Bronies at AHS

The cast of MLP: FM. From left to right, front: Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash in the back.

Wired calls them “a growing number of male fanatics.” The Wall Street Journal described them as “a thriving subculture of artists.” They’ve had gatherings in many places around the country, including an event in Portland with 80+ people attending. And there’s a sizeable contingency of them right in our very school. What’s all this fuss about? If you were to guess “a bunch of candy-colored ponies,” you’d be right on the money. These are the bronies, male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, latest in the My Little Pony series of cartoons and toys. And if you were to think this was a small, isolated phenomenon, you’d be dead wrong. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic follows Twilight Sparkle, devoted student to the benevolent Princess Celestia, who is sent by her teacher to live in the rural town of Ponyville. Her assignment: make some friends. Despite some initial kvetching on her part, she ends up making good friends with a colorful ensemble of other ponies: hardworking farmer Applejack, bold athlete Rainbow Dash, haughty fashion designer Rarity, meek animal lover Fluttershy, and hyperactive party-thrower Pinkie Pie, accompanied by her pet baby dragon,  Spike. Together, they engage in girlish fun that usually ends in some kind of monster encounter, and at the end of every episode, a letter is written to Princess Celestia explaining what they learned about friendship. According to creator Lauren Faust, her idea with the show was to create quality entertainment for young girls that didn’t fit to the usual “girl’s show” stereotypes. “I didn’t want to be responsible for adding to the pile of entertainment garbage that’s so often targeted toward them,” she stated in an interview. But even with that in mind, nobody working on the show expected the bronies to come along. And come along they did. Equestria Daily, the largest brony blog on the net, has racked up 78 million views since its establishment in January 2011. Said blog updates every day with a constant stream of fan art, fan fiction and even fan music. Three times in NYC, the fans have held a convention, the BroNYCon. The Colbert Report gave a shout-out, and Bill Clinton got involved too. So why has Friendship is Magic enthralled so many young men?

Brony Power
One of the favorite pastimes of Bronies is representing themselves as ponies; Samuel Cower is the focus of this piece by Sarah Lochmiller.

“I got into it about a year ago when it first started popping up on /b/,” says Jackson Davis, referring to a section of the infamous online message board 4chan. “My gateway into the show was Photo Finish,” he adds, referring to the show’s one-off parody of Anna Wintour (“I, Photo Finish, HAVE ARRIVED!”). This illustrates another aspect of the community: characters that have only been seen for a single episode, or meant solely to fill out background space, have often developed bigger followings than the actual characters have, like the cross-eyed Derpy Hooves, the duo of Lyra and Bon-Bon, and DJ-P0N3. “People get into it because of the irony, I think, like ‘Hey, we’re watching My Little Pony, that’s hilarious’,” says Jackson Davis. “But then from watching the show, they end up liking it sincerely.” “It’s like the creators actually put effort into making it entertaining, as opposed to just trying to sell toys,” says Max Vanhout, another local brony. “I’m not even as wowed by the show as I am by the community,” Max continues. “The show is okay, but the output of the fans is amazing just in sheer volume. And the creators of the show care about the fans, too. That’s half of what makes it so good, really.” As of right now, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is nearing the halfway point of its second season and the other episodes can be easily found on YouTube. So if the show sounds like it’d be up your alley, you might want to check it out. You certainly wouldn’t be going at it alone.