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.