I first heard about MLP-FiM from a feature on the "Know Your Meme" website. And after I saw the first two episodes I thought: "This show could be BIG in the Furry Fandom." Three seasons later not only has the show become popular with many Furries but surprisingly the show spawned its own fandom: "Bronies".
There's been a lot of talk about Bronies in the Furry fandom, unfortunately mostly negative. Older adult Furs think of them as annoying hyperactive teenage and college fanboys. Other Furs just don't like the show so they blast them or any Furry who loves the show. And with the reputation we Furs have gotten from the mainstream media since the early 2000's most Bronies don't think of Furries highly either. They believe the same Furry "sex freaks" stereotypes that Anime, Sci-Fi fans and internet trolls believe, and also blame our fandom for giving their fandom a bad reputation.
Yet despite all the dislike and misunderstanding there's plenty of crossover between fandoms. Furries such as Dustykatt and MandoPony (formerly known as MandoAndy) became popular Bronies via their videos and songs on YouTube. And there's many artists and others who were once Furries who became tired of the drama or reputation of our fandom and "Joined the Herd".
What impressed me most about the Brony fandom is how fast it grew from its beginnings on 4chan. In a just a few months image and news sites like Equestria Daily appeared along with the announcements of the first Brony conventions. The Furry Fandom took decades to grow to the size of the Brony fandom because Furs didn't have the technological advances of broadband internet, cellphones with Twitter, Skype and instant streaming YouTube video to promote it in its early years.
My observation is the Brony Fandom has become a interesting crossbreed of Anime "otaku" fan culture with the personalization (customized ponies similar to our "Fursonas") and the "Love and Tolerate" close-knit community of the Furry Fandom. It may be the first time that Anime fans and Furries have worked together to create a new fandom.
So why did I spend $12.99 to download a (DRM-Free) Mp4 copy? Well besides being interested in their Fandom for a few years now and trying to gain a better understanding of it, I was also curious how well Bronies could create their own documentary.
"Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony" originally begin as a kickstarter project budgeted at $60,000. But thanks to very generous donators wound up with a $322,022 total (whoa!).
The creators used the extra cash well to travel around the world (Israel, UK, Germany and the USA) to interview Bronies and to film at several Brony conventions. They also managed to rope in MLP:FiM creator Lauren Faust, voice actress Tara Strong (voice of Twilight Sparkle) and John de Lancie (voice of the villain Discord and "Q" on Star Trek:The Next Generation) as executive producers. It also features very entertaining and funny original animation created by JanAnimation, with John de Lancie serving as narrator. It's not perfect. The pacing tends to drag a little in spots, spending too much time on an individual and the cinematography ranges from professional to sloppy (shaky and out of focus shots) during the convention scenes.
The documentary features interviews with Faust, Strong and de Lance, along with short interviews with several well known Bronies. But the main focus of this documentary is on several teenaged Bronies as they are first interviewed along with friends and (bewildered) parents, and later as they travel to conventions. One Brony is very young who brings his father to BronyCon in New York. Another is dealing with Asperger syndrome. Others are artists and performers who have never attended a Brony convention before and wondering what's going to happen and how they'll be accepted.
There isn't many "squick" moments besides a quick and funny mention of "clopping" (aka "pawing" in our fandom) and a interview with the founder of BronyCon, "Purple Tinker" a transgender person/woman. From what I dug up on Google she has caused some serious drama in the Brony Fandom with her outspokenness and threats to competing Brony conventions. And she may have been a furry at one time (no surprise!).
To corral this up "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony" does an fine and entertaining job of portraying a very positive and exciting image of the Brony Fandom. I wish the Furry Fandom had the time, people, resources and especially the cash to create a documentary this well made and entertaining.
(Comments are welcome - but please no bashing!)