You know what’s awesome? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

And you know what’s stange? The way it barely had any impact on the anime fandom. I mean, I see some pony avatars on anime forums, and some bloggers occasionaly reference the show, but only to the same extent as they reference any other nerdy subject, and not more so than anyone else. You would expect it to be especially well-received in the otakudom, but there are barely any signs of the My Little Pony fandom has a disproportianate number of anime fans.

It reminds me of the release of Katawa Shoujo, a few months ago. That also received a few obligatory blog posts and comments, but that was it. Meanwhile, on the Internet, it created a bigger buzz than anything that the whole anime fandom together could create. It was more discussed than the most discussed anime of the past years, and it was incomparably bigger than anything in it’s own medium of Visual Novels. (Even the stats of Little Busters can only avoid being a completely flat line when compared to it, by having an anime announced around that time). It was incredibly popular, just not in the expected otakudom. Probably it happened through gaming websites, that first reported short notes about “some sort of Japanese cripple porn” being released, then the comment sections started to turn into flamewars with everyone who read the thing insisting that it’s noting like that, and everyone else first calling them crazy, then changing their minds after checking it out.

By the way, these fascinating flamewar threads were the other thing that is similar between My Little Pony and KS. It’s rare to find arguments on the Internet where one side is objectively right and the other is wrong. These had fans on one side struggling to even make it clear what the story is about, with prejudiced commenters on the other side, believing that the whole idea of a fandom standing up to such works must be one big trolling, and their first impression based on stereotypes must be more accurate than the experience of the actual audience’s statements. Even more fascinatingly, these were the only flamewars ever, with one side continously winning, after they convinced the other to check it out before criticizing it.    I’ve never seen so many people spelling out “Ok, I was wrong” as in MLP and KS threads.

Back on topic: So, there is My Little Pony, that should logically feel more familiar to anime fans than to others. After all, we are the guys who already watch very pink stuff like Azumanga Daioh, about girls doing cute things, and not even just because of the pretext that  it’s technically shonen. We also watch children’s anime, and series like Kimi ni Todoke, that are full-out girlish romances. Watching My Little Pony shouldn’t be all that different from any of these. We already gave up the idea that men should only watch “manly” series about fire and blood, we are OK with cuteness.

I don’t know, maybe that’s exactly the reason why not so many anime fans identify as “bronies”. Maybe many of us watched it, but then just mentally nodded, and listed it with all the other relatively good moe shows, instead of making a big deal out of it.


8 responses to “Anybrony?

  1. I haven’t seen My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I know a lot of anime fans like it. Not so much among blogs and forums perhaps, but among anime convention goers and cosplayers, I see a lot of it. Maybe the reason anime fans have a cynical attitude towards it at first is because it’s not really anime yet is becoming popular among anime fans; even though it’s something cute and girly like AzuDai and Kimi ni Todoke, because the characters are ponies they feel they’re not as moe or relatable – I don’t know, that’s the only reasoning I can come up with anyway.

    I was thinking of giving it a watch just to see what all the fuss is about. Do you know where I can watch it online?

    • Youtube, basically. You can find multiple HD versions starting with “Friendship is magic season 1 episode 1”.

      By the way, I’ve been also reading some posts where someone translated the Japanese comments of MLP from nico nico. Those were also pretty entertaining, like a bizarro version of the anime fandom.

      • I ignored the hype for a while but I also started reading posts about Japanese MLP:FIM fans. I went to Nico Nico to watch the japanese fansubbed versions and the show pulled me right in.

        It was a different experience than if I was watching it with Western anime fans. Amongst all the comments consisting of kawaii, moe sugiru, and {Insert favorite pony} ore no tenshi, it was nice to watch the show in an un-ironic way.

        There was no post-MST3K cynicism, sarcasm or snark. The Nico Nico viewers were just as honest, sincere and warm-hearted in their love for the show as its target audience — pre-adolescent little girls.

        Except when Western bronies invade the channel and start quoting popular MLP memes and/or being obnoxious. Usually that behavior gets squashed pretty quickly.

        The show is pretty good but please understand that it IS a children’s show.

        I mean it is not Game of Thrones….

        But now I can’t watch the show without the Nico Nico comments streaking across the screen. And some of the comments are gold! Especially when the other commenters are trying to explain western tropes, cultural puns and sight gags that the japanese viewers are absolutely mystified about.

        Kind of like when foreign translators try to explain japanese tropes, cultural and social knowledge that most people outside of Japan would not understand or recognize.

      • So, one way this post could be read is that you’re extremely weeaboo and can only enjoy things with the validation of Japanese people enjoying them.

        (Though of course, it is quite disrespectful to post English comments on JP Nico Nico)

    • In some ways, I actually find the MLP cast more moe/relatable than anime heroines, because they’re written with a Western cultural perspective in mind. And the cartoon animal nature gives it added feeling of inescapable cuteness…though, don’t worry, they’re still relentlessly sexualized.

      • No, I was curious on getting a view on how others view and watched the show in Japan. Usually online video sites (Youtube) attract trolls or, even worse, people who should know better but instead succumb to the “Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.”

        Unless you’re watching video online with people you know very well, and on a closed channel, it can get ugly. I didn’t get that at Nico Nico, which was refreshing. The real time comment system was cool too. I can see why the site is so popular. Name a site that I can get that same experience, Japan or otherwise, and I am there.

  2. I like MLP:FIM for the same reason I like any “Moe” Anime. MLP:FIM is cute and the ponies have personalities that are so likable that it gives the inner nerd in me a heck of ride. It’s on its own league, and its very refereshing

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