Well, despite how large the adult fan base is, I doubt we outnumber the children watching it.
But, as to its appeal, it’s kind of hard to say, really. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I was actually very skeptical and disapproving of the series when I first learned of its existence (including making comments such as “What, are they just going to bastardize everything from my childhood??”).
It wasn’t until after noticing how popular it was on Tumblr (back before this gigantic hatedom began, when people actually got along really well. It was back before the “social justice warriors” started infesting the site, and driving a wedge of bitterness between fans) that my curiosity was piqued.
So, when I noticed it was on one day, I decided to give it a shot. It was just oddly engaging. Even though I didn’t know the characters at all, I found myself really caring about whether or not Apple Bloom got her cutie mark, and smiling when the pink pony with the, as I had put it, “80’s mall hair” started singing about making cupcakes.
As strange as it may sound, considering that the show is about magical, pastel-colored horses, the characters are surprisingly relatable. Some of us are neat freaks like Twilight, some of us love fashion like Rarity, and some of us love making our friends smile like Pinkie Pie. There’s also this element that’s almost impossible to describe: Something that reaches out to that part of us that never grew up. It’s the part of us that wants to believe in magic, and wants to feel wonder and unrestrained joy.
Unlike in Equestria, people don’t tend to break out in song at any given moment in the real world. We can’t fly, talk to animals, or cast spells. We’ve gotten older, and found ourselves having to accept “adult” responsibilities, and carry our burdens on our shoulders while we constantly worry about the future. As we grow older, many of us try to put ourselves “above” anything that isn’t targeted towards adults. If someone mentions to us how they wonder what it would be like to have magic or super powers, we think of them as “childish”, and such notions as “stupid” or “unproductive”. We frown upon those people, and might refer to them by saying they’ve “got their head in the clouds”. We dismiss these things as “foolish”, and “just for kids”, which is a shame.
When it comes to ponies (or cartoons in general), they’re about embracing that spirit of silliness and whimsy, as well as that childlike celebration of enchantment. Animation is a medium through which the impossible can become possible: characters can accomplish remarkable feats no human could even dream of. They become royalty, heroes, rock stars, and all the other things we dreamed of when we were little.
Cartoons have the power to transport us to all kinds of amazing and wonderful worlds where imagination rules, and there is no limit to adventure.
It’s just sad that pettiness and hostile politics have made people forget that.
Applejack is best pony
I like ponies