Bronies are men who are fans of the animated show My Little Pony, and hundreds of them converged on Richmond, B.C. this weekend for the second year of BronyCAN — a Canadian version of the BronyCon fan gathering.
BronyCAN organizers say roughly 1,000 people registered to attend the convention for fans of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series, where the theme this year is diversity and inclusiveness of both men and women, and pony fans of all ages.
Songwriter and composer Daniel Ingram, the man who wrote the animated series's theme song, was a major draw at this year's convention. He explained that a lot of consideration has gone into creating value in the show's various elements.
"We said, 'let's not just do what people would expect from a TV show. Let's do what they would expect from a Broadway show or from a major theatrical release and see if we can get as close to that as possible in this television show," Ingram said.
Ron Harrison, one of the bronies behind BronyCAN 2014, said that sophistication allows the show to operate on different levels, and that helps it reach a broader audience.
He said the marketing and animation companies behind the My Little Pony empire have really taken note of the show's cross-demographic appeal and starting to find out they can reach out to both children and adults.
"So they've actually started to do both. Of course they have to sell their toys, we understand that. We understand that they're going to sell toys to little girls, but they are still catering to us on different things. Like, we understand next season there will be a number of callouts to the bronies," Harrison told CBC News.
The company behind My Little Pony is branching out in other ways, including having the ponies transform into mini-skirted teen Equestria Girls. The spinoff is seen as an attempt to appeal to tween females, but it doesn't get the stamp of approval from many bronies, who prefer the ponies stay equine.
Whatever happens to the My Little Pony family, many conference attendees say the real draw to bronyism is and will remain the positive outlook of the original show, and its simple message that friendship is magic.