Each day during the final full week of 2012, News 4 This Morning will be taking a look back at some of the light-hearted, quirky, and/or amusing stories and topics we covered multiple times during the past year. The above video shows some of the reports and conversations about the topic covered.
In 2012, the latest animated “My Little Pony” series had its popularity explode, as the series becomes a bonafide pop-culture phenomenon, its adult fanbase expanding all across the world.
Premiering on the then-new Hub Network in 2010, the latest version of “My Little Pony,” called “Friendship is Magic” was created by Lauren Faust. Faust was a veteran of animation, having written several acclaimed episodes of popular animated series such as “The Powerpuff Girls” and “Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.”
After a few months, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” began to grow in popularity, especially throughout the internet. In addition to its target demographic of young girls, the new show gained an adult audience.
Soon after, they had a name: “Bronies,” a combination of the slang term “bro” and the word “pony.” While a significant segment of “Bronies” were young adult males, as the series finished its first and later began its second season, it continued to gain fans of all types: women, military, young boys, longtime animation fans, and more. (“Pegasisters” is another term preferred by some of the show's female fans.)
Many of the fans give different reasons for their love of the series, but among some the most cited reasons from fans are: fleshed-out, relatable characters; a lack of cynicism and an optimistic setting, bright and colorful animation, enjoyable songs, quality voice acting, and Looney Tunes-style slapstick.
The talent behind the show has embraced its expanded following. In something very unique, many of the voice actors, writers and even storyboard artists regularly communicate with fans of the show. Many fans within the community create their own art: fan fiction, drawings, plushies, and even original music and animation. Fansites such as “Equestria Daily” and “Derpy Hooves News,” which update daily with the latest news from the show and its fans, now attract thousands of visitors daily.
In 2012, the animated series completed its second season and began its third season. There were many popular conventions during 2012. BronyCon 2012 in Secaucus, New Jersey attracted an estimated four thousand attendees to meet talent from the show, purchase fan-made memorabilia and interact with fellow Bronies. There was the Canterlot Gardens convention in Ohio, Everfree Northwest in Seattle, and Midwestria and Chicago. But, these weren't just limited to United States either. For example, there was the Galacon 2012 in Germany. Many more conventions are planned for 2013 across the world.
Fans of the show have also established charities. There's “Bronies for Good,” which has helped orphans in Africa through the international “Seeds of Kindness” project; charity auctions at some of the various conventions, the “Brony Thank You Fund” as well as others. One voice actress from the show raised money for a bicycle ride to benefit a Canadian cancer fund. Some of these charity events have raised tens of thousands of dollars.
It wasn't just the animated series that was successful either. A new comic book series based on the show sold over one hundred thousand copies, outselling popular superhero titles and requiring a second printing. A set of collectible cards based on the series was another popular item, selling in large numbers. A young singer who is also a voice actress on the show released a new Christmas music album thanks to funds raised by fans online.
An Amazon-exclusive DVD release of the complete first season of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, at one point before release, was the third-best-selling DVD on the web retailer, coming ahead as such blockbusters as “The Hunger Games.” Actor John de Lancie (known best as Star Trek's “Q,” but also had a guest role as “Discord” in a “Pony” two-parter) has teamed up with a noted documentarian to create a documentary about the “Bronies,” which will be released in 2013.
“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is currently in its third season. The show stars Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Ashleigh Ball. It airs Saturday mornings on The Hub.