Toy maker Hasbro has created a pop culture phenomenon with My Little Pony, the updated retro toy line from the 1980s that is now one of the hottest fan commodities on the market. With the wildly popular cartoon series, "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," Hasbro has leveraged its pony products into a diverse range of collectibles, including toys, games, and gear targeted specifically at adult fans - known as "bronies" - as well as the traditional demographic of young girls. The twofold consumer market means that you'll now find My Little Pony toys and gear at pop culture retailers like Hot Topic as well as Toys R Us and the pink aisle at Target.
The original My Little Pony line appeared in 1983 and became a staple of 80s kid culture, along with Cabbage Patch Dolls, Rubik's Cubes, and Star Wars figures. It spawned a television cartoon series, TV movies, and other tie-ins, but in the late 90s the company retooled the toys, creating what fans refer to as the Generation 2 line. A third generation of toys arrived in 2003, but the current phase, Generation 4, began when Hasbro debuted the new cartoon series, "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," with Lauren Faust as the executive producer. Fandom exploded as a result, with the show and its tie-in products drawing a devoted adult following.
Conventional kid fans of My Little Pony will probably find everything they want in the toy aisles of big box stores, including various sizes of pony figures, the humanized Equestria Girl dolls, and plush ponies. My Little Pony notebooks, bed linens, and t-shirts are also readily available. At the mall, Build-a-Bear Workshop has large plush versions of the show's central characters, with some special additions for the adult fan community (including Trixie Lulamoon and Zecora).
If, however, your resident brony is older or more intensely invested in the show, there are plenty of other stores ready to cater to the super fan's desires. Hot Topic carries MLP shirts in adult sizes as well as some collectibles. Online shirt retailers like TeeFury sometimes feature limited edition Pony-themed items, like the MLP-Harry Potter mash-up, "My Little Buckbeak." On Etsy, cosplayers can find elaborate MLP wigs and costume elements, including tails and wings. Comics shops stock My Little Pony comics from IDW, MLP collectible card games, and higher end figures from Funko, especially those with pop culture connections to other franchises like Doctor Who.
While non-fans might fret about adult enthusiasm for the show, My Little Pony has undoubtedly reached a special place in pop culture consciousness, as the wide variety of toys and collectibles proves. Fan conventions and custom online businesses have made an even greater range of gear available to the show's devoted followers. Want to find out why so many people love My Little Pony? Check out the cartoon series on The Hub Network.