Special Otaku Report: Japan Ponycon!

Special Otaku Report: Japan Ponycon! - AkihabaraNews.com

The Bronies, Their Ponies, and Magic!
When it comes to fandom, most people in the know, be they anime otaku, Whovians, or Trekkies, have likely heard by now about Bronies, the adult and mostly male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, an American TV show created by Hasbro and marketed towards young girls. After gaining immense cult popularity in the United States and elsewhere beginning in 2011, the fandom has spread to Japan, helped along by the Japanese broadcast of the show's first two seasons.

Ponycon 3
On Sunday, May 4th in Oji, Tokyo, I attended Japan Ponycon, where a gathering of Japanese Bronies came together to share their love of My Little Pony with other fans of the show. This was the third event of its kind held in Japan, with an attendance of about 242 people, about 100 more than the previous event held in January.

Mirroring the fandom in the U.S., most of the attendees were males ranging from 15­-25 years old, although there was also a considerable number of women at the event. Like American Bronies, Japanese fans of My Little Pony are drawn to the show for various reasons ranging from the show’s storyline to its simple message of love and tolerance.

There were also a little over a dozen foreign bronies at the event. Most of them were American, and of those, several were actively serving in the U.S. Military.

The highlight of the event was a Q&A Skype call with Andrea Libman, a voice actress who performs the voices of Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy, two of the show’s mane six characters (no, that’s not a typo). Japanese fans were able to ask Libman questions ranging from the challenges of being a voice actress to her thoughts on the My Little Pony fandom.

Otaku Culture at AkihabaraNews.com

The Goings on of Ponycon
The event also featured numerous cosplayers. Some wore simple outfits meant to mirror their favorite Ponies, and some dressed in full-­fledged Pony fursuits and gladly posed for pictures.

Gallery Links Below

Author's Note: Per request of the Japan Ponycon organizers, we were obliged to protect attendees’ privacy.
Editor’s Note: We’re going to fix that next time!

There was also an ‘artist alley’ where attendees could buy various fan goods or purchase art commissions of original characters they had created. Attendees also drew various fan art of their own, much of which was sent to Libman as part of a contest. In another corner, there was even a computer with a monitor and arcade controller where people could play a fanmade video game based on the show.

Numerous panels took place throughout the day in which panelists discussed different aspects of the show and its fandom. Toward the end of the event, there was a rock­/paper/­scissors tournament in which winners were awarded various official My Little Pony goods. Japan Ponycon concluded with a live DJ ­event with attendees dancing to electronic music that incorporated melodies and lyrics from the show.

Gallery Links Below

Next: Ponycon 4
The next Japan Ponycon is planned for Saturday, November 1 and will take place in Kawasaki. While Japan Ponycon is still small compared to American conventions, its attendees are extremely dedicated to spreading the word about My Little Pony and its message that no matter what country you are in, friendship is magic.

Local Gallery:

Higher-Res at flickr:

Ponycon info:
Ponycon.jp (Japanese/日本語) • TwittertumblrYouTube

• • •

Contributor Reece Scott holds a B.A. in Japanese from Georgetown University, a Master’s in Modern Japanese Studies from the University of Oxford, and is currently a graduate student in Digital Hollywood University’s Digital Contents Management program here in Tokyo. He is passionate about otaku culture and trends.

More from Reece:
Maid Cafe Meets Shooting Range - Welcome to Friendly Fire!
Tohoku Zunko Shop: Supporting Tohoku With Moe



Related Articles

Some Beautiful Japanese Cosplay for the Weekend (PROBABLY NSFW GALLERY) - AkihabaraNews.com
Our friends over at Tokyo Otaku Mode - the very same who've brought us sushi socks, Attack on Titan Jenga and 2015 calendars, Japanese-designed Iron Man and Daft Punk figurines, and much more - have assembled a pretty fantastic gallery of some very accomplished (in many ways) cosplayers. We picked out our 15 favorite shots to share, but do click through if you want more, more, more.
Some Beautiful Japanese Cosplay Because it's Been a Long Week (PROBABLY NSFW GALLERY)
Once Again, it's J-Cosplay Day! Cosplay doesn't have a really specific place of origin, but most would say it began sort of concurrently as an American/Japanese phenomenon, then went global. Basically, it's anytime-doable Halloween. And often produces...beautiful people.
Japanese Girls Underwater in Knee-High Mecha-Socks (MOSTLY SFW GALLERY)
Taking underwater photos of girls in bikinis wearing knee-high mecha-socks might be one of the better jobs ever to have been conceived in the history of work. And if one could also get those photos published in a book and sell it for money, the gig would definitely crack the top 10. Well, someone nailed it.
We’ve racked up about 2.5 months since last we published one of these galleries, and the timing works: we tend to do it on Japanese holidays. Today’s gallery celebrates one player in particular: the very gifted and minimally costumed Ms. Ringo Mitsuki.
Today We Want: ATTACK ON TITAN 2015 CALENDAR - AkihabaraNews.com

World’s Most Popular Manga/Anime Gets a Calendar!
We said it before: the popularity ranking might be debatable, but there’s no doubt that Hajime Isayama’s now 5-year-old serial - his first at that - certainly has been the most visible franchise of the past year.

How to Sell Energy Drinks in Japan (Probably NSFW Gallery)

Latest Edition to the 'Everyone on Earth Likes Ladies' Marketing Series
Young ladies in swimsuits... we're often want to point out the marketing value theirein, and naturally at this URL we're particularly interested in how the Japanese do.

Some Beautiful Cosplay to Kick Off Golden Week (PROBABLY NSFW GALLERY)
Really, it seems like yesterday, but it’s been more than two months since we brought readers a nice, succinct (lightly curated) cosplay gallery. While anytime is a good time for such things, since the Golden Week holidays are (kind of) starting tomorrow with Showa Day, we decided that putting up a bit more light reading - and viewing - was in order.

Editor - December 05, 2014

Today We Want: SUSHI SOCKS 2.0!
Even the most revered aspects of Japanese culture can be jabbed and poked at for laughs. Food, particularly that which is unique to Japanese culture, is truly honored and considered essential and fundamental to the Japanese character - but it's not off limits.
POP'N'CUTE: Harajuku Kawaii Live Show/Fashion Event Report

Squee! the System
Mainstream Japanese society is boring. One could argue that mainstream society globally is never exciting, but the homogenous nature and stubborn adherence to routines and social hierarchies make this island nation particularly dull.

The Three Bullets: Lessons from Japan's Survival Games Subculture - AkihabaraNews.com

In addressing the question of how to restore Japan’s economic prosperity and make the nation a model for reform, Japanese political and industrial leaders should look for inspiration from an unconventional source: the growing airsoft-based Survival Games subculture.

From Contributor and otaku/subculture enthusiast Reece Scott:

[#3 of 2015's Top 15 Articles] Taking underwater photos of girls in bikinis wearing knee-high mecha-socks might be one of the better jobs ever to have been conceived in the history of work. And if one could also get those photos published in a book and sell it for money, the gig would definitely crack the top 10. Well, someone nailed it.
The Hikaru Skirt, a Fashion Statement that Demands Yet Defies Explanation.
One of the great things about living in Japan is knowing that there are a neverending string of things that you’ll never fully understand. The Hikaru Skirt (“hikaru” just means “shining”) is a pretty good example thereof. But as goofy as these might be, they do catch (and keep) the eye!