Since this summer we've been vaguely aware of "bronies," adult male fans of the reboot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, and their female counterparts, "pegasisters," but we fear we can avoid them no longer. The strange subculture of grownups obsessing over a children's cartoon is now front page news at the Wall Street Journal. Thank goodness there isn't any real news to report on lately!
Of course there is nothing wrong with watching a reboot of a cartoon made to sell toys. The brother of one Gothamist editor's DVR is in fact chock full of the show (he claims they are his girlfriend's, though admits "it's magically captivating" and "pretty cool…but I'm not going to waste my time watching it."). There is clearly something going on when you've got 32-year-old men who don't appear to be pedophiles giving quotes like this to Wired:
First we can’t believe this show is so good, then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life, then we can’t believe we’re walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl’s toy in our Happy Meal. Then we can’t believe our friends haven’t seen it yet, then we can’t believe they’re becoming bronies too."
Though still young—the show's second season is only airing now—the Brony movement already has the major things required of a cult show. Its got its own bands (see: Neighslayer), its own convention (broNYCon), its own 4chan (Ponychan—the online network was a big initial fan of the show), and a popular blog for adults featuring news, music and fanfics devoted to the show, Equestria Daily. In fact, the blog has been such a success that its 23-year-old founder, Shaun Scotellaro, told the Journal he's had to cut back on community-college classes to run it (out of his parent's house).
The show's adult fanbase seems to be equally attracted to the show's animation, which is very stylized, as its writing. The show's first season was run by Lauren Faust, who was previously a writer and storyboard artist on the similarly obsessed overPowerpuff Girls, and her online fans are legion. As a 23-year-old brony from Seattle who "relates to all the characters" tells us, "I've always been a fan of the shows Lauren Faust created when I was younger, the Powerpuff girls had a huge part of my childhood." In case you were curious, his favorite Pony is Pinkie Pie.
Meanwhile Hasbro, which makes the My Little Pony dolls, seems more amused than freaked out by grown men who like petite ponies. They tell the Journal in an e-mail: "From what we've seen, they are a small group of 'My Little Pony' fans who don't necessarily fit what one might expect to be the brand's target audience."
As for how the friends and family of Bronies feel about the whole thing, most seem skeptical but understanding. The same brony from Seattle says he "turned my fiance into a brony, its become a cute thing we do together. My friends don't understand it, but they know I'm a weird guy and chalk it up to that, although when we go out drinking I always make sure that we all cheers to 'friendship is magic' when we do shots."