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Why Sunset Shimmer Was A Better Reformed Villain Than Starlight Glimmer


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  • Sunset Shimmer faced having consequences for her villainous actions (which are far lesser compared to Starlight's crimes) and rightfully receives scorn from everyone around her, all of them not being so willing to forgive her that easily, to the point where even the Humane Five still isn't that comfortable with her, along with them not even inviting her to join the Rainbooms, thus pushing her to work hard to try and earn everyone's trust and forgiveness. 
  • Starlight receives no consequences whatsoever for indoctrinating ponies and messing with the very fabric of time out of petty revenge and because of a pathetically childish motivation of her friend moving away when she was little (compared to Apple Bloom who actually handled losing her friend Twist like an adult and sought out new ones), instead of having forgiveness handed to her on a silver platter by the same ponies she wronged without doing anything to earn it. 
  • Sunset is wracked with guilt and regret during her redemption arc because literally everyone around her scrutinizes her, constantly giving her shit, talking about her behind her back, and reminding her of the bad things she did as a villain. 
  • Starlight is wracked with guilt and regret for pretty much no reason because literally nobody gives her shit for her villainous ways or bares even the slightest grudge against her, resulting in her only personality trait being having a guilt complex and always saying "I'm sorry for what I did". 
  • Sunset's redemption comes full circle during the Rainboom's final battle with the sirens when they actually lose and need Sunset to help them try again which leads to them defeating the Dazzlings, thanks to Sunset being forced to get off her ass and deal with the problem bugging her, giving her one of three standout moments where she truly shows how far her redemption has come (the second time when she literally turned into seraphim to bring Sci-Twi down to Earth the same way the Humane Six did for her, and the third time when she sacrificed her own memories to save her friends).
  • Starlight has nothing like that, the writers instead contriving conflicts to make her look good by artificially inflating her magical power/making all the usually competent main characters either completely useless so that Starlight can be the only one who can save the day (To Where and Back Again and Equestria Girls: Mirror Magic) or hold the idiot ball so she can be the most competent character in the room (Shadow Play and Marks for Effort) as if the writers are screaming at the viewers "LIKE HER! SHE'S THE MOST SPECIALIST OF PONIES! YOU HAVE TO LIKE HER!".
  • Sunset is almost always onscreen with the Humane Six either together or individually and thus constantly works off their different personalities in various entertaining ways.
  • Starlight's episodes are few and far between and she's so bland in comparison to the Mane Six' personalities, she gets stapled to much more entertaining and developed characters who steal the spotlight in her own episodes (Trixie, Discord, Thorax, Maud, etc), to the point where she could be swapped out with literally any of the Mane Six.
  • Sunset has her moments of getting frustrated from putting pressure on herself, snapping at others as a result of it, fearing she'll let everyone down, has one or two minor selfish moments and even has a hot competitive streak but she never outright takes a step backward into her villainous ways, overall just having general personality issues that literally any human being can have.
  • Starlight does absolutely nothing to change for the better, is completely incapable of facing a problem in a level-headed way, has a total lack of impulse control and still struggles with the most basic concepts of right and wrong, constantly: 

Another problem I had with Starlight Glimmer's terrible redemption is that she never actually bothers to be better and face the actual consequences of her actions. The Mane 6 and everyone else was so weirdly chill around her despite the terrible brainwashing and slavery she committed to them, which I find to be very alarming, especially when compared to how in The Equestria Girls movie everyone was ready to beat the living hell out of Sunset after she turned into a tyrannical she-demon. 

Sometimes Starlight does admit that she made a mistake, but that just doesn’t seem enough to me because everyone around her is in such a hurry to forgive her and tell her “It’s okay Starly, you’re trying your best.” and that’s what annoys me the most about her. 

Starlight received no consequences whatsoever for indoctrinating ponies and messing with the very fabric of time out of petty revenge and because of a pathetically childish motivation of her friend moving away when she was little (compared to Apple Bloom who actually handled losing her friend Twist like an adult and sought out new ones), instead of having forgiveness handed to her on a silver platter by the same ponies she wronged without doing anything to earn it. Not to mention, After she was reformed, she still Relapsed into her villainous ways. For example:

  1. Mind-controlling the Mane Six in Every Little Thing She Does and seeing nothing wrong with what she did until Twilight told her otherwise.
  2. Throwing the kingdom into chaos by forcibly swapping Celestia and Luna's cutie marks and powers and joking about how they had no choice in the matter in A Royal Problem.
  3. Encouraging Twilight to reopen her School of Friendship which Neighsay shut down for completely valid reasons such as poor management, unqualified teachers, and the students being endangered. (Ironic, ain't it? Starlight of all ponies telling someone to enforce their will, regardless of what anyone says.)
  4. Disturbingly studying a hypnosis book in her spare time and deciding that using it to hypnotize her own mentor was the best way to make her overcome a childhood fear in Starlight The Hypnotist.
  5. Formulating horrible plans that only work out of sheer dumb luck.
  6. Putting the changeling hive in danger by luring a monster to it into Change A Changeling.
  7. Again, throwing the kingdom into chaos by forcibly swapping Celestia and Luna's cutie marks and powers in the episode A Royal Problem.
  8. Overreacting to situations which leads to her making incredibly shitty and callous decisions
  9. Age-regressing Sunburst in Uncommon Bond. (Twilight even acknowledges the fact that Starlight overreacts to everything: "Starlight does have a tendency to overdo.")
  10. She trades away Trixie's wagon without her consent in Road To Friendship even though it didn't belong to her and thus wasn't hers to trade, seeing nothing wrong with what she did, not giving a shit about how much the trade clearly hurt Trixie, getting angry at her for rightfully being upset about it (which is flat-out emotional abuse) and only deciding to get Trixie's wagon back because she realized she couldn't pull the new wagon by herself.

And she gets off scot-free or gets rewarded every single time either because "she meant well", she gave a feeble apology, there was conveniently a way to undo the damage she did or it only worked out in the end out of pure luck. And in spite of all these terrible and reckless decisions, she got given a massive amount of status and privilege, became allowed to stay in a member of royalty's home as their student and even become a guidance counselor at their school, along with the writers passing off these awful actions as cute personality quirks.

To Me, Starlight DESERVED to face the consequences for her actions and she NEEDED to be punished more because she didn’t face anything for what she has done as a villain, aka changing the damn history of Equestria! 

Do you agree or disagree with my reasons? 

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The fact that she still had to earn it is what already gives her a huge advantage over Starlight imo

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Both were terrible, too quickly reformed. Starlight was also doing some crimes that other ponies got sent to Tartarus for :Cozy:

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I thought this whole Starlight vs Sunset thing was dead by now. Honestly both characters are just fine and have their places in the show/movies, and when it comes to their redemptions I think they both have ups and downs.

Sorry if I’m coming off as rude or anything, but I never understood this whole rivalry between two completely separate characters.

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  • Sunset : Her redemption is the main plot of the movie.
  • Starlight : Her redemption was skipped.
  • Sunset : After her redemption, she is comfortable with herself, all her friends are comfortable with her, the audiences are comfortable with her.
  • Starlight Since the redemption isn’t earned, she is not comfortable with herself, the audience isn’t comfortable to see her, only the mane six seems to be ok with her, and it makes as twice as uncomfortable for the audience and Starlight.
  • Sunset wanted power and as a result harmed others. It was completely wrong, but If she had a way not harming others, she wouldn’t minded as long as she gets power. Her No.1 goal itself wasn’t to harm others. She was a bully a***ole though.
  • Starlight did things specifically for bringing misery. Her goal was to harm others and not even for her own good. She has done evil for the sake of evil.
  • Sunset is completely trustworthy and moral with common sense now.
  • Starlight is one of the less trustworthy characters, she has questionable unstable moral codes.
  • Sunset is an interesting character. If she haven’t had came out as a villain, she would still be a good supporting role and an enjoyable person to be around.
  • Starlight isn’t an interesting character. Except for kites, ridiculous magical powers, excessive tendencies and her past as a villain, she has very little to appeal to the audience.
  • Sunset and anybody from Canterlot High could be friends.
  • Starlight and ponies from ‘Our Town’ would be totally uncomfortable being next to each other.
  • EQG needed a new leading role.
  • FiM didn’t needed a new leading role.
Edited by Sepul-Coloratura
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The ending of season 5, especially that song sequence hurt starlight's redemption, as it seemed that everyone forgave her easily and dumped some possible episodes regarding her redemption like how she made amends with her town(I wish we got some tension from sugar belle regarding starlight), it gave the wrong impressions from the very beginning which set some fans against her back than(even I hate the last few minutes of that finale). Other than the mane 6(and likely the princesses), not many ponies even knew what she did with the time travel and out side of the aforementioned individuals starlight's villagers were likely the only ponies who knew what starlight did there and she left the village to live in ponyville so it's not really comparable to sunset's case in which she stayed at the same place she committed her crimes at.

Many fans also dislike the fact that starlight got to live with the princess in a castle just because, and I dislike that too although not that much and I can look past it.  It does feel like sunset deserved her redemption more than starlight, but in the long run starlight certainly made up for her mistakes in the past, and she had to make up for quite a lot. 

Both became likable characters that deserve our love, starlight was a much better villain in my opinion(although sunset did attempt murder) so even before starlight had a chance to prove herself people already were disappointed in her character for reforming. There is also the fact that sunset became the main character in, at the time not so well received EG so it was alright for the fans but starlight became a very imposing secondary character that at times stole the spotlight from the main characters(and was written as the writers pet sometimes) which the vast majority of the fandom did not want. 

As for starlight being an awkward character, I actually like her, you can see she is mentally not completely sound and it makes her a very interesting character to follow(that makes her friendship with trixie ever so more enticing). I think both redemptions were not perfect(although I don't think they were bad, I actually kinda liked them), but the end result was worth it if you ask me.

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Implying Sunset Shimmer is anything but a bad villain? Yeah no.


Also, let's consider the fact than reformed Starlight isn't even a villain at all.

Edited by Dusknoir
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35 minutes ago, Dusknoir said:

Implying Sunset Shimmer is anything but a bad villain? Yeah no.

As you can no doubt see by my avatar, I am totally neutral in this debate... :umad: but yes, Sunset was not the most nuanced villain ever... which is why reforming her into the protagonist of Equestria Girls works so well... she was bad at being evil, she is better at being good (while not losing the traits that started her down her road of darkness in the first place, merely turning them to her benefit) 90% of Rainbow Rocks was about restoring her self-confidence, which I can elegantly demonstrate with a single frame:

Of course, maybe other stuff happens after Friendship Games, but I haven't seen it.

35 minutes ago, Dusknoir said:

Also, let's consider the fact than reformed Starlight isn't even a villain at all.

That's... generally what happens after a villain is "reformed". They stop being villains.

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... Cause she was contained within a spinoff and thus didn't cause shit in the main story 3Y6uKBJ.png

Edited by Goat-kun
my face fell off
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I think a few of your points and examples are somewhat exagerrated to sound more extreme, honestly. I agree with some things.

Sunset is a lot more charismatic that Starlight. I actually put a lot of this down to the actress. Sunset's actress is incredible and commands more presence than Sheridan ever really did with Reformed Starlight.

Sunset's arc is immaculately crafted to engender absolute sympathy towards her. Although, I think it also comes at the expense of taking away any feeling that she was ever a real villain. People are mean to her as if she's still a bad person, but what we see of Sunset in RR is just the kindest, sweetest little put-upon puppy dog ever. We don't want the school to be mean to her, because we can clearly see she's changed and will never do anything bad ever again. It's such a simple story and they tell it really well, but Sunset is NOTHING like her villain self anymore. It feels like she's a new character who's been saddled with all of Villain!Sunset's baggage and past and forced to suffer for it. It isn't cathartic and it doesn't make me feel like justice is being served because these two Sunset's are nothing alike. And it takes a while for her to develop proper character flaws again.

I felt like they were trying something different with Starlight, but the execution was iffy in a few areas, not helped by the fact that the fundamental idea of Starlight is that she's a character who will sometimes relapse, which is already a risky idea. She didn't get rainbow'd out of a super evil super form. She stopped of her own free will and had to put her life back together, but she stumbles along the way because her core flaws (her tendency to overreact and her inclination to sidestep problems rather than actually confronting them) were never resolved. It's a part of her, but I genuinely do think she improves as the series goes on. She goes from flippantly using magic and being annoyed by the idea that she might have done something wrong, to making a mistake due to stress and sleep deprivation, then realizing she's made the mistake on her own and working to fix it.

The thing about Starlight's power is that it's always brought up by people as if it's consistently done a damn thing to help her. In all her appearances, her magic has solved exactly one conflict. A Royal Problem. In every other story, Starlight's power is a harbinger of her making some kind of catastrophic mistake due to her overreactions. Her magic exacerbates conflicts or brings them to a head, it almost never resolves them. She's been jobbed out by plenty of characters. Despite her banishing spell, she was no match for Discord. She was easily detained by Cozy Glow offscreen. She was beaten handily by Chrysalis. Starlight's power is grossly overstated.

I think the same is true for certain spotlight-stealing episodes like Marks and TWABA as well. In TWABA, Starlight doesn't get to save the day because she's better than the mane 6 (and nor does the episode insist that she is in any way) She gets to be the hero because Chrysalis didn't care about her. If she had, there's no reason to believe she couldn't have easily replaced Starlight like she did everyone else. Chrysalis left the opening (like she always does), and Starlight was just the person who happened to be there. The episode IS constructed to give Starlight the spotlight, but not by making her the only competent person in the room. And in Marks, Starlight doesn't do anything Twilight couldn't have done. She doesn't figure out something Twilight missed. Cozy came to HER, and spilled the beans about what she did to the CMC. Starlight is given information Twilight is not given because Starlight's role in the school is to be a counselor and hear this kind of stuff from students in distress. Besides, any moment for Starlight is inevitably soured by the fact that Cozy is playing the hell out of her. Starlight helping Cozy is pretty much a bad thing in the long run because it all feeds into her plan to ingratiate herself within the school.

I think your list of Starlight's "relapses" is the most unfair section to me. You list encouraging Twilight to reopen the School of Friendship as a "relapse". No. Neighsay was wrong. Anything he was correct about is undermined entirely by the fact that he himself clearly didn't care about any of Twi's transgressions, and was using them as an excuse. He literally says:


" Irresponsible teachers, students skipping class, endangering ponies! Your school is a disaster. Perhaps if you had had higher standards for who was admitted, this could have been avoided."

But even granting that the EEA was completely in the right and Twilight was wrong to reopen the school, Starlight's still not relapsing here. She's not impulsively overreacting. She's calmly and earnestly trying to help Twilight, a person she looks up to and genuinely cares about. She doesn't want Twilight to give up on her dream and uses her own experiences with Twilight to inform her decision to stick by her (noting that Twilight never gave up on Starlight).

When she age-regresses Sunburst she also undoes it seconds later when it becomes clear that he's freaked out. And she only goes ahead with it because he was impressed by her spell and wanted to see it in action. It's still somewhat of a backslide for her, but it's nowhere near as egregious as something like ELTSD.

In Road to Friendship she doesn't turn back because the wagon is too heavy. She'd already made it most of the way back home, through deserts, alligators, swamps, and fire pits. She realizes her mistake after hearing how the mail ponies were inspired by her and Trixie's friendship, which reminds her of how much she cares about Trix. She then turns around and treks back through the alligators, the swamps, the fire pits, and the deserts to find Trixie again. Saying she just found the wagon too heavy is ignoring context for no reason.

And one last thing, I don't think a character needs to necessarily be hated by people in order to feel guilt for their actions. If Sunset only felt bad about what she did because people were angry at her over it, then I think that's a shame. You shouldn't refrain from doing bad things solely because you fear punishment for doing them. You should refrain from doing them because you understand that they're bad.

Edited by gingerninja666
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Sunset’s redemption worked better because she started at rock bottom. Almost everyone at the school didn’t trust her and still wanted nothing to do with her. Every time she made some progress, she was knocked back down by someone reminding her of what she had done. Her guilt prevented her from speaking up and expressing herself. It wasn’t until the end that she finally found her voice and felt like she was part of the group.

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Seeing the stuff with Sunset honestly makes me wished the writers did more for Luna in her case in a way(or felt like there could have been more).
Just had that thought from this..

Also about Starlight age-regressing Sunburst bit, I could have sworn that was some sort of illusion spell she did to try to recreate their childhood moment where they played that board game together.

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