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"Take my hand, Twilight. Let me show you there's another way... just like someone once did for me."
Sunset Shimmer

Written by Josh Haber

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games is the third movie in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls line of films. The film had its premiere airing on Discovery Family on September 26, 2015, and its home media release was on October 13 of that year. Unlike the previous two installments, this one was not given a limited theatrical release.

Set during the events of the Season 5 finale ("The Cutie Re-Mark – Part 1" and "Part 2"), the plot centers around the Canterlot High Wondercolts facing off against the Crystal Prep Shadowbolts in the eponymous Friendship Games, which include archery, speed skating, and motocross. Among the ranks of the Shadowbolts is the human incarnation of Twilight Sparkle, who was previously seen in The Stinger of Rainbow Rocks studying the magical goings-on at Canterlot High.

Trailer #1, Trailer #2.

As with Rainbow Rocks, Hasbro produced a series of prelude shorts to promote the movie. They have their own page, My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games Shorts.

On May 3, 2016, a "Friendship Games Blooper Reel" was released on the official Equestria Girls website. (Tropes for this short at the bottom of the page.)

This movie is followed by My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree, the fourth film in the franchise.

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games provides examples of:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: In the archery competition, Fluttershy misses her target several times, but scores a bullseye when she fires with her eyes closed.
  • Action Girl: Rainbow Dash and Sunset Shimmer have some great moments, the former facing a giant carnivorous plant and the latter facing a transformed Twilight in the climax.
  • Adapted Out: The novelization replaces Derpy with Trixie on the CHS team, likely to avoid mentioning her name.
  • Air Guitar: Lemon Zest, on exiting the bus with her headphones on, makes some slick rock-star moves.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The name of a character's Superpowered Evil Side, Midnight Sparkle, is never stated in the movie itself, only in merchandise. In the next movie, Twilight does speak the name.
    • Sunset Shimmer's Super Mode when fighting said character is "Daydream Shimmer", according to sources.
  • All Up to You: Sunset tries to get Pony Twilight's advice on how to handle the magic situation but the latter doesn't respond back due to some offscreen time-travel shenanigans, leaving her to try and resolve the situation herself with the help of the Rainbooms.
  • Alternate Self:
    • The human Twilight Sparkle from The Stinger of Rainbow Rocks goes to Crystal Prep, and is part of the Shadowbolts team. She notably lacks any of the Equestrian Twilight's experiences with friendship, which reflects how Princess Twilight herself had little experience with friendship at the start of Friendship Is Magic.
    • Human versions of Trenderhoof, Jet Set, Upper Crust, Suri Polomare, Fleur Des Lis, Royal Pin, and Neon Lights are also part of the Crystal Prep student body. Cadance also appears as a Dean at Crystal Prep, along with Shining Armor as a Crystal Prep alumnus.
    • A humanized version of Geri, one of the elderly ponies in Ponyville, is seen riding the same bus Twilight takes back from CHS.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • The Shadowbolts always beat the Wondercolts at the Friendship Games. Deconstructed, as it has left the Wondercolts rather unenthusiastic about the Games.
    • Sunset Shimmer actually feels that Princess Twilight is always going to be better than her, contrasting the first movie when she thought she was the smarter one. She also loses a math competition to Human Twilight, although just barely.
  • Anachronic Order: The movie takes place sometime during the Season 5 finale, but because of the two-month scheduling hiatus of MLP:FIM that summer, it ended up premiering in the middle of Season 5. Thanks to this, the movie reveals a pretty huge spoiler that Pony Twilight travels through time during the Season 5 finale.
  • Animal-Eared Headband: The Wondercolt pony-ears headbands make another comeback during the pep rally, and are seen a few times during the games.
  • Animation Bump:
    • The opening credits, particularly the magic spark zipping around the strings on Twilight's board, boast having some of the most gorgeous animation in the series. Not only can you see virtually every thread on every string, but the spark itself was done entirely through fluidly hand-drawn animation.
    • Clothing has really improved since the first movie, as the Crystal Prep uniforms and Sunset's new base outfit look and move more natural. Also the Mane Cast isn't stuck with a single design but change into several throughout the movie.
    • Once again the animators have improved their depictions of the human characters, who show more creative designs, a wider array of facial expressions, and move more naturally.
    • Twilight and Sunset's transformations are particularly well made, with a wide variety of amazingly animated scenes.
  • Apocalypse How: Sunset's comment implies that if she hadn't stopped Midnight Sparkle from opening portals, the entire world would have collapsed into Equestria.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • When Rainbow calls the Rainbooms for help, Sunset asks about a couple serious threats, and then Pinkie interjects, asking if a cake monster is covering all cakes with cake.
    • When Rainbow says she knows who the In the Hood figure was, Pinkie guesses nighttime statue cleaner, a magic portal maintenance person, and a gardener.
  • Artifact of Doom: The magic-absorbing device Twilight creates. She originally designed it to track and contain the strange energy disturbances around CHS, but it grows more uncontrollable as it absorbs more magic, acting of its own volition whenever the Equestria Girls pony up. After absorbing the magic of the portal, it also starts generating portals to Equestria whenever it's open, which gets worse as it absorbs more magic.
  • Artistic License – Music:
    • Rainbow Dash plays a power chord, complete with the typical overdriven amp distortion, on an unplugged electric guitar.
    • An experienced guitarist like Rainbow would always carry spare B and E strings, because they do tend to break. Also, someone with Rainbow's experience would be able to play around a broken string.
  • Artistic License – Sports:
    • Having the four school officials as the judges for different parts of the Academic Decathlon casts serious doubt on their ability to stay impartial.
    • During what is stated to be the speed-skating event, the Shadowbolts use inline skates vs. the Wondercolt's quad skates. This gives Crystal Prep quite a bit of an unfair advantage, as the design of inline skates makes them much better suited than quads for, well, speed (both teams should be using the same type of skates). Rarity and Pinkie use a maneuver at one point that would be more at home at a Roller Derby competitionnote , and the end credits also show Pinkie and Sunny Flare making physical contact, purposefully pushing each other — both things should be illegal in speed skating. And finally, seeing how seriously Cinch takes the Games, it's rather odd that the Shadowbolts don't have specialized inline speed skates, instead using "regular" inlines.
  • Ascended Extra: The Shadowbolts in the show were merely illusions conjured by Nightmare Moon, and their only other appearance was as Rainbow Dash's Nightmare Night costume in Season 2. Now, their name is attached to the main antagonists.
  • Ascended Meme: The term "pony up" was first used by fans in reference to the Transformation Sequence of Princess Twilight Sparkle and the human counterparts of her friends in the original Equestria Girls film, and was acknowledged by the producers in the commentary for Rainbow Rocks. The phrase and conjugations are used In-Universe throughout this film.
  • Ash Face: Derpy, after her chemistry experiment blows up in her face. That doesn't stop her from giving off an embarrassed smile.
  • Aside Glance: In the library, Rainbow Dash does a couple eye rolls toward the audience in response to Pinkie Pie's ridiculous suggestions about the identity of the intruder.
  • Assumed Win: Cinch acts as if Crystal Prep has already won the Games, and the actual competition is just a formality, when she arrives at CHS.
  • As You Know: Principal Celestia's speech at the pep rally begins with "As I am sure you all know..." before some exposition about the Friendship Games.
  • Audible Sharpness: As Midnight Sparkle's horn grows from her forehead, the sound effect concludes with the typical metallic noise of a blade being drawn.
  • Backing Away Slowly: During the archery contest, after Twilight finally hits the bullseye, Spike goes and congratulates her... in front of Sour Sweet, who's quite taken aback by the talking dog. She's then seen slowly slinking away in the background.
  • Badass Armfold: In the opening credits, the Wondercolt and Shadowbolt teams stare each other down with their arms crossed.
  • Badass Boast: Rainbow's pep rally is essentially one for Canterlot High, saying how they've faced magic and won twice, and compared to that, Crystal Prep is small fry.
  • Bathos: The tense moment of both Twilights meeting each other for the first time in The Stinger is lightened by Pinkie Pie noisily slurping on her drink with a straw.
  • Battle Rapping: The "ACADECA" song pits CHS and Crystal Prep together in one of these.
    CHS Students: All of the times we lost before
    Not about to give up, we're only bringin' it more
    We can smell your fear, we can see your sweat
    Hope you didn't spend money 'cause you're losin' this bet!

    CPA Students: Talk a little too much for a school that never wins
    Maybe you should just stop 'fore you even begin
    We are Crystal Prep High and we have a reputation
    Every little moment is about our education!
  • Beam-O-War: Happens between Daydream Shimmer and Midnight Sparkle in the climax. Midnight initially has the advantage, but Spike momentarily brings her Twilight self back, and the brief distraction is enough for Daydream to turn the tables.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • "Unleash the Magic" includes a line where the Shadowbolts tell Twilight that the only thing they care about is seeing Canterlot High fall, with a metaphorical shot of the school's Rearing Horse statue crumbling. It's literally the first thing she blows up after becoming evil, inspiring some quite hilarious Oh, Crap! expressions from the now panicking Shadowbolts.
    • In the same song, Twilight says that she wants to see the magic, only for her device to turn her evil.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: This movie has two for one. First we have Crystal Prep Academy's Principal Cinch, whose scheming throughout the movie leads to the creation of a second Big Bad, Midnight Sparkle.
  • Big "NO!": From Midnight Sparkle as she's overwhelmed in the Beam-O-War.
  • Blackmail: Cinch forces and extorts Twilight into participating in the Games by threatening to derail her admission into an independent study program, and keeps using the threat whenever she wants to get Twilight to do something.
  • Blatant Lies: When Cadance catches her with Spike, Twilight quickly makes up an excuse that he's the subject of a human/canine cohabitation study. Cadance lets her get away with it as long as she can keep Cinch from finding out.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Unlike Pony Twilight who's almost never seen wearing glasses, Human Twilight really needs them, as demonstrated when she's seen squinting and looking for them after bumping into Flash Sentry. We even get a P.O.V. Cam shot when Flash gives her back the glasses, showing just how blurry her vision is without them.
  • Blunder-Correcting Impulse: During the archery contest part of the Friendship Games, Twilight Sparkle proves unable to hit the target, and her so-called "teammates" of the Shadowbolts are not helping at all, doing nothing but berating her. So much so that Applejack, despite being in the opposite team, gets fed up with it and advises Twilight on how to calm down and shoot straight.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • After Rainbow wonders aloud what the events are, Pinkie pulls a pie out of her hair and suggest pie eating, then pulls out a cake and suggests cake eating. She then gets excited, smashes the pie and cake together, and suggests "pie-cake eating".
    • When Sunset is lamenting the fact that she can't reach Twilight, Pinkie says that Twilight is an expert at "magic, and portals, and magical portals, and portable magics!"
  • Call-Back:
    • When Sunset sees In the Hood Human Twilight, she's writing in her journal to Princess Twilight, notably mentioning the previous movie's Battle of the Bands.
    • In the message Sunset sends to Twilight, she's saying how the Rainbooms still "pony up" when they play music, with Rainbow in particular getting a kick out of it. It's mentioned again later when Rainbow transforms during the pep rally... without playing.
    • Applejack makes a joke about evil creatures bent on world domination coming through the portal with a wink at Sunset, who takes the reference to her past much better this time (though it's also clearly a reference to the Dazzlings).
    • During the CHS Rally song, on the line "We overcame the obstacles we faced," the marching band upturns two sets of panels showing, respectively, Sunset Shimmer in her demon form next to Twilight's crown and the Dazzlings in their siren forms.
    • Human Pinkie's reaction to Human Twilight and her quickly pointing out that this isn't the pony version calls back to when this Pinkie Pie first met Pony Twilight in the original film. In that exchange, she directly asks Pony Twilight if she has a twin that lives in the city with a dog, showing that she's aware that their world's Twilight lived close by.
    • While the first movie told us Sunset Shimmer was once Princess Celestia's student learning magic, her skill in more normal academics, such as mathematics, is first shown in the book Sunset Shimmer's Time to Shine, which says she was the top student in her classes, so it makes sense she'd do best on her team in the Academic Decathlon.
    • In the climax of the movie, when confronting Midnight Sparkle, Sunset Shimmer recalls that she has been once in her spot, and urges Twilight to not make the same mistakes. She also reassures Twilight, once she finally returns to normal, that she can be forgiven, like Sunset has been herself by the school.
  • Cassandra Truth: In the finale, after Twilight is brought back to normal from her Midnight Sparkle form, Cinch tries to have Canterlot High disqualified on the grounds of using magic. Everyone, including her own students, call her out for causing Twilight's rampage in the first place. When she threatens legal action, they all smugly tell her she's welcome to try to explain the magical on-goings in the school without looking like a loon and ruining Crystal Prep's reputation, the very thing she stooped so low to uphold. Cinch realizes she's not going to win this one and leaves quietly.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Pony Twilight only shows up to help after everything's been dealt with.
  • Chair Reveal: The "Chair Entrance" variant is how Principal Abacus Cinch introduces herself.
  • Character Development: In the previous film, Sunset Shimmer was understandably insecure about her previous time as a villain, with a Running Gag of having to bite her tongue whenever the rest of the gang brought it up. By this film, she's far more comfortable in her new heroic role, and the references are more of an in-joke between them.
  • Circling Monologue: Principal Cinch and the Crystal Prep students circle around Twilight during the Villain Song to convince her to "Unleash the Magic".
  • Comical Overreacting: Dash sends an emergency text to the rest of the gang because a string on her guitar broke when she was going to play a song for the Crusaders.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The initial line of Pinkie over the gigantic cake monster is a reference to the nightmare of her pony counterpart on the episode "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?"
    • Sunset gives Rainbow a spare guitar string, referencing how she knows how to play.
    • The board full of strings that appeared at the end of Rainbow Rocks appears again, this time in Twilight's room at Crystal Prep.
    • The photo of Spike on Twilight's computer has him in a pose identical to one dragon-Spike made as a dog in Rainbow Rocks after he's caught photobombing Rarity; the only difference is that this Spike has a happy expression rather than a devious one.
    • Spike chases after a ladybug in Twilight's lab; a ladybug is featured in each previous movie, around the same time mark.
    • In the first film, Pinkie Pie asked Princess Twilight if she had a twin sister, alluding to the human Twilight Sparkle. In this film, Principal Celestia initially mistakes her for Princess Twilight's twin sister.
    • The animation for Twilight's transformation into Midnight Sparkle is obviously inspired by Sunset's transformation into a demon in the first movie.
    • During the closing credits, a picture of Sunset, Rarity, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Twilight and her Spike posing together can be seen, rather similarly to the photo taken of Pony Twilight, her Spike and the Equestria Girls posing together during the Fall Formal in the first film.
    • Human Twilight's story completely mirrors her pony counterpart's story in the pilot:
      • When Human Twilight enters her lab, she calls out to Dog Spike and hits him with the door when entering, exactly the same way her pony counterpart did.
      • As Twilight enters CHS, Human Sweetie Drops says hi to her and waves, only to be ignored. In the first episode, Twilight runs past Lyra Heartstrings, who waves but gets ignored the same way.
      • Twilight chooses to stay at CHS and not go back to Crystal Prep to study the magic of friendship. At the end of the pilot episode of Friendship Is Magic, Pony Twilight chooses to stay in Ponyville to learn the same thing.
  • Cool Bike: Both the Wondercolts and Shadowbolts have motocross bikes as part of the competition. Rainbow Dash and Sunset Shimmer's bikes correspond to their colors.
  • Counterpoint Duet: "Unleash the Magic" ends with Twilight singing counterpoint to her Shadowbolts teammates against a backdrop of students from both schools cheering and Vice-principal Luna and Dean Cadance announcing the beginning of the final event.
  • Covers Always Lie: Several merchandise pictures depicted Human Twilight and the Shadowbolts in half-pony form, but no such thing happens in the film.
  • Crack in the Sky: After Twilight's device traps the magic of the portal, it starts to create rifts between Earth and Equestria in the air each time the device opens to absorb more magic, which grow larger and more numerous as it takes in more magic. When all the magic is unleashed in the climax, purple cracks form along the ground and in the air as reality starts to break down.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rarity, who prepares a large variety of outfits including motocross, archery and rollerskating outfits, which are exactly what they need during the Games.
  • Creation Sequence: Twilight Sparkle building her magic-detecting device right after the opening credits is a lengthy, detailed sequence with intriguing background music.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The first part of the opening credits consists of following a spark of magic over the strings of Twilight's board of research on Canterlot High, with "Hasbro Studios Presents" and the names of the executive producers on cards pinned to the board, as well as the movie's title on a post-it note over a calendar.
  • Credits Gag: Unlike the past two films, Spike is listed in the opening credits as "Spike the Dog". Which makes sense since Equestria Spike isn't in this one.
  • Cringe Comedy: Twilight's short speech to the other Crystal Prep students in the bus, while not on par with the "Friendship is Magic!" moment from Rainbow Rocks, is still quite high on the awkwardness quotient.
    Sugarcoat: That was a really bad speech. You should consider not speaking in public.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Since at least one of the events at the Friendship Games will be on academics, Principal Cinch extorts/blackmails Twilight into joining the games, but after easily winning the academic portion Twilight is completely useless in the next sports-oriented event. If not for Applejack taking pity on her, she might have singlehandedly caused her team to lose the second event.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Pinkie Pie is the first student at CHS who realizes that Human Twilight isn't her pony counterpart. Ironically, she mentioned seeing Human Twilight in the first film when talking to Pony Twilight. When Principal Celestia comments about Twilight having a twin sister, Pinkie, who initially asked Pony Twilight if she had a twin in the first film, fills her in on what's really going on, with Celestia ending up looking very confused.
    Celestia: I didn't know Twilight had a twin sister.
    Pinkie: She doesn't! That Twilight is obviously the Twilight from this world and not the Twilight from the pony world because the Twilight from the pony world doesn't go to Crystal Prep or wear glasses!
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: Twilight wants to know about the mysterious power she's been detecting from Canterlot High, but her actions and the device she builds to contain it end up causing chaos. To her credit, she does try to stop after her device tears open a hole in space, but by this point it's acting of its own volition.
  • Custom Uniform: The Shadowbolt team's school uniforms differ from each other and from those worn by the rest of the Crystal Prep students. Twilight's necktie (instead of a bow) and the cut of her vest make her stand out the most.
  • Dark Is Evil: While Human Twilight is the opposite of this, Midnight Sparkle plays this completely straight.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Abacus Cinch, who will go to any lengths to protect her school's reputation as the best. Ironically averted with the actual dean, Cadance, who inherits her pony counterpart's Nice Girl personality.
  • Death Glare: After losing the cooking contest to Pinkie Pie, Human Suri Polomare and Upper Crust receive one from Principal Cinch, so scathing that Suri wilts under it and drops her cake.
  • Delayed Reaction: After Spike is exposed to Fluttershy's magic drained out of her by the device, Twilight asks him if he's okay. Her initial reaction is relief when he tells her "Um... I think so." And then she freaks out as she realizes her pet dog just spoke.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Flash Sentry only has speaking lines in three scenes, one at the pep rally, and two involving his getting the brush-off from Human Twilight who has no idea who he is and is much more interested in her research.
    • After getting a big role in the previous movie, Trixie has no lines in this one.
    • After being a very important character in the last two, Pony Twilight doesn't show up at all until The Stinger.
    • Snips and Snails are Sunset Shimmer's henchmen in the first movie and have a notable comedy scene in the second. Here, they don't get any lines either.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Human Twilight, who even sings a song about how she feels like she doesn't know what to do next.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Princess Twilight Sparkle doesn't respond to Sunset Shimmer's messages asking for advice and help, forcing her and her friends to solve the problem themselves. At the very end of the movie, Twilight shows up and apologizes, since she was busy dealing with the crisis Starlight Glimmer created in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "The Cutie Re-Mark", which happens at the same time as the movie.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Twilight builds a device to absorb the strange energies around Canterlot High, not considering what the energy does or how it interacts with its environment. Sunset calls her on it.
    • For someone so concerned about winning, Cinch's insistence on having Twilight participate is rather short-sighted. She wins the academic portion, but nearly costs them the athletic event singlehandedly. If not for Applejack taking pity on Twilight, Canterlot would have won the second event uncontested. Downplayed since Cinch mentions that Archery is a standard requirement at Crystal Prep, so she assumed Twilight would at least be able to pass the event, clearly not anticipating Twilight to choke under the pressure.
  • Disapproving Look:
    • The look Luna and Celestia give to Flash Sentry just after he heckles them isn't exactly kind.
    • Neither is the look they give to Cinch when she interrupts the party before the games to insult CHS and their losing streak.
  • Distant Duet: Theinvoked Cut Song version of "What More Is Out There" has both Human Twilight and Sunset singing parts of the song, drawing a parallel between Twilight looking for more in life and Sunset being unfulfilled by her mundane life. The piece in the final version of the film is a solo song by Twilight Sparkle.
  • Domino Mask: Midnight Sparkle has blue magical energy around her eyes that is reminiscent of the fancy type of domino mask, which is possibly a holdover from her Nerd Glasses.
  • The Door Slams You: Spike the Dog gets a door in the face from his impatience to greet Twilight coming back to her lab.
  • Dramatic Drop: Celestia, Luna and Cadance drop their forks in reaction to Pinkie's impossible cake. They later do the same with their clipboards at the sight of the best birdhouse.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Rainbow Dash is right that Twilight (in her In the Hood guise at the beginning) is from Crystal Prep, but is wrong about WHY she was at the statue.
    • People keep thinking Human Twilight is Pony Twilight, and greet her by name, prompting confusion from the former, who has no idea how they know her name.
    • By the time Pinkie Pie ponies up, there's enough evidence to find an obvious common thread between the three odd transformations. Sunset, however, keeps focusing on the mundane situations that precipitated them, not seeing the deeper meaning. She lampshades this at the end, admitting that she was so focused on asking Princess Twilight for help that she stopped looking for answers on her own.
  • Dramatic Spotlight: Both Twilight and Sunset get one during their solo parts in the full version of the "ACADECA" song, and while competing on the blackboards.
  • Dramatic Wind:
    • For their solo parts in the full version of the "ACADECA" song, both Twilight and Sunset have some wind ruffling their hair, despite being theoretically inside.
    • As with the climaxes of the previous movies, the wind begins blowing the girls' hair as soon as Twilight Sparkle starts walking to the center of the front yard, ready to unleash the magic. Afterward, it seems that holes in the fabric of reality can cause some serious drafts.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Happens to Twilight when she transforms into Midnight Sparkle and is driven to understand magic even if it means wrecking a whole dimension.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Human Twilight Sparkle first appeared in The Stinger for Rainbow Rocks.
    • Sunset's default outfit is the one that appeared in two of the three "encore" Rainbow Rocks shorts, smoothing out her "tough girl" image. In addition, her hair is still dulled as in said shorts.
    • The Shadowbolts soccer/football team appeared in the Equestria Girls prequel comic, though they had generic designs and it wasn't revealed what school they played for.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Human Twilight is forgiven immediately after she went power crazy and nearly tore open their world in an attempt to get to Equestria. Sunset Shimmer's example and lead certainly help. Everyone actually seems to blame Principal Cinch more (not without reason).
    • Also, Crystal Prep is forgiven quickly for pressuring Twilight into opening the amulet, because they owned up to their actions (and they didn't realize that uncontrolled magic would massively corrupt her), helped save everybody from falling through the portals, and rallied against Cinch's tyranny after Twilight was brought back to normal.
  • Elite School Means Elite Brain: Twilight Sparkle's human counterpart is introduced as a student of the elite Crystal Prep Academy, in contrast to the main cast, who go to Canterlot High (implied to be a public school), which Crystal Prep routinely defeats in both academics and athletics at the titular Friendship Games. However, this is played with as Twilight is explicitly stated to be the best student in the entire school's history and wants to transfer to an independent study program at another school named Everton. She ultimately leaves Crystal Prep for Canterlot High due to relentless peer pressure from both the students and the principal, wanting to make actual friends at the less-elite school.
  • Epic Fail: During the cooking portion, the intent of which is to make cakes, Flash and Bon Bon have inexplicably managed to create a loaf of bread. Both are blushing and looking embarrassed over the mixup. To a lesser extent, two of the Crystal Prep students have made a malformed smiley face cake.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Twilight's transformation into Midnight Sparkle comes with a switch to a pointy, dark purple skirt with knee-high boots and forearm gloves.
  • Evil Counterpart: The five main Shadowbolts are these to the five main Wondercolts; the opening credits even pair up each of those counterparts:
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Principal Abacus Cinch's office is dark save a single lamp illuminating the desk when Twilight visits her. It's Five-Second Foreshadowing for the sinister manipulations about to happen.
  • Evil Laugh: Midnight Sparkle naturally indulges in cackling from the very moment she's on-screen.
  • Evil Sounds Deep:
    • Of all the female characters in the film, Principal Cinch's voice is easily the deepest.
    • Midnight Sparkle's voice is deeper than Twilight's usual voice, contrasting with how the character in the human world and Equestria normally sounds. And it's unsettling.
  • Extreme Sports Plot: Neither Human Twilight nor Sunset Shimmer have been shown to express any interest in sports before. Justified since Twilight is being blackmailed/extorted into participating by Cinch because she's Human Shining Armor's younger sister. Since he helped win the Games the last time, Cinch wants to use that connection to further boost the school's reputation. Twilight, being the smartest student in the school, will also help her team win any academic events. It's further justified as none of the girls expect the types of sports chosen for the second event. It is even lampshaded by Sunset:
    Sunset Shimmer: Am I the only one who thinks this is overkill?
  • Eye Take: It's very quick and rather small, but in one of the portals leading to Equestria, background pony Shoeshine has a wide-eyed reaction straight toward the audience upon seeing an opening in the fabric of reality.
  • Facepalm:
    • Flash Sentry does a double-facepalm upon meeting with Human Twilight, who naturally doesn't recognize him.
    • Sunset Shimmer closing her welding mask over her face after Rarity "ponies up" conveys the same sentiment.
    • Principal Cinch pinches the bridge of her nose when her students lose the cooking contest.
    • Sunset Shimmer facepalms twice in shame after yelling at Twilight and making her cry, first right after the fact and again when Fluttershy accidentally guilt-trips her about it later.
  • Face Plant:
    • Pinkie Pie ends up face-first on the floor upon opening a school exit after one of her overexcited rants.
    • Twilight after she trips trying to jump over a hay bale. That must have hurt considering she's wearing her glasses, and she's lucky to not have broken them.
  • Fatal Flaw: For Human Twilight, it's her desire for knowledge and understanding, which drives her to keep studying CHS's magic despite it being increasingly clear that she's in over her head, and that she's endangering others and herself. Cinch even uses this to convince her to open the pendant at the climax.
  • Fearsome Critters of American Folklore: The second time that Twilight opens portals to Equestria by accident, a jackalope jumps through one and into the human world. Spike starts chasing it, and that's what leads him into jumping into the stream of magic that gave him the ability to speak.
  • Feedback Rule:
    • Rainbow Dash picking the microphone for her prep rally naturally produces a feedback sound.
    • Principal Cinch tapping the microphone at the school party causes a loud feedback, covering the music and putting an end to the students dancing (and bonding).
  • Feet-First Introduction:
    • The very first shot of the movie shows Sunset Shimmer's running feet.
    • Human Twilight walking out of the bus has the focus first on her shoes. It's also how she is properly introduced in her Crystal Prep uniform.
  • Final Boss: While Cinch is the main Big Bad, she's obviously not the biggest threat at the end of the day. Enter the secondary Big BadMidnight Sparkle — who is.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: Sunset Shimmer's five friends say "Crystal Prep" in perfect unison when Rainbow Dash guesses where she thinks the mysterious figure snooping around the statue came from. They also repeat "Silly?" just afterward in response to Sunset trivializing the issue.
  • Fish Eyes: Pinkie Pie's eyes shortly spread apart to the point of getting fish-eyed right after her Face Plant.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • During "Unleash the Magic", when Twilight is about to open her magic device, her eyes flash with magic, briefly turning primarily bright purple with green irises — the same colors and patterning of Midnight Sparkle's eyes.
    • In the same song, as the Crystal Prep students sing about their desire to see "Canterlot High School fall", the visuals show the Wondercolt statue exploding. In the next scene, Midnight Sparkle's first act of destruction is to blow up that very statue.
  • Flat Joy:
    • The students of Canterlot High at the first Friendship Games pep rally sound awfully bored and lifeless. Justified since they've never won; it's stated Crystal Prep beats them at events even outside the Games, and it's implied it's been like this for quite some time.
    • The students of Crystal Prep as Twilight is winning the first competition in the Friendship Games. You can tell they really don't like her, even though she's on their team.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Early in the film, Rainbow speculates that the Human Twilight was from Crystal Prep and came to deface the Wondercolt statue, and shows a picture of a past such instance to demonstrate they've done it before. In the climax, the first thing Twilight does when she transforms is blow up the statue.
    • Human Twilight's solo song includes the line "I know there's more that's out there / Another me I haven't met" which references her pony counterpart who exists in Equestria, but also foreshadows The Stinger at the end of the movie when she actually meets Pony Twilight.
    • The reason Pony Twilight doesn't show up until the end is because she was "stuck in a time travel loop." Now that the Season 5 finale has aired, showing said time travel loop, we know what she's talking about.
  • For Science!: Twilight's constant messing around with the magic at Canterlot High is just to learn about it, and her motivation to destroy the human world in favor of Equestria once going power mad is to further her understanding.
  • Frame Break: The "ACADECA" song starts out with Sour Sweet and Sunset Shimmer facing off through a Split Screen... and then, Sour Sweet pushes Sunset's half of the screen away with a hip bump.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When Twilight is about to open her pendant and release the magic, her eyes briefly flash to Midnight Sparkle's eye color.
    • When Midnight Sparkle is creating portals, one can see a number of Equestria locales that can be recognized from the show and ponies reacting to the tears in space-time.
  • Friendless Background: Much like Pony Twilight at the start of the series. Unlike Pony Twilight, Human Twilight is quite depressed about it — especially since it's outright stated that she's an outcast in her school, and wonders in song if she's better off alone.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Applejack and Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie and Rarity, both of whom are rarely seen together, are paired up with each other for their respective sports (Archery and speed skating) in the tri-cross relay.
  • Frivolous Summoning: The movie opens with the girls (save Twilight) suddenly being called for an emergency. Turns out it was from Pinkie who did so at the request of Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo who wanted to see them "Pony Up"; that is, show off their magic powers when they play songs. Naturally the girls aren't amused they were pulled away from other activities for that.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Spike congratulates Twilight on hitting the bullseye in the archery competition, Sour Sweet can be seen backing away slowly, with a bewildered look on her face.
    • Near the end, in the scene where Twilight is sitting on the CHS steps, Lemon Zest can be seen in the background loaning her headphones to DJ Pon-3.
    • Two pictures in the photo montage during the end credits show group shots of both teams. In the Wondercolts picture, Applejack looks asleep while Sweetie Drops is making a goofy face, as if about to sneeze. This is followed by the Shadowbolts picture, in which Twilight is the only one smiling.
  • Genre Mashup: The music of the Equestria Girls films already blends rock, pop, and EDM, but this becomes diegetic when DJ Pon-3 drops a heavy dance track on Rainbow Dash and the CHS marching band at the pep rally.
  • Glory Seeker: Cinch, who equates Crystal Prep's reputation with her own, and seeks to expand them both. Her only focus is on her own legacy as a principal.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Midnight Sparkle has glowing eyes which increase in intensity when she uses her magic.
  • Good Costume Switch: When compared to the first film, at least. Sunset's transformation into Daydream Shimmer comes with a flowing white dress with golden boots.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Midnight Sparkle's wings are of the feathery kind, but they are a very dark color with an angular shape evocative of a bird of prey's silhouette. By contrast, Daydream Shimmer's wings seem to be made of pure golden light.
  • Graceful Loser:
    • Despite Sunset not winning the first challenge, her friends still congratulate her, since it was still closer than CHS has ever been in years. This is in sharp contrast to Crystal Prep's reaction to Twilight's victory, a lackluster applause.
    • This is CHS's reaction in general to losing, compared to the Shadowbolts' more ruthless attitude. For example, when Sandalwood and Micro Chips fail to build a birdhouse, their teammates reassure them, in sharp contrast with Cinch's harsh reaction to the Shadowbolts getting out-caked by Pinkie Pie.
    • Fluttershy gives Twilight a Pet the Dog (or bunny cuddle, to be more precise) moment, despite the fact that Twilight's team just beat CHS, because she seems to need it. Twilight is surprised, implying that this doesn't happen much at Crystal Prep.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The other Crystal Prep students partially bully Twilight because they're jealous that she's the smartest kid in the school.
  • Group Hug: One concludes the movie when Human Twilight decides to transfer to Canterlot High.
  • Group-Identifying Feature: The Crystal Prep students wear magenta school uniforms of varying features, either a jacket or vest with a light blue shirt underneath, and usually a blue bowtie. The human world Twilight Sparkle's uniform stands out the most, wearing a necktie instead of a bow, and her shirt has grey cuffs.
  • Hair Reboot:
    • Human Twilight's Prim and Proper Bun falls apart (making her looks more like Pony Twilight's usual human appearance) after Pinkie Pie's rather energetic handshake. However, it takes her only a few seconds of rearranging it blindly to restore her hairdo exactly as it was before.
    • Averted after the climax of the movie, when Twilight and Sunset's Magical Girl transformations revert, their hairs are in serious disarray and stay that way until the next day.
  • Hammerspace:
    • As usual, Rarity can produce whole racks of clothes out of nowhere, or a pair of motocross outfit from behind her back.
    • Pinkie still likes to pull stuff out of her hair. God only knows where she was keeping those party cannons. So far they seem to be the only things she hasn't been able to just pull out of nowhere.
  • Hard-Work Montage: Most of the "ACADECA" song, which covers the academics part of the Friendship Games, is under this form, showing the students competing with each other in chemistry, Home Ec, workshop, spelling, and mathematics.
  • Hellgate: In the Counterpoint Duet portion of "Unleash the Magic", Twilight wonders "what doors might open" if she releases the magic stored in her pendant. Considering all she's seen of Equestria at this point are the Everfree Forest, a Jackalope, and a Man-Eating Plant, it's reasonable for her to wonder if greater horrors could come through.
  • Hope Spot: Sunset Shimmer smiles when she sees the Human Twilight, thinking that she is the Twilight she knows that might solve the magic problem. But when Twilight ends up being confused with I Never Told You My Name below, and wearing a Crystal Prep uniform...
  • Hourglass Plot: The climax of the first film has Twilight Sparkle and her new friends stop a magically possessed demon Sunset Shimmer. This movie's climax has the roles completely reversed, with Sunset Shimmer as the new protagonist taking up the heroic role to stop a magically possessed demon Twilight Sparkle, albeit a different Twilight Sparkle.
    Sunset Shimmer: Take my hand, Twilight. Let me show you there's another way, just like someone once did for me.
  • Human Hummingbird: Pinkie Pie, just before her Face Plant, flaps her arms wildly.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Sugarcoat rapidly summarizes Principal Cinch's involvement in the climax, Pinkie Pie, the resident Motor Mouth, says it's a lot to take in all at once.
  • I Choose to Stay:
    • Human Twilight decides to transfer to CHS at the end, to learn about friendship with her new friends.
    • A deleted scene has her choosing to stay at Crystal Prep while the Shadowbolts warm up to her, while Sunset decides to remain in the human world.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: How we tell the difference between the human Twilight, and the Twilight from Equestria; human Twilight wears glasses and has her hair in a bun.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the chapter names in the novelization, except for chapter 19 ("Everyone's a Winner"), contain the word "game" in them.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight:
    • During the climax, Sunset Shimmer tries to call out to Twilight changed into Midnight Sparkle, telling her she once went through this too, but to little avail.
    • Spike has a little more success reaching out to Midnight Sparkle, if only for a fleeting (but decisive) moment.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Human Twilight is quite perplexed that everybody at Canterlot High School know her name and give her a friendly welcome. Her bafflement increases tenfold when the Rainbooms recognize her dog, calling him Spike. By the time Principal Celestia addresses her by name too, she concludes with "This is getting ridiculous!" Then Principal Cinch arrives and apologizes for "her" student's curiosity, causing Pinkie to immediately realize this is not Princess Twilight.
  • Instant Cosplay Surprise: Rarity demonstrates once again her skill by putting Rainbow Dash into a soccer uniform in a flash — with the same move she used on Twilight Sparkle in the first movie.
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Human Twilight Sparkle at Crystal Prep, in part because of her social awkwardness and in part because the other students resent her for her intelligence. In fact, at the start of the film, she had applied to an independent study group where her studies would be self-directed. However, later on it is revealed that this isn't so much her (though they resent her more than each other for her intelligence) but the culture of her school, which drowns out any sense of companionship or group spirit in order to promote one's own talents. If someone shines brighter than others at Crystal Prep, then they paint a target on their back so everyone has it out for them.
  • In the Hood: Human Twilight first tries to study the portal statue between Equestria and the human world by putting her hood over her head. It prevents Sunset Shimmer from seeing who she is.
  • Ironic Name:
    • Sugarcoat is described as a needlessly blunt version of Applejack. To "sugarcoat" something means to make it appear more pleasant than it is.
    • The Friendship Games are anything but friendly.
  • Irony:
    • In previous films, Pony Twilight helped Sunset through her growth. Here, it's reversed with Sunset helping Human Twilight. Even the climax plays out similarly and, no joke, in virtually the same amount of time..
    • Vice Principal Luna doesn't want the girls to use magic during the games, seeing as that would be cheating and the girls agree as well and try to play fair. Cinch, however, has no qualms over using it when she finds out about it, ultimately pressuring Twilight into using the magic she's collected to help the Shadowbolts win.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Principal Cinch has a lot of this, including directly equating the school's reputation with her own and doing her best to increase it, even at the expense of CHS.
    • Twilight says that no-one at Crystal Prep gets excited about anything they didn't do themselves.
  • It's All My Fault: Sunset blames herself for the magic being out of control and the problems it causes because she's the one who brought it to the human world in the first place and she should know how it works.
    Sunset Shimmer: Crystal Prep is never gonna believe we won fair and square if there's magic around. And that magic is only around... because of me.
  • "I Want" Song: "What More Is Out There", sung by Human Twilight, is about two things. The surface desire is to be alone in the Everton Independent Study program in order to focus more intensely on her personal projects. The deeper desire is grow beyond Crystal Prep and understand the need she feels inside.
  • Jaw Drop: The collective reaction of Principal Celestia, Vice-Principal Luna, and Dean Cadance to Pinkie Pie's Mona Lisa cake.
  • Jump Cut: When Pinkie meets Human Twilight at the welcome party and she shows her the amulet she invented, the background behind them changes from the stage to the bleachers between shots, without any movement.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Twilight has reservations about releasing the magic her pendant has stored because she doesn't understand it and has seen the Reality Bleed caused by bits of it leaking out, but gives in to her principal's and teammates' urgings.
  • Just Think of the Potential!: Cinch tries to convince Twilight to use her pendant's magic by telling her that she could learn so much by doing so.
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot:
    • Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle shortly appear as two juxtaposed halves in the opening credits.
    • The sketch for the unused version of "What More Is Out There" also uses such a shot of Sunset and Twilight toward the end of their Distant Duet.
  • Karma Houdini: Downplayed in regard to Principal Cinch. After the whole fiasco is over, she tries to force Canterlot High into forfeiting, threatening to go to the school board when they refuse. It's pointed out that the school board aren't likely to believe fantastic tales about magic, other worlds, and talking dogs, especially when not even her own students will back her up on it. Cinch undergoes a Villainous Breakdown, but quickly regains control over it and storms off with her professionalism intact. However, with the Games ending in a tie, Crystal Prep's winning streak against Canterlot High is no longer perfect, which is one of the things she dreaded the most. And without her smartest student, it's safe to assume the school will take a strong drop in grade average.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Principal Cinch tries to force Canterlot High into forfeiting when everything is said and done, but she's rebuffed and mocked when she threatens to take the issue to the school board, as she'll just look crazy if she starts going on about magic when she has no proof. Realizing that she isn't going to win this one, she decides to leave with what little dignity she has left.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: All of the students wear one during the chemistry competition.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Early on, Sunset Shimmer and Fluttershy lampshade the lowered stakes from Rainbow Rocks; Sunset doesn't see the big deal with the Friendship Games since it's not like the Shadowbolts are using evil magic, and Fluttershy responds that just because magic isn't involved doesn't mean the Games aren't important.
    • Later Sunset asks if anyone else thinks building a motocross arena for a school competition (one that only takes place every four years) is a bit much.
  • Late to the Action: Sunset sends messages to Princess Twilight asking for her help with the magic crisis. The latter only shows up in the last minute of the movie after everything has been resolved. Justified as she was stuck in a time travel loop.
  • Layman's Terms: When Twilight's Technobabble explanation about her device only results in a blank stare from Pinkie Pie, she settles on "It measures things."
  • Lead the Target: During the archery contest, Applejack points out to Twilight that she needs to do this to hit the moving target: aim where it's going to be and not where it is.
  • Leg Focus: Now that the costume design has started moving away from the original toyline's hoof-shaped boots, a lot of the outfits in this movie seem to be made to show off the girls' legs, such as the Crystal Prep skirt uniform as well as the dresses the Mane Six wear to the welcome party. Special mention goes to Sunset and Twilight's transformations.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: When Midnight Sparkle opens a portal under the ground right in the middle of the CHS courtyard, several students from both schools slip and almost fall in, but are saved by the Wondercolts and Shadowbolts joining forces. Rarity is dragged in the hole by the weight of two other students, but grips the edge one-handed and manages to delay the fall for a few critical seconds before Indigo Zap and Lemon Zest save them.
  • Luminescent Blush: Subverted. When Human Twilight gets to focus on Flash Sentry's face after he gives back her glasses, you would expect this trope to come in, as it happened with Pony Twilight in the previous movies almost every time she interacted with Flash. And at first it looks like it's the case... except it's instead the light from her device flashing that reflects on her glasses (the purple glow looks like blushing on her lavender complexion). And so, for the rest of the movie, Human Twilight completely ignores Flash.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: The first of the Equestria Girls movies not to have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. and instead premiered on Discovery Family. However, outside of the U.S., it was shown in theaters.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The aversion of this trope is a major plot point. Sunset knows a lot about Equestrian magic, but she has no idea how that kind of magic works in this world, since it seems to have an entirely separate set of rules.
  • Magic Skirt: After Twilight unleashes the magic in her device, her skirt doesn't hike up enough to show her panties when she's rising into the air despite the Dramatic Wind.
  • Magitek: Human Twilight uses science to study the magical goings-on at Canterlot High, and has built devices that are able to sense and contain Equestrian magic.
  • Main Character Final Boss: Downplayed. Human Twilight Sparkle, the Alternate Self of Princess Twilight Sparkle (protagonist of the parent series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the first two Equestria Girls films), is set up as the Deuteragonist, as she is the most sympathetic of the Crystal Prep students, has an arc about discovering magic and friendship, and gets slowly befriended by the main cast. But Peer Pressure Makes You Evil plus Curiosity Is a Crapshoot causes her to unleash the magic she's been inadvertently collecting, turning her into the mad-with-power Midnight Sparkle. Sunset Shimmer and Spike manage to turn her back with an I Know Youre Inthere Somewhere Fight.
  • Mana Drain: Twilight's device is able to drain the magic from the Mane Six, which has the side effect of tiring them out. Pinkie even describes it as a drain at one point. It also absorbs the magic of the portal while draining Sunset's magic, causing the subsequent Reality Bleed.
  • Man-Eating Plant: When Twilight drops her device during the second event of the Games, it opens several portals to Equestria (most likely in the Everfree Forest), from which giant carnivorous plants emerge to attack the competitors. One even gobbles down Sugarcoat's bike.
  • Masquerade: Sunset Shimmer has to hide the existence of magic from the Shadowbolts during the Friendship Games to avoid accusations that Canterlot High is cheating in the games. In fact, she is tasked with doing this by Vice-Principal Luna. Fighting carnivorous plants from the Everfree Forest which find their way through the portals, along with Rainbow Dash flying around the arena, pretty much shatters that illusion.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": A school-wide one when Human Twilight transforms into Midnight Sparkle. Even the Shadowbolts can tell by this point that it is NOT a good thing.
  • Match Cut:
    • After the opening credits, a close-up on Twilight's just-finished device slowly fades out to be replaced by the round dome of Canterlot High's library.
    • A couple during the CHS Rally song: First, DJ Pon-3's portable turntable segues into the top of the marching band hat Rainbow Dash is wearing. Then, Rainbow throws said hat in the air, and it turns into the majorette's twirling baton.
  • The Millstone: While Human Twilight excels at the academic portion of the Friendship Games, she's completely useless in the athletic portion. She faceplants trying to do a simple jump, can barely swing on a rope over a small gap, and can't manage to hit an archery target with an arrow. It's only through Applejack's help that Human Twilight manages to hit a target; by then, Crystal Prep is hopelessly behind.
  • Mirror Character: This gets played up between Sunset Shimmer and Human Twilight in the deleted/uncut version of "What More Is Out There", which reveals both are looking for more purpose in their life than just high school.
  • Moment Killer: Cinch when she ruins the impromptu Pinkie Pie party that has gotten the CHS and Crystal Prep students to start having fun together. Rarity lampshades by saying that the fun would have continued if "Principal Cinch hadn't frozen [the broken ice] again."
  • Mona Lisa Smile: Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy manage to bake a cake with a reproduction of the Mona Lisa inside it, revealed when Pinkie cuts the cake in half.
  • Mood-Swinger: Sour Sweet is prone to these, true to her name. One minute she's seemingly nice and sweet, then she turns sour and harsh.
  • Mook–Face Turn: When Midnight Sparkle tears a rift in reality that threatens the CHS students, the Crystal Prep students all rush to their aid.
  • Moral Myopia: Cinch has no problem manipulating Twilight Sparkle into releasing the magic she's stolen in order to make sure Crystal Prep wins, despite earlier accusing CHS of using magic to cheat in the games. She even uses the outbreak of magic earlier on (not realizing Twilight's device was the cause of the plant attack that led to Rainbow Dash ponying up) to justify the idea.
  • Multi Shot: Sour Sweet fires three arrows at her target in the archery portion. All three hit the target, one of which hits the bullseye.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Baking a tiered cake? Tasty, but mundane. Baking a tiered cake that reveals the Mona Lisa when cut in half? Awesome enough to make the judges drop their forks... and the competition increases from here. The academic decathlon montage gives everything from home ec and shop class to a spelling bee and planar geometry the drama of a reality show.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Sunset quickly feels bad when Twilight runs off in tears from Sunset's What the Hell, Hero? speech.
    • Unlike Principal Cinch, the Shadowbolts have this reaction when their actions turn Twilight into a monster and puts both schools (and the entire world) in danger.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The climax, which has a villainous version of a heroic being from Equestria causing a Reality Bleed, is similar to what happened in the "Reflections" arc of the IDW comics.
    • Twilight's device looks similar to the Rainbow of Light, which ends up becoming more like the Rainbow of Darkness.
  • Nerd Glasses: Human Twilight sports big, black-rimmed glasses (almond-shaped, like her eyes), joining the contingent of glass-wearing students at Canterlot High. Lampshaded when Scribble Dee (the bespectacled Techie girl) greats her in the hallway (thinking she's Princess Twilight) by saying "Looking good!" while gesturing toward her own round glasses, showing she approves of the new accessory.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted. Pony Twilight shows up in The Stinger and meets her human counterpart. Pony Twilight considers this stranger than the time travel fiasco of Season five's finale.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: As lampshaded by the rest of the group, Rainbow Dash "ponies up" during the pep rally despite not playing the guitar. Sunset later writes to Princess Twilight that her friends' magic appears to be changing.
  • No Indoor Voice:
    • Indigo Zap frequently shouts enthusiastically when she talks, be it about winning to helping around.
    • Also Lemon Zest, due to her always wearing her headphones.
  • The Noisy Straw: Pinkie Pie provides some Bathos during The Stinger of the movie by noisily slurping on her drink with a straw just as the two versions of Twilight Sparkle come face-to-face.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The eponymous Friendship Games are not about Friendly Rivalry. CHS and Crystal Prep are rivals, but there's nothing friendly about it.
  • No OSHA Compliance: It may be a high school lab rather than a workplace, but that doesn't change how absurd it is that none of the female students tie back their long hair during the chemistry portion of the Academic Decathlon.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Cinch extorts Twilight into participating in the Friendship Games by offering to use her contacts in the Everton independent study program to ensure Twilight's application is approved. But if Twilight refuses, Cinch will use those same contacts to ensure she's denied.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sunset upon realizing that the portal to Equestria is closed.
    Sunset Shimmer: Where's the portal? Ah... eh... WHERE'S THE PORTAL!?
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • Quoted directly when Twilight sucks the magic out of Rainbow Dash. By now she's reconsidered her "data collection" plan.
    • No-one says it, but you can see it on the CHS students' faces upon seeing Twilight become Midnight Sparkle, similar to how Sunset changed into her demon form.
  • One-Winged Angel: Happens to both Human Twilight and Sunset thanks to the device, creating an unusual villain and hero version. Twilight's transformation is uncontrolled, warping her into the dark Midnight Sparkle. Sunset, who has a better handle on the magic, gets a brighter transformation with energy wings. Considering that Sunset used to be the villain in this situation, it adds to the scene's resonance.
  • Only One Me Allowed Right Now: Completely averted. Pony Twilight meets her human counterpart at the very end of the film with no apparent issue.
  • Opponent Instruction: When Twilight Sparkle is having trouble with the archery section of the competition, her opponent Applejack — paragon of honesty that she is — takes the time to help the former out.
  • Opposing Sports Team: The Canterlot Wondercolts have never beaten the Shadowbolts of Crystal Prep.
  • Orbital Shot: In a nice bit of animation, the "camera" does a rotation around Twilight for a part of her solo song, "What More Is Out There".
  • Overcrank:
    • Slow motion is used when Applejack's and Twilight's arrows hit the bullseye in the archery contest.
    • Another dramatic slo-mo when Twilight is about to open the device and unleash the magic, while Sunset Shimmer and Spike are rushing toward her.
  • Paint It Black: Human Twilight absorbing all the magic stored in her device grants her an instant Evil Makeover as Midnight Sparkle, with ominous black wings, a sexy Dark Magical Girl outfit, a glowing horn and magical emanation around her eyes, as well as her skin taking a darker purple hue.
  • Paper-Bag Popping: Snips and Snails are shown in a still of the closing credits about to wake up Lyra and Bon Bon, sleeping in the library, by popping a blown paper bag.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Principal Cinch's speech at the welcoming party sounds polite, but in fact she's constantly putting down Canterlot High School, and saying in substance that they have no chance to win the Friendship Games.
    Abacus Cinch: It's been four years since the last Friendship Games, but it feels as though nothing has changed. Canterlot High continues to pick its competitors in a popularity contest and Crystal Prep continues to field its top twelve students. It is a comfort to know that even after so many years of losses, your school remains so committed to its ideals, however misguided they may be. I wish you all the best of luck, regardless of the inevitable outcome.
  • People Fall Off Chairs: Twilight gets so excited at her chances of getting accepted into an independent study program that she knocks herself over backwards in her desk chair.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Though Twilight's device can successfully contain the magic of the Mane Six, it starts to destabilize when it drains the magic of the portal while trying to drain Sunset's magic. Whenever it opens to drain more magic after that, the energy is released, causing portals to Equestria to form in size and proportion to the amount of magic it has drained. Once all six have been drained and Twilight absorbs all that power, it threatens to destroy their entire reality.
  • Portal Slam: When she can't contact Pony Twilight through the magic book, Sunset decides to use the portal instead. Human Twilight, who's on the opposite side of the portal statue, detects Sunset's magic and drains it. Since the magic has to pass through the portal, both are drained and the portal is sealed.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Departing somewhat from the more classical magic themes of the previous movies, here the plot starts off from the principle that a device based on a spectrometer created by a Teen Genius can not only detect the magic from another world, but also capture and stock it.
  • P.O.V. Cam:
    • Indigo Zap's second "ARE WE GONNA WIN?" is from Twilight's viewpoint, showing just how in-your-face Indigo can get.
    • When Flash Sentry puts Twilight's glasses back on her nose, we get to see how much she needs them, with her blurry vision returning to normal.
  • Power Floats:
    • The protagonists when they transform, with Pinkie even describing it as "floaty". A deleted scene even has Pinkie Pie ponying up and starting to levitate, and Applejack catching her with a lasso before she'd drift away.
    • At the end, Twilight Sparkle also floats as she unleashes the magic. Unlike the above, it's not a pleasant experience and she looks quite distressed.
    • And then Sunset Shimmer floats too as she gathers the combined magic of her friends and starts her own Transformation Sequence.
  • Power Incontinence: Twilight's device gets more uncontrollable as it absorbs more magic, activating on its own and resisting attempts to close it.
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Zigzagged. Twilight's voice gets deeper when she initially transforms, and returns to her usual voice when Spike reminds her of herself. Sunset's voice is unaffected when she transforms. Only evil power makes your voice deep.
  • Practical Joke: Crystal Prep pulls pranks to gloat about their victories over Canterlot High, which is what Rainbow thought Human Twilight was doing.
  • Previously on…: The Discovery Family broadcast was preceded by a recap of the two previous movies and an intro to this one using bits taken from the shorts "The Science of Magic" and "Pinkie Spy", narrated by Sunset Shimmer.
  • Privacy by Distraction: Principal Cinch sends Dean Cadance and Shining Armor looking for a contact sheet for the Everton Independent Study Program during Twilight's interview — clearly a pretext to make them leave the room so that they don't hear her extort Twilight into participating in the Friendship Games.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Inverted. Shining Armor and Princess Cadence are married in the parent show. No mention is made of their relationship here.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Principal Cinch, on talking about Canterlot High:
    Abacus Cinch: You see, they're developing somewhat of a reputation. This! Cannot! Happen!
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Spike gives these to Twilight while she is Midnight Sparkle. It seems to snap her back to her senses long enough for Daydream Shimmer to blast her with her magic. Bonus points for Spike actually being a puppy.
  • Rack Focus: As with the previous movies, used to give more depth to the animation. Notably, when Sunny Flare calls out Principal Cinch for trying to flee, the focus switch from her to Cinch, and then back to her.
  • Ramp Jump: The motocross competition involves a few such jumps along its track.
  • Reality Bleed: After Twilight's device has absorbed the magic of the portal, it begins to leak excess magic which opens portals to Equestria. As it drains more magic, the portals get larger and more numerous. When she transforms into Midnight Sparkle, she threatens to tear their entire dimension apart by opening more and more portals deliberately, not caring that her desire for understanding will destroy her world.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Sunset gives one to Twilight for messing around with magic when she very clearly doesn't understand it, which almost hurt the competitors and caused havoc at the Friendship Games.
      Sunset Shimmer: You're supposed to be so smart, but did you ever think that you shouldn't be messing around with things you don't understand?!
      Twilight Sparkle: But I want to understand!
      Sunset Shimmer: [pissed off] But you don't! And worst of all, you put the lives of my friends in danger!
    • Principal Cinch gets on the receiving end of one from Sugarcoat after she forces Twilight to use the magic in her device, which winds up transforming her into Midnight Sparkle, and she nearly destroys both human and Equestrian worlds.
      Sugarcoat: [rapid-fire] At least they didn't manipulate Twilight into releasing all the stolen magic and turning into a power-crazed magical creature that tried to rip the world apart just to win a game.
      Pinkie Pie: Wow. That's a lot to take in when you say it all at once.
  • Reflective Eyes: Twilight's device is reflected in her pupils as she is about to open it and release its magic.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Rainbow Dash is right in that the "mysterious visitor" snooping around the portal (who is their world's Twilight) is a Crystal Prep student, but thinks that she's there to vandalize the school statue. The real reason is to investigate the mysterious events at CHS. Funnily enough, the student in question does end up destroying the statue.
  • Rings of Activation: When human Twilight activates her magic-collection device to unleash the power within, the initial explosion of energy is accompanied by two massive magical rings, before a Sphere of Power lifts Twilight up and transforms her into a Dark Magical Girl. Sunset then takes hold of the dropped device and uses it on herself, again producing the rings, but this time resulting in an angelic transformation.
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: Pinkie Pie tries one such costume among those brought by Rarity, including a fake, pink Wizard Beard.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: CHS and Crystal Prep have a form of this dichotomy, especially where the first stage of the Games are concerned. CHS dominates in the cooking portion, while Crystal Prep takes the birdhouse-construction and math portions (and by extension the whole "Academic" stage).
  • Rousing Speech: Rainbow Dash and the CHS marching band lead the school in a pep rally that leaves everyone believing they have a shot at winning.
  • Running Gag:
    • People mistaking Human Twilight for Pony Twilight, much to the former's confusion.
    • A gag already running from the two other movies — even though it's a different Twilight — is that she and Flash Sentry still can't help bumping into each other. Moves into Overused Running Gag territory by now (in that this is getting funny again by how overdone it is).
  • Sadistic Choice: Cinch uses this to force Twilight Sparkle to participate in the Games by threatening to deny her application to an independent study group.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Crystal Prep has this mentality, with Cinch encouraging it to keep the school's spotless winning streak intact. After she realizes CHS has access to magic, she pressures Twilight into using the magic she collected to even the odds.
  • Serious Business: Pretty much everyone treats the Games like this, with Luna even name-dropping the trope and the girls getting slightly offended when Sunset wonders what all the fuss is about, since it's not as important as, say, stopping the Sirens. Heck, Principal Cinch and the Shadowbolts even try to harness Equestrian magic — something they hardly understand — just to ensure they win the Games.
  • Shadow Archetype: Human Twilight is one to both Pony Twilight and Sunset. To Pony Twilight, she's essentially another Moondancer, who focuses almost entirely on her studies (though she still has her Spike). Like Sunset, she wants to understand the magic in the human world, though while Sunset's experiments only backfire on her (though not for lack of caution), Twilight's lack of understanding puts herself and others in danger, and keeps her going despite being increasingly in over her head. Their methods for studying magic are also different, as Sunset is more of a hands-on learner, and is more interested in studying magic's effects, while Twilight is more interested in magic as a concept. She also gains her own Superpowered Evil Side in the climax, and parallels Sunset's previous desire to go to Equestria, regardless of who she hurts to do so, and is brought back.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Principal Cinch pulls this on Human Twilight in order to Blackmail her. Neither confirming nor denying that she will reject Twilight's invitation to Everton. With this uncertainty hanging over her head, Human Twilight has no choice but to do what she says.
  • Ship Tease: Dean Cadance and Human Shining Armor spend most of their scene together making eyes at one another.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Twilight examines the mirror portal with a device similar to a PKE meter from Ghostbusters. (It also makes a sound reminiscent of a Star Trek tricorder, but only in the trailer.)
    • During the dance party, Human Upper Crust makes the typical hand moves over the eyes from Pulp Fiction.
    • Applejack hitting her (albeit moving) target is framed similarly to how Merida hit her target in Brave.
    • Parts of the song the Crystal Prep students sing to Twilight about using her magic-stealing device to get revenge are taken straight from the lyrics of the "Cellblock Tango" in Chicago.
  • Showgirl Skirt: Sunset Shimmer's Magical Girl outfit once in Super Mode includes this element, emphasizing her bare legs.
  • Shrinking Violet: Not quite on Fluttershy levels, but Human Twilight is quite timid. Even when the rest of the students of Crystal Prep are cheering, she's timidly off to the side, looking away.
  • Sigil Spam:
    • The Wondercolts/CHS logo (the letter "C" stylized like a horseshoe) is seen a lot in this movie, especially during the pep rally. Of course, this is Truth in Television for this kind of competition.
    • The Shadowbolts are also fond of their "winged S" symbol. They put it even on a cake for the baking competition.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: With the Season 5 two-part finale, "The Cutie Re-Mark". Pony Twilight is too busy with Starlight Glimmer's time-travel spell to come to Sunset's aide. By the time she is finally able to convince Starlight to call off her vendetta, gets back to the correct timeline, gets Sunset's messages and heads through the portal, Sunset has managed to take care of the problem by herself. Ironically enough, both arcs end with Twilight and Sunset managing to talk down the villain and offer their hoof/hand in friendship. Both this movie and the finale were written by Josh Haber.
  • Sixth Ranger: Human Twilight transfers to Canterlot High at the end of the movie, and joins the protagonists, seemingly replacing Pony Twilight.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Human Twilight's bun comes undone twice, once when Pinkie Pie realizes she looks almost like Princess Twilight and again when her device finally goes haywire and unleashes what it's built up.
  • Source Music: At the start of Rainbow Dash's speech to the students, the rhythm accompanying her can be thought as just background music at first, until the curtains open to reveal the marching band playing.
  • Specific Situation Books: In the library, when Pinkie Pie suggests the mysterious figure Sunset saw was "a nighttime statue cleaner" or "a magic portal maintenance person," she manages to produce two books which, going by their covers, are actually about said respective niche topics.
  • Spelling Bee: The fourth portion of the academic decathlon is a spelling bee. We mostly see the words that eliminate one of the participants; overall, this gives the impression that the girls aren't very good at spelling.
  • Sphere of Power: During the climax, both Transformation Sequences start out with a glowing sphere of magic engulfing Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer, respectively. They react quite differently to it, however, with Twilight struggling against the magic and screaming for help, while Sunset willingly embraces it.
  • Split Screen: A lot are used in the "ACADECA" song for the academic competition, to show the numerous participants or close-up on some details of the contests. This also starts with a blatant case of Frame Break by Sour Sweet.
  • Split-Screen Reaction:
    • We get one near the climax including Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie when they feel their magic coming back.
    • And another when Sunset Shimmer transforms, and her friends look at her in hope.
  • Spoiler Opening: The opening credits gives a hint that Spike the Dog is unlikely to stay a non-talking animal for the whole movie by crediting Cathy Weseluck as his V.A.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Vice-Principal Luna shows up rather unexpectedly right behind Sunset Shimmer, only visible for the audience once the viewpoint start moving.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The Everton Independent Study program. Independent is synonymous with free. So the Everfree study program.
    • Once the rollerskaters cross the finish line, Photo Finish takes a picture. The joke writes itself, really.
    • Dean Cadance opens the second event by sounding an air horn. Her pony counterpart, Princess Cadance, is a Winged Unicorn.note 
  • The Stinger: After a long absence, Princess Twilight arrives in the human world, and meets her human counterpart.
  • Stock Scream: A very faint Wilhelm Scream can be heard during the Freeze-Frame Bonus when Shoeshine notices the human world.
  • String Theory: The board that Twilight has been using to track the strange events at Canterlot High, previously seen in the Rainbow Rocks stinger, is still around, and now has expanded to include elements from Rainbow Rocks, such as a blurry photo of the Dazzling's siren forms, their broken amulets, the "Taco Tuesday" poster, and the giant rainbow column of light formed by the Rainbooms. It is heavily and closely featured in the opening credits.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Dog Spike, who originally was just a regular dog until coming into contact with Fluttershy's magic as Twilight's device is absorbing it, giving him the ability to talk.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Human Twilight manages to create a device that allows her to siphon off the magic at CHS, all without knowing it is actual magic.
  • Supreme Chef: Pinkie Pie proves to be just as good a baker as her pony counterpart, by creating a cake (with Fluttershy's help) containing a reproduction of the Mona Lisa inside it.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Discussed when Sunset Shimmer tells the others about the hooded figure she saw snooping around the rearing horse statue and the portal in its base. The girls dismiss it as a Cat Scare over a Crystal Prep student planning to deface the statue.
      Sunset Shimmer: It's not like we'll be fighting the powers of evil magic.
      Fluttershy: No, we'll be fighting a school full of meanies. Not everything has to be magical to be important.
    • When Sunset complains about Princess Twilight not responding to her book messages, Applejack and Rarity point out that Princess Twilight is a princess. They can't expect her to drop her royal duties and just pop into their world at the top of a hat all the time, especially if it's for something as relatively minor as the Friendship Games and a few magical hiccups. And sure enough, Princess Twilight was dealing with some things herself, namely trying to fix Equestria's timeline.
    • While Twilight is a good academic student, she's not athletic, an oversight Cinch didn't take into account when forcing her onto the Crystal Prep team. Twilight wins her school the first round easily, but in the second round, which involves a relay race, she can hardly get past the first few hurdles and is useless in the archery portion since she's never handled a bow and arrow before. If Applejack hadn't helped her out of a sense of fair play, Canterlot could've won the second part uncontested.
    • Once Cinch finds out about magic and that Twilight has been collecting it, she tries to force her to use it to give Crystal Prep an edge in the final round. Except neither Cinch nor Twilight really know what effects the magic could have nor know how to control it. When Cinch finally get Twilight to relent, Twilight is consumed and corrupted by the magic, nearly dooming both the human and Equestrian worlds.
  • Technicolor Magic: The magic from the device is purple, just like Princess Twilight's magic.
  • Teen Genius: Twilight is the smartest student at Crystal Prep; the highest scores on everything academic and can even invent, from scratch, devices that can track and contain Equestrian Magic.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The trailer makes it look like Pinkie Pie is doing this by saying "Nothing to worry about."... just before jumping to Twilight Sparkle releasing a magic blast with no control over it.
    • In the film proper, she's still doing it by saying that she's sure Sunset can handle keeping the magic under the radar and keep Crystal Prep from accusing Canterlot High of cheating. Cut to Sunset trying and failing to understand what's happening.
    • Sunset's comment "Well, it's not like we'll be fighting the power of evil magic..." at the beginning is also way off-mark.
  • Tentacle Rope: One of the carnivorous plants snags Twilight by the ankle with a mobile root to drag her toward its maw.
  • Tiebreaker Round: After the Wondercolts win the tri-cross relay, thanks in part to the reveal of magic during the motocross race, the principals decide the winning team should be decided by a capture-the-flag contest.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • In a way; the second trailer makes it seem that Sugarcoat's "you should consider not speaking in public" is directed at Twilight for talking to her, in a "shut up, do not talk to me" manner. It actually refers to Twilight's terrible speech after Indigo Zap asks her if Crystal Prep is going to win.
    • A small one from the first trailer. Sunset Shimmer's friends are hugging her and laughing in front of a chalkboard, while Twilight looks on with frustration, implying that Sunset beat Twilight in the contest. Sunset actually lost, but her friends were still congratulating her on getting them that far.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Sunset Shimmer has to avoid letting Crystal Prep know about magic's existence. The first trailer shows Human Twilight losing control of her device's powers.
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: It's not clear how much time elapses before The Stinger, but Twilight is still wearing her Crystal Prep uniform when she picnics with her new friends.
  • Transformation Sequence: Twilight and Sunset both transform into some rather... stunning outfits during the climax.
  • Trash Talk: The bridge of "ACADECA" has the Canterlot Wondercolts singing "Crystal Prep yourself" and the Crystal Prep Shadowbolts singing "Canter-not-a-lot"; both of these are followed by "you're about to go down".
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Twilight slumps into this pose in the hallway after Principal Cinch blackmails her (again), this time to spy on the Wondercolts, and Twilight admits she doesn't know what to do.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Principal Cinch has a tendency to do this, as she's given a very thick I Am Very British voice.
  • Under the Truck: During the motocross event, Rainbow Dash and Sunset Shimmer are forced into this maneuver under the stalk of a giant Man-Eating Plant. Rainbow slides past easily, but Sunset falls off her bike because the next one is too low.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Cinch and The Shadowbolts are more than willing to use dangerous, mysterious magical energy to defeat CHS despite Rainbow Dash risking her life to save their team from a carnivorous plant in the previous event. It is subverted with the Shadowbolts' Heel–Face Turn in the climax.
    • On a more personal level, Twilight wins Crystal Prep the mathematics round of the Friendship Games, and her teammates' only reaction to it is half-hearted clapping without the slightest hint of happiness that she helped them. If the Crystal Prep students are grateful Twilight helped them in the competition, they sure have a funny way of showing it.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Apparently Crystal Prep has a history of rubbing their victories over CHS in the latter school's face, like when they "redecorated" the horse statue to look like a clown, and they tend to spit in the face of the CHS students' attempts to be friendly.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: As per usual, the inhabitants of the human world are not too amazed by the Urban Fantasy-worthy goings-on. When giant, Eldritch-like carnivorous vines threaten to take over a motocross competition, even Principal Abacus Cinch is, at worst, miffed that it might be for cheating — and even then, she refuses to abort the competition since that would mean the Games end in a tie and would mean recognizing CHS as equals. Even when the magic transforms Twilight into a maddened deity bent on destroying the human dimension, Abacus threatens to inform the local school council about it (as opposed to, say, relevant authority figures like the government, military or police).
  • Uplifted Animal: Thanks to a mishap involving Fluttershy's magic and Twilight's device, Spike the dog is given the ability to speak, as well as causing his behavior to be less dog-like.
  • Up, Up and Away!: Rainbow Dash takes the classic pose with a fist forward after she "ponies up" during the motocross race and gains her wings, flying toward the monstrous plants to fight them.
  • Versus Character Splash: The opening credits include a sequence of shots introducing each of the main Shadowbolts in parallel with one of the protagonists, to show to whom they are a foil of (Applejack|Sugarcoat; Fluttershy|Sour Sweet; Rarity|Sunny Flare; Rainbow Dash|Indigo Zap; Sunset Shimmer|Twilight Sparkle; Pinkie Pie|Lemon Zest).
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: When Cinch finds out she's been defeated, she calmly leaves the school in a dignified manner.
  • Villain Has a Point: In one of her few rational moments, Cinch complains to Celestia that Rainbow Dash being able to fly is an unfair advantage (though she conveniently ignores the fact that Rainbow wasn't trying to use her flight to win, but to save the Shadowbolts from the Man-Eating Plant attack). Rather than approach the problem rationally, however, she just sees it as another thing they have to outdo CHS in, which leads to her pressuring Twilight to release the magic in her device.
  • Villain Song: Principal Cinch, the headmaster of Crystal Prep, gets one with "Unleash the Magic", that sounds very much like the Sea Witch's song from The Little Mermaid. It highlights their win-at-all-costs philosophy and their manipulative mean-streaks. Cinch and the Shadowbolts convince Twilight to unleash her device's magic with peer pressure, and by using Twilight's curiosity about magic against her.
  • Voiceover Letter: Each time Sunset Shimmer writes a message to Princess Twilight in her magic book, we hear the content as a voiceover.
  • Walk and Talk: A lot of discussions (and thus exposition) between Sunset Shimmer and her friends happen while they are walking in Canterlot High's hallways, for more dynamic scenes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Twilight's device causes a mishap during the second part of the Games, Sunset explodes at her and berates her for meddling in forces she can't understand. She quickly feels bad about it after Twilight runs off in tears.
  • When Dimensions Collide: After Twilight's device absorbs the magic of the portal, it starts tearing open portals between the human world and Equestria whenever it is opened. When Twilight transforms into Midnight Sparkle, she starts ripping holes to Equestria herself, not caring that she's destroying her own world in the process.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Twilight's magic-detecting device sports a purple light spinning along the round outer shell once activated. When the light stops spinning, it points in the direction of any magical energy it detects.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Much like Sunset in the first film, when Human Twilight is turned into Midnight Sparkle by the collected magic of her device, all her negative traits are amplified. She thus starts tearing open portals to Equestria to better understand magic, not caring that her own world will be destroyed by it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Twilight is treated like crap by her school and is an outcast, ultimately resulting in her becoming Midnight Sparkle thanks to peer pressure, and almost plays this literally by opening multiple portals to Equestria which threaten to destroy the human world.
  • Written-In Absence: Sunset tries writing to Princess Twilight for help, but she never responds; she does not show up until the very last scene, where she apologizes for not writing back and the reason why she didn't was because she was caught in Starlight Glimmer's near-preventable time loop, as seen in "The Cutie Remark".
  • Wrong Context Magic: During the rally, Rainbow Dash transforms without playing her guitar, which is noted to be unusual by Applejack and Sunset. Sunset decides to investigate the cause. She eventually realizes that the method isn't important, but merely that they're expressing the truest part of themselves.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Her five friends to Sunset Shimmer.
    Sunset Shimmer: Magic came into this world when I stole Twilight's crown! It's taken a lot for me to earn everyone's trust... if we have to forfeit the Games because I can't think of a way to keep things under control...
    Fluttershy: Oh, Sunset, I'm sure you'll be able to figure things out.
    Applejack: You're the one who helped us understand what was goin' on with the Sirens, remember?
    Sunset Shimmer: I guess. But Twilight was the one who really figured out what we needed to defeat them.
    Rarity: Don't you remember, darling? What we needed to defeat them... was you.
  • You Can Talk?: All of the Crystal Prep students, including Twilight, are shocked to hear Spike talk after he comes into contact with the Equestrian magic absorbed by Twilight's pendant. Spike is more confused by the fact that he couldn't talk before. The CHS students are understandably unfazed by it, thanks to their experiences with the Spike and Twilight from Equestria.
  • You Monster!: When confronted by Sunny Flare for trying to escape from Midnight Sparkle, Cinch says she's trying to get away from "That monster!" Sunny Flare's reaction, as well as those of her fellow Shadowbolts', marks the start of their Heel Realization.

"Friendship Games Blooper Reel" provides examples of:

  • Animated Actors: The premise of most scenes of the short (those that aren't just Mind Screw), as is common for "blooper reels" made for an animated movie. In particular, Rarity or Luna flubbing their lines.
    Rarity: Yes, if only that Principal Cinch hadn't refreezed it... refrozen! Frozen it again, much clearer. Oh, six pages since my last line, and then there's this totally shifty line, no costume change, I mean, really! Can I speak to the writer? Is he on the... what?
  • Animated Outtakes: Highlights include Fluttershy fitting a ridiculous number of animals in her backpack, Principal Cinch indulging in Swivel-Chair Antics, and Rainbow Dash going flying with her pony counterpart.
  • Aside Glance: The Pinkie Pie emerging from the portal in the last scene winks directly at the audience.
  • Bag of Holding: Fluttershy's schoolbag seems to contain an unlimited amount of animals, including some bigger than the bag itself.
  • Balloon Belly: When Pinkie Pie tries to replace the dishes at the party with her cupcakes, she finds that Dog Spike has eaten most of them and gorged himself to bursting.
  • Chroma Key: Rarity's "hanging-for-dear-life-over-Equestria" scene from the movie is mockingly shown to have been filmed thanks to a green screen.
    Rarity: Anticlimactic.
    Velvet Sky: Anti-nothing, really.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Among the many animals coming out of Fluttershy's backpack is the dog that a student was walking when Twilight came out of the portal in the first movie.
    • In the segment with DJ Pon-3 and Lemon Zest, each starts out by listening to the music she was introduced with, in "Music to My Ears" and the movie's bus scene, respectively. We hear DJ Pon-3's music first, then Lemon Zest's after they trade headphones.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Principal Cinch's failed Chair Reveal leads to both her and Twilight bursting into laughter, a sheer contrast with the Principal's portrayal in the movie.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The "test pattern" screen in-between the bloopers sports the cutie marks of the Equestria Girls, as well as the Canterlot High School logo.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The feeling the short is aiming at, although like with the Pixar ones, most of these "bloopers" are actually scripted. Though comments on Twitter and Equestria Daily indicate that some are real mistakes by the actors — notably the Luna segment was genuinely Tabitha St. Germain flubbing her line.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Principal Cinch is apparently one, as she laughs with Twilight when she fails her Chair Reveal.
  • Mind Screw:
    • One of the scenes shows human Rainbow Dash riding on her pony counterpart's back.
    • The last scene shows a Pinkie Pie emerging from the portal, high-fiving another Pinkie Pie and taking her place. Leans into Ascended Fanoninvoked (which is even lampshaded by her wink at the audience), as the theory that pony Pinkie Pie sometimes takes over the place of human Pinkie Pie at Canterlot High School is somewhat popular among fans, to explain the spot-on "guesses" about Equestria she makes in the movies.
  • Not in My Contract: Sunset Shimmer grumbles a bit after she slides along the ground in a failed grab for Twilight's pendant:
    Sunset Shimmer: Ooww... Am I getting danger pay for this?
  • Overly-Long Gag: The short comes back to Fluttershy's backpack scene three times, each with even more animals flooding the place.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Human Rainbow Dash: THIS! IS! AWESOME!
  • Shout-Out: The shape of the test pattern screen is inspired by the Indian-head test pattern.
  • Special Effect Failure: "In-Universe", with Pinkie Pie's Power Floats moment being ruined when one of the two support wires hooked to her dress breaks, leaving her to dangle uncomfortably from the other.
  • Swivel-Chair Antics: Principal Cinch's Chair Reveal is mocked here by having the chair swivels much faster and longer than it needs to.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Friendship Games


Friendship Games

When she can't contact Princess Twilight through her magic journal, Sunset Shimmer decides to use the portal instead. Sci-Twi, who's on the opposite side of the portal statue, detects Sunset's magic and drains it. Since the magic has to pass through the portal, both are drained and the portal is sealed.

How well does it match the trope?

3.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PortalSlam

Media sources: