Heya my fellow bronies. Today I have decided to tackle a question that has plagued my mind since first joining this fandom. Just how old are the mane 6? I have read dozens and dozens of theories all across the internet, ranging as young as 13 years old, to as old as 30 years old. Personally, I think both of those theories are wrong, but let's start at the beginning.
BEFORE I BEGIN, THIS IS ALL ASSUMING THE PONIES OF EQUESTRIA AGE SIMILARLY TO HUMANS. JUDGING MAINLY BY THE WAY THEIR SOCIETY WORKS, IT IS LIKELY THAT THEY DO.
First, we have to look at what the cannon has provided us. Unfortunately, we don't really have too much information to go off of. The only real concrete proof we have of establishing the ages of the mane six is that Fluttershy is one year older than Pinkie Pie.
Not the best foundation to work with, but at least it's something.
So, it's time to do some digging. Perhaps the best episode to get started on my quest for answers would be "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" (Season 1, Episode 23).
EPISODE SPOILERS BELOW
For those of you who haven't seen it, in this episode the cutie mark crusaders seek out each member of the mane 6 to ask them how they earned their cutie mark. Each of their stories conveniently tie in together, as they each get their cutie marks when Rainbow Dash preforms the Sonic Rainboom for the first time.
This is good; this means that we have a solid basis of what each one of them looked like at roughly the same time period.
Generally, I would put them at roughly the same age as the cutie mark crusaders, if not a tiny bit younger in the above image. The cool thing about these filly designs, is that they definitely do not look the same age.
Applejack, Fluttershy and Rarity look slightly older than the others, while Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash and Twilight look a bit on the younger side. This also holds up with the above evidence of Fluttershy being a whole year older than Pinkie Pie.
Of course, this is hardly concrete evidence. Looks aren't everything; some kids simply look young/old for their age. It is entirely possible that some of them matured faster than the others.
This can be proven by the fact that Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy went to flight camp together. This would suggest that they are likely the same age. Rainbow Dash may be slightly younger than Fluttershy (We're talking mere months here), but it is probable that she just looks young for her age.
Either way, I would place the mane six in these pictures anywhere from 8-10. This can be reinforced with the fact that they are still pre-pubescent, but they are on the cusp of puberty (Hence them getting their cutie marks). Keep in mind that girls tend to go through puberty earlier than boys, so it is not unheard of for a nine year old girl to go through puberty.
This is also likely how old the Cutie Mark Crusaders currently are.
Now that we have that established, let's move on to how old the Mane six are at the beginning of FiM.
We can find a ton of evidence by looking at Applebloom. As I have established above, it is fair to assume that the CMC are around the ages of 8-10. We can narrow this down by the fact that they are considered 'late bloomers', so they are probably closer to 10 years old. Now, look at this picture of Applejack in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles".
Notice the absence of a certain somepony? That's right, Applebloom is nowhere to be found. This stands to reason that at this time, Applebloom either hasn't been born yet, or is really young. It is also clear that Big Macintosh is Applejack's older brother. Since we know Applejack is roughly 9-10 years old in this picture (considering it is likely she is one of the older Mane 6), it's beginning to look like Big Mac is in his early teens. This can be reinforced by the fact that he already has his cutie mark. This means that Big Mac has already gone through puberty, putting him anywhere from 11-14 years old in this picture (Boys generally mature later than girls). Considering that the Apple family are notoriously late bloomers, he is probably closer to 13 or 14.
So, Big Mac's age in the above picture clearly rules out the theories that the mane six are in their early teens (Especially considering Applejack must have aged 9-10 years since this scene and the beginning of FiM when we factor in how old Applebloom is).
On the other side of the spectrum, I also find it hard to believe that the mane six are in their 30's. This is due to their maturity levels. Yes, I know that I said sometimes adults can act childish and younger people can be mature for their age, but simply judging by how they treat the world around them, I highly doubt that any of them have reached their 30's. Even someone like Big Mac would probably only be in his high 20's.
So with this information gathered, it is easy to narrow them down to their early-mid twenties, but before I go making wild assumptions I would like to dig deeper.
This brings me to body types.
Now, when you search 'MLP age chart' on google, this is typically what you get:
BUT NAY I SAY! (Horse pun not intentional. Sorry.)
This chart cannot be accurate for several reasons.
1. The 'adult/mare' body cannot represent the typical adult in Equestria. The only characters we ever see with this body type are the Alicorns, so it is far more probable that this physique is reserved for more experienced Alicorns. Twilight has likely retained her old body type because she is still a new Alicorn, she will probably eventually grow into this body type.
2. Next, it's time to deal with the 'Filly/Teenage' body. This is by far the most used body type in the show, and that is precisely why it is illogical to think this body represents a teenager. Fist of all, using the real world as reference we can conclude that only about 25% of the population are under 18 (This includes babies, young children and teenagers).
That would mean that a whopping 75% of the population are 18-65. This is a key fact to know, because as you may have noticed the mane 6 all share this body type. This means it is far more likely that they age over 18.
90% of Ponyville populated by teenagers!? Unlikely.
Also, further putting to rest the hilarious notion of this being a teenager, just look at the Cakes:
According to the MLP age chart, these two fit more into the teenage category, even though it is established these two are middle aged. Same thing can be said for Rarity's parents.
Now, as if that all already wasn't enough to narrow their ages down, I'm going to dig even deeper.
Just look at where they are in their lives. Every single member of the mane 6 lives on their own (Save Applejack), and they all have full time jobs. Twilight is a librarian, Rainbow Dash is Ponyville's weather manager, Fluttershy takes care of the animals, Applejack is a farmer/apple harvester and Pinkie Pie is a pastry chef. Heck, Rarity is even a full fledged business owner.
They have all shown at least a degree of adult responsibility. This is apparent in Applejack's motherly relationship towards Applebloom. Even Rarity can be seen as somewhat of a mother figure to Sweetie Belle, but to a lesser extent. Same could be argued for Twilight to Spike.
And for those of you about to say "Well, in Equestria Girls they are all in high school"...
Not that I have anything against that movie (You can read my full review here: http://mlpforums.com...ew-no-spoilers/), but this theory doesn't hold up for two major reasons.
1. Equestria Girls is non cannon. The movie is a one off story that takes place in a timeline separate from the main FiM timeline. Anyone who reads comic books will know what I'm talking about.
2. We do not know enough about the world Twilight is sent to. Who's to say that the characters in this (we'll call it high school universe) High school universe are younger than the pony counterparts in Equestria? There is no possible way of knowing, because it hasn't been established. When does High School universe take place relative to Equestria's world? Does time even work the same way? There are way to many variables.
So no. This theory requires an ungodly amount of speculation to hold any water whatsoever.
So, after all is said and done, I think I'm ready to give some estimates of their ages.
NOTE, THESE ARE INFORMED GUESSES BASED ON THE RESEARCH I HAVE COLLECTED. THESE AGES ARE NOT FINAL, THEY ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS NEW EVIDENCE PRESENTS ITSELF. ALSO, THESE ARE THEIR AGES AT THE TIME TWILIGHT ARRIVES IN PONYVILLE. THEY OBVIOUSLY AGED APPROPRIATELY THROUGHOUT THE SERIES.
FROM OLDEST TO YOUNGEST:
APPLEJACK: On top of being one of the older looking fillies in 'The Cutie Mark Chronicles', Applejack is also by far the most mature out of the entire group. She has shown on multiple occasions to be the voice of reason when Twilight loses it. She seems to have the most real world experience, and you can tell by the way she interacts with the world around her. She seems like the wisest of the mane 6. Note how I said wise, not booksmart. They're different. What I mean by wise is that she seems like the pony you can go to for advise. Never is this more prevalent than with Applebloom. She is always there to give advice to her younger sibling, even to the point where you could say she is Appleblooms mother figure. Not only has she taken on the enormous responsibility of basically raising Applebloom (With help from Bic Mac and Granny Smith of course), but she is also always there whenever you need her. She will always lend a helping had, and all with a big smile on her face.
This quality spells maturity to me. Because of this, I am placing her as most likely to be the eldest. Not to mention it would make sense that she went through puberty at an older age than her friends, considering the Apple family are all notoriously late bloomers.
Rarity: To my surprise, Rarity actually shares a lot of traits with Applejack of all ponies. Like Applejack, she is also one of the older looking fillies in 'Cutie Mark Chronicles', but she shares plenty of traits with AJ that aren't physical. Like AJ, she has taken a major role in the life of her younger sibling Sweetie Belle. Although Unlike AJ and Applebloom, Rarity and Sweetie clearly share a sisterly relationship rather than a mother/daughter relationship. Still, one major thing Rarity has going for her is her social standing. I know that social standings don't determine age, but it's her behavior that could give us a better understanding of how old she is. She clearly knows how to behave among the Canterlot elite, and that would take both real world experience and maturity. On top of that, she also is a business owner. That is a big one. Running a business is a tremendous responsibility, and would imply that Rarity is more mature than she sometimes leads on. It's true that she can act a tad bit childish sometimes, but you can tell that she is generally grounded in reality.
Fluttershy: Just like her two friends above her, Fluttershy definitely looked like one of the older ponies in 'Cutie Mark Chronicles'. Now, some people I know chalk her up to be 'immature', but I have to disagree. Fluttershy was clearly very sheltered as a filly, and you can tell by the way she acts that she suffers from social anxiety. Social anxiety does not equal immaturity. In fact, I believe that Fluttershy is a lot more mature than she leads on. Think about it; she pretty well single-handedly takes care of a large portion of Ponyville's animals; taking on such a responsibility shows signs maturity. I don't think she is quite on the level of Applejack or Rarity, but she's getting there. Not to mention it helps that she is one of the only ponies who's age is at least somewhat cannonized (The fact that she is without a doubt one year older than Pinkie Pie)
Rainbow Dash: Now, let me start off by saying that I would have probably placed Rainbow Dash lower on the age grid if it wasn't for one pivotal fact; she went to flight camp with Fluttershy. This would imply that she is probably around as old as Fluttershy. A lot of bronies have called Rainbow Dash immature, and in this case I agree with them. As much as I love Dashie, she can be downright childish. She is narcissistic, she plays pranks, she can be lazy and so on. Usually this would make me place her lower on the age list, but remember when I said that adults can be childish too? It's not that she is completely devoid of maturity mind you, just watch episodes like 'Sleepless in Ponyville' and 'Wonderbolt Academy'. To me, Rainbow Dash is that one friend who is just beginning to fully mature, and it shows. In this case, I would say that she is only mere months younger than Fluttershy.
Pinkie Pie: Oh Pinkie Pie, you so crazy. Much like Rainbow Dash, many people consider Pinkie Pie to be immature. Once again, I am inclined to agree with them. She is still clearly a child in an adults body. She has a general sense of responsibility (She watches over Sugarcube corner when the Cakes aren't around, and they even trust her with babysitting their children), but overall she seems a lot more interested in having fun. She needs to be constantly entertained, and can find it hard to pay attention. Unlike Rainbow Dash who seems to be on the cusp of maturity, Pinkie Pie seems to be a child that doesn't want to grow up. Also, it is established in the cannon that she is a year younger than Fluttershy. Mentally, she is definitely the youngest, though I do not believe her to be the youngest physically. I'll explain below.
Twilight Sparkle: What's this? Twilight's younger than Pinkie Pie? Allow me to explain. Twilight Sparkle in a nutshell, is the prodigy. She is the straight A student. She is the child that everyone expects to do great things because she was born with tremendous natural talent. She wouldn't be Celestia's student otherwise. What does this have to do with her age? Well as the prodigy, it is very possible that she mastered her trade at a much younger age than her friends. She may seem much more mature than the likes of Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash, but there is an explanation for that. Her booksmarts and natural cynicism would definitely help her out in terms of mental soundness, and as the prodigy it is to be expected that she would be mature for her age. One thing that sets her apart (and makes it apparent that she is the youngest) is her lack of real world knowledge. Twilight may be smart, but she lacks worldly experience. She has shown on multiple occasions that she freezes up when a situation turns out differently than one of her books. She is still trying to find her way in the world (Up until she becomes princess) and constantly struggles to find her place. Winter Wrap up is a very strong example. Even Twilight's arrival in Ponyville can symbolize a person taking their first steps into the real world. In this case, I think it is safe to assume she is the youngest.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. How old do you think the Mane six are? Feel free to leave a comment explaining your opinion.
Why would I go into such depths in an attempt to explain a children's show? Isn't that kind of trivial?
Yes it is. Deal with it.