Konnichiwa, Mikuites! Even though My Little Pony is not technically an anime––despite its moe pony designs and wide-eyed protagonists––it has caused quite a stir amongst anime fans…almost completely polarizing fans. Some otakus have embraced it, while others have called it the bane of animation. Whatever side you are on, many lessons can be learned from MLP, specifically that a good story can appeal to anyone, no matter the superficial visuals. Perhaps anime fans can relate to this fact better than anyone.
Developer Lauren Faust has said that MLP was made with all genders and age groups in mind, but not even she could’ve conceived how much it would surge with Internet popularity. Fans claim it’s the best thing that has happened to the Internet in a long, long time. And I’d have to agree. Though, I’m not here to talk about how MLP has spread love and tolerance across the world, but rather why it has gained so much popularity with people like you and I, who usually have a penchant for pussy (not the feline kind) as opposed to ponies.
What’s unique about MLP in particular is that it seems to appeal to older males mostly. Sure, there are tons of guys out there who like cute anime (take anything produced by KyoAni as your pick), but even they are resistant to succumb to the power of ponies.
Therefore, I have to believe that adult males are at a point in their lives where they are ready to start a family––to have a wife and kids. What does this have to do with liking MLP? Well, one would assume that in order for a man to become a father, he must develop a softer, caring demeanor. Also, older males are more confident with their masculinity, and not afraid of being ostracized for watching a “girly” show. On the other hand, male teens face many social pressures and are perhaps afraid of being judged by their peers for watching a show about bright-colored ponies. A weaker argument, and one that’s not necessarily true, is that older men tend to be more mature(d), and therefore interested in the story rather than bloody fights or massive jugs. What I mean to say is that they don’t mind the lack of ecchi. In fact, most Bronies say outright on the Internet NOT to make Rule 34 for MLP. Well, curiosity got the better of me, and I looked up just to see what would be considered as Pony Rule 34 (since they obviously have no visible private parts), and most of what I came across was just comical demotivational posters and mild mare-on-mare kissing. So it seems like for the most part the Internet has respected the Bronies’ request.
Despite Hasbro being well aware of all the Bronies out there (0:27), for whatever reason, they don’t cater much to their peripheral fans––missing out on a potential goldmine––even though they’ve claimed plans to market to this older demographic in the near future. The ironic thing about their passive marketing strategy is that 90% of their viewership is comprised of adult males. As much as we Bronies love MLP, it’s obvious that we hold higher standards for our merchandise than the average elementary school girl. I just wish the products would match the quality of the show. Hopefully Hasbro will pay better attention to our requests once Season 2 starts picking up momentum. It’s a win-win situation. Hasbro will dominate with MLP the same way they’ve gained dominance with Transformers, and Bronies will get a bunch of cool pony products that we won’t be ashamed to show off in public.
MLP means so much to me because I see it as the start of a revolution. The pony fan base continues to grow larger and larger every month, proving that Friendship is Magic is not just a fad, it’s become a whole subculture. Just as blacks earned the same rights as whites, and women began to stand on equal footing with men in the 20th century, it’s the year 2011: it’s time to tear down all preconceptions that guys can’t like girls’ shows for what they are, or vise versa. In the future, I hope that everything will become ambiguous, that designing clothes won’t be considered a thing for women and football will not just be a “guys’ sport”. We are not quite there yet, but MLP is a start. So, for any producers out there, don’t be lazy by appealing to your target demographic; as they say, “Aim higher.”