Dragon Ball Z Studio Nearly Killed The Franchise Out Of Spite

By Christopher Isaac | Published

dragon ball z

As great as I think the Dragon Ball franchise is, I could not blame anyone for finding it too daunting to try giving it a chance. The original Dragon Ball has 153 episodes, Dragon Ball Z has 291, and Super has 131 so far. That is why the YouTube series Dragon Ball Z Abridged was such a great way to experience the show–or at least it was before Toei Animation forced the parody series to stop.

Dragon Ball Z Abridged

dragon ball z

For those who don’t know, Dragon Ball Z Abridged was a comedic parody that started in 2008. It uses actual footage of the anime, but dubbed over to spoof the characters and storylines. As it progressed, it became very well done with high quality voice overs, certain scenes being reanimated to have setups for the jokes, and quite a large online following. Best of all, it condensed the nearly 300 episodes of Dragon Ball Z to just 60 episodes.

Toei Shut Dragon Ball Z Abridged Down

dragon ball z

Dragon Ball Z Abridged would have been longer, but it stopped before it could parody the final arc of Dragon Ball Z, the Buu saga. That is because TeamFourStar, the channel that makes the videos, had to battle constant legal complaints from the anime owner Toei Animation who did not approve of the series and wanted it shut down.

While America has protection for products made in parody, Japan does not. And eventually the fight became too much for TeamFourStar.

Abridged Helped Keep Dragon Ball Relevant

It is such a bizarre move, because I know plenty of people who have never watched a full episode from any Dragon Ball series in their life who loved Dragon Ball Z Abridged once they started watching it. It did no harm to the Dragon Ball brand, and helped keep it relevant during the downtime before Dragon Ball Super came along. It even helped introduce new people who just wanted to watch something funny on YouTube to characters like Goku and Vegeta.

Why Did Toei Do It?

It honestly just felt kind of petty to stop the parody series. Dragon Ball Z had long since wrapped up in the ‘90s, so it is not like the parody was taking attention away from the actual show.

The YouTube series only had one saga left and then it would have been finished anyway. So why not just let TeamFourStar wrap it up? I get that Toei did not want to promote the show because then it could dilute the strength of their legal trademark to the characters, but why not just look the other way until it was done?

Toei Didn’t Understand The Service Dragon Ball Z Abridged Provided

Putting a stop to Dragon Ball Z Abridged certainly did not earn any good will with fans. I am not saying Super needed the parody show to be successful, but it certainly would have been a great way to keep the franchise present in people’s minds a while longer.

At the end of the day, Dragon Ball Z Abridged was a product made by loving fans who wanted to celebrate the anime they enjoy. It is a shame Toei did not recognize that and chose to shut down some of the most passionate fans of their franchise.

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