Another great interview – This is a Brony living in Japan who has a podcast and uses MLP to teach Japanese students English!
1Tell me about how you got into this fandom? What is the draw?
Living in Japan, it can be harder to get decent US shows (no Netflix or Hulu), so it wasn’t until the 2ndseason was fully underway that I became aware of the show. I often have to work on student reports on my computer for entire weekends, so I will download a season of a show, and use that as a way to break up the monotony. 5 reports, watch an episode, repeat. I downloaded the first season of My Little Pony; Friendship is Magic and was enthralled. The second episode made me a big fan, the 3rd sealed the deal.
A few months later, I found out about bronies, and visited some of the sites that had sprung up. I joined twitter, and was able to interact with many of the voice actors, writers, and producers directly, as well as other bronies and fans. BronyCon sealed the deal. I watched the livestream of the event on Everfree Network, and was enthralled with the panels of voice actors, writers, and the creator, Lauren Faust. I fully admit staying up till 3AM to watch and listen in. Time zones suck sometimes.
One of the voice actors, Michelle Creber, had started a weekly show on Everfree Network (then Everfree Radio), and I joined in the stream, and asked some questions in the chat, which she answered. It was a blast.
After a few weeks, I approached the head of EFN, Final Draft, about starting my own show on the network. We worked out the format, and Halloween 2012, my podcast, Into the Spotlight, debuted. It’s a laid back interview style weekly podcast, where I will speak to a brony that, I feel, deserves a little bit more attention. I do the show solo, from arranging and performing interviews, to audio editing, to rendering, to airing it. I don’t get paid, but I enjoy doing it. I call it a professional hobby. The show is almost in its 2 year anniversary.YouTube
Japan was slower to get MLP and bronies, and it is still a smaller audience here, but I’m happily a staff member of Japan PonyCon as well, assisting them in getting foreign talent booked for skype calls, helping out English speakers attending the con. It’s a lot of work, but very much worth it to see how excited they get over the convention.
(sorry for the length)
2What are the best and worst things about this fandom?
The best things are the sense of community. I have more friends now than I ever have, frankly, and, while not all are still bronies, that is how we first met, and I have quite a few friends that are still bronies with me.
The worst things? Hm. Well, I do feel there is somehow a shared sense of blame. There are bronies that are, frankly, asshats, just as there will be asshats in any large enough group. And I do feel badly that those people use the same moniker as I do. But many people outside the fandom will try to force an apology from every brony they meet. “There are artists that draw ponies sexually. What do you have to SAY for that?” Well, that’s a shame if it’s something that kids can see, sure. And I don’t care for that myself. But, frankly, I don’t owe anyone an apology for someone else’s actions. But, then again, I suppose that can be said for many groups out there, can’t it? Lots of people want every member of the group to apologize for what someone in the group does. Mind you, I don’t support such behavior. I have a pretty strict filter on my guest list for the show, and I won’t interact with a lot of people that dwell in so much hate on twitter.
3Are you open about liking MLP or is it something you keep to yourself, why?
I’m open about it, but I do dislike it when some bronies try to FORCE others to like the show. As far as openness, I have advantages in this area that not all bronies do. Firstly, I teach kids. Any kids teacher that doesn’t know decent kids entertainment will be at a loss. Secondly, I’m in my mid 30’s, so I honestly don’t care what most people think. And thirdly, I am a foreigner living in Japan. ANYthing I do is seen as odd and I get stared at for riding the train. The fact that I now have a pony on my bag hasn’t changed that at all.
4Obviously, being a Brony comes with its fair share of stigmas and issues. What is something that you’d like to tell people who prematurely judge you for being a Brony?
Frankly? Go ahead. I’d prefer it if people would hear bronies out before judging, but trying to force someone into liking you or liking what you like is just as bad as discriminating against a person. I can point to the many conventions, amount raised for charities (about half a million dollars since 2011, an orphanage built in Uganda, etc), the number of suicides prevented, the number of friendships made, even the global connections created, but it doesn’t have to be the massive things that matter.
I use MLP:FiM to help teach English to Japanese students. One adult student was having a terrible day. I suggested we learn the English to Smile Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNrXMOSkBasBy the end of listening to it, tears were streaming down her face. She was so happy. It didn’t change anything in the outside world, but gave her the relief of a smile that she had been missing for the last week.
It makes a difference.
5Is there anything else you’d like to add about Bronies and/or MLP?
As corny as it sounds, before MLP:FiM, I was miserable. I just didn’t know it. In the last 3 years, I am a better man. I have more friends, better relationships, and I’m healthier emotionally than I have ever been, and it is largely due to MLP:FiM.