This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is;
“Bronies: The Completely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony”
When the toymaker Hasbro attempted to reshape its My Little Pony line of girls’ toys with a new, hipper, cross-generational image with the 2010 release of the show “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,” an unexpected phenomenon of pop-culture fandom was born. This weird demographic of adult male fans embracing the little girls’ toy franchise is examined in the documentary “Bronies: The Completely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony” (due out on DVD Tuesday).
Bronies (a melding of the words “bro” and “pony”) came to the attention of producers shortly after the animated series “Friendship Is Magic” began airing. The show, which aimed at expanding Hasbro’s little girl fantasy universe to be more parent-inclusive, had the unforeseen effect of enchanting an enthusiastic fan base of males from mid-teens to 35 years old.
The phenomenon grew like topsy on the Internet and appeared to draw new grown-up fans based on the inclusion of strong new characters (such as the introverted bookworm Twilight Sparkle and the mischievous villain Discord), more current cultural references and an expressive style of Flash-based animation.
The odd new fan base first caught the producers off guard, but they quickly embraced the adult followers as fan conventions such as 2012’s Summer BronyCon in New Jersey springing up. And soon, actor-producer John de Lucie and partners launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance a full-length documentary to examine Bronies culture and their odd fixations. The resulting doc takes a wide-ranging look at adult fans, detailing their experiences and their enthusiasm for the show’s art, music, writing and gaming spin-offs.
“Bronies: The Completely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony” is not rated and runs 90 minutes. It’s being released by MVD Visual.
- Dennis King