works".
    • Rainbow Dash talks directly to the viewers in this commercial for a marathon leading up to the premiere of "The Cutie Mark Chronicles".
    • Done at the end of "Owl's Well That Ends Well", with a literal wink at the audience from Owlowiscious.
    • This Spin-Off Babies toy commercial opens with baby Pinkie Pie asking the viewers if they'll help her walk.
    • This toy commercial opens with Pinkie Pie inviting the viewers to hop in her RC Cat if they want to come with her to Ponyville.
    • This toy commercial opens with Rarity inviting the viewers to come ride round and round on her Carousel Boutique with her, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie.
    • Spike repeatedly interacts with Twilight's imagine spots during "Lesson Zero": he pops one with a claw, rolls another up like a blind, and wheels a starburst background out of frame.
    • Towards the end of "Putting Your Hoof Down", Iron Will gives a clear thumbs-up and wink to the audience — actually momentarily confusing both Rarity and Pinkie Pie in the foreground.
    • This toy commercial opens with Pinkie Pie introducing herself to the viewers and inviting them to hop on her Friendship Express Train.
    • Rainbow Dash talks directly to the viewers in this commercial for a marathon leading up to the premiere of "Hearts and Hooves Day".
    • At the end of "Magic Duel", the camera iris closes, but forced open by a still mouth-less Pinkie Pie. Then Twilight opens up another iris to get to her and restore her mouth.
    • During "Magical Mystery Cure", our favorite wall-eyed background pony made an appearance at Twilight's coronation several times. Once she was even winking at the camera.
      • Also during "Magical Mystery Cure" when Twilight ascends to the astral plane Celestia demonstrates that she has been keeping track of Twilight's progress... by displaying a grid of clips from the show. This implies Celestia is watching the show (or perhaps even producing it).
  • Breakout Character: Rainbow Dash, depending on your point of view.
    • Less POV-oriented, Princess Luna. She had all of two lines in the entirety of Season 1 (sans her lines as Nightmare Moon), and yet the fandom positively screamed for her to start showing up in Season 2. She got an entire episode, and then a couple of appearances in the season finale. She also appeared in both parts of the start of Season 3, as well as playing a major role in another episode and appearing yet again in the season finale.
  • Break the Cutie: When Fluttershy decided to get assertiveness lessons from iron will and started becoming a Jerkass. After she realized that she had become a monster, she boarded up her cottage and had Angel tie her up.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well is revealed to be an intentionally constructed scenario: The rest of the group got sick of Rainbow Dash's gloating and created the superhero persona to knock her down a few pegs.
    • The "Great and Powerful" Trixie, a traveling magician, gets one off-screen. She's introduced in her first episode as the type of over-the-top "I'm the most awesome thing alive" antagonist you might expect to find in a children's cartoon, and after getting shown up by the Mane character, is still going on about how awesome she is as she flees town. It turns out later that the event destroyed her career, to the point where she had work on a rock farm to make ends meet.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", Discord is subjected to this at Tirek's hands, finally solidifying his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Break Them by Talking: In "The Return of Harmony", the especially vicious Faux Affably Evil villain Discord corrupts each of the main ponies to keep them from using the Elements of Harmony that they represent against him. Ultimately he just brainwashes each of them with magic (aside from Twilight Sparkle), but he also takes the trouble to break each down before that, usually by talking. In Applejack's case, he manipulates her to doubt the value of Honesty (her element) by showing her a terrible "truth" that she can't accept, before turning her into a liar. For Pinkie Pie (Laughter), he makes her think her friends laugh at her all the time, before turning her unhappy and hostile. Fluttershy (Kindness) is the only one on whom his speech doesn't work, because she's too trusting, and accepting of her own flaws... So he just zaps her into being cruel anyway.
    Discord: Well, it must be so upsetting to know how weak and helpless they think you are.
    Fluttershy: Not at all! I am weak and helpless, and I appreciate their understanding.
    • In "Putting Your Hoof Down", of all ponies to deliver one, Fluttershy does it to both Pinkie Pie and Rarity, calling their interests frivolous and driving them both to tears. Yikes.
  • Brick Joke: During "Call of the Cutie", Apple Bloom tries her hoof at baking cupcakes, but all she gets are some horribly burnt failures that are quickly swept under the rug. Later, during a party, a poor background pony is seen nibbling on some nicely decorated cupcakes, only to make an unpleasant discovery. At the very end of the episode, Scootaloo tries to eat one of the cupcakes, but Apple Bloom warns her off it ("Not the cupcakes! Trust me.").
    • Another example appears in "Swarm of the Century". The first instrument Pinkie Pie tries to find, a trombone, doesn't even become a part of the one-pony-band ensemble she uses to drive the swarm away. At the very end, after a shot of the aftermath of the infestation, she pops up in front of the screen with her trombone to deliver the classic "Wah-wah-wah-WAAAAAAH".
    • "The Ticket Master" opens with Applejack telling Twilight about a bet she made, saying that if she won, Big Macintosh would have to walk down Stirrup Street in one of Granny Smith's girdles. This seems like a simple, throwaway joke, until "Applebuck Season", where Big Macintosh is unable to harvest apples because of a mysterious, unexplained injury to his midsection.
    • At the beginning of "A Bird in the Hoof", Rainbow Dash spends a few minutes trying to get a reaction out of Celestia's guards. Her efforts are futile, as one might expect. At the end of the episode, once Philomena is reborn as a phoenix, Dash convinces her to tickle the guards' noses. It works, they finally break character. Cue Everypony Laughs Ending.
    • In "Party Of One", Pinkie says she'll pass out written invitations next time she decides to invite her friends to a party. The next day, after the birthday party for Gummy ends, she appears with a basket of written invitations to Twilight and friends for Gummy's after-birthday party.
    • A subtle one is done in both parts of the pilot. When initially looking up information on the Elements of Harmony in Canterlot, Twilight finds some info under 'E' in a book. Once Nightmare Moon has been freed, Twilight then races to the Ponyville library to find more info on the Elements but is having trouble. Pinkie Pie finds a reference guide with ease, and when Twilight asks her about it, Pinkie cheerfully responds "It was under 'E'!"
    • When the mane six are "cursed" in "Bridle Gossip", Spike makes up nicknames for each pony based on her curse, but can't come up with one for Twilight. At the very end of the scene, Spike comes up with Twilight Flopple.
    • What Discord is eating in the flashback where Celestia and Luna challenge him.
  • Bridezilla: The entire "it seems like the bride has been replaced by a monster" is subverted and played with when it turns out Princess Cadance actually has been replaced by a monster.
  • Broken Aesop: The show has a few:
    • In the episode "Swarm of the Century", the lesson is that you should always listen to your friends, even if what they say doesn't make sense. Pinkie has the solution to the problem, but she just demands that everyone help her without telling them how or why, and when another method almost works, she screws it up. It's a better illustration of how important it is to explain yourself properly if you want to get your ideas across to others.
    • "A Friend In Deed" aims to teach that you can't force someone to be your friend, and that if someone doesn't want you hanging around them all the time, you should give them their space. The problem is that Pinkie doesn't leave him alone until she figures out what she needs to do to endear herself to him. Pinkie actually says "There are many ways to express friendship; some friends like to run and laugh and play together, but others just like to be left alone, and that's fine, too", but the entire episode hinges on how Pinkie refuses to stop spending time with Cranky no matter how much it annoys and upsets him, and only by doing this does she learn how to solve his problem.
    • In "One Bad Apple", the Cutie Mark Crusaders learn the Aesop that when being bullied, instead of retaliating they should tell an adult like Applejack who can handle the situation better. However, the episode ends with Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon bullying the CMC in front of Applejack, who does nothing. Instead, Babs Seed handles things by scaring them off through intimidation, causing them to fall into mud (it isn't clear whether this result was intentional or not). To her credit, Babs does threaten to tell the girls' mothers, but she never carries out said threat, she was in no position to do so because she was about to leave town, and as "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" reveals, telling Diamond Tiara's mother wouldn't have been a reliable solution, because her mother is the one who taught her to despise and mock blank flanks like the CMC in the first place.
    • "Games Ponies Play" has the team traveling to the Crystal Empire and setting up festivities to impress a games inspector so she'll decide to let the empire host the ponies' version of the Olympics. They end up getting the wrong pony, while the actual inspector has a terrible time. At the end, the two meet and the pony mistaken for the inspector talks about how amazing the empire is. The inspector decides that the empire will host the games, because every other place she visited went out of their way to impress her, while she was told of how great the empire was from a regular pony. The problem is, the only reason the other pony had such a glowing impression of the empire is because she experienced all of the things they had been planning to do for the inspector, undercutting any message about sincerity.
    • "Princess Spike" has two:
      • Spike learns that it's wrong to use his connection to Twilight to make himself feel important by handling her appointment while she's asleep, and then abusing that authority to enjoy a bunch of indulgent perks. The episode illustrates this by having a bunch of orders Spike gave on Twilight's behalf cause a chain reaction that ruins a major diplomatic event, but Spike arranged all of those events according to his original orders to not let anything disturb her rest. The actual selfish ones go completely unmentioned and with no negative repercussions whatsoever.
      • The message at the end that "things all fall together when we each do our bit part" comes off as shallow at best, and hypocritical at worst, after the Canterlot ponies repeatedly disregarded Spike (thus preventing him from doing his part) earlier because, as one put it, "I don't need some random dragon's opinion." Additionally, the entire plot is driven by the fact that Twilight, being in charge, is the only one who can error-handle the whole mess, but when she can't due to exhaustion, Spike is meant to be seen as wrong for trying to help because he was trading on her name. Fair enough, but that means Spike got in trouble for doing his bit part.
  • Brought Down to Normal:
    • Discord can take away pegasus wings and unicorn horns on a whim, which he demonstrates on the mane cast in the Season 2 opener.
    • In the Season 4 premiere, the Mane Six is forced to give up the Elements of Harmony to stop the Everfree Forest from growing out of control. On the plus side, doing so revealed a special chest that eventually resulted in Twilight's palace. Also downplayed, as every time the Mane Six need the elements in the future, they just take them out of the tree and put them back later.
    • "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2": Celestia, Luna and Cadance when they transfer all their magic to Twilight, and Discord goes through this when Tirek drains him of his magic. This also happens to Twilight when she surrenders hers and the Princesses' power to Tirek.
  • Brutal Honesty: This is a common gag on the show. Rainbow Dash is the most frequent offender, but others include Fluttershy (when she's pressured into answering a question she'd rather avoid), Applejack (as an unfortunate consequence of her virtue of Honesty, though usually depends on who wrote the episode), Twilight Sparkle (out of sheer awkwardness), and even Spike (as the youngest of the major characters.)
    • Fluttershy to Rarity in "Suited For Success". After Rarity kindly makes dresses for her friends for the Grand Galloping Gala, the dresses are given less than stellar reviews. So, Rarity decides to make new dresses exactly to their specifications. After being hammered for her honest opinion of the dress, Fluttershy gives Rarity an expertly precise and intricate critique of the technical imperfections of the fabric, sewing, style and the like; displaying what was coined by Applejack as a "freaky knowledge of sewin'".
      Fluttershy: Alright, since you really want to know... (Big inhale) The armscye's tight, the middy collar doesn't go with the shawl lapel, the hems are clearly machine stitched, the pleats are uneven, the fabric looks like toile, you used a backstitch when it clearly called for a topstitch or maybe a traditional blanket stitch, and the overall design is reminiscent of prêt-à-porter and not true French haute couture.
      But, uh... you know... um, whatever you want to do is fine.
    • Played for Drama in the Season 2 episode, "Putting Your Hoof Down", by Fluttershy.
    • Applejack, being the Element of Honesty, when she bluntly acknowledges how selfishly Rarity acted in "Rarity Takes Manehattan". Lampshaded by Rainbow Dash:
      Applejack: Yeah, you were pretty rotten.
      Rainbow Dash: Wow, Applejack. I know your thing is Honesty, but come on!
    • What ultimately breaks the "Inspiration Manifestation" spell over Rarity when Spike finally tells her that her "improvements" aren't making things better for anypony. He also tells Twilight she looks awful at the end after she's spent the entire day cleaning up Rarity's mess.
    • In "Equestria Games", Rainbow Dash encourages the Ponyville teams to win the gold... except for her team, who she admits probably won't do as well.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: Fluttershy, to emphasize her shy cuteness, has a pet rabbit, although he doesn't always act cute and cuddly. She also mentions "cute bunnies" in one of her songs.
  • "Burly Detective" Syndrome: Common enough in fics that it's called "Lavender Unicorn Syndrome". Twilight Sparkle is a lavender unicorn who is the main character of the show, and thus is in most of the fics. Her dialogue ends up as "the lavender unicorn said" a lot, even though absolutely everyone reading the fic knows what she looks like.
  • Butt-Monkey: Really no one is safe from the universe's abuses, and all of the main seven become butt monkey material at some point or another, though Twilight, Spike and Rainbow Dash are the normal targets for suffering. In general, it's a fair bet that if someone starts being overly cute, is afraid of something, acts like an arrogant Jerkass, or starts questioning things, something bad will happen to them; sometimes a lot of bad things.

Alternative Title(s): Tropes A To G


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: