- Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price, Coloring by Heather Breckel (Part One)Written by Ted Anderson, Art by Tony Fleecs (Part Two)
The Fall of Sunset Shimmer
The 2013 Annual is divided into a two-part story. The first part details Sunset's tutelage with Celestia, and how they have a falling out that leads Sunset to enter the human world. The second part covers the backstory of the Humane Five with the Framing Device of being interviewed for the yearbook.
Sunset, some time before Twilight's entrance to Celestia's school, is Celestia's star pupil, and though talented in magic, remains extremely selfish and vain. One day, Celestia shows her the magic mirror, though does not describe its function. Sunset sees herself as a powerful alicorn princess in its reflection - and then perhaps something darker - and becomes fascinated with what the purpose of the mirror was, hounding Celestia for answers. Celestia refuses to give these, and starts to see the greed and selfishness in Sunset. Getting nothing from Celestia, Sunset breaks into the Dark Magic section of Canterlot library, learning not only the mirror leads to another world, but that there is magic to make a pony into an alicorn. Celestia arrives with her guards on hearing this; Sunset demands that Celestia make her a princess, but Celestia refuses, asserting the title is something earned, which she has been trying to teach Sunset. Celestia denounces Sunset as her pupil, and has her guards escort her out of the school. Sunset manages to escape and makes her way through the mirror. Realizing she made another mistake as with her sister Luna, Princess Celestia has the mirror moved to her throne room as a reminder of her mistake and in hopes Sunset would return. On the other side, Sunset, now a human, starts to see an advantage of this new world.
In part two, the Humane Five are interviewed by an unnseen party. While Rainbow and Fluttershy were friends before from Cloudsdale Junior High, they didn't know about the others before. Though they all meet at the Freshman Fair and share classes together, they still struggled with getting to know one another. Pinkie Pie struggles with finding a club that she really enjoys, even after trying them all, while Rainbow Dash is desperate to be the star player for the Wonder Colts soccer team but difficult to play as a team member. Meanwhile, Applejack finds that her cousins Babs Seed and Sunflower are also at the school, but they are quick to ridicule her country duds and her drawl. Both, however, quickly warm up to Rarity, who has established herself as the school's fashion expert. Rarity finds the two are quick to ostracize others that don't fit into the clique, including Fluttershy who is worried about the health of Sunflower's dog but unable to get a word in edgewise to let her know, and Rarity wonders if she has fallen into the right crowd. At the first soccer game of the season, Pinkie talks to Vice Principal Luna about starting a glee club, her true calling, who allows her to go through with it. Pinkie gets Fluttershy to help to distribute fake pony ears to the crowd to help cheer on the team. When Fluttershy approaches Babs and Sunflower, she still sees Sunflower's dog is sick and speaks up. The two chew Fluttershy out until both Rarity and Applejack call them out as bullies, and join in helping Fluttershy distribute the ears. The cheering helps to lead the team to victory, with Rainbow Dash allows the team captain Spitfire to make the winning goal. The five become close friends throughout school.
At the conclusion of the interview, the reader finds these interviews were conducted by Sunset Shimmer, who is gathering information on their friendships to use against them.
This issue provides examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy: Unlike the pony version, human Babs Seed has no redeeming qualities and is just a straight bully.
- Age Lift: Babs, of all characters, appears as the same age as Applejack and the other Humane Five, based on height and the fact they're in the same school (with AJ as a freshman). Mind you, the other CMC, as well as Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, also appear as background characters with the age-up they had from the film but obviously younger than the Humane Five or Babs, which raises several questions on aging and timing in the Equestria Girls world.
- Alpha Bitch: Before there was Sunset Shimmer, there was Sunflower.
- Call-Forward: Sunset's hair when she unleashes her plant growth spell in school takes on a fire-like appearance. Later, when she looks in the mirror, after seeing herself as an alicorn, she then is briefly entranced by a figure that seems to be standing in the middle of fire, before Celestia pulls her away. Both allude to her appearance in the film after she dons the crown and becomes a demon.
- Continuity Cameo: Lyra Heartstrings, Minuette, Lemon Hearts, and Twinkleshine appear (and of the same age as Sunset). These are the same ponies that tried to be friendly to Twilight Sparkle early on in the pilot episode of the TV series.
- The Cloud Gremlins from the Rainbow Dash micro-comic, which Tony Fleecs also worked on, appear in humanized form here.
- Among the aforementioned group of background ponies is one who looks like an updated version of "G1" Moondancer. This pony is most likely the Moondancer who was mentioned but never shown in the pilot.
- Filly Twilight can be seen along with the younger versions of Princess Cadance (with ponytail) and Shining Armor in the background after Sunset passes her test.
- In addition to those BG characters that appears in the film (including Big Mac, Granny Smith, Trixie, Vinyl, Photo Finish, and of course Derpy) additional BG characters from the show appear in human form, including Octavia, Bon-Bon, Spitfire, Soarin', Ms. Harshwhinny and Babs Seed.
- Continuity Nod: The story starts with Sunset taking a similar test as Twilight as an entrance exam to Celestia's school - and causes similar type of destruction (though this caused by a plant growing out of control instead of a giant Spike). Unlike Twilight, however, Sunset does it on purpose and with a clear lack of concern for the damage she's causing.
- One book in the library is called "Creation of Discord".
- Another is titled "Who do the changelings work for."
- Another is about "the headless horse" referenced in Look Before You Sleep and Sleepless In Ponyville.
- Pinkie Pie goes about the school to advertise her glee club as a one-man band, similar to her one-pony band in "Swarm of the Century" and "Magic Duel".
- At the end of the interview, Rainbow Dash notes that their friendships formed due to some "spark", a nod to Twilight's line from the second episode about how the Elements of Harmony worked together.
- Continuity Snarl: Twilight Sparkle is seen as a foal with Cadance and Shining Armor while Sunset looks the same as in Equestria Girls, but in Equestria Girls they look the same age. Even if one proposes some sort of time dilation is in effect when traveling between worlds, Celestia stated outright in the film that Sunset began her studies with Celestia "not long" before Twilight did; Twilight in the comic doesn't have her cutie mark, so she couldn't have begun her studies with Celestia yet, and Sunset has clearly been Celestia's student for some time.
- Contrived Coincidence: The portal apparently being open per its thirty moons time limit right during Sunset Shimmer's and Celestia's falling out, thus enabling Equestria Girls.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Much like Twilight at first, Sunset doesn't see the need for friends and doesn't really listen to Celestia's attempts to lecture her on the subject, even though she would have gotten exactly what she wanted if she did.
- It's All About Me: Sunset Shimmer, full stop, constantly believing that she deserves power and recognition.
- Jerkass: Sunset clearly is this at the start; her fall from grace certainly doesn't help matters.
- Moral Myopia: Sunset calling Celestia selfish for keeping her from her destiny. The narrative leaves no doubt she's the selfish one here.
- My Greatest Failure: Princess Celestia is indirectly reminded of being forced to banish Nightmare Moon, and keeps the mirror in her throne room once Sunset goes through, both as a reminder and in hopes she may return someday.
- Mythology Gag: A piece of paper laying by the portal on the human world side announces the upcoming dance, with inquiries to be made to Megan, Danny, or Molly — the human protagonists of the various "G1" cartoons. The dance is also called the Sundance, which was the name of a "G1" pony.
- Speaking of "G1" humans, one of the books in the Dark Magic wing of the library is titled "Who was Megan?"
- Two additional books in the library are the "History of Aquastria", and "Sea Ponies".
- Narrator All Along: The interviewer is left ambiguous until the final page reveals its Sunset Shimmer, though you may catch on to this early on in the first page as you can see her yellow hand.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: The portal mirror shows Sunset a vision of herself as an alicorn, which has no explanation or logical connection with what is known about its properties.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Princess Celestia is shown several times with barely-contained rage against Sunset's increasingly self-serving behavior, at one point instantly ruining a picnic they were having when she's fed up by Sunset's pestering about the magic mirror.
- Origin Story: By definition, describing how Sunset Shimmer fell out of Princess Celestia's grace and found the mirror to the human world, and then broke up the Humane Five.
- Prequel: To the first Equestria Girls movie.
- Series Continuity Error: The Humane Five are their current appearance during the Freshman Fair. But their photo of this from the Equestria Girls movie shows them significantly younger, like the younger students from the movie, and with different clothes. Diamond Tiara is also shown at her present freshman age despite clearly being younger than the then freshman Humane Five.
- Similar Squad: Lyra, Moondancer, Minuette, Lemon Hearts and Twinkleshine are this for Twilight's future friends.
- Single Tear: Celestia does this as part of the title banner. As Season 4 flashback shows, this is accurate.
- Start of Darkness: Sunset Shimmer's ambition to achieve the power of an alicorn princess is what causes her to go from merely arrogant to the villain seen in the movie.
- Villain Protagonist: While more of a Jerkass than a villain, Sunset Shimmer fits this trope.
- When Trees Attack: As part of a mid-term exam, the students have to perform a spell on a plant. One student's attempt conjures a living bonsai tree that tries to grab her. Sunset's attempt causes more property destruction, but doesn't harm anyone.