ISSUE Magazine

The Fandom That Found Me by Anastassia Irina Muhammad Din Fikri

In the screenplay that is my life, located in the bizarre place of my imagination, there will be various entities to which I become enamoured with. Some of these things would be chocolate, boybands (from the 90s and the like) and even shoujo manga, even though the formula of EVERY story involves a naïve, clumsy girl and a cool guy.

However, at some point during the early 20s stage, there will be this very relevant scene.

Surrounded by a group of people, I will slowly stand. My eyes shift from the floor to the strangers around me. We all are here for one reason. We are here to get over something that has consumed us… I must make my case known. These words escape my lips:

“Hi, my name is Tasha. I’m a brony and I am just slightly obsessed with the animated TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”

There will be gasps, there will be disbelief, but perhaps more than anything else there will be confusion.

And so the scene unfolds. An unknown extra asks, “Why My Little Pony?”

I’ve never really liked the question ‘Why’, especially when it came to things I loved. It forces my brain to become the logical computer it was meant to be. My processor is not meant to dwell on such logic. It was always meant for a more magical place. It was meant for Equestria. For clarity’s sake, Equestria is the magical land, in which the story of MLP: FIM takes place.

I first started watching MLP as a means of procrastination. Like any other outstanding university student, procrastination is a given talent. Curiosity that rose from a random physics presentation video got the better of me and before I knew it, I was halfway through Season 1.

When I watch a new episode, it simply brings me a feeling that can’t be described. A feeling of nostalgia possibly has to do with it but more than anything… It’s that sense of being a kid. Letting your imagination take over and getting so wrapped up in a story that you forget the world around you. Kind of similar to reading a really great book.

Maybe it’s the cute and colourful characters that first appealed to me? Being a massive fan of bright colours, I couldn’t contain my joy at the sight of the wonderful shades the characters came in. I mean, how could I say no to a rainbow coloured Pegasus? She’s rainbow, damn it!

It was one of the other characters that spoke to me though. The one who seems to be a bit kooky, misunderstood and hyper all the time. That one pony always lost in her own world and doing things at her pace. Always saying random things to other ponies, when she’s not saying them to herself. I thought to myself, “She’s me in pony form! And she’s pink! Yes!”

BING! Congratulations, you have just become emotionally attached to a fictional character.

The more episodes I watched, the deeper I fell into the depths of Equestria. The characters were complex and had their own unique quirks. This made them a lot more believable. I somehow saw my friends in these characters. Their little mannerisms and personalities seem to somehow align with cartoon characters. Strange I know.

Ok, ok, I was guilty of calling them by their pony counterparts at some point. You caught me.

If one includes the pop culture references and boy, there are heaps, it’s not really surprising. From Darkwing Duck to James Bond to The Little Mermaid, the array of pop culture references kept reeling me right back into each new episode. I was hooked. For a big pop culture geek, it was like my own little paradise.

A paradise of bright colours, great friends and adventure…

So what was the next step? Pffft, what else? To adorn myself with as much merchandise as possible! I started going crazy trying to fill my room up with as much pony-related items as I could get my hooves hands on. It started with postcards, posters and quickly escalated into a few select figurines and a pony-related phone cover.

In addition to eventually being a member of not only one but several brony groups, I go for meet ups when I can. I have brony music (original music produced by fans for fans, that is of high quality). I even wrote an assignment on the fandom. And my lecturer was totally fine with this.

It’s like I lose control. Whenever I go into a department store, my body automatically gets attracted to the pink sparkly toy section. I was convinced there was an invisible force pulling me towards it. I don’t always make those purchases though.

It got so bad, to the point that even on holiday with my family, I use as a chance to look for rare collectible items that you can’t possibly find back home. Or get free stuff.

When we were on holiday in Turkey, there just happened to be a massive toy store in the shopping centre and wouldn’t you know it, they were giving out free MLP posters and stickers! Without a second thought, I went straight up to the girl handing those out and I politely asked her for one. She was obviously perplexed but handed me one anyway. Besides my youngest sister who is also a fan, my other siblings couldn’t (or rather wouldn’t) stop bringing up how ridiculous I looked.

Is this what people who smoke feel like? Do their fingers just automatically reach out for it and a natural state of events occur after that one single touch? Or is it more akin to people who can’t help but have those little guilty pleasures that no one else knows of? The ones that aren’t exactly skeletons but would still make you turn a shade of crimson.

Whenever people ask me about my love for the show, it’s always so hard to explain to them why I love it so much. Even more so when they’re not a part of this peculiar yet wonderful male dominated fandom. I mean… it’s got to be pretty darn amazing to have big, burly guys being fans as well, right? If only one’s passion for something could be simplified into a formula, maybe that –

Faceless Extra F clears her throat and I am there in the circle once again. They look at me. I shrug. Someone asks, “Well, can you explain why you’re supposedly obsessed with magical ponies?”

I chuckle to myself, knowing exactly how this scene will end.

I tilt my head and smile sweetly. I then reply, “Because I’m loco in the coco”.

Anastassia is a full-time adventure seeker, part-time hipster Disney princess wannabe with an unexplainable attraction to words.

(Image by Anastassia.)

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This entry was written by issuemagonline and published on 08/11/2012 at 19:16. It’s filed under ISSUE6, Musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “The Fandom That Found Me by Anastassia Irina Muhammad Din Fikri

  1. BING! Congratulations, you have just become emotionally attached to a fictional character.

    You have spoken to 90% of my experiences with pop culture. I’m huge into fandoms, and I’ve recently descended into the pits of a particular one surrounding a certain British boyband, ahem, so I fully understand not being able to explain why you like something so damn much. I’m a lover of sparkly things and bright colours too, but I’ve never watched MLP (retro or new). Can’t say I haven’t been tempted though, especially after reading this piece! Good work! 🙂

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