“He might be thinking I’m gay or a man-child.”
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony is a documentary about the adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic made with the full cooperation of the show’s creator, Lauren Faust. It focuses on several fans; however, the packaging is a bit misleading as the subjects are primarily male.
Almost every single one of these guys has to deal with people’s initial impression being they are a pedophile or some other sexual deviant. At the start, you can easily substitute your own fandoms but when you hear the stories of the abuse, the misconceptions, and the out and out hatred these guys suffer, you’re instantly engaged and sympathetic.
Though it is true the show in question is in fact targeted primarily toward young girls, it’s not as simple as its detractors would have everyone believe. It’s not a show for preschoolers where kids are taught basic shapes, colors, numbers, or the like. Instead it’s a show wherein life lessons are learned throughout the course of the situations the ponies find themselves in.
It’s not surprising My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. The show teaches core values that are as valid for adults as they are for the children they are intended for. Simply put, the Bronies are finding value in the show because they connect to the values. And if you can name a currently broadcasting show aimed at the Bronies’ demographic that stresses friendship, honesty, trust, and being a decent human being above all else, I’d like to hear about it.
At the root of this issue is the preconceived notion of what role men are expected to take in our society. The idea men should value their friends, should value generosity, should value kindness…these traits and their ilk are considered “girly.” So when men adopt those traits they’re automatically considered to be somewhat deviant. That’s a sad commentary on our society not on these people.
This disc is more a sobering look at the kind of jerks people can be when you hear about some of the awful situations these guys have suffered. And yet for all the hardships they go through, none of these guys is malevolent; instead they have a quiet strength which is really admirable.
I found the documentary to be far more interesting than I originally thought. Although I had not written it off entirely I had no idea it would be something sanctioned by the creator herself with some of the voice actors participating, nor that it would be produced on such a quality level.
Bottom line: These guys are harmless, just like the show they love.
The 1.78:1 transfer is comprised of cartoon clips, interview segments, and b-roll which is mainly convention footage. Though it’s standard definition it’s handled really well, blending the varying platforms together in a very effective way. There’s no outstanding discrepancy in quality per se, just subtle differences between the types. They aren’t so different as to be distracting, however, and the whole transfer definitely feels as though a professional color timed and filtered it. The audio suffers a bit more with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that at times is noticeably soft. Background noise or just too great a distance between subject and microphone are the big culprits. Although I commend the producers for including plenty of subtitles I do wish the title cards announcing who each person is weren’t occasionally put on screen instead of the needed subtitles.
The special features are two deleted scenes which highlight the conventions shown during the documentary. They were cut because they slow down the flow of the story, but if you’re at all interested in the world of My Little Pony then they are worth checking out.
Bronies is a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. I’m not sure the casual viewer’s going to be drawn to this, however. I do think Bronies will come out in droves to support this release. Perhaps people in other fandoms who find themselves relating to the struggles of being wrongly identified by negative misconceptions of what their interests truly represent may pick this up due to a feeling of kinship.