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This started (and ended) as a post in the "Would You Have Closure if EQG Ended as a Trilogy Thread", and I realized I wrote QUITE a lot, so I decided it'd make a pretty decent blog post too. So let's talk about it. Oh yeah, and SPOILERS. Honestly, I'd probably be pretty OK if we were done with EQG. I'd be sad if we never saw Sunny again, but let's think about it a second. The EQG series is 100% about Sunset Shimmer as a character. It's about Wrong-Doing, Repentance and Redemption. In the first movie, you have Sunset Shimmer as the villain. Now I have a ton of nitpicks about why the story in EQG1 is contrived, convoluted and catastrophic at best, but let's ignore that for a minute. ~Equestria Girls~ EQG1 introduces Sunset Shimmer as a former apprentice of Celestia (similar to Twilight's position, pre-Alicornication, though you can debate that she's still an apprentice). Sunny, like many good-turned-evil apprentices, got frustrated when the magic required patience and practice instead of immediate gratification. She left Celestia's side and all of Equestria of her own accord, found a new world where she could manipulate people into doing what she wanted. She decided that coupling this with Equestrian magic would allow her to invade Equestria take over, and most importantly, upstage Celestia and prove that you can get what you want with cruelty and cunning. Then Twilight shows up, blah blah, Magic of Friendship, big rainbow laser, villain KO'd, gg no re. The important thing to take away from EQG1 was that, Sunset Shimmer was offered a chance to repent for her sins. She'd done horrible, nasty, awful things and the HuMane 5 took her in as one of their own. This becomes more relevant when we get to... ~Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks~ In EQG2 we're quickly shown two things: 1) Sunset Shimmer and the HuMane 5 are getting along swimmingly, and 2) Sunset Shimmer and the students of Caterlot High School are NOT getting along swimmingly. At the beginning of Rainbow Rocks, it's very clear that not a whole lot of time has passed since the Fall Formal, and most of the school still outwardly blames Sunset Shimmer for being a heinous bitch. This is in spite of all the work that was done in the first move to show CHS that coming together as a school benefits everyone and the school as a whole. She's an outcast amongst an entire student body that banded together in a crisis situation. Even among friends, things seem a little off. Beginning with the first in-character song, Sunset is seen sitting off to the sidelines while the HuMane 5 (and Twilight) rock out. While they may have accepted her into their circle, it's Sunset that seems a little shy about getting close to them. She still feels like she has a lot to repent for after the Fall Formal (see her reaction to the multiple uses of "no offense") and that the whole school is doing a great job at reminding her of that, including her friends. Regardless of this fact, and the constant taunting by the Sirens, Sunny busts her flank to maintain that she's changed and all she wants to do is help, even going so far as to jump Rainbow Dash mid-solo to keep their magic hidden (let's be honest, if anyone was gonna screw it up for the group, it was gonna be Dash). This is seen as an affront to the group dynamic and the friends that she'd been working to hard to keep. It's only near the movie's climax that Sunset Shimmer, the outlier of this group of tight-knit friends notices that there's something incredibly wrong. She's been shown friendship and is beginning to understand it, enough so that she knows that disagreements happen, but bickering to the point of breaking up the band is NOT friendship. It's conflict, something that a former villain understands all to well. Something that Sunset Shimmer originally placed between these friends in the first place. This is her repentance. She was the one to originally break apart this group of friends. Now she has her chance to reunite them and remind them all what friendship, a concept they taught her, is really about. Then we enter the climax. Even when Sunny saves the band, and Vinyl saves the show, Sunset Shimmer is still backstage, behind the curtain, wishing all her friends luck. She still doesn't consider herself good enough to be a part of the band. She's reminded them about their friendship and that's good enough for her. Except it wasn't good enough to save the day... But when the going gets tough, the tough take off their leather jackets and belt out a few bars! When Sunny steps up to the mic, it's the first time she's really participated in a group activity with the HuMane 5 (+ Twilight). She's completed her rite of passage to truly be one of the girls, signified by her Pony-ing Up for the first time. The Rainbow Laser of Friendship also solidifies this by adding Sunny's color (Red, because Orange was already taken by AJ) to the spectrum, turning into a giant Rainbow Alicorn and saving the day. Immediately following their victory, the HuMane 5 ask Sunny to join the band. In this scene we can finally see that she's forgiven herself, since instead of humbly turning down their request, or even accepting it, she picks up a nearby guitar and shreds a quick riff, leaving everyone's mouth agape. Sunny saved her friends, saved the day, and most importantly, saved herself (from, well... herself). ~Equestria Girls: Friendship Games~ (aka the best pony movie ever) This was everything I ever could have hoped for. Even in the opening credits, we see minimal Twilight and the insertion of Sunset Shimmer in all of the HuMane 6 (yes, 6, as Sunny is now an OFFICIAL MEMBER) art work. The movie makes it very clear that Sunset Shimmer is kind of like the new Twilight for these girls. She's their expert on magic and the team member who clearly doesn't get what all this high school BS is about (funny, given that she's been going there for 3 years). She's also the one being tasked with a difficult and complex problem. Her situation very closely mirror's Twilight's from EQG2. She's being relied on heavily to solve a problem that she doesn't fully understand. The only difference really being that Sunny reaches out for help, it just isn't available from the person she's asking. Multiple times over the course of the movie, Sunset Shimmer is rallied around by her friends and peers. Notably first, at the end of the Acadeca, when she loses to Other Twilight. Despite her failure, which sends her reeling, the HuMane 6 see it as a victory. Sunset Shimmer is the reason they actually almost BEAT Crystal Prep. For the first time. Ever. A similar event happens at the end of the relay event, when Other Twilight's stolen magic breaks loose, Rainbow Dash Pony's Up, and Sunny blames this all on herself for not figuring out how to keep the magic in check. Principal Celestia forgives Sunset Shimmer for not understanding the magic that she has no control over, but Sunny seems determined to blame herself. One of the most interesting, grounding, and humanizing (for a pony movie) scenes in the movie is when Other Twilight absorbs Rainbow Dash's magic after the Relay. Sunset Shimmer, clearly very frustrated with Other Twi for interfering and stealing her friends magic, UNLEASHES this torrent of rage on Other Twi, who runs away crying. Now, some have said this is a slip for Sunset Shimmer back to the days of being a villain, but I disagree. Sunny is under and INSANE amount of stress, and is not only upset with Other Twilight for stealing magic and messing with forces she doesn't understand. We have to also consider how frustrated she was at NOT receiving an answer from Princess Twilight, in addition to the fact that Other Twilight's lack of understanding mirrors her own. She's not being "evil". Sunset Shimmer is very clearly upset with HERSELF in this instance, and is taking it out on the person who LOOKS like the friend that isn't answering her. Immediately following this outburst, she knows that she's done wrong, and in the final event, looks to make up for it. Speaking of the final event: BEST. SCENE. EVER. Other Twilight gets conned into unleashing the magic for extremely selfish reasons, both on behalf of her school and herself. This concentrated magic converts Other Twi into something I can only describe as a "raging she-demon". Sound familiar? Having been in her position, Sunset tries to reason with Other Twi, telling her that power, magic and megalomania are NOT the answers. Other Twi refuses to listen and begins to go on a rampage of wanton destruction. This is her moment. This is Sunset Shimmer's redemption. Like a phoenix burning bright in the sky, Sunset Shimmer calls upon the EQG Elements of Harmony, unifying all five of them to unlock the sixth element and ascend to becoming the Alicorn Princess of Friendship (of EQG). In the final moments after their beam battle, Sunset Shimmer makes the most important gesture of her character arc. "Take my hand Twilight. Let me show you there's another way, like someone once did for me." Sunset Shimmer has now come full-circle. She has defeated a powerful evil with the magic of friendship, and offered the villain an olive branch, a chance to join them and show them the way and the healing power of friendship. Which, for me, firmly solidifies her as the Princess of Friendship. In the end, we get a little blurb about Other Twi joining CHS, and later, Princess Twilight pops in to say hi, and mention something about a time loop. ~In Closing~ Sunset Shimmer has come full-circle. Starting as a villain and being battled as a demon, she was being offered an olive branch by the Princess of Friendship. Though friendship, she learns how to deal with her own personal demons, and how to be a better friend. Then, with the help of her friends, she accomplishes the same feat: defeating a demon and offering to help them learn about the magic of friendship. With this, Sunny's character arc completed, I could be fulfilled in knowing that there aren't any more EQG movies on the horizon Not that I don't want more of them...