As part of our series of articles that aims to give in insight into why My Little Pony appeals to so many people of different ages and backgrounds, we’ve featured the profiles of PowertotheBronys, Darek, Sean and Michael throughout the month of October. Here is Justin with our last one.
How did you get into the My Little Pony series? How long have you been a fan?
“The thing to understand about bronies is that the majority of us are fans of the new series (Friendship is Magic) and, in fact, we tend to dislike the original series from the 80s and 90s. That being said, I watched my first episode of FiM probably in 2011 while I was deployed and had nothing much else to do. I had seen all the hype on the internet and kept asking myself what made the show so good that men were so into it, and so I sat down and watched the first few episodes and found myself hooked. It’s now been about two years, and I’m finding myself quite eager for Season 4.”
What attracted you to the show and why do you think it appeals to so many people?
“Initially, it was the characters. For a show about ponies geared towards little girls, these characters were surprisingly well written. I did more research and frequented more blogs and forums and I found out it was because it was adapted by Lauren Faust, who also did the PowerPuff Girls, which was another show I grew up loving. I think that’s a big part of why it’s so appealing. That, and the music. Oh man, the music. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat (mostly), and it’s really quite good. Plus, the voice actors can sing quite well, which never hurts. Another thing that may appeal to this unlikely demographic is the animation, which is Flash-based, but you’d never be able to tell if you’ve never had experience with it. It’s quite smooth and well done, which makes the show easy to watch. Compare it to a lot of other cartoons (especially from the 80s), and you’ll notice how smooth it is.”
Which character do you most identify with and why?
“Personally, I identify the most with Rainbow Dash, and I think it has to do a lot to do with what she loves to do the most: fly. I’m an enlisted aviator in the United States Air Force, which means I fly for a living. It’s all I ever wanted to do, and the fact the Rainbow Dash loves it as much as I do (and she loves to fly FAST)… I think that’s why I identify with her the most. I also really like rainbows, so you know, that helps!”
How do you feel the brony fandom has shaped you? Has it changed your life in any way?
“I feel like the brony fandom has made me more accepting of other people, because I know how hard it is to be accepted for liking the things I do, which in turn just makes me much nicer to people. You’ll hear the term ‘love and tolerate’ being thrown around the community all of the time, but I don’t think that’s what makes a brony a brony, but it certainly has its merits.”
How did your friends and family react to your interest? Do you feel they’ve accepted that you’re part of the brony community?
“My friends thought it was weird, at first, but they never really cared. It was another thing I was into as far as they were concerned, and they had already accepted me as being into things that aren’t traditionally ‘manly’. When I first told my fiancée about it, she also thought it was weird. She couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that I was a twenty-five-year-old guy who really liked ponies, but she was super supportive, and I have her to thank for most of the stuff in my collection. My family as a whole doesn’t really know, but I don’t think they would care, as long as I’m not hurting anyone.”
Have you had any negative experiences, either with the brony community itself or with outsiders?
“You know, this is funny. Online, in forums and social media, I get negative feedback about this all the time. It never bothers me, because it’s the internet, and the anonymity of sitting behind your computer and calling someone derogatory names is part of that, so I let it roll off my back. In real life, however, I’ve only ever had a few negative experiences, the worst of which happens at work in the military.
“There’s a certain expectation of men in the military, and it makes some people mad that I don’t live up to that, I guess. Most of the time I just get people that are curious, however, and I never let any of the bad experiences bother me.”
Do you think My Little Pony will be a lifetime interest for you or do you see yourself moving away from the fandom at some point?
“You know, I feel like I’m old enough at this point in my life to say that I will probably be a fan for quite some time. Maybe not as strongly as I once was, but I don’t think I’ll ever lose interest in the series or the fandom, especially if they keep releasing the comics, and the show stays true to its roots.”
Is there anything you’d like to say to those who don’t understand or are critical of the brony way?
“I’d like to say this: We aren’t hurting anyone, and we aren’t evil. We just want to be friends, because, well, friendship really is magic.”
A big thank you to Justin for letting us share his answers in our last profile. The series continues next month with the 1001-Up.com team’s reactions to their first My Little Pony episode and some lovely recipes from the Brony Chef, along with our featured articles starting on 09 November 2013.