Team Four Star have announced they will no longer be working on Dragon Ball Z Abridged.
Started in 2008 by Nick Landis (Lanipator), Scott Frerichs (KaiserNecko), and Curtis Arnott (Takahata101), the three created an “abridged” parody. Originally started by Martin Billany (LittleKuriboh) on Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged, abridged parodies take existing media (usually anime), and creates humorous parodies (usually omitting many non-essential scenes).
Over time, Dragon Ball Z Abridged overshadowed Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged, as editing, voice acting, scripts, and overall quality improved. The group later formed Team Four Star, and branched out into other projects- even officially dubbing Hells by Madhouse.
Quotes from the show were quickly cemented within the Dragon Ball fan community, and the Abridged voice actors would even cameo in Dragon Ball games, and in Dragon Ball Z Kai.
This also inspired other YouTubers to create their own abridged series, introducing a wealth of new editors, writers, and voice actors to the world.
On February 9th, co-founders Landis and Frerichs announced that Team Four Star would not continuing Dragon Ball Z Abridged into the Buu Saga.
While fighting back tears in the video, both gave their reasons. The primary one was burn-out on the production overall. While they cancelled work on adapting Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound, they initially blamed the original story giving them little to work with.
They also initially announced they would continue the Buu Saga not by editing the original footage, but instead using 3D models and animating from scratch- which they had been doing with DragonShortZ (original comedy sketches using Dragon Ball characters).
Based on the reaction from their fan community, how even to them it “felt like a half-measure”, and alluded to issues with the cost and time of production.
Going into further detail in a Patreon post, Frerichs also explained how “there just isn’t the emotional attachment and passion for the arc that drove the last three seasons. […] We do not enjoy tearing down and mocking the things we love. We want to celebrate them, expand on them, explore them, and sometimes make light of their shortcomings.”
“That’s what gave you the best of DBZA up until now, and ultimately, we find ourselves at odds with that approach and the majority of the Buu Saga.”
Combined with the issues they had with the Bojack movie, they realized they were getting burned out, and even coming to resent working on the show. This realization only came to them “a couple of days ago.”
Other contributing factors included the finale to the Cell Sage feeling like a finale to both of them, and was written as such should they be unable to continue the series. Frerichs stated that anything after that would feel like an epilogue, and that the Buu Saga deserved better.
Lanipator also stated he did not wish for the show to decline in quality, citing shows like Dexter and Scrubs which had disastrously received final seasons. “I will be damned if I ever “last season of Scrubs” DBZA.” Kaiser also stated having these issues and signs of a clear decline during early production was a blessing in disguise letting them end the show on their terms.
Other factors included how they had been passionate about other projects throughout their work on Dragon Ball Z Abridged, and the constant fear of copyright strikes. Their YouTube channel being shut down would harm the livelihood of everyone working at Team Four Star, now expanded into a full blown business.
In the Patreon post, this is explained further. Despite fair-use laws, it had caused Team Four Star “trouble between us and the copyright holders, and that tension leaks into the ecosystem in which we look to coexist with other companies. As writers, actors, etc. We want to ease this tension moving forward.”
Both reiterated there was no singular reason, and apologized for poor communication throughout their careers, and with this recent decision. They also fully acknowledged that some fans would not remain for non-Dragon Ball Z Abridged content.
The episodes currently on YouTube will not go down, and both state their desire to create new content, experiment, create something wholly original and belonging to them, and fun to produce. Ultimately, they also wanted to keep their staff employed.
Both expressed their deep gratitude to their fans and supported, and how much it changed their lives. Landis and Frerichs stated how they never expected the show to last this long, or for their YouTube channel to achieve 1 million subscribers. As of this time of writing, the channel has 3.56 million.
Landis concluded with gratitude to their fans, and hopes for the future. “You’ve made these past twelve years amazing, and we hope to continue to provide that level of entertainment for many more years.”
Currently, Team Four Star plans to continue their DragonShortZ series, along with Final Fantasy VII Machinabridged, their video game let’s play channel TFS Plays, and several unannounced projects.
Paraphrasing the words at the start of every episode of Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, and Dragon Ball Super are all owned by Funimation, Toei Animation, Shueisha (formerly Fuji TV), and Akira Toriyama.
Please support the official release.
Dragon Ball Z Abridged is currently available on YouTube.