As much as I like cartoons, I never expected to become a fan of a show about magical rainbow ponies. It’s strange that I did, I suppose, but something far stranger happened.
I became a fan of its fans.
The community inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, though often regarded with suspicion or loathing, is the most creative, quirky, compassionate group of fans I’ve ever seen. Combining bro and ponies in a portmanteau word, these weird, wonderful people are known as bronies.
There is a ridiculous number of artists in the brony community. Besides creating art inspired by the show, they sometimes reimagine real or fictional people—including bloggers—as ponies.
The artwork produced by bronies takes innumerable forms: comics, sketches, paintings, woodcuts, stained glass and more. Name any kind of visual art, and bronies are guaranteed to have used it.
There are nearly as many musicians in the brony community as there are artists, and their music is no less diverse. Besides remixing music from the show, bronies have produced a staggering number of original songs in every style imaginable. Classical? Electronic? Classical remixed as electronic? Progressive bluegrass? Symphonic rock? Bronies have them all covered.
Brony musicians even cover music by other bronies. “Discord,” a catchy Eurobeat song about a villain from the show, has been arranged for orchestra, jazz, electronic and other genres.
I won’t even begin to cover the animations and video games created by bronies. While some are amateur efforts, others are literally of professional quality.
The creativity of the brony community seems to know no end, but the thing that impresses me most about bronies is their compassion.
Through fundraisers, auctions and special events, a charity called Bronies for Good recently paid for the construction of an orphanage in Uganda. Bronies for Good is currently funding clean water projects in Uganda and Tanzania. Another charity, the Brony Thank You Fund, is working to endow a scholarship—tentatively titled the Derpy Hooves Scholarship in Animation—to the California Institute of the Arts. (Tim Burton, John Lasseter and many notable animators graduated from CalArts, which was founded by Walt Disney.) Various brony initiatives have raised many thousands of dollars for Kiki Havivy, a little girl diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The list of charitable projects goes on and on. It’s ridiculous.
Nothing is perfect, of course. The brony community has its share of conflicts, problems, crude artwork and tasteless fan fiction. In the end, though, it remains the most amazing group of fans I’ve ever seen.
I am, I admit, slightly embarrassed to be a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. It’s a cartoon for little girls, after all.
I am not, however, embarrassed to be a brony.