Just over a decade ago, you couldn’t go two links without stumbling into an abridged series on YouTube. What began with Yu Gi Oh Abridged would eventually see a new genre born on the video streaming service as content creators looked to put their own spin on beloved anime and cartoons from the past. Some were good! Some were godawful attempts at earning clicks! But none of them could hold a candle to Team Fourstar’s Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
Easily the best abridged series amongst hundreds, Team Four Star’s work was a beloved send-up of Dragon Ball Z that was never mean-spirited. It poked fun at the show but reinvigorated it, streamlining several sagas and original video animations into easily digestible viewing that was supported by an impressive line-up of voice-over talent in the fan community and shockingly good post-production skills.
Having wrapped up on the Cell saga back in September of 2018, Team Four Star’s hiatus was seen as a time for the group to reenergise before eventually returning with their take on the Buu saga. After much time and thought, Team Four Star has instead decided to call it a day on the project which has consumed the last eleven years of their life. “We currently have no plans on continuing with the Buu Saga, in the our original style, or in the style of the ShortZ, at this time,” Scott “KaiserNeko” Frerichs wrote on the DBZA Patreon.
Recently, we publicly announced that DBZA will not continue via the original footage ala our classic method of Abridging. However, we talked publicly about possibly moving forward with the Buu Saga via the same animation provided in the ShortZ. Unfortunately, after serious deliberation, we currently find this process untenable.
Beyond being burnt out, and seriously who wouldn’t be after more than a decade, Team Four Star has had to deal with a more subtle menace with each and every episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged over the years: Copyright protection. While the show did go to great lengths to remind viewers that the original media should be supported, who owned it and that their work was protected as a fan-based parody, it still existed in a somewhat touchy grey zone due to it making wholesale use of the original animation with which to tell its own story.
“Fair-use exists in a nebulous area; even though we believe in it wholeheartedly, that doesn’t mean there’s no trouble between us and the copyright holders, and that tension leaks into the ecosystem in which we look to coexist with other companies,” Frerichs wrote.
Our YouTube channel is our primary source of revenue. While the Patreon absolutely has helped us with several new projects (episode 5 of Unabridged is now in the can, and we continue filming early February), the lifeline that sustains the company is our main channel.
Copyright claims have put us at risk of losing that channel, and our livelihoods in jeopardy. We have our employees to look out for; our friends, our colleagues, and doing right by them—by striving to create original, monetizable, copyright friendly content, that also carries our heart and soul as creatives—is undeniably important.
We’ve thought about hosting DBZA on other sites, but nowhere has been safe, and worse, it would serve to draw attention away from our hub, which ultimately could lead to less views, less support, and either the scaling back or collapse of our company. And frankly—and I say this with all due respect—the expansion of our company, to better fulfil the creative wants and needs of our employees, and the financial stability of all therein, is paramount here.
It’s the end of an era (But definitely not a genre as Schmuck Squad’s Goblin Slayer parody is AMAZING stuff), but at least Team Four Star is going out on a high note. Closing up shop with the Cell Saga, the finale to Dragon Ball Z Abridged and Son Gohan’s saga isn’t just a pitch perfect retelling of a fantastic story, it’s done so with love and reverence for the source material. It is action-packed, full of laughs and packed with heart.
If this is how Dragon Ball Z Abridged ends, then it’s reassuring to see it go down swinging on its terms. AT the very least, Team Four Star has managed to prove that they’re not a one-trick pony thanks to other videos in which they flexed their considerable comedic muscles.
Last Updated: February 10, 2020