Today, we’ll be reminiscing on the fantastic fan-based parody from TeamFourStar that took the internet by storm: Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
Dragon Ball Z is, by nature, an action-filled series full of powerful characters and anime-defining fights. While fighting may be the bread and butter of the show, it is also inherently funny, chockful of anime-style gags and slapstick that add a lot of character to the show when the energy beam blasts and screaming become a bit too much.
Everyone knows Dragon Ball Z’s popularity gained it a massive fanbase and is one of the most recognizable anime on Earth, so much so that a talented group of fans named TeamFourStar created the internet series “Dragon Ball Z Abridged,” a funny fan-based parody of Dragon Ball Z that became beloved by enthusiasts during its 11-year run.
What is Dragon Ball Z Abridged?
In the early years of YouTube, after working on their own individual abridged series’, founding members, Scott “KaiserNeko” Frerichs, Nick “Lanipator” Landis, and Curtis “Takahata101” Arnott came together and formed a group called TeamFourStar dedicated to producing a funny fan-based version of Dragon Ball Z, making light of the series they love and incorporating known jokes from the community.
Abridged means to give a shortened summary of something, cutting it down to the bare essentials. YouTuber LittleKuriboh pioneered the “Abridged” format with his “Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged series” in 2006, where a fan would dub over it with their own voice lines and fill their adaptation with jokes, often pulling attention towards how absurd the anime premise is.
Dragon Ball Z Abridged does just that; whenever a new episode was uploaded, fans could only guess how TeamFourStar would change the situation and what jokes would make us bust a gut. From Krillin getting a counter for each time he was “owned” – there’s some classic internet lingo for you – to Gohan’s inability to dodge, the laughs rarely ceased unless drama called for it.
As the series went on, the quality drastically improved; not just from a voice acting and editing standpoint, but also moving on from the meta jokes and fourth wall breaking to clever running jokes that fit the series exceptionally well. Though the impact the series has on the Dragon Ball community as a whole can be deemed controversial, the Abridged series remains beloved and is always worth rewatching for the laughs you may miss the first time around.
Even when Dragon Ball Z Kai was announced, a shorter, more to-the-point take on DBZ that cut out all the filler, the funnier dub prevailed and rose to success, making a successful parody of Dragon Ball Z and most of its movies.
TeamFourStar did not just stick with the world of Dragon Ball Z, parodying the series and movies. They also tried their hand at machinima with a very entertaining abridgment of the story of Final Fantasy VII, dubbing it “machinabridged” and is created entirely within the Playstation 1 title with a few edits for mouth flaps and artwork.
Where are TeamFourStar now?
Dragon Ball Z Abridged ended abruptly after 11 years, even though there were initial plans of taking on the Buu saga following the success of the Cell Saga, even with long hiatus’ between episodes. TeamFourStar made a public statement saying the team had lost their passion and was suffering from burnout and raising concerns about the rigorous copyright policies on YouTube.
The majority of TeamFourStar still operate on their main channel, with some taking up streaming and other YouTube channels of the same name creating animations of “HFIL: Home for Infinite Losers”, a callback to the hilarious censor made when Goku falls into hell during his trek across snake way. Imagine all of the big Dragon Ball Z villains going to hell but instead it’s a therapy session so they can become good – that’s HFIL and it weirdly works.
They have also been rewatching DBZ Abridged on their side channel “FourStarBento” with creator commentary, giving insights on the series, how certain scenes were edited, how they came up with jokes, whether or not there was pushback between the group over creative decisions, some teary reminiscing, and the overall process of creating the iconic Abridged series.
Fans wish TeamFourStar the best in their future ventures and hope they bring more Dragon Ball-themed entertainment to the masses. Though they’re active on their side channel with other content, fans love their HFIL series and cannot wait for the next episode. Until then, we’ll revel in nostalgia and rewatch Dragon Ball Z Abridged again.
For more Dragon Ball Z, check out our rankings for the strongest character in the series, or if pirates are more your speed see when the next chapter of One Piece is heading your way and see our picks for the strongest characters in One Piece.