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SoCal Bronies gallop to SDSU

Bronies+Nolan+Alisasis+and+Ohmeko+Ocampo%2C+along+with+pegasister+Samantha+Ramos%2C+take+a+break+from+bowling+to+discuss+the+%22My+Little+Pony%22+fandom+during+a+MeetUp+at+Aztec+Lanes+on+Jan.+27.+
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SoCal Bronies gallop to SDSU

Bronies Nolan Alisasis and Ohmeko Ocampo, along with pegasister Samantha Ramos, take a break from bowling to discuss the

Bronies Nolan Alisasis and Ohmeko Ocampo, along with pegasister Samantha Ramos, take a break from bowling to discuss the "My Little Pony" fandom during a MeetUp at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27.

Photo by Lauren J. Mapp

Bronies Nolan Alisasis and Ohmeko Ocampo, along with pegasister Samantha Ramos, take a break from bowling to discuss the "My Little Pony" fandom during a MeetUp at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27.

Photo by Lauren J. Mapp

Photo by Lauren J. Mapp

Bronies Nolan Alisasis and Ohmeko Ocampo, along with pegasister Samantha Ramos, take a break from bowling to discuss the "My Little Pony" fandom during a MeetUp at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27.

by Lauren J. Mapp, Staff Writer

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Television programming in the ’80s was filled with brightly colored characters that were successfully translated into popular merchandising. Children spent endless afternoons playing with Pound Puppies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Muppet Babies, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite and the characters from “My Little Pony.”

In a media era where older millennials flock to the theatres to see reimaginations of the popular films of yore, it was inevitable that “My Little Pony” would make a comeback. What wasn’t inevitable was that many of the fans of the TV reboot would be an adult, male audience—often referred to as “bronies.” 

Now in its fourth generation as “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” the 2010 reboot has been largely watched by male fans. According to a 2014 State of the Herd Census, which compiled the self-reporting statistics of “My Little Pony” fandom, 80.6 percent of fans of the show identify as male. The study also found that 75 percent of MLP fans were ages 15 to 25.

Two ponies were prominently displayed during a MeetUp of the SoCal Bronies at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27. The local group is primarily made up of male fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

When the SoCal Bronies met at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27, the goal was to connect bronies at San Diego State with the larger, local community. Several bronies, and two pegasisters (female members of the brony community) met during the event, some of whom shared how their involvement with the fandom had impacted their lives.

Pegasister Samantha Ramos, liberal studies junior, said she first started watching the series because she thought it was adorable. As an elementary school teacher-in-training, she has found that it helps her connect with the children that she works with, and it helps her to bond with other students her age.

“Just because it’s something that’s a kid thing doesn’t mean I can’t love it also,” Ramos said. “It has given me that bonding thing whether it’s with kids, because I want to be a teacher, or other people that are also into it.”

SDSU class of 2015 English alumnus Nolan Alisasis, whose favorite characters are Twilight Sparkle and Applejack, returned to campus for the Brony MeetUp event.

Prior to watching MLP, Alisasis said he didn’t put much effort into maintaining friendships, but the show has inspired him to reconnect with friends from high school and make new friends. He is currently looking into joining the U.S. Navy, with the help of friends he met through the Brony community.

“I met a bunch of interesting folks from all walks of life here,” he said. “Some of the guys I know are former military, and they’re kind of helping me along with the process of joining. I never would have imagined getting that kind of connection with guys who watch a bunch of cartoon horses.”

After watching MLP with his little sister,electrical engineering senior Ohmeko Ocampo became involved with the brony fandom. He started attending local events such as Pacific PonyCon, leading him to reach out to bronies at SDSU by organizing the bowling event.

Bronies Nolan Alisasis and Ohmeko Ocampo watch as Right Cow Left Coast bowls during a MeetUp at Aztec Lanes on Jan. 27.

Ocampo favors Twilight Sparkle because she is “bookish” and nerdy, but also because she inspired him to have a community of friends.

“In high school I did have some friends, but not quite the deep kind of friends,” Ocampo said. “Now I understand why you have to cultivate friendship.”

The Brony community, like many other online fandoms, does not exist without its share of darknet controversy. Alt-right infiltrators—known as alt-bronies—have created characters with Nazi and white supremacy-themed accessories and cutie marks (the picture symbols displayed on the haunches of the ponies).

During the bowling event, none of the bronies or pegasisters identified with the alt-brony sub-fandom, but most said that the message of friendship in MLP outweighs any negativity that might exist within it.

One active member of the SoCal Bronies group, who prefers to be referred to as his original character name of Right Cow Left Coast, said the most important aspect of the fandom is that everyone has a place as long as they are civil—even members who identify as alt-bronies.

“The great thing about ‘My Little Pony’ is its diversity,” he said. “We have everyone from the Christian, religious right all the way to Black Lives Matter, far left, Marxists. I’ve seen them all in the same MeetUps, in the same conventions all sharing the same space, all having a good time, being personal and kind to one another because they have a common interest.”

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