Anime can be questionable. Like, extremely questionable. It’s not always like that, but more than enough happens to be premium Don’t Show This To Your Parents content. To some being mindful of this comes with a sense of responsibility to condemn messy works. To see them as not only problematic, but also morally wrong. To tell people that they shouldn’t like the things they like if they do questionable things. So I guess we need to talk about why it’s okay to like anime despite all the crappy stuff it does.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was special to me. Still is. For six years it’s been one of my post shameful admissions and yet I see no real reason to be ashamed. I like things gosh darn it. I like sincere things that fill me with joy, I like things that are funny and exciting and genuine and touching, I like things that inspire a little goodness in me. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gave that to me at a time when I needed it most, and no matter where it goes it’ll always be special to me for that.
Sadly My Little Pony: The Movie is a little late to the party (insert hackneyed Pinkie Pie joke here). The once booming curiosity of its adult fandom has dwindled in numbers comapred to the default market of incredibly young and impressionable girls, with the presence of young boys and adults and equally enthused parents at my local premiere only being a footnote. And yet My Little Pony: The Movie still manages to ooze with happiness and love. It takes Lauren Faust’s original adventure-driven concept and elevates it to a scale that I only ever dreamed was possible, leaving me more enthused about My Little Pony than I’ve been in a long time.
Rick & Morty has been all the buzz lately. And that’s great because it truly deserves it, it’s an intricate and funny and moving series. Its third season has been its most profound yet, giving genuine introspection into the character of Rick Sanchez and how toxic and destructive a human being he truly is. But that’s not what my social media feeds have been interested in. They’ve been talking about the fandom, the would-be real life Ricks who find themselves in almost every online community spewing indulgent nihilistic hatred on everything they touch.
Some friends have even expressed being turned off the series by this, which just really sucks. On one hand I can’t blame them but on the other it’s really just not fair. It’s not fair that people find themselves unwilling to have new media experiences because of hostile fan culture, and it’s not fair on the creators of earnest good works that they need to be accountable for crappy people. So what should you do if something you want to get into has a rubbish fanbase?
Let’s talk about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Yes, that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The once revered and controversial show about cartoon horses learning the magic of friendship is still going strong with a seventh season and a feature film on their way later this year, but it seems to have more years behind it than ahead of it at this point. The viewer base and the overall enthusiasm towards the series has seen a significant drop-off, and most notable fandom personalities have moved on to other things (sometimes as in the case of Digibro much bigger things). There’s been a lot of reasons for this, both specific personal reasons and reasons that broadly reflect the current state of the series. Putting aside fandom drama I want to talk about the direction the show has gone in and how that’s sparked disinterest.
Criticism is one of the best means by which someone can intellectually engage with the media they consume. Whether it be towards literature, paintings, music, video games, TV or film, critique can strengthen your relationship with media by allowing you to understand how it communicates with you from its ideas to its themes to its presentation to its emotional resonance among other aspects. At this point in my life it’s one of my greatest passions, and yet one of the most toxic damaging things within the My Little Pony fandom. There seems to be a broad collective issue within the Brony fandom regarding how people critically engage with it. After a recent video by Tommy Oliver wherein he discussed how criticism has, in its own way, made the fandom overwhelmingly jaded and divided and a recent post on EQD about Digibro’s channel being taken down filled with malicious comments towards him for looking deeper into the series (e.g. use of the dreaded term “pretentious”), among other smaller incidents and personal experiences, I decided this was a topic I wanted to touch on.